The goal of this review was to assess the effectiveness of ketogenic diets on the therapy of neurodegenerative diseases. The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate and fat-rich diet. Its implementation has a fasting-like effect, which brings the body into a state of ketosis. The ketogenic diet has, for almost 100 years, been used in the therapy of drug-resistant epilepsy, but current studies indicate possible neuroprotective effects. Thus far, only a few studies have evaluated the role of the ketogenic diet in the prevention of Parkinson's disease (PD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Single studies with human participants have demonstrated a reduction of disease symptoms after application. The application of the ketogenic diet to elderly people, however, raises certain concerns. Persons with neurodegenerative diseases are at risk of malnutrition, while food intake reduction is associated with disease symptoms. In turn, the ketogenic diet leads to a reduced appetite; it is not attractive from an organoleptic point of view, and may be accompanied by side effects of the gastrointestinal system. All this may lead to further lowering of consumed food portions by elderly persons with neurodegenerative diseases and, in consequence, to further reduction in the supply of nutrients provided by the diet. Neither data on the long-term application of the ketogenic diet in patients with neurodegenerative disease or data on its effects on disease symptoms are available. Further research is needed to evaluate the suitability of the ketogenic diet in the therapy of AD- or PD-affected persons.
Keywords: Alzheimer disease; Parkinson disease; ketogenic diet; neurodegenerative disease.