Ketogenic diet for high partial pressure oxygen diving

Jason M. Valadao, John A. Vigilante, Nicholas W. DiGeorge, Sunila E. O'Connor, Alexandria Bear, Jeffrey Kenyon, Heather Annis, Joseph Dituri, Amy E. Dituri, Harry T. Whelan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: A ketogenic diet (KD) may decrease central nervous system oxygen toxicity symptoms in divers, and in view of this implication a feasibility/ toxicity pilot study was performed to demonstrate tolerance of KD while performing normal diving profiles. The exact mechanism of neuroprotection from the KD remains unknown; however, evidence to support the efficacy of the KD in reducing seizures is present in epilepsy and oxygen toxicity studies, and may provide valuable insight in diving activities. Methods: Three divers (two males and one female ages 32-45 with a history of deep diving and high pO 2 exposure) on the KD made dives to varying depths in Hawaii using fully closed-circuit MK-15 and Inspiration rebreathers. These rebreathers have an electronically controlled set point, allowing the divers to monitor and control the oxygen level in the breathing loop, which can be varied manually by the divers. Oxygen level was varied during descent, bottom depth and ascent (decompression). Divers fasted for 12-18 hours before diet initiation. The ketosis level was verified by urinating on a Ketostix (reagent strips for urinalysis). Results/Summary: Ketosis was achieved and was easily monitored with Ketostix in the simulated operational environment. The KD did not interfere with the diving mission; no seizure activity or signs or symptoms of CNS toxicity were observed, and there were no adverse effects noted by the divers while on the KD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-335
Number of pages5
JournalUndersea and Hyperbaric Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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