Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly abbreviated as ALS, is a slow-acting neurodegenerative disease that can rob the individual of their health, happiness, and independence. Recent studies have found that there may be some benefit in using the ketogenic diet for ALS. Let’s take a look at what ALS is, the symptoms associated with the disease, causes of ALS, and whether or not the keto diet can help those suffering from ALS.
What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. When diseased neurons are not able to function properly, they are unable to stimulate muscle tissue, which leads to muscular atrophy.
Symptoms of ALS
Muscles throughout the body are affected leading to the most common symptoms of ALS:
- Difficulty with everyday activities such as walking, writing, and speaking
- Weakness in your feet, ankles, and legs
- Excessive tripping and falling
- Weakness in your hands
- Constantly dropping things or letting things slip out of your grasp
- Cramping in your hands, arms, and shoulders
- Uncontrollable twitching in different muscle groups
- Inability to speak properly – Slurred speech
- Difficulty with swallowing your saliva
- Inability to control crying, laughing or yawning
What Causes ALS?
While the exact cause of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is still relatively unknown, heredity does account for 5 to 10% of all cases. Risk factors include genetics, age (risk is highest between the ages of 40 to 60), and possibly smoking.
Ketogenic Diet for ALS: Can It Help?
Research suggests the ketogenic diet may have therapeutic benefits for ALS through the reduction in oxidative stress and the promotion of ATP synthesis.
For more information about the therapeutic benefits of a ketogenic diet for ALS, check out the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Doctors Guide in Keto Club.