What are vitamins?
According to Harvard (2022) and other sources, vitamins are organic molecules that can be categorized as either fat-soluble or water-soluble. According to Medline Plus (2021), we cannot have good cell function, growth, or development without vitamins. Vitamins are essential for these things. There are thirteen different types of vitamins that are very necessary for the human body. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Vitamin B7 (Biotin), and Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid) are the several vitamins that make up this group. Vitamin K is also included.
Benefits of vitamins
Our bodies can reap several benefits from taking in vitamin supplements. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, and lean cuts of meat, as well as milk, are all good examples of foods that include vitamins that are necessary for the body. The majority of people do not need to take vitamin supplements because they are able to receive all of the vitamins and minerals they require through the food they eat and the way they eat it. Supplements are helpful for a lot of people who are battling chronic illnesses like epilepsy. Because not all vitamins are helpful for people who have epilepsy, you and your doctor should discuss any changes to your therapy, including the addition of vitamins to your care, before making any adjustments to your regimen.
What vitamins benefit people with epilepsy?
Vitamins are one type of supplement that some people with epilepsy find helpful in controlling the frequency and severity of their seizures. According to the article “Natural approaches to epilepsy,” certain nutrients, such as vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin E, manganese, taurine, dimethylglycine, and omega-3 fatty acids, have the potential to assist in the reduction of the frequency of seizures.
Vitamin B6 is a type of vitamin that is water-soluble and may be found in a wide variety of foods and dietary supplements. According to Harvard’s (2022) research, vitamin B6 helps to maintain both healthy brain function and immune system function. According to research conducted at Harvard, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men ages 14-50 is 1.3 mg per day, while the RDA for men aged 51 and over is 1.7 mg. The recommended dosage for women ages 14 to 18 is 1.2 mg, for ages 19 to 50 it is 1.3 mg, and for ages 51 and higher it is 1.5 mg.
Magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods and is the catalyst for many of the chemical reactions that occur in our bodies. Some examples include the formation of proteins and strong bones, as well as the regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure, as well as the function of muscles and nerves (Harvard, 2022). In addition, magnesium functions as an electrical conductor, which causes muscles to contract and controls the rate at which the heart beats (Harvard, 2022). According to research conducted at Harvard, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men 19-51+ years of age is 400-420 milligrams per day, while the RDA for women is 310-320 milligrams per day.
Vitamin E is a type of vitamin that can be stored in fat. As an antioxidant, its function is to rid the body of unstable electrons, also known as free radicals, which are potentially harmful to the body’s cells (Harvard, 2022). According to Harvard (2022) research, vitamin E not only improves immune function but also prevents blood clots from developing in the arteries of the heart. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men and women over the age of 14 is 15 milligrams (mg) per day, which is equivalent to 22 international units (IU). This recommendation comes from Harvard.
Our bodies require trace amounts of the mineral manganese in order to function properly. Manganese is not, on the other hand, produced by the human body. As a result of this, foods such as whole grains, oysters, mussels, almonds, soybeans, rice, and green vegetables are vital to our bodies and should be included in our diet (NIH, 2021). In addition to helping enzymes in the skeletal development process, manganese is responsible for the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. In addition to its role in ensuring that the immunological and reproductive systems function normally, manganese collaborates with vitamin K to promote wound healing and blood coagulation (Harvard, 2022). The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for individuals 19 and older is 2.3 milligrams per day for men and 1.8 milligrams per day for women, as stated by Harvard.
Taurine has an influence on the neurological system that is central to the body. Taurine protects the nervous system by antagonizing GABAA, glycine, and NMDA receptors, as stated in the article Effects and Mechanisms of Taurine as a Therapeutic Agent (El Idrissi et. al, 2003). Taurine has been proven to reduce the amount of seizure activity in studies (L’Amoreaux, Marsillo, and El Idrissi, 2010). This effect occurs when taurine binds with the GABAA receptor. According to El Idrissi and L’Amoreaux (2008), taurine serves to prevent seizure activity by increasing levels of glutamic acid decarboxylase in the body. Despite the fact that studies have demonstrated that taurine functions as an inhibitory neuromodulator, only one-third of patients responded favorably to taurine therapy (Schaffer and Kim, 2018). According to Van De Walle and Mawer (2022), the most usual dosage range for taurine is between 500 and 3000 milligrams per day.
According to MSKCC (2022), dimethylglycine is an amino acid derivative that was derived from glycine. Beans, cereal grains, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, and liver are all potential food sources for dimethylglycine, according to the MSKCC (2022). It is created in the cells as a byproduct of the metabolism of choline and is regarded as an antioxidant as well as an enhancer of oxygenation and the level at which cells function (MSKCC, 2022). In clinical trials, patients receiving dimethylglycine had varying degrees of success, which has led to conflicting opinions regarding the effectiveness of this treatment for epilepsy (MSKCC, 2022).
What vitamins should people with epilepsy avoid?
Certain supplements have been linked to an increase in seizure activity. Seizures observed in combination with the use of dietary supplements, ephedra, caffeine, St. John’s wort, and ginkgo biloba, were linked to seizure activity, according to the study.
Athletes and obese people use ephedra, a natural element in ma huang, to lose weight, gain energy, and stay alert. It became one of the most deadly supplements, causing heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and unexpected fatalities (Harvard Health, 2017). Ephedra accounts for 1% of herbal supplement sales in the US, yet 62% of poison control reports are attributable to it (Harvard Health, 2017). In 2004, the FDA prohibited ephedra-containing products after multiple clinical investigations demonstrated that it did not work as stated. The Olympics, NFL, and US Military banned ephedra before the FDA did.
Epilepsy sufferers may be triggered by caffeine. According to Caffeine and Seizures: A systematic review and quantitative analysis, caffeine reduced the efficacy of numerous medications, especially topiramate. Although caffeine seldom causes seizures in epileptics, it should be considered in their management.