The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, is a nutritional or dietary therapy that is intended to help in the management or treatment of medical syndrome. It is High-fat, adequate proteins, and a low-carb diet. It requires careful measurement of vitamins, fluids, proteins, etc. One of these procedures is the keto diet for epilepsy treatment.
The keto diet is recommended for every child who has epilepsy that persists after treatment. The ketogenic diet is a well-established therapeutic method for children with epilepsy that is difficult to monitor. Adults, on the other hand, can also benefit from dietary therapies. Epilepsy dietary therapies can only be taken with the help of an experienced epilepsy expert and dietitian (food specialist).
This therapy requires strict compliance and a lot of flexibility, particularly at the beginning, in order to be effective. Most importantly, epilepsy patients can only follow the diet with the help of a professional ketogenic diet team, which includes a doctor and a certified dietitian who can properly measure and track the diet for each person.
The ketogenic diet retrains your body maintenance to use high-fat foods differently. Carbohydrates (such as sugars and starches) and other carbs usually provide the majority of the energy in other diets. The keto diet reduces carbohydrate intake and trains your body to burn fat for energy instead. In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know.
What Exactly is Meant by the Term Epilepsy?
An excess in brain chemicals that either excite or suppress brain function causes an increase in seizures. When there is irritation or an inhibition imbalance, the ‘excitatory’ activity spreads like a forest fire, including more brain regions. It triggers seizure activity as it spreads. Seizures may become recurrent if they are not treated. Epilepsy Medications are often sufficient to control epileptic seizures. However, about a third of patients with epilepsy, according to a prospective study, has seizures that are immune to therapy. A keto diet for epilepsy is often used in this case.
What is the Relationship Between Epilepsy and Ketogenic Diets?
Seizures are a symptom of epilepsy and are caused by cycles of overexcitement of brain cells. It can cause uncontrollable jerking actions and even death. Epilepsy can be very difficult to successfully manage. Seizure types come in a variety of forms, and certain patients with the disorder experience seizure frequency each day. Despite the fact that there are multiple successful epilepsy treatments, about 30% of people cannot have seizure control with them.
Refractory epilepsy is one of the types of epilepsy that does not respond to treatment. The ketogenic diet was created in the 1920s to help children with anti-epileptic drugs. The diet has been shown to replicate the positive effects on seizure reduction by providing at least 90% of calories from fat. The precise mechanisms behind the anti-seizure effects of the ketogenic diet are now known by physicians. A ketogenic diet is a form of treatment for people who have epilepsy that isn’t well regulated and should be used more.
The diet, which is high in fats and low in carbohydrates, works by altering how the brain obtains nutrition. The Keto diet has effectively proved to be a treatment for epilepsy in many patients, despite its lack of understanding. Ketosis helps to lower the risk of epilepsy.
What Medical Problems can be Treated by a Ketogenic Diet?
The keto diet is often recommended by doctors to cure the risk of seizures in children of all ages, including babies. Adults generally dislike ketogenic diets because they feel that it is difficult to sustain over time due to the restricted food choices i.e. grains, sweets, and fruit options. The keto diet has also been used to treat other neurological (brain-related) disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, diabetes, and morbid obesity.
The keto diet is simpler to follow than most diabetes diet plans, and it will help obese people retrain their bodies to burn fat again.
The keto diet has been shown to be successful in the treatment of epilepsy over time. Around 40% to 50% of children who begin the keto diet experienced a 50% reduction of seizures. In addition, about 10% to 20% of children experience a drop in the frequency of seizures of more than 90%.
The Effects of MCT Oil on People with Epilepsy
MCTs are a category of fat that comes in a variety of types. This diet allows for more carbohydrates, so may offer more variety. It contains fat from naturally fatty foods as well as fat from an MCT oil or emulsion substitute. This can be combined with food, butter, or milk. Unlike the traditional diet, which is based on a rigid ketogenic ratio of fat, the MCT diet is based on the percentage of energy reserves (calories) given by these specific types of fat in a person. Keto has been around for quite some time.
