Medical Keto for Psychiatry

Please join a powerful movement in medicine. What if there really are answers for those who suffer so-called treatment resistant schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder?  How about anxiety and depression?  Would you support research into this?  With your help, through a donation here with funding directed to McLean Hospital Corporation, we can fund a groundbreaking randomized controlled trial of the ketogenic diet to treat chronic mental illness led by Christopher M Palmer MD  and others at Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital. This study will explore how a metabolic intervention already proven to stop seizures and reverse diabetes might also improve brain metabolism, reducing symptoms of the most crippling mental disorders, including schizophrenia.  The evidence for this is growing, and the time has come for more rigorous studies to bring this treatment to the millions who need it.  Pharmaceutical companies will not fund studies into nutritional interventions, so it really is up to us to raise the necessary private funds to make this research happen.  Once this pilot study has been completed, it will pave the way for federal funding into larger scale studies... but this pilot study must come first so we are making this a grass roots effort. 

How is Eric Westman involved? Eric Westman, MD is a world leader on ketogenic therapies.  He is one of the founding members of the voluntary advisory board  to The MH Paradox Foundation, a nonprofit corporation formed to support research into safer, more effective treatments for mental illness. Dr. Westman is a professor of medicine at Duke University and co-founder of the Duke Keto Medicine Clinic. He has decades of clinical research and experience with low carbohydrate diets. Dr. Westman is one of the first leaders in modern medicine to successfully use the ketogenic diet to treat life-threatening chronic illnesses including diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, and created Adapt Your Life Academy  to make the intervention more accessible to those struggling in these disciplines. 

What is less well known of Dr. Westman's work is that he is also one of the first to report on the diet’s unique ability to reduce symptoms of schizophrenia. A world-renowned internal medicine and obesity doctor, Dr. Westman fortuitously discovered the ketogenic diet’s potential to treat schizophrenia in the course of treating someone for obesity. In 2009, Dr. Westman published a peer-reviewed case report of his 70 year old obesity patient. She weighed over 300 pounds. She had also been diagnosed with schizophrenia since age 17 and had been taking antipsychotic drugs and mood stabilizing medications for decades. These medications were not effective for her. As her mental health deteriorated over the years, she became so disabled that a state-appointed conservator managed her affairs. Hopeless, she attempted to commit suicide at least five times before she saw Dr. Westman. 

On the ketogenic diet, not only did Dr. Westman’s long-suffering patient lose weight as intended, but she also reported a significant reduction in her delusions and hallucinations. She described waking up one morning to realize that the internal “voices” she experienced over years of hallucinating had faded and she could hear the sound of real birds chirping outside her window.  

Ten years later, having seen similar results in his own practice and curious whether her recovery was sustained, psychiatrist Christopher M. Palmer, MD and others reviewed and verified her sustained recovery. Drs. Westman and Palmer then collaborated on a 2019 peer-reviewed follow-up case report  published by leading medical journal Schizophrenia Research. Not only was this woman’s 150 pound weight loss sustained and verified, but her psychotic symptoms remained in full remission and she had successfully tapered off all psychiatric medications. Her recovery was so complete that the court-ordered conservator team had been discharged through court proceedings, and she now lives independently.

This is not the only evidence for ketogenic therapy in psychiatry. More evidence supports the ketogenic diet’s potential to control symptoms of schizophrenia, depression, and mood disorders. Some of the early evidence is compiled here .  However, in order to really advance the standard of care in psychiatry to include this as a treatment option, a randomized controlled human trial of the diet for mental illness. This fundraising campaign aims to change that by forging a new path for research and creating an important paradigm shift in psychiatry. The value of this study is in its potential to radically change the treatment outcome for people with schizophrenia by focusing on brain metabolism. It has the power to improve the mental health of millions of people around the world. People with chronic mental illness should not have to wait until they are 70 for safe and effective treatment! With your help, this $350,000 campaign will fully fund the first-ever randomized controlled human study of the ketogenic diet to treat psychiatric illness by the top researchers at Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital. More details about the study are summarized here .

 Why support this study by Dr. Palmer and McLean Hospital?  Dr. Palmer has been implementing the medical ketogenic diet in psychiatry for over 15 years. He is one of the few people in the world with demonstrated ability to get people with serious mental illnesses to follow the ketogenic diet. He has published extensively on this topic.  He is partnering with others at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School on this study, including Dr. Dost Ongur, a Professor of psychiatry and renowned expert on bipolar and psychotic disorders.  Dr. Ongur has been exploring the connection between brain metabolism and mental illness for decades. This study will include novel neuroimaging measuring the effects of the ketogenic diet on brain metabolism, providing objective data on brain function in addition to the usual symptom tracking. The study will also include microbiome and other biomarker assessments, studying the diet’s effect on these metrics too as it relates to symptom improvement. This study will provide robust information about new treatment modalities that might dramatically improve the lives of the millions who suffer these crippling illnesses.

McLean Hospital Corporation is a 501c3 organization, and donation receipts will be provided via email by Paypal Giving (Gofundme). Thank you for your support.  Donate if you can, and please share via social media.  Every dollar counts!   Let's make this happen.

The MH Paradox Foundation is a non-profit corporation formed in California  to raise awareness and funds for research into safer and more effective treatments for chronic mental illness, including the ketogenic diet. The Foundation was created by parents Anne and Michael Rauch, along with their teen son Adam who battles schizoaffective disorder which only starts to materially improve after the introduction of the medical ketogenic diet.  Their journey and battle for his  health is far from over, and one of the biggest challenges has been the lack of institutional support for the diet when it is needed most.  Their mission is to support researchers and clinicians who wish to better understand this diet as an intervention for chronic mental illness, and to inspire clinicians around the world to learn more and make this treatment available to the millions who need it.  For more information, please visit our website at The MH Paradox Foundation 

Learn more here:

Ketogenic Diet for Brain Health 
The MH Paradox Foundation 
Chris Palmer MD
Adapt Your Life Academy


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Anne Rauch
San Diego, CA
McLean Hospital (McLean Hospital Corporation)
Registered nonprofit
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