Epilepsy is a chronic and debilitating neurological disorder, with a worldwide prevalence of 0.5–1% and a lifetime incidence of 1–3%. An estimated 30% of epileptic patients continue to experience seizures throughout life, despite adequate drug therapy or surgery, with a major impact on society and global health. In recent decades, dietary regimens have been used effectively in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy, following the path of a non-pharmacological approach. The ketogenic diet and its variants (e.g., the modified Atkins diet) have an established role in contrasting epileptogenesis through the production of a series of cascading events induced by physiological ketosis. Other dietary regimens, such as caloric restriction and a gluten free diet, can also exert beneficial effects on neuroprotection and, therefore, on refractory epilepsy. The purpose of this review was to analyze the evidence from the literature about the possible efficacy of different dietary regimens on epilepsy, focusing on the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, safety, and tolerability both in pediatric and adult population. We believe that a better knowledge of the cellular and molecular biochemical processes behind the anticonvulsant effects of alimentary therapies may lead to the development of personalized dietary intervention protocols.
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