Epilepsy Talk

Brain Food for Your Health… | November 3, 2016

Please understand, I am NOT saying that these supplements will cure, treat or prevent epilepsy — but I am saying that we folks with epilepsy have to do everything we can for our brain health.

And these supplements can help a lot with that.

In fact, the nutrients they contain are so important for your brain cells, you really should seriously consider them. That’s how strongly I feel.  And the science backs me up.

B Complex Vitamins — without a question, 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.

Quality vitamins and minerals can be supplemented with any of the nutrients listed below.

Some of them are already included in your B complex. Take a look at the list below and weigh the benefits before deciding on further supplements…

400 mcg. Folic Acid — folic acid is recommended by doctors since it’s destroyed by many anti-epilepsy drugs and is necessary for normal neurological function.

It sometimes reduces seizure frequency and it often improves mood, intellectual speed, alertness, concentration, self-confidence, independence and sociability.

And folic acid in pregnant women (both before and during pregnancy) can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.

250-400 IU (international units) Vitamin E — vitamin E has been indicated in research to reduce seizure rate by as much as 50%.

It has even been reported to reduce seizure frequency in patients with intractable epilepsy.

Deficiency will result in apathy, irritability and lack of concentration. It generally works best when combined with 50 to 200 mcg. of selenium.

500-1500mg. Calcium — is useful in the treatment of epilepsy because of its sedative effects which are calming and relaxing to the nervous system. And, of course, there’s the matter of your bone health.

Calcium works best when combined with 400mg. of magnesium.  Or you can get pills combining calcium and magnesium.

10g. 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, memory problems, dementia and Alzheimer’s are often deficient in vitamin D.

Even if you sit out in the sun all day, it’s not possible to get enough!

2 g. Fish Oil (with high levels of EPA and DHA) — polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA — found in abundance in natural fish oils and supplements — can be beneficial in the treatment of nearly every illness, especially neurological, cognitive and psychological disorders.

These essential fatty acids are some of the most important building-blocks for our brains, and neurons are much more likely to misfire in the event of omega-3 deficiency.

Because of the many discoveries relating omega-3 fats to improved brain function, it’s no wonder that many people with epilepsy are turning to fish oil as a natural therapy.

300 mg. Coenzyme Q10 (taken with a meal) — cases of coenzyme Q10 deficiency can cause weakness, fatigue, and seizures.

Research has found that supplementing with a coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can improve those symptoms.

Because it is essential for sustaining life and healthy cell development, coenzyme Q10 has therapeutic benefits in the treatment of symptoms associated with cell, immune, brain, heart, muscle and nerve disorders.

Additionally, this compound treats two types of epileptic seizures affected by cell dysfunction — both generalized seizures (including myoclonic and tonic-clonic) and partial  seizures.

500 mg. Acetyl-L-Carnitine — Acetyl-L-Carnitine energizes the brain and increases the levels of important neurotransmitter chemicals needed for memory, focus, and learning.

Research shows that it also prevents and repairs the damage done to brain cells caused by stress and poor nutrition.

Because of these three benefits, Acetyl-L-Carnitine dramatically improves mental concentration and mental energy.

It is a natural component of our brain’s chemistry, but the body only makes it in small amounts. So supplementing with it is highly recommended for optimal brain function.

It is also suggested that Acetyl-L-Carnitine can prevent side effects caused by Valproic Acid (Depacon, Depakene, Depakote), seizure medications.

Conversely, Acetyl-L-Carnitine can raise the risk for seizures, although this is rarely shown in clinical studies.

Magnesium — a vital component of epilepsy recovery, and many believe that magnesium deficiency is the root cause of epileptic seizures.

Lots of people choose to supplement with magnesium using epsom salt (magnesium sulphate).

Zinc — a deficiency has been shown to cause seizures.

A study that was published in 1990, showed that this could be quickly corrected with adequate zinc supplementation.

