What Is A Ketogenic Diet For Epilepsy? Unusual Possible Therapy.

What Is A Ketogenic Diet For Epilepsy? The ketogenic diet is one of the oldest treatments for epilepsy and originated from the observation that patients with epilepsy sometimes show a decreased seizure frequency during fasting.

About Keto & Epilepsy

The ketogenic diet imitates the state of fasting. It was developed in the USA in 1921 and is mainly in use for younger children.

90% fat, 10% protein and carbohydrates are included in the ketogenic diet. The proportion of protein is adapted to the child’s age, which results in a nutrient ratio of four parts fat to one part carbohydrate/protein.

If the diet is successful, it can later be reduced to a percentage of 3:1 and, in a further step, to 2:1.

A ketogenic diet can usually be followed for about two years and can reduce seizure problems and frequency during this time and sometimes beyond.

Forms of epilepsy for which the ketogenic diet appears to be most effective are epileptic spasms, tonic seizures, atonic, myoclonic, and tonic-clonic seizures in symptomatic generalized epilepsies in the context of various syndromes.

The anticonvulsant mechanisms of the ketogenic diet are still largely unclear.

It is believed that the chronic ketosis induced by the diet enhances energy production in the brain, increases the release of the depressant neurotransmitter GABA, and decreases the generation of oxygen free radicals.

There is also evidence that ketones have a direct anticonvulsant effect.

The adjustment and training of a ketogenic diet are carried out on an inpatient basis. An interdisciplinary team trains and accompanies the child in question and their family.

Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet For Epilepsy

Olive Oil Pickled Appetizers Snack Species Food
Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet For Epilepsy / Image by photoAC from Pixabay

Ketosis, often referred to as starvation metabolism, is produced by abstaining from carbohydrates. That fasting has a positive effect on the body has been known for many centuries. According to some well-known records, even Hippocrates has experimented successfully with fasting diets for seizures.

  • Usually, the body obtains its energy from sugar. Carbohydrates are also converted into glucose and thus made available to the brain. This is precisely where the cause of an overreaction in the form of uncontrollable seizures, epilepsy, can occur.
  • The keto diet largely avoids sugar and carbohydrates. Instead, the diet is based on 35 percent protein and about 60 percent fats.
  • With the renunciation of sugar, this energy source is no longer available to the brain. Therefore, the body uses another source, fat. However, brain cells cannot use the fat because a natural barrier prevents it from reaching them.
  • Through the fat diet, a fasting diet is imitated, and as a result, the body has to switch to a different strategy for energy production. In the liver, ketone bodies are formed from amino acids. The brain obtains its energy from these. We can detect ketone bodies in a urine sample or blood test.
  • The combination of fats and proteins is calculated individually. Here, the proportion of proteins ensures that diet-induced muscle loss is counteracted. Only about 5 percent amounts to the coal hydrate portion of this nourishing form.
  • In particular, as studies have shown, children and young people, who react moderately or hardly at all to antiepileptic drugs, achieve success with the fat metabolism diet. Thus seizures occur more rarely to hardly. Similar to medication, this diet is initially used for two years. After a few examinations, the doctor and nutritionist decide how to proceed.

See Also: Good Fats For Keto Diet

Which Foods Are Suitable For The Keto Diet?

Salmon Fish Seafood Veggies Salad Meal Dish
Which Foods Are Suitable For The Keto Diet? / Image by cattalin from Pixabay

In ketosis, metabolism is not based on sugar but fat. Therefore, almost all foods that are metabolized as glucose are avoided. This may mean that you need to realign your food storage.

  • Fats: Fish, meat, seeds, and nuts are good sources of fat. We recommend Beef, lamb, or veal, as well as poultry meat.. As well as salmon, herring, and cod. As for seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts are a good choice, as are all kinds of nuts (except peanuts).
  • Fruits and fruit juices: Consume fruits in small quantities. The fructose they contain impedes ketosis. Blueberries, strawberries, currants, gooseberries, and melons, lemons, and cranberries are safe to eat.
  • Vegetables: Sweet-tasting vegetables such as carrots, corn, or potatoes hinder ketosis. Therefore, resort to starch-reduced varieties such as cauliflower, broccoli, celery, zucchini, eggplant, artichokes, peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, salads of all kinds, and spinach leaves.
  • Protein: Dairy products, especially in the full-fat stage, such as cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and cream, serve as your protein sources. In addition, you can consume eggs, fish, shellfish, poultry, and beef.
  • Oils: All high-quality, cold-pressed cooking oils are suitable here, preferably in organic quality.
  • Binders and baking ingredients: For sauces or soups, you can use carob bean gum or psyllium husk flour, for example. But agar-agar, apple pectin, gelatine, or almond flour are also suitable for veto-friendly cooking and baking.

See Also: Food for the brain.

The Low Carb/High-Fat Keto Diet For Vegans

Soup Vegetables Broccoli Leek Pepper Grains Food
The Low Carb/High-Fat Keto Diet For Vegans / Image by silviarita from Pixabay

Those who have already changed their diet to vegan or still want to do so can still eat a ketogenic diet.

  • Fats and oils: All high-quality organic cooking oils, soy-based fats, and coconut oil are suitable. In addition, avocados, nuts such as almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower, pumpkin and pine nuts, and hemp and flax seeds provide essential fatty acids.
  • Vegetables: as with the animal-based ketogenic diet, you can almost go all out here. Above-ground, starch-reduced vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, artichokes, most cabbage varieties, sprouts, and sprouting seeds, and asparagus are especially suitable.
  • Protein: There is a wide variety of plant-based protein sources that are relatively easy to incorporate into the diet. Tofu, tempeh, soy or coconut yogurt, lupine flour, hemp, almond or coconut flour, and protein powders made from soy, rice, hemp, or peas are worth mentioning here. Unfortunately, they have to do without chickpeas, lentils, and beans.
  • Fruit: Especially berry varieties with low carbohydrate content such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and currants include in your diet. Lemons, cranberries, and melons eat as well.
  • Chocolate and Cocoa: Eating small amounts of chocolate does not have to contradict the keto diet. Here, look for a cocoa content of at least 70 percent and a low carbohydrate content. Homemade chocolate or hot chocolate with unsweetened cocoa powder and almond milk can be a treat.

You can also check our article about “Is Vegetarian Keto Diet Possible?“.

See Also: Ketogenic Diet

What Are The Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet For Epilepsy?

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet beneficial for epilepsy. It is thought to work by changing how the body uses energy, promoting weight loss, and decreasing seizures.

There are many benefits of following a ketogenic diet for epilepsy, including improved mental clarity and focus, reduced seizure frequency, and reduced medication requirements.

What Are The Risks Of A Ketogenic Diet For Epilepsy?

There are risks associated with a ketogenic diet for epilepsy. One risk is that the diet can be challenging to follow, and people may not stick to it. This can lead to difficulty controlling seizures and may also increase the risk of other health problems.

Additionally, people with epilepsy may experience changes in their mood or behavior due to the ketogenic diet, which could be harmful.

How To Follow A Ketogenic Diet For Epilepsy?

A ketogenic diet is a type of diet that helps to control seizures in people with epilepsy. It works by changing the way the body uses energy.

On a ketogenic diet, the body uses primarily fat and minimal carbohydrates. This can help to reduce the number of seizures that a person has.

It is essential to follow a ketogenic diet carefully to work best for you and your epilepsy.

Conclusion

A ketogenic diet is a great way to improve your health and reduce your seizures. However, you should always consult your doctor before starting any new diet.

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