Principles of the Keto Diet Have Been Used to Treat Epilepsy for Centuries, Does It Actually Work? - Deepstash

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Principles of the Keto Diet Have Been Used to Treat Epilepsy for Centuries, Does It Actually Work?

https://elemental.medium.com/can-the-keto-diet-successfully-treat-epilepsy-72c9310f8c39

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Principles of the Keto Diet Have Been Used to Treat Epilepsy for Centuries, Does It Actually Work?
A physician traces one boy's story and the latest research.

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The Keto diet is named after ketones

The Keto diet is named after ketones

Ketones are products of the fat metabolism that occurs when the body is running low on carbohydrates and proteins as sources of energy.

Ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and act as a substitute for glucose to supply the brain with essential energy.

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Treating epilepsy with fasting or diet

Fasting was the only method of treating seizures in the past as recorded by Hippocrates.

Only in 1921, Dr Russel Wilder of the Mayo Clinic proposed that ketone production occurring in the fasting state could also be achieved through a diet high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates.

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Modern versions of the ketogenic diet

  • The classic ketogenic diet. 80% to 90% of calories come from fat, 10% from protein, and the rest are from carbohydrates such as fruits or vegetables.
  • The medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) diet. The diet uses MCT oils naturally found in palm and coconut oil as well as human, cow, and goat milk. This diet allows for a bit more carbohydrates.
  • The Atkins diet is less restrictive but has a greater likelihood of adherence by adolescents and adults.
  • The low glycemic index diet allows for more carbohydrates as long as they have a low glycemic index, meaning they don't raise the body's blood sugar too quickly. Foods well suited to this diet includes strawberries, lentils, and whole-grain breads.

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How the keto diet works for epilepsy in general

Analyzed studies show that children with epilepsy who adhere to a ketogenic diet were three times more likely to be seizure-free and six times more likely to have a 50% reduction in seizure frequency when compared to usual dietary care.

Despite strong evidence of its efficacy, a mechanism to clearly explain the keto diet's benefit remains unclear to researchers.

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The keto diet and medical conditions

The ketogenic diet is becoming a proven treatment for epilepsy. But there is also evidence that it may be helpful for other medical conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and glioblastoma multiforme, a type of aggressive brain cancer. Conditions such as metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity, chronic migraines, traumatic brain injury, dementia, Parkinson's, autoimmune disorder, mental health, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and much more are anecdotally benefiting from the ketogenic diet.

However, caution is advised. Side effects include kidney stones, low bone density, weight loss, low blood sugar, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Certain rare metabolic disorders can be made worse on the ketogenic diet. So supervision from experts remains a necessity.

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Documented uses of the keto diet

Doctors have been prescribing ketogenic diets to treat epilepsy for nearly a century, and increasingly believe it holds promise for people with Type 2 diabetes.

But the older keto regi...

The Ketogenesis process

It supplies energy under circumstances such as fasting or caloric restriction to certain organs (e.g. the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle).

In ketogenesis, our livers start to break down fat into a usable energy source called ketones. Ketones can stand in for glucose as fuel for the body when there’s a glucose shortage. 

Once ketogenesis kicks in and ketone levels are elevated, the body is in a state called “ketosis,” during which it’s burning stored fat. 

The Keto diet

It is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. People on a ketogenic diet get 5 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, about 15 percent from protein, and 80 percent from fat. It’s this ratio that will force the body to derive much of its energy from ketones. 

That means eating mainly meats, eggs, cheese, fish, nuts, butter, oils, and vegetables while avoiding sugar, bread and other grains, beans, and even fruit.

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The general Keto diet

The general Keto diet

The Keto diet is one of the biggest diet phenomenons today. It is the most Googled diet of 2018 and has surpassed Weight Watchers and other low-carb regimens, Atkins and Paleo.

The...

Keto is a no-carb diet

Carbohydrates account for about half the calories on average in the American diet. Rice, maize, and wheat provide 60 percent of the world's food energy intake, even though there are more than 50,000 edible plants.

Keto is practically no-carb, forbidding processed junk foods and severely limits grains, including whole grains, fruits, and legumes such as brown rice, apples, and lentils. Keto adherents think conventional nutritional wisdom is harmful.

Keto is a cultural identity

Keto is more than just a diet. It is a cultural identity.

The Keto diet changes how adherents think about medicine and nutrition. With the fake news that dominates the news cycle, it's not surprising that keto went viral. It's anti-establishment.

Ketosis

Is a metabolic state. Think of being in or out of ketosis like the settings in a hybrid car; you can rely on gas or electricity to different degrees.

In ketosis, we...

The function of ketones

Ketones aren’t just a form of energy, they’re powerful signaling molecules. They regulate the expression of genes and dampen inflammatory processes.
Your body is always producing a very low level of ketones, irrespective of your diet. You start producing more of them when following a diet that’s high in fat and low in carbs.

Getting in ketosis

  • The stricter you restrict carbs (or total calories), the quicker you will be in ketosis.
  • Restricting your carb intake to 20g per day is a good heuristic (loose rule) for entering ketosis. It will generally get you into ketosis within a few days.
  • Fasting gets you into ketosis very quickly.