Lymphedema treatment options have commonly focused on massage and other types of manipulative therapy, but diet can have a huge impact on the success of any lymphatic treatment system.
The purpose of this website is to explain why overweight and obese conditions are commonly exhibited with symptoms of lymphedema and to help doctors and therapists to understand that a lymphatic disorder cannot be treated successfully, if one of its major comorbidities or possible underlying causes remains unaddressed. In addition, I will show why conventional treatments have not alleviated the epidemic of obesity that people in this country and most of the world are experiencing and suggest a better option for management using a ketogenic diet.
A few years ago I became interested
in weight loss strategies which differ from conventional approaches. These
effective methods, although neither new nor unique, had been hidden by dietary misinformation dominated by conventional wisdom, and represented by the USDA’s food
pyramid and more recently, MyPlate recommendations.
In discussions with my overweight clients, I came to the conclusion that they were, in fact, trying to follow their doctor’s, and thus the government’s, recommendations in their efforts to lose weight. Sadly, many had failed time and again to lose their excess body fat, or to keep it off, had they managed to achieve any weight loss at all. Many, if not most, had taken the failure as their own. At the time that they were referred to me, both patient and doctor had, in effect, given up on solving their weight condition. My strategy had to be different.
A well-formulated ketogenic diet is a powerfully effective means of improving health and enhancing the management of lymphedema. Since I began including a well-formulated ketogenic diet in my treatment protocol, beneficial outcomes with my patients who suffer weight management issues rose remarkably.
Individuals referred to my practice would, in prior years, have been treated solely with a conventional program of complete decongestive therapy. Now, I offer them the means to implement a well-formulated ketogenic diet in addition to the treatment. Some have been so successful that they never have to return for treatment. These individuals, in follow-up conversations, have attributed the lack of need for treatment to their adoption of a ketogenic lifestyle. Such a powerful method of helping clients can seriously decrease the number of clients that return for, in many cases, several courses of treatment. The joy of a patient who had sought treatment primarily for lymphedema, and subsequently started eating a well-formulated ketogenic diet, only to find that he or she didn’t need endless treatment, is supremely valuable to me. Hopefully, that scenario would be a confirming experience for any therapist.
The success of a ketogenic diet for managing lymphedema may be attributed to the fact that fat is integral to the health of the lymphatic system. One study showed a correlation between dietary fat ingestion and increased movement of lymphocytes by the lymphatic system (Miura et al, 1987). The authors suggest that increased movement of lymphocytes in response to dietary fat metabolism may be a mechanism for keeping the immune system healthy and in a state of readiness. This is one of many reasons why a diet high in healthy dietary fat is advantageous.
Because of its proven effectiveness in the treatment of obesity, a well-formulated low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet has particular implications for the treatment of obesity when lymph stasis is also present. Chakraborty, et al. (2007) demonstrated in their research that dietary lipid intake resulted in increased lymph flow, whereas ingestion of a high fructose diet resulted in decreased frequency of lymph contraction along with lower vessel tone.
On this website, I will discuss more about the ketogenic diet protocol and Lymphatic Lifestyle Solution program that I developed for my patients, and which I now offer to fellow therapists.
Both practitioners and patients are encouraged to peruse this site, and I hope you find the information helpful. You can also view podcasts in which I've participated, see my poster-presentation of research, and view other presentations I've offered in the past on using a ketogenic diet to treat lymphatic conditions.