They show that the very low-calorie ketogenic diet could boost the immune system

They show that the very low-calorie ketogenic diet could boost the immune system

Proven therapies targeting weight loss have been shown to improve biomarkers of oxidative and inflammatory stress in overweight and obese people. And among these, the one with the greatest effect is the very low-calorie ketogenic diet (VLCKD, Very-Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet), since it obtains better results than the conventional hypocaloric diet or bariatric surgery.

This is what emerges from a study recently published in “Clinical Nutrition”, coordinated by the CIBER of Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn) of the Carlos III Health Institute, carried out at the University Clinical Hospital of Santiago de Compostela.

The very low-fat ketogenic diet is based on the adequate supply of proteins that the body needs to maintain its vital functions, while reducing carbohydrates and fats. “This causes the person to enter ketosis, a natural physiological process of the body in which energy is obtained through stored fat reserves”, explains Ignacio Sajoux, Director of the Scientific Department of PronoKal Group.

The dietary pattern followed by the patient is based on the combination of 5 protein foods per day, combined with low glycemic index vegetables and food supplementation, to avoid deficiency states. “Once 80% of the excess weight has been lost, the person will evolve in treatment, including the different food groups, until they reach a balanced diet that they can maintain in the long term,” he adds.

A longer-term follow-up would have to be carried out to know if these results are maintained over time.

Ana Belén Crujeiras

University Clinical Hospital of Santiago de Compostela

In this study, 79 obese patients who followed a weight loss treatment were evaluated. Twenty of them followed a very low-calorie ketogenic diet, another 20 a standard low-calorie diet, and 39 underwent bariatric surgery. The follow-up of the patients was for a total of 6 months, comments Ana Belén Crujeiras, principal investigator of the study and of the University Clinical Hospital of Santiago de Compostela.

After evaluating nearly thirty inflammatory markers (cytokines) and oxidative stress markers in overweight and obese patients who have followed a very low-calorie, low-fat ketogenic diet (VLCKD), the study has shown that nutritional ketosis (i.e. , carbohydrate intake deficit, inducing fat catabolism and generating ketone bodies), along with VLCKD-induced weight loss, further improves the immune response in obese patients compared with bariatric surgery or a low-fat diet. in standard calories for weight loss.

«These results highlight the possible usefulness of this nutritional strategy to combat obesity and its associated diseases.such as cancer and viral infections (such as Covid-19), as well as to promote healthy aging”, says Ana Belén Crujeiras.

This study arises from the evident correlation established between obesity and inflammation. Obesity is known to be characterized by chronic low-grade inflammation and excess visceral fat is a source of cytokines. In this way, people with obesity not only suffer from more inflammation, but are also subjected to greater oxidative stress, which promotes some comorbidities associated with obesity itself.

Given this pathophysiological situation, there was clinical interest in clarifying whether different interventions with proven efficacy to reduce body weight acted differently on inflammatory and oxidative markers, “something that until now had not been done as extensively and exhaustively as carried out in this study”, emphasizes Crujeiras.

As summarized by Felipe Casanueva, coordinator of the investigation, «ketogenic diets very low in fat and normal protein allow not only rapid weight loss while maintaining muscle massbut also have a positive effect on inflammation and resolution of obesity-related comorbidities.”

Crujeiras adds that “a longer-term follow-up would have to be carried out to find out if these results are maintained over time. However, it is expected that, if the patient continues with the healthy habits learned during the maintenance phase of this nutritional intervention program based on the very low-calorie ketogenic diet, the benefits observed on the markers studied will be prolonged over time. ».


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