Many epilepsy sufferers have noted significant improvements in their condition with zinc intake.

The bottom line is: think about what you put into your body.  It can dramatically improve your brain health and, in some cases, seizure tolerance.

Brain Food. It’s as simple as the second letter of the alphabet!


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  1. Another food that’s very good for the brain is Dark chocolate, and berries. Such as Blue Berries, Black Barries, Strawberries, or Raspberries. That is excellent for the brain!


    Comment by Shawn Wittman — November 3, 2016 @ 7:52 PM

  2. All great stuff. Thanks Shawn!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 3, 2016 @ 7:54 PM

  3. About the Dark Chocolate and berries. I read that on http://www.neuronation.com. They were free in the past, but now you have to pay a monthly fee to be a member to exercise your brain for a good memory. They said eating the Dark Chocolate and Berries was discovered by British and German medical schools.


    Comment by Shawn Wittman — November 3, 2016 @ 8:49 PM

  4. A great way to get all of the B complex plus antioxidants and all of the essential amino acids in one actual food item that your body can easily absorb (instead of synthetic vitamins from a lab) is the Moringa tree. It is available in capsules, loose powder for smoothies, tea bags, and even soup mix. I get the fresh leaves because I am lucky enough to live in the tropics. It is very tasty in addition to being good brain food.


    Comment by paleobird — November 3, 2016 @ 10:36 PM

  5. An informative and well intentioned article but if you look under NUTRITIONALDEFICIENCIES on the EPILEPSY FOUNDATION website you will read:

    “…Can vitamins, herbs, or amino acids help to treat seizures?
    Research studies have been unable to confirm the reports of people who have appeared to respond to these substances. Isolated reports of a few cases can be misleading. We shouldn’t ignore promising therapies, but people with epilepsy would be wise not to embrace a treatment until there is some solid proof that it works. Most nutritional supplements are, in effect, medications. Probably most of them have no real effect on seizure control, but they can have side effects and some may be dangerous. ”

    There are few studies that I have read online that indicate that vitamin E deficiency may be a side effect of some Anti Epileptic Drugs, and one recent paper from Iran that indicates that B6 (pyridoxine) may help with intractable seizures. However, the support, such as it is, for nutritional supplements in general seems to mainly be anectdotal reports and small scale trials that are not double blind, not peer reviewed and not generally accepted by the medical profession. Also, some herbal remedies interfere with some pharmaceuticals (not only anti seizure medications) and their potency can vary from batch to batch, and in some instances the contents of the bottles vary from the label claims.

    I am not medically qualified but I would respectfully suggest that taking nutritional supplements without medical advice (considering your total health profile not just your epileptic status) – is normally at best a potential waste of money and at worse potentially dangerous.


    Comment by Michael H — November 10, 2016 @ 1:40 PM

  6. Michael, great info.

    The only thing I disagree with is that, having worked for a Health and Wellness company for 10 years, all of their supplements were subject to double blind studies.

    But that’s just one company and they were not studies with epilepsy in mind.

    I did advise people to seek their doctor’s approval before taking these vitamins and supplements at the bottom of the article, but in most cases, people will do what they want to.

    And if you look at the links, many of the resources are “real”. But they don’t compare with your in-depth research.

    Thanks for adding your research, insights and conclusions with us. They are indeed, very valuable.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 10, 2016 @ 3:12 PM

  7. I am a bit confused about the Epilepsy Talk article from November 3rd. First the article talks about B Complex vitamins and their importance, especially Epileptics. They it talks about B-50 Complex vitamins and to take 2 a day. I wanted to try this so I bought the B Complex and the Vitamin E, but I want to make sure that if I try these vitamins that I am doing this correctly. Do I need B Complex, B50 Complex, and Vitamin E or do I just need one of the B Complexes and the Vitamin E?


