A brief study by University of Toulouse psychiatrist Dr. Albert Danan revealed that a ketogenic diet based on whole foods is safe, practical and was associated with significant improvements in physical and mental well-being in hospitalized patients suffering from severe mental illness.
A Study of the Ketogenic Food Plan for Mental Refractory: a Retrospective Study of 31 Patients (open access)
The Motive for this Study
Dr. Danan is a psychiatrist who is a psychiatrist at Toulouse, France. The patients he treats are mostly who are of French as well as North African descent with serious chronic mental illness Many of them suffer from metabolic diseases such as hypertension, obesity and type two diabetes.
After seeing a marked improvement in autism and seizures behavior in one of the family members within a few weeks of implementing the ketogenic diet the doctor. Danan became interested in the possibility of this food regimen to enhance the mental and metabolic condition of his resistant patients regardless of their diagnosis. He established an individualized metabolic psychiatry treatment program at his local hospital . Patients with a chronic mental illness and who have exhausted traditional treatments for psychiatric disorders could try the ketogenic diet in a safe controlled medically monitored environment.
Ketogenic Diet Protocol
Doctor. Danan admitted 31 of his patients suffering from bipolar disorder, major depression or schizophrenia, to his Clinique du Castelviel in Toulouse in France, where they were offered ketogenic meals instead of the standard hospital food. The diet he prescribed limits the amount of carbohydrate consumed to 20 grams per day and was inspired by the ketogenic diet plan that was used in the research of Dr. Eric Westman in his metabolic studies in Duke University. The diet’s description is available inside the Supplemental Data.]
Psychosis and depression symptoms improved for all patients who adhered to the diet for more than two weeks. the improvements appearing within the first three weeks. About 43% reached clinical remission, while 64% of them were released from the hospital with lesser psychiatric medication. The doctor. Danan had never witnessed this kind of improvement with any of these patients, many of whom he’d dealt with over the course of years, or even decades, each of whom had been hospitalized under his supervision several times.
Patients also noticed significant improvements in the indicators that measure metabolic health such as blood glucose, blood pressure as well as triglycerides and weight:
One patient, however, lost weight, which included 96 percent of those taking antipsychotics. Nearly half experienced clinically significant weight loss [defined as a greater than 5 percent decrease in weightmore than 5. This welcome outcome alone makes a compelling case for the implementation of the KD [ketogenic diet] in people who are taking antipsychotic medications, whether or not psychiatric symptoms improve in response to the KD, as counteracting antipsychotic-induced weight gain is extremely difficult.
The evidence supporting ketogenic diets designed specifically for patients with psychiatric issues is limited to hypothesis papers, animal studies as well as a small, but growing amount of individual case reports.
Since it was not a controlled research study and therefore, the extent of ketogenic diets may or might not have directly played a role in the outcomes observed is not known. But, as there is a first patients this vast and differing in diagnosis has been treated using ketogenic diets in the hospital setting, these clinical findings help to make a connection between the existing cases and the controlled clinical trials that are currently in progress at other facilities across the globe.
In response to a question about his experiences as the principal researcher of the study Dr. Danan said:
Through my work I’ve been amazed by the limitations of traditional treatment in psychotherapy. The majority of patients return to therapy and experience an unsatisfactory quality of life. A majority suffer from severe weight increase as well as diabetes, obesity hypertension, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Life expectancy declines in the population of this type is determined in years. This is a problem for public health and much more consideration is required to address these issues.
Implementing nutritional strategies, specifically eating ketogenic food, assisted greatly in improving the outcomes of treatment. Patients started improving their metabolic condition through weight loss, lowering blood pressure and blood pressure, etc. But most important I noticed real improvement in their mental health symptoms such as hallucinationsand thoughts of delusions, and mood swings.
After conducting this research, I’m convinced that nutrition-related measures can have a significant impact and result in beneficial outcomes, which is why I believe this is the direction that we are going to take in psychiatric health care.
Albert Danan MD conceived of the treatment and gathered clinical information and observations. Georgia Ede MD conducted the literature review and created the paper. Eric C. Westman MD and Laura R. Saslow PhD conducted statistical analysis. All authors contributed to the work and drafted the manuscript.