Seizures (also called "fits" or convulsions) are episodes of disturbed brain function that cause changes in attention or behavior. They are caused by abnormally excited electrical signals in the brain. There are a number of different types of seizures, including
  • Absence (petit mal) seizure
  • Generalized tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure
  • Partial (focal) seizure
Epilepsy is a brain disorder involving repeated, spontaneous seizures of any type.

The severity of symptoms can vary greatly, from simple staring spells to loss of consciousness and violent convulsions.    More . . .

Diet Connection

Chen in 1980 caused seizures in seizure-resistant mice by first exposing them to salicylate and then 6 hours later to a loud noise.

A number of studies by Egger in the 1980s and 1990s have shown that many symptoms including "fits" improved or resolved on an oligoantigenic (few foods) diet similar to the Feingold diet. Cysneiros et al published a review in 2009 suggesting that increased omega 3 (as in fish oil) could help prevent sudden death from epilepsy, as well as improving the condition itself. See article

We recall one member who reported her son's seizures were not controlled by the medication he was on until she also put him on the Stage One Feingold diet. For him, the combination finally controlled his seizures.

The Ketogenic diet has been used for many years to control seizures that would not respond to the usual medications. This is not a do-it-yourself diet like the Feingold diet, but must be implemented with careful medical supervision. You can get more information about it at Charlie Foundation. Meryl Streep also starred in an excellent film on the subject called "First Do No Harm" which is available at the Charlie Foundation website.

In 2006, Lau published a toxicology study on combinations of synthetic colorings plus other additives (MSG and aspartame). She found that not only was each additive alone toxic to neurites (the little spiky axons and dendrites growing out of the neuron or nerve cell) but that when tested together, in amounts likely to be found in an ordinary snack, they were many times more toxic. See photo.

A diet free of synthetic additives is good for everybody, but it's probably even more important for the person dealing with neurological disorders.

Links:      - More studies on seizures and diet
- More information from MedLine Plus
- The Charlie Foundation

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Updated: 2/15/2010