How The Keto Diet May Improve Quality Of Life For Those With Multiple Sclerosis

The high-fat, low-carb eating plan, known as the keto diet, has become one of the most popular weight loss plans in the United States. While it may seem like a novel diet due to its recent fast rise in popularity, it was actually first developed in the 1920s to help children with seizures (via Healthline). Now, new research suggests it may also help ease some of the most debilitating symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

A 2022 abstract presented at the American Academy of Neurology Conference discussed potentially game-changing discoveries for patients of MS as they pertain to diet. A total of 65 MS patients were enrolled in this study and put on the keto diet for six months. The researchers concluded that the low-carb, high-fat eating plan was not only safe for the patients over the course of six months, but it improved their quality of life in several areas, including depression, fatigue, body composition, and neurologic disability. It also reduced key inflammatory markers and induced an anti-inflammatory response.

Will the keto diet become a new treatment for MS?

While healthcare professionals are optimistic about the diet, some experts suggest it may not be a silver bullet. According to the Mayo Clinic, eating a high-fat diet for an extended period of time may result in other health problems due to a lack of nutrient diversity. Because the diet limits certain fruit and vegetable intake, it can lead to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.

Another criticism of the keto diet is that it's very hard for people to stick to, mostly because it's so restrictive. In fact, 17% of the MS patients in the new study were unable to stick to the keto diet throughout the duration of the trial. Despite these obstacles, however, the research points to a new mechanism in treating MS. It shows that limiting carbohydrates in the diet lowers the inflammatory response responsible for much of the pain and disability associated with the disease (via Healthline).