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Does Ketogenic Diet Helps to Fight The Flu Virus?

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🎯 Key Points
  • Ketogenic diet helps to boost the immune system, making it more effective in fighting off the flu virus.
  • The diet reduces inflammation in the body, which can help alleviate flu symptoms and promote faster recovery.
  • By limiting carbohydrate intake, the diet starves the flu virus of its primary energy source, hindering its replication and spread.
  • Ketones produced during ketosis have been shown to have antiviral properties, potentially inhibiting the growth of the flu virus.
  • The diet promotes weight loss, which can improve overall health and reduce the risk of complications from the flu.

Flu season is coming and the ketogenic diet can be a new weapon against infection, now that it has proven that it is more than a nutritional fad. The ketogenic diet is a type of diet very low in foods rich in carbohydrates and rich in those that provide proteins and healthy fats that is very popular among athletes, not only to lose weight, maintaining muscle mass, but also because of the benefits that ketogenic diet are proving for health.

Does ketogenic diet helps to fight the flu virus?

From a study carried out by Yale University, and has to do with the flu, since it seems that by following a ketogenic diet, we help the defenses fight against the influenza virus, responsible for the flu. At least that happens in mice.

The study was conducted with mice that were fed a ketogenic diet and exposed to the flu virus. Those fed a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet were able to fight off influenza virus infection better than mice fed high-carbohydrate foods.

Benefits of Ketogenic Diet.

1. Weight Loss.

One of the main benefits of following a ketogenic diet is its ability to promote weight loss. By significantly reducing carbohydrates and increasing healthy fats intake, the body enters a state of ketosis, where it starts using stored fat as its primary source of energy. This leads to a more efficient fat burning process and can result in faster weight loss compared to traditional low-fat diets.

2. Improved Mental Focus.

Another advantage of the ketogenic diet is its potential to enhance mental clarity and focus. When the body is in ketosis, it produces ketones, which are an alternative fuel source for the brain. Many people report experiencing increased concentration, improved memory, and heightened mental performance while following a ketogenic diet.

3. Increased Energy Levels.

By reducing carbohydrates and increasing fat intake, the body becomes more efficient at utilizing energy. This can lead to improved energy levels and a reduction in energy crashes commonly associated with consuming high-carbohydrate meals. Additionally, ketones provide a more sustained and stable source of energy, helping individuals feel more energized throughout the day.

4. Reduced Inflammation.

The ketogenic diet has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can benefit individuals with various inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and skin conditions. By reducing the consumption of inflammatory foods (e.g., processed sugars and refined grains) and increasing the intake of healthy fats and antioxidant-rich foods, the ketogenic diet can help reduce inflammation in the body.

5. Better Blood Sugar Control.

Following a ketogenic diet can have significant benefits for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition. By minimizing carbohydrate intake, the diet helps regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. This can lead to better glycemic control, reduced insulin requirements, and a decreased risk of complications associated with diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease and neuropathy.

Side Effects of Ketogenic Diet.

The ketogenic diet, a low-carbohydrate, high-fat eating plan, has gained popularity due to its potential benefits for weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and increased mental clarity. However, it is essential to be aware of the potential side effects that may arise from following this restrictive eating regimen. While many individuals experience positive outcomes, it is crucial to understand and mitigate the possible adverse effects that may occur during the adaptation phase and long-term adherence to the ketogenic diet.

1. Keto Flu.

During the initial stages of transitioning into a ketogenic diet, some individuals may experience symptoms collectively known as “keto flu.” These symptoms can include fatigue, headache, dizziness, irritability, and nausea. These temporary side effects are often attributed to the body adjusting to using fat as its primary fuel source instead of carbohydrates. Staying well-hydrated, ensuring adequate electrolyte intake, and gradually reducing carbohydrate consumption may help alleviate these symptoms.

2. Digestive Issues.

The significant reduction in carbohydrates and increased consumption of fats and proteins can sometimes lead to digestive discomfort. Common digestive issues experienced by individuals following a ketogenic diet include constipation, diarrhea, and changes in bowel movements. This can be attributed to the decreased fiber intake and altered gut microbiota. It is crucial to prioritize fiber-rich low-carbohydrate vegetables, such as leafy greens, and consider incorporating probiotic-rich foods or supplements to maintain a healthy digestive system.

