The Ketogenic Diet Is a Safer Way to Help Manage Epilepsy
November 18, 2018 | 2,018 views
By Dr. Mercola
Did you know that the ketogenic diet (a high-fat, low-carb and moderate-protein diet) was traditionally used in the treatment of epilepsy before it became a popular way of eating to improve metabolic health?
As you may know, epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain, resulting in seizures that may affect a person’s quality of life and put them at risk of accidents and injuries.
It’s one of the most common neurological conditions, affecting around 65 million people worldwide.
Despite the effectiveness of ketogenic diet in managing epilepsy, conventional doctors weren’t very enthusiastic in recommending it as a potential treatment for patients.
The first line of treatment that’s often recommended for this illness are prescription medicines. However, finding the right drug takes a lot of trial-and-error, and the process can expose patients to a slew of side effects, including:
- Weight gain
- Inflammation of the vital organs
An American film titled “First Do No Harm” shines light on the dangers of medicine for epilepsy and the successful treatment of this condition through ketogenic diet. This movie is based on the real-life experience of its director, Jim Abrahams, whose son, Charlie, was diagnosed with epilepsy during infancy.
The Ketogenic Diet for Children and Adults With Epilepsy
In the film, before the Reimuller family found out about the use of the ketogenic diet, their son Robbie was given many pharmaceutical medications for months, causing him to experience a wide array of side effects and even a near-death experience.
Out of desperation, Robbie’s mother looked for other treatment alternatives and eventually learned about the ketogenic diet, which was already being used as treatment for epilepsy at Johns Hopkins for more than 40 years. Not surprisingly, their conventional doctors discouraged them from pursuing this method, claiming that it’s only based on anecdotal evidence and therefore not effective.
However, just days after going on a ketogenic diet, Robbie already began showing improvements — he was weaned from his harmful medications and had fewer seizures until they eventually disappeared.
The ketogenic diet is not only useful for epileptic children, but for epileptic adults as well. A 2014 study published in the journal Neurology showed that eating a high-fat, low-carb diet helped decrease the frequency of seizures by half in 32 percent of the epileptic adult participants. Besides epilepsy, ketogenic diet may also be useful in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), autism, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Type 2 diabetes.
How to Implement the Ketogenic Diet
The cyclical ketogenic diet is not just useful for people with health problems, it’s a beneficial way of eating for a vast majority of people too. Here’s how to switch to a ketogenic diet and start burning fat for fuel to improve your overall well-being:
- Limit your intake of processed foods, refined sugar and processed fructose to 15 grams per day, or better yet, eliminate them from your diet entirely.
- Make sure 50 to 85 percent of your total diet consist of healthy fats from high-quality sources such as avocados, grass fed meat and dairy, coconut oil and wild-caught Alaskan salmon, to name a few.
- Replace grain carbohydrates with organic vegetables.
- Limit your prostein consumption to 1 gram per pound of lean body mass.
You can combine the ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting for better results. This method is one of the best ways to switch your body from being a carb-burning machine to being a fat-burning one.
Together, these strategies may help improve the symptoms of epileptic patients and protect healthy individuals against chronic diseases that require harmful drugs and surgery. For more information about the benefits of the ketogenic diet for epileptic people as well as for healthy individuals, visit my article, “Ketogenic Diet Often Better Than Drugs for the Treatment of Epilepsy.”