Epilepsy Treatment Vitamins

Numerous studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of using vitamins and supplements for epilepsy treatment. Some studies report fewer seizures in those treated with supplements, while others don’t report any change in seizure frequency. In addition, large doses of vitamins may actually be harmful and/or reduce the effectiveness of anti-epileptic medication. This begs the question: Can vitamins and supplements be used to treat epilepsy or not?

Vitamins and Epilepsy Medication

Clearly, you should exercise caution with regards to taking vitamins and supplements for epilepsy treatment. However, supplements may be necessary for some epileptics, as seizure medication can produce deficiencies in certain vitamins, such as:

  • Biotin
  • Folate
  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene)
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E.

Not only can a deficiency in these essential vitamins contribute to poor overall health—it may aggravate the side effects of seizure medication and contribute to behavioral conditions common to individuals with epilepsy. Those most susceptible to medication-induced vitamin deficiencies include:

  • Children
  • Elderly individuals
  • Individuals taking large doses of medication or multiple drugs
  • Individuals who consume excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Pregnant women.

Vitamins and Supplements for Epilepsy

The following vitamins and supplements may be helpful in treating epilepsy:

  • Selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties, may help to reduce the risk of seizures in children.
  • Taurine is an amino acid that helps to control electrochemical activity in the brain and may therefore be beneficial in treating epilepsy.
  • Thiamine deficiencies may increase the risk of seizures and/or effective cognitive functioning in some epilepsy patients.
  • Tryptophan is another essential amino acid. It acts as a natural relaxant and may relieve fatigue, insomnia and stress. Because these are common seizure triggers, tryptophan supplements for epilepsy may help to reduce the risk of seizures.
  • Vitamin B6 is used to treat children with pyridoxine-dependent seizures—a rare epilepsy syndrome that develops in newborns (or babies still in the womb). A baby with pyridoxine-dependent seizures is born with an inability to metabolize Vitamin B6, and therefore needs to be given extra amounts of B6 to treat her seizures.
  • Vitamin E has been linked to a reduction in seizures, particularly in children, according to a study published by the Alternative Medicine Review in 2007.Doctors are still debating the benefits of vitamin E.

A Final Note on Supplements for Epilepsy

A healthy, balanced diet may provide all or most of the necessary vitamins and supplements for epilepsy treatment and optimum health. Nevertheless, additional supplements may be required if your seizure medication is producing deficiencies in these essential vitamins for epilepsy. Make sure to check with your doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements.

Resources

Donner, E. J. (2006). Complimentary and alternative therapies for epilepsy. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Epilepsy/Complementary-and-Alternative-Therapies-for-Epilepsy.aspx?articleID=6991