eCite Digital Repository

The Current Status of the Ketogenic Diet in Psychiatry

Citation

Bostock, ECS and Kirkby, KC and Taylor, BVM, The Current Status of the Ketogenic Diet in Psychiatry, Frontiers in Psychology, 8 Article 43. ISSN 1664-1078 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Preview
PDF
167Kb
  

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ This Document is Protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. It is reproduced with permission.

DOI: doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00043

Abstract

Background: The ketogenic diet (KD) has been used in treatment-resistant epilepsy since the 1920s. It has been researched in a variety of neurological conditions in both animal models and human trials. The aim of this review is to clarify the potential role of KD in psychiatry.

Methods: Narrative review of electronic databases PubMED, PsychINFO, and Scopus.

Results: The search yielded 15 studies that related the use of KD in mental disorders including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These studies comprised nine animal models, four case studies, and two open-label studies in humans. In anxiety, exogenous ketone supplementation reduced anxiety-related behaviors in a rat model. In depression, KD significantly reduced depression-like behaviors in rat and mice models in two controlled studies. In bipolar disorder, one case study reported a reduction in symptomatology, while a second case study reported no improvement. In schizophrenia, an open-label study in female patients (n = 10) reported reduced symptoms after 2 weeks of KD, a single case study reported no improvement. In a brief report, 3 weeks of KD in a mouse model normalized pathological behaviors. In ASD, an open-label study in children (n = 30) reported no significant improvement; one case study reported a pronounced and sustained response to KD. In ASD, in four controlled animal studies, KD significantly reduced ASD-related behaviors in mice and rats. In ADHD, in one controlled trial of KD in dogs with comorbid epilepsy, both conditions significantly improved.

Conclusion: Despite its long history in neurology, the role of KD in mental disorders is unclear. Half of the published studies are based on animal models of mental disorders with limited generalizability to the analog conditions in humans. The review lists some major limitations including the lack of measuring ketone levels in four studies and the issue of compliance to the rigid diet in humans. Currently, there is insufficient evidence for the use of KD in mental disorders, and it is not a recommended treatment option. Future research should include long-term, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover dietary trials to examine the effect of KD in various mental disorders.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ketogenic diet, psychiatry, mental disorders, ketones, epilepsy
Research Division:Medical and Health Sciences
Research Group:Public Health and Health Services
Research Field:Mental Health
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health)
Objective Field:Mental Health
Author:Bostock, ECS (Miss Emmanuelle Bostock)
Author:Kirkby, KC (Professor Kenneth Kirkby)
Author:Taylor, BVM (Professor Bruce Taylor)
ID Code:115395
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Medicine (Discipline)
Deposited On:2017-03-22
Last Modified:2017-04-10
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page