Epilepsy Talk

Brain Food for Your Health… | July 28, 2017

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 seizures affected by cell dysfunction — both generalized (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!

PLEASE TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANY VITAMINS, MINERALS OR NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS, TO AVOID ANY ADVERSE INTERACTIONS WITH YOUR MEDICATIONS.

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Resources:

http://www.the-vitamin-and-supplement-guide.com/

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1026-L-CARNITINE.aspx?activeIngredientId=1026&activeIngredientName=L-CARNITINE

http://www.rockwellnutrition.com/Acetyl-L-Carnitine-HCL-800mg-by-Designs-For-Health-DFH_p_847.html#tablist

http://www.herbs2000.com/disorders/epilepsy.htm

http://known-causes-seizures.blogspot.com/2009/02/nutrition-and-epilepsy-go-hand-in-hand.html

http://www.cidpusa.org/epilepsy%20nutrition.htm

http://www.the-vitamin-and-supplement-guide.com/vitaminbcomplex.html

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/index.html

 


16 Comments »

  1. I believe 1 of the best guidelines to have for brain foods & brain health is the book EXCITOTOXINS,, The Taste That Kills, by Dr. Russel Blaylock. In it he warns of the toxic chemicals, preservatives & additives that we find in everything we do for our health, BREAD is one food, which I now only buy DAVE’s BREAD. The rest stays on the shelf for obvious reasons. To say everything that is in breads I would be typing this time next week. I know too that any STEARATES found in vitamins & minerals are only what I call an AID like the STARTER of an engine, that makes the rest of the motor go.
    When digestive system is not working right from some STEARATES, then HOW will you expect the brain to opperate in a clean matter free of other toxins & chemicals, which over time WILL effect the function of the total brain. Everyone say to NEVER drink beer or any other alcoholic drinks with AED’s being taken. So why digest other toxic chemicals from other foods & drink, that can be worse & in some cases are than any alcoholic or ASPARTAME drinks ? Minerals & Vitamin supplements are all in that same class, when ”’IF YOU DO NOT KNOW what you are buying, you do not know WHAT YOU ARE TAKING””. The brain will not lie when something GOOD no seizures,,or BAD & more seizures happens.

    Like

    Comment by C D — July 28, 2017 @ 10:12 AM

  2. Phyllis, a lot of people including some well known doctors who “push” their own line of suplements would agree with you. Many others wouldn’t. The safety and quality of supplements, especially those using materials of Asian origin are very problematic. Essential substances such as B6 and even B9, in high dosages can cause severe problems which in rare cases are irreversible. Before taking ANY supplement I know you would agree that one should discus it with an open minded well qualified physician. And I would recommend going on the Internet and watching a PBS Frontline documentary called “Supplements and Safety.”

    Vitamin Supplements in general are a waste of money and worse can be harmful. Get them from food. In the rare cases when supplements are needed you have to get expensive pharmaceutical quality to minimize the risk of contamination .. and to increase the chance that the amount of content stated is actually correct. Fish oil is just as problematic. The minerals Calcium. Magnesium and Potassium, in the form of “salts” such as carbonate, citrate, malate and oxalate, should also be used very cautiously because they can interfere with prescription drugs and in excess lead to heart and other problems.

    The additives industry is just as profit orientated as the pharmaceutical industry …. but lacks the regulatory oversight and scientific support of the pharmaceutical industry. Buyer beware!

    Michael. H

    I

    Like

    Comment by Michael H — July 28, 2017 @ 11:51 AM

  3. That article you cited above, Phyllis, is a great one about getting the optimal nutrition we need directly from foods. This, I think is ideal. I try to get everything from food and supplement with actual food based supplements instead of synthetics which are not as bio-available.
    The supplements I take are desiccated liver capsules, moringa capsules (more calcium than milk), turmeric, krill oil (better than fish oil because no mercury issue).

    I totally agree with the poster above who said that you need to be aware of supplement quality. This is not a place to “be thrifty” and go with the CVS house brand. Get a good quality organic supplement with no fillers or additives, “binding agents”, etc. involved.

    I also agree that the book by Dr. Blaylock about Excitotoxins should be mandatory reading for everyone with epilepsy but that is more about what not to eat than what to eat. Both are important though.

    Like

    Comment by paleobird — July 28, 2017 @ 6:15 PM

    • I take krill oil too. And I thank you for your other suggestions.

