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In this review, we study the effect of various vitamins in the epileptic patients. These vitamins are generally may reduce seizure frequency and treating adverse effect of anticonvulsant drugs. Supplementation with folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, biotin, vitamin D, may be needed to prevent or treat deficiencies resulting from the use of anticonvulsant drugs. Thiamine may improve cognitive function in the epileptic patients. Vitamin K1 has been recommended near the end of pregnancy for women taking anticonvulsant drugs. Vitamins therapy is not a substitute for anticonvulsant medications.
Mohammad Asif Review Article
Role of various vitamins in the patients with epilepsy
Mohammad Asif
Department of Pharmacy, GRD (P.G) Institute of management and Technology, Dehradun, India
Corresponding author*:
1. Introduction:
It is important that people with epilepsy follow a nutritious and well balanced diet. Good nutritional habits and
healthy lifestyle is an important to optimal seizure control. However, no special diet is prescribed for epilepsy patients. But
to avoid dietary deficiencies, ensure proper intake of nutrients, containing adequate vitamins (folic acid, Vitamin B1,
Vitamin D Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 Vitamin E and vitamin K), inorganic salts (calcium, magnesium and manganese) and
other micronutrients1-3. If patient have some other condition (like diabetes) in addition to epilepsy that requires a special
diet. Problems can generally be avoided with a proper diet4-8. However, in rare cases, more serious problems may arise due
to deficiency of vitamins. For example, anemia can result from severe folic acid deficiency. Weak bones are related to
inadequate amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin supplements can be prescribed as necessary. Self-prescribed “mega-vitamin”
therapy will do no good and could be harmful. For example, excessive folic acid intake may actually decrease seizure
2. Role of vitamins in epilepsy
2.1 Thiamine (B1): Severe thiamine deficiency can cause seizures in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic patients; these
seizures are reversible with thiamine supplementation. Low thiamine status was found in epileptic patients9,10 and
consecutive neurological patients. In a placebo-controlled trial, supplementation of epileptic patients with 50 mg thiamine
daily for six months was associated with significant improvements11. The research suggested that thiamine deficiency
might be considered as one possible cause of late-onset epilepsy. In addition, thiamine deficiency has been reported in
patients with epilepsy and its supplementation may be necessary to prevent or reverse the effects of its deficiency. The
patients chronically treated with phenytoin had subnormal blood thiamine levels and had low folate.
2.2 Pyridoxine (B6): Pyridoxine-dependent seizure (PDS) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder that usually presents with
intractable seizures in early stages of life. The seizures can be completely controlled by administration of large doses of
vitamin B6. Clinical seizures stop within a few minutes and epileptic electroencephalographic (EEG) discharges subside
within a few hours after the intravenous injection of 50–200 mg of pyridoxine 12,13. Pyridoxine should be administered
under EEG monitoring as a diagnostic test in all cases of convulsive disorders in infants and young children in which no
other diagnosis is evident. Intravenous administration of vitamin B6 to infants after a long period of convulsions has been
followed in some cases by acute hypotonia and apnea14,15. Alternatively, the disorder may be diagnosed by giving 15
mg/kg/day of oral pyridoxine to a patient who experiences frequent seizures and noting complete control of the seizures
within a week or so16. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, maintenance therapy (25–200 mg/day) should be continued
indefinitely and doses increased with advancing age or when intercurrent illnesses occur. It is also recommended that
women who have had a child with vitaminB6 dependency receive vitamin B6 supplements during subsequent
pregnancies17-19. In addition, it was observed that pyridoxal phosphate is better than pyridoxine in the treatment of
intractable childhood epilepsy, particularly in the treatment of infantile spasms20. Finally, in patients with epilepsy and
without pyridoxine dependency, vitamin B6 deficiency has been observed, however at the moment, there is not enough
evidence to suggest that vitamin B6 supplementation might help the treatment of patients with non vitamin B6-dependent
refractory seizures21. In addition, supplementation with 80–200 mg/day pyridoxine can reduce serum phenytoin and
IJPR Volume 3 Issue 1 (2013) 1
In this review, we study the effect of various vitamins in the epileptic patients. These vitamins are generally may
reduce seizure frequency and treating adverse effect of anticonvulsant drugs. Supplementation with folic acid, vitamin B6,
vitamin E, biotin, vitamin D, may be needed to prevent or treat deficiencies resulting from the use of anticonvulsant drugs.
