A Ketogenic Diet Can Help to Relieve Chronic Pain
When you think of the ketogenic diet, weight loss and increased energy are probably the first things that come to mind. However, this diet has many benefits for people with chronic pain that goes beyond just losing weight or boosting your energy levels.
In fact, research has shown the ketogenic diet may help reduce chronic pain. In a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism , researchers found that when people follow a ketogenic diet their bodies produce fewer inflammatory markers and they experience a reduction in chronic pain. And while it’s not clear exactly how this happens, there are many other studies showing similar results regarding the benefits of a ketogenic diet for chronic pain sufferers.
How a Ketogenic Diet Helps with Chronic Pain
The exact mechanisms behind a ketogenic diet and chronic pain reduction are mostly unknown. However, there are a few theories as to why this happens:
- Nutrient Deficiency – Certain vitamins and minerals have been found to play an important role in the pathophysiology of chronic pain. For example, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D, magnesium and zinc have all been shown to reduce pain. Therefore, if you’re following a ketogenic diet, you may be at risk for lower levels of these nutrients, which may lead to pain.
- Improved Neurotransmitters – As chronic pain progresses, the nerves in your body send abnormal signals to your brain, which can lead to a constant state of pain. However, ketogenic diets have been shown to improve neurotransmitter function, which may decrease the amount of pain you feel.
- Improved Blood Flow – There is also research suggesting ketogenic diets may improve blood flow and circulation throughout the body, including in the areas where you feel pain. This may be what’s behind the reduced levels of inflammatory markers.
Proven Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet for Chronic Pain
In addition to reducing chronic pain, there are other proven benefits of a ketogenic diet for people with chronic pain. These include:
- Weight Loss – When people first begin following a ketogenic diet, they usually experience a substantial amount of weight loss. This is likely due to increased fat burning, which is one of the main goals of this diet.
- Improved Mood – When you experience chronic pain, it can negatively impact your mood. This can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, which may be difficult to overcome. However, research has shown that ketogenic diets can improve mood and help reduce feelings of anxiety.
- Improved Energy – As mentioned above, people on a ketogenic diet usually experience an increase in energy. This is due to a combination of weight loss and increased fat burning, which provides a more sustainable source of energy than carbs alone.
How to Incorporate a Ketogenic Diet for Chronic Pain Relief
If you believe a ketogenic diet could help reduce the amount of pain you feel each day, there are a few things you should know before diving in headfirst.
First, each person’s diet is unique and requires individualized attention, so you will need to create a personalized plan. As a general rule, most people need to consume about 70% of their calories from fat, 20% from protein and 10% from carbs.
You can use this ketogenic calculator to determine exactly how many calories you should be consuming to follow a ketogenic diet. As with any new diet, it’s important to ease into a ketogenic lifestyle. This means you shouldn’t try to make a drastic change all at once, but rather start by reducing your carb intake a little at a time until you progress to a ketogenic diet.
When followed correctly, a ketogenic diet can be a powerful tool for chronic pain sufferers. It can not only reduce the amount of pain you experience, but can also improve your mood and energy levels. This diet can be challenging to follow at first, but the results may be worth it for those who struggle with chronic pain.