Table of Contents
Epilepsy Research and Treatment
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 963637, 4 pages
Review Article

The Ketogenic Diet 2011: How It Works

Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Neurology, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Received 12 November 2010; Accepted 5 April 2011

Academic Editor: Ivan Rektor

Copyright © 2011 Keren Politi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although the ketogenic diet (KD) has been widely accepted as a legitimate and successful therapy for epilepsy and other neurological disorders, its mechanism of action remains an enigma. The use of the KD causes major metabolic changes. The most significant of them seems to be the situation of chronic ketosis, but there are others as well, for instance, high level of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These “primary” influences lead to “secondary”, in part adaptive, effects, for instance changes in mitochondrial density and gene expression. Clinically, the influences of the diet are considered as anticonvulsive and neuroprotective, although neuroprotection can also lead to prevention of seizures. Potential clinical implications of these mechanisms are discussed.