Thiamine may improve cognitive function in the epileptic patients. Vitamin K1 has been recommended near the end of
pregnancy for women taking anticonvulsant drugs. Vitamins therapy is not a substitute for anticonvulsant medications.
Key words: Vitamins, Epilepsy, Nutrients, Diet.
International Journal of Pharmacological Research
ISSN: 2277-3312 Journal DOI:10.7439/ijpr
Mohammad Asif Review Artticle
phenobarbital levels22,23 and long-term administration of 500 mg/day or more of pyridoxine may produce neurotoxicity in
adults, which could presumably occur at lower doses in children24.In the early 1950s, numerous infants in the United States
developed convulsions traced to the use of a formula that was deficient in pyridoxine25,26. Seizures also occurred in an
infant fed exclusively on powdered goat’s milk, which had undetectable levels of the vitamin. The seizures resolved after
supplementation with vitamin B6 27. Vitamin B6 deficiency has been found in a high proportion of patients with epilepsy.
In a study, patients with severe epilepsy, had a reduced serum concentration of pyridoxal 28. Low levels of vitamin B6 may
be due in part to treatment with phenytoin, which has been associated with evidence of reduced vitamin B6 status (i.e.,
increased xanthurenic acid excretion following a tryptophan load) 29. However, other factors may be involved as well, since
there does not appear to be a strong relationship between low vitamin B6 levels and use of any specific anticonvulsant
medication. Vitamin B6 supplementation is clearly beneficial in cases of vitamin B6-dependent seizures. Some studies
have demonstrated improvements in patients with non-vitamin B6-dependent epilepsy as well, although the research has
produced conflicting results.
2.3 Vitamin B6-dependent Seizures: Vitamin B6-dependent epilepsy is a rare inherited disorder that usually presents
with intractable seizures in the first six months of life. The seizures can be completely controlled by the large doses of
vitamin B6 30,31 but if the condition is not treated promptly irreversible neurological damage may occur. The diagnosis of
vitamin B6 dependency can be established by intravenous administration of pyridoxine, which results in cessation of
seizures within minutes. Most patients can subsequently be maintained on 25-50 mg/day oral pyridoxine, although one
child required 200 mg/day 32. Long-term supplementation is necessary; discontinuation of pyridoxine after several years of
good seizure control has resulted in death from status epilepticus. Some patients with vitamin B6-dependent seizures
present with an atypical picture, including later onset (up to 19 months of age)33, a seizure-free period before
administration of pyridoxine, a long remission after withdrawal of pyridoxine, and an atypical seizure type. It is also
recommended that women who have a child with vitamin B6 dependency receive vitamin B6 supplements during
subsequent pregnancies.
2.4 Vitamin B6 for Non-vitamin B6-dependent Epilepsy: Vitamin B6 supplementation has been reported to be
beneficial in some, but not all, patients with non-vitamin B6-dependent epilepsy. The children with epilepsy received 160
mg/day pyridoxine, the patients with laboratory evidence of vitamin B6 deficiency (i.e., increased urinary excretion of
xanthurenic acid following a tryptophan load), had complete or partial amelioration of seizures, and some of these patients
were able to discontinue anticonvulsant medication. Of the patients with a normal tryptophan load test, none responded to
pyridoxine34,35. Of children (ages 3-8 years) with epilepsy associated with impaired intellectual development, progressive
emotional disturbances, and abnormal EEGs, all excreted elevated amounts of xanthurenic acid after a tryptophan load.
After administration of 60-160 mg pyridoxine daily, tryptophan metabolism became normal and substantial
clinical improvement occurred36. Pyridoxine (20 mg, 3-6 times daily) was given for an unspecified length of time to
epileptic patients, ages 2-17 years. All patients had petit mal and one also had grand mal epilepsy. Seizures ceased five
patients and became less frequent37. Epileptic children received 160-200 mg pyridoxine daily for at least six weeks.
Significant clinical improvement was seen in five cases22. A 23-year-old man with recurrent seizures presented with status
epilepticus, which resolved immediately following intravenous administration of 60 mg pyridoxal phosphate. Prior to
treatment, patient serum pyridoxine concentration was markedly decreased (80% below the lower limit of normal).
Pyridoxine was given intravenously to infants and children with acute, recurrent seizures due primarily to acute infections.
