People with epilepsy have abnormal brain activity. Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent, unpredictable, and unprovoked seizures.
There is a wide range of symptoms that a person with epilepsy can experience during a seizure4. The common symptoms of seizures are:
For 50% of adults and children with epilepsy, the cause of their epilepsy is unknown3.
Some causes are known, and some are not. There are different kinds of changes in the body that cause epilepsy. These changes include:
Epilepsy is a long-term disease. Some people will have it their entire lives. There is no cure. But epilepsy can be managed.
The medical keto diet can be successful. It can help manage epilepsy symptoms when AEDs are not working. The keto diet must be strictly followed and requires careful measurements of calories, fluid, fat, protein, and carbohydrates. A clinician recommends the diet, and a dietitian will help you to get started on it.
The word “ketogenic” means that ketones are made or produced in the body.
Ketones are produced from fats eaten and are what the brain uses as fuel. Usually the brain uses glucose or sugar from carbohydrates. In a ketogenic diet, the brain uses the ketones from fat as fuel. Ketones can also be produced during fasting.
The dietitian will determine the calories, protein and fat each individual should consume. On a “classic ketogenic diet”, all foods are weighed on a scale. The “ratio” of the food will be calculated by the grams of fat to the grams of combined carbohydrate plus protein. Your specific ratio is determined by your healthcare professional based on your age, weight and energy needs.
There are many versions of the keto diet. They are not as strict as the classical ketogenic diet. All diet variants can still help people manage their epilepsy symptoms. These diets are still high in fat and low in carbohydrates. More protein is allowed in some, and how you measure the carbohydrates in them varies. Calories are not monitored as closely in each diet variant but all must be followed with your healthcare team.
Other versions of the medical ketogenic diet include:
KetoCal is indicated for the dietary management of refractory epilepsy and is intended for use under medical supervision. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine if KetoCal is right for you.
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