Whether or not you’re familiar with the term “ketogenic,” you may already have a good sense of what it means if you’ve ever heard of the low-carb Atkins Diet. Ketogenic diet followers have claimed it reduces inflammation, promotes weight loss, and aids in insulin resistance. While the original diet was created specifically to aid epileptic patients, it became quite the fad when Dr. Robert Atkins began utilizing this diet to help his patients lose weight.
Over the years, as fad diets and CBD products began to spread like wildfire, many followers of the ketogenic diet (keto) have wondered whether to add CBD oil to their shopping list or not. While studies on CBD use are relatively new, research findings have begun to support the anecdotal claims of the many benefits that CBD provides. But the question arises, can keto and CBD oil work together synergistically? And if so, is this the right decision for you?
The Ketogenic Diet
A typical diet consists of 45-65% carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in your body and are broken down into glucose. When you eat a diet that is laden with carbohydrates, over time your body ends up with excess glucose that gets either stored in the liver as glycogen or in your adipose tissue as fat. The ketogenic diet, on the other hand, typically consists of 5-10% carbohydrates with about 55-60% of calories supplemented by fats.
Keto is simply a high-fat, low-carb diet that focuses on migrating the body’s focus from breaking down sugar to burning fat. People who choose the keto diet are primarily interested in the weight loss benefits that occur once their bodies enter a state called ketosis.
For ketosis to occur, the body’s glucose levels must drop low enough to deplete the glycogen stores and force the body to begin supplementing the loss of glucose by switching to two metabolic processes: gluconeogenesis, when the body creates glucose from internal non-carbohydrates resources, and ketogenesis, when the body begins to break down stored fat to produce energy in the form of ketone bodies.
Furthermore, entering a state of ketosis alters the hormonal levels in the body, including the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin which makes you feel less likely to reach for an extra snack or portion.
Benefits of Keto
Research is spotty when it comes to the long-term benefits of the keto diet. Why? Because oftentimes the low-carbohydrate diets used in studies have a different macronutrient composition, which creates inconsistency between results and doesn’t create a state of ketosis for all participants. Some studies show that a ketogenic diet may help with insulin resistance, while others suggest that it may worsen it.
However, for obese individuals, the weight loss from changing to a healthier dietary lifestyle is enough to spur improvement in blood sugar levels in the short term.
Beyond weight loss and appetite suppression, the ketogenic diet can also help reduce inflammation through the production of a specific ketone body ß-hydroxybutyrate (also known as BHB). Chronic, low-level inflammation is linked to a number of chronic diseases and reducing the exposure of your bodies to a highly inflamed state is essential to getting your health back on track.
If you are curious about keto, keep in mind that switching your body from its prime energy source, glucose, to ketone bodies not only takes time but can have some uncomfortable side effects. These include fogginess, sleepiness, nausea, fatigue, muscle soreness, and irritability to name a few. Be aware of any of these effects and talk to your physician if any symptoms last longer than a few days or worsen.
Benefits of CBD
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid derived from the plant cannabis sativa. While it is still currently federally illegal, 47 states have legalized cannabis-derived CBD for medical use with 10 states also allowing CBD for recreational product use. CBD acts on the body through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that acts as a modulator of the brain, immune system, nervous system, and endocrine system.
Potential therapeutic health benefits of CBD include:
- Neuroprotective properties
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Anti-oxidant properties
- Anti-emetic properties
- Analgesic properties
- Anxiolytic properties
- Fat burning and metabolism-enhancing properties
CBD products are sold in a variety of delivery systems ranging from gummies to creams and oils. Since the ketogenic diet is focused on eating high-fat foods, CBD oil fits this diet model best. Before combining any CBD oil products with the ketogenic diet, please make sure to consult your physician and use your own discretion as there is currently no concrete scientific evidence that has been conducted on this topic specifically.
CBD Oil is the Best Option for a Keto Diet
If you are currently following a ketogenic diet, CBD oil is your best bet. CBD oil is created by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and combining it with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. CBD oil is a great option for the keto diet because it easily fits into the guidelines of the dietary restrictions. CBD oil use is also very versatile in addition to being a discreet option.
You can easily apply CBD oil under your tongue via a dropper or combine it with your favorite foods. But don’t be surprised if the effects are different or delayed. Absorption of CBD (also known as bioavailability) is dependent on multiple factors, including how you consume it. Scientists looking into the bioavailability of CBD found that, when taken orally, 10-12% of CBD is bioavailable. This number increases slightly to 15-20% bioavailability when CBD is mixed with a carrier oil.
Most CBD oil brands recommend that you consider placing the CBD oil under your tongue to increase the efficiency of the effects and bypass the digestive system. Since the mucosal membrane under your tongue has a high concentration of capillaries, this a more direct route to your bloodstream. Also, since CBD is a lipophilic, or “fat loving” compound, consuming it with oils and fats can prolong the effects it has on you.
What is Possible When You Combine Keto With CBD Oil?
CBD oil can be a potentially great complimentary part of a keto diet thanks to the ECS and CBD’s ability to aid in fat burning. Studies looking into the interrelations between the ECS and the endocrine system found that the ECS plays an important role in regulating food intake and metabolism by modulating hormone production and release. Combining these results with the appetite-suppressing properties of a ketogenic diet may promote metabolism efficiency and overall weight loss.
Fat-burning is key to losing weight and new research sheds light on the ability of CBD to enhance this process. Researchers studying the therapeutic benefits of CBD for obesity discovered that CBD is capable of converting white adipose tissue, or “white fat,” to brown adipose tissue, or “brown fat,” in addition to reducing the formation of fat. The promise of these results suggests that CBD in combination with keto could enhance weight loss.
If you’re new to the ketogenic diet, CBD may help ease the uncomfortable side effects of your body transitioning from metabolizing glucose to ketone bodies. It can be hard enough to start a diet without the unwanted side effects, and CBD could ease those commonly associated with keto.
Although CBD and ketosis work through different biological pathways in the body, combining them together could provide significant benefits. It’s important to speak with your physician before starting a new diet or supplement regimen to ensure your health isn’t compromised, as CBD can interact with certain medications.
Despite the fact that there are currently no clinical results to provide a clear answer to the benefits of a ketogenic diet supplemented with CBD oil, evidence of their independent effects on the body, along with anecdotal stories, suggests a potential health-boosting duo.