A dose of 30 or 50 mg/kg/day was administered over 2-4 hours and given for a few days. The treatment was rated “very
effective” in patients receiving pyridoxine. Aside from transient flushing, no adverse effects were seen. In other studies,
pyridoxine in doses of 20-100 mg/day orally39,40 or 300 mg/day parenterally38 to produced no clinical improvement in
patients with various types of epilepsy.
2.5 Pyridoxine versus Pyridoxal Phosphate: While most patients with vitamin B6-dependent seizures can be effectively
treated with pyridoxine, some patients have only responded to pyridoxal phosphate, the biologically active form of vitamin
B6 19. The average effective oral dose of pyridoxal phosphate-responsive seizures was 30 mg/kg/day (range, 7-38
mg/kg/day), which was significantly higher than the average effective pyridoxine dose (18 mg/kg/day) in pyridoxine
responders20. Because of superior efficacy in certain cases, pyridoxal phosphate should be considered for first-line
treatment of patients in whom a clinical trial of vitamin B6 is indicated. Pyridoxal phosphate should also be considered for
patients with suspected vitamin B6-responsive seizures that are unresponsive to pyridoxine.
3. Vitamin B6 in Clinical Practice
Vitamin B6 should be tried in all infants and young children with intractable epilepsy. For children and adults
whose seizures are well controlled on medication, moderate doses of vitamin B6 (such as 10-50 mg/day) may be
considered to prevent possible drug induced vitamin B6 deficiency. Although larger doses might be appropriate in selected
cases, high-dose vitamin B6 appears to interfere with some anticonvulsant medications. In one study, supplementation with
80-200 mg/day pyridoxine reduced serum phenytoin and phenobarbitone levels in epileptic children22. In addition, long-
term administration of 500 mg/day or more of pyridoxine has resulted in neurotoxicity in some adults 24, which could
presumably occur at lower doses in children. The supplementation with 600 mg/day vitamin B6 reversed phenytoin-
IJPR Volume 3 Issue 1 (2013) 2
Mohammad Asif Review Article
induced gingival hyperplasia in several patients; however, such high doses are probably excessive for most patients with
epilepsy. Lower doses might be effective for phenytoin-induced gingival hyperplasia, particularly when used in
combination with a folic acid mouth rinse. Patients being treated with vitamin B6 should probably also receive a
magnesium supplement, in view of evidence that these nutrients work together and subjective reports that vitamin B6
supplementation increases the requirement for magnesium.
3.1 Biotin (B7): Biotin deficiency has been reported in patients with epilepsy. This has been attributed to antiepileptic
therapy (e.g., with carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and phenytoin)21. Biotin supplementation might reduce seizure
frequency in patients with inborn errors of biotin metabolism. Biotinidase deficiency is an autosomal recessive genetic
disorder. Absence of biotinidase leads to infantile or early childhood encephalopathy, seizure disorder, dermatitis, alopecia,
neural deafness, and optic atrophy. Treatment with biotin results in clinical recovery and normalization of the biochemical,
neuroradiological, and neurophysiological parameters47,21. Serum biotin levels were below normal in epileptic patients on
long-term anticonvulsant therapy48. Low biotin levels appear to result from an acceleration of biotin catabolism by
phenytoin, carbamazepine, and phenobarbital49,50. In addition, carbamazepine and primidone may inhibit intestinal
absorption of biotin51. Interestingly, dermatitis and ataxia, side effects of many anticonvulsants, are also observed in
patients with an inborn error of biotin-dependent enzymes. There is no evidence that biotin supplementation interferes with
the effect of anticonvulsants. To the contrary, correction of biotin deficiency might reduce seizure frequency, as suggested
by the fact that biotin responsive seizures have occurred in some patients with inborn errors of biotin metabolism52.
3.2 Folic acid (B9): Seizures may occur in some infants with cerebral folate deficiency. In this disorder, the seizures begin
between 2 h and 5 days after birth, although intrauterine hiccup can be the first symptom. Myoclonic and clonic seizures,
sometimes associated with apnea, have been described. Affected neonate may be irritable, jittery, obtunded, or even
becomes comatose. Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings in the neonatal period manifest a discontinuous
background pattern and multifocal spikes or sharp waves. This syndrome is probably caused by impaired transport of
folate across the blood–brain barrier into the central nervous system. The transport defect can be overcome by
administration of folinic acid (an active form of folic acid), which bypasses the blocked folate transport mechanism. The
disorder of folinic acid-responsive seizures is lethal when no specific treatment is initiated. Folinic acid administration
should be considered in all cases of refractory neonatal seizures in which no other diagnosis is evident. The starting dose
of folinic acid is usually 2.5 mg twice per day, and can be gradually increased up to 8 mg/kg/day. Seizures commonly
cease within 24 h after folinic acid is initiated. Withdrawal of the treatment leads to seizure recurrence within a few days.
