Epilepsy involves recurrent brain dysfunction that takes the form of sudden, brief attacks of altered consciousness, motor activity or sensory phenomena. Convulsive seizures are the most common form of attacks. Narcolepsy is a variation of epilepsy in which the chronic attacks consist of drowsiness and spontaneously falling asleep during the daytime, while eating, standing or conversing.
There is some evidence that a ketogenic diet (low-carbohydrate, high fat) diet can be an effective treatment for epilepsy. This may be because on such a diet there are no surges or drops in glucose (blood sugar). The brain is highly dependent on glucose and in sensitive people can suffer impaired functioning if blood sugar suddenly falls below normal range. In other words, the ketogenic diet may help to moderate an underlying problem of hypoglycemia. A ketogenic diet should not be undertaken without professional supervision, as it increases the risk for protein deficiency, kidney stones, and may increase fats in the blood to unsafe levels. Better to treat any hypoglycemia directly. Hidden food sensitivities could also be involved in triggering hypoglycemic episodes that might cause epileptic attacks.
The safest diet for epilepsy and narcolepsy is the hypoglycemic diet, namely to eliminate all concentrated sugars and sweets, alcohol and caffeine. There is also evidence that particular nutrients can help to reduce epileptic attacks – including vitamin B-6, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, and thiamine.
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