Can a Ketogenic Diet Relieve Epilepsy?

Recent studies have revealed a close link between epilepsy and the ketogenic diet, also known as the ketogenic diet syndrome. The ketogenic diet is one of several alternative treatments for epilepsy. It is also being studied for use in epileptic encephalopathy. In addition, the ketogenic diet may also be a protective mechanism against epileptic seizures. Here, we take a look at the possible links between the ketogenic diet and epilepsy and its potential use in the treatment of epilepsy.

ketogenic diet epilepsy

What is epilepsy? Epilepsy is the result of an imbalance of brain chemical neurotransmitters in the brain. These chemical neurotransmitters regulate both brain activity and physical functions. During normal functioning, the messages from the brain are transmitted properly. However, when a person’s diet does not provide the body with the necessary substances or vitamins or minerals such as those needed to produce the brain chemicals, communication between brain cells can be disrupted.

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To explain this further, when someone with epilepsy goes on a ketogenic diet, his body starts producing ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are fats that are produced by the liver. They help to burn energy in the absence of carbohydrates or sugar. Although ketone bodies have been shown to be associated with a decreased risk of epileptic seizures, their exact role in seizure risk is not well understood. Because ketone bodies have a very low solubility, they pass through the gut intact, but travel to the liver, where they compete with fat for available space.

The ketone bodies can then trigger a seizure, causing an attack of brief electrical impulses in the brain. Ketone diets have been shown to provoke seizures in animals, but there are no clinical studies comparing human cases with animal seizures. There are some concerns, however, that the lack of carbohydrates in ketone body diets may contribute to the onset of epilepsy. If you’re at risk for epilepsy, it’s important to discuss this with your doctor before starting a ketone body diet.

Patients with epilepsy who are undergoing ketosis have suffered from seizures previously. In some cases, ketones themselves were the problem. Excess ketones are removed from the body through urine or feces. This condition is called ketoacidosis and is potentially very dangerous. In patients with intractable epilepsy, ketosis can lead to seizures.

Although rare, some cases of intractable epilepsy have been associated with ketosis. Doctors who treat this condition with carb restriction often prescribe high protein low carbohydrate diets to compensate for the lack of ketones in their body. These diets have been shown to improve the body’s metabolic efficiency and reduce ketone production.

People with epilepsy may want to consider trying a high protein, low carbohydrate diet in addition to a ketone bodies supplement to help regulate seizure frequency. Clinical studies in Europe show that a combination of ketosis and exogenous ketone bodies can significantly lower the risk of epileptic seizures. However, uncontrolled epilepsy should always be treated using top recommended medications first.

In conclusion, ketones can cause epileptic seizures when taken in excess. Excessive intake of ketone bodies or exogenous ketones should be avoided, especially in patients with intractable epilepsy. A great supplement to help control epilepsy is a quality protein, low carb, high protein diet. By eating more protein and less carbohydrates, this diet will balance your blood sugar levels and help your body process ketones in the liver more efficiently.

So, should you start on a high protein, low carb diet to treat epilepsy? Yes, it may reduce your risk of seizures. However, it is not for everyone talk to your doctor first. Exogenous ketones such as exogenous ketones, (which comes from outside your body) can increase your risk of developing kidney failure, which is also associated with ketones.

Exogenous ketones are just another term for dietary fat. Although you may be lowering your calorie intake, you can still lead to dehydration and weight gain. That is why many people, who use high protein, low carb diets to treat epilepsy, prefer to add green tea to their diet as a healthy beverage to help counteract the effect of ketones in the body.

Before starting a ketogenic diet to control epilepsy, make sure you research the various supplements and their ingredients to ensure that they are safe for you. Also read up on the potential side effects, and how they might affect your seizure symptoms. A simple search on the internet should yield some results when looking for the right supplement to take to help you with your epilepsy.

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