Oral folinic acid should be continued indefinitely (2.5–5 mg/kg/day). Most children require continuation of antiepileptic
medication as well. The prognosis is poor even with folinic acid therapy and seizure control42-43.
In patients with seizures not due to cerebral folate deficiency, folic acid (or its derivatives) supplementation is of
little or no benefit with respect to seizure control. However, folate deficiency is common in patients with epilepsy and may
have negative effects on other aspects of health and therefore, its correction is desirable. It has been observed that low dose
of folate supplementation may prevent carbamazepine-induced leukopenia or anemia in patients with epilepsy. In one
randomized clinical trial of carbamazepine-treated children44, white blood cell and polymorphonuclear cell counts were
significantly higher in patients who received folate supplementation and the incidence of neutropenia was cut almost in
half. Hemoglobin concentration dropped in carbamazepine-only treated children, but rose slightly in children who received
folate supplementation as well; these changes were also significant. These findings could be helpful if considered in the
management process of the patients who are prescribed carbamazepine, especially in patients who are at more risk for
carbamazepine- induced leukopenia (e.g., those with borderline low white blood cells, neutrophil, or monocyte counts at
baseline)45. While correction of folate deficiency is desirable, administration of large doses of folic acid can decrease blood
levels of phenytoin, phenobarbital, and carbamazepine, potentially interfering with seizure control46,21. The impact of
adding folic acid to a stable phenytoin regimen in an effort to correct folate deficiency is often underestimated. The mean
decrease in total serum phenytoin level after the addition of 1 mg oral folic acid is about 20% and after adding 5 mg of oral
folic acid might be as high as 40%. Pharmacokinetic studies of this interaction strongly suggest that folic acid is a cofactor
in the metabolism of phenytoin. Higher levels of folate appear to increase the affinity of metabolizing enzymes, thus
greatly increasing the efficiency of phenytoin degradation 46. Though evidence is lacking, the use of high dose folic acid
supplements in women with epilepsy before conception and during pregnancy is generally recommended to potentially
prevent some of the teratogenic effects of AEDs particularly neural tube defects.
Seizures occur in some infants with cerebral folate deficiency, a syndrome that also includes slow head growth,
psychomotor retardation, cerebellar ataxia, and other neurological abnormalities. This syndrome is caused by impaired
transport of folate across the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system. The transport defect can be overcome by
administration of folinic acid (an active form of folic acid), which bypasses the blocked folate transport mechanism. There
are several case reports in which administration of folinic acid (2.5-20 mg twice daily in one study, 0.5-1.0 mg/kg body
weight per day in another) resulted in improvement or complete control of seizures in infants 41,53 . In patients with seizures
not due to cerebral folate deficiency, folic acid supplementation is of little or no benefit with respect to seizure control, and
may even exacerbate seizures in some instances. However, folate deficiency is common in patients with epilepsy and may
IJPR Volume 3 Issue 1 (2013) 3
Mohammad Asif Review Artticle
have negative effects on other aspects of health. Subnormal serum or erythrocyte folate concentrations have been observed
in patients with epilepsy in different studies54- 58. Low folate levels were found more frequently among inpatients than
outpatients, and in those with coexisting psychiatric illness than those without psychiatric illness. Folate deficiency is due
primarily to the use of anticonvulsant medications (e.g., phenytoin, valproate, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and
primidone), which interfere with folic acid absorption59-61. While correction of folate deficiency is desirable, administration
of large doses of folic acid can decrease blood levels of phenytoin, phenobarbital, and carbamazepine 62-65, potentially
interfering with seizure control. An increase in seizure frequency has been seen in some 66, but not all67-69, studies in which
highdose folic acid (5 mg three times per day) was given to drug-treated epileptic patients. In addition to interfering with
anticonvulsant medication, high-dose folic acid itself may be epileptogenic. Intravenous administration of 14.4 mg folic
acid induced a tonic-clonic seizure in one epileptic patient, although other patients experienced no adverse effects from 75
mg folic acid given intravenously70. One woman with epilepsy had an increase in seizure frequency and severity after
receiving 0.8 mg folic acid per day, which was prescribed because she was planning to become pregnant71. A cause-effect
relationship in this case is uncertain. Based on these observations, modest doses of folic acid should be used to treat folate
deficiency in epileptic patients. The pregnant epileptic women taking anticonvulsant drugs found that a folic acid dose of
100-1,000 mcg/day was sufficient to prevent folate deficiency and did not impair seizure control72. Folic acid has also been
used to treat phenytoin-induced gingival hyperplasia. The use of a 0.1-percent folic acid mouth rinse for six months
significantly reduced the severity of this condition, whereas a placebo was ineffective. Patients used 5 mL of the mouth
rinse twice daily, spitting it out after rinsing for two minutes (should not be swallowed, 10 mg/day of folic acid). Oral,
rather than topical, administration of folic acid (3-4 mg/day) produced little or no improvement in phenytoin-induced
gingival hyperplasia73,74.
