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Keto Diet Combats Low Platelets Associated With Chemotherapy, Study Finds

A seminal new study has found that a ketogenic diet can combat chemotherapy-induced low-platelet count.

The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, advertised the ketogenic diet as a nontoxic and inexpensive part of cancer therapy. A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, high-protein, and low-carbohydrate eating plan.

Platelets are blood cells that help in forming blood clots. Thrombocytopenia is a condition characterized by low platelet levels in the body.

Chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia is a side effect that can raise complications in cancer patients and also prove life-threatening. Due to the complication, there is an increased risk of bleeding, which often dissuades doctors from continuing chemotherapy.

“Therapeutic options for chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia are limited by severe adverse effects and high economic burdens,” the lead author of the study, Dr. Sisi Xie, was quoted as saying by MedicalXpress.

According to the researchers, currently, 1 in 10 patients undergoing chemotherapy develops thrombocytopenia.

“We demonstrate that ketogenic diets alleviate chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia in both animals and humans without causing thrombocytosis,” Xie noted. thrombocytosis, unlike thrombocytopenia, is a condition in which there is a surplus of platelets in the body.

In other words, the ketogenic diet hits the sweet spot of platelet levels in the body.

The high-fat diet led to a change in the bone marrow, boosting circulating platelets, the study found.

“A ketogenesis-promoting diet alleviated chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia in mouse models. Moreover, a ketogenic diet modestly increased platelet counts without causing thrombocytosis in healthy [human] volunteers.” Xie added.

A ketogenic diet for a week raised platelet counts within safe levels in five healthy volunteers, the study found. Additionally, the researchers analyzed retrospective data from 28 cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and found that 17 patients on a keto diet had comparatively higher platelet counts and lower occurrences of chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia.

Currently, medical treatment for thrombocytopenia, including platelet transfusions and recombinant therapies, are either expensive or have a high risk of side effects.

The research team cautioned that further large-scale clinical studies are needed to validate their results.

Another study on a particular chemotherapy drug, ifosfamide, found the drug’s toxic effects can be passed on to the third generation of offspring.

“The findings suggest that if a patient receives chemotherapy, and then later has children, that their grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren, may have an increased disease susceptibility due to their ancestors’ chemotherapy exposure,” Michael Skinner, a WSU biologist and corresponding author on the study, said. However, the researchers do not want people to avoid chemotherapy as a consequence of the results of the study, since it is quite an effective treatment for cancer.

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