Analysis of hematological parameters in patients treated with ketogenic diet due to drug-resistant epilepsy


Benefits of the ketogenic diet (KD) in epileptic patients are well known while less is known about the nutritional risks of the diet and its potential impacts on biochemical nutritional status. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the hematological parameters of patients who have drug-resistant epilepsy and are treated with KD. Fifty-three patients with drug-resistant epilepsy (mean age 7.4 ± 4.4 years [2–18], 23 [43.4%] female) were included in the study. Demographic and laboratory data of the patients were retrospectively analyzed at baseline and Month 6 and Month 12 of the treatment. Repeated measures ANOVA (post hoc Bonferroni correction) and Friedman test were used to assess the changes in data during the treatment. Mean hemoglobin levels increased by 0.594 g/dL after 6 months (p = 0.001) and by 0.602 g/dL after 12 months of the treatment (p = 0.002). Mean hematocrit level was found to be significantly increased at Month 6 and 12 of the treatment compared to baseline [F(2,94) = 8.9, p < 0.0001]. An increase in MCV levels was determined with the KD treatment [F(2,94) = 19.7, p < 0.0001]. Mean level of vitamin B12 was found to be significantly increased in Month 12 of treatments compared to Month 6 [F(1.686,72.479) = 3.472, p = 0.035]. There was no significant effect of KD on other hematological parameters (red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet counts, serum iron, total iron-binding capacity, transferrin saturation, and ferritin and folic acid levels). We can conclude that KD increases levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit, MCV, and serum vitamin B12 in patients with intractable epilepsy. Prospective, multi-center, longitudinal studies are needed to confirm our results.

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Correspondence to Nur Arslan.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study protocol was designed in compliance with the Declaration of Helsinki, 1964. Informed consent was obtained from the parents of participants during enrollment in the study. The study was initiated after the approval of the Ethics Committee of the Dokuz Eylul University Hospital (Date: 03.03.2016, number: 2016/06-01).

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Kose, E., Guzel, O. & Arslan, N. Analysis of hematological parameters in patients treated with ketogenic diet due to drug-resistant epilepsy. Neurol Sci 39, 85–89 (2018).

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  • Epilepsy
  • Folic acid
  • Hematological parameters
  • Iron
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Vitamin B12