High-Fat Diet May Reduce Seizures When Drugs Fail
the MPR take:
For patients that do not respond to epilepsy medications, a diet high in fat, low in protein, and containing no carbohydrates may be an effective last resort in preventing seizures. Known as the ketogenic diet, the plan sends the body into ketosis where the body breaks down dietary fat (instead of body fat in a typical fasting state). The diet can consist of as much as 90% fat, although some adopt a modified version of between 65–70% fat. The exact mechanism of action in preventing seizures with the diet is unknown, although one study found that a child’s ability to stave off seizures was linked to the protein BCL-2-associated Agonist of Cell Death that also affects metabolism in the brain. The positive effects of the diet often linger even after the child stops following the diet, although this does not apply to adults (who may need to remain on the diet for their lifetime for seizure prevention). Because the diet is extremely restrictive, doctors typically recommend this eating plan only to patients after at least two or three unsuccessful treatments with various medications.
And so the quest to help Jackson gain control over his seizures led the family from their home in Orlando, Florida, to the office of a registered dietician at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in New York City. The plan was to treat Jackson with a diet that is heavy in fat, low in protein and includes almost no carbohydrates.
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