Ketogenic Diet and HBOT – A Synergistic Effect

As we get into the final push for the community pantomime and Christmas preparations to close out the year, (and thanks to Border ITV for the coverage by the way and highlighting the community work we all do at the the theatre), short snippets are becoming the December favourite to pass on quick short and interesting bits of information and share some work from other researchers and advocates for HBOT, while still keeping up with posting and social media interaction at a busy time.

In previous articles where we discussed the work of The University of South Florida’s , Dominic D’agostino. We touched on the synergistic effect following a ketogenic (low carb) diet and HBOT have on each other when combined. The overall effect of the efforts are greater when combined than the sum of them individually.

Briefly put, the ketogenic diet advocates that very low carbohydrate intake reduces blood glucose drastically. Energy production is then achieved by the production of ketone bodies which the body uses as a substitute energy source which allows metabolic pathways to operate without glucose. Ketone bodies derive from long chain fatty acids stored in adipose tissue and can pass through the blood brain barrier where fat cannot to nourish the brain. As well as being established as a good substitute for glucose for use in muscular mitochondria, and for many this has become a valuable tool in the health toolbox, essentially burning fat as energy through the production of ketone bodies.

Image by MARIO OLAYA from Pixabay 

The mechanisms of this are better discussed in the opening paragraph of a paper entitled Ketogenic Diet, Does It Really Work by authors Santiago Espinosa, Jenner Feijo & Raœl Rodr’guez.

The part of this that is relevant to HBOT and this short snippet article is fermentation. In the presence of increased blood glucose, cells tend to ferment rather than respire. Fermentation has been identified as one potential root cause of cancer. It is known as the Warburg Theory and is summarised in the quote below:


Warburgs Theory” suggests that cancer is primarily a mitochondrial metabolic disease and the respiratory insufficiency is the origin of cancer as well as all other phenotypes of the disease,including the somatic mutations and aerobic fermentation, arise either directly or indirectly from insufficient respiration (Vander Heiden, Cantley & Thompson, 2009).”


This is one of the reasons obesity is up there with the top causes of cancer. Low oxygen in cells also results in cell fermentation, and while this article isn’t specifically about cancer, it does add consideration to that discussion as well. We have discussed previously the role of oxygen in the control of cancer cell growth and also the lack of oxygen as it relates to increased cell growth and metastasis. This is partly owing to increased fermentation, and reduced respiration in cells. Read more on cancer and HBOT here. It also adds interesting parallels with seizure resulting from impaired glucose transport in the brain during oxygen toxicity events not dissimilar to epileptic events resulting from poor glucose transport across the blood brain barrier. In an effort not to stray into the benefits of keto for neurological conditions, I’ll simply add that the documentary on Netflix entitled “The Magic Pill” provides incredible insight into the benefits of low carb, and a return to our evolutionary diet, can have on a variety of neurological conditions.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

HBOT is an established way of increasing oxygen saturation and tension in blood and tissue. It is also established as a blood glucose reducer for a number of reasons including increased insulin sensitivity and greater Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) uptake.

The combination of the ketogenic diet and HBOT seems to demonstrate a synergy beneficial to a great many health issues, including, but not limited to, type 2 diabetes as discussed in our own diabetes proposal, metabolic disorders, obesity, cardiovascular disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome and many others.

The paper cited above is a really neat short and quick read backed up by references. This, along with the many papers authored by the aforementioned Dominic D’Agostino, support the combined use of ketogenic diet and HBOT. It is easier to provide the adjacent link to his profile rather than trying link his many papers individually.

I was recently challenged on seemingly taking leaps in conclusive thinking. Often the case is simply that in-depth medical papers have been summarised for the sake of making an article readable. What may seem a leap in thinking is often a result of simplifying the language. I generally try to explain scientific concepts as well as I can, but failing that the best thing to do in these cases where a reader wants more detail, is to click through and read the source material and it’s references.

By now regular readers will know that I am type 2 diabetic. It’s come up a few times in previous articles. I control this by doing my level best to observe a “keto” diet. I eat low carb, Increased fat and moderate protein. This has significantly reduced my hBA1C to below 40 from its peak of 53 some years ago. I am technically “In Remission”. When I conducted a trial of HBOT as well, those numbers came down even further. It worked for me and if not for everyone, could well work for many others . It’s my goal to share this with others.

With any luck we will be able to offer this service in the Cumbria region soon.

©Hayden Dunstan

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