Potassium citrate wards off kidney stones in seizure patients

July 22nd, 2009 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 22 (IANS) A daily supplement of potassium citrate taken by kids on the high-fat ketogenic diet to control epileptic seizures can help prevent the resulting yet excruciatingly painful kidney stones, according to research.
The ketogenic diet is believed to work by initiating biochemical changes that eliminate seizure-triggering short circuits in the brain’s signalling system in children.

But the diet, which consists of high-fat foods with very few carbohydrates, causes a build up of calcium in the urine and the formation of kidney stones in about six percent of those on it.

“We can confidently say this is a safe and powerful way to prevent kidney stones, and it should become part of standard therapy in all ketogenic dieters, not just those who already show elevated urine calcium levels,” said Eric Kossoff, paediatric neurologist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Centre. “If you wait, it might be too late.”

Hopkins adopted the preventive treatment with potassium citrate two years ago, and doctors now believe this one major side effect of the diet is a thing of the past, allowing more children to remain on the diet for longer.

Potassium citrate taken twice daily, either as powder sprinkled on food or dissolved in water, is believed to inhibit stone formation, said a Johns Hopkins release.

A report is slated for publication in the August issue of Paediatrics.

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