Study Shows That Keto Diet Can Effectively Treat Seizures in Epileptic Children

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Researchers at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital suggest the keto diet may effectively treat epilepsy in children. The high-fat, low-carb regimen, known for weight loss, shows promise in controlling seizures, particularly in children unresponsive to standard anti-seizure medications, according to a recent study.

Ketogenic diet can help manage seizures in epileptic children

The research explored the impact of the keto diet on the human gut microbiome, revealing alterations in microorganisms that may offer protection against seizures in mice. Although challenging for children and families due to its restrictions and potential side effects, the diet has demonstrated notable success, with approximately 30% of pediatric patients achieving seizure freedom and 60% experiencing significant improvements, according to the UCLA researchers.

Lead author, Gregory Lum, emphasized the importance of comprehending how the microbiome’s function is influenced by diet. This understanding could contribute to the creation of innovative therapeutic methods that harness positive changes from the diet while mitigating associated drawbacks.

The study, building on prior research with epileptic mice on a ketogenic diet, investigated the positive changes in the gut microbiome of 10 children with refractory epilepsy undergoing ketogenic diet therapy at UCLA’s program. This specific epilepsy type is unresponsive to regular medications, aiming to find alternative therapeutic approaches.

The study transplanted fecal samples from pediatric epilepsy patients on a specific diet into mice. It found that the diet-associated gut microbiota from these samples protected mice against seizures. Samples were collected both before and after a month on the diet.

Keto diet impacts fatty acid oxidant and amino acids metabolism

Post-diet fecal transplants in mice enhanced resistance to seizures compared to pre-diet transplants. The ketogenic diet induced significant changes in pediatric patients’ gut microbiome functions, specifically in fatty acid oxidation and amino acid metabolism, which were maintained in transplanted fecal matter.

Examining altered microbial genes, researchers identified post-diet genes linked to changes in brain gene expression associated with epilepsy. The study emphasized the intricate connections between microbial genes, metabolites, and brain function, suggesting a holistic approach to epilepsy treatment integrating diet, gut health, and brain function.

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