A High Fat Low Carb Diet May Treat Schizophrenia

Dec 22, 2015 06:50 AM EST | By J. Navarra


A team of researchers may have found a diet that can help treat schizophrenic patients. A diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates is being tested for its possible effectiveness in treating schizophrenia.

An Australian team from James Cook University have been focusing their efforts on a ketogenic diet. A diet founded in high fat and low carbs. It is a popular diet routine with body builders when managing weight loss. 

The results of the study are based on mice fed on a ketogenic diet. The mice that were fed with this kind of diet showed fewer animal characteristics that resembled schizophrenia. The mice also lost weight and had lower blood glucose compared to other mice that were fed on a normal diet.

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The team believes that the reason why the ketogenic diet may work as a treatment for schizophrenic patients is because the diet provides an alternative energy source for the individual's brain through fatty acids that can aid in neurological transmission and improve the biological process that form schizophrenia.

Zoltan Sarnyai, lead author of the published study in the Journal of Schizophrenia Research states:

...since this diet is very low in carbohydrates, almost all the energy needs of the cells comes from breaking down fat (fatty acids) as opposed to glucose. This can circumvent the classic glucose metabolic pathways that maybe impaired in the disease...

The diet is also known to increase GABA levels, a chemical connected to cause anxiety disorders if the chemical is in the lower levels. If higher GABA levels are found, it could help control schizophrenia.

The secondary benefits are weight loss, cardiovascular illnesses and a type 2 diabetes control.

The researchers are still continuing the study hoping to provide a control method to schizophrenic patients. The study will have control groups which includes a placebo group.

The ketogenic diet has also been known to treat children with epilepsy back in the 20's, as reported online.

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