Epilepsy Talk

Epilepsy and Electrolytes | September 12, 2019

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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Resources:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1528-1167.2006.00861.x

https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/professionals/co-existing-disorders/metabolic-disorders/electrolyte-abnormalities-1

https://www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Neurological/Epilepsy/Page-01

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712283/

https://www.healthline.com/health/electrolyte-disorders

 

 

 


28 Comments »

  1. Thank you for the information! It was easy to follow and understand. Because I’ve been having a lot of seizures lately, I am always in search of explanations for the cause. This gives me another point/place where I know. I can study or research. Thank you again for your patience and understanding!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Dr.Brenda Stanford — September 12, 2019 @ 11:50 AM

    • I’m glad you got something out of the article.

      They’re are so many causes and effects of seizures, it truly is staggering!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 12, 2019 @ 12:22 PM

    • Goodmorning Dr.Brenda Stanford 😃. Whatever type of doctor you maybe it ALWAYS REMINDS ME EVEN DOCTORS LIVE AND SPEAK FROM THEIR OWN LIFE!! Thank you VERY MUCH FOR BEING (almost) PAINFULLY HONEST! 😘🦅💗

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — September 13, 2019 @ 11:21 AM

  2. An I have more information please about temporal Loberctomy surgery

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by A Kassardjian — September 12, 2019 @ 12:03 PM

    • Temporal Lobectomy: The most common surgical procedure performed for epilepsy is the removal of a portion of the temporal lobe, or temporal lobectomy.

      These brain structures play an important role in the majority of temporal lobe seizures involving the seizure focus, or small area of the brain where seizures originate.

      The cerebrum, or largest part of your brain, is divided into four paired sections, called lobes — the frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal.

      In a temporal lobe resection, brain tissue in the temporal lobe is resected, or cut away, to remove the seizure focus.

      In most cases, a mere 2 inches is removed. All or part of a left or right lobe may be removed surgically.

      These areas of the brain are common sites of simple and complex partial seizures, some of which may secondarily generalize.

      Seizures in the temporal, parietal, frontal or occipital lobes may be treated surgically if the seizure-producing area can be safely removed without damaging vital functions.

      It is the most successful type of epilepsy surgery and over 85% of patients enjoy a marked improvement in seizure control. Most of them need less medication after surgery.

      Approximately 25% of those who are seizure-free can eventually discontinue antiepileptic drugs. However, up to 15% of patients notice no improvement post-surgery.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 12, 2019 @ 12:25 PM

      • I had the temporal lobe surgery 3 years ago, since than they have had to put a shunt in the head with a tube that goes down to the stomach for excess brain fluid. Is this common? Last year they had to replace it as it was blocked as I was having very strong headaches and pain in my legs caused by the build up of fluid in the head.Till today I suffer with headaches everyday. I have cut back on quite a few epilepsy pills. Is it normal to have these problems?

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Richard Degrassi — September 13, 2019 @ 5:22 AM

  3. Goodmorning Phylis 😊. WOW!! I’m going to look into the vitamin B12!! That would also be something good for every physician to know as well. Maybe that could help them help those of us with epileptic issues. They put us on so many vitamins and minerals on top of our medication it makes things ever more difficult for us. I was actually starting to look into turmeric and curcumin as well. Thank you. Too bad there wasn’t one multivitamin for epileptics 😘

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Kathy S.B — September 12, 2019 @ 12:57 PM

  4. B Complex Vitamins 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 12, 2019 @ 1:01 PM

    • The funny part is whenever I ask my pharmacist which vitamins are best that I can take with my medication I am told to speak with my doctor and ask her 😳. Then when I do that with my doctor I am told to “speak with the pharmacist”. That’s when I secretly tell myself “come on Kathy perseverance is a virtue!! Then I’m quickly reminded NOW WHAT OR WHO DO I SPEAK WITH?! Lol 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — September 13, 2019 @ 3:34 PM

  5. Thank you SO MUCH PHYLIS!! I WISH EVERYONE ESPECIALLY EPILEPTIC KNEW THAT!!!!!!! 😘🙏🏼🦅💗😘

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — September 12, 2019 @ 3:21 PM

  6. gosh this is crazy ironic, but I have the same last name and my sister has severe partial complex epilepsy- you aren’t in the midwest are you? Any relation to a William Johnson first born family member, sibling, cousin, or husband? All ours are like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by M.O.P. — September 12, 2019 @ 4:33 PM

    • LOL! Actually, I live in Pennsylvania and Johnson is my married name.

