The ketogenic diet: Uses in epilepsy and other neurologic illnesses

Opinion statement

The ketogenic diet is well established as therapy for intractable epilepsy. It should be considered first-line therapy in glucose transporter type 1 and pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency. It should be considered early in the treatment of Dravet syndrome and myoclonic-astatic epilepsy (Doose syndrome).

Initial studies indicate that the ketogenic diet appears effective in other metabolic conditions, including phosphofructokinase deficiency and glycogen osis type V (McArdle disease). It appears to function in these disorders by providing an alternative fuel source. A growing body of literature suggests the ketogenic diet may be beneficial in certain neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In these disorders, the ketogenic diet appears to be neuroprotective, promoting enhanced mitochondrial function and rescuing adenosine triphosphate production.

Dietary therapy is a promising intervention for cancer, given that it may target the relative inefficiency of tumors in using ketone bodies as an alternative fuel source. The ketogenic diet also may have a role in improving outcomes in trauma and hypoxic injuries.

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Correspondence to Adam L. Hartman.

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Barañano, K.W., Hartman, A.L. The ketogenic diet: Uses in epilepsy and other neurologic illnesses. Curr Treat Options Neurol 10, 410 (2008).

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  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Calorie Restriction
  • Ketone Body
  • Narcolepsy
  • Ketogenic Diet