The Effect of Ketogenic Diets on the Gut Microbiota

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Anya Ellerbroek


athletes, nutrition, health


The ketogenic diet (KD) has gained a lot of media attention in the last few years. Some athletes have adopted this diet for performance and body composition changes. While studies have reported mixed results on performance, the KD has shown consistent results in improving body composition, as well as improving other health conditions. What is unclear is how KD diet affects athletes’ gut microbiota. The gut microbiota is comprised of 10-100 trillion microbial cells known to influence overall health and disease of the host. A microbiota rich in diversity and beneficial bacteria has been associated with health, while a low diverse and decrease in beneficial bacteria microbiota has been associated with disease. Diet, exercise, stress, and other lifestyle factors have been shown to influence gut microbial composition and diversity. KD studies have been done primarily in mice or individuals with health conditions. KD experiments in mice have revealed a decrease in diversity; however, there is an increase in the number of beneficial bacteria. In humans, KD studies have resulted in correcting gut microbial imbalances in epileptic children; on the contrary, it may increase bacteria species associated with inflammation in obese subjects.

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