300 million people around the globe suffer with depression, and if you are one of them you know how important it is to treat and overcome this mental health problem. I want to address this topic as it has come up recently, so how does keto affect your mental health? In this article on Keto and Depression I’m going to explain to you how just changing the way you eat can combat depression.
We know now that the keto way of life can give us more clarity and less brain fog. We know that it help’s epileptic patients with seizures. Both of these scenarios have one thing in common: brain function. So it is obvious to me that some research would be done to see if and how the keto way of life might affect mental health and depression.
Clinical studies in rats do show a difference in activity with two groups of subjects. Group one fed the SAD or standard American diet and group two, fed the keto diet. The difference was that group two who were fed the keto diet were more active. One study showed less sensitivity to depression and anxiety in the adult mice that were on a pre natal ketogenic diet.
The brain is a very complex organ with billions of different cells. Scientists have come a long way with understanding some of it is complexities, but there are still many discoveries to be made.
The brain is like the mother board of communication, it is constantly sending messages throughout the body. There are many factors that can interrupt these messages from being delivered to it is destination, one of which are chemicals. We are exposed to more and more chemicals each day, some we know of and some we are unaware of.
Eating whole, real foods is one way to combat chemical exposure and allow the brain to function on a better level.
Can sugar cause depression?
So we know that eating excessive carbohydrates and sugar raises your chance of obesity and type 2 diabetes, but did you know it also makes you susceptible for major depression and psychiatric disorders?
Sugar causes serotonin crashes and also brain inflammation. It also weakens the bodies’ ability to create natural anti depressants. The anti inflammatory properties alone may show proof of improvement in depression on the keto diet.
Although there is not abundant proof scientifically that keto help’s depression. It certainly aids in some areas by preventing highs and lows in serotonin. As well as working as an anti inflammatory property in the brain.
There are many contributors to depression and many treatments. Just like everything else, what works for some might not work for others. According to what research that has been done and the clinical trials. It is promising that the keto diet has potential in treating some cases of depression and mental disorders.
I myself have suffered from depression and yes I still do get depressed but not like I used to. I don’t let it control me, I control it and without medication. Yes I did try that route and have been prescribed a plethora of different medications targeting different types of depression and anxiety. I guess I am one of the lucky ones and this keto way of life is proving to be helpful in my scenario.
Even coming from a background of addiction I am a stay at home Mom of three beautiful children, yes this life is challenging and yes I have bad days but doesn’t everyone? I manage my emotions and I don’t let depression get the best of me anymore. I can’t say that if I were still consuming the amount of sugar and carbohydrates that I used to eat, that I would proudly be able to do this. I remember losing control and how helpless I felt, I remember the overwhelming feeling of regret for how I reacted and I couldn’t take it back. I never in my wildest dreams thought that just what I put in my body for food would help me manage these uncontrollable episodes, but I sure am thankful.
Keto and the brain
A little off topic but as soon as I typed “keto and the brain” I immediately thought of the that kid show “Pinky and the Brain” and now of course I have the theme song stuck in my head.
I would like to add in here that other beneficial discoveries of keto are made every day. Many that have an impact on brain function such as:
- Memory: After only six weeks, older adults suffering from Alzheimer disease showed significant improvement with memory.
- Headaches: The keto way of life has been reported to show relief from chronic headaches and migraines.
- Clarity: Clinical trials in rats that were fed the keto diet, have shown to improve overall brain function.
- Brain Injury: Patients treated with the keto diet after injury were able to absorb nourishment. As sugar can prevent recovery.
- Parkinson: Five out of seven people suffering from Parkinson showed improvement after four weeks on the keto diet. That’s a 43% improvement from Parkinson related symptoms.
These are all amazing results and I think in time and more research we will be able to fine tune how keto may improve mental health disorders. I personally believe that a natural treatment is better rather than filling your body full of man made chemicals that could cause many other problems and I’m sure there’s a pill for that too but I personally think natural treatment is the best. I realize that not everyone will benefit from a natural source and some people rely on medications to get through tough times, but if you do respond to natural remedies I highly suggest it.
I know we live in a world now that has less tolerance and our attention spans are much less that they used to be, we expect things to progress immediately and if they don’t we give up. Well if you do try this way of life for treating depression, give it the time needed. There is at least a two week transitional period where your body adjusts to using fat for fuel instead of sugar and carbs. Once this adaptation takes place you will start seeing the benefits this way of life offers. To give a better idea of what to expect living this type of lifestyle I have written an article for beginners==> Keto For Beginners – where to start?
If your looking for more information to back this up take a look at this book Grain Brain.
As always please let me know what you think, comments are always welcome. Be safe.