The low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet has been touted as a weight-loss tool, but has also proven effective for managing metastatic cancer and epilepsy among children.
A new study from Argentina confirmed the efficacy of the ketogenic diet for managing epileptic seizures, Epilepsy Today reported.
Scientists tracked 15 children who had been diagnosed with Lennox–Gastaut syndrome (LGS), a rare and severe form of early onset epilepsy, between 1990 to 2013.
The children were placed on a LCHF ketogenic diet for at least 16 months. The results were quite promising. Three children became 100% seizure-free. Amazingly, they were able to remain seizure-free even after being taken off their ketogenic diets.
The other 12 children experienced dramatic reductions in seizures: Three reported a 75% to 99% reduction in seizures, while two experienced a 57% to 74% reduction. The remaining seven reduced their seizures by about 50%.
The new study confirms previous clinical as well as anecdotal success stories. Charlie Smith, a six-year-old British boy, recently made headlines after revealing the ketogenic diet has changed his life. Smith used to suffer up to 300 epileptic seizures a day, but has not had a single seizure for the past two years since switching to the keto diet.
"The ketogenic diet has changed our lives for the better," Smith's mom told MetroUK. "As soon as Charlie switched to it, it was as if a cloud had been lifted. Charlie has his life back, and has not had an attack since he started the diet two years ago. It’s a miracle."
Emma Williams, founder of Matthew’s Friends, a ketogenic diet foundation, hopes these encouraging reports will shine a spotlight on ketogenic diet therapy to manage epilepsy.
“In an ideal world, ketogenic therapy should be considered for all children whose seizures fail to respond to the first two appropriate medications," said Williams. "The longer any child waits for effective seizure management, the higher their risk of long-term impairments in all aspects of life. This report is not a great surprise to us, but is very much welcomed.”
The ketogenic diet has also proven effective for reversing type 2 diabetes and treating metastatic cancer, renowned cancer scientist Dr. Thomas Seyfried told me in an exclusive interview.
"The ketogenic diet is a single metabolic approach to a multitude of different diseases," said Dr. Seyfried, whose decades of cancer research at Boston College indicates that cancer is a metabolic — not a genetic — disease.
Dr. Seyfried, widely considered the godfather of the nutritional treatment of cancer, joins a growing number of researchers who say the ketogenic diet can treat most forms of cancer.
This is because nearly all the healthy cells in our body have the metabolic flexibility to use fat, glucose and ketones to survive, but cancer cells lack this metabolic flexibility and require large amounts of glucose and cannot survive on ketones. So by limiting carbohydrates (as the keto diet does) we can reduce glucose and insulin, and thus restrict the primary fuel for cancer cell growth.
Dr. Seyfried says the time has come for the medical community to publicly acknowledge the viability of the ketogenic diet as an inexpensive, non-toxic way to treat cancer.
"The standard of care has been an abysmal failure for cancer," said Dr. Seyfried. "The ketogenic diet may one day replace the standard of care for most cancers. To those who doubt me, I say: 'Prove me wrong.'"