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Thread: Epilepsy Alternative Treatments and Resources page

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    FairyRae's Avatar
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    Epilepsy Alternative Treatments and Resources

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    A friend's 3yo daughter has just been diagnosed with epilepsy. She has abscence seizures. I've read over and over about ketogenic diets as treatment for epilepsy, but am wondering if you all have other links to resources about alternative treatments. I'm wondering if supplementation with EFAs, vites, minerals, amino acids, etc., has any proven positive effects on epilepsy, or if allergies/food sensitivities are related as well (thinking about gluten etc...)

    I'm also just looking for support forums and resources that might be helpful to my friend. They most likely eat a SAD, although I know she does lots of home cooking. Absolutely not low carb or anything close to primal or ketogenic though. (She's quite a good baker...) I've gathered a bunch of resources on ketogenic diets for her but haven't found much else. Would love any input/info you all have to share.

    TIA!!
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    A couple of things re the keto diet I have come across"

    An article in the New York Times magazine
    An Australian keto diet support site I found when looking for food values for Australian brands (it has a really good one)
    The Charlie Foundation
    Last edited by Analog6; 12-24-2010 at 12:23 PM.
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    Fairy Rae,

    A vitamin D deficiency can cause Epilepsy. Put the girl on 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per 25 lbs of weight ASAP.

    See my link on Vtamin D below,
    Grizz

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    Thanks you two.

    D is really at the heart of everything eh?! She should be supping it *anyway*, I will absolutely pass this info on to her!

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/567073
    http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/...itamin-d-1310/
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    A Careful read of that article does NOT say that Vit D deficiency causes seizures. It's the other way around. Having epilepsy can cause D deficiency because people prone to seizures tend to stay inside and because some seizure meds cause D to not be absorbed as easily. (It would be interesting to know which meds exactly those are). I'm interested in this topic too because I have seizures (and I don't have a vit D deficiency). Bottom line, the girl may need a vit D supplement for her general health but it is not going to stop her seizures.

    Correlation does not equal causation. Epilepsy is a complex condition which varies greatly from person to person. No one-size-fits-all quick fixes.

    There is some interesting work being done at John's Hopkins on keto diets for adult epilepsy. They are using something they they call the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD). I was looking into this which is how I net-stumbled upon the PB plan. I was trying to find something ketogenic but without all the processed artificially sweetened bars and shakes you supposedly need with Atkins. I am hoping that PB helps me become less dependent on meds to keep my seizures in check. We will see how it goes.

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    I have heard that Johns Hopkins and Stanford's Children's hospital have programs that administer the ketogenic diet for pediatric epilepsey patients as Paleobird mentions above. I was reading some journal articles that indicated that a less draconian version seems to work well with the kids and the follow up studies, when the kids were teens, was quite positive.

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    Bernard's Avatar
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    Hi folks. I found a referral to this thread in my server logs. Thought I'd share my $.02:

    Quote Originally Posted by FairyRae View Post
    A friend's 3yo daughter has just been diagnosed with epilepsy. She has abscence seizures. I've read over and over about ketogenic diets as treatment for epilepsy, but am wondering if you all have other links to resources about alternative treatments.
    There are several "seizure control diets":
    • ketogenic
    • modified atkins (MAD)
    • low glycemic index treatment (LGIT)
    • GARD/GFCF (this one not clinically studied yet AFAIK, but anecdotal reports in the epilepsy patient communities seem to indicate it may be effective in some cases
    I personally think the LGIT and GARD/GFCF are probably the easiest to implement/maintain over the long haul.

    I published a chart of alternative epilepsy treatments on my site which contains a lot of information about effectiveness, known side effects, etc. of different treatment options. Lot's of good info there.

    My wife used to experience multiple, daily absence seizures. She had them for years. She used EEG neurofeedback over a decade ago and, though it took about 5 months of training on the neurofeedback, she hasn't had an absence seizure since (she still experiences complex partial and tonic clonic seizures if she doesn't maintain her therapy regimen). 3 years old is likely too young to try EEG neurofeedback, but I highly recommend investigating that option when she gets older.

