We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy

Atkins diet 'may be beneficial' for people with epilepsy - study

10 February, 2005

The first comprehensive review of possible dietary treatments of epilepsy has recently been published in the journal Epilepsy Currents.

Among
those is the low-carbohydrate Atkins Diet which has proven successful
in suppressing seizures in a small series of patients. The review,
explores the benefits of low-carbohydrate, high protein and other
restricted dietary therapies for patients with epilepsy.

There
are a number of diets being tried to help people with epilepsy. The
ketogenic diet, a high fat, adequate protein, and low carbohydrate
diet, is the most well known of dietary therapies amongst children with
the condition.

Another
treatment, still in preliminary stages, is a diet high in
polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may be another option to control
seizures. A diet enriched in these acids has shown to help in brain
development and decreases the excitability of nerve cells that can
induce seizures.

The
researchers claim that these diets have been successful to a point, but
each has drawbacks in terms of implementation. They also suggest that
as success has been observed with the Atkins diet, people with epilepsy
might find this diet to be easier to follow.

Dr Carl Stafstrom, professor of neurology and paediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who undertook the review, said:

"Unfortunately,
our knowledge about the relation between nutrition and epilepsy is in
its infancy. Aside from the ketogenic diet, nutritional modalities to
treat epilepsy are premature. Nevertheless, as indicated in this
review, several potential treatment adjuncts are on the horizon. The
potential benefits of dietary alterations comprise an intriguing and
novel approach to epilepsy treatment."

A
spokesman for Epilepsy Action stressed that people with epilepsy should
not undertake a diet such as the Atkins Diet or the Ketogenic Diet
without medical supervision.