Here is more of the completely unedited version of how The Kinder Family used GAPS to treat their son’s seizures. Why do I keep stressing it’s unedited? Because I’m wriggling on the edge of my chair running this. What would my former colleagues think about how this child was treated? What would they think about me for running this story? And most importantly, what do I think about all of this?
Using nutrition to treat seizures is NOT new. I’m taking the following from the Mayo Clinic page. We’ve all heard of and respect the Mayo Clinic, right?
“Ketogenic diet. Some children with epilepsy have been able to reduce their seizures by following a strict diet that’s high in fats and low in carbohydrates. In this diet, called a ketogenic diet, the body breaks down fats instead of carbohydrates for energy. After a few years, some children may be able to stop the ketogenic diet and remain seizure-free. Consult a doctor if you or your child is considering a ketogenic diet. It’s important to make sure that your child doesn’t become malnourished when taking the diet. Side effects of a ketogenic diet may include dehydration, constipation, slowed growth because of nutritional deficiencies, and buildup of uric acid in the blood, which can cause kidney stones. These side effects are uncommon if the diet is properly and medically supervised.”
“Medication…Anti-seizure medications may have some side effects. Mild side effects include: fatigue, dizziness, weight gain, loss of bone density, skin rashes, loss of coordination, speech problems, memory and thinking problems. More severe but rare side effects include: depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, severe rash, inflammation of certain organs, such as your liver.”
Important: Information on this site is not intended to be for diagnosis or treatment purposes. Please discuss diagnoses and treatment options with your healthcare provider. You don’t want to miss anything dangerous or life-threatening, and you want to make sure the treatment options are safe and appropriate!
Now…on to the story!
Part 3: A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!
By Dan and Tammy Kinder
After months and months of research and reading by both myself and my husband, my husband came across a YouTube video of a little girl having an absence seizure. He immediately recognized them as the same “episodes” that our son was having and at that moment he realized that our son had epilepsy, which is anyone that has had at least one seizure. This was a big turning point in our journey to find a solution to our son’s disorder. We now knew exactly what we were dealing with, but we had no idea how far from a resolution we were at that point. The self diagnosis was both frightening and exciting. With the history of finding remedies for my husband’s illnesses, we had some level of confidence that we could help our son. Along with that confidence we also had a healthy amount of fear since this was something way outside our realm of knowledge. We didn’t want to take him to a conventional doctor because we read up and knew that they did not know the source of epilepsy. We also read that the solution they would offer first is to prescribe a drug that may reduce the frequency of the seizures, but it would also make him a couch potato feeling sluggish and tired all the time. Knowing the conventional doctor was not the answer, I started researching and reading everything I could find on epilepsy.
During the time we were searching for an answer, my husband began tracking the number of seizures our son was having each day. It turned out he would average between 3 and 10 per day on an average day. Within a month or so he figured out that when we would go to certain places, the number of seizures would spike to 15, 20 or even 30 the next day. After looking into these places he found that the common thread was excessive mold in those places. After testing the theory, we discovered that just by avoiding those places he would never exceed 11 seizures in one day. We also discovered during that time that when he ate more carbohydrates, the following day he would have a few more seizures. He would also complain more about his stomach hurting. As we started to pay attention to his body and test our theories we put these two primary changes in place. We saw some quick results the first couple of months in that he never exceeded eleven seizures in a day. As the months went on, the number of seizures slowly decreased. Within five to six months the number of seizures settled to between three and five each day. This was consistent and he would rarely deviate from this range.
It was during this time that we heard of Doug Kaufman and his anti-fungal diet. This made a lot of sense to us as the diet was also a low carbohydrate diet. The concept was to eliminate or minimize the carbohydrates to starve the fungus in the body. After being on this diet for many months, we saw some minor improvements, but saw no reduction in the number of seizures. Since our son’s condition did not see much more improvement at this time, we called into Doug Kaufman’s radio show. Mr. Kaufman recommended a conventional doctor up in the Dallas area that practiced with a natural, holistic mind set. This doctor ordered a multiplicity of tests that revealed several new symptoms we were unaware of. We learned our son was slight hypoglycemia, had some vitamin deficiencies and had a high level of one of the heavy metals. The doctor tried several treatments including supplements and an anti-gluten diet. These treatments did not result in much change for our son’s condition. After several visits we realized that he did not have much experience with seizures and that he could not help our son. We were thankful for his efforts and the new issues he found, but at that point we knew it was best to stop seeing him and focus on trying to improve the hypoglycemia, vitamin deficiencies and heavy metal issues.
