Food and Behaviour Research

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Schizophrenia, gluten, and low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets: a case report and review of the literature

Kraft BD, Westman EC. (2009) Nutr Metab (Lond). 6: 10 

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We report the unexpected resolution of longstanding schizophrenic symptoms after starting a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet. After a review of the literature, possible reasons for this include the metabolic consequences from the elimination of gluten from the diet, and the modulation of the disease of schizophrenia at the cellular level.

While more research is needed to confirm the association between gluten intake and schizophrenia and whether dietary change can ameliorate schizophrenic symptoms, health care providers could consider screening patients with schizophrenia for celiac disease and/or augment the medical regimen with a gluten-free or low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet.


This case report describes the resolution of schizophrenia symptoms, including visual and auditory hallucinations, in a woman aged 70 who was first diagnosed with psychosis aged 17, following the implementation of a low-carbohydrate (<20g/day), 'ketogenic'-type diet that excluded gluten grains.

The authors discuss this case in the context of previous research indicating gluten sensitivity in at least a subset of patients with schizophrenia and related conditions.