Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy: What We Know So Far

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URL: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30760973/
Journal: Frontiers in Neuroscience
Publication Date: 01/2019
Summary: The Ketogenic Diet (KD) is a modality of treatment used since the 1920s as a treatment for intractable epilepsy. It has been proposed as a dietary treatment that would produce similar benefits to fasting, which is already recorded in the Hippocratic collection. The KD has a high fat content (90%) and low protein and carbohydrate. Evidence shows that KD and its variants are a good alternative for non-surgical pharmacoresistant patients with epilepsy of any age, taking into account that the type of diet should be designed individually and that less-restrictive and more-palatable diets are usually better options for adults and adolescents. This review discusses the KD, including the possible mechanisms of action, applicability, side effects, and evidence for its efficacy, and for the more-palatable diets such as the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD) and the Low Glycemic Index Diet (LGID) in children and adults.

Key Takeaways

The ketogenic diet is a treatment option for children and adults with epilepsy resistant to medication and surgery. Further, a modified Atkins diet or a low glycemic index diet with an emphasis on obtaining calories from fat appear to show benefit as well and may be more palatable to some patients. The exact mechanisms with which these diets control seizures is not fully understood, but common theories include anti-inflammatory properties of ketones and positive effects the diet have on the microbiome.

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