Can Epilepsy be Cured by the Atkins Diet?

Paula from Wisconsin asked: â??My seven year old boy has epilepsy. Iâ??ve tried all kinds of drugs, but he is completely unresponsive to them. Recently, Iâ??ve heard that the Atkins Diet can help kids with epilepsy. Have you heard anything about this? Can this diet really cure epilepsy?â?

Paula, the diet cannot necessarily â??cureâ? epilepsy, however, it can help to dramatically decrease the effects. When children are unresponsive to drugs, they are usually put them on the ketogenic diet. Both the Atkins Diet and the ketogenic diet are low-carb high-fat diets that produce ketones. The production of these ketones is really the key to diminishing the effects of epilepsy.

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The ketogenic diet is fine for most people; however, it does have some dangerous side-effects. Some of these include: kidney stones, constipation, and slowed growth. In addition, the diet starts with a brief fast and hospital stay during which time families are trained in the rigors of the diet. For all of these reasons, the Atkins Diet is a much better and safer choice for preventing epilepsy.

Also, the Atkins Diet is not nearly as complicated as the ketogenic diet. On the ketogenic diet, you must actually weigh your foods and liquids to ensure that you are consuming the correct number of fats, carbohydrates and protein necessary to produce ketones. While on the Atkins Diet, the production of ketones occurs naturally. This also makes it much easier for parents and children to stick with the diet and not get agitated.

In a study of 20 children who had severe epilepsy, while on the Atkins Diet for 6 weeks, 13 had a greater than 50 percent improvement in seizures, seven had a greater than 90 percent improvement and four were seizure-free. In addition, the side-effects were much lower than they were on the ketogenic diet.

If youâ??re worried about your child having to stay on the diet forever, do not fret! Children who remain seizure-free for two years on the Atkins Diet often can resume normal eating without the return of seizures.

While this seems like a miracle (and it is pretty amazing), you need to check with a physician before attempting this. Your doctor knows more about your childâ??s specific epilepsy condition than I do. So run it by your doctor, and good luck with everything. I hope everything turns out well!

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