We have our own genetic makeup with unique genetic codings or mutations. Thus, our bodies absorb certain foods, nutrients, and medications at varying rates. One diet cannot be suitable for everyone on the planet.
For instance, even the Gerson Institute acknowledges that liver capsules or bone marrow/broth may be necessary to address parasympathetic dominant conditions such as lymphoma or leukemia. They will recommend adding organic yogurt, kefir, chia, hemp, or bone broth to the Gerson diet for someone who needs to add weight. Often, in the elderly or cachetic (those wasting away due to disease), they need urgent intervention in order to reverse their disease.
This may mean incorporating a diet high in protein and often patients cannot do this with plants alone-even under the supervision of a certified Gerson practitioner. People with adrenal fatigue, sympathetic driven, or type A may be prone to constipation. If so, they should still avoid meat consumption. Other people are sensitive to gluten or fiber. Others thrive as a vegetarian or vegan. My point is that I believe in the bio-individuality of diet.
Did you know that there is a diet that has been scientifically shown to drastically improve certain conditions that affect the brain? This diet is the Ketogenic diet.
Hold on – don’t make assumptions here. This is not a typical Atkins, bacon-indulgence fest.
The ketogenic diet is being used for people from children with epilepsy and autism to patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease, brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s, and other mitochondrial disorders. Epilepsy affects some 2.3 million adults in America and close to half a million children. Furthermore, about one in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their lives.
This strict diet consists of about 90% fat and 7% protein and 3% glycemic carbohydrate ratio. Vegetables other than potatoes are considered non-glycemic carbohydrates. Thus they allowed. A more lax version of the diet is 80% fat, 15% protein, and 5% carbohydrate; the ratio of fat to carbohydrate plus protein ranges from 2:1 to 4:1. Higher ratios are more restrictive but also more effective!
We don’t know why the Keto diet works so well for epilepsy. However, the anecdotal evidence seems overwhelming. Some studies show that the Keto diet is beneficial for children who have resistance to conventional anti-seizure medications.
One theory in the ketogenic diet’s success is due to the ketosis that results and its impact on the brain.
It may be the hyperpolarization of neurons, which may stabilize synaptic functioning and increase resistance to seizures throughout the brain. Studies show this may be similar to how fasting works!
Prolonged fasting can produce a metabolic state called ketosis. It is difficult to achieve and maintain. However, when done properly, the body will use fat for energy as opposed to carbohydrates and sugar. The brain can also use fat for energy and this has a profound effect on how the brain functions and interacts, although it is not fully understood quite yet.
Eating a diet that increases the availability of fat and limits of carbs and proteins has a similar effect as fasting. In fact, a proper ketogenic diet is kicked off with a 24-48 hour water fast.
“Now a report, appearing several weeks ago in the journal Neurology, reveals that in fact, a ketogenic diet is also profoundly helpful in treating adult forms of epilepsy as well. This research, published by investigators in Maryland, found that there was at least a 50% reduction in seizures in 32% of patients treated with a ketogenic diet as well as in 29% of patients who went on a modified Atkins diet. In fact, 9% of those placed on the ketogenic diet and 5% of those placed on the modified Atkins diet had a greater than 90% reduction in the frequency of their epileptic seizures. These diets were designed such that the bulk of calories, between 67% and 75%, came from fat. The study revealed that “the anticonvulsant effect occurs quickly with both diets, within days to weeks.” Interestingly, the most common side effect was weight-loss which the office indicated “may be advantageous in patients with obesity.”
Another clinical trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2008 showed that the Keto diet significantly reduced the number of seizures in some children whose seizures did not respond well to automatic electrical devices. After three months, 40% of children who started the diet saw the number of their seizures reduced by over half and were able to reduce their medication.
The diet should be followed for approximately three years. There are many stories like 11-year-old Charlie at the charliefoundation.org – who adopted the ketogenic diet for five years and became seizure-free. He is now in college and eats whatever he wants!
This diet has been the subject of studies in the field of neurology since the 1920s. There are multiple studies validating its efficacy.
Think tons of healthy fats, nuts, seeds, oils like olive or coconut, grass-fed creams, and butter. This diet is not for everyone. It is for those with a brain condition, and even then, is not recommended long term because of side effects such as kidney stones, elevated cholesterol, constipation and in some, weight loss.
Talk to your trusted healthcare provider to see if it may be right for you. It is not meant for longterm, strict adherence.
This is just one example of a diet that is not the norm for what many of us would consider healthy. Although plant-based diets are what is normally touted, the ketogenic diet has proven that it too holds a place in the healing realm. This is why I personally believe in bio-individual nutrition.
We could all use some more fruits and veggies in our lives, but perhaps we should have a bit of compassion for people who choose a different path than us.
You are becoming your own best doctor!
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