Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fasting vs Ketogenic DIet - Epilepsy Warriors - Ask A Doc

 This week's question for Epilepsy Warriors...Fasting vs Ketogenic DIet

Fasting and being seizure free question. I have noticed for years that my son who has severe quad CP with seizures does not have seizures if he is not eating. I have seen this with having to fast for sedated cat scans, surgeries and just not eating due to stomach upset. I have seen or heard of this same thing occurring with many other children. I had been told it was probably due to fasting and making ketones. Similar to the ketognic diet effect. 

My question comes with how could that be the answer because when he has had stomach upset and only been able to drink clear juice and eat apple sause he is consuming more sugar than he normally ever would. I have the ketone strips and have actually tested him to see what the results are and they are in normal range. Being in groups on FB and other social sites I keep seeing a common post, my childs sick and can't eat but the good news is we are seizure free right now. I wander (sic) what the common link is? What chemicals does the brain make in on...

This weeks question is about the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate diet that is high in fat and adequate in its protein delivery. The ketogenic diet mimics starvation by forcing the body to live on facts. The brain then lives on breakdown products of fats called ketone bodies.

The ketogenic diet is intended as a treatment for refractory epilepsy. The diet is very effective in 1/3 of patients and approximately half of patients who try the diet of the decrees and seizures.

While this diet simulates fasting, it is the fueling of the brain by ketone bodies that makes it effective. There is now some experience with the Atkins diet which is only a low-carb diet and this too is effective.

In the story above, a child with is unlikely to be fueled by ketone bodies during an illness when they are fasting but still taking juices.

Now, please don't just start the diet before consulting with your physician!There are some children who should never be on the diet. There are some children who will not tolerate the diet. And, there are serious potentially side effects like any medication. For instance, 5% of kids can get kidney stones.

So, in summary, the ketogenic diet is effective in treating refractory epilepsy in children. The success lies in dropping the amount of sugar and not necessarily total calories. Please speak your neurologist if you are considering the treatment.

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