Can crisis be controlled through natural remedies?
From ancient times until the XIX century, fasting was the common cure for epilepsy. Later on, in 1866, Radcliffe proposed a diet high in fats and low in carbs (ketogenic diet), capable of producing ketogenic bodies that were held responsible for fasting’s anticonvulsant action (see diet and epilepsy).
At that time, gut’s role in epilepsy was quite clear and fasting used to be proposed as ‘intestinal purifier’, as well as ketogenic diet.
In the Thirties, the introduction of drugs designed to directly reach the brain diverted attention from the intestine, though the intestinal action of drugs taken orally was not negligible (see intestinal action of drugs).
In 1998 the interest in ketogenic diet is back, following a movie (“First do not harm”) shot by a director whose epileptic and drug-resistant son succeeds in controlling his crisis thanks to this diet.
In 2008 Helen Cross publishes a study on 103 children showing the higher efficacy of ketogenic diet as against drug therapy: in the group of children treated with the diet, a 30% crisis reduction is highlighted, whereas the group treated with drugs features a 30% worsening of the crisis.
Recent works highlight the role of brain inflammation in the crisis’s pathogenetic mechanisms (1), (2), but today we know how a peripheral inflammation, for instance an intestinal-one may generate a brain inflammation (3), through cytokines (4), thus lowering the convulsion threshold (5).
By reducing intestinal inflammation convulsion threshold is increased, thus the onset of a crisis is less probable, even in genetically predisposed individuals.
Certainly both fasting and ketogenic diet reduce brain inflammation thanks to their intestinal prebiotics actions (see prebiotics or probiotics).
Recent results got through alpha lactalbumin (see alpha lactalbumin in epilepsy) confirm the usefulness of enhancing gut to increase crisis control, because this serum protein is the prebiotics nature has selected for us since it is responsible for the activation of intestinal processes in the colostrum.