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Does the Keto Diet Help Fight the Flu?


With both the coronavirus and the flu making their rounds in the United States, everyone is looking for ways to build their immune system and protect themselves from viruses. According to a new study posted in the journal Science Immunology in November, a Keto diet may help fight the flu although it has only been tested in mice currently. In this article, we will look at some of the findings of the study to determine whether this is just hype or if the science is sound.

According to the study, Vishwa Deep Dixit, Ph.D. observed that following a Ketogenic diet can help block the formation of inflammasomes. Once activated, inflammasomes can elicit a harmful immune system response leading researchers to test how the diet may positively affect the flu virus. To do this, a study began in which mice that have been fed a Keto diet and an alternate group that was fed normal levels of carbohydrates were infected with influenza and observed to see what happened between each group. But what does this mean for people that are currently following a Ketogenic diet?

Mice that were fed a Ketogenic diet began releasing gamma delta T cells that create a mucus-like lining in the lungs. However, these same immune system cells were not produced by the test group of mice that were eating a standard amount of carbohydrates. While these cells provide no direct protection in mice specially bred without gamma delta T cells, this study still confirms that warding off the flu may be easier when following a Keto diet as long as gamma delta T cells are being released by the individual on a Ketogenic diet. Without the support of these immune system cells, no further protection may be provided.

While these results may be promising, it is important to ensure that you aren’t relying solely on the Keto diet to remain protected from influenza or other viral infections. Particularly because these purported results have only be found in a sole study and have not been replicated or validated further by other researchers at the current time. In most instances, the best option provided by experts in the medical field is to wash your hands regularly or use a hand sanitizer, avoid touching your nose or mouth and take the flu shot whenever possible to ensure you are protected from projected strains.


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