Treatment Expectations

You should read about ketogenic diets and base your expectations on these - we've included a few papers on our site and you can use them to find others. Please note that we cannot make any stated or implied claims regarding your results. The extent of the response to a ketogenic diet (KD) varies from patient to patient in humans, even those with a similar diagnosis, due to the uniqueness of each patient's internal body makeup. The safety and side effect of KDs in every disease state, medical condition, and circumstance are also not fully known. However, a wealth of animal research and human outcomes, like those summarized on below, is making the utility and effectiveness of this diet easily recognizable in humans. What you will find is that the ketogenic diet can be used as a standalone or in concert with standard treatments. In addition, it is often not curative, as is the case for glioblastomas (a brain cancer), but, nonetheless, as an effective treatment as the standard but without the incredibly nasty side effects. It is our hopes that future research will result in ways to make this a curative treatment much in the way that it presently "cure" obesity.

The KD has consistently been documented to effectively treat epilepsy in thousands of children since 1924. In the last fifteen years over 750 peer-reviewed articles regarding its success, implementation, and scientific mechanisms have been published. Two major reports which included 44 reviews of over one thousand children who received ketogenic diet treatment confirmed that at least half benefited with a 50% or greater improvement in seizure control. One controlled and randomized study published in 2008 also provided the long awaited scientific proof that the KD is an effective therapy and a valid option for treatment of epilepsy.

A 2008 consensus report from 26 worldwide experts concluded that the ketogenic diet should be offered to a child after two anti convulsants medications are used unsuccessfully. Children with seizures from infancy through the teenage years may be helped by the diet. There's no way to predict beforehand whether it will be successful. Traditionally the diet has been used for children with myoclonic, atonic, and tonic-clonic seizures. In every decade since the 1920's, studies consistently show that 50-75% of children with difficult to control seizures are helped by the diet. Children over the age of five years may find the diet difficult to follow due to its strictness. New and creative recipes have helped to make the diet more palatable in the past few years.

The effective treatment of both solid tumors and metastasis has been proven in laboratory studies. There is also a growing number of human results being reported. In 1995 two female pediatric patients with
advanced stage astrocytoma tumors were treated by a KD based on medium chain triglycerides (MCT) as fat source at the University of Cleveland. In both children, the glucose uptake by the tumour decreased remarkably and one of the patients was free of disease progression for 12 month of follow up and was still alive 10 years later (Nebeling C, personal communication).

In animal settings, the effect of a diet low in carbohydrates and rich in fat has been described to be effective in tumour treatment by several groups in the first decades of the last century. Albeit being different in experimental details, all three groups agreed in the finding that withdrawal of carbohydrates and enrichment of fat in the chow fed ad libitum to tumour bearing animals led to a strong reduction in tumour growth. Nowadays there is rising evidence from new animal experiments, that a KD indeed is able to reduce tumour growth. In this respect, data from the Seyfried lab demonstrated, that a KD reduced in overall available calories was able to considerably decrease the intracerebral growth of malignant brain cancer cells in mice, however, at the expense of a dramatic loss of the animal's body weight. In addition, the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate has not only been shown to inhibit growth of several tumour cells in vitro but also reduce the number of B16 melanoma deposits in the lungs of C57BL/6 mice by two thirds .

 Researchers from Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina investigated the effects of a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on patients with Type II diabetes. Participants followed a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet comprised of less than 20 g of carbs per day for 16 weeks. Hemoglobin A1c, which is an indicator of how much glucose is in the blood over a long period of time, was measured before and after the treatment. At the end of the study, which was published in the December 2005 issue of the journal "Nutrition and Metabolism," scientists found that subjects experienced significant decreases in hemoglobin A1c.

Scientists from Temple University School of Medicine and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine explored the effects of a strict low carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. In the report, which was published in the March 2005 issue of the journal "Annals of Internal Medicine," found that type 2 diabetics following a low carbohydrate diet for two weeks experienced reductions in energy intake, glucose levels and hemoglobin A1c. In addition, subjects experienced improvements in insulin sensitivity.

In research reported in the August 2004 issue of the journal "Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders," investigated the impact of a low carbohydrate diet regimen on type 1 and 2 diabetics. They discovered that patients on a low carbohydrate diet of less than 30 g a day lowered their glucose levels and low density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol levels. In addition, patients experienced increases in high density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol levels.

Diabetics that follow a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet might increase the risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition in which by products of fat breakdown known as ketones build up in the blood. This can cause stomach pain, nausea and deep rapid breathing, according to the PubMed Health website. Although this condition is rare, consult your health care provider before adhering to a ketogenic diet.

Back to Top