Right action starts with right information. When people receive a diagnosis of a condition or disease from their doctor, it can oftentimes be a frightening and life-changing moment. They may feel paralyzed – unable to make decisions because they don’t even know where to start. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Being and staying informed about your condition is the key to addressing and managing your health and wellbeing. Today’s blog post discusses the neurological condition epilepsy – what it is, how it is treated and how to live with it.
First, what is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes seizures. These seizures can cause harm as they involve a lapse of consciousness. According to the CDC, Epilepsy currently affects 3.4 million people in the United States, making it a common disorder.1 Symptoms of Epilepsy depend on the type of seizure the individual is having. Many seizures include a strange feeling in the stomach, a sudden loss of consciousness, body stiffness and jerking motions. Seizures tend to last a few minutes, and the individual typically has no memory of the event.2 The condition is diagnosed using multiple brain scans such as an Electroencephalogram (EEG).3 Not all seizures are the same, and symptoms depend on where in the brain the seizure occurs.
What’s happening during a seizure?
During a seizure, your brain’s normal electrical activity becomes disrupted. Neurons begins to fire randomly and this results in involuntary movements, strange behaviors and occasionally it can lead to unconsciousness.4 What exactly triggers this to happen is unique to the individual suffering from Epilepsy. People have different triggers, but many of these include missed medication, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, or even flashing lights.
How is it treated?
Medication is the primary avenue for many patients to treat Epilepsy. A healthcare professional will be able to advise the patient on which medication is appropriate for them depending on multiple factors. For those currently living with Epilepsy, it is important for them to take medication as prescribed and to do what they can to reduce potentially triggering situations (stress, alcohol, lack of sleep and more).5 In addition to medication, diet may also be utilized as part of a treatment plan.
Epilepsy and the ketogenic diet
When drugs are not deemed to be effective, one of the more notable alternative treatments used for Epilepsy is the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high fat diet. It is often adopted by individuals looking to lose weight, or to avoid common allergens often found in high-carb foods. The diet instructs followers to aim for an everyday diet that consists of 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs. A 2012 study confirms that the ketogenic diet, when adopted by those with epilepsy who may not respond to medication, has been shown to reduce seizure frequency. 6
Although the ketogenic diet has a promising relationship with managing epilepsy symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor or nutrition specialist before trying it. Nutrient deficiencies and other complications may arise as a result of implementing the ketogenic diet. In terms of establishing a diet plan, it is important to discuss these matters with a dietician who has a comprehensive understanding of the ketogenic diet and the research behind it.
At Solace Nutrition, our NanoVM line consists of 6 products based on age and feeding style. All products are formulated to meet the daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals based on NIH recommendations. Our NanoVM products are ketogenic-friendly and may help those on the keto diet avoid nutritional deficiencies. Common deficiencies on the ketogenic diet include magnesium, calcium and iron.7
We also have neoKe MCT70, an MCT powder that contains 70% Medium-chain triglycerides per serving. MCT powders can be particularly helpful in managing symptoms of Epilepsy due to its ability to increase ketosis.8 It goes well with coffee, thick liquids and can also be sprinkled on food.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Those with Epilepsy may be more prone to suffer from depression and stress as a result of living with their condition. Support groups can offer a community for individuals with epilepsy where resources and advice are openly available. Most importantly, these groups can combat tough feelings faced by many with epilepsy. Feelings of loneliness can often be experienced by those with the condition due to difficult medical situations and fears of being injured due to a seizure.
Overall, Epilepsy has potential to be managed if patients are given the right resources. It is also clear that the ketogenic diet can help many people with Epilepsy live more normal lives. Products on Solace Nutrition’s NanoVM and neoKe lines can assist in the dietary management of conditions associated with the ketogenic diet. As always, consult a healthcare professional with any questions.
- “Epilepsy Fast Facts | CDC”. Cdc.Gov, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/about/fast-facts.htm. Accessed 24 Nov 2020.
- “Epilepsy – Symptoms”. Nhs.Uk, 2020, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/epilepsy/symptoms/. Accessed 24 Nov 2020.
- “Epilepsy – Diagnosis And Treatment – Mayo Clinic”. Mayoclinic.Org, 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350098. Accessed 24 Nov 2020.
- “What Happens in Your Brain during a Seizure?” Epilepsy Blog, www.epsyhealth.com/seizure-epilepsy-blog/1-20-what-happens-in-your-brain-during-a-seizure.2020.10.26. Accessed 3 Feb 2021.
- “Epilepsy Treatment Options | Brain Institute | OHSU”. Ohsu.Edu, 2020, https://www.ohsu.edu/brain-institute/epilepsy-treatment. Accessed 24 Nov 2020.
- Levy, Robert G, et al. “Ketogenic Diet and Other Dietary Treatments for Epilepsy.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2012, pp. 6–7., doi:10.1002/14651858.cd001903.pub2.
- Chang, Pishan et al. “Seizure control by ketogenic diet-associated medium chain fatty acids.” Neuropharmacology vol. 69 (2013): 105-14. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.11.004
- Churuangsuk, Chaitong. “Impacts Of Carbohydrate‐Restricted Diets On Micronutrient Intakes And Status: A Systematic Review”. Wiley, vol 20, no. 8, 2019. Wiley, doi:10.1111. Accessed 24 Nov 2020.