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  • Anne Mullens

May webinar: emerging science of nutritional psychiatry

Interest has been flourishing around the potential use of therapeutic nutrition for the treatment and symptom improvement of various mental health conditions.

On Wednesday, May 24th, the IPTN is excited to host a timely and topical webinar on the burgeoning science of nutritional psychiatry, by presenter Dr. Elisa Brietzke, a pioneer in the study of the ketogenic diet in the treatment of depression.

Dr. Brietzke, MD, PhD, is a physician-scientist who holds appointments as a full professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Queen's University, in Kingston Ontario, attending psychiatrist of the Adult Division of the Kingston General Hospital, and a research scientist at Queen’s Centre of Neuroscience Studies. She is an honorary professor of the Translational Neuropsychiatric Unit, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Dr. Brietzke has co-authored more than 300 peer-reviewed indexed articles, most of them focused on the study of immuno-inflammatory and energetic metabolism disturbances in mood disorders. Recent papers include the 2018 review, Ketogenic diet as a metabolic therapy for mood disorders: Evidence and developments and the 2020 review, Exploring the mechanisms of action of the antidepressant effect of the ketogenic diet.

She is now leading a research team investigating the therapeutic feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of the ketogenic diet in people with major depressive disorder who did not respond to antidepressants.

“For decades the ketogenic diet has been successfully used to control seizures in epilepsy patients,” notes Dr. Brietzke. “There are physiologic similarities between epilepsy and depression. Our study will test the hypothesis that ketogenic diet could be useful to treat residual depressive symptoms that have not been responsive, or only partially responsive, to medications.”

In her IPTN webinar, Dr. Brietzke will discuss the impact of mental health on society and the significant number of patients who do not respond to or tolerate current treatments for depression. She will review the evidence on the risk factors and relevance of dietary patterns in the incidence and persistence of depressive symptoms. And she will detail the research rationale and the protocol of her KETOMDD study, registered at

The small study will enroll 10 to 12 male and female participants, between ages 18 and 50, with a confirmed diagnosis of major depressive disorder. They will be educated and supported to adopt a ketogenic diet for 12 weeks with help from the study’s registered dietitian. Participants will have weekly visits for psychiatric assessments, general medical assessments, and dietetic assessments and will be monitored for side effects and metabolic changes. Patients will keep a food diary and track their mood and anxiety symptoms.

“We know this cutting-edge webinar will be of high interest to healthcare providers interested in the real-life application of therapeutic nutrition for serious mental health conditions. We encourage everyone to attend,” said Sean McKelvey, CEO and co-founder of the Institute for Personalized Therapeutic Nutrition (IPTN).

Register here for the webinar on Wednesday May 24, at 5 pm Pacific and 8 pm Eastern.

The presentation is certified by the University of BC for 1.5 CPD credits. The webinar will be recorded with a link and posted in the IPTN Community of Practice for those who want to watch but cannot make the live session.

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