It was used to treat a form of epilepsy known as drug-resistant epilepsy. When antiepileptic medications fail to control seizure frequency, this is what happens. They are put on a keto diet if anything happens. Why didn’t they start with the keto diet? Since there isn’t a value to be made, antiepileptic drugs should be sold at a premium.
The keto diet reduces calories while increasing ketones. Ketones, in particular, may provide a source of energy to weakened neurons. When a short circuit occurs, there is usually some sort of injury. Glucose is not the best fuel for a weakened nerve cell. Ketones are a lot more effective. MCT oil readily converts to ketones. A double-blind placebo-controlled evidence animal study found that using MCT oil resulted in substantial changes. Fasting for adults with epilepsy is also supported by a large body of evidence.
The ketone body is a better fuel source for the brain than glucose. If you give your brain a preference, it will always choose ketones. Hyperactivity and ADHD will also benefit from ketosis.
What are the Benefits of Keto for the Brain and How does it help?
Glucose is the brain’s primary fuel source. Unlike the muscles, your brain cannot use fat as a power source. Ketones, on the other hand, can be used by the brain. When your blood sugar and glucose levels are down, your liver converts fatty acids into ketones. Ketones are released in small quantities if you go without food for a long period of time, such as after a full night’s sleep.
During fasting or when carb consumption is less than 50 grams a day, however, the liver increases the output of ketone levels even more. Ketones can supply up to 75% of the brain’s energy production as carbohydrate content is removed or reduced.
Other Advantages for the Brain
Low-carb and ketogenic diets can have some other advantages for the brain, but they haven’t been tested as thoroughly:
Memory. Since maintaining a relatively low carb diet for 6–12 weeks, children and older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease had an increase in recall. These were small trials, but the findings are encouraging.
Brain function. When elderly and obese rats are fed ketogenic diets, their brain function improves.
Congenital Hyperinsulinism. Low blood sugar is caused by congenital hyperinsulinism, which can lead to brain injury. Ketogenic diets have been shown to be effective in treating this disease.
Migraine. Low-carb or ketogenic diets, according to studies conducted by the medical team of researchers, may help migraine sufferers.
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Parkinson’s disease. The ketogenic diets were equivalent to a low fat, high carb diet in a limited randomized control experiment. The ketogenic diets improved pain and other nonmotor effects of Parkinson’s disease significantly in people who followed it.
Are there any side effects of the Keto diet when used for treatments for epilepsy?
You can encounter some side effects when switching to a low-carb or ketogenic diet. For a few days, you might experience headaches, fatigue, or lightheadedness. The keto flu is the name for this condition. Here are few tips to help you get through the adjustment period:
- Make sure you drink plenty of water. To replace the water depletion that happens in the early level of ketosis, drink at least 68 ounces (2 liters) of water a day.
- Consume more salt. Replace the amount of salt lost in your urine when you cut down on carbohydrate content by adding 1–2 grams of salt a day. The broth will assist you in meeting the elevated sodium and fluid requirements. Potassium and magnesium supplements are recommended.
- To avoid muscle cramps, eat foods rich in potassium and magnesium. Avocado, Greek yogurt, onions, and tuna are also healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Maintain a healthy activity level.
- For at least one week, refrain from strenuous activity. It may take a few weeks to fully adhere to the ketogenic diet. Don’t force yourself in the gym until you’re sure you’re confident.
Ketogenic diets, according to the facts, may have significant brain benefits. The most compelling studies concern the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy syndrome in children. Ketogenic diets can also help with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease symptoms, according to recent research.
The effects on individuals with these and other brain syndromes are still being studied. Aside from brain wellbeing, several studies have shown that low carbohydrates per day and ketogenic diets can assist with weight loss and diabetes management. These diets aren’t right for everyone, but they do help a lot of people.