Ketogenic Diet Risks: Hypomania and Sleep

Ketogenic Diet & Fasting, Hypomania, Sleep

Dr. Palmer shared a case study of a patient with type 2 diabetes and chronic depression who experienced significant improvements in blood sugar levels after following a ketogenic diet and incorporating intermittent or extended water fasts.

While the initial days of fasting can be challenging, the patient reported feeling great and not missing food after a certain point. However, the expert emphasized the need for medical supervision and setting appropriate limits to ensure safety.

Dr. Huberman noted the rewarding properties of fasting, which can lead to dopamine release from abstaining from food rather than consuming it.

While this can be beneficial for some, it also raises concerns about the potential for developing disordered eating patterns, such as anorexia nervosa.

One of the risks discussed was the occurrence of hypomania in some individuals following a ketogenic diet. Hypomania is characterized by elevated mood, increased energy, and reduced need for sleep, which can be initially perceived as positive but may lead to problems if left unchecked.

The expert shared an example of a mental health professional who experienced hypomania for six months while on a ketogenic diet, sleeping only 2-4 hours per night and engaging in excessive exercise.

To address hypomania, Dr. Palmer recommends a stepwise approach, starting with education about the importance of sufficient sleep and behavioral interventions.

If these measures are insufficient, supplements like melatonin or magnesium may be considered. In some cases, prescription sleep medications may be used temporarily to break the hypomanic cycle and allow the individual to continue benefiting from the ketogenic diet.

Dr. Huberman shared his personal approach to balancing macronutrients, consuming primarily meat, fruit, and vegetables during the day and shifting to mainly carbohydrates at night to promote sleep and replenish glycogen stores.

This highlights the importance of finding an individualized approach that works best for each person.

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