Ketogenic diets potentially reverse Type II diabetes and ameliorate clinical depression: A case study

Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2019 Mar-Apr;13(2):1475-1479. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2019.01.055. Epub 2019 Feb 6.


Efficacious adherence to treatment protocol predicts metabolic control among Type 2 diabetics (T2DM) [1-4]; however, few healthcare systems employ individualized strategies to mediate the comorbidity of T2DM with other chronic disease states. A clinically prescribed ketogenic diet, patient-centered nutritional education and high intensity interval training (HIIT), girded by solution-focused psychotherapy, modulate significant improvements in the clinical biomarkers associated with concurring T2DM and clinical depression [5-15]. Relevant metabolic change was noted in the following measures: HOMA-IR, triglyceride/HDL ratio, HgA1c, fasting insulin, fasting glucose, fasting triglycerides, LDL, VLDL, HDL, total cholesterol and C-reactive protein. The Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) along with clinical interview and the mental status exam showed notable change in the patient's depressive symptoms; likewise, her self-efficacy score normalized, as measured by the General Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (GSE) and the Metabolic Syndrome Compliance Questionnaire (MSC). The case study highlights a 65-year old female who presented with a 26-year history of dually-diagnosed Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and major depressive disorder (MDD). The patient was prescribed a ketogenic diet (KD), clinically formulated from her resting metabolic rate, body fat percentage and lean body mass, together with weekly nutrition education, high intensity interval training (matched to her cardiovascular conditioning), and eight 45-minute solution-focused psychotherapy sessions. Intervention goals included improved insulin sensitivity evaluated by the HOMA-IR, sustained glycemic control measured via HgA1c, reduced cardiovascular risk via the triglyceride/HDL ratio, and improved depressive symptoms with increased self-efficacy monitored by the PHQ-9 and GSE/MSC. The results of the 12-week intervention were statistically significant. The patient's HgA1c dropped out of diabetic range (8.0%) and normalized at 5.4%. Her average daily glucose measurements declined from 216 mg/dL to 96 mg/dL; the HOMA-IR and triglyceride/HDL ratios improved by 75%. Her marker for clinical depression and measurement of self-efficacy normalized. The 12-week individualized treatment intervention served to functionally reverse 26 years of T2DM, ameliorate two and half decades of chronic depressive disorder and empower/equip the patient with a new experience of hope and success.

Keywords: Ketogenic diet (KD); Major depression; Metabolic syndrome (MetS); Self-efficacy; Type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / prevention & control*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Diet, Ketogenic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prognosis