      Also thanks also for the second vote on Dr. Baylock’s book.

      When it finally comes down to it, I guess we ARE what we eat. (And not!)

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 28, 2017 @ 11:05 PM

  4. Does anyone know if supplementing with vitamin C detox’s our meds (I’m on Dilantin)? Thanks!

    Like

    Comment by Dale Hoover — October 1, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

    • Adelle Davis talks about detoxification by Vitamin C.

      https://adelledavis.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/detoxification-by-vitamin-c/

      But according to WebMD, the combination could lead to trouble.

      “Calcium and Phenytoin may cause some risk when taken together. Contact your healthcare professional (e.g. doctor or pharmacist) for more information.

      How the interaction occurs:

      Calcium may bind to Phenytoin in your digestive tract, preventing your body from absorbing your Phenytoin.

      What might happen:

      The amount of Phenytoin in your blood may decrease and it may not work as well.”

      http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-499-5288/vitamin-c-oral/ascorbate-calcium-oral/details/list-interaction-details/dmid-1739/dmtitle-oral-calcium-phenytoin/intrtype-drug

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 1, 2017 @ 5:18 PM

      • “Generous amounts of vitamin C given to patients have both increased the effectiveness and decreased the toxicity of … and dilantin.” Wow! I was afraid vit. C would DESTROY (detox) the Dilantin BEFORE it could even be utilized! AND I was taking calcium/magnesium @ bedtime (might be interfering w/my dinner dose of Dilantin)!
        Oh Ms. Johnson, thank you so very much for getting back to me with this info!!!
        BTW, I take Dilantin + over-the-counter Lithium Orotate for adult-long SEVERE insomnia (neither works without the other). I also experience ‘fits’ of rage episodes (ONLY at frustrations/my-own-chaos, NEVER at a Being) that feel uncontrollable. Frequent daily mood swings that feel like bi-polar. Do MUCH better all around on the Dilantin/Lithium Orotate combo.
        NOW I will take vit. C (in mega-doses, as I am also Histadelic [high-histamine]). My gentle, calm, peaceful, harmonious hubby is Histapenic (low histamine), the lucky bugger.
        Am currently working on sealing & healing my ‘leaky gut’ & getting further into the Dr. D’Adamo blood type/geno-type diet (blood-type B = naturally higher cortisol*^*), but feel once my gut is healed, I (we all) should be able to eat any healthy (real) foods.
        Again, thanks ever so much, – you’ve truly been a blessing!

        Like

        Comment by Dale Hoover — October 2, 2017 @ 7:04 AM

      • Wow! What great research! Will you work for me?

        I’m really impressed by the level of your intelligence and the sophistication of your research.

        What an asset you are…

        RE: Your “leaky gut” — Are you doing probiotics?

        Probiotics — Food For Thought

        https://epilepsytalk.com/2013/11/24/probiotics-food-for-thought/

        Like

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 2, 2017 @ 9:28 AM

      • Oh gosh, thank you Dear!
        As I am high-histamine I have to be careful of the type of probiotics I can take (all fermented foodstuffs = high in histamine, or provoke histamine). There seems to be a vagus nerve inflammation connection with hi-histamine, too. There are instant methods to rebalance the vagus nerve thru-out the day/eve to ensure we get into/stay into the parasympathetic mode rather than the sympathetic.

        Since I reside in hot Florida, I am awaiting the cooler temps to order the specific probiotics (Bifido infantis & Bifido longum) for hi-histamine-me so they won’t degrade in the heat during transport.
        I feel humans who consumed sugar/high fructose corn syrup (Karo syrup comes to mind) a lot, & perhaps also had antibiotics (& perhaps other things), as a kid, ended up with leaky gut syndrome. I was a ‘sugar-holic’ as a kid (so was hubby: he has A.D.D. + dyslexia; I had A.D.H.D. along with developing my previously-mentioned ailments, + hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia ‘big time.’).
        The lectins that seem to be affecting soo many b’cuz of leaky gut seem to be blood-type specific.

        Ketogenic diet sounds helpful for just about everyone (altho WE are too slender to do it). But ARE in the current process of further lowering our carbs, getting off even sprouted wheat bread/bagels, etc. (not been on any dairy, regular wheat, of course sugar, booze, junk food, even potatoes, other stuff, for decades). I do utilize natural progesterone happily, as well as mega-IODINE (YES!) [can’t just now find my source for that].

