Published on November 11, 2023, 12:40 am
A recent study has found that a five-week, low-calorie ketogenic diet can help lower body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in people with Cushing’s disease. Cushing’s disease is caused by a tumor in the brain’s pituitary gland that leads to the overproduction of cortisol, the stress hormone.
The ketogenic diet is characterized by being high in fats but low in carbohydrates. When the body enters ketosis on this diet, it burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates and produces ketone bodies as a result. While this diet is commonly used to control seizures in certain forms of epilepsy, there has been growing interest in its potential benefits for other health conditions.
The small-scale study involved 15 participants with Cushing’s disease and another 15 individuals without the disease who served as controls. The participants followed a five-week diet program that consisted of replacement meals and low-sugar vegetables. These replacement meals were provided by the company New Penta and amounted to approximately 670 kilocalories per day for the first three weeks and around 820 kilocalories per day for the last two weeks.
Throughout the study, all participants took a multivitamin supplement. Although some adverse reactions like headache, hunger, and constipation were reported, all participants completed the five-week program.
At the end of the study period, participants with Cushing’s disease experienced significant reductions in their body mass index (BMI), waist circumference measurements, and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. Additionally, levels of triglycerides (a type of fatty molecule) and total and LDL cholesterol (commonly known as “bad” cholesterol) decreased significantly. In contrast, vitamin D levels and HDL cholesterol (referred to as “good” cholesterol) increased following the diet.
These results were consistent across both groups – those with Cushing’s disease and those without – showing that this dietary intervention could have broader implications beyond this specific condition.
It is important to note that this study had limitations due to its small sample size and short duration. However, the findings do support the idea that a low-calorie ketogenic diet can help normalize metabolic and cardiovascular parameters in individuals with Cushing’s disease, at least in the short term.
The researchers concluded that combining a nutritional approach like the ketogenic diet with conventional therapies may be beneficial in improving metabolic and cardiovascular comorbidities associated with Cushing’s disease. This suggests that dietary interventions could play a role in managing this condition alongside medical treatments.
As always, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet or treatment plan.