Shanghai, China | Xinhua | A Chinese research group found that the low-carb, high-fat diet may help alleviate the adverse effect in blood for those cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
The study published on Thursday in the journal Science Translational Medicine showed that the ketogenic diets given to rodents and humans could combat low platelet counts caused by the toxic chemical agents.
A platelet is a kind of disc-shaped blood cell that works to clot the blood from a cut or wound. Severely low platelet counts can be dangerous because it complicates surgeries and increases the risk of bleeding.
Ketogenic diets, a nontoxic, low-cost dietary intervention that boosts the production of ketone bodies in the liver to have various metabolic effects, have been previously investigated as a treatment for diabetes.
The researchers from Fudan University observed that a ketone body boosted by the diet can activate platelet-forming genes, so they administered the diets to mice with pancreatic or lung cancer, finding them more resistant to low platelet counts induced by the chemotherapy.
They have seen similar results in a small pilot trial with five healthy volunteers and 17 out of 28 patients on a ketogenic diet in a retrospective study, according to the study.
However, large-scale prospective clinical studies are needed to validate the therapeutic potential, said the researchers.