Skip to content

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Diet May Slow Lou Gehrig's Disease

Researchers Tested Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet on Mice
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 21, 2006 -- Tests on mice link a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet to slower progression of Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

ALS is often called Lou Gehrig's disease, after the famed baseball player who died with the condition in 1941. ALS, currently incurable, is a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder.

In ALS the nerve cells, called motor neurons, of the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement gradually deteriorate, for reasons not yet understood. As a result, muscles waste away, leading to paralysis and death, usually in two to five years.

The new ALS study only included mice, not people. The report, published online in BMC Neuroscience, doesn't make any dietary recommendations for people with ALS.

About the Study

The researchers included Giulio Pasinetti, MD, PhD, of the Neuroinflammation Research Laboratories at New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Pasinetti and colleagues studied two groups of male mice with ALS. The researchers fed one group of mice a standard diet. The other group of mice got a diet that was higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates.

The special diet was designed to force the mice to break down fat for energy. During the process of breaking down that fat, the body makes substances called ketones.

The mice on the high-fat, low-carb diet gained more weight, had over 3.5 times higher levels of ketones in their bloodstream, and had a slower worsening of muscular motor function.

Motor function was measured by the length of time that the mice could run on a treadmill in their cages.

The mice on the special diet also had more motor neurons in the spinal cord than the other mice.

However, survival was similar between the two groups, the researchers note.

Today on WebMD

measuring waist
4 tips for shedding yours.
apple cider vinegar
Does it have health benefits?
 
Chocolate truffle
For weight loss, some aren’t so bad after all.
woman holding red dress
24 simple, practical tips.
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
fat caliper
Tool
 

Special Sections