Nutritional Interventions for Patients with Mitochondrial POLG-Related Diseases: A Systematic Review on Efficacy and Safety

Zandra Overgaard Pedersen*, Sonja Holm-Yildiz, Tina Dysgaard

*Corresponding author for this work


Ketogenic diet is recommended as a treatment to reduce seizure frequency in patients with intractable epilepsy. The evidence and safety results are sparse for diet interventions in patients with pathogenic polymerase gamma (POLG) variants and intractable epilepsy. The aim of this systematic review is to summarize the efficacy of diet treatment on seizure frequency, clinical symptoms, and potential deleterious effect of liver involvement in patients with mitochondrial diseases caused by pathogenic POLG variants. Literature was searched in PubMed, Embase; and Cochrane in April 2022; no filter restrictions were imposed. The reference lists of retrieved studies were checked for additional literature. Eligibility criteria included verified pathogenic POLG variant and diet treatment. Overall, 880 studies were identified, providing eight case-reports representing nine patients eligible for inclusion. In eight of nine cases, clinical symptoms were improved; six out of nine cases reported improvements in seizure frequency. However, increasing levels of liver enzymes after initiating ketogenic diet were found in four of the nine cases, with one case revealing decreased levels of liver enzymes after initiating long-chain triglyceride restriction. Viewed together, the studies imply that ketogenic diet can have a positive impact on seizure frequency, but may induce progression of liver impairment in patients with pathogenic POLG variants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10658
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2022


  • DNA Polymerase gamma/genetics
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy/genetics
  • Humans
  • Mitochondrial Diseases/genetics
  • Nucleotidyltransferases
  • Prospective Studies
  • Seizures
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides


Dive into the research topics of 'Nutritional Interventions for Patients with Mitochondrial POLG-Related Diseases: A Systematic Review on Efficacy and Safety'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this