Undeniably, the keto diet has been the latest fad in the fitness industry for its potential to help people lose weight and to some extent, reverse diabetes. However, a new study has found that the keto diet could help you to fight the flu.
The study by the researchers from Yale University found that the ketogenic diet was able to combat the flu virus in mice.
According to the study, which was published last month in the journal of Science Immunology, mice consuming the keto diet were found to survive one of the serious strains of influenza. They were also found to lose less weight than mice who ate a diet rich in carbs.
The researchers discovered that the keto diet stimulates T cells, which are associated with the immune system, in the lungs, increasing mucus production and trapping flu virus particles. The diet also improved the mice’s lung’s barrier function, making them less sensitive to infection.
Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler from MedicineNet says, “The ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet that drastically restricts carbohydrates. It produces a reaction in the body that is similar to the fasting state.”
The keto diet has been found to fight the flu in mice because it tames inflammation by inhibiting inflammasomes that activate inflammatory responses, according to study co-author Ryan Molony.
Previous studies in mice have shown that the keto diet inhibits the production of inflammasomes, thereby preventing the damage caused by the inflammatory response.
Dr. Charles Davis from MedicineNet says, “Influenza, or the flu, is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract.”
The signs and symptoms of flu include fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, and fatigue. The death rate of the flu is about 0.1% of people who catch the virus.
Dr. Davis explains that influenza could be more serious for some high-risk subjects, such as children, older people, and pregnant women. Others include people with asthma, respiratory conditions, and cancer.
“Annual influenza vaccination can prevent most of the illness and death that influenza causes,” says Dr. Davis. Further studies are needed to determine whether the keto diet may help people to fight the flu. Meanwhile, make sure you follow your PCP’s recommendations on how to stay healthy during the flu season.