Gillian Szollos had forgotten about her epilepsy. It had been 30 years since she’d been seizure free, and those memories had faded so much that her husband didn’t even know about them. But when the seizures returned suddenly — full force — she began medications to suppress them. However, it wasn’t effective this time around so Gillian was left to find another way. She credits her husband for seeking support online, discovering and beginning the keto diet for epilepsy on October 2014. Two weeks later, Gillian had her very last seizure, and her own diligence in tracking keto has kept her seizure free ever since!
After tracking her basal body temp, ketones, blood sugar, menstrual cycle, and other metrics, she was able to take her data to her doctor who then was able to see a pattern and diagnose her with catamenial seizures, which are hormone triggered.
Had Gillian accepted what she was told without question, she may not be here today. As it turns out, she also has an MTHFR gene variance that causes her to not metabolize medications in a typical way. Her medications left her in such anguish that at one point she was willing to risk death from seizure rather than the side effects of the medications.
Join Dave Korsunsky, founder of Heads Up Health as he talks with Gillian Szollos about her experience with epilepsy and her choice to treat it with a keto diet for epilepsy. Through daily keto tracking, she lost over 90 pounds, lowered her A1C from 6.2 to 4.2 in just a few months, as well as eliminated her seizures by knowing her triggers.
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In this podcast you’ll learn:
- About Gillian Szollos’ pleading message to physicians to please read the drug insert and know that side effects do happen [14:00]
- Using the app, Seizure Tracker, she was able to further categorize the type of seizure she was having. (catamenial seizures-hormone related); otherwise, she wouldn’t have been able to target her therapy [17:20]
- Why doing your own research and taking it to your doctor can empower you, helping you get the results you desire for your health. [18:30]
- How although her hormone levels were “normal,” they were actually at the opposites ends of normal (indicating an imbalance providing her one more piece of the puzzle) [20:30]
- The difference between optimal functional ranges vs “normal” lab ranges [19:30]
- How keto came into Gillian’s life when she had hit a point where she’d rather take the chance of dying from a seizure than to continue on with the medications that caused her suicidal ideations [23:25]
- How her husband joined Facebook and found a seizure support group that led to the idea of utilizing a ketogenic diet for seizure suppression [24:30]
- About her search for sources in implementing a therapeutic ketogenic diet, which was scarce at the time, so she went straight to the source – Dr. Eric Kossoff at Johns Hopkins [24:50]
- After starting the keto for epilepsy diet in October 2014, Gillian had her last (30 minute) seizure two weeks later. Even though her doctor wanted her to go back to Tegretol, she never had to take it again! [27:05]
- How eating and tracking keto helped Gillian remain seizure free. Also the benefits of reducing estrogenic foods and upping nutrients to protect her body and managing her sleep. [28:50]
- How the side effects of the meds nearly killed her, but the side effects of keto saved her life. [31:00]
- Why she overcame her fear of lifting free weights in the gym and how she went from a bone density score of 1.1 to a 2.2 which is unheard of for a 49-year-old woman [38:45]
- How ovulation causes high ketones and low blood sugar. Right before menstruation, you’ll see low ketones and high blood sugar, regardless of what you’re eating. She wouldn’t have noticed without tracking, as this provides more markers to watch for in catamenial seizures. [45:00]
- Why you should master your own body by tracking and testing to know your triggers [47:00]
- Learn about the Charlie Foundation and why a community is so beneficial [47:45]
- About the use of cannabis and CBD oil for seizures [50:20]
- Importance of asking for your lab results, not just the summary of findings, to uncover things like thyroid swings from one end of normal to the other [52.45]
- Carrie Brown and MTHFR support for mental health [58:55]
- How to work with doctors that are uncooperative in a way that is not antagonistic [1:00:00]
- How Gillian pays it forward by sharing others’ success stories with keto and epilepsy [106:00:00]
- How she ditched over $3000 of monthly meds switching to keto [108.00.00]
- Why it’s important to spread the message that this is an effective treatment plan [108.00.00]
- Dr. Eric Kossoff
- Charlie Foundation
- Video training with Danny Vega and Robert Sikes
- MTHFR testing with Nutrition Genome
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