Various Foods that are Perfect for the Keto Diet

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LOS ANGELES — Can the keto diet cure epilepsy in children? Scientists from the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital believe so. A new study is revealing how the high-fat, low-carb diet, typically known for weight loss, may also benefit children with epilepsy. This diet has shown promise in controlling seizures, especially in kids who don’t respond well to traditional anti-seizure medications.

The study delves into the keto diet’s effect on the human gut microbiome. The gut microbiome consists of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms residing in the digestive tract. UCLA researchers found that this diet brings about changes in these microorganisms that could protect against seizures, at least in mice. This is not always easy for children and their families, given the diet’s restrictiveness and potential side effects.

Despite its challenges, the diet has shown impressive results: about 30% of pediatric patients become seizure-free, and 60% experience significant improvements.

“Understanding how the function of the microbiome is altered by the diet could aid in the development of new therapeutic approaches that incorporate these beneficial changes while avoiding certain drawbacks of the diet,” says study lead author Gregory Lum, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA, in a university release.

The research builds on previous findings, which showed that mice bred to mimic epilepsy and fed a ketogenic diet experienced fewer seizures than those on a standard diet. Extending this, Lum examined how the gut microbiome is beneficially altered in 10 children with refractory epilepsy who start ketogenic diet therapy. This form of epilepsy doesn’t respond to standard medications. The patients were part of UCLA’s Ketogenic Diet Therapy Program,

By transplanting fecal samples from pediatric epilepsy patients on the diet into mice, the study observed that the diet-associated gut microbiota protected the mice against seizures. The samples were taken before and after a month on the diet.

ingredients of a keto diet
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Results showed that mice receiving post-diet fecal transplants were more resistant to seizures than those given pre-diet transplants. The study also noted that the ketogenic diet altered key gut microbiome functions in pediatric patients related to fatty acid oxidation and amino acid metabolism. These changes, crucially, were preserved when the fecal matter was transplanted into the mice.

The study delved deeper, examining the genes of these altered microbes and their potential effects on brain function. The researchers identified specific microbial genes that were more active post-diet and linked these genes to changes in brain gene expression related to epilepsy. Furthermore, the study highlighted the complex interactions between microbial genes, metabolites (substances produced by metabolism), and brain function. This intricate network points to a holistic approach to treating epilepsy, where diet, gut health, and brain function are all interlinked.

While more research is necessary, Lum expressed optimism about the study’s implications.

“Narrowing down the functions of the microbes that are beneficial toward seizure protection can potentially lead to new ways to enhance the efficacy of the ketogenic diet or to mimic its beneficial effects,” notes Lum.

As we move forward, the big question remains: Can we harness the power of the gut microbiome to enhance the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet in epilepsy treatment? The answer lies in further research and clinical trials, but the future looks promising.

The study is published in the journal Cell Reports.

5 Potential Benefits of the Keto Diet:

  1. Weight Loss: One of the most well-known benefits of the keto diet is its effectiveness in helping people lose weight. By reducing carbohydrate intake, the body enters a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for energy instead of glucose, leading to weight loss.
  2. Improved Blood Sugar Control: For people with Type 2 diabetes or those at risk of developing it, the keto diet can improve blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, due to the low intake of carbs.
  3. Enhanced Brain Function: Some studies suggest that the keto diet may have neuroprotective effects, potentially improving cognitive function and possibly slowing the progression of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.
  4. Improved Heart Health: When followed correctly, the keto diet can lead to a reduction in bad cholesterol (LDL) and an increase in good cholesterol (HDL), potentially lowering the risk of heart disease.
  5. Potentially Cancer-Fighting: Early research indicates that the keto diet may have anti-tumor effects and could complement traditional cancer treatments, although more research is needed in this area.

It’s important to note that while the keto diet can offer these benefits, it’s not suitable for everyone, and individuals should consult with a healthcare provider before starting it, especially those with pre-existing health conditions. The diet also has potential side effects and should be followed with proper guidance and consideration of nutritional balance.

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4 Comments

  1. Søren Andersen Bro says:

    well, it did work on epilepsi back in 500 BC and again in 1920, so maybe it still does.

  2. Emory says:

    We have known this for decades. Its nothing new.

  3. John Madany says:

    This was well documented almost 100 years ago. This is not news. The only news is that the medical profession ignores the only known cure for epilepsy that does not require surgery.

  4. Chris says:

    Old news. How about the scientific community start acknowledging the tremendous benefits of an animal-based diet? No processed foods/plants or their toxic constituents, like glucose and fructose. The animal-based diet completely changed my life. Perfect health and no diabetes because of this incredible diet.