In my book, Migraines and Epilepsy, I review the evidence that shows that oxidative stress plays a huge role in seizures. Because of this, antioxidants are a requirement in natural remedies for seizures.
This approach, however, is largely ignored by most of mainstream medicine. Even at its surface, the extremely high level of brain cell activity during a seizure is going to cause lots and lots of oxidative damage.
For those of you not familiar with the term oxidative damage, this is a process that occurs when your body’s ability to protect itself from damaging compounds is exhausted. These damaging compounds can come from outside of your body (environmental chemicals, poor quality diets, heavy metals, etc…) or can come from within your body (compounds naturally occurring when your brain cells produce needed energy).
Even before a seizure, there is a problem with the ability to produce energy in the brain. This is part of the problem setting up the situation for epilepsy in the first place. Once a seizure is triggered, there is a massive amount of activity in the brain. All of this requires even more energy on top of a brain that is already WAY overtaxed.
The result is brain damage at the cellular level called oxidative stress. Even after the seizure, the oxidative stress remains and can only be combated by targeted lifestyle changes and supplementation (which are outlined in my Migraines and Epilepsy book).
Just in case you have never heard this information from your neurologist or epileptologist and so I must be misinformed, I present this particular study.
In this study, researchers looked at the potential to use a simple saliva test in children with epilepsy. Specifically, they compared the oxidative stress markers lactate dehydrogenase (LDH-an enzyme that converts lactate to pyruvate to make energy for our cells), MMP-9 (an enzyme that is believed to help protect the brain in times of stress) as well as 3 other markers of oxidative stress (peroxidase activity, superoxide dismutase activity and carbonyls) in normal children, children with controlled epilepsy and children with intractable epilepsy. Here’s what they found:
- LDH concentrations were 38% lower in epileptic children and a whopping 76% lower in those with intractable epilepsy.
- Peroxidase activity was 6% higher in epileptic children and 10% higher in intractable seizures.
- SOD activity was 37% higher in children with seizures and 29% higher in the uncontrollable seizures.
- Carbonyls level were 59% higher in the epileptic group and 56% higher in intractable seizures.
- MMP 9 concentrations dropped by 12% in epileptic kids and 23% in intractable epilepsy.
So what does this technical jargon mean?
It means that, in epilepsy in general, and even more so as the seizures become harder and harder to control, these children are being bombarded at the cellular levels by damaging compounds. The long-term risk of damage to their sensitive brains is great.
With more and more studies like these, it is becoming increasingly difficult for seizure specialists to ignore the background damage that is occurring in the brains of epilepsy patients. With what we know, it is a requirement to have a discussion about reducing oxidative stress through eliminating toxic lifestyle habits as well as increasing the brain’s ability to protect itself through positive dietary choices and targeted supplementation.
Just merely attempting to control the seizures with medication is not enough. Period.