Ketogenic Diet Plan for Epilepsy, is it Safe?

A Ketogenic Diet Plan is among other often used for treating Epilepsy patient’s.

This type of treatment comes in different variations, but generally speaking it is eating a diet with a high amount of fat and low amount of carbohydrates. A Keto diet will get the body into Ketosis which may have a positive effect on the seizures situation for many patient’s. Practically speaking, it has been shown difficult to follow through with this treatment over time.

Implementing a Ketogenic diet plan for epilepsy should never be conducted without the support of a dietitian and a physician.

Where to start

ketogenic diet plan for epilepsy - doctors appointmentThis type of diet as a treatment often begins at a hospital, in close cooperation with physicians and doctors. This is a straining time for both patient and next of kin, as the regular food intake will be limited.

Once the body no longer finds its energy from the usual food it digests, it begins to seek its stored fat for fuel to transform into energy.

Be sure to ask your doctor for advice on which approach would be best for your needs, as there are a couple of different ways to reach Ketosis, one more restricted than the other. No need to weigh every part of your meal if you don’t have to, you might be better off just weighing the foods containing carbohydrates.

Ketosis is reached

The patient’s carb intake is limited to about 10-16g per day, and should primarily come from vegetables and fruits. Foods from fats are greatly increased and foods with protein are kept at a normal level to maintain muscle mass. It may be nessecary to take supplements with vitamins, minerals and Omega 3.

Once Ketosis is reached, the patient is continually fed large amounts of fat to keep the body in a fat burning state (Ketosis). Special kinds of fats are available in pharmacies, fats to use when cooking. MCT-oils like Coconut oil is usually available in your local grocery store, and provide great benefits when used to cook your meats and vegetables.

A balancing act

Staying in a state of Ketosis is a balancing act, and a precise calculation of calories, carbs etc. the patient should eat at every meal, is necessary to maintain the body in a ketogenic state. If the patient eats too many carbs, or more or less of something contradicting the Keto principles, the ketosis ends and the desired effect comes to a halt.

Enhanced concentration, more focus and attention, better sleep, mood and behavior are all signs of the diet doing what it is supposed to and that your brain is running on ketones rather than sugars (glucose).

You want to monitor the presence and concentration of acetoacetic acid (ketone) in the blood, and you want to do this as often as you need, especially in the beginning of the treatment. This information is valuable with regard to knowing your carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and comes in handy for us when following a ketogenic diet.

ketogenic diet plan for epilepsy - ketone test stripsHow to measure along the way

Your doctor or physician should give you strips to measure your ketone levels once you start the diet, but almost every pharmacy (as well as Amazon and Walmart) has some sort of urinal ketone test strips for home use on stock.

These strips are quite inexpensive and provide valuable readings during the day, and should in the beginning of the diet primarily be used before breakfast and supper to see where you are.

By using the strips before you eat your first meal, you will easily be able to make adjustments if needed in your meal. During the first few weeks, one test in the morning and one in the evening is sufficient.

After 14 days, 1-2 days per week with 1 in the morning and 1 before bed is good.

Stay on and Keep track

In order to have a significant effect, the diet should be kept strict for at least 3 months.

Measure often and take notes of any and all occurencies of seizures, to be able to know whether the diet has the desired effect on the patient.

If the seizures occurancies have not gone down significantly, you might want to try to limit carbohydrate intake even more.

It could be that you eat one apple or orange a day that limits the ketone benefits you might be reaping without the fruit. Stay off fruits completely for a few weeks, to see if your ketone levels elevate enough to keep your seizures to a minimum.


Is this form of Epilepsy treatment new?

Utilizing a Ketogenic diet plan for epilepsy was first introduced about 100 years ago, and has recently been modified into what is known as the modernized version of the treatment. Ketogenic diet is today a well-established form of treatment for kids with treatment resistant epilepsy.

The diet has the brain using fats (ketones) as its primary fuel source over sugars. It is believed that this energy adjustment and the regulation of energy consumption within the brain, is the reason for lowering the occurrence of seizures within the patient.

The treatment with a ketogenic diet has shown positive effects with some types of epilepsy, and is also used for other conditions where the body or the brain, has difficulties with using carbohydrates normally, for instance when lacking GLUT1.





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