How A Ketogenic Diet Might Help People With Schizophrenia

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According to the latest study published by The Official Journal of the Schizophrenia International Research Society, Schizophrenia Research, a ketogenic diet, which is high on fats and low on carbohydrates, might be used in schizophrenia management.

A team of researchers from the James Cook University in Australia, led by researcher Zolan Sarnyai, conducted a study on mice that showed a ketogenic diet might mitigate many of the symptoms of schizophrenia while introducing no other medication. They were inspired by a number of recent studies which showed that abnormal glucose and energy metabolism may underlie the schizophrenia patho-psychology. They hypothesized that a diet which would influence energy metabolism could end up being beneficial for patients suffering from the condition.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder which is characterized by a number of symptoms such as abnormal social behavior and difficulties recognizing what is real and what is not. Hallucinations, lack of motivation, unfocused thinking, and false beliefs are among other symptoms of schizophrenia. Traditionally, patients with schizophrenia are treated with potent antipsychotics and other medications which usually come with severe side effects. It is therefore not difficult to understand the potential of a dietary-based mode of management.

According to the latest study, this is definitely a possibility. As part of the study, the researchers induced a schizophrenic state in a number of test mice, separated them into two groups and then fed these groups two different diets – one a standard mice diet and the other a ketogenic diet.

shutterstock_210003694Using standard procedures and methods, they then measured psychomotor hyperactivity, stereotype schizophrenic behavior, working memory problems and social withdrawal in the two groups of mice. In addition to this, they monitored their weight, as well as their blood glucose levels. The results were quite interesting, to say the least.

Mice that were on a ketogenic diet showed signs of reduced hyperactivity, ataxia (loss of control of bodily movements) and stereotyped behavior. In addition to this, their working memory impairment was reduced, as were their problems with social interaction. Furthermore, the diet also decreased glucose levels in mice and kept their weight in check.

The team will try and replicate their findings in other animal models, but they are already quite optimistic that a ketogenic diet might become a standard low-risk and effective adjunct treatment for schizophrenia.

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