Feasibility and efficacy data from a ketogenic diet intervention in Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2017 Dec 6;4:28-36. doi: 10.1016/j.trci.2017.11.002. eCollection 2018.


Introduction: We assessed the feasibility and cognitive effects of a ketogenic diet (KD) in participants with Alzheimer's disease.

Methods: The Ketogenic Diet Retention and Feasibility Trial featured a 3-month, medium-chain triglyceride-supplemented KD followed by a 1-month washout in clinical dementia rating (CDR) 0.5, 1, and 2 participants. We obtained urine acetoacetate, serum β-hydroxybutyrate, food record, and safety data. We administered the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale and Mini-Mental State Examination before the KD, and following the intervention and washout.

Results: We enrolled seven CDR 0.5, four CDR 1, and four CDR 2 participants. One CDR 0.5 and all CDR 2 participants withdrew citing caregiver burden. The 10 completers achieved ketosis. Most adverse events were medium-chain triglyceride-related. Among the completers, the mean of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale score improved by 4.1 points during the diet (P = .02) and reverted to baseline after the washout.

Discussion: This pilot trial justifies KD studies in mild Alzheimer's disease.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Cognition; Ketogenic diet; Low-carbohydrate diet; Medium-chain triglyceride.