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Does a ketogenic diet help in epilepsy treatment?

Children or adults with epilepsy who are unable to control their seizures may benefit from the ketogenic diet. The Ketogenic diet for epilepsy treatment may help to reduce the severity and may also have other positive effects.

Currently, anti-seizure medication (ASM), previously known as anti-epileptic drugs (AED), is the main type of treatment for most people with epilepsy. About 70% (7 in 10) of people could stop having seizures if they took the right type of medication. Ketogenic diets may be helpful for some people with epilepsy, but they are very specialized and should be followed under the guidance of a trained medical specialist. 

What is the ketogenic diet?

Ketogenic diets (KD) are diets that contain high levels of fat, low levels of carbohydrates, and controlled amounts of protein. This type of diet has been used since the 1920s to treat epilepsy. The diet is a medical treatment and is usually considered when at least two other treatments have failed.

The ketogenic diets for epilepsy treatment should only be followed with the advice and support of a knowledgeable epilepsy specialist and dietitian.

How does the ketogenic diet for epilepsy treatment work?

Usually, the human body uses glucose as a source of energy (found in foods such as sugar, bread, and pasta). When the body uses fat as a source of energy, chemicals called ketones are produced (this is called ketosis). The ketogenic diet involves the body mostly using ketones as its energy source rather than glucose. Research has shown that a particular fatty acid, decanoic acid, may play a role in this process.  

No doubt eating a ketogenic diet will keep you energetic but it is also important for your family to know in case a seizure occurs again while you are away from home. For this reason, using the best epilepsy app paired with your smartwatch can help monitor your symptoms. 

If you want to know how it works then it is simple to use. Just subscribe to Inspyre, then download the app and sync it to Apple or Samsung watch. In case of any abnormal motions, the app will detect it and instantly send an alert to the family and caregivers via text and a phone call. 

Who is the ketogenic diet for epilepsy treatment suitable for?

Although it may not work for everyone, the diet is suitable for a wide range of epilepsy syndromes and seizure disorders, such as myoclonic-astatic epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, infantile spasms (West syndrome), and tuberous sclerosis. For any feeding issues known to occur either in you or in your child, it is best to avoid the ketogenic diet. 

Dietitians can calculate the diet and include foods that you or your child like in the ketogenic diet, which adapts to all ethnic diets as well as people who are allergic to dairy products.

What age range is the diet suitable for?

Children and adults of any age can use the ketogenic diet for epilepsy treatment, although detailed monitoring might be required in infants.

What should you consume in this diet?

There are different forms of the ketogenic diet. Different types of diets have various foods and proportions. Each recipe has a considerable effect on reducing seizure attacks. 

Is this a healthy way to eat?

In order to have a nutritionally balanced diet, an experienced dietitian prepares a chart of the right proportion of various foods. Dietitians provide individuals with recipes, assistance with planning meals, and suggestions on which foods to avoid if the diet is quite restrictive. Intake of vitamins and mineral supplements is necessary especially when practicing diet restrictions. 

How to monitor a person’s health?

Your dietitian and a medical team monitor your growth (height and weight, as applicable), health and epilepsy throughout the follow-ups. The medical practitioner informs for any necessary changes in the doses of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) during the course of action. Following the diet carefully prevents individuals from gaining or losing weight inappropriately.

The diet may require that you or your child keep a seizure diary. Because food affects our mood, alertness, and overall behavior, you will have to note any changes in mood, behavior, or alertness while on the diet. It generally takes a minimum of three months to see if or not the diet is effective. After two years, with the support of a physician, some may consider (with their medical team), gradually coming off the diet if they remain seizure-free, have fewer seizures, or maintain other benefits like improved quality of life.

In case of any advent of seizures, it is necessary to use a seizure monitoring device such as your existing Apple or Samsung watch or android phone and sync it with Inspyre by SmartMonitor app. This app will detect any repetitive motions similar to those caused by convulsions and alert your family and caregivers. As you know, seizures can occur at any time and hence using this seizure or epilepsy app can help in taking timely interventions. Thus, you are helping yourself to save your life. 

Are there any side effects of the diet?

It is common to experience constipation, partly caused by a lack of fiber. Usually, you will feel hungry, vomiting, and lack energy at the beginning of the treatment. However, these side effects will decrease with time, as well as prevention, by monitoring every step carefully.

As they become accustomed to the diet, many people report feeling more energetic and alert.

Does the ketogenic diet work?

Evidence shows that the diet has a significant effect on reducing seizures when conventional AEDs have less to no outcome. Nearly 38 percent of children have shown a reduction in seizures by more than half in three months. Besides their medicine intake has lessened too. Some children had better seizure control, but others showed more alertness, awareness, and responsiveness.

Since then, other trials have shown similar results in children. High-quality evidence suggests that dietary treatment is effective for adults as well.

As part of the ongoing research, examination of different diets, as well as its effects on people, are studied. 

While research agrees a ketogenic diet may help, the diet is very specific. Follow the ketogenic diet under the care, supervision, and guidance of a trained medical specialist.


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