Ketogenic Diet May Improve Quality of Life in MS

“Ketogenic” is a term for a low-carb diet (like the Atkins diet). The idea is for you to get more calories from protein and fat and less from carbohydrates. You cut back most on the carbs that are easy to digest, like sugar, soda, pastries, and white bread.

When you eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day, your body eventually runs out of fuel (blood sugar) it can use quickly. This typically takes 3 to 4 days. Then you’ll start to break down protein and fat for energy, which can make you lose weight. This is called ketosis. It’s important to note that the ketogenic diet is a short term diet that’s focussed on weight loss rather than the pursuit of health benefits. 

A preliminary study has found that participants with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) who followed a ketogenic diet for 6 months experienced improvements in fatigue, mood, and quality of life. The study also demonstrated improvements in walking distance, disability, and finger dexterity.

MS is a chronic neurological disease that affects nearly 2.3 million adults globally, and at least 2-3 times as many women have MS compared with men. In MS the body’s immune system attacks the myelin of the nerves, which leads to the many neurological symptoms that patients can present. 

Previous studies have suggested that ketones may aid in the regeneration of demyelinated nerves and reduce inflammation. In the recent study, researchers included 65 participants with relapsing-remitting MS. The participants followed a strict modified Atkins diet for 6 months, which involved eating 2-3 ketogenic meals every day, each meal containing a source of protein plus 2-4 tablespoons of fat and 1-2 cups of nonstarchy vegetables. 

The participants were also instructed to restrict net carbohydrates to 20 grams or less per day. Adherence to the diet was monitored by daily urine tests to measure ketones, a metabolite produced by the body when it is burning fats.

The participants demonstrated significant decreases in measures of fatigue and depression, and increases in physical and mental quality of life after 6 months of the diet. Also, fasting serum leptin and adiponectin measures indicated a decrease in inflammation after 6 months.

It is important to point out that this diet might not be from everyone and that every patient with MS is different, and might have other comorbidities. You should always consult with your healthcare professional prior to starting a new diet. 


Lori Uildriks. (2022, Mar 1). MS: Keto diet may improve fatigue, mood, and quality of life. Medical News Today. Retrieved from:

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