Keto Diet May Prevent Seizures Following Head Injury
There are a variety of complications that might develop following a head injury. One of the most common is the development of a seizure disorder called epilepsy.
Those who develop epilepsy following a TBI often suffer from recurrent seizures. They can take many forms, including the classic tonic-clonic seizure (with four-extremity shaking), absence seizures (characterized by staring off into the distance), and partial seizures (which involve repetitive movements of a single body part). Now new research shows a ketogenic diet may be able to help someone manage these seizures.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet uses high amounts of fat, adequate amounts of protein, and low amounts of carbohydrates to encourage the body to use fat for energy instead of carbs. Many people have used this diet to lose weight. When the body does not have access to carbohydrate stores for energy, it starts to burn fat instead, leading to weight loss. The body takes fat stores and converts them into ketones, putting the body into a state called ketosis.
In this state, the brain uses ketones for energy. Some medical researchers believe that by using ketones instead of glucose, seizures can be prevented. Glucose may activate neurons to a greater extent than ketones, making them more prone to seizure activity. This hypothesis was put to the test in a recently published research paper.
The Design of the Research Paper
In the research paper published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, medical scientists examined animals who had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. The researchers divided animals into two groups. In the first group, the brain had access to its typical energy source, glucose. In the second group of animals, the researchers used a drug to prevent the brain’s access to glucose, forcing the use of ketones instead. The team then used a recording tool to measure the activity of the various neurons and cells throughout the injured part of the brain.
The researchers found that the brain cells were more active in the animals whose brain tissues had access to glucose. This excess activity is a sign of seizure development. In contrast, the animals using ketones as an energy source did not show as much seizure activity. Furthermore, less tissue damage was seen in the group of animals on the ketogenic diet. The results of this research show that a ketogenic diet may be able to reduce seizures and preserve brain function.
Future Clinical Directions
This research paper offers an early glimpse into how a ketogenic diet might be able to help individuals prevent epilepsy and preserve brain function following the diagnosis of a TBI. Right now, most seizures are treated with prescription medications. Unfortunately, many of these medications can lead to side effects such as rashes, nausea, vomiting, kidney damage, and mood disorders.
An alternative treatment option, such as a ketogenic diet, may be able to prevent these side effects while also stopping the progression of seizures. This can lead to a significant improvement in someone’s overall quality of life following a head injury.
Watch YouTube Video: Keto Diet and Diet Comparisons. In this video, registered dietician Katherine Zeratsky discusses the keto diet and how it compares to other diet plans.
Sacramento Brain Injury Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer. Seizures may be prevented using a ketogenic diet. If someone you love has been diagnosed with a brain injury due to the negligence of another person, call me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
If you would like to read about past cases and see how they were resolved, please visit our Verdicts and Settlements page.
Image Attribution: The picture at the beginning of this page was found first on Pixabay and has been shown here with the permission of the Creative Commons License.
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