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Metabolic Psychiatry

Dr Sebani Sethi Discusses the Results of her Metabolic Psychiatry Pilot Study with Nutrition Network

Dr. Shebani Sethi, a clinical associate professor at Stanford, conducted a pilot study focused on the effects of a ketogenic diet intervention on metabolic and psychiatric health in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The study aimed to assess feasibility, safety, and preliminary signals to guide future research. Here is a summary of the key points from her presentation:

Background:

  • The ketogenic diet has a long history of use dating back to the 1920s for epilepsy treatment.
  • Early studies in the 1960s explored its potential in managing symptoms of psychosis.
  • Dr. Sethi’s pilot study, published in the Psychiatry Research Journal in 2024, gained national media attention.

Methods:

  • The study spanned four months with 10 clinical visits.
  • Metabolic and psychiatric assessments were conducted at baseline, midpoint, and end of the study.
  • Measurements included ketone levels, glucose levels, body composition, vitals, A1C, insulin resistance measures, blood pressure, inflammatory markers, and psychiatric assessments.

Results:

  • Patients were categorized as adherent or semi-adherent to the ketogenic diet.
  • Adherent participants showed greater improvements in metabolic markers, including weight loss, reduction in visceral adipose tissue, and improvements in insulin resistance.
  • Psychiatric outcomes showed significant improvements in CGI scores, with 79% of participants showing improvement.
  • Qualitative feedback from patients highlighted benefits in mood and overall well-being.

Conclusion:

  • Metabolic outcomes included reductions in triglycerides, HOMA IR, and weight loss.
  • Patients with metabolic syndrome at baseline no longer met the criteria by the end of the trial.
  • Psychiatric outcomes showed a decrease in medication use and significant improvements in CGI scores.

Ongoing Work:

  • Ongoing trials and future studies are exploring the role of the ketogenic diet in treating psychiatric conditions.
  • Dr. Sethi and her team are planning randomized controlled trials comparing the ketogenic diet, Mediterranean diet, and a Western diet.

Dr. Sethi’s pilot study shows promising results in improving metabolic and psychiatric health in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia through a ketogenic diet intervention. Further research and trials are underway to explore these positive signals.

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