By now, most of us have heard that the ketogenic diet can improve one’s physical health. Yet we’re learning more each day about the close connection between the body and mind. Studies on the keto diet’s effect on mice could hold more clues.
Positive Results at the University of Kentucky
Researchers at the University of Kentucky found a link between the gut and blood flow to the brain. They fed one group of mice a ketogenic diet, while the control group of mice had a regular diet. The keto mice showed increased blood flow to the brain in just 4 months1. Other health benefits were a more balanced gut microbiome, decreased blood glucose levels, and lower weight. Similar studies showed the ketogenic diet may be helpful for managing symptoms of autism, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy. Unmedicated epileptic patients who ate keto had fewer seizures than their counterparts who ate a normal diet.
Benefits Across Age Groups
In addition, the benefits of the keto diet are apparent in both healthy and sick individuals. Furthermore, all ages seem to reap the positive health effects. Emerging research points to the ketogenic diet improving attention and focus in children2, and the elderly could take advantage of keto’s results as well. Another study on mice out of the Gladstone Institute found the keto group to have more cell protection against oxidative stress or free radical damage.
Promising News for Anxiety
The mind-body connection shines more light on the ketogenic diet’s effects. Studies out of the University of South Florida at Tampa show rats displaying lessened anxiety after given a ketone supplement. In comparison, their rat partners who ate a normal carbohydrate diet showed no improvement in their anxiety levels. Moreover, in utero rats fed a keto diet were less likely to be depressed or anxious. In the future, the keto diet may be a natural way for anxiety sufferers to reduce their symptoms.
In 2017, the same research team gave aging mice ketone supplements. The researchers discovered that ketogenesis improved cognitive function and memory in the mice. The keto diet has been gaining popularity in recent years, as people report improved physical well-being. With continued emerging research, we may be reaping the mental benefits of keto, too.
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