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A pilot study shows ketogenic diet improves severe mental illness

Individuals grappling with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder often face a conundrum with standard antipsychotic medications. While these drugs aid in regulating brain chemistry, they frequently trigger metabolic issues like insulin resistance and obesity, leading many patients to discontinue treatment. However, a recent pilot study led by Stanford Medicine researchers unveils the potential of a ketogenic diet to not only rectify metabolic health in these patients alongside their medications but also enhance their psychiatric conditions. Published in Psychiatry Research, the findings advocate for dietary interventions as potent adjuncts in mental illness treatment. Over a four-month trial, 21 adult participants diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, taking antipsychotic medications and exhibiting metabolic abnormalities, adhered to a ketogenic diet. Results showcased significant improvements in both metabolic and psychiatric parameters, with participants experiencing weight loss, reduced waist circumference, improved blood pressure, and enhanced mental well-being. The study underscores the promising role of dietary interventions in mental health management and calls for further comprehensive investigations.