by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

Health Impact News has published many articles about the low-carb high-fat ketogenic diet, and its favorable influences on several diseases or dysfunctional health conditions.

The ketogenic diet was originally developed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1920s to stop seizures in children with epilepsy, when pharmaceutical drugs did not work. More recently, the ketogenic diet has been used successfully for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Recently, there have been efforts by some researchers and medical practitioners to explore the potential of ameliorating schizophrenia, a major brain disorder that affects one out of a hundred, with the aid of the ketogenic diet. 

First, let’s make sure we understand what schizophrenia is about. It’s not really the split or multiple personality types of syndrome many consider it to be.

Here are major symptom descriptions which, if persistent and disabling, indicate one is schizophrenic: 

  • Delusion: With different manifestations that are chronic, pronounced, and fiercely defended.
  • Hallucinations: They can manifest through any of the senses and be real only to schizophrenics.
  • Disorganized speech patterns.
  • Seriously disorganized outward behavior or the opposite – catatonic.
  • Total disinterest in performing productive tasks to their conclusion.

Schizophrenic behavior is sometimes, but not usually, not aggressively violent unless provoked forcibly. Suicidal thoughts or impulses are more common. Most schizophrenics are victim oriented. (Source)  

The first three symptoms listed above are categorized as “positive symptoms.” They involve subjective perceptions that nobody else is aware of, or they demonstrate impulsive socially inappropriate activity. Abilities lost, such as emotional expressiveness, interest in studies, work projects, and social skills are considered “negative symptoms.” Both can exist simultaneously. (Source)

Recent Journal Publication Encourages Ketogenic Diet for Schizophrenia


The Medical Hypothesis journal published Ketogenic diet for schizophrenia: Nutritional approach to antipsychotic treatment on June 20th, 2018. 

The purpose of this study is to raise awareness of the need for less dangerous but more effective medication for this brain disease, because so far, pharmaceutical drugs are causing more harm than good. 

Here’s the abstract abbreviated:

Unfortunately, many schizophrenic patients suffer from persistent positive or negative symptoms that cannot be fully treated with available medication. (….)  there is evidence on dopaminergic transmission defects, there is a need to find a more holistic way in treating the disease and a diet regimen could be one of them. (…) The key mechanism is to generate ketosis. … Possible hypothesis can be that ketogenic diet changes the ratio of GABA: glutamate in favor of GABA, … and furthers the increase of GABA … to compensate the disrupted GABA levels in the schizophrenic brain, (…) [Emphasis added] (Source)

Keywords are evidence and increase of GABA, which is the commonly used acronym for gamma-aminobutyric acid. GABA is an amino acid that is not a building block for protein. It acts an inhibitory neurotransmitter to slow things down a bit before the brain spins out of control and burns out.

Most GABA is created in the body by breaking down glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter that functions like other neurotransmitters: adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. Those all accelerate neuron firing. (Source)

So, the “evidence” referred to in the study abstract are other studies related to the same topic of brain or nervous system inflammation and biochemical imbalance reduction from ketogenic dieting. They also mention how “increasing GABA” production in the brain leads to improved mental health.

Here are a few samples of those other studies that explore the ketogenic diet’s effect on neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate: 

Ketogenic diet reverses behavioral abnormalities in an acute NMDA receptor hypofunction model of schizophrenia

Ketogenic diet, brain glutamate metabolism and seizure control 

Neuronal-glial interactions in rats fed a ketogenic diet

Ketogenic diet in the treatment of schizoaffective disorder: Two case studies

Mitoprotective dietary approaches for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Caloric restriction, fasting, and ketogenic diets

Beyond GABA: Ketogenic Dieting Builds Brain Matter

In addition to insufficient GABA to regulate neurotransmitters, there is an obvious matter of measurable brain mass loss among schizophrenics, up to 25 percent loss of brain gray matter has been observed with CT scans and MRIs. 

Mainstream medicine has finally conceded that it is possible for the brain to regenerate cells of all types but insists on creating synthetic pharmaceutical drugs for high profits that often do more harm than good. (Source)

The ketogenic diet involves a high-fat diet with moderate meat consumption and low grains. Up to 80 percent of one’s caloric intake could be from mostly healthy saturated fats such as virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed olive and organic seed oils, whole organic or raw milk, real butter, cheese, codfish and other seafood oils, walnuts, and eggs from free roaming chickens. (Source)

The brain comprises only 2% of the body’s total weight, yet it contains nearly 25% of the total cholesterol in the body. Gray matter in different areas of the brain is where most neurons exist that determine cognitive skills, memory, planning, and recognizing environmental similarities and differences. 

The growth or regrowth of gray matter cells depends on the amount of fatty acids available. A high fat ketogenic diet provides more fatty acids to build the brain and help it recover from neurons damaged by injury or disease.

In addition to being the building blocks of the brain’s gray matter, cholesterol is vital for creating strong synapse connections among neurons. Nerve fibers used to transmit signals among the different gray matter lobes, some frontal and others mid-brain, are white matter. 

Myelin sheaths protect the white matter nerve fibers with insulation that protects the fibers and enhances neurotransmitter speed. Myelin sheaths are composed of fatty acids and cholesterol that protect the nerve fibers connecting various gray matter lobes with specific functions as well as connecting to the central nervous system network throughout the body. (Source)

Schizophrenics and other brain and central nervous system disorders can be treated with the ketogenic diet. Supplements that also help the brain recover from defects that should be taken with a ketogenic diet include magnesium, vitamins B1, B6, B12, B9 (as folate not folic acid). Vitamin B3 (niacin) is very useful but preferably monitored by a holistic medical practitioner familiar with Orthomolecular psychiatry. (Source)