Unlocking the potential of the ketogenic diet: studies reveal health benefits

In a recent editorial published in Nutrients, researchers reported on the effects of the ketogenic diet (KD) on various aspects of metabolic and endocrinal health.

Editorial for “The Role of Ketogenic Diet in Human Health and Diseases”: The Multifaceted Impact of Ketogenic Diets on Health and Disease
Editorial: Editorial for “The Role of Ketogenic Diet in Human Health and Diseases”: The Multifaceted Impact of Ketogenic Diets on Health and Disease. Image Credit: Nina Firsova/Shutterstock.com

This ranged from its influence on insulin secretion and hepatic health to its role in managing medical conditions, including inflammatory disorders and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a type of epilepsy.


KD, which consists of carbohydrate consumption in very low amounts and varied calorie, protein, and fat consumption, has been extensively studied for its possible medicinal benefits. Only a few years ago, the ketogenic diet was considered a fad dietary plan, but multiple studies have now shown its benefits and safety.

Since ketone bodies appear to provide multifaceted benefits, various uses are currently being proposed that extend beyond their simple metabolic benefits, most notably utilizing their immunomodulatory activity.

About the editorial

In the present editorial, researchers presented the health benefits of the ketogenic diet.

Impact of the ketogenic diet on metabolism

A study comparing the effects of KD on acute insulin secretion to that of a Mediterranean diet reported that KD generated only a small insulin release response. This is especially important for individuals with insulin secretory abnormalities or insulin resistance since it indicates that the ketogenic diet may be able to reduce hyperinsulinemia and enhance insulin sensitivity.

Other studies extended the ketogenic diet's advantages to hepatic health and managing obesity, showing statistically significant improvements among individuals with non-alcoholic-type fatty liver disease (NAFLD), as well as those with obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes.

KD improves cardiometabolic well-being and body constitution, as well as endothelial dysregulation and cardiometabolic risk indicators. The findings indicate that, while food may not have a direct influence on some biomarkers, it may provide cardiovascular advantages through other pathways.

Mechanisms via which dietary ketosis might improve metabolic health

The processes by which dietary ketosis might improve metabolic well-being are not fully understood. Some, however, are rather well-established, while others are actively being researched.

Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and ketone bodies have been identified as synergistic epigenetic regulators of metabolic health and play important roles in improving metabolic wellness. A study that examined the impact of a ketogenic diet on calorie utilization concerning weight reduction found dynamic variations in calorie usage during various stages of KD.

Immunomodulation is undoubtedly a fundamental mode of action for ketone bodies, making this strategy potentially useful for a variety of illnesses characterized by low-level inflammation.

Studies on the impact of the ketogenic diet on inflamed male accessory glands have provided insight into the diet's wider relevance in urological disorders. While the processes are not completely known, the metabolic and anti-inflammatory benefits of the diet are most likely important aspects.

Another field where the ketogenic dietary strategy shows tremendous potential is neuroprotection. A novel treatment option for mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) and malate aspartate shuttle (MAS) deficits, which are linked to neurological abnormalities, has been discovered in a study.

The outcomes of the study indicated that KDs might be effective, especially against seizures, among individuals with these disorders, adding to the body of data underpinning KD use in a variety of neurological illnesses. Ketogenic dietary therapy can reduce seizures significantly and is typically safe when used under physician supervision.

Novel applications and limitations of KD

KD's possible function in cancer treatment is an interesting and quickly expanding field of study. Although studies have examined the possibility of the ketogenic diet in treating glioblastomas and gliomas, further research is needed to confirm the findings. KD's landscape is continually changing in terms of novel uses, possible safety problems, and mechanistic reasons.

The link between the ketogenic diet and the gut microbiome is a new area of research that has yielded encouraging findings. KD has been shown in studies to drastically alter the makeup of the gut microbiota, resulting in increased synthesis of beneficial substances such as short-chain-type fatty acids (SCFAs).

KD-related microbiota changes may cause epigenetic modifications in obesity-related genes and influence inflammatory cytokine levels in fatty tissue.

Another new subject is the ketogenic diet's effect on hormones and the circadian rhythms regulating hunger and sleep, which necessitates research to improve ketogenic diet timing. While the ketogenic diet has great potential, it has certain restrictions.

The safety of the ketogenic diet in the long term has been questioned, particularly in terms of lipid molecules and cardiovascular wellness. Furthermore, diabetes mellitus type 1 (T1D) was formerly thought to be an absolute-type contraindication to KD.


Based on the findings, KD is an effective technique for regulating liver health and other metabolic problems. The ketogenic diet offers a possible option for personalized treatment strategies as the world is moving into a personalized medicine age.

Ongoing studies are investigating the epigenetic and genetic elements that may impact a person's reaction to nutrition and the possibility of using biological markers to predict safety and efficacy. These advancements may facilitate the incorporation of more tailored and successful ketogenic diet usage in routine clinical practice.

As experts dive deeper into the subtleties of the KD, it is becoming more obvious that the therapeutic potential of the diet has not been completely realized. The ketogenic diet may not impact each individual in exactly the same way, and its potential benefits are wide-ranging, requiring additional research.

The future years are expected to offer more valuable insights into the numerous uses and underlying biological mechanisms of the ketogenic diet. However, thorough interdisciplinary research is required to fully comprehend and utilize KD's potential to revolutionize contemporary medicine.

Journal reference:
Pooja Toshniwal Paharia

Written by

Pooja Toshniwal Paharia

Pooja Toshniwal Paharia is an oral and maxillofacial physician and radiologist based in Pune, India. Her academic background is in Oral Medicine and Radiology. She has extensive experience in research and evidence-based clinical-radiological diagnosis and management of oral lesions and conditions and associated maxillofacial disorders.


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