Ketogenic Diets are specially formulated diets for the treatment of seizures, as either an alternative therapy or as a complementary therapy in addition to anticonvulsants medications.
The Ketogenic Diet is one of the oldest types of treatment for epilepsy however over the years has been replaced by many conventional treatments such as effective anticonvulsant medications.
However the Ketogenic Diet may be an effective alternative or complementary therapy when conventional medications have not worked successfully or have had adverse side effects. The diet often can control epileptic seizures completely or effective decrease them significantly.
The Ketogenic Diet is a high fat protein diet with very low carbohydrates. This diet is monitored closely and calculated specifically for the person or child with seizures. The diet should always be supplemented with calcium and vitamins.
The diet was originally formulated to simulate the metabolic effects of starving oneself, because when your body is starving, the body will first use its store of glycogen and glucose and then it will start to burn fat which has been stored in the body. When there is insufficient glucose available the body’s fats can't be burned completely and the ketones are residue that is leftover as a by-product of incompletely burned fat. The ketones build up and it is the high level of ketones which eventually may suppress seizures.
Epileptic children are only permitted to eat a carefully calculated menu. The portions are small, the ketosis eventually suppresses the appetite and thirst and after a short time the person or child adjusts and is rarely hungry.
A Ketogenic breakfast may include such items as a mushroom omelet with bacon. Lunch may consist of celery filled with peanut butter or cream cheese, lettuce with tomato and a caffeine free diet drink. Dinner may be as simple as a weighed portion of hot dog with ketchup and a strawberry whipped cream sundae and diet drink.
The ketogenic diet appears to decrease the seizures due to the ketosis. It is relatively unclear exactly how ketones suppress seizures but currently research is hard at work to investigate these findings. Suppression of ketosis by
the administration of carbohydrates may result in a quick recurrence of epileptic seizure activity.
Before starting any diet for seizure as in a Ketogenic Diet please see you medical professional for evaluation and to discuss all the possible side effects and medication alterations that may have to be made. I thoroughly believe if given all the data, your physician will consider a ketogenic diet as a complementary therapy that under close monitoring may be used as an effective treatment for anyone especially children suffering from seizures.
References for this article include: Faces.med.nyu.edu, Epilepsy.com and WebMd.com