The latest science is showing how ketone bodies provide better focus, less anxiety, and improved overall mental health.
– Maria Emmerich
That doesn’t really prove that the ketogenic diet does not help bipolar disorder, and there are plenty of anecdotal success stories being reported all across the Internet. More significantly, in a case study published in the October 2013 issue of the journal Neurocase, two women with bipolar II disorder who maintained a state of ketosis for more than two years both saw better mood stabilization than they had achieved with medication, and they tolerated the diet as a bona fide lifestyle change remarkably well, with no significant adverse effects.
Given the conflicting results of past case studies, a randomized, controlled trial examining the effects of a ketogenic diet on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses is sorely needed.
Narcolepsy and Other Sleep Disorders
Concerns about the human brain’s need for carbohydrates are entirely unfounded. If you cease consumption of all carbohydrates in your diet, then you will undoubtedly survive, even thrive, though you may have to endure several weeks of metabolic conversion to fatty acid oxidation, which can cause temporary fatigue.
– Dr. William Davis
Narcolepsy is a serious neurological disorder that leads to excessive daytime sleepiness and “sleep attacks.” Medications may help with some of the sleep issues related to narcolepsy, but they can become less and less effective over time.
In a clinical study published in the June 2004 issue of the medical journal Neurology, nine patients with narcolepsy were placed on a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet for a period of eight weeks. One patient was unable to complete the study, but the rest experienced less sleepiness during the day, had fewer sleep attacks, and saw other improvements in the severity of their narcolepsy. The researchers concluded that all these improvements were likely due to lower glucose levels while the study participants were in ketosis.
Most people in ketosis report that they sleep better and do not feel tired after meals. For those with narcolepsy, this is a much-needed respite from the living hell of their condition. Melissa, one of my blog readers, suffered from narcolepsy before she found the benefits of ketosis. She dealt with narcolepsy from an early age and as a child slept virtually all the time. Melissa employed various distraction techniques to keep herself awake, but most of them didn’t help.
It wasn’t until she reached the age of forty that the doctors even diagnosed Melissa with narcolepsy. After trying all the best drugs for treating it, she heard about the ketogenic diet and decided to give up all whole grains, sugar, and starchy carbohydrates while eating a lot more saturated fat in her diet, with the goal of producing more ketone bodies. The results were astonishing. Melissa described it this way: “I was alive again.” Today she continues to eat this way, which helps her stay awake when she needs to during the day. Of course, Melissa’s story is only anecdotal, but it underscores the need for more research into how a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet can help those dealing with sleep disorders.
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been investigating ketosis as a secret weapon for boosting soldiers’ mental and physical performance under battlefield conditions. Why? Because as a soldier’s blood glucose drops, he or she becomes confused, sometimes resulting in friendly fire. So they tested a highly ketogenic fuel source on rats and found that it boosted physical and mental performance—the rats became much healthier, lost body fat, had lower levels of triglycerides (fatty acids) in their blood, and had lower blood sugar levels, with zero harmful side effects. That same fuel is now under development for soldiers.
– Ben Greenfield