Mouse and human immune cells have demonstrated that a compound produced by the body when dieting or fasting (β-hydroxybutyrate — BHB) directly inhibits a protein, NLRP3, which is part of a complex set of proteins that drive the inflammatory response in several disorders, including autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, and autoinflammatory disorders.
BHB is produced in response to fasting, high-intensity exercise, caloric restriction, or consumption of the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet.
The finding helps explain why calorie restriction reduces inflammation.
Youm, Y.-H., Nguyen, K. Y., Grant, R. W., Goldberg, E. L., Bodogai, M., Kim, D., … Dixit, V. D. (2015). The ketone metabolite β-hydroxybutyrate blocks NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory disease. Nature Medicine, 21(3), 263–269. http://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3804