    Comment by Leslie Schopper — November 12, 2016 @ 6:50 PM

  8. Hi Leslie, sorry for the confusion.

    A single B-50 B complex tablet should contain — within its formula — 50 micrograms of vitamin B12 and biotin, 400 micrograms of folic acid, and 50 milligrams each of all the other B vitamins. (It should be simply stated on the label. Or ask your pharmacist.)

    Just think, B6, B12, biotin, folic acid, and the rest of the B vitamins included in a B complex vitamin gives you one-stop shopping in a powerful punch of neurotransmitters.

    And yes, you take the Vitamin E separately from the B Complex.

    But like all supplements, check with your doc first.

    I hope this helps…


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 13, 2016 @ 12:02 AM

    • In your article it said to take 2 a day. The bottle says one a day. I have emailed my neuro.


      Comment by schoppert1967 — November 13, 2016 @ 8:03 AM

    • I heard b-complex can cause insomnia, so I just take one capsule in the morning, because I can’t sleep. I take Keppra and I am sleepy during the day and cannot sleep at night. I hate side effects of medication. Be glad when they come up with better alternative.


      Comment by mary levell — November 13, 2016 @ 7:02 PM

  9. Excellent idea. He should know everything you’re taking anyway.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 13, 2016 @ 8:55 AM

  10. Any idea of the pediatric dosages of these supplements? Thanks!


    Comment by melshawsully — November 21, 2016 @ 2:08 PM

  11. I’m sorry, I don’t know. Best to run the supplements past your pediatrician and ask him about the amounts and whether they’re appropriate for your child.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 22, 2016 @ 6:12 PM

  12. Phyllis, Can you please send me the article on the new device like the VNS. It sounded really interesting.  I accidentially deleted it and I wanted to show my epileptologist.  Thanks!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


    Comment by mj levell — November 27, 2016 @ 3:01 PM

  13. Any info on Magtein? another form of Mg. Is it beneficial for seizure control?


    Comment by Dixon Chen — April 26, 2017 @ 4:35 AM

  14. They are already giving me folic acid i take alot of medication unfortunately since i had a liver tranplant


    Comment by Teanne Jones — May 2, 2017 @ 5:23 PM

  15. There is one product containing 200IU Vita D, 800mg Calcium, 100mg Magnesium and 99mg Potassium.
    Can take this product? as it also contain Potassium as not sure if Potassium have any negative impact to seizure control.


    Comment by Dixon Chen — May 12, 2017 @ 5:04 AM

    • Potassium can not only affect the development of the seizure type, it can also contribute to seizure susceptibility. Ask your pharmacist for the optimum level.

      In fact, consult with your pharmacist on the product you’re taking, because it seems awfully low in values. (Like the Vitamin D amount is just a speck.)

      Even though it’s inconvenient, you might want to try taking the vitamins/supplements separately. But I’d check that out with your pharmacist, too.

      One last thing. Vitamin B Complex is the most important element of vitamins and minerals. Take a single B-50 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.

      Everything else is topping on the cake.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 12, 2017 @ 9:43 AM

      • Thanks for the info. Can I take one B-100 a day which contain 100 micograms of B12 and Biotin, 100mg of all other B vitamins, 400 micrograms of folic acid or better take B-50 twice a day?


        Comment by Dixon Chen — May 15, 2017 @ 2:35 AM

      • another good food for the brain is dark chocolate, and berries. Like strawberries, blueberries, etc. This shocked me but they said the medical science in Germany and England did the research and discovered this.


        Comment by Shawn — May 17, 2017 @ 11:51 PM

  16. Dixon, Best to take a single B-50 complex tablet twice a day with food. That way you spread out the distribution of the nutrients.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 15, 2017 @ 8:17 AM

    • Thanks for the suggestion.


      Comment by Dixon Chen — May 16, 2017 @ 4:00 AM

      • Shawn has a good point. All of those things are antioxidants which are very good for your overall health.


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 18, 2017 @ 9:04 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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