This 2019 case study from Bristlecone Medical, Inc. in Maple Grove, Minnesota, reviews the use of a ketogenic diet to reverse long-term metabolic and psychological illness in a patient.
A 65-year-old, sedentary patient presented with a 26-year history of uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes alongside chronic major depressive disorder and a variety of other psychological symptoms. The patient was placed on a ketogenic diet with 10% of calories from carbohydrate for 12 weeks and guided HIIT (high-intensity interval training) with weekly coaching.
This intervention reduced HbA1c from a baseline of 8.0% to 5.4%, below the threshold for a diabetes diagnosis. HOMA-IR decreased from 9.4 to 2.3, while the triglyceride-to-HDL ratio decreased from 4.7 to 1.2.
Improvements in behavioral metrics were equally dramatic, with score-based measures of self-efficacy indicating complete resolution of depression. The patient reported improved self-confidence, energy, sleep, mood stability, and cognition.
These results are from a single case, and thus we can only extrapolate from these results with caution. This study does, however, suggest intensive diet-and-exercise therapy can resolve forms of both metabolic disease and depression. Future articles on CrossFit.com will continue to explore the connections between metabolic disease and mental health.