        My ‘go-to’ credentialed researchers are: Dr. D’Adamo (the blood-type diet originator); Dr. Jack Kruse, Dr. Michael Lam; Dr. Ray Peat (originator [?] of bio-identical progesterone therapy, ETC.); Dr. Joseph Mercola; Dr. Georgia Ede (Harvard-trained psychiatrist/nutritionist); Dr. John Bergman, chiropractor; info on enzymes; info on supplements specific for & against my challenges; the metaphysics of such DRAMA so many of us experience… research goes on & on ’til TMI (Too Much Info)!
        I apologize for not reading your site, – kinda still busy devouring the above researchers. TMI! (I DO actually have many other interests in life! ^v^)
        Thanks so much again; cheers Dear!

        Like

        Comment by Dale Hoover — October 2, 2017 @ 10:39 AM

      • You really are a walking wonder! 🙂

        Keep on reading and doing the smart things you naturally do…

        Like

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 2, 2017 @ 11:32 AM

      • Thanks!
        One last sharing:
        “…epilepsy and other neurodegenerative diseases are all associated with “mitochondrial dysfunction”. Mitochondria are the miniature generators inside of our cells, so when they are not working properly, energy production is disrupted, and all cell activities can be affected as a result. Studies consistently find that mitochondria produce more energy (ATP) more efficiently on ketogenic diets than on standard “balanced” diets which force cells to burn glucose (sugar) for energy. Put simply, most of our cells work best when they burn fat instead of carbohydrate.

        “We also know that epilepsy and other neurodegenerative diseases are universally associated with inflammation. Diets rich in sweets and refined starches that cause high, unstable blood sugar and insulin levels are well known for their ability to set the stage for inflammation throughout the body, therefore diets that are low in refined carbohydrates tend to quiet inflammation.” – Dr. Georgia Ede, Harvard-trained psychiatrist/nutritionist:
        http://www.diagnosisdiet.com/bipolar-disorder-and-low-carb-diets/

        All cells apparently prefer to burn fat!
        ========
        Ketogenic Diets & Epilepsy / Bipolar~
        http://www.diagnosisdiet.com/bipolar-disorder-and-low-carb-diets/
        ========
        “Experiments with animals have shown that there are three related chemicals, anthocyanosides, proanthocyanidins and procyanidolic oligomers, which strengthen the blood brain barrier [BBB] (Robert et al., 1977; Detre et al., 1986). These chemicals are found in blueberries, cherries, blackberries, grapes and the bark and needles of certain pine trees. They are currently available as encapsulated supplements called bilberry, grape seed extract and pycnogenol. These supplements should be ingested daily to help strengthen the BBB.” – http://www.direct-ms.org/bestbet.html
        =========
        Dr. Jack Kruse on GABA:

        “GABA is γ-Aminobutyric acid (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid); [butyric acid is in butter: many ppl ceased eating much butter! -DH]. GABA deficiency has been linked to anxiety disorders, panic attacks, addiction, Parkinson’s syndrome, cognitive impairment, insomnia, headaches, and seizure disorders like epilepsy. GABA is our natural “off” button to life. It is the NT (neurotransmitter) of relaxation. GABA directly counter-balances the stresses of life from dopamine and serotonin.
        “One of the key modulators of GABA is [the amino acid] Taurine. Taurine, itself a powerful inhibitory neurotransmitter, helps balance and control the effectiveness of GABA in the brain.
        “GABA, this inhibitory NT is involved in controlling brain rhythms and muscle tone.”

        There now is a GABA supplement that crosses the blood brain barrier! I just began using it 5 nights ago & am sleeping much better on it. There are also taurine supplements available (& I understand the a.a. glycine is important as well). I also just began taking a butyric supplement since I can’t seem to consume the saturated fats like butter (even just for breakfast) & be able to sleep at night. Not sure of any effect of the butyric yet.

        Apologies if you & others already know about all this.
        Cheers!

        Like

        Comment by Dale Hoover — October 2, 2017 @ 12:39 PM

      • This is sort of an oversimplified version of what you said:

        Three Anti-Seizure Diets That Could Change Your Life…

        https://epilepsytalk.com/2009/10/04/eating-well-is-the-best-revenge/

        Like

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 2, 2017 @ 4:44 PM

      • Yes!

        Like

        Comment by Dale Hoover — October 3, 2017 @ 2:46 PM

      • 🙂

        Like

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 3, 2017 @ 4:25 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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