Epilepsy Talk

Epilepsy Fighting Foods | March 16, 2018

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

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. That was very helpful, I’ve been an Epileptic for 20 years and I really need all the information I can get, Thank you..

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Lashanda S Thompson — March 16, 2018 @ 9:09 PM

  2. This was great information!! Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tami — March 17, 2018 @ 1:07 AM

  3. I am curious about the effects of taking “medical marijuana”, as I am sure many people are in Canada now that it is becoming legal. I discussed it briefly with my neurologist, and he told me that he is not aware of any studies which have shown it to be helpful. I have recently had surgery which was intended to cure my epilepsy, however I am still on medication and I have found that taking my medication very late can lead to a seizure, and so I am going to be curious about what studies people have heard of regarding this drug, and what effects (good or bad, if any) the studies have found. Thank you for any responses.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Micheal Wilson — March 17, 2018 @ 8:11 AM

  4. Very useful and beneficial information! Probably took a long time to put together – Thank you very much!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Robert Poloha — March 18, 2018 @ 5:36 AM

  5. Thankyou for this post. We are working through the vitamin process at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by AS I THINK I SAY - Living life according to me. — March 18, 2018 @ 8:38 AM

  6. I have been taking keppra and limictal for about 10 years with little effect on weekly seizures. Last fall my doctor prescribed ONFI and after a few weeks seizures disappeared. ONFI is off label.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by David — March 19, 2018 @ 4:00 PM

  7. What can you tell us about food and histamine in relation to siezures

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kim Walton — March 22, 2018 @ 10:11 AM

  8. After reading slowly & carefully all these foods which are suppose to be good to help with epilepsy, many of them 80+ % of those foods can be treated & sprayed with MSG chemicals. Cooking oils that are hydrogenated of the soy, vegetable & canola oils have MSG’s in them. Pure 100% VIRGIN coconut & olive oils are best to use. Potatoes fried in 100% PURE VIRGIN coconut oil are better tasting, that’s for sure, plus you can lose weight, cholesterol levels can be lower & glucose can be more normal too. All my blood work on all those other things, have been normal in the past 4 years, by using pure virgin 100% coconut oil. No SUNTAN LOTIONS are needed either, when you can use that instead. So you save money there as I rub it on anywhere skin is not protected in those months with no R’s in the spelling of M J J A months. Most to all butter today will have MSG’s in them as margerines all have that. So the list of FOODS are good, but WHAT IS IN THE FOOD is what matters more, by knowing if MSG & other toxic chemicals are saturating our food supply, then you know it will saturate all chemical activity in our brain, knowing how MSG chemicals changes the chemical make up of 100% total safe foods, to 100% unhealthy foods to where any human brain pays the price from BAD chemical reactions & BRAIN CELL SHOCK or DISASTER sooner or later in our life time.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by C D — March 25, 2018 @ 7:12 PM

  9. Please don’t forget about the power of vitamin B-12. I am 62 and have had epilepsy since I was 10. For almost 50 years I have been prescribed toxic doses of dilantin to deal with the epilepsy. These toxic doses damaged my body which I had accepted as part of this disease. I was even told that my body was addicted to this drug. So the stage is set for my ignorance until recently when i discovered I had low vitamin B-12 levels.

    I began taking significant amounts of B-12 and have continued to take the B complex. I have had a huge reduction in seizures and felt for the first time in my life a feeling of being closer to normal and able to think more clearly. It’s truly an amazing feeling being able to think more clearly.

    So if a simple vitamin B12 can produce such a powerful affect why couldn’t stem cell thearapy be the ultimate mitigation of this complex disease?

    The brain, the body are far far too complex to ever consider controlling with drugs. But stem cell therapy by its own nature understands the human body since stem cells recognize 100% of the complexity of the body.

    And this is not only true for epilepsy but all diseases of the body as the best way to truly proceed forward.

    I believe that drugs are the sledge hammer of the past and stem cells therapy should be the current sought after treatment.

    And so my conclusion results from using the body instead to address this complex disease rather than pouring time and energy into developing a better drug sledge hammer.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Eric Dhanak — March 30, 2018 @ 1:02 AM

  10. Enjoyed this Article very much! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Debbie Ramirez — May 27, 2018 @ 10:39 PM

  11. I have been taking one a day multi vitamins now for a long time. I am now almost 4 years seizure free and am now 51 years old. I asked my doctor and got a run around. Should I switch to a 50+ formula vitamin.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jeanine Bunt — March 17, 2019 @ 4:16 PM

    • Not necessarily. The most important thing is that it has an ample amount of Vitamin B-Complex in it.

