Fasting, ketogenic diets and high-intensity exercise show signs of reducing inflammation and could help to reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, according to research from the Yale School of Medicine.

ketosis is a metabolic process that occurs when the body does not have enough glucose for energy.

The researchers note that the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) inhibits the production of a protein, NLRP3, linked with inflammation and metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and dementia.

Low carbohydrate ketogenic diets, calorie restricted diets, periods of fasting and high-intensity exercise can all lead to the production of ketones, including BHB. Ketones are produced when fat is broken down and oxidized as a form of energy which can be used by the body as an alternative to glucose.

The research team tested the effects of BHB by introducing the ketone into mice which were engineered to have inflammatory disease caused by NLRP3. The study showed that mice given BHB experienced lower levels of inflammation than mice that did not. In addition, mice that were given a ketogenic diet also experienced reduced markers of inflammation and higher BHB levels.

Corresponding author, Vishwa Deep Dixit, Professor at Yale School of Medicine states: “These findings are important because endogenous metabolites like BHB that block the NLRP3 inflammasome could be relevant against many inflammatory diseases, including those where there are mutations in the NLRP3 genes.”