University College London (UCL) researchers have successfully completed first clinical trial of a new dietary treatment for children and adults with severe forms of epilepsy based on the ketogenic diet.
For the study, published in Brain Communications, clinicians evaluated the use of K.Vita, (also known as Betashot), an oral liquid dietary supplement developed by UCL in collaboration with Royal Holloway, University of London, and Vitaflo International Ltd.
The ketogenic diet (KD) consists of high-fat, low-carbohydrate and adequate protein consumption and mimics the fasting state, altering the metabolism to use body fat as the primary fuel source. This switch from carbohydrates to fat for body fuel is known as ketosis.
It is widely used to treat drug resistant epilepsies. However, the highly restrictive diet, which can cause constipation, low blood sugar, and stomach problems, can have poor compliance and is not suitable for everyone. Some KD supplements are also known to be unappetising.
K.Vita is based on novel findings by UCL researchers, who discovered a different underlying mechanism to explain why the KD is effective against epilepsy; in developing a new treatment, researchers also sought to reduce the adverse side effects caused by KD.