3.3 Vitamin D: Some antiepileptic drugs may have negative effects on bone mineral density through a variety of
mechanisms including inducing the hepatic cytochrome P450 system (CYP450) which promotes the metabolism of 25-
hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) to less biologically active analogues, resulting in decreased bone mineralization, decreased
intestinal calcium absorption, increased calcium mobilization from the skeleton to maintain eucalcemia, and decreased
bone density75,76. Valproate can also decrease bone mineral density with an unclear mechanism. Patients with epilepsy who
take enzyme inducing drugs or valproate should maintain a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D; many
practitioners recommend supplementation with calcium and vitamin D daily. Evidence suggests that vitamin D might have
some antiepileptic effects.
It was observed that administration of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 resulted in the elevation of hippocampal seizure
threshold levels in rats77. In addition, it was observed that the frequency of epileptic seizures significantly decreased in
patients taking vitamin D as add-on-drug compared with patients taking placebo in addition to their antiepileptic drugs78.
Patients taking anticonvulsants are at increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency, apparently because these
drugs induce liver enzymes that inactivate vitamin D48,79. Rickets, osteomalacia, and low bone mineral content78,80 have
been reported in drug treated epileptic patients. In patients with osteomalacia resulting from the use of phenytoin and
phenobarbital, the amount of vitamin D3 needed to achieve positive calcium balance was approximately 975 IU/day 81. In
patients with low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels who were taking phenytoin, carbamazepine, and phenobarbitone, either
alone or in combination, the amount of vitamin D3 required to maintain a normal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D
concentration (15 ng/mL or greater) ranged from 400 to 4,000 IU/day, with 72 percent of patients requiring 2,400 IU/day
or more82.
3.4 Vitamin E: Vitamin E deficiency has been reported in patients with epilepsy, though its clinical significance remains
uncertain. This deficiency has been attributed to antiepileptic therapy83.The antiepileptic effect of vitamin E is
contradictory. In one animal study84, the anticonvulsant effects of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) in animal seizure models.
However, a placebo-controlled, cross-over trial85 with vitamin E as add-on therapy in patients with uncontrolled epilepsy
demonstrated no efficacy with regard to seizure control.Erythrocyte or plasma vitamin E concentrations were lower in
children with epilepsy than in healthy controls. Vitamin E levels were lower in children receiving multi-drug therapy than
in children receiving single-drug therapy86,87. In some studies, vitamin E supplementation reduced seizure frequency.
Twenty-four children (ages 6-17 years) with treatment-resistant epilepsy were randomly assigned to receive, in
double-blind fashion, 400 IU/day alpha-tocopheryl acetate or placebo for three months. Of the 12 patients given vitamin E,
10 had a greater-than-60-percent reduction in seizure frequency (of that 10, six had a 90-100% reduction). None of the
patients in the placebo group had a greater-than-60-percent reduction in seizure frequency (p<0.05 for the difference in
response rate between groups). Vitamin E treatment had no effect on plasma levels of anticonvulsant medications. Thirty-
five epileptic children and adults were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, 250 IU/day vitamin E or
placebo for three months. Anticonvulsants were continued as previously. Of the 12 adults receiving vitamin E, eight had a
decrease in seizure frequency, two had an increase, and two were unchanged. Of the children receiving vitamin E, two had
a reduction in seizure frequency. No changes were seen in the children and adults receiving placebo88,89. The
supplementation with vitamin E reduced mean seizure frequency in a group of severely mentally handicapped patients
with treatment resistance epilepsy. However, information was omitted regarding the dosage regimen and the response in
IJPR Volume 3 Issue 1 (2013) 4
Mohammad Asif Review Article
the placebo group90. In a study of severely handicapped epileptic patients (ages 4-23 years) receiving anticonvulsants,
supplementation with 100 IU/day alpha-tocopheryl acetate for one month had no effect on seizure frequency83. The
teenagers and adults with uncontrolled epilepsy were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, 600 IU/day
vitamin E or placebo for three months. The mean seizure frequency decreased by 25.7 percent during the placebo period
and by 13.8 percent during the vitamin E period compared with baseline85. Although the research on efficacy is conflicting,
vitamin E is relatively safe and may be considered for adjunctive treatment in epileptic patients, particularly children.