      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.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 17, 2019 @ 4:21 PM

  12. Goodafternoon Phylis 😊. One time to try and help myself after I had a seizure and ended up with a major concussion (I am still healing for 4yrs later) I decided to drink the “meal replacement drinks” to make up for what I was locking in my diet and to help me be able to actually eat because I chew my cheeks when I have seizures. My family doctor told me to quit drinking the drinks now!! But the neurologist told me “good to hear”. I finally shook my head and told my husband well:
    A) there has got to be a “MutiVitamin I can take instead of all these extra vitamins!
    B) I believe the specialist more!! He’s the specialist.
    So I’ll ask the pharmacist if they can please help me find a multivitamin (ONE PILL INSTEAD OF 7 individual pills) to take and for their assistance as well and let them pick it out themselves for me. The other thing I was to ask them about was “Turmeric” to help with the stomach and digestive system.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — March 20, 2019 @ 5:00 PM

  13. Thanks for the info

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jenny Lee — October 27, 2019 @ 4:15 AM

  14. I’m happy if it can be of use. 🙂


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 27, 2019 @ 11:45 AM

  15. Need to know more about good foods and not good foods for people with epilepsy

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Angela Cordova — March 18, 2020 @ 7:28 PM

  16. Tried 4 different seizure meds and have awful side effects. On zonisamide now and it’s awful. Have spasms and Myoclonic jerks, tremors and then some.
    Only on 100 mg. Reduced to 50 and really improved but still struggling. I’m noticing often after I eat I get some contractions or spasms. I’m looking at the food connection.

    Hope this site can help.


    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Joey wilson — May 17, 2020 @ 10:22 PM

  17. I have epilepsy especially when I’m sleeping please send me information about the food that I must eat . When I’m eating peanuts cakes tuna they trigger it or after a long day .please send me message

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Yvonne — July 4, 2020 @ 11:20 AM

    • I think you might be having nocturnal seizures. These are usually tonic-clonic. They might occur just after a person has fallen asleep, just before waking, during daytime sleep, or while in a state of drowsiness. People who experience nocturnal seizures may find it difficult to wake up or to stay awake. Although unaware of having had a seizure while asleep, they may arise with a headache, have temper tantrums, or other destructive behavior throughout the day.

      Nocturnal seizures are very uncommon and their mechanisms poorly understood. There is evidence that sleep enhances epileptic discharges in the EEG, though their daytime recordings may appear to be normal. However, if a pattern of limiting seizures to the hours of slumber is maintained, the chance of them occurring during the daytime is greatly reduced.

      This article may help explain it: The Nightmare of Nocturnal Seizures https://epilepsytalk.com/2019/05/22/the-nightmare-of-nocturnal-seizures/


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 4, 2020 @ 11:41 AM

  18. Very grateful for these information thank you .

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Leslyn Connell — July 17, 2020 @ 11:42 AM

  19. Hi, is propolis beneficial for epilepsy patient? Will intake of extra strength fish oil lead to fatty liver?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Dixon Chen — August 27, 2020 @ 11:11 PM

  20. Thanks for the info

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Dixon Chen — September 3, 2020 @ 10:43 PM

  21. Only OMEGA 3 fish oil is the important fish oil to digest for brain health. Forget the other 3.6 & 9 fish oils that have few to no benefit for any health issue where fish oil is needed. ALA aka Alpha Liporic Acid is a daily need for brain health like Omega 3. I like to learn where both of these 2 things ”that have NO side effects” gets more taught to anyone with seizures from our neurologists, but it’s DRUGS 1st for them, telling us what we need.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — November 5, 2020 @ 4:32 PM

  22. I agree foods play a major role in keeping us healthy & Maintaining our Health. Healthy foods plays a major part for me in managing my epilepsy & I also take some high Quality Cellular Nutritional Supplements

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Carol — July 15, 2021 @ 8:08 PM

  23. Looking to get this info via my email

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jackie moore — July 15, 2021 @ 10:40 PM

  24. Thanks for such a good article of all this nutritional information. I have started with the MAD diet and then now moved to the LGIT diet to try to help my seizures. Unfortunately the seizures haven’t been controlled. But…I’m staying on the LGIT keto type of diet. It hasn’t helped my seizures but it has helped me feel tremendously better. The med side effects of wt. gain and tiredness have both become better. So I am able to keep after myself to stay on the diet to feel that much better. The other nutrient thing that my regular internal medical md has found is the my blood serum Calcium is increased. I had been on an extra Calcium vitamin but he took me off that and I remain just on my female multivitamin.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Cindy Fiser — September 17, 2021 @ 1:12 PM

  25. According to Healthline: The low glycemic (low GI) diet involves swapping high GI foods for low GI alternatives.

    It has a number of potential health benefits, including reducing blood sugar levels, aiding weight loss, and lowering your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

    More in-depth info can be found at:

    Modified Ketogenic Diets – MAD & LGIT



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 17, 2021 @ 6:07 PM

  26. please what natural foods can I take to avoid catamenial epilepsy

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Ohaleta Olivia — November 29, 2021 @ 12:05 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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