The keto diet may help patients with brain tumors recover, according to the study

July 7 (UPI) – A diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates increases the recovery of people undergoing treatment for brain tumors, according to a study published Wednesday by the journal Neurology.

The ketogenic or keto diet, which typically includes meat, fish, eggs, nuts and healthy oils, is safe for people with brain tumors called astrocytomas, the researchers said.

Study participants who completed treatment with radiation and chemotherapy and changed their diet saw changes in body and brain metabolism.

Although these effects were seen in the diet, the researchers warn that the study was not designed to determine whether diet slows tumor growth or improves survival in people treated for brain tumors.

“These cancer cells rely on glucose or sugar to divide and grow. Since the ketogenic diet is low in sugar, the body changes what it uses to get energy, instead of carbohydrates, it uses those that are ‘They call them ketones,’ ‘study co- said the author in a press release, Dr. Roy E. Strowd.

“Normal brain cells can survive with ketones, but the theory is that cancer cells can’t use ketones to get energy,” said Strowd, a neurologist and oncologist at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem. NC

Diet has been linked to weight loss as well as lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes, and has been shown to reduce seizure activity in children with epilepsy and improve symptoms in people with mental health disorders.

For this study, Strowd and colleagues tracked 25 people with astrocytomas who followed a type of ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet with intermittent fasting, for eight weeks.

Participants ’diets included foods such as bacon, eggs, heavy cream, butter, green leafy vegetables, and fish. They followed the plan for five days a week, practicing intermittent fasting in the other two, under the guidance of a dietitian.

Of the initial participants, 21 completed the study and 12 completely followed the diet.

Urine tests showed that 80% of participants reached the level where their body used primarily fats and proteins as fuel, rather than carbohydrates or sugars.

At the end of the study, those who followed the diet saw reductions in hemoglobin A1c, or blood sugar, levels, as well as insulin levels and fat body mass, while lean body mass increased. .

Specialized brain scanners that detect changes in brain metabolism showed an increase in ketone concentrations and metabolic changes in participants’ tumors, which may indicate that they grow using the energy of sugars, but not fats or ketones. , according to researchers.

Of the 21 patients who completed the study, two people had serious side effects during the study, but only one was possibly diet-related.

“There aren’t many effective treatments for this type of brain tumor and survival rates are low, so new advances are very welcome,” Strowd said.

“These results show that diet can be safe for people with brain tumors and produce successful changes in the body’s and brain’s metabolism,” he said.

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