3.5 Vitamin K: The incidence of vitamin K deficiency is increased in neonates of mothers receiving enzyme-inducing
antiepilepltic drugs and vitamin K1 treatment decreases the frequency of vitamin K deficiency in these neonates 91. It is
widespread clinical practice to administer vitamin K to pregnant women and then to their newborns. This is certainly
appropriate for women taking enzyme-inducing drugs; it is not known whether women taking other drugs require this
regimen, but it seems prudent to follow it until more is known. Fourteen pregnant epileptic women received 20 mg/day
vitamin K1 for two weeks before delivery. No hemorrhages occurred in the babies and prothrombin times were all normal
at birth. This study suggested that vitamin K1 should be given routinely to drug-treated epileptic women near the end of
4. Discussion
Manganese deficiency has been reported in patients with epilepsy, though it does not appear to correlate with
seizure frequency or the type, dose, or plasma levels of AEDs93.
Linolenic acid prevents kainate-induced seizures and neuronal death and has neuroprotective effects94,95,
supplementation with fish oil, providing omega-3 fatty acids, reduced seizure frequency, but the beneficial effect was not
sustained thereafter. Health care professionals caring for patients with epilepsy, especially children with intractable
epilepsy, should be aware of these nutritional recommendations and educate families to provide an adequate diet and/or
consider vitamin/mineral supplementation. Given the high probability of any patient not eating a well-balanced diet,
routine vitamin supplementation with modest doses can be considered reasonable96-100. Of course, cost–benefit ratio should
always be considered and over consumption of vitamin supplements should be avoided. The pyridoxine, folic acid, and
biotin supplementation is necessary in patients with pyridoxin, cerebral folate deficiency, or biotinidase deficiency,
respectively, there is no evidence to support their use in other circumstances, to control the seizures. In addition, though
evidence is lacking, the use of high dose of folic acid supplements in women with epilepsy before conception and during
pregnancy, supplementation with vitamin D in patients taking enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs and valproate, and
finally, vitamin K in pregnant women taking antiepileptic drugs and their newborns are recommended 101-105. The relation
between other nutrients (e.g., vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids and seizures) should be investigated further before
asserting any recommendations. On the other hand, unnecessary and excessive vitamin and mineral supplementation may
actually be harmful (106-108). For many people with epilepsy a healthy, balanced diet is the best, but many patients have
nutritional deficiencies. In one recent study, at least 30% of children with intractable epilepsy had intakes below the
recommended dietary allowance for vitamins D, E, and K, folate, calcium, and linoleic acid109-112.
5. Conclusion
A number of different dietary modifications, nutritional supplements, and hormones may help prevent seizures or
improve other aspects of health in patients with epilepsy. Supplementation with specific nutrients should also be
considered for the prevention and treatment of nutritional deficiencies resulting from anticonvulsant drugs. In most cases,
nutritional therapy is not a substitute for anticonvulsant medications. However, in selected cases, depending on the
effectiveness of the interventions, dosage reductions or discontinuation of medications may be possible. Because much of
the research on epilepsy management with diet, nutrients, and hormones is preliminary.
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... Vitamin E usage in medicine is plenteous. For example, it has been used to treat epilepsy, cataracts, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, asthma, infertility, and skin disorders (Asif, 2013;Robertson et al., 1991;Grundman, 2000;Molina et al., 1997;Pearson et al., 2004;Moslemi and Tavanbakhsh, 2011). Due to the lipophilicity of this antioxidant, it has a low bioavailability in the human body. ...
