Dietary Therapy Consideration For Epilepsy

Changes in diet can lead to improvement in epilepsy symptoms. Usually this treatment approach is used along with medications. Research suggests that when the brain sources its energy from ketones in the body rather than glucose, many people experience fewer seizures. The reason why is not completely understood. Dietary therapy can be an attractive strategy because it gives patients and caregivers a sense of control. However, the diet can be difficult to sustain, and there are possible side effects, such as thinning hair, lethargy, weight loss, very rarely kidney stones and cardiac problems. Also, the diet may not be appropriate for children who may have certain metabolic diseases.

Ketogenic Diet

The type of dietary therapy is determined based on individual circumstances. The best studied is the classic ketogenic diet. The Northwestern Medicine Comprehensive Epilepsy Center offers a Ketogenic Diet Program specifically for patients with epilepsy.

The ketogenic diet is a restrictive high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that is prescribed and carefully monitored by an epilepsy specialist and nutritionist. It is mostly used in children but can be used in adults as well. In an effort to provide some flexibility in administration, a variety of ketogenic diets have been created beyond the classic ketogenic diet, including the medium chain triglyceride (MCT) ketogenic diet, high-glycemic index diet and the modified Atkins diet.

[WATCH VIDEO] Learn about Northwestern Medicine's modified ketogenic diet and what those who follow the diet eat in a day.

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Ketogenic Diet Therapy for Epilepsy
In this episode of our Better Edge podcast, Yara Mikhaeil-Demo, MD, discusses the use of the ketogenic diet, a restrictive high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, as a treatment for epilepsy, including its applicability and efficacy.

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