Study Shows How Vegan & Keto Diet Impact Your Immune System

Changing your diet all of a sudden can impact your health adversely or positively. It all depends on your transitioning process. Your body needs time to switch to new dietary preferences, and it is only possible only if the requirement for protein, carbohydrate, fat, fibre, and other essential nutrients is met. Many people want to change their diet preferences overnight which ends up affecting their health despite eating healthy foods. 

New research released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) points out that people switching to a ketogenic or vegan diet can significantly impact their immune system. The Keto diet was found to affect adaptive immunity, which is built among humans due to exposure to pathogens through vaccination and everyday life. A vegan diet impacts innate immunity which is the body's first line of defence when putting up a fight against infection.

These diets were also found to affect the gut flora, which is responsible for bowel movements. The scientists are not yet clear if these diets have a positive or negative impact on the immune system because more studies need to be conducted to understand how therapeutic nutritional interventions can improve health.

Since the vegan diet is strictly plant-based, even eliminating dairy products, and the keto diet is low in carbohydrates, the study showed that they affected participants from all walks of life in different ways. They were asked to strictly follow a keto and vegan diet for two weeks. It was found that people on the keto diet (10% carbohydrates and 76% fat) wanted to consume more calories than ones on a vegan diet (75% carbohydrates and 10% fat). 

When blood, stool, and urine samples were examined by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and National Institute of Diabetes at the Metabolic Clinical Research Unit, it was found that the keto diet affected levels of protein in the bone marrow and blood in comparison to the vegan diet, which promoted ‘red blood cell-linked pathways’. 

More study needs to be conducted, but scientists believe that changing diets can help people reduce risks for certain diseases or even help during the treatment of some chronic ailments. However, which diet would be good for you is a decision that only an expert can make after carefully considering your body’s requirements and taking account of your lifestyle?

Another study published by Frontiers in Nutrition on July 16, 2021, indicated that since a keto diet is low in carbohydrates can help with weight loss, but it might lack a few minerals, vitamins, fibre, and phytochemicals. 

Research published by Nutrients on December 23, 2021, pointed out that the vegan diet lacks vitamin D, iodine, vitamin B12, calcium, and a few other essential nutrients that the body needs to function better. While you are on a keto or vegan diet can also lead to deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals in the body, which can also hamper your health. Therefore, speak to your physician about supplements before opting for a new diet plan.