Seizures are the result of a sudden change in the electrical activity of their brains. When you have a seizure, your brain cells "fire" up to 4 times faster than normal. It temporarily affects the way you move, behave, feel, or think. Conditions such as brain injuries, infections, ingestion of toxic substances, metabolic problems, abnormalities in the blood vessels of the brain, alcohol use, and injuries can trigger seizures. In children, high fever can also cause seizures.
But seizures aren't as uncommon as you might think: About 5 to 10% of people experience at least one seizure in their lifetime. However, for most people, this is a one-time episode that doesn't return. But in one in ten cases, the seizures will keep coming back and the person will be diagnosed with epilepsy. When seizures are not caused by a specific problem, such as alcohol use, that can be treated, antiepileptic drugs may be prescribed. And when medication cannot control the condition, surgery may be considered. However, there are also many natural remedies that help combat seizures. Although these cannot replace your epilepsy medication, they can help reduce the occurrence or even intensity of seizures and ensure a better quality of life. Remember to keep your doctor informed of any alternative remedies you are trying. Here are your options.
1. Follow a ketogenic diet
A ketogenic diet is generally recommended for children with seizures that do not respond to medication. This diet includes foods high in fat and very low in carbohydrates. The cells in your body normally use blood sugar, obtained from carbohydrates, for energy. When carbohydrates are restricted, the body begins to break down fat stores into molecules known as ketone bodies and uses them for energy. More than half of those on the ketogenic diet see a 50% reduction in the number of seizures, and about 10-15% are seizure-free.
The diet must be accurately calculated and supervised by a doctor. It may also involve an initial period of fasting and hospitalization. One downside to following the ketogenic diet is that because food portions need to be carefully measured, it can be difficult to stick to. Some people may experience tiredness, nausea, constipation, bad breath, and trouble sleeping when on the ketogenic diet. Following this diet for a long time can also cause side effects such as slow growth, high cholesterol levels, bone fractures, and kidney stones.123 4However, this is not widely recommended for adults, as a high-fat diet can lead to problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
2. Try a modified Atkins diet
In the modified Atkins diet, the traditional Atkins diet is modified to further limit carbohydrate intake. Like the ketogenic diet, this diet is also low carb but less restrictive. Fat consumption is encouraged and there is no protein restriction on this diet. Feeding does not need to be measured and does not imply hospitalization or fasting. It has been found to reduce seizure rates in almost half of the adults who have tried it, usually within a few months. However, remember that you should consult your neurologist and nutritionist before trying this diet.5 6 7
3. Yoga practice
Yoga uses the practice of asanas and pranayama to promote control over the mind and body. Yoga can induce relaxation and reduce stress and therefore may be beneficial for people with epilepsy. Experts suggest asanas such as viparita karani (standing with half shoulder), urdhva hasta tadasana (upward facing mountain pose), and adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog). Supplementing this with breathing exercises such as nadi shodhana pranayama (alternate breathing to clear the nostrils) can be particularly helpful.8
Studies have also found the practice of Sahaja yoga, a simple meditation practice, to be effective in treating epilepsy. It is believed to reduce stress, reduce the risk of seizures, and cause changes in the electrical activity of the brain. During Sahaja Yoga, practitioners sit relaxed with palms facing up and hands facing forward. They focus their attention on an image placed in front of them with a lit candle in front of it. Slowly, as their thoughts subside, they can close their eyes and focus their attention on the "sahasrara chakra" at the top of their head. Sahaja Yoga is believed to awaken the latent divine energy in us known as kundalini.9
4. Try biofeedback
Electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback has been found to help people with epilepsy. Think of it as a brain exercise where you can modulate your brain waves because you are aware of your activity. During the process, sensors are attached to the head so that brain activity can be displayed as patterns on a computer screen. Any deviations from normal when brain cells fail are then mapped. Now he is taught to control or regulate this activity. A tone or beep, for example, can be used as positive reinforcement or a reward for changing certain brain activities.10
One study found that 74% of people treated with EEG feedback reported fewer weekly seizures. What's even better is that the treatment can significantly reduce the frequency of seizures in those who cannot control their seizures through medical treatment.11
5. Have vitamin E
Research has found that people who take antiepileptic drugs often suffer from oxidative stress. One study looked at the effect of supplementing antiepileptic drugs with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Taking this vitamin along with the medication was found to not only reduce oxidative stress but also improve seizure control.12Stocking up on foods like almonds, peanuts, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and spinach may also help.
6. Take fish oil
One study looked at the effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish oil on the severity and frequency of seizures in children unresponsive to medical treatment. Surprisingly, it was found that at the end of 3 months, 57.1% of children taking fish oil were seizure-free. The beneficial effect of these healthy fats is attributed to the role they play in regulating neural function.13They are thought to cross the central nervous system, blocking sodium and calcium channels in nerve cells, thereby stopping the repetitive firing of cells that leads to seizures.14Interestingly, low doses of fish oil, 3 capsules a day (1080 mg), were enough to cause this effect in one study.15But talk to your doctor about what dosage might work best for you.
7. Try Ayurvedic remedies
Treatment for epilepsy is tailored to the individual in Ayurvedic practice and may include different treatments for different people. However, some common therapies include:
- Bleeding (siravdha) can be used as a first aid measure.
- Enema (paittika apasmara) and emesis (vatika apasmara) can be used as cleansing procedures at the beginning of treatment.
- Nasal application (nasya) of cooked oil from animal and herbal products is recommended, as is the use of eye drops (anjanas).
- Medicinal formulations like siddharthaka ghrita or aswagandharistam can also be used to treat seizures.sixteen
8. Check out herbal remedies: valerian, kava, passion flower, chamomile
Many herbal remedies have been used traditionally to treat seizures. For example, valerian, kava, passion flower, and chamomile are thought to increase the power of anti-epileptic drugs and enhance their cognitive and sedative effects.17An experienced herbalist will be able to advise you on the dosage and use of these herbs. But remember that you should always get your doctor's approval before using any herbal remedies so that there are no drug interactions.
9. Avoid epilepsy triggers
In certain cases, specific triggers can trigger seizures. Avoiding these triggers can prevent seizures. While various factors can trigger seizures, and triggers tend to vary from person to person, some common triggers are provided below.
- lack of sound
- Flashing patterns or lights
- Overheating and a significant change in temperature.
Try to identify seizure triggers and avoid them if possible.18