How Diet Plays a Role in Treating Epilepsy

General Neurology located in Albuquerque, NM

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How Diet Plays a Role in Treating Epilepsy

The seizures you get with epilepsy can cause intense anxiety, fear, and loss of consciousness. Learn how you can reduce their frequency by making a few changes to your diet.

Epilepsy, the fourth most common neurological disorder, causes intermittent seizures that are unpredictable and associated with other health complications. While seizures can also arise from alcohol withdrawal, head injuries, a lack of sleep, and other more manageable causes, you should consider seeking medical care and talk to your physician about epilepsy if you have more than one seizure for which you don’t know the cause. 

Here at Neurology Services of Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico, our expert adult neurology specialist Timothy Ownbey, DO, manages cases of epilepsy in order to reduce the number and frequency of your seizures. While some medications treat epilepsy, you can also benefit from diet and lifestyle changes. In fact, your diet plays a greater role than you might realize in treating epilepsy. 

Here’s what you should know about changing your diet to improve epilepsy symptoms:

Evidence points to the ketogenic diet to manage epilepsy

The ketogenic diet is a subject of controversy for many individuals interested in nutrition. Essentially, it involves lots of high-fat food options like avocados and dairy while greatly restricting your intake of carbohydrates like fruit, bread, and cake. 

Consuming a diet like this leads your body into a state called ketosis, during which your body burns down stored fat. This forms ketones, which are chemicals produced in the liver that your body uses as energy. Having higher ketone levels leads to improvements in seizure control. 

To experience an improvement in your epilepsy symptoms, we recommend that you follow a strict ketogenic diet plan, along with professional support from Dr. Ownbey and other neurology or nutrition experts. At Neurology Services of Albuquerque, we also monitor you regularly as you take part in this diet plan and ensure that food portions are measured with precision. 

Certain foods increase the likelihood of seizures

Simple sugars are in a lot of the foods you eat and probably enjoy the most. This includes soda, candies, syrups, many of the most popular cereal brands, and of course, baked goods like cakes and cookies. While it may seem exceedingly difficult to cut out your favorites, it becomes easier to avoid them the longer you go without them.

Epilepsy tends to respond well to a diet full of natural foods with little or no processing. If you’re not sure how to start making these changes, one trick is to look at the ingredients listed on the labels of the foods you eat. If you see more than three ingredients on the list, the food is likely processed and doesn’t belong in a whole-foods diet. 

Unprocessed foods are an important part of your diet because they’re full of vital micronutrients that keep your body functioning in an optimal state. 

Ready to learn more?

Modifying your diet to manage epilepsy isn’t easy on your own and can negatively impact your health if you don’t do it correctly. For more information on epilepsy-friendly diet changes as well as treatments for seizures, schedule an appointment over the phone or online at Neurology Services of Albuquerque today.