Seizures are a result of a sudden change in the electrical activity of your brains. When you have a seizure, your brain cells “fire” up to 4 times their normal rate. This temporarily affects the way you move, behave, feel, or think. Conditions such as brain injury, infections, toxic substance intake, metabolic issues, abnormalities in the blood vessels in your brain, alcohol use, and injuries can provoke seizures. In children, high fever can also cause seizures.
But seizures are not as uncommon as you might think – around 5–10% people experience at least one seizure during their life. For most people, however, this is a one-time episode that does not return. But in one out of ten cases, seizures will keep recurring and the person is diagnosed with epilepsy. Where seizures are not caused by a specific problem such as alcohol use that can be addressed, antiepileptic medications may be prescribed. And where medication is not able to control the condition, surgery may be considered. However, there are also many natural remedies that have been found to help deal with seizures. While these cannot take the place of your epilepsy medication, they can help reduce the occurrence or even intensity of seizures and ensure a better quality of life. Do remember to keep your doctor informed of any alternative remedies you are trying. Here are your options.
1. Follow A Ketogenic Diet
A ketogenic diet is usually recommended for children with seizures who don’t respond to medicine. This diet involves having high-fat foods and very little carbohydrates. Cells in your body typically use blood sugar which is obtained from carbohydrates for energy. When carbohydrates are restricted, the body starts to break down fat stores into molecules known as ketone bodies and uses them to generate energy. Over half of those who go on the ketogenic diet see a 50% reduction in the number of seizures and around 10–15% become free of seizures.
The diet needs to be precisely calculated and monitored by a doctor. It may also involve an initial period of fasting and hospital stay. One drawback of following the ketogenic diet is that since food portions need to be carefully measured, it can be difficult to stick to. Some people may experience tiredness, nausea, constipation, bad breath, and sleep problems when they go on the ketogenic diet. Staying on this diet for a long period can also cause side effects like slowed growth, high cholesterol levels, bone fractures, and kidney stones.123 4This is not, however, widely recommended for adults since a high-fat diet can lead to problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.