the Ketogenic Diet & Epilepsy

Health

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Being a dog, I’m all about food. My huMom is always looking for ways to help manage my epilepsy & together we’ve been looking at diets & foods that can help.

The ketogenic diet was developed in the 1920s by Dr Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic to help control epilepsy in children. This was before anti-seizure medications.

The diet was designed to mimic the effects of fasting for extended periods. It forces the body to burn dietary fat rather than carbohydrates.  This is achieved by providing a high level of fat, a moderate level of protein & a low level of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are normally converted into glucose, which is particularly important in brain function. When carbohydrates are restricted, the liver converts fat into fatty acids & ketone bodies. These ketone bodies pass into the brain, and are used instead of glucose as a source of energy. The resultant elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood streams is called ketosis, & it is believed that this leads to a reduction in the frequency of seizures.

Unfortunately this diet is not recommended for dogs & any studies done on the reduction of seizures have been inconclusive. One of the reasons being dogs adapt to fasting much better than humans & generally don’t develop ketosis. The high fat of the diet is also not good for dogs because it may result in medical conditions such as pancreatitis & obesity.  However, in one study the diet was shown to improve ADHD symptoms in some dogs who live with idiopathic epilepsy.

Paw on back next week when we will be taking a look at other diet related issues that concern canine epilepsy as we move further into November Epilepsy Awareness Month.

Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on ADHD-like behavior in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy

Further reading

More intensive further reading

CEO Olivia

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