With many struggling to lose weight, people are searching to find ways to do it safely and easily. One diet that has re-emerged as a popular choice is the keto (ketogenic) diet.
Those who follow the keto diet eat foods containing low amounts of carbs, high quantities of fats and medium amounts of protein.
Replacing those carbs with fats triggers a metabolic change in your body called ketosis. Ketosis burns fats more efficiently and lowers your insulin and blood sugar levels.
The origins of the keto diet date back nearly a century ago as a solution to treat epilepsy safely when drugs weren’t effective. Over the past 25 years, this diet-based alternative has gained popularity as seizure rates have fallen 50 percent or more among approximately more than half of adults, according to recent reports.
The health of the human gut may play an important part in supporting the anti-seizure benefits people receive from following the keto diet too, according to a study appearing in Cell.
Boo to antibiotics!
Researchers at UCLA discovered the connection between gut health and the keto diet when they compared the health of normal mice to those raised in a germ-free environment and others treated with antibiotics, a well-known, drug-based enemy that depletes gut bacteria.
In initial tests, the microbiomes of healthy mice with normal microbiomes changed in just four days and they experienced far fewer seizures while eating a keto diet.
On the other hand, mice with depleted or non-existent microbiomes didn’t receive the same protective benefits from seizures when they were fed a keto diet. Why? Germ-free mice were missing two specific species of gut bacteria (Akkermansia muciniphila and Parabacteroides).
“We found we could restore seizure protection if we gave these particular types of bacteria together,” said researcher Christine Olson, according to a press release. “This suggests that these different bacteria perform a unique function when they are together.”
The gut-brain connection
UCLA researchers also learned how those species of gut bacteria, elevated by the keto diet, were also responsible for changing the level of biochemicals in the gut and bloodstream that affect neurotransmitters in the brain’s hippocampus.
(In the human brain, the hippocampus has many functions, including processing memory and regulating the “fight or flight” response.)
That pair of gut bacteria works together to increase levels of GABA (a neurotransmitter that quiets neurons), a connection that shows how the gut-brain connection may affect other conditions like epilepsy.
It’s also important to reiterate that multiple strains of bacteria working together made all the difference in protecting mice from seizures. Treating mice with just one strain of bacteria offered no protection at all.
However, probiotics, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Junior Probiotic for kids, contain multiple strains of bacteria that provide a wide range of health benefits for your unique and diverse microbiome.