Epilepsy Talk

Epilepsy Fighting Foods | October 24, 2015

They say: “You are what you eat.” Not necessarily.

But here are some suggestions for sensible eating and supplementing your diet.

Of course everyone is different — with different needs — and on different meds.

But there are some rules that hold true…

For example, vitamin supplements such as Folic Acid can help deal with vitamin loss caused by medication.

People with epilepsy taking seizure medications seem to have more of a need for Calcium and Vitamin D to help keep healthy bones.

However, the all-star vitamin seems to be Vitamin B-6.

The good news is that it’s easy to get it in all kinds of different foods…fresh juicy fruits like apples, oranges, grapes, (especially grape juice), pineapples, peaches, pears and lemons…green leafy vegetables, carrots, peanuts, rice, milk, cereals, seeds, nuts and grain.

Now to break it all into bite-size pieces:

FOODS: Fish, lean meats, nuts, and poultry.
NUTRIENT: Vitamin B-3 (or Niacin). Improves circulation and is helpful for many brain-related disorders. It enhances the treatment of epilepsy when used with anticonvulsants.

FOODS: Broccoli, turnip greens, sunflower seeds and crimini mushrooms. Corn winter squash and strawberries.
NUTRIENT: Vitamin B-5 (Panothenic acid). The anti-stress vitamin.

FOODS: Protein rich foods like chicken, fish, beans, and nuts. Milk, rice, green leafy vegetables, peanuts, carrots and cereals.
NUTRIENT: Vitamin B-6. This vitamin is involved in critical functions of the nervous system. And it boosts the metabolism of various neurotransmitters which are needed for normal brain function.

FOODS: Liver, lentils, rice germ, brewer’s yeast, soy flour, and black-eyed peas. Navy beans, kidney beans, and lima beans. Peanuts, spinach, turnip greens., whole wheat, and asparagus.
NUTRIENT: Vitamin B-9 (Folic acid). Necessary for the health of the nervous system. (NOTE: Folic acid may be depleted during seizures and in some people with seizures. However, taking extra folic acid can reduce the effectiveness of anticonvulsant drugs and lead to more seizures. Take folic acid only under your doctor’s supervision.)

FOODS: Liver, beef, chicken, pork/ham, fish, whole eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt.
NUTRIENT: Vitamin B-12. Needed for proper digestion, the formation of cells, and the production of myelin, the protective coating surrounding the nerves. Vitamin B12 helps prevent nerve damage and levels may be reduced by some anticonvulsant drugs.

FOODS: Citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, red, orange and yellow peppers (more than green). Baked potatoes, papaya, mango and kiwi.
NUTRIENT: Vitamin C. Vital to functioning of the adrenal glands, which are the anti-stress glands.

FOODS: (Only a few foods naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D, including;) fatty fish and fish oils. Lesser so (I know, I was surprised), dairy products made from milk such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
NUTRIENT: Vitamin D. Low levels are associated with depression as well as epilepsy. However many doctors aren’t aware of this and don’t include it in blood tests. It’s called the “sun vitamin” since the most effective way (other than supplements) to get vitamin D is from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. But no long how much you sit out in the sun, it will never be enough!

FOODS: Meat, poultry, eggs, and fruits. Vegetables, (especially broccoli), almonds, canola oil, vegetable oils, wheat germ oil and cereals.
NUTRIENT: Vitamin E. The Canadian Journal of Neurological Science published a study showing that vitamin E deficiency produces seizures. This powerful antioxidant protects the body from damage by free radicals and aids circulation.

FOODS: Cheese, yogurt, milk, sardines. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens. Fortified cereals such as Total, Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes, fortified orange juice and enriched breads, grains, and waffles.
NUTRIENT: Calcium. When balanced with magnesium, it helps prevents bone loss. However, you should know that calcium can interfere with anticonvulsant drugs and should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision.