We continued our research looking for ways to improve our son’s condition. We tried a few other types of diets like the modified Atkins diet and others. We tried several supplements including chlorella and even a long herbal parasite program. We sort of went through a pattern of trial and error. I would read of a treatment or supplement. I would then share it with my husband. He would look into it and make sure there were either very little or no side effects to the treatment. We would try it out and hope it was the key to solving this long mystery. As we grew tired of this process not working very quickly, I came across the GAPS diet. I ordered the GAPS Diet book and started reading it. After reading the book, I asked my husband to read it. After reading only a short part of the book my husband immediately thought we should try it. He was particularly impressed about the way Dr. Campbell made the connection between the gut and the brain. It was the first time he read something that connection the symptom to the possible cause of the symptom. With high hopes, we decided to try the GAPS diet. The GAPS diet seemed much more difficult than previous diets we had tried. Instead of just eliminating certain foods or trying certain new foods, the GAPS diet had much greater preparation time for every meal. Although it seemed overwhelming and a huge commitment, I knew I had to try it. With four children I knew it would be impossible to make two sets of food every time a meal was served. As a result we decided to put the whole family on the diet.
In April of 2012, we started the introduction phase of the GAPS diet. We decided to follow the instructions of Dr. Campbell as closely as we could. After reading about some potential negative side effects for epileptic children, I emailed Dr. Campbell. She told me not to give him the fermented fish oil because he was having seizures, but to give him lots of egg yolks and fermented sour cream at the appropriate phase of the diet. With lots a hope and some measure of reluctance, we started the introduction phase. We committed to only eating at home and according to the GAPS book. Week one here we come. We ate nothing but chicken soup for the whole week. To our surprise, the first three days of the diet, none of us had seen our son have a seizure. But on day four they were back and nothing seemed to change for quite some time. As for the rest of us, two of my sons and me felt horrible with detoxification symptoms for two and a half days, but after those first few days we felt fine.
After the first week on the introduction phase, as the GAPS book recommended, we gradually started adding additional foods into our diet. We did this gradually for about six weeks. To be honest, during the first couple of months, I felt very overwhelmed with all that I had to do. I felt like I was in the kitchen all day long. I am here to tell you that it is a lot of work, but it gets easier as you get better at preparing it. It was at this point that we questioned ourselves about when we should add new foods into our diet. The GAPS books said to add foods as long as the symptoms did not reappear, but our son’s seizures never went away, so we were not sure whether to keep adding foods or to stop adding foods and wait for the seizures to stop. It was especially hard to decide whether or not to add in new foods because of how few things we could actually eat. The entire family was kind of grumpy since we were already sick and tired of the chicken soup for the whole first week. Looking back it is easy to say that we should have been more strict and progressed more slowly in adding foods, but at that time we let our feelings and the begging of our children convince us otherwise. We decided to continue adding more foods listed in the GAPS book and slowly but surely increased the number of things we could eat. We discovered a few new things about our son during this time. We noticed that if our son took a good, quality probiotic, he would not complain about his stomach hurting. We tried several different probiotics, even the one that Dr. Campbell recommended, but he would still have stomachaches. This one particular probiotic, Renew Life Critical Colon, basically stopped his stomach pains completely. We are not sure if it was the number of strains or the pure volume of good bacteria, but what we did know was that it was helping our son, so we kept giving them to him daily as we progressed to the full GAPS phase of the diet.
After a while I also gave our son liver. To make it more palatable, I would mix it up with other meat to disguise the taste. We continued on the full GAPS diet for about three months before I started to question if it would work on our son. I definitely wanted faster results. I was growing more and more impatient as all the hard work seemed to have no results…
Part 4, the last segment, to follow next. Thank you so much, Dan and Tammy, for sharing your story. This story has meticulous details, and I can only imagine the journals and records they must have kept.