The Ketogenic Diet: Uses in Epilepsy and Other Neurologic Illnesses

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URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898565/
Journal: Current Treatment Options in Neurology
Publication Date: 11/2008
Summary: The ketogenic diet is well established as therapy for intractable epilepsy. It should be considered first-line therapy in glucose transporter type 1 and pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency. It should be considered early in the treatment of Dravet syndrome and myoclonic-astatic epilepsy (Doose syndrome).

Initial studies indicate that the ketogenic diet appears effective in other metabolic conditions, including phosphofructokinase deficiency and glycogenosis type V (McArdle disease). It appears to function in these disorders by providing an alternative fuel source. A growing body of literature suggests the ketogenic diet may be beneficial in certain neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In these disorders, the ketogenic diet appears to be neuroprotective, promoting enhanced mitochondrial function and rescuing adenosine triphosphate production.

Dietary therapy is a promising intervention for cancer, given that it may target the relative inefficiency of tumors in using ketone bodies as an alternative fuel source. The ketogenic diet also may have a role in improving outcomes in trauma and hypoxic injuries.

Key Takeaways

The ketogenic diet is a highly effective therapy for epilepsy, but it could be applied in a variety of conditions. Disease surrounding glucose and glycogen functions are prime candidates as the ketogenic diet provides an alternative fuel source. Ketones also appear to have a neuroprotective effect, thus the ketogenic diet may be helpful in diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ALS. Finally there may be a role for the ketogenic diet in cancer as tumors struggle to utilize ketones as fuel.

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