The Ketogenic Diet Essay

1450 Words 6 Pages
“Let thy food by thy medicine, and let thy medicine be thy food.” In a time when medical treatment is heavily dominated by prescription drugs that kill over 100,000 people each year, perhaps it is time that we take some advice from Hippocrates, who understood the medicinal power of food. One of the most well-known dietary treatment plans is the ketogenic diet, which has been implemented to treat children and adolescents with intractable Epilepsy for nearly a century. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurring, unprovoked seizures. It is estimated that over two million people in the US currently have Epilepsy, and many of those cases originate during the years of infancy and childhood. For many with Epilepsy, …show more content…
It was proposed that by limiting the energy stores in the body typically utilizes (carbohydrates) the body adapts by finding more efficient ways to convert chemical energy (food) into energy that the body can use (ATP). Why this diet had an anticonvulsant effect was unknown, and remains unknown to this date. The ketogenic diet was put on the backburner by neurologists for many years, who preferred to focus on treating Epilepsy with more advanced AEDs. However, the ketogenic diet has seen a recent resurgence as many people are beginning to realize the diet’s legitimacy as a treatment for Epilepsy. On top of that, researchers have discovered new evidence that provide an explanation for the anticonvulsant mechanism of the diet. First a little background on the basic “science” behind the diet. The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that forces the body to run on fats rather than carbohydrates. Typically, the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which used to fuel cellular respiration. When the body lacks a sufficient amount of glucose to maintain the body’s energy needs, fatty acids in the mitochondria of liver cells undergo beta-oxidation, in which they are broken into acetyl-CoA molecules. Through a series of reactions known as ketogenesis, the acetyl-CoA is converted in ketone bodies, high energy molecules which have a unique ability to cross mitochondrial membrane and the

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