This month (August 2017) CBS reported that “more Americans are living with epilepsy than ever before.” In the article they discuss how the CDC is showing numbers of upwards 3.5 million Americans affected by epilepsy as of 2015. While this is a dramatically higher number than the 2010 report, it’s suspected that improved testing has a lot to play in allowing us to have a more accurate number, but that does not negate the fact that epilepsy is on the rise.
The article does not point to any possible causation of this increase, but simply talks about detecting seizures in people around you and having grace for the extra difficulties those people face.
One difficulty they did NOT cite was side effects to common seizure medications. According to Web MD, the more common meds Briviact and Tegretol both cause nausea, dizziness, and fatigue, amongst other things such as vision changes and vomiting.
So why wouldn’t any of those 3.5 million people look for alternatives to their nasty meds?
1. The Keto Diet
The Elilepsy Foundtation has recommended the Ketogenic Diet as an alternative, pointing out that it’s often recommended AFTER medications have failed to be effective, especially with children. Further studies showed remarkably high success rates of minimizing and even eliminating seizures in adults, but adults are rarely disciplined enough to hold themselves to the difficult diet.
In my opinion it’s high time that keto diet was offered BEFORE conventional meds with their horrifying list of side effects.
2. Low Dose Omega 3s
In a 2014 double blind study, it was found that a low dose of Omega 3/fish oil could be very effective in reducing episodes, but that a too high dose had no effect. This was assumed to be because the higher dose caused the ion pathways to be closed for too long, meaning that the positive regulating effect was undone.
Three vitamin deficiencies have been linked to specific seizure types, so trying to up the intake of these may cause a dramatic reduction in seizures:
- Vitamin B-6 – linked to pyridoxine-dependent seizures which are generally an early childhood or pre-birth development. Evidence shows that B-6 may reduce many types of seizures, not just the pyridoxine-dependent ones.
- Magnesium – while not a universal treatment, there are cases of intractable seizures being caused by long term magnesium deficiency.
- Vitamin E – In March of 2016 a preliminary study showed significant reduction of seizure activity when Vitamin E was given to patients already on seizure medications.