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A recent literature review led by Adam Włodarczyk, MD, from the Medical University of Gdansk, explores the idea of promoting a ketogenic diet as a possible adjuvant for treatment of major depressive disorder in patients.

The review looks at an extensive number of studies covering the intake of vitamins and minerals and their effect on alleviating depressive symptoms in patients.

The authors note how several compounds have already been identified as likely having a positive impact on patients’ moods. Studies covering omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), B vitamins and other nutrients are discussed in terms of their reported effects on people suffering from depression.

The review chose to focus on how “GABA dysfunctions have been associated with mood fluctuations in affective disorders.” Additionally, the authors delved into the effects of following a ketogenic diet.

Specifically, they look at the strong evidence linking a ketogenic diet to an increased GABA/glutamate ratio. They posit that since depression and anxiety disorders are associated with decreased GABA levels, that following a ketogenic diet is one possibility to help modulate them.

They conclude with a call for further research and the consideration for physicians to “include ketogenic diet as a prescription advise and as an adjuvant with psychotherapy and pharmacology in the treatment of MDD” (major depressive disorder).

Studies and reviews in recent years have shown promising results in the adoption of the “keto diet” for those suffering from depression, anxiety, and binge eating disorders. While the direct evidence is so far limited, more research is coming out every year.

A Ketogenic Diet and Psychiatry

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