The diet that heals you may not be the diet that sustains you.
There are a LOT of diets being tried by thousands of people – from Atkins, Blood type, Whole 30, Daniel diet, Paleo, Keto – so many! Each of these has their benefits and their shortfalls. I feel a diet is not a matter of the name, but what will work best for the patient in front of me. Once that is determined, then we look at what are the shortfalls of that diet, and how do we fill in the gap of missing nutrients. Today, I want to look at the ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet focus on high fat, low protein, low carbohydrate intake. Typically, it is a macronutrient intake of about 80% fat, 10-15% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrate. The ketogenic diet has been shown to put the body into ketosis, forcing it to use ketones (versus glucose) for energy. There are many health benefits to this short-term including weight loss, improved brain functioning, improved energy, improved hormonal function, improved of blood glucose levels, improved blood pressure, improved lipids, and more.
Long term, the ketogenic diet is lacking in a number of key nutrients. It may shut down B6 which in turn can increase oxalates/decrease clearance of oxalates. B1 (thiamine) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) are needed along with P5P (activated B6) for support. ALA is a major cofactor for oxalate clearance and supports the removal of heavy metals, it is an antioxidant and improves fatty acid metabolism. Another concern: In biotinidase deficiency (an inherited disorder where the body is unable to recycle biotin) ALA can deplete the body of biotin and cause symptoms of itching, hair loss, skin rashes, hypotonia, candidiasis, breathing problems.
Antioxidant-rich foods are also missing from the ketogenic diet. Supplementing antioxidants with green teas, elderberry concentrate, zesting the rind of lemons/limes/oranges, and adding in a supplement rich in antioxidants is beneficial.
If you are considering long-term doing a ketogenic diet (meaning more than one month), I would recommend the following supplements:
- B Supreme from Designs for Health at 1/day
- Metabolic Synergy from Designs for Health at 2/day for antioxidants (ALA/green tea/others) and for multivitamin/multimineral support
Yours for better health,
Georgia Nab, DC MS CNS