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Epilepsyis traditionally treated withanti-seizure medications. While they can be extremely helpful, these medications may not work for everyone, and as with any medication, they can carry a risk of side effects.
Some people with epilepsy turn to natural treatments and alternative therapies to help alleviate their symptoms or complement their treatments. From herbs and vitamins to biofeedback and acupuncture, there are plenty to choose from.
While some natural treatments are backed by a modest amount of research, many are not. There is much less evidence to support natural epilepsy treatments than conventional medicine.
If you're interested in adding something new to your epilepsy treatment regimen, talk to your doctor. You may find that some natural treatments can complement your current treatment plan. However, some herbs are dangerous and can interact with effective medications.
Working with a doctor to find the right treatments for you can help you weigh potential benefits and risks, as well as advise you on next steps.
With a growing market and public interest, herbal treatments have exploded in popularity. It seems there is an herb for every ailment.
Some of the most commonly used herbs for epilepsy are:
- burning bush
- Lily of the valley
- sky tree
according to a
Safety, side effects, and interactions are not well studied.
Some of the natural herbs listed above can cause illness, even death. Currently, there is not enough scientific evidence that most herbal remedies successfully treat epilepsy. Most of the evidence is anecdotal.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also does not regulate herbal supplements. Herbs sometimes cause unpleasant side effects, such as headaches, rashes, and digestive problems.
While some herbs can help with epilepsy, others can make your symptoms worse.
herbs to avoid
- Gingko biloba and St. John's wortMay interact with anti-seizure medications.
- Kava, passion flower and valeriancan increase sedation.
- itMay interfere with medication levels.
- ChamomileIt can prolong the effects of your medication.
- schizandracan cause additional seizures.
- Herbal supplements that containephedra or caffeineit can make seizures worse. These includeguaraná and tail.
(Video) Treating Epilepsy with Diet
Certain vitamins can help reduce the number of seizures caused by some types of epilepsy. But keep in mind that vitamins alone do not work. They can help some medicines work more effectively or reduce the required dose.
Follow your doctor's instructions before taking vitamin supplements to avoid a possible overdose.
Vitamin B-6It is used to treat a rare form of epilepsy known as pyridoxine-dependent seizures. This type of epilepsy usually develops in utero or shortly after birth. It is caused by your body's inability to properly metabolize vitamin B-6.
althoughevidenceis promising, more research is needed to determine if vitamin B-6 supplementation benefits people with other types of epilepsy.
Buy vitamin B-6 supplements online.
Fortemagnesium deficiencymay increase the risk of seizures. Older
A 2012 hypothesis published in
Buy magnesium supplements online.
Some people with epilepsy may also have avitamin E deficiency. A
This research also suggested that it helps decrease seizures in people with epilepsy whose symptoms are not controlled with conventional medications. The study concluded that vitamin E may be safe to take with traditional epilepsy medications. However, more research is needed.
Buy vitamin E supplements online.
Medications used to treat epilepsy may also cause biotin orvitamin D deficiencyand make your symptoms worse. In these cases, your doctor may recommend vitamins to help control your condition.
Infants with seizures caused byfolate deficiencymay benefit from supplementation. Folic acid supplementation in people with epilepsy and folate deficiency from other factors may cause more harm than good. Take it only under the supervision of your doctor.
GOODdiet changesit can also help decrease seizures. The most popular diet isketogenic diet, which focuses on eating a higher proportion of fat.
The ketogenic diet is considered a diet low in carbohydrates and protein. This type of eating pattern is thought to help decrease seizures, although doctors don't know exactly why.
Children with epilepsy are often put on the ketogenic diet. Many people find the restrictions challenging. Still, this type of diet can complement other treatment measures to help reduce seizures.
since 2002,Medicina Johns Hopkinscreated a modifiedAtkins dietas a low-carbohydrate, high-fat alternative to the ketogenic diet for adults with epilepsy.
The organization indicates that recent studies show that the diet reduces seizures in almost half of those who experience it. No fasting or calorie counting required. A decrease in seizures is often seen within a few months.
Some people with epilepsy try to control their brain activity to reduce the rate of seizures. The theory is that if you detect the symptoms of an impending seizure, you can stop it.
Many people with epilepsy experience aura symptoms about 20 minutes before a seizure occurs. You may notice unusual odors, see strange lights, or experience blurred vision.
You may experience symptoms for several days before the event. These symptoms include:
- severe headaches
Self-management methods are used to prevent or lessen the severity of the seizure when it comes. There are several techniques, all of which require good concentration and focus.
- plunge into a task
- smell a strong odor
- literally tell the seizure "no"
The problem with these methods is that there is no single technique to stop a seizure. And there is no guarantee that any of them will always work.
Another approach involvesbiofeedback. As with self-management measures, the goal of the process is to take control of your brain activity.
Biofeedback uses electrical sensors to alter brain waves. At least one
Physical therapists often use biofeedback. If you are interested in this procedure, look for an accredited professional.
It can be difficult to manage your condition with self-monitoring and biofeedback alone. Both procedures require time, persistence, and consistency to master. If you decide to go this way, be patient. Do not reduce or stop taking any prescription medication without your doctor's approval.
Acupuncture and chiropractic treatments are sometimes considered alternatives to conventional epilepsy treatment.
Exactly how acupuncture helps is not understood, but the ancient Chinese practice is used to help relieve chronic pain and other medical problems. It is believed that by placing fine needles into specific parts of the body, practitioners help the body heal itself.
Acupuncture can alter brain activity to reduce seizures. One hypothesis is that acupuncture may control epilepsy by increasing parasympathetic tone and altering autonomic dysfunction.
The practice sounds good in theory. But there is no scientific evidence to show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for epilepsy.
Spinal manipulations in chiropractic care can also help the body heal. Some chiropractors use specific manipulations to help control seizures on a regular basis. Like acupuncture, chiropractic care is not considered an effective form of epilepsy treatment.
For the most part, the evidence supporting natural treatments for epilepsy is anecdotal. There is no research to support safe use.
There is also no single treatment or alternative remedy that will work for everyone. Your neurologist is your best source of care and information about epilepsy. Your brain is a complex network. Each case is different and seizures vary in severity and frequency.
Different types of epilepsy also respond to different herbs and medications. Herbs or other natural treatmentsmay interfere with medicationsand seizures may result.
Many people try various treatment methods until they find the one that works best for them. Epilepsy is a serious condition and it is important to prevent seizures. Natural treatments can complement your medical treatment. In some cases, these therapies can even improve your treatment.
Despite their potential, natural treatments still carry significant risks. This is especially the case with herbs and vitamins, as they can interact with some medications.
Some supplements can even be as powerful as conventional drugs. Be sure to consult your doctor before adding herbs or supplements to your regimen.
You should not discount natural epilepsy treatments, but rather treat them as separate epilepsy treatment options. Write down which methods interest you and discuss them with your doctor before trying them.
The safest way to treat epilepsy is to see your neurologist. Adding herbs or other treatments inadvertently can interfere with the effectiveness of your medication and increase your risk of seizures.