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New Keto Diet Research Looking at COVID-19 Severity & Deaths

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  Published on May 13th, 2021
  Reading time: 2 minutes
  Last modified May 12th, 2021
new keto diet research

The GECOVID Study Group recently announced the launch of a new research study that has the keto diet community excited. This study, titled Clinical efficacy of eucaloric ketogenic nutrition in the COVID-19 cytokine storm: A retrospective analysis of mortality and intensive care unit admission, will be looking at the effects that a ketogenic diet has on both mortality and severity of COVID-19 in direct comparison to a eucaloric (meaning the same number of total calories) traditional western diet (high-carb diet). [1]

The key motivator behind investigating the effects of a ketogenic diet on the severity and outcomes of COVID-19 lies in keto’s unique anti-inflammatory properties. In order to understand how going keto might help immune health, it is important to understand some basics about inflammation.


Inflammation and COVID-19 Simplified

Inflammation (when acute) is a normal and healthy immune reaction that your body produces in order to fight off pathogens (harmful things, like viruses). Inflammation is characterized by redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function at a specific location.

Cytokines are a type of signaling molecule that plays a key role in your body’s immune response. As the name suggests, inflammatory cytokines mediate inflammation.

Cytokine storm is a term that refers to an immune response where the body begins attacking its own tissues, instead of just fighting off a virus. This can cause damage to vital tissues and organs and cause an illness or disease to worsen.

Research shows that high levels of inflammation and cytokine storms caused by COVID-19 may play a key role in the severity of the infection. This is quantified by the mortality rates, as well as intensive care unit (ICU) admissions.


New Research on the Keto Diet and COVID-19

This retrospective analysis looked at 68 COVID-19 patients on standard American diets, and 34 patients on a ketogenic diet. Both groups of individuals ate the same number of total calories, only the macronutrients were different. They found a statistically significant difference in survival rates, admission to the ICU, and the need for non-invasive ventilation in favor of the ketogenic diet. In order to confirm these results, the paper stated “Currently, a prospective controlled randomized trial is running to confirm these preliminary data.”

This study is set to end in September 2021. Once the new data is published, we will update this article with the results.


Are You Excited to See New Research on the Keto Diet?

We know that your diet and lifestyle play a major role in not only whether you catch the virus, but how severe it is. Are you looking forward to seeing more research on the interplay between lifestyle and catching COVID-19? Comment below and share your thoughts!



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