We do not know the mode of action of the ketogenic diet in controlling epilepsy. One possibility is that the diet alters brain handling of glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter and a probable factor in evoking and perpetuating a convulsion. We have found that brain metabolism of ketone bodies can furnish as much as 30% of glutamate and glutamine carbon. Ketone body metabolism also provides acetyl-CoA to the citrate synthetase reaction, in the process consuming oxaloacetate and thereby diminishing the transamination of glutamate to aspartate, a pathway in which oxaloacetate is a reactant. Relatively more glutamate then is available to the glutamate decarboxylase reaction, which increases brain [GABA]. Ketosis also increases brain [GABA] by increasing brain metabolism of acetate, which glia convert to glutamine. GABA-ergic neurons readily take up the latter amino acid and use it as a precursor to GABA. Ketosis also may be associated with altered amino acid transport at the blood-brain barrier. Specifically, ketosis may favor the release from brain of glutamine, which transporters at the blood-brain barrier exchange for blood leucine. Since brain glutamine is formed in astrocytes from glutamate, the overall effect will be to favor the release of glutamate from the nervous system.