Epilepsy Talk

Epilepsy and Electrolytes | October 31, 2015

It’s a situation often mentioned but rarely understood – the effects electrolytes have on seizures.

But a simple blood test can detect the danger of unbalanced electrolytes.

Taking extra doses of certain minerals can help to prevent side-effects that may follow the long-term use of some seizure medicines.

And taking supplements can help protect the brain (as can a B-Vitamin complex), but it’s no guarantee of seizure control, since there are a lot of different factors at play that can trigger a seizure.

But, making sure you have the right nutrients is just as important as having the right balance between all of them, so that proper electrical connections are maintained.

(NOTE: Since research of nutrient amounts are contradictory and range all over the place, I would have your doctor recommend the necessary nutrients, based on your individual blood tests.)

Here are some of the key players for electrolyte imbalances:

Sodium fluctuations in the body

Low sodium levels may be caused by medications such as diuretics or carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol, Trileptal), by excessive water intake, or by hormonal disorders.

Altered potassium levels

Potassium can not only affect the development of the seizure type, it can also contribute to seizure susceptibility.

Depleted calcium levels

Low calcium levels most often result from kidney disease or hormonal disorders. They also may be linked to low magnesium levels.

Magnesium deficiencies

Low magnesium levels can be the result of chronic abuse of alcohol and poor nutrition. In turn, low magnesium levels can lead to seizures and can cause low calcium levels.

Disturbed levels of body water/electrolytes (mostly sodium, calcium, or magnesium).

Low or high levels of blood sugar

Reduced oxygen to the brain

Here’s how it works: Sodium, potassium, and calcium act as ions in the brain. They produce electric charges that have to fire regularly for a steady current to pass from one nerve cell in the brain to another. If the ion channels are damaged, a chemical imbalance occurs.

These abnormally misfiring nerve cells, in turn, can lead to a seizure. Especially absence seizures and many other generalized seizures.

So, it’s more than just “Take your vitamins.” Have your blood checked and confer with your doc regularly.

It’s for your own good!

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  1. Thanks for this info, Phyllis. We haven’t had any neurologist/epileptologist yet who regularly monitored our son’s electrolytes, although his PCP does frequently.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Martha — October 31, 2015 @ 10:45 AM

  2. Good informative article. Thank you! Tina

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tina Chiozza — October 31, 2015 @ 10:47 AM

  3. Your articles help us be better informed, when we see our doctors … Thank you😊

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by maryleeparker — May 5, 2016 @ 9:49 PM

  4. Thank you Marylee!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 6, 2016 @ 8:55 AM

  5. You always have good information. Over the last year I have been struggling to get answers why I started having grand mal seizures which triggered several issues, migraines, problems with balance and dizziness, pain from fibromyalgia went through the roof and all I can do is sleep. Not to mention the word finding and memory problems. I still have zero answers. I have an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in a couple weeks. Would you have any advice or questions I should ask? Thanks for your help.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tom Turner — October 12, 2016 @ 10:33 AM

  6. Tom, the only suggestion I can think of is that you have thyroid problems on top of everything else.

    I would have your thyroid thoroughly checked. (And that’s just a guess.)

