Keeping carbohydrate intake to a minimum for an extended period of time can help the body burn fat effectively.
This so-called Keto Dietat which proliferates on healthy fats and plentiful Protein is used, is becoming more and more popular thanks to its effectiveness.
As a study by Yale University showed, this carbohydrate waiver can not only help you lose weight, but also have other positive effects, especially during the flu season.
Keto diet can boost the immune system
The result of a study on mice published in the journal ‘Science Immunology‘ shows that following the keto diet can help the body fight flu viruses.
The experiment on the animals is clear: the mice that were fed ketogenic food were able to fight off the flu virus better than those that were fed carbohydrate-rich food.
A ketogenic diet therefore not only helps with weight reduction, but also strengthens the immune system from the inside out.
Surprising effects of the keto diet
“This was a totally unexpected discovery,” notes co-author and professor of immunobiology Akiko Iwasaki.
The research was the idea of two laboratory interns, who dealt with the so-called inflammasomes in different investigations.
These are protein complexes in the body that can trigger harmful immune system reactions.
One of the study’s authors, Emily Goldberg, was also involved in research showing that ketogenic diets blocked the formation of these inflammasomes. From this discovery came the idea of studying the effect of the keto diet on the flu.
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Better protection against viruses
This study shows that upon reaching ketosis, the ketogenic diet activates a specific subset of T cells in the lungs—called gamma-delta T cells.
So far, these cells have not been linked to the immune system’s response to influenza viruses. Thanks to the study, we now know that they can even take active action against a harmful virus.
In addition, the keto diet improves the mucus production of the airway cells, which means that viruses penetrating the body can be better intercepted.
Interaction with T-cells in the body
The scientists were also able to confirm that the positive effect of the low-carbohydrate diet is actually related to the T cells.
Mice bred without the gene encoding gamma-delta T cells were no more protected from the virus on the ketogenic diet than the rest of the animals.
“This study shows that the way the body burns fat to produce ketone bodies can boost the immune system and thus fight flu infection,” concludes co-author Visha Deep Dixit.
Goldberg, E., et al. (2019): Ketogenic diet activates protective γδ T cell responses against influenza virus infection, abgerufen am 16.11.2020: https://immunology.sciencemag.org/content/4/41/eaav2026
YaleNews (2019): Ketogenic diet helps tame flu virus, retrieved on November 16, 2020: https://news.yale.edu/2019/11/15/ketogenic-diet-helps-tame-flu-virus