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Epilepsy Res. 2000 Jan;38(1):15-25.

Higher ketogenic diet ratios confer protection from seizures without neurotoxicity.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057-1229, USA.


The present study was designed to establish a dose-response relationship for the efficacy of the ketogenic diet (KD). Sprague-Dawley rats were fed ketogenic diets containing varying ratios of fats; (carbohydrates + proteins) whereas control animals were fed rodent chow. Unless otherwise indicated, all animals were fed calorie-restricted, isocaloric diets beginning at P37 and ketonemia, seizure threshold and neurotoxic effects were determined. Despite being provided isocaloric quantities, animals fed lower ketogenic ratios gained weight relative to those fed diets having greater proportions of fats. A significantly increased metabolic rate was noted for animals fed a high-fat diet, suggesting a basis for the weight differences. Results also showed that the animals fed calorie-restricted high-fat diets exhibited significant ketonemia and protection from pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced seizures. There were no detectable neurotoxic effects for any diet group. For animals of the same age, there was no correlation between beta-hydroxybutyrate (beta-OHB) and seizure threshold. These findings suggest that beta-OHB is not directly involved in the anticonvulsant mechanism of the diet. Also, data presented here show that the conventional 4:1 ketogenic diet does not confer the greatest level of seizure protection. We conclude that a 6:1 ketogenic diet, which shows no evidence of neurotoxicity, may be maximally efficacious in rats.

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