Ketogenic diet, apart from weight loss it may also improve effect of cancer drugs

Earlier, people who suffered from epilepsy were advised ketogenic diet as it helped with the treatment. A ketogenic diet or keto diet is low in carbohydrates and high in fats. Since then, it has been adapted into a healthier option by many, especially people who are looking to lose weight.

Now, according to a new research, a ketogenic diet may help improve the effectiveness of an emerging class of cancer drugs, scientists, including one of Indian origin, say. The study found a strategy to boost the tumour-killing potential of therapies targeted on the insulin-activated enzyme, phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) – a family of enzymes involved in cellular functions such as cell growth, proliferation and differentiation.

During the study it was found that, ketogenic diet, which has been used in the clinic for about four decades to control insulin levels, did the best job at preventing glucose and insulin spikes and tamping down tumour growth signals. “The ketogenic diet turned out to be the perfect approach. It reduced glycogen stores, so the mice could not release glucose in response to PI3K inhibition,” said Benjamin D Hopkins from Weill Cornell Medicine.

How does keto work?

It works on the basis that when you eat something high in fats, body works harder to turn it into energy. However, when you eat something high in carbs, it turns to glucose which is the easiest to burn. By getting into a state of ketosis, you force body to burn fats stored in our body.

According to a recent study, a keto diet can help increase your life span too. The study, conducted on mice models, showed a 13% increase in median life span for the mice on a high fat versus high carbohydrate diet.

“In humans, that would be seven to 10 years. But equally important, those mice retained quality of health in later life,” says nutritionist Jon Ramsey from the University of California – Davis. In addition, the ketogenic diet increased memory and motor function (strength and coordination), and prevented an increase in age-related markers of inflammation.

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