Select Page

New Report Shows Ketogenic Benefits for McArdle Disease Patients

Now there’s good news for those living with McArdle disease, a metabolic disorder with no known cure that affects skeletal muscle.

McArdle disease is a rare inherited condition in which the body is unable to break down muscle glycogen. Glycogen is an important source of energy that is stored in all tissues, especially in the muscles and liver. The disease is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder. This means that you must receive a copy of the nonworking gene from both parents.

Patients with McArdle disease often feel muscle pain, fatigue, stiffness and weakness, as well as faster breathing and an accelerated heart rate, during daily activity and especially with intense activity. Continuing activity after fatigue and ensuing pain can lead to severe muscle breakdown and acute renal failure.

Traditional pharmacological treatments of McArdle’s symptoms have proven ineffective. But a recent case report* shows the benefits of the low-carb ketogenic diet recommended by HEALcare® can provide relief from pain, reduction in muscle damage (and its associated complications), and an improved quality of life for patients with McArdle disease.

The case report co-authored by me and three colleagues concluded that “a carbohydrate-restricted diet may provide patients with McArdle disease with a consistent energy substrate for working muscles, thereby reducing the risk of muscle damage and threat of renal failure.”

The results of the case report were based on the experience of three patients with McArdle disease that adopted a low-carbohydrate keto diet. In each case, the patients experienced a distinct improvement in activity and exercise tolerance. The reason? A low-carb diet like HEALcare’s appears to provide a steady supply of energy to muscles, reducing the risk of muscle damage and the threat of renal failure. In all three patients, Creatine Kinase (CK) – an intracellular enzyme found in skeletal muscle that indicates muscle breakdown as it rises – was significantly lowered from a starting average of 12 times the normal range. Two patients even exhibited CK values within normal range after the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, highlighting a significant reduction in muscle damage.

You can learn more about McArdle disease on Facebook.

For more detail on the links between a ketogenic diet and McArdle’s, read this guest post by Dr. Stacey Reason, one of the case report’s co-authors, at

Dr. Eric Westman is Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University and HEALcare Chief Medical Officer. The HEALcare program is a guided low-carb path to weight loss and type 2 diabetes remission that also reduces health risks such as cholesterol abnormalities, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and more. Download clinical results.

* Can a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Improve Exercise Tolerance in Mcardle Disease? – iMedPub Journals – Journal of Rare Disorders: Diagnosis & Therapy ISSN 2380-7245

If you have a question that needs a response from a member of our team, please CONTACT US. Messages left in the comment box below may not be answered directly.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice or treatment. Follow the guidance of a physician before embarking on any diabetes-management or weight-loss program, especially if you are on dialysis, pregnant, nursing or under the age of 18. If you are taking medications, changing your diet under the HEALcare® program may require a change in their dosages. Follow your doctor’s orders on all medications, especially if you are taking diuretics or medication for blood pressure or diabetes. Individual results may vary. The testimonials referenced in this website are not promises or guarantees that you will achieve similar results.

Pin It on Pinterest