The Ketogenic Diet May Have Benefits During Chemotherapy


A team of researchers at Shanghai’s Fudan University, acting upon the knowledge that ketogenic diets can boost liver ketone production, have recently examined the possibility of preventing thrombocytopenia (low platelets) using it.

Inside Precision Medicine reports it has previously been established that the ketogenic diet, which is low in carbohydrates and high in fat, can reverse low platelet counts resulting from chemotherapy in humans and in mice.

Statistics have shown that one in ten cancer patients receiving chemotherapy has an increased risk of bleeding during surgery.

The researchers discovered that the diet boosts ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate, which activates platelet-forming genes.

A report on the diet, that has already shown efficacy for obesity and epilepsy, appears in Science Translational Medicine.

In addition, the diet is being investigated in connection with innate immune responses, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and antitumor impact on cancer.

The researchers found that mice with liver or pancreatic cancer who were put on ketogenic diets showed more resistance to thrombocytopenia caused by gemcitabine chemotherapy than animals that were on standard diets.

Testing the Ketogenic Diet on Humans

The platelet effect of the ketogenic diet on humans was then tested on five male volunteers who were in good health. The group followed a strict ketogenic routine for seven days which resulted in a modest 1.1 increase compared to a regular diet.

Although platelet counts rose in all volunteers, they were still below pathogenic (disease) levels.

 Lastly, the team studied twenty-eight cancer patients who were being administered standard chemotherapy. They received the chemotherapy as monotherapy or combined with monoclonal antibodies or hormones.

Eleven patients were given a ketogenic diet with low carbohydrates and a moderate level of protein together with a high-fat diet.

The remaining seventeen patients participated in a standard dietary lifestyle.

Although the patients were mostly of comparable gender and age, those on the ketogenic diet had significantly higher platelet counts than other groups.


Abnormally low platelet counts occurred in 11.8 percent of the patients that were on their normal diet; none of the patients using a ketogenic diet experienced low platelet counts.

The conclusion, although preliminary, showed the ketogenic diet’s therapeutic and preventative potential for chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia.


Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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