In the 1920???s, researchers at the Mayo Clinic used a ketogenic diet to treat adults with ideopathic epilepsy. In 1930, Dr. Clifford Barborka published a paper detailing their findings with their first 100 patients. Among other findings, Barborka notes that 20% of the women involved in the study experienced complete cessation of menstruation during treatment, which didn???t return until a normal diet was resumed. He only reported on menstrual cessation, but given more contemporary research on the subject we can reasonably speculate that many more women experienced menstrual irregularities that stopped short of complete cessation. Subjects were eating appropriate calories to maintain their weight, so weight loss was not a confounder here. He speculates that it may have been related to a vitamin B or E deficiency, but has no clear explanation. (Note that this was many decades before the discovery of Leptin and it???s role in hormonal regulation.)
In 2003, researchers published their retrospective study of 45 adolescents aged 12-19 treated for epilpsy with a ketogenic diet over 8 years. They noted that 45% of the girls involved in the study reported menstrual irregularities, most (2/3) of whom experienced complete cessation of menstruation (the other 1/3 were reported as experiencing delayed puberty or menstrual irregularity). Most resumed menstruation after ending the diet. 2 were treated with hormone therapy to induce and regulate menstruation. A majority of the girls did not lose weight on the diet, so again, weight loss was not a confounder in most cases.
Researchers speculated that:
???The diet may mimic the menstrual side effects seen in starvation and certain female athletes.???
In 1999, a group of researchers published a review of a small group (9 women, 2 men) of otherwise healthy adults treated for epilepsy with a ketogenic diet. Of the 9 women involved in the study, 100% experienced menstrual irregularities. Although five of the 11 study subjects initially reported weight loss on the diet, calories were increased to manage it, so again, weight loss was not a confounder in most of the cases. From the researchers:
???All female patients reported menstrual irregularities. This is not uncommon, considering that menstrual irregularities are reported in other high-ketone states such as starvation.???
asked byAgingHippie (614)
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on June 17, 2013
at 01:40 AM
I would be curious to hear from some long-time NKers here. I know that the epilepsy diet was much lower carb than what most folk need to get into mild ketosis.
So many doctor-prescribed diets are deficient in micronutrients, I am not surprised that there were women with issues.
I haven't been in ketosis long enough to report. My initial experience has been positive all around. But then, I eased into it, made sure to supplement minerals/sodium, eat liver, eggs and seafood, and have optimal blood levels of D3.
Still regular 28-29 day cycles at age 50.
on June 17, 2013
at 04:20 PM
LOADS of women have menstrual irregularities on LC and VLC - we see it again and again on this forum. The threshold varies but on average lower than 50-60g a day seems to cause issues.
It's hypothalamic amnenorrhea. VLC = never spiking insulin = low leptin = hypothyroid as the body thinks it's "starving" = menstrual cycle shuts down
Are there any women on here who are not overweight and have been on VLC (<30g/day) for more than a year, who have had regular menstrual cycles the entire time?