Before antiseizure medications were developed, physicians used diet, particularly fasting, to reduce seizure activity. Today, that protocol stands, though with a specific adjustment. The ketogenic, or keto, diet appears to a more effective treatment for severe seizures than standard pharmaceutical medications. It is a hyper-restrictive diet where most of the calories consumed are from fat.
New research has also shown that the cannabis-derived compound cannabidiol, or CBD, inhibits seizure activity through several pathways. Many parents of children with seizures and epilepsy have found that where mainstream antiseizure medications have failed them, using the combination of the keto diet and CBD has controlled their children’s seizures much more effectively.
This was true for Ashley Surin, who suffered daily seizures after undergoing leukemia treatment. The normal antiseizure medication she was taking did not work to reduce her seizures, so her parents turned to CBD and the keto diet instead(1). This combination led to her seizures only occurring about one time per month.
Using CBD, the keto diet, or both to control seizures, especially in children with severe epilepsy, like Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastout Syndrome, has worked wonders for many families(2). In those forms of severe epilepsy, children experience multiple types of seizures sometimes hundreds of times a day, leading to stunted intellectual development and a very poor quality of life. Anti-epileptic medications typically do not work in these cases, which is why parents often turn to alternative treatment options in desperation.
The keto diet is aptly named for how it impacts the body. Typically, humans get the majority of their energy from carbohydrates and proteins, but the keto diet has most of the calories coming from saturated and other so-called “unhealthy” fats and virtually no carbs. This diet forces the body to start burning fats for energy, producing what are called ketone bodies.
Ketone bodies lie at the core of how the keto diet is able to control seizures. They increase the number of mitochondria in the hippocampus of the brain(3), which stabilizes neurons and fortifies neural pathways. This in turn leads to a brain that is better equipped to combat the abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes seizures. Evidence has revealed that the keto diet can reduce seizure incidence in children(4) by half or more.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant found to have many medicinal properties. Numerous studies(5) have shown that CBD is a strong neuroprotectant that can help keep brain cells intact, supports endogenous brain chemicals, produces an increased level of the neurotransmitter GABA, and supports the natural anticonvulsant brain chemical adenosine, all of which lead to suppressed seizure activity.
The FDA has even approved a CBD-based drug called Epidiolex(6) for children with severe epilepsy. Some promising research(7) has supported that the use of CBD can lead to a more than 50 percent reduction in convulsive seizures and overall seizures.
Between the hard science and anecdotal evidence, it seems pretty convincing that using the CBD-keto diet combination is able to protect the brain and change body chemistry in ways that control seizures in both children and adults much more successfully than mainstream antiseizure pharmaceuticals.
FDA Disclaimer – These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or prior to using any CBD products.