FOODS: Nuts and seeds; including almonds, peanuts, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. Leafy greens like spinach, kale and swiss chard. Plus halibut, bananas, black beans, sea kelp, and basil.
NUTRIENT: Magnesium. Needed to balance with calcium. This mineral, when aligned correctly with calcium, achieves equilibrium for us all.

FOODS: Whole grains, leafy greens and legumes, nuts, and teas.
NUTRIENT: Manganese. Plays a significant role in cerebral function. Manganese (5 mg per day) levels are often low in people with epilepsy.

FOODS: Meat, especially, kidney, liver, and poultry. Broccoli, eggs, mushrooms, garlic, and onions. Brazil nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds and wheat. Seafood such as tuna, crab and especially lobster!
NUTRIENT: Selenium. Found to significantly reduce seizures.

FOODS: Meat, eggs, seafood (especially oysters). Whole-grain cereals, wheat germ, nuts, and legumes.
NUTRIENT: Zinc. Needed for bone growth and is often deficient in those with epilepsy.

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  1. Thank you so much for including helpful vitamins for those of us with epilepsy! Any help I can get is wonderful and I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to wrote all of that out. 🙂


    Comment by Lightning Kate — October 24, 2015 @ 11:35 AM

  2. Kate, Thanks.

    There’s another article you might be interested in also:

    Brain Food for Your Health…



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 24, 2015 @ 1:38 PM

  3. My last physical, after the whole ER thing with follow up blood that I am deficient in vitamin D. My Primary Care Doctor is having me take One a Day Woman’s Vitamin with 1000 mg of Vitamin D. I feel as if I can focus a lot better in class now.


    Comment by crystal cahill — November 17, 2015 @ 11:12 AM

    • Do you also have any information on MS because my father has it and I want to understand what is going on with him.


      Comment by crystal cahill — November 17, 2015 @ 11:16 AM

    • Vitamin D — a recent study showed that 44.5% of epilepsy patients — men and women — were vitamin D deficient, putting these people at potential increased risk for a wide variety of conditions, including osteoporosis, autoimmune disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and infectious disease, among others. In addition, people with epilepsy and memory problems are often deficient in vitamin D.

      So taking vitamin D for better concentration, makes a lot of sense. Hooray for your doc!


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 1:27 PM

      • Thanks anyways. I am glad my doctor made me get the blood work done, I love my doctor. She cares about my health.


        Comment by crystal cahill — November 17, 2015 @ 1:42 PM

  4. A good doc is hard to find as we all know!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 1:56 PM

  5. Very helpful page. Look forward to reading more. Wanting to get off sodium valproate. Want to do it naturally if l can.


    Comment by margaretha — June 25, 2016 @ 11:02 PM

  6. Margaretha, Are you going off it altogether?

    While you’re tapering off, you may be interested in this article:

    Natural Herbal Remedies for Epilepsy


    Also, are you replacing it with another med? If not, there’s some danger in that.

    The Perils of Discontinuing Your Meds


    Please take care!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 26, 2016 @ 11:38 AM

  7. Thanks for that-lots to think about.
    It seems that for nearly every category
    there are non meat options, substituting meat, eggs and fish for beans nuts and legumes. The only one that isn’t covered by vegan food seems to be Viramin B12, so I could eat plenty of Marmite!


    Comment by Anna Hargreaves — October 24, 2017 @ 4:23 PM

    • Or supplement with B-Complex Vitamins.

      They are the star of all vitamins.

      In sufficient quantities, especially those that combine B6, B12, folic acid, thiamine and biotin, they are vital to the production of numerous brain chemicals.

      Like the neurotransmitters which serve as the chemical message bearers between your nervous system and brain.

      The most efficient way to make use of this “brain food,” is to take it in a B-Complex form, since this contains all the vitamins in the B group.

      And when combined, they work synergistically together.

      Take a single B-50 B complex tablet twice a day with food.

      Each dose should contain 50 micrograms of vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 micrograms of folic acid, and 50 milligrams each of all the other B vitamins.

      And enjoy your Marmite! 🙂


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 24, 2017 @ 5:33 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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