Ketogenic Diet suppresses Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome in Rats

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BACKGROUND: Alcohol use disorder is under-diagnosed and under-treated, and up to 50% of alcohol abstinent patients diagnosed with alcohol dependence relapse within the first year of treatment. Current treatments for the maintenance of alcohol abstinence in patients with alcohol use disorder have limited efficacy, and there is an urgent need for novel treatment strategies. Decreased cerebral glucose metabolism and increased brain uptake of acetate was recently reported in heavy drinkers, relative to controls. Given the switch of metabolic fuel from glucose to acetate in the alcohol-dependent brain, we investigated the potential therapeutic benefit of a ketogenic diet in managing alcohol withdrawal symptoms during detoxification.

METHODS: Male Sprague Dawley rats fed either ketogenic or regular diets were administered ethanol or water orally, twice daily for 6 days while the diet conditions were maintained. Abstinence symptoms were rated 6, 24, 48, and 72 hours after the last alcohol administration.

RESULTS: Maintenance on a ketogenic diet caused a significant decrease in the alcohol withdrawal symptoms 'rigidity' and 'irritability'.

CONCLUSION: Our preclinical pilot study suggests that a ketogenic diet may be a novel approach for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms in humans. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)270-277
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 185945091