Does a ketogenic diet reduce skin inflammation

Researchers recently studied how ketogenic diets affected skin inflammation.

Psoriasis affects at least 100 million individuals worldwide. Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that causes red, patchy skin usually around the elbows and knees, although it can occur anywhere. Psoriasis is not contagious and anyone can get it. It is a disease of the body’s immune system, which becomes overactive and attacks the body.

The effects of psoriasis are not limited to physical pain, it also causes enormous stigma and emotional distress. Psoriasis sufferers are more frequently diagnosed with depression and negatively affect one’s quality of life.

Psoriasis is marked by inflammation. Inflammation of the skin, of nearby joints, known as psoriatic arthritis, even of the blood vessel occurs higher in psoriasis sufferers. Recent research has shown that diet plays a key role in controlling inflammation. Ketogenic diets have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may provide some relief for skin inflammation.

Researchers from Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria recently performed a study to determine does a ketogenic diet reduce skin inflammation. Their results were published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

During the study, mice were fed different diets. The diet types were a standard diet, a ketogenic diet full of long-chain triglycerides, a ketogenic diet full of long and medium-chain triglycerides, and these three diet types supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides are thought to provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

Medium-chain triglycerides are found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, milk, and cheese. Long-chain triglycerides are found in soybean and safflower oils.

When compared with mice on a non-ketogenic diet, the ketogenic diet with high medium-chain triglycerides aggravated the symptoms of psoriasis in mice. Ketogenic diets that mainly contained long-chain triglycerides did not worsen the psoriasis. The researchers did not confirm that a ketogenic diet reduces skin inflammation.

In a press release study co-lead, Dr. Barbara Kofler said, “We found that a well-balanced ketogenic diet, limited primarily to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) like olive oil, soybean oil, fish, nuts, avocado, and meats, does not exacerbate skin inflammation. However, ketogenic diets containing high amounts of MCTs especially in combination with omega-3 fatty acids, should be used with caution since they may aggravate pre-existing skin inflammatory conditions.”

The study does show that diet is important in controlling inflammation as a result of psoriasis. Those hoping to control inflammation should not consume a ketogenic diet high in medium-chain triglycerides.

 

Written by Rebecca K. Blankenship, B.Sc.

 

References:

  1. Nagpal R, Neth B, Wang S, Craft S, Yadav H. Modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet modulates gut microbiome and short-chain fatty acids in association with Alzheimer’s disease markers in subjects with mild cognitive impairment. EBioMedicine. 2019;47:529-542. doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.08.032
  2. Locker F, Leitner J, Aminzadeh-Gohari S et al. The Influence of Ketogenic Diets on Psoriasiform-Like Skin Inflammation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2019. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2019.07.718
  3. Psoriasis | CDC. Cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/psoriasis/index.htm. Published 2019. Accessed October 19, 2019.
  4. Michalek I, Loring B. Global Report on Psoriasis. Apps.who.int. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/204417/9789241565189_eng.pdf;sequence=1. Published 2016. Accessed October 19, 2019.
  5. Jiang Z, Zhang S, Wang X, Yang N, Zhu Y, Wilmore D. A Comparison of Medium-Chain and Long-Chain Triglycerides in Surgical Patients. Ann Surg. 1993;217(2):175-184. doi:10.1097/00000658-199302000-00012

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