Vitamins are incredible nutrients which all humans need to survive. Without enough vitamins, we can experience serious health problems. The good news is that all the vitamins you need can be found in a normal diet.
If you have seizures, you might be wondering if there are any vitamins for epilepsy. Here is what we know about vitamins and epilepsy.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic molecules that our bodies need to function correctly. Vitamins help with everything from healing wounds to maintaining your eyesight to boosting your immune system and much more!
There are many vitamins that our bodies can create on their own. However, there are 13 vitamins we either can’t produce enough of – or can’t produce at all. So, we have to get them in small quantities from our diets (and in the case of vitamin D, from sunlight!).
If you don't have enough vitamins in your body, this is known as vitamin deficiency. Vitamin deficiency can cause serious illness and make you feel very unwell. This is why many people choose to take vitamin supplements. If you eat a varied diet and safely spend time in the sun, you should be able to get all the vitamins you need.
Do you need vitamins for epilepsy?
The short answer is no. There is no concrete evidence that there are any vitamins that help epilepsy on their own. Vitamins don’t directly reduce or increase the number of seizures you have.
There are certain things to be aware of when it comes to vitamins and epilepsy.
What vitamin deficiency causes seizures?
There is evidence that vitamin deficiencies could affect people with epilepsy in certain ways.
- Lack of vitamin B6 and epilepsy: There is evidence that a lack of vitamin B6 in newborn babies with a rare type of epilepsy may make their seizures hard to control. Doctors may choose to give these babies additional vitamin B6 through a drip.
- Vitamin D deficiency and epilepsy: One study from 2012 with people who had a vitamin D deficiency found that making sure they got enough of the vitamin led to a reduction in how many seizures they had.
- Vitamin B9 and AEDs: Some people who take certain anti-epileptic drugs may have a deficiency in vitamin B9 (also known as folate) because the medication makes it harder for their bodies to absorb the vitamin.
This doesn’t necessarily affect seizures, but it can have other health effects. If you don’t have enough folate during pregnancy, it can affect your baby’s health. So pregnant women are often encouraged to take vitamin B9 supplements.
Learn more: Folic acid and epilepsy when you’re pregnant
Vitamin deficiencies and the keto diet
The keto diet is a high fat diet which is sometimes used to treat people who have seizures that cannot be controlled with medication. It requires you to eat lots of fatty foods such as cream, butter, oil and some kinds of meat.
On its own, the keto diet may not provide the full range of vitamins your body needs. When you start following the keto diet, a nutritionist will advise you on taking vitamin supplements.
Should you take supplements and vitamins for epilepsy?
If you go into any health food store, you will find a huge variety of dietary supplements containing many different vitamins and minerals. Generally speaking, taking vitamins for epilepsy is not really necessary. So long as you follow a healthy, balanced diet, you’ll get all the vitamins you need.
It’s also important to be aware that large doses of certain nutrients found in supplements may interact with your anti epilepsy drugs and potentially make them less effective.
So, if you are thinking of taking supplements of vitamins for epilepsy, speak with your doctor for their advice first.