Elevated polyunsaturated fatty acids in blood serum obtained from children on the ketogenic diet

Neurology. 2003 Mar 25;60(6):1026-9. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000049974.74242.c6.


The authors analyzed blood metabolites in nine children with epilepsy prior to starting the ketogenic diet (KD) and 3 to 4 weeks after KD therapy. Elevated beta-hydroxybutyrate and cortisol levels were observed in all children on the KD. Free fatty acids increased 2.2-fold on the KD, with significant elevations in most polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA; arachidonate increased 1.6- to 2.9-fold and docosahexaenoate increased 1.5- to 4.0-fold). The rise in total serum arachidonate correlated with improved seizure control. Elevated PUFA may represent a key anticonvulsant mechanism of the KD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid / blood
  • Adolescent
  • Arachidonic Acids / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet*
  • Epilepsy / blood
  • Epilepsy / diet therapy*
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Infant
  • Ketones / blood*
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Ketones
  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid
  • Hydrocortisone