How to Reduce Seizure Frequency In Epilepsy With Coconut Oil
Epilepsy denotes a brain disorder with seizures being its predominant symptom. The seizure is caused by the inappropriate signals sent by neurons present in the brain all over the body. The improper signals result in violent spasms in the muscles and can even cause the person suffering from the seizure to become unconscious.
The condition affects roughly about one percent of the population and is common in older people. The excessive cell activity in the nerve cells of the brain either in a diffused manner or in a specific place occurs in the condition.
Although several advancements have been made in the treatment protocol for the seizures, especially in anticonvulsant medicines, nearly 30 percent of patients continue to have seizures.
For dealing with the condition, patients are recommended to take a low carb and high fat diet, which is known as ketogenic diet. Coconut oil is of great advantage, when added to the ketogenic diet.
Healthy coconut oil ingredients
Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides, which is also found in high doses in mother’s milk. This fatty acid does not need bile salts for metabolism. The fatty acids reach liver directly and are broken down to ketones.
Ketosis is a metabolic condition where ketone bodies are used as the main energy source for the body. Since carbohydrates are consumed in large amounts by many people, glucose forms the main energy source. This situation is the root cause for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
The carbohydrate centric energy state does not promote ketosis except during the time we sleep, when our body enters the ketosis state. Ketogenic diet is generally followed by bodybuilders and those involved in vigorous gym activities.
Ketone bodies are formed in our liver from the fatty acid stores in our body when the carbohydrates are restricted for a long period. When the ketone bodies are in high concentration, it is easier for the body to change into ketosis state and ketones would become the main energy source.
Action of ketones on epileptics
The ketones produced help in providing energy to the brain even in conditions when the blood sugar is low. And the ketones do not produce the neurologic dangers linked to high levels of blood sugar.
Studies done on epileptic children who were given a ketogenic diet as opposed to a control group not receiving the ketogenic diet revealed that the children not receiving ketogenic diet were more prone to seizures, while the seizure episodes decreased by 75 percent in the children taking ketogenic diet.
Coconut oil in addition to its general benefits helps in inducing ketosis in epileptic patients. Coconut oil has been used effectively as part of ketogenic diet to treat epileptic seizure far more effectively than the conventional drugs.
The beneficial ketones are formed due to the metabolic reaction the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil undergo. The ketones play two significant roles namely,
- They activate special proteins, which help in repair and development of brain cells in their normal state.
- They are a rich energy source helping in producing brain activity.
When coconut oil is added to the diet, it increases the ketone levels in blood to the required therapeutic levels, so epileptic seizures are reduced or eliminated.
Proven seizure reduction
Several studies, done on the effect of ketogenic diet on seizure reduction, reveal that the diet is capable of reducing the frequency to nearly 99 percent in epileptic children. A majority of the children did not require further medication after following the ketogenic diet.
When coconut oil is included in the ketogenic diet, the medium chain triglycerides help in enhancing the seizure reduction effect. Hence using coconut oil early on in the treatment would help in controlling the seizures effectively rather than using it as the final option.
Ketogenic diets and epilepsy
Ketogenic diets are focused more on fats and less on carbs, while allowing medium amount of proteins. This leads to fewer amount of glucose being available to the body.
The diet is highly effective and hence is used in both acute and chronic epilepsy treatment. Nearly 50 percent of children have been found to experience reduced seizure frequency, after they were started on the ketogenic diet.
While ketogenic diets used for epilepsy differ based on the concertation of the fats and carbs used, the diet with predominant medium chain triglyceride content is the most effective of all. This is mainly because the medium chain triglycerides are derived from coconut oil.
Beneficial in deficiency states
Another advantage of using ketogenic diet is it can be used in people who have carnitine deficiency. The role of carnitine, a compound formed from two different amino acids, is processing long chain fatty acids.
Since medium chain triglycerides do not need carnitine for processing and have high ketogenic potential, people with the deficiency are able to eat more of proteins and carbs, when compared to the usual ketogenic diets without coconut oil in them. This helps in making flexible choices in the diet.
Further ketogenic diets with coconut oil are the most successful therapeutic choices for children with epilepsy who do not respond to the usual therapeutic drugs.
And in several cases, the ketogenic diet with medium chain triglycerides is the first choice of treatment. The diet is also of great help in patients with pyruvate dehydrogenase and those with GLUT-1 transportation deficiency.
As always, using coconut oil should be done with care. Organic and pure refined coconut oil, virgin coconut oil offers the most benefits. And consuming in moderation is the key to get the maximum benefits.
A daily dose of about two to four tablespoons coconut oil, which contains about 20 grams of medium chain triglycerides, is an ideal choice. Coconut oil is the least allergic reaction producing oil. Nevertheless, it can trigger allergic reactions in some patients. Hence, it should be taken with care to avoid complications.