Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Has anyone tried the Keto diet as a treatment?

Hey everyone,

I’m hoping to get some feedback from people but also possibly share a complimentary option to go along with medication and counseling. I’ve recently read that the keto diet can be used to help with SZ.

Disclaimer
While I try to look at academic articles and conferences to gather my information, this is not my area of expertise. There may be things that I have misunderstood or just don’t know about. Please always do your own research and talk to a doctor to make any treatment decisions. I’m hoping to get some feedback and to share information but I’m not a physician and my expertise is in social sciences not biological. If you do choose to look into this, I would suggest talking with a dietician or a doctor to remain healthy. Also I’m on my phone but if anyone is interested in the resources I have found, I can add links from my desktop.

The Theory
So the theory behind this is that schizophrenics have a higher rate of diabetes than those without SZ. Now previously we have known that serotonin imbalances and physical differences in certain brain regions were both related to SZ. The causal direction though is not known. This conceptualization of the disorder could suggest causality, which is interesting but not necessarily the point. Anyways, the theory is that the brain is not able to get the energy it needs from glucose. This could then affect the above mentioned brain regions and serotonin. It is thought that giving the brain an alternate fuel source, ketones, could reduce symptoms by essentially giving the brain the energy it needs.

The Literature
While there are not many, or possibly no, studies that empirically test this as a treatment option to SZ. That said, there is anecdotal evidence that shows a great level of improvement in symptoms that lasts. Additionally, the link between the keto diet and brain functioning is well documented, and he’s been used to help seizure patients since the 1920’s. This continues to be a treatment for seizures even today.

Implications
Should the above be true and I have not misunderstood anything, then this could suggest that dietary changes could help to improve symptoms. The keto diet though can be unhealthy if done wrong. Be careful when reading anything about diets from websites, especially when this can be seen as a current fad.

Your Experiences
Can anybody speak to this? Has anyone tried it? What’s been good/bad? Have I missed anything or said anything that was wrong? Personally, my wife has been doing it for about a week. This isn’t enough time to really see any improvements but she says she feels a little clearer, and it seems like she is more able to shake her delusional thoughts and has more energy. It is important to note that she is considered high functioning and can hold down a job no problem. Also, since it has only been a week, it is very likely that a combination of wishful thinking and a placebo affect are happening. Only time will tell if this works for us. We do have an appointment with a dietician scheduled, and her psychiatrist said he didn’t think there was any reason why she shouldn’t give it a try.

Please share with me what you think.

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I started about a month ago due to some less than good lab results. I think the COVID-19 quarantine had got the better of me or so my doctor thinks.

I can’t say I notice appreciable differences with mental clarity, but that hasn’t been much of a problem of mine of late. I see some improvements blood glucose-wise (I had a meter that I used for a dog of mine) and I’ve also lost 15 pounds. I return to my doctor in about a month after new labs, so I’ll let you know.

I was initially going to do a low carb diet similar to South Beach, but happened upon the Keto stuff. I find it relatively easy to follow and it’s not too hard nowadays to find food for this if you look hard enough and hand over your wallet. There’s riced broccoli and cauliflower and vegetable pasta etc. I also switched to lactose free milk just to lower the carbohydrate content (I’m not lactose intolerant).

I’m beginning to notice diminished returns lately so I may need to be more careful with my macros or caloric intake. The main side effect I find is the acetone smell to perspiration and breath, and I’m not even doing hard keto levels according to my test strips.

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