(NaturalNews) Epilepsy is a general term used for a group of disorders of the central nervous system that cause a disturbance in electrical signals to the brain. It's a temporary malfunction of the brain that affects more than two million Americans. Seizures on the other hand are a symptom of epilepsy. Someone who experiences seizures may not necessarily have epilepsy.
One third of people with seizure disorder are children. Fortunately many of them will outgrow seizures as their brains mature. In the meantime, there is a specialized dietary program that benefits the majority of these children and helps them control their seizures. It's called the ketogenic diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, children with epilepsy have been able to reduce their seizures while maintaining this food protocol. Furthermore, many have been able to stop taking, or reduce, the dosage of their medication. Some children have eventually gone off the diet after a few years and never suffered another seizure.
Developed eighty years ago, the ketogenic diet causes the body to utilize fats instead of carbohydrates to generate cellular energy. This process in turn forms ketone by-products which induce biochemical changes that enable the body to then burn these ketones for needed energy.
The diet is high in fats and extremely low in carbohydrates and protein. It usually begins when the child enters a hospital under the direct supervision of a physician. A strict diet is begun which causes the child's body to use its own stored glucose as the only source of energy and food for 24 hours. Glucose provides fuel for our bodies and cannot be stored in large amounts or any longer than 24 hours. When stored glucose has been depleted, the body begins to break down fats instead of carbohydrates for energy.
At this point in time it is not known exactly how this process controls seizure activity or why it works for some children and not others, or why some children can go off the diet after a few years and be cured. Doctors can't explain why burning fat for energy should prevent seizures, but there is ongoing study and research being done to find the underlying reasons for its positive effect. There can be some serious side effects with this diet. It should be undertaken only with the careful monitoring of an experienced physician.
To learn more about the ketogenic diet, go to the epilepsyfoundation.org website, the Pediatric Epilepsy Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, or Charlie Foundation to Help Cure Pediatric Epilepsy 1-800-367-5386 (www.charliefoundation.org)
To your health, Deanna Dean
Mayoclinic.com/June 5, 2009/Mayo Clinic Staff/Treatment and Drugs
Prescription For Nutritional Healing, Fourth Edition/Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
Emedicinehealth.com/seizures_n_children/article_em.htm Author: Frank L Christopher, MD, FAAEM, Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Womack Army Medical Center. Coauthor(s): Robert R Westermeyer II, MD FAAEM, Chief, Acute Care, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brooke Army Medical Center.
About the author
Deanna Dean is the Wellness Director for Your Health Coach, a company dedicated to health and wellness education. website: yourhealthcoachdee.com Dee is a Wellness & Weight Loss Coach, a Certified Natural Health Professional, is pursuing an ND degree-Naturopathic Doctor, is a certified Raw Chef, certified in Dietary Guidelines from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, former Personal Trainer, Yoga and Fitness Studio Owner, TV and Radio Guest, Health Columnist. Deanna develops customized programs to enhance the health of her clients, educates, and coaches dieters for safe weight loss.