Initiating Ketogenic Diet in Children Increases Risk of Hypercalcemia | InStyleHealth

Those children who started the ketogenic ‘keto’ diet, specifically in the setting of renal impairment are at risk of develop ketotic hypercalcemia in subsequent years, study suggests.

Photo: Ketogenic Diet | InStyleHealth



The ketogenic or ‘keto’ diet is a low carb, high fat diet. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and toward fat and ketones.


“The mechanism is unknown but appears to be due to reduced osteoblast activity and impaired bone formation,” the researchers said. “We recommend close attention to optimizing bone health in these children, and screening for the development of ketotic hypercalcemia.”


The multicenter case series was conducted to describe the clinical characteristics of acute hypercalcemia in children on the ketogenic diet by analyzing the presentation, response to treatment, and natural history in a large group of patients.


There were fourteen children with an average age of 6.3 years old who developed acute hypercalcemia 2.1 years after starting the ketogenic diet were enrolled. The researchers then collected information on clinical presentation, treatment, and course of complication.


So, what is Hypercalcemia? Hypercalcemia is a condition in which the calcium in your blood is above normal level. Having too much calcium in your blood can weaken your bones, create kidney stones, and interfere with how your heart and brain work. Hypercalcemia is usually the result of overactive parathyroid glands.


In the study, Normocalcemia or the normal level of calcium in the blood was achieved, but two patients had hypercalcemia relapse over observation up to 9.8 years. One child ceased the ketogenic diet prior to achieving Normocalcaemia, while four more stopped the diet during follow-up after resolution of hypercalcemia.


“The ketogenic diet is associated with progressive skeletal demineralization, hypercalciuria, and nephrolithiasis,” the researchers said. “Acute hypercalcemia has been described as a newly recognized complication of this treatment.”

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