, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 402–405 | Cite as

The ketogenic diet: Proposed mechanisms of action

  • Kirk Nylen
  • Sergei Likhodii
  • W. McIntyre Burnham
Theme 5: Hormonal and Dietary Therapy


The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet used to treat drug-resistant seizures, especially in children. A number of possible mechanisms of action have been proposed to explain the anticonvulsant effects of the diet. Four of these hypothetical mechanisms are discussed in the present article: the pH hypothesis, the metabolic hypotheses, the amino acid hypothesis, and the ketone hypothesis.

Key Words

Epilepsy ketogenic diet pH hypothesis metabolic hypothesis amino acid hypothesis ketone hypothesis 


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Copyright information

© The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirk Nylen
    • 1
  • Sergei Likhodii
    • 1
  • W. McIntyre Burnham
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and University of Toronto Epilepsy Research Program (UTERP)University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PharmacologyTorontoCanada

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