What type of patient could benefit from KetoMind?
We designed the Ketomind programme to support the safe use of ketogenic diets for patients with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, bipolar, or anxiety. Specifically, we would not recommend trying a ketogenic diet unless other conventional treatments (such as medication or therapy) have not been effective or patients have experienced unwanted side effects (such as weight gain from medication). Research shows that ketogenic diets may improve specific symptoms within conditions rather than being a ‘magic-bullet’ or ‘cure-all’ for the disorder itself. Nutritional psychiatry research shows that the most effective approach is to combine dietary changes with standard treatment for the best chance of success. KetoMind has been designed as an optional dietary intervention added to standard treatment.
How does the KetoMind programme work?
The KetoMind programme is a holistic programme, monitoring and supporting physical and mental health parameters when patients embark upon and sustain a ketogenic diet. Learn more about how ketogenic diets work here.
Our specialist team will discuss with you what embarking on a ketogenic diet involves and check there are no contraindications to this diet. We will also advise on the potential risks of ketogenic diets and explain how to monitor your glucose and ketone levels. One of our Consultant Psychiatrists and registered Dieticians will assess your mental and physical health before you start KetoMind so that we can take into account your current symptoms, needs and preferences before providing you with a bespoke dietary programme. During the programme, your Consultant Psychiatrist and Dietician will closely monitor your mental and physical health through regular consultations. You’ll also have access to weekly check-ups with a wellness coach.
KetoMind and ketosis
The purpose of KetoMind is for you to achieve nutritional ketosis naturally by modifying the foods you eat. Ketosis occurs when your body uses fat as its primary fuel source instead of glucose from carbs. To achieve nutritional ketosis, you will need to restrict the number of carbohydrates (carbs) you eat and replace them with foods that contain more fat. When we drop your intake of carbs below a certain threshold, your body will start using ketones (from fat) as a source of energy instead. When someone has a significant number of ketones in their blood, we say that they are in “ketosis".
Why do I need a Psychiatrist and a Dietician?
While the concept of nutritional ketosis may seem simple, everyone’s metabolism is different, and there is no guaranteed threshold or formula for how to achieve ketosis. Some people may only require slight modifications to their foods to achieve ketosis, while others may require considerable changes to their diet. Significant dietary changes can dramatically influence your mood, energy levels and overall health, regardless of whether you are in ketosis. Monitoring your ketone levels in association with changes in your mental and physical health is crucial to determine what level of ketosis is most beneficial for your condition and lifestyle. Additionally, the restrictive nature of ketogenic diets means that they are associated with an increased risk of nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues, which can be avoided with the support of a dietician.
We can work with your current Psychiatrist:
If you already have a Psychiatrist and prefer to continue working with them, we’ll be happy to arrange for our dietician to work collaboratively with them. If you are taking any medication, we will not change it, but we will work alongside your psychiatrist or GP and communicate with them regularly (with your consent). We will also ask you for permission to write to your GP to keep them informed of your care and to communicate with us if appropriate.
How much does KetoMind cost?
The KetoMind programme varies in cost depending on what level of support you require and whether you are currently undergoing any treatment for your mental health condition. Monitoring both your mental and physical health closely during treatment is crucial, which means you will need regular check-ups with a psychiatrist and our registered dietitian. If you already have a psychiatrist and prefer to continue working with them, we’ll be happy to arrange for our dietician to work collaboratively with them. You’ll also have access to weekly check-ups with our wellness coach.
KetoMind programme costs vary depending on the degree of support and monitoring that you require. We will be able to advise on the costs after your initial consultation.
How do I start KetoMind?
You will begin your KetoMind journey by having a 90-minute appointment with one of our experienced consultant psychiatrists. Your consultation can be face-to-face (in Harley Street, Central London) or remotely via video.
At the initial consultation, a consultant psychiatrist will ask you questions about your mental health and any current symptoms, answer any questions you have, and assess your suitability for the programme. Together, you will discuss any existing diagnoses, establish the severity of your symptoms and set goals, such as “improved mood, lowered anxiety and improved body composition.”
A registered dietician will assess you to ensure that nutritional ketosis is safe for you and ask you questions about your current diet, food preferences and lifestyle. Your dietician will ask you to weigh yourself to obtain a baseline weight and recommend specific blood tests that you should have done before you start your KetoMind diet. We can order the blood tests for you, or you could arrange for them to be carried out by your GP (if they agree to do so).
Typically, we will carry out the following blood tests:
- Full blood count (red cells, white cells, haemoglobin ETC)
- Urea and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, kidney function)
- Liver function (liver enzymes, bilirubin)
- Thyroid function (thyroid hormones)
- Glycated haemoglobin (HBA1C) as a way to know the average blood levels
- Vitamin D
Starting your personalised KetoMind diet:
You can now begin your bespoke KetoMind dietary programme and start measuring your ketone levels. We will monitor your mental and physical health closely while you’re being treated through regular consultations with your psychiatrist and dietician. To ensure your KetoMind journey is as smooth as possible, a wellness coach will be available weekly, as a minimum, to field questions and concerns and keep you on the right track.
How do you measure ketosis?
Blood tests are the most accurate way to measure your level of ketosis. It’s also possible to measure ketones in breath and urine, but these tests are less reliable, making it difficult to accurately measure the level of ketosis you have achieved.
Blood tests can quickly be done with a finger prick test, similar to the diabetes finger prick test to check glucose levels. You can use the finger prick test to check your glucose and ketone levels. We generally use the KetoMojo, which can be purchased online through the KetoMojo website.
In some cases, mainly if there is a diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes, we may suggest using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), such as the Dexcom G6 or the Libre. In any case, we will discuss your specific needs and preferences individually.
How long does it take to see results?
It is important to emphasise that we cannot claim how effective a ketogenic diet will be for any particular person with a mental health condition. To date, most of the scientific studies investigating ketogenic diets have predominantly been case studies where doctors report on patients who experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms shortly after starting a ketogenic diet.
From existing research, we know that most people tend to benefit from a ketogenic diet a few weeks after starting. We advise that people usually need to engage in the KetoMind programme for at least 2 to 3 months to determine whether their mental health has benefitted from a ketogenic diet. Although it only takes a few days to achieve a state of ketosis after starting the diet, it may take several weeks or months before this has a noticeable effect on your condition or symptoms.
What if KetoMind doesn’t work for me?
If you have been on the KetoMind diet for several weeks without noticing any improvement in your symptoms, we will suggest increasing your level of ketosis naturally through adjustments to your diet programme. If you have been on a ketogenic diet for about 2-3 months, without experiencing any significant benefit in terms of your mental health, you are unlikely to benefit from the diet and do not need to continue it. However, if you wish to continue with the KetoMind diet due to experiencing other positive effects (such as weight loss or an improvement in diabetes), you are welcome to continue. In this case, we recommend that this is done with ongoing supervision from a registered dietician to ensure that you don’t develop any nutritional deficiencies or adverse side effects over time.