Low-Glycemic-Index Diet for Epilepsy.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Diet therapy (Health aspects)
Glycemic index (Health aspects)
Epilepsy in children (Care and treatment)
Epilepsy in children (Research)
Author: Gaby, Alan R.
Pub Date: 10/01/2009
Publication: Name: Townsend Letter Publisher: The Townsend Letter Group Audience: General; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 The Townsend Letter Group ISSN: 1940-5464
Issue: Date: Oct, 2009 Source Issue: 315
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 211561653
Full Text: A retrospective chart review was performed in 76 epileptic children (mean age, 9.7 years) who followed a low-glycemic-index diet for at least 12 months, with total carbohydrate intake limited to 40-60 g/day. Eighty-nine percent of the children had intractable epilepsy and were using at least three anticonvulsant drugs. A greater than 50% reduction in seizure frequency was observed in 42%, 50%, 54%, 64%, and 66% of patients at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, respectively. Only three patients reported side effects (transient lethargy).

Comment: It has been suggested that ketosis alone cannot explain the anticonvulsant effect of the ketogenic diet, and that regulation of blood glucose may be at least partly responsible for the benefits. In the present study, consumption of a low-glycemic-index diet reduced seizure frequency, presumably because of its positive effect on glycemic control. The degree of improvement correlated with lower serum glucose levels, but not with ketosis status. While a low-glycemic-index diet may not be as effective as a ketogenic diet, it is far less restrictive, and may be the preferred diet for children who are unable to tolerate or comply with the ketogenic diet.

Muzykewicz DA et al. Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of the low glycemic index treatment in pediatric epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2009;50:1118-1126.

by Alan R. Gaby, MD

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