According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases in the world. Approximately 50 million people have this condition. But as common as it is, its negative impact is so significant that it interferes with activities of daily living, which can also result in mental issues, such as anxiety.
Thankfully, there are many ways to manage this condition, especially when diagnosed properly. And one of these ways is the ketogenic diet.
So, if you buy keto pizza crust every time you crave pizza or munch on keto crackers for snacks, does that mean it will control your seizures? How does a ketogenic diet help people with epilepsy? What is it exactly?
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is easily described as a low carb, high-fat diet. In simpler terms, the keto diet makes you cut down on your carb intake, which includes bread and sugary food and increases your fat consumption. That means meals with more eggs, meat and full-fat dairy products, which is a treat for many of us.
It can be ironic how this kind of diet is used to lose weight. How does eating a lot of fatty food help people slim down, you might ask. The science between the keto diet and weight loss is that in the absence of carbohydrates, the body goes into a process called ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic process that involves burning fat as a source of energy instead of carbs or sugar. Thus, the body’s fat stores are depleted.
But what does this have to do with epilepsy?
How does Keto Diet Help Control Seizures?
If you have epilepsy or know someone who does, you must have visited several doctors and tried different ways to manage the seizures. Unfortunately, not all epilepsy treatment is effective.
When this is the case, doctors would suggest the keto diet to decrease the frequency of seizures.
Here are some theories on how this kind of diet helps control epilepsy:
- Keto diet helps reduce the frequency of seizures by decreasing the amount of glutamate in the brain, which is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in our nervous system. These neurotransmitters are released when the brain cells become excited. However, they fire even when they are not supposed to, causing seizures.
With the keto diet, the conversion of glutamate to glutamine is enhanced, thereby greatly reducing the seizure-causing glutamate.
- Keto diet improves gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA synthesis, which decreases the likelihood of seizures. Seizures happen when the brain cells fail to suppress excitatory neurotransmitters using GABA. But with the keto diet, the production of GABA is enhanced, making it effective for the brain cells to stop excitatory neurotransmitters from firing unnecessarily.
Clinical trials on people with treatment-resistant epilepsy have shown a significant decrease in seizure episodes. And in more than half the patients included in the trial, seizures were reduced by 50%.
But the efficacy of the ketogenic diet on epilepsy does not mean patients can be completely seizure-free. Even so, decreasing the seizures by half is already a great feat.
So, if you are suffering from epilepsy, go on and buy keto pizza crust the next time you want to eat pizza. Or indulge in keto noodles for your dose of pasta.
And remember, the benefits of a ketogenic diet does not just revolve around this condition. It will also help you lose extra weight and provide a lot of health benefits, as well.
Author bio: Helen Harry is a freelance writer and extremely fond of anything related to Digital Marketing and Business. She is writing Technologies as well as fiction, like good music, loves her cat and eats too much. More than anything, She loves to share the knowledge of Technology.