Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet for Neurological Disorders

The natural ingredients of this diet, including the fats from the increased meats and oils, are those which provide assistance to the brain in its daily function. Especially with children, this diet is a difficult one to initiate, but there is much to be gained in brain development and function over time. ketogenic diet 2

While there are a number of different disorders, though not all of them have contained scientific studies and official publications, there seems to be a connection between the KD and the proper function of the brain and nervous system. It is considered to be “neuroprotective” while working with some natural issues of the brain as well as certain disorders, damage and injuries that could have happened.

“The majority of people with epilepsy can become free from seizures with the use of antiepileptic medications, but in about 20-30% of people with epilepsy, medications fail to completely control their symptoms. Clinicians and researchers have found the ketogenic diet is an effective way to treat these patients; it is at least as successful as the most recent anticonvulsant drugs designed to treat refractory epilepsy. Researchers have also started exploring the therapeutic potential of the diet in other neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), among others.” nic diet 3

“In Alzheimer’s disease, for example, results from clinical studies have been inconclusive but promising. In one randomized double-blind study, Alzheimer’s patients on a ketogenic diet showed significant cognitive improvement compared to patients not following the diet. In cell cultures, ketone bodies have been shown to be effective against the toxic effects of beta-amyloid, a key pathological feature of the disease. The diet may also help reduce oxidative stress and enhance mitochondrial function.

Mitochondrial dysfunction is also thought to play a contributory role in Parkinson’s disease, with its characteristic movement and cognitive impairment. In one small clinical trial of five patients with Parkinson’s disease, patients on the diet reduced their scores on the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale by 43.4%.

The diet may also prove helpful in the treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS. Mitochondrial dysfunction is also likely to play role in this devastating disease of the motor neurons. Though human studies have not yet been performed, mouse models of the condition have yielded promising results. In these mouse models, animals given a ketogenic diet showed significant motor improvements compared to animals on a normal diet.

Epilepsy, Aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Cancer, Stroke, Mitochondrial Disorders, Brain Trauma, Depression, Autism and Migraine are included in this list. In addition to neurological disorders, there is the ability to work with the KD to control metabolism.

In the very early 1900’s, French physicians discovered that putting people with Epilepsy on a vegetarian diet that was interrupted by periods of fasting, dramatically alleviated their seizures.  Shortly after this, American doctors began researching variations such as hardcore fasting and the “water diet” and “cream diet”. Then, nearly a century ago, researchers at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic discovered the reason they all, to some degree, worked.  They determined that when people ate an extremely low carbohydrate / high-fat diet, their bodies produced high levels of a metabolic byproduct called “Ketone Bodies”.

By 1921, the “Ketogenic Diet” diet was being used on children with EPILEPSY to great benefit.  Shortly before the outbreak of WWII, new anticonvulsant drugs were developed (Dilantin being the most well known) that rapidly took the place of said diet. I do not have to tell those of you who struggle in this area that these drugs, despite the fact they can arrest (or at least decrease) most seizures, turn people into zombies and generally make them feel like crap.  Because there is an increasingly urgent message about the overarching dangers of drugs, we are seeing a Renaissance of the Ketogenic Diet being used for Epilepsy and other Seizure Disorders. But what about those who don’t have Seizure Disorders — the vast majority of the population? Is there any benefit of a Ketogenic Diet for you?

Unless you have some very specific health issues (I’ll talk about these in Part II), the Ketogenic Diet can likely benefit you.  As a short primer to today’s post, I want to introduce you to Dr. Charles Mobbs. Dr. Mobbs of New York’s Icahn Mount Sinai Medical School holds professorships in numerous areas including Geriatrics, Neuroscience, Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone Disease.  His research interests include Aging, Obesity, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, life extension, and dietary restriction. Listen as he explains how all of these things (including Alzheimer’s) are related to dietary carbohydrates and BLOOD SUGAR.





Alzheimer’s Disease


Or even Chronic Pain




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