Keto diet linked with better brain health in new research

Diet may not be only good for gut but likely to benefit cognition, motor ability, blood sugar levels

By Web Desk
June 24, 2024
A representational image depicting foods related to keto diet. — Unsplash/File

A potential mechanism supporting the improvements seen in aging male mice on ketogenic or keto diets has been discovered by the researchers.

Cycling male mice between a control diet and a ketogenic diet results in an improvement in the signalling that takes place between synapses in the brain, the researchers proposed.


Earlier, a proof-of-concept study showed that giving male mice a cyclic ketogenic diet reduced their midlife risk of death and prevented memory decline associated with normal aging. It was published by John Newman, MD, PhD, one of the authors of the paper.

“After reading two seminal papers published in 2017 that showed its beneficial roles in the overall health of aged mice, including brain performance, we decided to study the effect of the ketogenic diet,” Christian Gonza lez-Billault, professor at the Universidad de Chile, and director of the Geroscience Center for Brain Health and Metabolism (GERO), told Medical News Today.

The researchers kept 19 male mice aged 20–23 months, considered as an “old age” in mice, either on a control diet, or a ketogenic diet, cycled with the control diet every other week in order to investigate the previous findings further.

The results revealed that the ketogenic diet was associated with lower blood sugar, improved memory and motor ability in older mice. It was also shown by the researchers that there was improved plasticity in the hippocampus brain region of older mice.

“We focus our attention on aged mice because previous work showed that the effect of the diet in young animals was milder and, in some cases, did not show significant differences with a control diet. These previous antecedents suggest that one of the beneficial roles of the diet would be maintaining resilience in aged mice, improving their physiological functions as they age,” said Gonza lez-Billault.

Additionally, small studies in humans have also suggested that the keto diet is likely to benefit cognition, particularly in older adults with dementia.