A new study has revealed that consuming oil in a well-balanced ketogenic diet is beneficial for one’s skin. “This study leads to a broader understanding of possible effects of ketogenic diets with a very high-fat content on skin inflammation and underlines the importance of the composition of fatty acids in the diet,” said co-lead investigator, Barbara Kofler, PhD, Research Program for Receptor Biochemistry and Tumor Metabolism, Department of Pediatrics, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria.
“We have found that a well-balanced ketogenic diet, limited primarily to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) like olive oil, soybean oil, fish, nuts, avocado, and meats, does not exacerbate skin inflammation,” explained Kofler.
The study has been published in the journal of ‘Investigative Dermatology’.
“However, ketogenic diets containing high amounts of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), especially in combination with Omega-3 fatty acids should be used with caution since they may aggravate pre-existing skin inflammatory conditions,” added Kofler.
Ketogenic diets are increasingly popular because of their promise to treat a number of diseases and promote weight loss. They are currently being evaluated as a potential therapy in a variety of diseases and have been suggested to act as an anti-inflammatory in certain conditions.
Dietary products containing coconut oil (high in MCTs) or fish oil (high in Omega-3 fatty acids), consumed as part of a ketogenic diet, are marketed and used by the general population because of their reported health-promoting effects.
The investigators hypothesised that high-fat ketogenic diets would dampen psoriasiform-like skin inflammation progression and that partial supplementation of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) with MCT or Omega-3 fatty acids will further enhance these effects. Although the study did not confirm that hypothesis, it showed that an LCT-based ketogenic diet does not worsen skin inflammation.
Co-lead investigator Roland Lang, PhD, Department of Dermatology, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria, elaborated on the study’s results: “Ketogenic diets supplemented with MCTs not only induce the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines but also lead to an accumulation of neutrophils in the skin resulting in a worse clinical appearance of the skin of the mice.”
“Neutrophils are of particular interest since they are known to express a receptor for MCTs and therefore a ketogenic diet containing MCTs may have an impact on other neutrophil-mediated diseases not limited to the skin,” added Roland Lang.