Introduction to Ketogenic Diets

Studies show that keto diets are an effective supplemental treatment for many suffering with various seizure disorders, particularly myoclonic epilepsies, infantile spasms, and tuberous sclerosis complex.[1]   Individuals with symptomatic generalized epilepsy tend to remain on keto diets longer than those with other seizure disorders.[2] This high fat, low carbohydrate dietary approach consists of stern food limitations that force the body into a state of ketosis. In order for ketosis to occur, the body’s hormonal and metabolic adaptation must draw its energy from fat reserves (opposed to glucose) sparing protein breakdown. As a result, muscle and other tissues (notably the heart and the brain) begin to switch its energy source from glucose to free fatty acids. This new energy source is referred to as ketone bodies that, unlike fatty acids, can pass across the blood-brain barrier.[3]

Even though KD has been used for many decades with children epileptics, there has been a sudden peaked increase of interest within the past 20 years.[4] Unfortunately, there is very limited research on its effects amongst adolescents and adults faced with epilepsy.

 

 

 

[1] Neal, E. (2014). Ketogenic dietary therapy for epilepsy and other disorder: Current perspectives. Nutrition and Dietary Supplements, 4(6), p. 25.

[2] Nei, M., Ngo, L., Sirven, J., & Sperling, M. (2014). Ketogenic diet in adolescents and adults with epilepsy. Seizure, 23(6),p. 441.

[3] Neal, E. (2014). Ketogenic dietary therapy for epilepsy and other disorder: Current perspectives. Nutrition and Dietary Supplements, 4(6), p. 25.

[4] Ibid. p. 25.

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