Trying keto (modified Atkins diet)

twitchy

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I had a grand mal seizure about a month ago. It was some combination of alcohol withdrawal, stress, dehydration and sleep deprivation. Alcohol is my most serious trigger. I had several drinks last thursday and I ended up having an autonomic simple partial seizure the next day. I might be having these same seizures in the middle of the night as I wake up in a panic with my heart rate more than 2x the normal speed (tachycardia). I have had myoclonic jerks for years but I did not know they were related to epilepsy and when I told a doctor he told me they were benign. Now they are much worse.

I spoke with my neurologist and said that I wanted to try the ketogenic diet (and obviously I don't drink anymore, not actually very hard for me given how scary my recent epilepsy has been). I started it last Friday and I am already in ketosis. And yet, my myoclonus seems to be worse than ever - tonight I had a large bilateral leg jerk and my right middle finger is going crazy and they occur infrequently all over my entire body. I'm afraid to go to sleep tonight, which is how I ended up finding these forums.

I am now working on also eliminating many or all of the potential triggers listed here: atkinsforseizures.com/dietary-chemical-seizure-triggers.html

For instance, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, fizzy drinks / diet soda, diphenhydramine (benadryl), sun screen, sugar alcohol (gum) and more.

Let's just hope that I don't make it so far down the list that I have to eliminate bacon from my diet.

Maybe I should just add the Keppra now what do you think? Then I would never know if there was a specific set of triggers that I could have just eliminated.

I'm lovin' the brain icon. :brain:

Also here's a picture of my brain from the MRI they gave me after my grand mal. goo.gl/DhLwz

g'nite.
 

Bernard

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Hi twitchy, welcome to the forum. :hello:

... I am already in ketosis. And yet, my myoclonus seems to be worse than ever ...
You didn't say whether you were male or female, but when my wife tried the GARD diet for a while and went into strong ketosis, it messed up her hormone system and exacerbated her seizure activity. She has done much better with a "pseudo LGIT" diet (limiting simple carbohydrates, but not complex carbs).

... Maybe I should just add the Keppra now what do you think? Then I would never know if there was a specific set of triggers that I could have just eliminated. ...
If the seizure activity is severe enough, I'd personally take the medication if it helped stopped the seizures. Determining triggers can be a long process. You can always wean from the medication later if your situation warrants.
 

Nakamova

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Hi twitchy, welcome to CWE!

Are you doing the keto/MAD diet under your doctor's supervision? The neurologist/dietician should be able to help you monitor what's going on and provide advice as you adjust. Sometimes it can take a while before the full effects of the diet kick in, so you may need to be patient before deciding how well it's working for you.

If you (or others) aren't at any particular risk from your symptoms at the moment, I agree that you could hold off on taking the Keppra until you get a sense of how all the other changes you are making are affecting you. Again, your neurologist should be able to provide some guidance here.

Are you getting enough magnesium in your diet? You may want to add a magnesium supplement. Magnesium plays a role in brain health and in muscle relaxation, and can potentially help with reducing twitches, jerks, cramps, and even tachycardia (since the heart is a muscle).

Best,
Nakamova
 

twitchy

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You didn't say whether you were male or female
I'm a 30 y/o male. Other than myoclonus I haven't had anything close to a simple partial or grand mal seizure except in cases of alcohol withdrawal.

Hi twitchy, welcome to CWE!

Are you doing the keto/MAD diet under your doctor's supervision? The neurologist/dietician should be able to help you monitor what's going on and provide advice as you adjust. Sometimes it can take a while before the full effects of the diet kick in, so you may need to be patient before deciding how well it's working for you.

If you (or others) aren't at any particular risk from your symptoms at the moment, I agree that you could hold off on taking the Keppra until you get a sense of how all the other changes you are making are affecting you. Again, your neurologist should be able to provide some guidance here.

Are you getting enough magnesium in your diet? You may want to add a magnesium supplement. Magnesium plays a role in brain health and in muscle relaxation, and can potentially help with reducing twitches, jerks, cramps, and even tachycardia (since the heart is a muscle).

Best,
Nakamova
The answer to whether I am doing this under the supervision of my neurologist is yes and no. I got approval to try the diet from my neurologist, and we scheduled a follow-up appointment for six weeks from now. She trusts me to take care of myself because she knows I am very good at lit search and finding information.

My girlfriend told me about magnesium just last night. My supplement (found here: goo.gl/Vfa8W) contains 31% of my daily magnesium; presumably it doesn't have more because they don't want to risk magnesium poisoning. Given that MAD contains almost no magnesium sources I will certainly have to supplement further to get up to about 400mg. I don't think I should supplement that much though - maybe up to a total of 300mg under the assumption that I'm getting about 100mg from random food sources?

I'll read these again later and might post more. Thanks a lot for the freedback. :hugs:
 
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Nakamova

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I take 1000mg/day magnesium malate without any side effects. Magnesium is very safe -- basically, you'll know you're taking too much if it gives you the runs. You can try and get it from your diet, but people who are suffering from myoclonus may need more than the RDA. You may find this link helpful for good dietary sources of magnesium: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/ Certain foods (particularly sodas) can inhibit magnesium absorption, so you need to make sure those aren't part of your diet too.
 

twitchy

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Magnesium deficiency is quite plausible for me. I have myoclonus, have drank more this year than ever in the past, my blood pressure is high, and as far as I can infer my diet has not contained enough magnesium.
 

twitchy

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Signs that I have magnesium deficiency (goo.gl/wdkAc).

- Diet doesn't appear to contain it.
- High blood pressure
- Eczema
- Calf cramps
- Myoclonus
- Seizures
- Anxiety
- Headaches
- Insomnia
- Irritibility
- Impaired episodic memory
- Extremely fast reflexes
- Rapid heartbeat

... and maybe more. 0.o

I went to a doctor about two of these symptoms long before I had a seizure - both eczema and myoclonus.
 
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