What is Ketogenic?
The Ketogenic diet is a high fat and protein but low carbohydrate diet that is used to treat difficult to control epilepsy in children. The diet mimics aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.
Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then moved around the body and is particularly important in fuelling brain function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures.
Samuel has a rare condition called ARX which causes severe epilepsy. Samuel has seizures every day and can have from anywhere between five and 20 depending on the kind of day he is having. He has myoclonic seizures which display as continuous jerky movements across the body and focal seizures where he may arch his back and have full body jerks or he may have a slightly arched back and go into a very stiff position. This is also followed by manic jerks.
Once he starts, Samuel will remain on the Ketogenic Diet for three months, if after that time it is considered not to have had an effect, he will be taken off the diet. If the trial is successful, he will remain on the diet indefinitely.
Find out more about Samuel’s Ketogenic adventures: