Keto-based dietary supplement, K.Vita, reduced seizures by 50% in adults and children with drug-resistant epilepsy in its first clinical trial. The research was published in Brain Communications.
The ketogenic diet is widely used for treatment-resistant cases of epilepsy. The diet consists of 70-80% fats with the rest being made from protein and low amounts of carbohydrates.
Keto diets are thought to work by changing the body’s primary source of fuel from carbohydrates to fats via an increase in ketone production. After the body adapts to this new energy source, it enters what is known as 'ketosis'.
Although the diet has been used for over 100 years to treat epilepsy, many struggle to maintain it due to its restrictive nature, as well as side effects including constipation, low blood sugar, and stomach problems.
K.Vita is based on earlier findings that ketogenic diets may be able to reduce epileptic seizures due to a mechanism other than ketosis. The findings state that increases in levels of a fatty acid known as decanoic acid may produce the antiseizure effects associated with ketogenic diets
This led the researchers behind the present study to create K.Vita's underlying formula- a medium-chain triglyceride supplement to increase levels of decanoic acid.
In their study, they recruited 35 children aged 3- 18 with genetically caused treatment-resistant epilepsy alongside 26 adults also with epilepsy who were unresponsive to drugs.
Each participant was given K.Vita liquid supplements to take with their meals. They were also asked to minimize highly-refined sugary food and beverages from their diets.
In the end, 66% of children and 69% of adults completed the trial, meaning they took K.vita for 12 weeks. The most common cause for trial discontinuation was gastrointestinal disturbances.
Nevertheless, three-quarters of participants and caregivers involved in the trial gave positive feedback on attributes of K.Vita, including its taste, texture, appearance, and ease of use.
The researchers also found that those who completed the trial saw a 50% reduction in seizures and other paroxysmal events such as spasms.
“While this study was not designed to include enough patients to fully assess the supplement’s effects on seizures, it is exciting to report that there was a statistically significant reduction in the number of seizures in the group overall after three months of treatment,” said Matthew Walker, one of the study’s authors.
“Furthermore, high ketone levels were not observed in over 90% of the participants. This indicates that the effect of the diet was independent from ketosis; this is important because high ketone levels in the ketogenic diets contribute to both short- and longer-term side effects," he added.