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Paleo helping with disability (cerebral palsy)?

by (4258)
Updated October 29, 2014 at 3:21 AM
Created September 30, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Hullo all,

So, in short, I'm fairly new to the paleo world and want to learn as much as I can. I have celiac disease, and cutting out all gluten a few years ago made a massive world of difference, especially in my joint health and muscle pains.

I also have a physical disability (cerebral palsy), and I'm wondering if people know of any ways the CPs effects might be diminished by Paleo. Certainly building muscle and improving joints helps, but I'm also concerned with muscle spasticity/tension, nerve response, and the like. Thoughts?

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4258 · April 24, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Hullo, Jenn, and welcome. Yes, I have styed fairly paleo, though I am still making some adjustments. Two things I would recommend, based on my experiences (beyond basic paleo ideas, anyhow). 1, eat foods with gelatin, or add gelatin to things. It helps build and repair cartilage, and thus decreases joint pain. 2, even though lower carb levels are typical for paleo, don't be afraid to experiment with some carbs. I have found that there is a nice balance between too many carbs (inflammation), and not enough (fatigue). If I get it right, I have a lot of energy, so I fall less. Best of luck!

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1054 · October 01, 2011 at 4:37 AM

But hold the peanuts and peanut butter. Not a good oil. In fact peanuts are in the legume family.

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1054 · October 01, 2011 at 4:36 AM

The best fat used in ketogenic diets is Coconut oil. Since our brains are mostly cholesterol which is a fat, feeding the brain with a lot of coconut oil makes sense. Coconut oil has been used to slow the progression of Alz Disease. Dr. Mary Newport used coconut oil to reverse some of her husband's AD symptoms.

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15226 · September 30, 2011 at 11:12 PM

Interested to here the answers because I just yesterday posted a question on an NSCA board about training someone in the gym with CP.

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4 Answers

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2026 · October 01, 2011 at 5:46 AM

IF you have seizures, a ketogenic diet can help, as pointed out by Ambimorph. Nerve response may also be benefited by optimal nutrition (including O3/O6 balance and sufficient total fat intake), through improvement of myelin sheaths.

However, it is highly unlikely (though not impossible) that a change in diet will improve your spasticity. Sustained stretching techniques, such as those used in yoga, and strengthening of antagonist muscles (the muscles opposite the most spastic ones) are the most likely non-medical interventions to make a difference in your spasticity.

I'm an occupational therapy student (will be done with my studies in november), I've done a lot of projects on and worked with a lot of clients with CP. I will also add that if you can find and afford to work with someone (usually a PT or OT) trained in the Bobath concept, also know as Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT), they have been know to get excellent results. (I'm not trained in the technique, but I had a couple professors who were)

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18671 · October 01, 2011 at 12:21 AM

That definitely sounds like a candidate for a ketogenic diet, which tends to help with neurological or brain specific problems. I did a quick search, and here's my first hit:Ketogenic Diet and Cerebral Palsy

Seizures are common with children with cerebral palsy, in fact half of children with cerebral palsy are also affected with seizures, brain injuries allow abnormal impulses to occur. If drugs don???t work in treating the seizures, many families turn to alternative treatments such as a ketogenic diet, the most popular diet used to prevent seizures in children. Known for reducing seizures in children with epilepsy, the ketogenic diet is high in fat and restricted carbohydrates, the diet ketosis: as fat is burned to compensate for reduced glucose (low-carbohydrates), by-products (ketones) build in the blood and inhibit seizures. The diet is more effective in children than adults, particularly when anticonvulsant drug therapy is ineffective. The diet provides 3-4 grams of fat for every 1 gram of carbohydrate, calling for such foods as high-triglyceride dairy products (such as butter and cream) peanut butter. Carbohydrates, found in breads and starches, are eliminated from the diet, and liquid intake is often restricted as well in order to aid ketone accumulation. The diet is typically supplemented with calcium, vitamin D, iron, and folic acid.

When the diet works, the response is often rapid and dramatic.

I don't know that it has been studied for cerebral palsy outside of the context of seizures, but based on the neuroprotective properties, and the effects on other neurological conditions, it seems like a promising approach to try.

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1054 · October 01, 2011 at 4:37 AM

But hold the peanuts and peanut butter. Not a good oil. In fact peanuts are in the legume family.

3a567c1637db69f1455ce35e78201a2c
1054 · October 01, 2011 at 4:36 AM

The best fat used in ketogenic diets is Coconut oil. Since our brains are mostly cholesterol which is a fat, feeding the brain with a lot of coconut oil makes sense. Coconut oil has been used to slow the progression of Alz Disease. Dr. Mary Newport used coconut oil to reverse some of her husband's AD symptoms.

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0 · March 30, 2014 at 8:37 PM

@Caleb the Hobbit; @Jenn 9; Wondering something different regarding CP - my son (adult) is unable to chew with his teeth because of his CP. He uses his tongue and the roof of his mouth to "mash" his food, and thus cannot eat things that need to be "gnashed" by teeth - like raw vegies. I'm considering going Paleo, and since I prepare all of his meals, I'm wondering if it will be possible to include him so that I'm only preparing meals for one every day. He needs "mashable" and wetter foods; hamburgers are his favorite, and hot dogs are now forbidden - I've had to "heimlich" him too many times when he swallows too large a chunk of encased food and it sticks in his throat. Anyhow, just wondering if you have any issues with chewing, and how have you dealt with them, if you do. Thanks :D

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0 · April 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Hello there, I'm just wondering if you stuck with the Paleo and how it's been going? I am just starting today. I also have CP. It is a mild form that primarily affects my right side. I'm hoping the decrease in inflammation will atleast help with some of the aches and pains i've been dealing with lately.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c
4258 · April 24, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Hullo, Jenn, and welcome. Yes, I have styed fairly paleo, though I am still making some adjustments. Two things I would recommend, based on my experiences (beyond basic paleo ideas, anyhow). 1, eat foods with gelatin, or add gelatin to things. It helps build and repair cartilage, and thus decreases joint pain. 2, even though lower carb levels are typical for paleo, don't be afraid to experiment with some carbs. I have found that there is a nice balance between too many carbs (inflammation), and not enough (fatigue). If I get it right, I have a lot of energy, so I fall less. Best of luck!

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