3. Nutrient Deficiencies.

Following a ketogenic diet may pose challenges in meeting certain nutrient requirements. Since many fruits, whole grains, and legumes are restricted, individuals may experience deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and folate. Ensuring a varied and well-balanced intake of low-carbohydrate vegetables, nuts, and seeds can help mitigate these deficiencies. Regular monitoring and consultation with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian are recommended.

4. Increased Risk of Kidney Stones.

The ketogenic diet is associated with an increased risk of developing kidney stones due to several factors. Higher protein intake, reduced fluid intake, and changes in urine pH levels can contribute to the formation of certain types of kidney stones. Adequate hydration, monitoring urine pH levels, and consulting a healthcare professional can help minimize this risk.

5. Adverse Impact on Cholesterol Levels.

The ketogenic diet often leads to a significant increase in dietary fat consumption, which may raise concerns about its impact on cholesterol levels. While some individuals experience improvements in their lipid profile, others may observe an increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. It is essential to regularly monitor blood lipid levels and consult with a healthcare professional to ensure appropriate management and personalized recommendations.

6. Potential Muscle Loss.

In certain cases, following a ketogenic diet for an extended period may lead to muscle loss due to the limited availability of carbohydrates, which are essential for optimal muscle function and growth. Individuals engaging in intense physical activity or weightlifting may need to adjust their macronutrient ratios to ensure adequate carbohydrate intake for muscle preservation.

7. Social and Psychological Implications.

Adhering to a ketogenic diet can present social and psychological challenges. The strict restrictions on carbohydrate intake may make it challenging to enjoy meals with friends and family, participate in certain social events, or follow a diverse and flexible eating pattern. Additionally, the psychological impact of adhering to a restrictive diet can lead to feelings of deprivation, frustration, or obsession with food. Prioritizing a healthy relationship with food and seeking support from a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can help navigate these challenges.

💡 Tips FitToFar.com
While the ketogenic diet can offer numerous benefits, it is crucial to be aware of its potential side effects. Individuals considering this dietary approach should consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to ensure its suitability for their specific health goals and address any concerns that may arise along the way.

What Expert Says?

Researchers found that the ketogenic diet, rich in meat, fish, poultry and non-starchy vegetables, activates a subset of T cells in the lungs , increasing mucus production in airway cells, which helps ‘trap’ to the influenza virus, reducing its virulence.(1)

In previous work, the researchers of this study had already shown that the ketogenic diet blocked the formation of inflammasomes , responsible for the activation of inflammatory processes that induce cellular pyroptosis in cells damaged by the infection, causing their programmed death different from the apoptosis.

With this new study they wanted to show if the ketogenic diet could also harm infectious agents themselves such as the flu virus.

Pathology of Ketogenic Diet for Flu Virus.

Specifically, the ketogenic diet triggered the release of gamma delta T cells, immune system cells that produce mucus in the cell lining of the lung, while the high-carbohydrate diet did not.

When mice were bred without the gene that codes for gamma delta T cells, the ketogenic diet produced no protection against the flu virus.

Bottom Line.

The ketogenic diet has emerged as a promising approach to fighting the flu virus. Through its ability to enhance the immune system, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health, this low-carb, high-fat diet has shown potential in protecting against and mitigating the symptoms of the flu. By restricting carbohydrates and increasing healthy fats, the ketogenic diet can provide the body with an alternative energy source, ketones, which not only support immune function but also inhibit viral replication. Additionally, the diet’s anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate flu symptoms and promote a faster recovery. While further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms at play, the evidence thus far suggests that adopting a ketogenic diet may be an effective strategy for bolstering the body’s defenses against the flu virus.

+1 Source

FitToFar has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, educational research institutes, and medical organizations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy.

  1. Toward Understanding Youth Athletes’ Fun Priorities: An Investigation of Sex, Age, and Levels of Play; https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/wspaj/28/1/article-p34.xml

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