Food is a source of nutrition and a vital supplier of micronutrients essential for the survival of man. The major nutrients, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are available freely in different proportions in food products. Many of the biological processes that occur in the body require vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) for smooth functioning. These micronutrients are found in much smaller quantities and require certain conditions for absorption into the body. The bioavailability of a nutrient deals with both its availability and absorbability. Therefore, having a larger supply does not mean that bioavailability is high, only that more is absorbed. Bioavailability depends on the stability of the nutrient in the gut environment, its solubility, and its mode of absorption.
... In patients with epilepsy, the deficiency of Vitamin E has been reported, this deficiency has been attributed to antiepileptic therapy, and however the antiepileptic effect of Vitamin E is contrary. [20,21] This randomized controlled trial was aimed to assess the effect of Vitamin E on the seizure frequency, and biochemical parameters and EEG finding in added to antiepileptic therapy in refractory epileptic patients. Our findings show that total antioxidant capacity, catalase, and glutathione significantly increased in epileptic patients after adding Vitamin E to their antiepileptic therapy in compare placebo. ...
Full-text available
Background: Oxidative stress has been a frequent finding in epileptic patients receiving antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). In this study, the influence of Vitamin E on the antiseizure activity and redox state of patients treated with carbamazepine, sodium valproate, and levetiracetam has been investigated. Materials and methods: This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was carried out on 65 epileptic patients with chronic antiepileptic intake. The subjects received 400 IU/day of Vitamin E or placebo for 6 months. Seizure frequency, electroencephalogram (EEG), and redox state markers were measured monthly through the study. Results: Total antioxidant capacity, catalase and glutathione were significantly higher in Vitamin E received group compared with controls (P < 0.05) whereas malodialdehyde levels did not differ between two groups (P < 0.07). Vitamin E administration also caused a significant decrease in the frequency of seizures (P < 0.001) and improved EEG findings (P = 0.001). Of 32 patients in case group, the positive EEG decreased in 16 patients (50%) whereas among 33 patients in control group only 4 patients (12.1%) showed decreased positive EEG. Conclusion: The results of this preliminary study indicate that coadministration of antioxidant Vitamin E with AEDs improves seizure control and reduces oxidative stress.
Epilepsy is a neurological disease whose incidence is expected to increase in the coming years. Since it is a chronic condition, most epileptic patients will need pharmacological treatment throughout their lives. The interactions between drugs and nutrients, often overlooked by health professionals, can be varied and have an important impact on the patient's health outcomes. This group of individuals, in addition to the greater propensity to develop several nutritional deficits, also have a high cardiovascular risk and a higher prevalence of bone fragility compared to the general population, which contributes to the increase in the morbidity and mortality rates associated with this condition. Nutritional status is a factor that can influence the natural course of the disease, enhancing or compromising the patient's quality of life and well-being. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the implications for nutritional status that follow antiepileptic pharmacological therapy, and that regular monitoring and evaluation, accompanied by an early nutritional intervention, must be taken into account, in order to prevent and/or reverse possible emerging complications. Thus, this bibliographic review intends to ask what are the main nutritional consequences arising from the use of antiepileptic drugs and how can we mitigate them.
Full-text available
This study focused on care and prevalence of epileptic seizure among children in orphans and vulnerable children homes in Abeokuta. Specifically, it determined: prevalence of epileptic seizure across gender and age; involvement in the care of victims and ascertain the attitude of uninfected children towards the victim. It was a survey research. Two types of questionnaire were used for data collection. One was completed by caregivers while the other was completed by the Admin officers/managers. A complete enumeration of 105 respondents comprising of personnel's who are directly involved in the care of the children in the selected registered homes was done. Data were analysed using frequencies, percentage, mean and standard deviation. Results show that epileptic seizure in orphan and vulnerable children's home is common among the male in their early adolescence period (10-16 years). Prevalence rate as at 2016 stands at 2.92%; consisting of 4.28% of the total male children population and 0.96% of the total female children population.
Folic acid deficiency and megaloblastic anaemia is a well established side effect of anticonvulsant drugs. A significant reduction in serum phenytoin levels with an increase in seizure frequency with folic acid has been described. We describe a patient with megaloblastic anaemia who developed an increase in seizure frequency with a reduction in carbamazepine and phenobarbitone levels following treatment with folic acid.