    Quote Originally Posted by FairyRae View Post
    I'm wondering if supplementation with EFAs, vites, minerals, amino acids, etc., has any proven positive effects on epilepsy, or if allergies/food sensitivities are related as well (thinking about gluten etc...)
    There is a veterinarian (yes, animal doctor) who found a GARD/GFCF diet to eliminate seizures in his dog patients. He is largely responsible for promoting the idea that a GARD/GFCF diet might be effective for humans. He's published quite a bit of info on his website:

    http://dogtorj.tripod.com/index.html

    You can also find some interesting information on the gut brain, the blood brain barrier, etc. in the CWE forums, but there is a researcher in Italy who seems to have tied it all together (working in loose collaboration with Dr. Kossof at Johns-Hopkins).

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    A Careful read of that article does NOT say that Vit D deficiency causes seizures. It's the other way around.
    Perhaps. It could be a chicken and egg scenario. While AEDs can contribute to vitamin D deficiency, it's also possible that a deficiency contributed to the onset of the seizure disorder. There is at least one study (that I'm aware of) that shows people with epilepsy don't eat/digest enough vitamins/minerals (possibly related to digestive disorders???).

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    ... Epilepsy is a complex condition which varies greatly from person to person. No one-size-fits-all quick fixes.
    Amen.

    One thing I might suggest for the 3yo mentioned in the OP is supplementing with Omega 3 (it's relatively easy and cheap to try).

    I tried to consolidate much of what I know for people who like to be a bit more proactive with their epilepsy here:

    http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/...epilepsy-1254/

    also posted a thread with basic info for people new to epilepsy here:

    http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/...s-advice-1255/

    HTH!
    The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. - Lao-tzu

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    One thing I would recommend to everyone, but especially to people with epilepsy, is to avoid aspartame. It is poison. I had partial and complex seizures when I was 14 years old but they disappeared after medication. Suddenly, almost exactly 9 years later they returned. I realized that they came back at a time when I was chewing loads of gum. I cut it out immediately. Mercola has covered this issue many times over. The FDA gets tons of complaints about aspartame and neurological problems. Of course, it was approved with all of the supporting research provided by Monsanto. Here is a link to some of their "supporting" evidence for aspartame's safety: http://www.dorway.com/raoreport.pdf

    And a quote from the article: "All animals in the medium and high dosage groups exhibited seizure activity."

    I've also read that taurine can help control epileptic behavior. Thankfully, I have a neurologist who supports these alternative treatments, and I just had some blood work done on taurine, B6, and D levels. I may move toward some type of taurine supplement if my levels are low.

  9. #9
    Paleobird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus View Post
    One thing I would recommend to everyone, but especially to people with epilepsy, is to avoid aspartame. It is poison. I had partial and complex seizures when I was 14 years old but they disappeared after medication. Suddenly, almost exactly 9 years later they returned. I realized that they came back at a time when I was chewing loads of gum. I cut it out immediately. Mercola has covered this issue many times over. The FDA gets tons of complaints about aspartame and neurological problems. Of course, it was approved with all of the supporting research provided by Monsanto. Here is a link to some of their "supporting" evidence for aspartame's safety: http://www.dorway.com/raoreport.pdf

    And a quote from the article: "All animals in the medium and high dosage groups exhibited seizure activity."

    I've also read that taurine can help control epileptic behavior. Thankfully, I have a neurologist who supports these alternative treatments, and I just had some blood work done on taurine, B6, and D levels. I may move toward some type of taurine supplement if my levels are low.
    QFT. Poison indeed. Thank you, Janus, for pointing this out. Often children whose parents are trying to give them a "healthy" diet will give them lots of artificially sweetened things not knowing any better.

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    "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD is a good book on Epilepsy, Autism, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, ADHD, and Schizophrenia.
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