Ketogenic Diet Against Parkinson’s Disease

Ketogenic Diet Against Parkinson’s Disease

Already used in epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, the ketogenic diet has its place in Parkinson’s disease?

The ketogenic diet, high in fat and low in carbohydrates has already been proven in the treatment of epilepsy, it is used experimentally in Alzheimer’s and some cancers or against migraine, but can it also improve patients with the Parkinson’s disease?

Why it’s important

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain called a black substance. These neurons make the neurotransmitter dopamine, which helps control movement. One of the hypotheses for this disease is a toxic attack of mitochondria, the cell’s power plants, by substances such as pesticide residues. The ketogenic diet leads to the production in quantity of ketone bodies including hydroxybutyrate, which protects the mitochondria of the nerve cells experimentally and thus prevents their degeneration and their death.

What the research says

Very few studies have been conducted on the ketogenic diet in Parkinson’s disease. A study in humans has studied the effects of a strict ketogenic diet on the symptoms of a small number of patients. The researchers showed that 5 of the 7 people treated with the ketogenic diet during 28 days were able to improve their scores (+ 43%) on the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), which serves as a measure to quantify the progression of Parkinson’s disease and the effectiveness of treatment. ” An improvement of more than 30% in the UPDRS is considered clinically significant. All participants reported a moderately good to very good improvement in their symptoms. “, Analyze Dr. Bernard Aranda and Michèle Houde, authors of the Ketogenic Diet for your brain.

In animal studies, the ketogenic diet has the power to protect dopaminergic neurons from degeneration, explain Dr. Bernard Aranda and Michèle Houde: ” this neuroprotective action is explained by the improvement of the energy production by the neurons. mitochondria. 

In practice

There are two major versions of the ketogenic diet:

  • The strict ketogenic diet

This is the diet generally prescribed in epilepsy and diabetes. With 4 times more fat than carbohydrates, experts call it 4: 1. It is binding and sometimes difficult to follow in the long term.

  • The modified Atkins diet

The Atkins diet is the “low-carb” diet reference. In the “modified Atkins” version, the ratio of fats and carbohydrates is that of the first phase of the diet: 2 g of fat for 1 g of carbohydrates, or 1 g of fat for 1 g of carbohydrates. It is therefore, when we follow a modified Atkins, to stay in this first phase. It is easier to follow than the strict ketogenic diet.

Both diets can be “enriched” with special fatty substances called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which potentiate the effects of the diet itself. You can also use coconut oil (less effective). Many people with Parkinson’s have reported an improvement in their condition with a strict ketogenic diet or modified Atkins, often supplemented with TCM and coconut oil. ” The ketogenic diet could be a major therapeutic option for patients,” says a recent article by Dr. Thomas Walczyk (Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore). However, studies are lacking to be able to affirm that this regime, certainly promising, is effective.

If you are considering a diet like this, tell your doctor, do not interrupt your treatments (patients who follow the diet report that the treatment-regimen combination is beneficial), and know that there are precautions to take. take to avoid the disadvantages of a strict ketogenic diet.



Paoli A, Bianco A, Damiani E., Bosco G. Ketogenic diet in neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases. Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 474296.
Walczyk T, Wick JY. The Ketogenic Diet: Making a Comeback. Consult Pharm.2017 Jul 1; 32 (7): 388-396.

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