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Epilepsia. 2007 Jan;48(1):66-71.

Vitamin D status in children with intractable epilepsy, and impact of the ketogenic diet.

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Division of Neurology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Department of Pediatrics and Neurology, University of Pannsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



The aim of this study was to describe vitamin D status in children with intractable epilepsy prescribed newer antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) before initiation of and during 15-month treatment with the ketogenic diet (KD).


Serum vitamin D (25-OHD and 1,25-OHD) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) were assessed in prepubertal children with intractable epilepsy before initiation of and during KD therapy. Three-day weighed dietary records including KD and vitamin and mineral supplementation were obtained at baseline and at 1 month.


Forty-five children (aged 5.1 +/- 2.7 years) were enrolled. Before KD therapy, 4% had deficient and 51% had insufficient serum 25-OHD levels. Vitamin D intake was less than recommended in 47%. Adequate vitamin D intake, fewer AEDs, and generalized seizures were associated with higher serum 25-OHD levels (p < 0.01). After 3 months on the KD, 25-OHD levels increased (p < 0.001), and PTH declined (p < 0.001). Over the next 12-month period, 25-OHD levels steadily declined (p < 0.001), and PTH did not significantly change.


Children with intractable epilepsy treated with newer AEDs had poor vitamin D status. Their status improved over the first 3 months of KD therapy with vitamin D supplementation and slowly declined thereafter.

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