How does ketosis impact the brain?
Ketosis increases production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Many anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines have a calming effect by mimicking the effects of GABA in the brain. So the theory is that increased GABA via ketosis may reduce stress and anxiety symptoms.
The ketogenic diet has been used since the 1920s diet as a well-established treatment option for children with epilepsy. Ketogenic diets reduce seizures in about a third of children who are unresponsive to standard antiepileptic drug therapies.
Although the mechanism by which ketogenic diets can reduce seizures is not fully understood, the increase in GABA may be central to their effectiveness.