Low-Carb Diet Could Help Schizophrenia

A diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates could be effective in treating schizophrenia, according to new research.

This type of ketogenic diet is popular among people trying to lose weight, as well as athletes like body builders.

The study found that mice who were fed the low-carb, high-fat diet exhibited fewer behaviors that resembled schizophrenia.

Preventing abnormal brain activity

Lead researcher Dr. Zoltan Sarnyai from the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) says the diet may work to help prevent abnormal cellular activity that leads to schizophrenia symptoms.

In the absence of carbohydrates, the body breaks down fat to create energy from ketone bodies.

“Most of a person’s energy would come from fat," Dr. Sarnyai said. "So the diet would consist of butter, cheese, salmon, etc. Initially it would be used in addition to medication in an in-patient setting where the patient’s diet could be controlled."

The study also found that mice on a ketogenic diet weigh less and have lower blood sugar levels.

“It’s another advantage that it works against the weight gain, cardiovascular issues and type-two diabetes we see as common side-effects of drugs given to control schizophrenia,” Sarnyai said.

Source: James Cook University

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