If you’re an adult with epilepsy, might you try a specialized diet in lieu of medication? Elizabeth Tracey reports


The ketogenic diet, which consists mostly of fat with some protein and very few carbs, has gained visibility as other diets such as the paleo diet have become increasingly popular for weight loss, and it’s used to control epilepsy. Is such a diet a reasonable choice for the condition instead of a medication? Mackenzie Cervenka, an expert in the management of adults with epilepsy at Johns Hopkins, offers her opinion.

Cervenka: There may be other circumstances where patients are very hesitant to consider antiseizure drugs or medications in general where it’s a personal preference sort of situation and in which case I would counsel patients that we really don’t have strong evidence to guide us with regard to effectiveness of the diet versus trying an initial antiseizure drug but if that is their personal preference, that is available as a potential therapy.  :26

Cervenka says that any attempt to control epilepsy with diet alone must be carefully monitored, both for recurrent seizures as well as other health parameters such as cholesterol and weight, so seek an expert. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.