Already in 1929 the ketogenic diet has been employed as a therapy in the treatment of epilepsy. But after all sorts of drugs came on the market, this diet faded into the background. For some time this therapy again in the spotlight.
In general, it is stated that (young) children benefit most from the ketogenic diet. It is in most cases only be applied in children with difficult (drug untreatable) form of epilepsy, and wherein also brain surgery is not possible. The brains of young children are still developing, and diet can have the most impact. No clear results are known about the results of the diet in older children and adults.
The ketogenic diet is rich in fat and contains very few carbohydrates and proteins. This means relatively little bread, potatoes and eat fruit. The energy has to come from fats. The purpose of the diet is the formation of ketones in the body. These ketones formed during the degradation of fats and play a role in the reduction of seizures. Why ketones have this effect is not known.
Classic or MCT
There are two different types of the ketogenic diet: the classical (1921) and the MCT diet. The first is based on long chain fats and the second of medium-chain fats. The diets differences in the type and amount of fat. Epilepsy Centre Kempenhaeghe Heeze, the Sophia Children's Hospital Rotterdam and the Wilhelmina Children (WKZ) use of UMC Utrecht often the MCT diet. Foundation Epilepsy Institutes Netherlands (SEIN) in Heemstede and UMC St. Radboud in Nijmegen use the classic ketogenic diet. Research shows that the effects of both diets are equal:
-one third of the clients are having ninety percent reduction attack or even seizure-free
-has a one-third reduction in seizures of fifty to ninety percent
-and at one-third the diet gives no effect on seizures.
Because the ketogenic diet has significant consequences for a child because of the drastic change in eating habits and it is also not free of potential complications, it is not prescribed as fast. But, if it helps, it can improve the quality of life. The advantage of this is that diet is seen in a child within three months, or has the effect, or not, and that the diet after two to three years, in principle, is terminated.
It is not yet clear exactly how do reduce ketones attacks, despite the fact that the (classical) ketogenic diet for decades is applied. Therefore, urged by neurologists and scientists on comparative research into the effect of the ketogenic diet and treatment with antiepileptic drugs. Furthermore, research is needed into the effects of diet on health.