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Can Ketogenic Low Carb and Gluten-free Diets Benefit People with Celiac and Other Diseases?

Celiac.com 11/21/2014 - When most people think of celiac disease, they think about gastrointestinal symptoms. However, researchers have documented a number of other medical conditions that are associated with celiac disease, and which improve when patients follow a strict gluten-free diet.

Photo: CC--Chris HopeThe recent case of a 75-year old man who experienced a dramatic recovery from Parkinson's disease after eliminating all forms of gluten from his diet for three months, has researchers thinking about the possibility that gluten sensitivity may be related to Parkinson's disease.

In fact, there is some evidence that patients with epilepsy and other conditions may benefit from ketogenic low carb and gluten-free diets.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, and adequate protein diet developed 90 years ago at the Mayo Clinic. The high fat content creates ketosis, which appears to prevent seizures.

In addition to the ketogenic diet, there are several other high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets for seizure control: low-glycemic-index, medium-chain triglyceride, and modified Atkins diets. All require medical supervision and vitamin and mineral supplements.

In another example of food serving as medicine, high fat low carb ketogenic diets increasingly are being used to control seizures in epilepsy patients.

As reported in Medscape, ketogenic diets made a significant difference for many patients with epilepsy who cannot control their seizures with medication.

In one study, more than 20 percent of the patients used the traditional ketogenic diet, while the rest used a modified Atkins diet that included medium-chain triglyceride supplements. These patients saw dramatic improvements.

In addition to reducing the number and severity of seizures, 65 percent of patients felt "more alert or brighter," while 35 percent had "more energy." Many of the patients also had shorter seizures when they occurred.

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