Can the Ketogenic Diet Treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common neurological disease of unknown etiology. It affects young adults and normal-weight people more frequently than obese patients. The most accepted hypothesis on the etiology of MS suggests that it results from an autoimmune attack mediated by autoreactive T cells against myelin in the central nervous system together with genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and proinflammatory cytokines. Different theories have been proposed to explain its pathophysiology including Th1/Th17 immune responses, oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, apoptosis-mediated myelin destruction, mitochondrial dysfunction, demyelination, and axonal loss.

The pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis is not completely understood, but the evidence gathered so far points to oxidative stress-mediated by reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are generated both inside the cells and extracellularly by activated immune cells, as a key player in MS development. It has been proposed that antioxidants could serve as potential therapeutic agents in MS patients.

MS treatment includes immunomodulatory drugs intended to decrease inflammation or suppress autoimmune responses, cytokines and growth factors with neuroprotective properties, free-radical scavengers such as glutathione and N-acetylcysteine, and mitochondrial protective agents such as coenzyme Q10.

Multiple sclerosis high fat diet:-The Fat-Brain Connection

It is estimated that over 2.3 million Americans suffer from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), making it the most common neurological disease affecting young adults. MS affects over 400,000 people in the UK and 2.5 million worldwide.

It is a degenerative condition of the brain that results in inflammation, demyelination, and nerve destruction leading to loss of motor function, sensory problems, fatigue, and pain. Spontaneous remissions are possible however many patients continue to experience disability as the disease advances with no known cure or means of slowing its progression available at this time.

Multiple sclerosis has been linked to Vitamin D deficiency due to geographical location which is why some scientists believe an increase in Vitamin D intake could reduce incidences of the disease.

Exogenous ketones multiple sclerosis:

Another alternative is to use the body’s ability to produce its ketones through nutritional or supplemental intake of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

What are Medium Chain Triglycerides?

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)

are fatty acids with lengthy carbon chains which make them more water-soluble than their long-chain cousins.  They are metabolized differently because they bypass the liver and go straight to the portal vein, leading right into the bloodstream where they can be transported throughout the body for quick energy instead of glucose. MCTs contain caprylic acid, lauric acid, and caproic acid.  These fats have been shown to increase metabolism, facilitate fat loss, reduce fat storage, and increase lean body mass.

A ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates, moderate protein, and high in fats.  It forces the body to burn fats rather than glucose for energy. If you’re putting butter on your toast every morning and cooking with olive oil (and allowing yourself a #TBT-snack of brie cheese – we won’t judge), then you’re already on your way to becoming a ketosis machine! Once our body enters into a state of ketosis, its ability to use carbohydrates for energy decreases while its ability to use fats increases.

The two main forms of ketones are beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and acetoacetate which are produced by your liver from fatty acids. Once ketones are produced, they’re released into the bloodstream and work their magic by providing energy to the brain without requiring insulin or glucose for transport across the blood-brain barrier.

Ketones also work to repair and protect the brain.  They do this by:

blocking inflammatory pathways, preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s stimulating stem cell proliferation and differentiation increasing mitochondrial biogenesis providing energy for neuronal circuits in the brain providing substrates for neurotransmitters in your brain reducing reactive oxygen species (which can lead to neuron damage)

which means that ketogenic diets could be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease protecting neurons from neurotoxins such as glycerol-3-phosphate (a toxic byproduct of glucose metabolism) acting as a diuretic allowing us to utilize vitamins such as B1, B5, and E

“Each cup of coconut oil provides about 14 grams of fat, of which 12 are saturated. It also provides large doses of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which appear to have special properties that allow them to be metabolized more rapidly than the long-chain fatty acids found in most other oils.”

“It’s not clear how coconut oil might benefit patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but it does contain MCTs, which are known to improve cognitive function in older adults with memory disorders.”

The best diet for multiple sclerosis:

“a diet with a high-fat content, especially one containing large amounts of essential fatty acids is believed to be beneficial in inflammatory conditions.”

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