    Take a look at this article and see if it’s of any help…

    Your Thyroid…What Everyone with Epilepsy Should Know



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 12, 2016 @ 10:41 AM

  7. PLEASE EVERYONE read the book called EXCITOTOXINS,,, The Taate That Kills,, written by Dr. Russell Blaylock,, He was a neurosurgeon who is very well educated with the ROOT CAUSES of how a brain reacts to the massive numbers of food chemicals, additives & preservatives that ARE killing brain cells & brain neurons, with the help of the many neurological drugs That I CAN TESTIFY TOO,, that do not help any seizures to STOP when MSG’s ASPARTAME’S, NITRATES, NITRITES, and other drugs & food excitotoxins, can destroy any normal activity of any human brain. I have read that TAURINE, can help in brain health, BUT no standard of just how much one average human brain can take, as so many brains which has seizures, well,,,, we are not normal people, so WHO can say if TAURINE helps anyone, when it effects the GLUCOSE, which effect HOW the GLUTAMATE floods & takes over a human brain,, WHICH CAN create a GRAND MAL SEIZURE or any other seizure. SO THAT is why ALL FOODS that have MSG’s NITRATES, NITRITES & ASPARTAME’s shopud NEVER be in any diet for people that have seizures of any type. UNLESS you maybe of a 1% group that NEEDS MSG foods to build up a GLUTAMATE LEVEL because your GLUCOSE LEVELS in the brain & blood is too high, which is WHERE TAURINE is to help make GLUCOSE LEVELS LOWER, Sooo do your own homework, because most to all neurologists will not suggest TAURINE for stopping seizures, lowering glucose or anything. As I say THE BRAIN DOES NOT LIE. Test your brain from EATING your MSG foods & Aspartame drinks that I KNOW 90% or more of you who reads this are eating & drinking. Your BRAIN will not lie, as I know MY BRAIN will tell me when I ate a food with MSG, as I NEVER have any ASPARTAME in any drink or dairy foods like YOGURTS. I bet you thought they were healthy. See how the NIH, FDA, USDA, AAN & doctors LIE to us ? Your brain will NEVER lie to you like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by C D — January 18, 2017 @ 12:14 PM

  8. C D, you might be interested in these articles:

    The Scandal of Aspartame


    MSG: Dangerous or Deadly?


    Probiotics — Food For Thought


    Brain Food for Your Health…


    Thanks for the tip about Taurine. Very enlightening.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — January 18, 2017 @ 1:45 PM

  9. I love reading ur info it helps me & my family plus friends bout seizures and Epilepsy,thank u.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Denise Myhre — April 21, 2018 @ 4:08 PM

  10. Thanks, Phylis. I use a lot of these tips and drink Gatorade during the summer. I have to be careful of the sugar, so I dilute it sometimes, unless I am on deadline.


    Comment by megambon2164 — July 30, 2018 @ 9:52 AM

    • Mary Ellen, Gatorade is not good for you.

      A huge problem with Gatorade is the amount of food additives and colorings added to the products. For example, one additive is monopotassium phosphate, which is not only used as a food additive, but also a as a fertilizer and fungicide7. It is a bit scary to be ingesting an ingredient used to fertilize plants. Additionally some flavors of Gatorade contain brominated vegetable oil (BVO), a food additive used as an emulsifier in drinks with citrus flavoring. Bromine – part of BVO – is an element found in flame retardants! Some research shows that it may build up in the body leading to thyroid problems, memory loss, and skin and nerve problems. It has been banned in Japan and Europe. In January 2013, Pepsico announced they had plans to remove BVO from Gatorade; however, there are no current plans to remove it from Mountain Dew.

      Gatorade is also filled with many food coloring, such as blue 1 and red 40. Many studies have showed a link between children and hyperactivity due to food additives. In fact, 35 years of research has shown that many children with ADHD show significant improvement in their symptoms when they eliminate artificial food colors from their diet.

      Many popular athletes endorse Gatorade and some may use it to replace electrolytes during sporting events and training. Gatorade isn’t completely bad; it does replace sodium and potassium and help restore electrolyte balance and hydration status. Athletes are paid to endorse products, and they may not do their due diligence to find better and healthier alternatives.

      A Better Alternative:

      If you are looking for an electrolyte replacement drink, there are better alternatives available. Thorne Performance, a line of supplements geared towards athletes and their needs, has created, Catalyte, an electrolyte and energy restoration complex. Catalyte is all-natural and does not contain calories, sugar, additives, or caffeine. It is also gluten and soy free. Catalyte comes in a lemon lime flavor and the product is easy to mix. In fact, the Catalyte powder formula contains vitamins and minerals that, when mixed with pure water, makes a tasty electrolyte supplement that helps repair and rebuild muscle.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 30, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

      • OMG! My neurology dept. told me to drink it during the summer! You are a lifesaver – literally! I can’t believe the money I wasted on that junk. Thanks again. You are my Yoda!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by megambon2164 — July 30, 2018 @ 10:03 AM

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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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