      My Uncle’s name is William, but he doesn’t have epilepsy, nor does anyone on the Johnson side — that I know of.

      Nonetheless, it’s nice to meet you M.O.P. Hope you’ll join us again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 12, 2019 @ 4:47 PM

      • oh ok, I see. ya, the epilepsy in our family comes from the Johnson side of the family in Indiana. My sister has it, and our cousin that is sort of a mystery to us- none of us hear from her much at all. It’s also sort of stemmed kids that have autism. So i’m not sure it’s not all connected, but not sure that it is all connected… just checking to look for more connections if I ever find them!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by M.O.P. — September 13, 2019 @ 10:27 AM

  7. What type of blood test do I ask my doctor for? I think that should be the first step before I go out and buy all kinds of supplements, no?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Ana Fernandez — September 12, 2019 @ 5:58 PM

  8. Richard, I wouldn’t call any problems normal. Nor any surgery perfect.

    But, in my opinion, it sounds like this surgery may have been botched.

    I would consult another neurosurgeon to see what he/she says.

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 13, 2019 @ 8:59 AM

  9. Goodmorning Phylis 😃. Out of curiosity do you ever get the feeling (not on a negative note, but sincerely a thoughtful one) that sometimes everything comes down to money? Hmmm. The reason I ask is because I asked my pharmacist if taking vitamin B12, curcumin and turmeric could help or if I maybe able to take just one multivitamin instead of almost 10 or more? Thank you and please have a VERY GREAT WEEKEND AND TAKE CARE 😊🙏🏼🦅😇🐶💗😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — September 13, 2019 @ 11:17 AM

    • Oh yes, the more the merrier. Money, I mean.

      But, if you have a choice, go for the Vitamin B Complex. And make sure it has all the components in it that I mentioned.

      Your pharmacist should be able to help you with that.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 13, 2019 @ 2:34 PM

  10. Hi Phyllis. Thanks for the info! I just had my bloodwork done a week ago and I noticed my physician asked for my B levels to be tested and haven’t heard back yet. I haven’t been taking B supplements, but have been taking 2000 i7 of vit d 8n the summer, and 4000 iu Vit D in the winter on the direction of my neurologist, because it may help with seizure control and replace what keppra leaches from the bones. https://www.epilepsy.com/article/2017/10/vitamin-d-and-seizure-control. I am going to check the results of my bloodwork to see if I should include vitamin B.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Marlyn — September 13, 2019 @ 3:38 PM

  11. You probably read what I wrote above, but if not: B Complex Vitamins 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.

    See what your doc thinks, that’s most important of all.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 13, 2019 @ 3:45 PM

    • Thanks Phyllis, I did read it. Have you ever considered publishing a book? You are a wealth of information!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Marlyn — September 14, 2019 @ 1:53 AM

      • I am a writer and have been for 40 years.

        I used to write advertising, then went freelance and my last gig of 10 years was writing about Health & Wellness.

        All the research involved stood me in good stead to begin the articles here.

        Epilepsy Talk is my “retirement” and a true labor of love.

        But I don’t think I’ve got a book in me. It’s too complicated with permission slips, footnotes and all kinds of legal clearances when you’re writing a scientific book.

        Like

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 14, 2019 @ 10:27 AM

  12. THANK YOU 🙏🏼😘😘😘😘😘🦅😇😇❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — September 13, 2019 @ 6:04 PM

  13. Woow! Thank you for this infornation. My son is 12 yeaes old recently diagnosed with idiopathic generalised epilepsy. He is on epillim 400mg twice a day. I’ve been looking for supplements for him. I’ve asked for the bllod panel test from his neurologist. For a child of his age can i use the same supllements?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Linda — September 14, 2019 @ 1:06 AM

  14. My doctor put me on a FODMAP diet for digestive problems. After a week or so it became clear that this was not a good thing, seizure activity was way up. Turns out that FODMAP is a low magnesium diet. No one said, “Take supplements.” I stopped the diet and my head returned to its normal state. (Also started taking magnesium again.)

    It’s looking as if what I eat and what I take as supplements gives a level of probability / possibility of seizures. If I take this, the probability goes up. If I eat that, it goes down. After extensive research – the medical profession has not been helpful or even particularly useful – I am learning to balance my nutritional needs, brain and body.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — September 16, 2019 @ 10:48 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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