October 23, 2020

Can Changes in Gut Microbiota Composition Be Used as a Marker of How Well the Ketogenic Diet Works in Patients With Drug-Resistant Epilepsy?

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy Behav.

To answer the question posed in the title of the manuscript, we critically examined the connection between ketogenic diet (KD), gut microbiota (GM), and epilepsy. We conclude that although the evidence for a KD-GM-epilepsy link is fairly robust in rodent epilepsy models, it is very hard to draw meaningful conclusions in humans. The limitations of human studies that have investigated the KD-microbiota-epilepsy relationship include small sample size, a heterogeneous patient population with regard to age and epilepsy type, failure to account for the effect of dietary habits, antiseizure drugs (ASDs) and comedications on GM composition, variability in the KD administered and in the duration of the intervention, and different approaches used in sequencing the microbiome. Although alteration in the GM composition may be a potential indicator of responsiveness/resistance to a KD, we need well-designed randomized case-control and cohort studies involving a large number of a fairly homogenous population of patients with epilepsy adjusted to their habitual dietary habits and region of residence before labeling it as a surrogate marker. Research in this direction may also help us to unravel the mysteries of GM-brain axis not only concerning epilepsy but also in other neurological diseases.