Alternative Medicine Review 2007 (Mar); 12 (1): 9–24 ~ FULL TEXT
Alan R. Gaby, MD
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.