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.
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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