National Public Radio podcast examines the connection between a ketogenic diet and mental health. Psychiatrist Chris Palmer and his patient, Dan, are interviewed by host Karen Weintraub. Dan, who has schizophrenia, has been on a ketogenic diet for three years. During this time Dan’s quality of life was greatly improved.

“The good news in all of this is that these things (metabolic disturbances) are reversible. Metabolism can be changed by exercise and what we eat. That is a really exciting area of research.”

Chris Palmer, MD

Podcast show notes

  • 0:04 Introduction. The ketogenic diet contains large amounts of healthy fat, moderate amounts of protein, and very few carbohydrates. It has been used since the 1920’s to treat epilepsy.  Now it is also being tested as a treatment for depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
  • 0:35 Karen introduces Dan, Chris Palmer’s patient. Dan talks briefly about his history as a young patient struggling with schizophrenia.
  • 1:14 Karen and Dan talk about Dan’s recovery and the medical ketogenic diet he adheres to.
  • 1:47 Karen introduces Chris. Chris and Karen talk about the connection between metabolism, diet and mental illness. Mental illness is closely linked with diet and metabolic issues. Metabolism can be positively changed by a ketogenic diet and exercise.
  • 3:10 Karen talks about a study being done at Northeastern University: how individual nutrients and chemicals affect the brain. She introduces a computer scientist, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, and he further explains the study.
  • 4:13 Karen and Dan talk about Dan’s recovery again. Dan has been on the ketogenic diet for 3 years. He talks about the positive changes that have occurred in his life. He lost 140 lbs, is on half the medication he used to be on, has an active lifestyle and says he feels great.
  • 4:55 – Closing.

Other case reports on schizophrenia and ketogenic therapies

Bibliography – Medical ketogenic diet for metabolic and mental health research

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