Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 8, 2164956119874784

Mechanisms and Uses of Dietary Therapy as a Treatment for Epilepsy: A Review


Mechanisms and Uses of Dietary Therapy as a Treatment for Epilepsy: A Review

Fatemeh Sadeghifar et al. Glob Adv Health Med.


One-third of patients with epilepsy do not respond to antiepileptic drugs and may seek complementary and alternative treatment modalities. Dietary therapies such as the ketogenic diet (KD), the modified Atkins, the medium-chain triglyceride, and the low glycemic index diet have been successfully implemented in some forms of epilepsy and are growing in utilization. The KD is a high-fat, low-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that has been used for various conditions for over a century. Insights into the mechanism of action of these diets may provide more targeted interventions for patients with epilepsy. Knowledge of these mechanisms is growing and includes neuroprotective effects on oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, potassium channels in the brain, and mitochondrial function.

Keywords: epilepsy; ketogenic diet; ketosis; low glycemic index; modified Atkins diet.


Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Neuroprotective effects of dietary therapies. GABA, γ-aminobutyric acid; MCT, medium-chain triglyceride; NF-κB, nuclear factor kappa B; PPAR, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors; ROS, reactive oxygen species.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Aspartate transaminase catalyzes the interconversion of aspartate and α-ketoglutarate to oxaloacetate and glutamate.

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Golyala A, Kwan P. Drug development for refractory epilepsy: the past 25 years and beyond. Seizure. 2017; 44:147–156. - PubMed
    1. Kwan P, Schachter SC, Brodie MJ. Drug-resistant epilepsy. N Engl J Med. 2011; 365(10):919–926. - PubMed
    1. Sirven JI, Drazkowski JF, Zimmerman RS, Bortz JJ, Shulman DL, Macleish M. Complementary/alternative medicine for epilepsy in Arizona. Neurology. 2003; 61(4):576–577. - PubMed
    1. Williams TJ, Cervenka MC. The role for ketogenic diets in epilepsy and status epilepticus in adults. Clin Neurophysiol Pract. 2017; 2:154–160. - PMC - PubMed
    1. van Berkel AA, IJff DM, Verkuyl JM. Cognitive benefits of the ketogenic diet in patients with epilepsy: a systematic overview. Epilepsy Behav. 2018; 87:69–77. - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources