Dietary Fat May Help Treat Some Types Of Epilepsy

First Posted: Nov 27, 2015 10:34 PM EST

Dietary fat may be more effective at controlling the symptoms of epilepsy than certain medications, according to a recent study.

Researchers found that a fatty acid that comes from maintaining the ketogenic diet--a high fat diet based on a moderate level of protein and almost no carbohydrates--held anti-epileptic effects on mice examined in the study.

"By examining the fats provided in the diet, we have identified a specific fatty acid that outperforms drugs currently used for controlling seizures, and that may have fewer side effects," said Robin Williams, a professor in from the Center for Biomedical Sciences at Royal Holloway, in a news release.

Previous studies have suggested that a ketogenic diet held the power to help prevent seizures in refractory epilepsy. However, up until recently, researchers were unable to identify why exactly this was the case.

Initially, they believed that it had something to do with the production of keytones, which are produced by the body to create energy in the absence of carbohydrates. However, researchers found that decanoic acids helps inhibit brain activity that causes seizures. Furthermore, the study findings revealed that decanoic acid held significant anti-epileptic effects on the brains of the mice when testing the difference between decanoic acid and keytones. On the other hand, keytones did not hold any effect.

The study is published in the journal Brain.

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