The aim of this case-control study was to determine whether there is any association between idiopathic generalized epilepsy and allergic disorders in children. All children with idiopathic epilepsy attending the Motahary Clinic, Shiraz, Iran, in a 7-month period were included in the study. Neurologically normal children, matched for age and sex, were considered as controls. The required data including age, gender, history of allergic disorders, history of smoking in the family members and breast versus formula feeding in the first six months of life were collected. The total number of participants was 110 patients and 100 controls. History of allergic disorders was positive in 28.2% of the patients and 36% of the controls (P = 0.225). When only patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy were considered (100 patients), allergic disorders were reported in 28%. The prevalence of allergic disorders in patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy was not significantly different from that in controls (P = 0.225). Family history of allergic disorders was positive in 34.5% of the patients and 45% of the controls (P = 0.122). Our study failed to demonstrate any association or link between idiopathic generalized epilepsy and allergy.
The essential trace elements zinc and manganese have been noted as factors in brain disease since the Twenties. The combined use of zinc and manganese in schizophrenia is based on the following: increased urinary excretion of copper when both zinc and manganese are given orally; zinc alone causes a decrease in blood manganese; and the double deficiency of zinc and manganese frequently is found in patients with excess copper. The mauve factor (Kryptopyrrole) is known to increase the excretion of zinc and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Manganese is important in the building and breakdown cycles of protein and nucleic acid. For RNA chain initiation, manganese was found to be a better effector than magnesium. Manganese stimulates adenylate cyclase activity in brain tissue. Because cyclic-AMP plays a regulatory role in the action of several brain neurotransmitters, manganese is important in brain function. Owing to the fact that zinc is well absorbed from the gut but manganese is poorly absorbed all diagnostic categories may be harmed by large prolonged oral doses of zinc without manganese. In oral doses manganese occasionally elevates blood pressure in patients over 40 years of age. Zinc alone can lower blood pressure in some hypertensive patients. Prolonged use of phenothiazines causes tardive dyskinesia. Phenothiazines might chelate manganese making it unavailable for some presumed function as an enzyme activator.
Electrical stimulation of the dorsal hippocampal formation of the rat was employed to determine the effect of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-(OH)2D3), the hormonal form of vitamin D, on induced seizure thresholds. Stereotaxic injection of 100 μg or 50 μg 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in 2 μl propylene glycol into the hippocampus resulted in a significant elevation in seizure threshold in all animals treated. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-induced increases were noted within 5–10 min and lasted at least 120–180 min after injection when the experiments were terminated. Intravenous injection of 1,25-(OH)2D3 also resulted in a significant elevation of seizure threshold; however, the increase was transient, lasting only 30 min. This effect was specific since 200 μg vitamin D3 or 200 μg 25-hydroxyvitamin D3(25-(OH)D3), injected into the hippocampus, had no effect on seizure threshold levels. This investigation represents the first direct demonstration of a role for 1,25-(OH)2D3 in the regulation of seizure activity and suggests, along with the previously demonstrated presence of immunoreactive vitamin D-dependent calcium binding protein and receptors for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in the brain, that the vitamin D endocrine system may play a significant role in the physiological mechanisms underlying convulsive disorders.
This article reviews research on the use of diet, nutritional supplements, and hormones in the treatment of epilepsy. Potentially beneficial dietary interventions include identifying and treating blood glucose dysregulation, identifying and avoiding allergenic foods, and avoiding suspected triggering agents such as alcohol, aspartame, and monosodium glutamate. The ketogenic diet may be considered for severe, treatment-resistant cases. The Atkins diet (very low in carbohydrates) is a less restrictive type of ketogenic diet that may be effective in some cases. Nutrients that may reduce seizure frequency include vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin E, manganese, taurine, dimethylglycine, and omega-3 fatty acids. Administration of thiamine may improve cognitive function in patients with epilepsy. Supplementation with folic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, vitamin D, and L-carnitine may be needed to prevent or treat deficiencies resulting from the use of anticonvulsant drugs. Vitamin K1 has been recommended near the end of pregnancy for women taking anticonvulsants. Melatonin may reduce seizure frequency in some cases, and progesterone may be useful for women with cyclic exacerbations of seizures. In most cases, nutritional therapy is not a substitute for anticonvulsant medications. However, in selected cases, depending on the effectiveness of the interventions, dosage reductions or discontinuation of medications may be possible.
Study of 100 children with grand mal convulsive disorders and 100 medically healthy children of matching age showed significantly lower plasma levels of vitamin E in the former (means 632.2 +/- 17.3 and 822.5 +/- 21.8 micrograms/dl respectively; p less than 0.001). This finding accords with the ability to prevent seizures in rodents by giving alpha-tocopherol before exposing them to a convulsion-inducing environment.