The low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet has gained popularity as a weight loss tool, but ongoing research shows ketosis can also prevent seizures in epilepsy patients who don’t respond to drugs.
Jackson Small, an 11-year-old boy, has been seizure-free for three years after adopting a keto diet in which he consumed up to 90% fat, as Celebrity Health Fitness has reported.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat, moderate-protein diet that has been shown to fuel rapid weight loss by forcing the body to burn fat for fuel in a state called ketosis, said Dr. Eric Westman, co-author of Keto Clarity.
In addition to its weight loss benefits, ketosis has been shown to control epileptic seizures in both children and adults. Small began having seizures at age seven and eventually suffered up to 30 seizures a day due to his juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.
After drugs failed to control Jackson’s seizures, he was prescribed a low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein ketogenic diet that consisted of lots of butter, eggs, heavy cream, mayonnaise, sausage and bacon.
Jackson’s seizures stopped after he began following a keto diet comprised of 1,700 calories a day consisting of 160 grams of fat, 30 grams of protein, and 10 grams of carbohydrates.
Jackson has been seizure-free for the past three years with little or no anti-seizure drugs, even though he no longer follows the ketogenic diet. Scientists aren’t 100% certain why the ketogenic diet prevents epileptic seizures, but say the anti-inflammatory effects of the low-carb, high-fat diet may calm the brain.
For those who can’t follow the strict keto diet, a modified Atkins diet, which is roughly 65% to 70% fat, has also been shown effective for epilepsy patients.
Boy Who Had 300 Seizures A Day Is Now Seizure-Free
Jackson’s success with the low-carb, high fat ketogenic diet isn’t unique. Charlie Smith, a seven-year-old British boy, said the ketogenic diet changed his life.
Charlie used to suffer up to 300 epileptic seizures a day, but has not had a single seizure for the past two years since switching to the keto diet.
“The ketogenic diet has changed our lives for the better,” said Smith’s mom. “As soon as Charlie switched to it, it was as if a cloud had been lifted. It’s a miracle.”
The keto diet has also proven effective for reversing diabetes, preventing Alzheimer’s disease and treating metastatic cancer.
Elaine Cantin discussed how she used the keto diet to manage her son’s type I diabetes and her own aggressive breast cancer in her book, The Cantin Ketogenic Diet For Cancer, Type 1 & 2 Diabetes, Epilepsy & Other Ailments.
Cancer scientist Dr. Thomas Seyfried told Examiner his decades of research at Boston College indicates cancer is a metabolic — not a genetic — disease that can be treated through metabolic diet therapy.
“The ketogenic diet is a single metabolic approach to a multitude of different diseases,” said Dr. Seyfried.
Seyfried, the author of Cancer As a Metabolic Disease, joins a growing number of researchers who say the ketogenic diet can treat many forms of cancer.
Scientists say this is because nearly all the healthy cells in our body have the metabolic flexibility to use fat, glucose and ketones to survive, but cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility and require large amounts of glucose and cannot survive on ketones. So by limiting carbohydrates, we can reduce glucose and insulin and restrict the primary fuel for cancer cell growth.
Dr. Seyfried says the time has come for the medical community to acknowledge the usefulness of the ketogenic diet as an inexpensive, non-toxic way to treat cancer. “The ketogenic diet may one day replace the standard of care for most cancers,” he said.