Three clinical trials have been published looking at the relationship between Alzheimers Disease and low carb or ketogenic diet.
A single arm study examined the impact of a 12-week ketogenic diet in 15 AD patients The 11 completers improved their cognitive scores, but the lack of a control group meant that additional contributing factors could not be ruled out.
Taylor MK, Sullivan DK, Mahnken JD, Burns JM, Swerdlow RH. Feasibility and efficacy data from a ketogenic diet intervention in Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2017;4:28-36. doi:10.1016/j.trci.2017.11.002 A second ongoing randomized controlled trial has provided preliminary data on the impact of a 12-week Modified Atkins diet versus a recommended diet in 14 patients with mild cognitive impairment or AD. The most adherent patients improved their memory scores, but overall adherence was only fair, and function did not improve.
Brandt J, Buchholz A, Henry-Barron B, Vizthum D, Avramopoulos D, Cervenka M. Preliminary report on the feasibility and efficacy of the modified Atkins diet for treatment of mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2019;68:969–81.
The most recent and best designed trial was a single-phase, assessor-blinded, two-period randomized crossover trial conducted at Waikato Hospital, a tertiary hospital in Hamilton, New Zealand. 26 patients were randomized to a modified ketogenic diet (intervention diet) or their usual diet supplemented with low-fat healthy-eating guidelines and optional recipes (control diet). The crossover design specified two 12-week treatment periods separated by a 10-week washout period during which patients resumed their usual diet. For each treatment period, assessments were made at baseline, week 6, and week 12. Subjects showed non-significant improvement n cognition, and clinically significant improvements in daily function and quality of life. Adherence to the diet was very good and there were minimal side-effects from the diet.
Phillips MCL, Deprez LM, Mortimer GMN, et al. Randomized crossover trial of a modified ketogenic diet in Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy. 2021;13(1):51. doi:10.1186/s13195-021-00783-x
There have also been a number of other papers published on this topic.
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