Ketogenic diet shown to improve memory and lifespan

Jack Woodfield
Wed, 06 Sep 2017
Ketogenic diet shown to improve memory and lifespan
A high-fat, high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet has been shown to have positive effects on memory and lifespan, researchers have said.

In two separate studies, both published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the ketogenic diet has been shown to be hugely beneficial when fed to mice.

The first study, conducted by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, found the ketogenic diet improved memory and preservation of brain function, with older mice attaining better memory function than younger mice. The diet also helped the mice avoid obesity and lengthened their lifespan.

The other trial was carried out by the University of California Davis where researchers discovered the ketogenic diet helped preserve muscle strength as well as memory.

The animals in both studies were given one of three different diets: a ketogenic diet, a low-carb and high-fat diet, and a control diet. The mice then underwent certain tests to measure their memory function, which included balance beams and mazes.

Dr Eric Verdin, who led one of the trials and is from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, said: "The conclusion we draw out of this is that it's a robust effect. The two studies reinforce each other, because they both show the same global effect on healthspan."

Verdin added that the findings could help to "intelligently design therapies to capture individual benefits while minimising harms". He is also exploring how the ketogenic diet could benefit Alzheimer's disease in a similar mouse model. Earlier this week a separate study found that the ketogenic diet could be beneficial in treating Alzheimer’s patients by improving energy metabolism of the brain.

Professor Jon Ramsey, from the University of California Davis and senior author on the second paper, said: "The magnitude of the changes surprised me. We've had the hypothesis that the shift in metabolism induced by a ketogenic diet would have beneficial effects on aging, but I was impressed by the changes we observed."

Diabetes.co.uk has long-promoted following a low-carb diet in order to control diabetes, which is why it launched the Low Carb Program in 2015. The program welcomed its 250,000th member last month.
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