Seizure Free and Loving Life
Author: CMneti

Chapter 6
Nutritional Support

Nutritional Support for Seizure Management
Foods can affect the way the brain functions. For example, very low levels of sugar in the blood can cause seizures in some people, especially people with diabetes who take too much insulin. There is no proof, however, that mild dips in blood sugar levels that are commonly labeled as "hypoglycemia" have any relationship to seizures or epilepsy. ( epilepsy foundation 2014). It is logical to suggest those of us who have Epilepsy should follow healthy eating guidelines. Then, again, so should everyone else.

Vitamin Supplements
It is important that those who have special needs, such as epilepsy, take a quality vitamin on a daily basis. This will ensure that you get the nutrition your body needs. In addition, there may be a need to take the supplements I have listed below. Of course, the best practice is to take these nutrients in through the diet, however many people do not get their nutrients without some help. Vitamin supplements do not increase seizure activity, if you wondered about that.
Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 is a part of the B complex. It is a nutrient that supports and maintains the health of your bodyís nerves and blood cells. It can be depleted by the use of medications. According to the National Institutes . B-12 can be found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products and some cereals that have been fortified. Supplements come as vitamins , may be administered sublingually or as a shot. Deficiency causes weakness, weight loss, and anemia, numbness of the extremities, balance trouble, depression, confusion and memory loss.
The only vitamin deficiency known to cause or worsen seizures is a deficiency of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). This deficiency occurs mainly in newborns and infants and causes seizures that are hard to control(Epilepsy foundation 2014)
Vitamin D, Calcium, and Magnesium
New research shows almost half of all patients with epilepsy are vitamin D deficient and suggests men are equally, if not more frequently, affected (Medscape, 2007).
Vitamin D is found in fortified milk, and sunshine. Ask your doctor about taking a supplement of this vitamin as certain medications can increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Calcium is equally important. We need Calcium for maintenance of bone health. Magnesium is often paired together with calcium for greater results. Taken at night, a Calcium/Magnesium supplement may help the body rest properly, and protect proper muscle contraction.


Potassium
Potassium is a mineral. It is essential in the body because it helps maintain heart and muscle function. When a person fails to take in enough of this vital mineral, the result can be the condition known as hypokalemia. However, it does not cause seizures. Odds are, if you regularly eat bananas, potatoes, citrus fruits and meats, this will not become problematic for. However, some medications deplete potassium levels for certain people.
Vitamin C
Vitamin C is important too. It helps to encourage a healthy immune system. I take the supplement that includes rosehips. It does not do anything for your nervous system, though its importance must be stated. After all, the last thing a person who has seizures needs is to feel sick.
Vitamin E
Lastly, I want to discuss the benefit of taking Vitamin E . Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant. It helps protect against cancer, heart disease, it may help reduce the physical damage done to cells during a seizure and to that end can be a part of seizure after care.
**Please note that each person may not have the same result, and these tips should never replace your doctor's advice.

The value of minerals
Minerals are essential nutrients. Low levels of the minerals sodium, calcium, and magnesium can alter the electrical activity of brain cells and cause seizures (epilepsy foundation 2014).
Ask your doctor if the medicines you take can affect the mineral needs of your body.

Caffeine- Friend or Foe?
Research is conflicting on the relationship between caffeine and seizures. It is not known if caffeine actually causes seizures, however, it is a stimulant. It is plausible that caffeine has some effect on at least some AED' ( anti-consultants) medications. People who use these medications should discuss with the doctor any possibly impact caffeine may have and reduce or eliminate the intake if foods or drinks that contain this stimulant. That goes for all who continue to be at risk for future seizures,
So many people use caffeine every day as the tried and true method for waking up in the morning. Now, I am not a big coffee drinker, but there are a number of other drinks that I do consume that have caffeine. I used to be a heavy cola drinker I also love my chocolate, in its many varieties. I used to swear up and down that caffeine had no effect on my brain. Want to know what I found out? When I reduced the intake of caffeine in my diet, I saw a huge difference. I was shocked! I truly was. I was calmer, for one thing. For another, the little sensations in my head that have felt light tingling, or "lightning storms in the brain" diminished significantly. So, I am now encouraging others to reduce their caffeine intake if they will not eliminate it altogether. I want you to think about something. The epileptic brain has episodes of being over stimulated by misfiring neurons.

Fiber Is Vital
What is dietary fiber? Dietary fiber is the bulk of foods found in plants that the human body cannot digest or absorb. Fiber is not digested in the body, but moves throughout the digestive tract and out of the body. Fiber is classed as soluble (dissolving in water) or insoluble (not able to dissolve) Soluble fiber helps to reduce blood cholesterol and glucose levels. It is found in oats, peas, beans, lentils, apples, oranges, carrots, barley and psyllium. Insoluble fiber is what we think of when we think of the impact fiber has on the body. It stimulates the movement of material through your digestive system, increasing stool volume, which reduces constipation or irregularity of stools. This type of fiber is found in whole grains, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes. I would suggest that if you are suffering from seizures, you keep any white food, like white potatoes to a minimum. Benefits of increasing Fiber Not only does such a diet give the body better elimination, it also reduces the possibility of hemorrhoids and other bowel related issues. As stated earlier, it also lowers cholesterol. Another benefit is improvement in stabilizing glucose in the blood. This is good news for people at risk for type II diabetes. And, it helps with maintaining weight. These are all excellent reasons to increase fiber. A woman should get between 20 and 25 grams of fiber a day and a man should get between 30 and 40 grams of fiber a day. Talk to your doctor about the specific amount that your body needs, since it may vary according to age. At some time in the future, I may create a diet plan and book that features recipes that will work for such a diet. By the way, if you remove the skins from fruit and vegetables, you are reducing the fiber of the foods. When I began to add fiber to my diet, I did so by using supplements. I did so, in order to more quickly get my fiber increased, while taking a bit more time learning what foods to add to my diet. I began to take psyllium capsules four times a day. I take this first thing in the morning with my breakfast, and another dose at lunch time. The third dose of fiber is taken at supper time, and the last dose is taken before bed.
One of the ways that fiber helps those with epilepsy is by guarding against heart attack and stroke. This is important, since we do not want to increase our illness, but reduce it. Believe me, the very last thing we want is another brain issue any more than we want to risk heart damage. One final thought on the topic of fiber. As you increase your fiber intake, do increase the water you take in. Otherwise, you may experience abdominal pain needlessly.
While we are discussing diet, let me make a few suggestions that you may have already heard. Make a habit of eating whole grains brown rice whole grain bread and pasta. you want to eliminate white rice and bread inside you too well to eliminate the color white from the plate altogether, including the white potato which you can replace with a sweet potato.
Protein choices should be fish poultry beans nuts, avoid processed foods cold cuts and limit the amount of red meat you have. Healthy protein sources can include tuna, which also has Omega 3. Omega-3 is something that we need to help decrease the likelihood a seizure.
On the subject of fruits and vegetables let me just say add variety. Many fruits and vegetables are higher in the glycemic index and so you want to make some choices that are lower. These are the fruits and vegetables you can have often. Also, be aware that the more color a vegetable has the more nutrients it will have. This is a good rule of thumb. Remember however the potatoes do not count as vegetables. They count as a starch. Eat them sparingly. When you preparing food use healthy oils such as olive oil and remember to avoid foods containing trans fats. These are unhealthy for all, and certainly our goal should be to achieve and maintain our level of health.


 

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