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Health Protocols

Epilepsy

Introduction

Seizures, which are characterized by transient behavioral changes, are due to abnormal electrical activity within the brain. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder denoted by the periodic occurrence of seizures; numerous types of epilepsy have been described.

Approximately 3 million people experience epilepsy in the United States and there are 200,000 cases diagnosed each year. Epilepsy most commonly begins in children under the age of 2 or adults over the age of 65. Roughly 3% of the general population will experience epilepsy by age 75.1

Conventional treatment for epilepsy is primarily based on anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), and often, epilepsy patients must endure significant clinical experimentation to find a regimen that works for them. Most importantly, not all patients will respond well to AEDs, either due to a lack of effectiveness or due to side effects.

Research has shed light on aspects of epilepsy that remain underappreciated by the conventional establishment. For example, special dietary regimens, such as the ketogenic diet, have the capacity to provide benefit for epilepsy patients and represent a potential adjuvant to mainstream therapies.

Moreover, magnesium is a well-known anticonvulsive agent, and studies show that magnesium deficiency is associated with epilepsy; intravenous magnesium can effectively control different types of seizures as well.2-4 However, the efficacy of supplemental magnesium has historically been limited in the context of conditions involving the central nervous system due to the inability of most types of magnesium to efficiently cross the blood-brain-barrier. Recently, though, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a groundbreaking new form of supplemental magnesium, called magnesium-L-threonate, that elevates brain magnesium levels more than conventional types of magnesium.5

Other important contributors to epilepsy include oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.6 Recent evidence indicates that supplementation with mitochondrial protectants like ubiquinol (CoQ10) and pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) can target these underlying pathological features of epilepsy and may complement the effects of conventional AEDs.7,8

In this protocol, you will learn how irregular electrical activity in the brain causes seizures, and how several variables influence neuronal excitability. You will also read about several novel and underutilized treatment strategies and scientifically-studied natural compounds with the potential to modulate the overactive neural network of the epileptic brain.

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