Ketogenic diet for Drug-resistant Epilepsy

Ketogenic diet for Drug-resistant Epilepsy | healthbiztips
Ketogenic diet for Drug-resistant Epilepsy | healthbiztips

Keto diet, an Alternative Option for Drug-resistant Seizure

@healthbiztips by Arlene Gentallan | health blog

Ketogenic diet has become an alternative treatment for epileptic people when conventional antiseizure medicine fail to prevent an episode, but how can such a dietary regimen alleviate a serious medical condition?

The utilization of ketogenic diet for drug-resistant epilepsy is predominantly utilized in children, although it is not recommended for adults.

The Epilepsy Foundation claimed that:
  • Over half of children who go on the diet have at least a 50% reduction in the number of their seizures.
  • Some children, usually 10-15%, even become seizure-free.

According to this agency, keto diet proves helpful in medical conditions such as:
  • infantile spasms
  • Rett syndrome
  • tuberous sclerosis complex
  • Dravet syndrome
  • Doose syndrome
  • GLUT-1 deficiency

Studies by Rogawski and colleagues sheds some light into this topic:

Although the exact mechanism of ketogenic diet's success in averting seizure episode is hard to point out, it is known that keto diet's fundamental principle of mimicking the state of starvation induced by fasting is a key factor. However, do note that this diet does not withhold food intake, Instead, it drastically cuts down the portion of carbohydrate a person eats and replaces this main energy source with fat.

Without enough glucose to break down from the scanty carbohydrate, the body switches to fat as it's fuel. Fat is broken down and the liver produces ketone to serve as energy source. At this state, the person is said to be under the state of ketosis in which these ketone bodies floods the bloodstream.

The presence of ketone bodies have several metabolic effects that greatly benefit epileptic people:
  • increase in the production of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter
  • decrease in the production of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter
  • Increase production of adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter
  • Increase in the mitochondrial biogenesis in the hippocampus
  • Increase in reduced gutathione (GSH)

Since each patient has varying medical case and history, it is worth knowing that keto diet is not effective for all people so make it a point to consult your health care provider before starting it.


Rogawski, M. A., Löscher, W., & Rho, J. M. (2016). Mechanisms of Action of Antiseizure Drugs and the Ketogenic Diet. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine, 6(5), a022780. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a022780

Epilepsy Foundation. Ketogenic Diet.

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