Thursday, November 18, 2010

Epilepsy and Ketogenic diet

New York Times has a very good article on Ketogenic diet helping Epilepsy patients. The Author has a son who suffers from Epileptic seizures.

If you want to know how to control Epilepsy, you must read this article.

It is funny that the author thinks that he is slowly killing his son by feeding him bad fat and cholesterol, but it is the only diet which will let him have some life. The seizures are reduced to a very small frequency with a ketogenic diet.

A ketogenic diet is where the body does not have enough glucose, and must convert fat to create ketones for feeding the brain. It is a very high fat diet. 80-90% of calories come from fat, rest from protein. There is only trace amounts of carbs.

Unfortunately, the mainstream medicine has no intention of coming to grips with fat and cholesterol are good logic. It will be a very bad year for them, if they are forced to change. People will finally stop feeling sick, and doctors will be without job.

The Keto diet they are following is very restrictive. They have to use exactly the same percentage of fat and protein and carb. The doctors have prescribed fruits instead of vegetables for the carb source.

Somehow they don't distinguish between fats, but they are using mostly good fats.

The author says that the body prefers running on glucose, when in reality it does not. Glucose is like oxygen, it is required for various functions of the body, and needs to be there. But just like oxygen needs to be at a level of 21% to be good for us, glucose also has a specific level that is good in our diet. Its not like you can have as much as you want and will not feel any trouble.

The acceptable glucose level is determined by the health of the body. Anything goes wrong and the ability to use glucose goes down. An obese person has compromised their ability to use glucose.

There are two types of tissues in the body, neurons and other cells. Neurons can only use glucose and Ketones as fuels. While other cells can use glucose and fat for fuel. In diabetics the ability to burn glucose is lost by the cells of the body.
In some neurological disorders the ability to burn glucose is lost by the neurons.
Alzheimer's is like a diabetes of the brain. The brain is no longer able to use glucose and if the body does not have enough ketones it starves and dies.

Epilepsy is a different type of disease. Some neurons are not burning glucose properly. It is possibly causing its electrical circuitry to get affected. The only option is to avoid letting glucose get to the brain cells. This is only possible by reducing the supply of glucose to the brain as much as possible and supplement it with Ketones. It is important to keep the proteins also at minimum, because in excess they will convert to glucose providing excess glucose.

A ketogenic diet does just that. It will be helpful to use a more paleo friendly ketogenic diet, because I believe that there are some other factors from the diet that are affecting the patient. It could be wheat, it could be milk also.

I believe the authors son is not getting rid of it fast enough because he is still getting milk/cream. They should try getting rid of it. But they are following doctors advice instead of experimenting on their own. Their child is unique, they need to tailor the diet for him specifically. They need to find the problems in the diet.

Unfortunately doctors have a very reductionist attitude towards diet. So for them ketogenic diet just means a specific ratio of nutrients. They don't care which foods are giving those nutrients. Are there any anti-nutrients.

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