Uridine, Ketones & Epilepsy

Uridine, Ketones & Epilepsy

There is new research suggesting that the effects of uridine and exogenous ketone supplements together may enhance the anti-epileptic effects of ketosis.  In a research paper written by a team of scientists at Ketonutrition.org, and in collaboration with a Hungarian research team, the effects of uridine and exogenous ketone supplementation was studied in a rat model of epilepsy, with very positive results.

Uridine is a molecule that is produced naturally in the liver and is circulated throughout the body.  Uridine is defined as one of the five nucleosides that compose our genetic material.  When a phosphate is added to a nucleoside it creates a nulcleotide.  Where nucleosides are a sub-unit of DNA and RNA, nucleotides are the building blocks of DNA and RNA. Nucleoside triphosphates such as; ATP, GTP, CTP and UTP, play a central role in cell metabolism as they are responsible for encoding, transmitting and expressing genetic information in all living things. 

When uridine is taken up by the brain and used for RNA synthesis, it provides the building blocks for healthy cell membrane constituents, which plays an important role in cognition and overall brain health. Research studies into uridine have shown it to aid in the increase of neuronal plasticity and synapse formation, which are required for proper learning, memory, and cognition.

Since the early 1900’s, the ketogenic diet has been administered as the standard of care treatment for epilepsy, as it has been proven an effective treatment in children, adolescents, and adults with epilepsy and other seizure disorders.  New research also suggests that exogenous ketones, such as the ones found in KetoForce, may offer an alternative to the ketogenic diet.

Because the A1 adenosine receptor plays a significant role in neuronal excitability and seizure activity, it may be partly responsible for the anticonvulsant effect of ketosis.  Furthermore, it has been suggested that the alleviating influence of uridine and ketone supplementation on absence epileptic activity may also be modulated by the A1 type adenosine receptors. This combination has been shown to decrease the number of spike-wave discharges (SWDs) in rat models of human absence epilepsy

In addition, both ketone bodies and uridine may increase levels of GABA in the brain, which also has anticonvulsant effects. It is speculated that the co-administration of both may enhance their beneficial effects on seizures. The advantage of administering two complementary compounds that increase the efficacy of the other is that it may reduce some negative side effects of having to utilize high doses of these compounds individually. Furthermore, optimizing the effectiveness of these supplements would allow more flexibility to patients following a ketogenic diet, as it would allow patients to follow a more liberal ketogenic diet, thereby increasing compliance and tolerability.

In conclusion, co-administration of uridine and ketone supplementation could represent a safe and effective treatment plan for epilepsy with minimal to no side effects.  Uridine and exogenous ketone supplements have both been studied extensively and are shown to be well-tolerated in the body. Although further animal and clinical studies are needed, this combination represents a novel treatment for absence epilepsy as the co-administration of uridine and exogenous ketones enhance the beneficial effects of each other. 

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