What Are Seizures?

SeizuresSeizures can be a co-morbid condition associated with a disability such as autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or mitochondrial dysfunction, although they also occur in children without any of these conditions.

The brain has thousands of neurons, cells that process and transmit information through interaction with each other.

Sometimes neurons can misfire without any chaotic disruptions.

However, sometimes multiple neurons misfire at the same time; depending on the location and severity of the misfiring, muscle twitching, spasms and an electrical discharge can take place.

When this happens, it seems like an electrical storm occurring in the brain alters the person’s sense of consciousness, behavior and senses.

This is a seizure.

Types and Symptoms of Seizures

The Epilepsy Foundation lists new terms for seizure classification with their old-term counterpart that are described in great detail with distinct features and symptoms.

In addition, Richard Frye MD, a neurologist specializing in autism and mitochondrial disorders, lists the common types of seizures and their symptoms:

Generalized Seizures

This type involves whole-body shaking and electrical disturbances of most of the cerebral cortex.

Focal Seizures

This type involves electrical disturbances of one or more portions of the cerebral cortex and can involve only jerking of one part of the body such as an arm, leg or one side of the face or head.

Consciousness is not affected.

Secondary Generalized Seizures

Focal seizure activity in the brain can spread to the whole brain resulting in a generalized seizure.

Absence Seizures

This type involves electrical disturbance of multiple parts of the brain or the whole brain, manifesting as subtle changes in consciousness such as staring episodes.

These episodes are usually short (5-20 seconds) but can occur many times per day, sometimes up to 100 times per day.

Although this type of seizure can be common in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, ADHD, learning disabilities and Sensory Processing Disorder, it is often not caught, as the child appears to be just “spacey” or inattentive.

This type of seizure is typically only discovered after the parent has brought the child into a neurologist for an EEG (electroencephalograph) or a neurofeedback practitioner for a QEEG (quantum electroencephalograph).

Myclonic Seizures

This type of generalized seizure appears as quick short jerks of the arms, legs, body or head. They are usually associated with epileptic syndromes.

Epileptic Spasms

This type includes infantile spasms and involves brief repetitive spasms of the limbs and/or the body.

Atonic-Tonic Seizures

This is a type of generalized seizure in which an individual loses muscle tone and falls rapidly to the ground.

Electrographic Seizures

This type occurs when seizure activity occurs only in the brain without any obvious outward signs. These are not the same as subclinical electrical discharges, described below.

Subclinical Electrical Discharges

This type occurs in isolation (only one discharge), whereas a seizure is a rhythmic run of discharges that is sustained for several seconds.

Landau Kleffner Syndrome

This syndrome occurs when electrographic seizures in the language area of the brain show up as language regression after three years of age without other symptoms of autism. It is very rare.

Continuous Spike Waves During Slow Wave Sleep

This syndrome occurs when electrographic seizures happen during a certain portion of sleep. Children can have autistic symptoms, but this syndrome is very rare.

Seizures in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Some children with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, ADHD, learning disabilities and Sensory Processing Disorder, have febrile seizures in early childhood; others develop childhood seizures and grow out of them.

Epilepsy occurs in 8.6% of children with autism, although estimates range from 4% to 50%.

One in four boys with autism has seizures at the onset of puberty; a small group has late-adult onset of seizures.

Seizures are a leading cause of death in individuals with autism.

In addition, children with ADHD are 2.33 times more likely to have seizures than children without the disorder.

Staring episodes, motor tics, aggressive behaviors, self-injurious behaviors and stereotyped behaviors may or may not be seizures, although, as stated above, it is common for children with neurodevelopmental disorders to have uncaught absence seizures.

In some cases, subtle symptoms of seizures are very similar to abnormal behaviors of neurodevelopmental disorders; for more information about investigating the possibility of seizures, we recommend the book Silently Seizing: Common, Unrecognized, and Frequently Missed Seizures and Their Potentially Damaging Impact on Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders by Caren Haines RN.

As always, consult with a neurologist and ask for a 24-hour EEG to determine if your child is having seizures; a regular EEG may not pick up irregular or subtle activity in the brain.

Neuroscientist Aditi Shankardass has pioneered the use of QEEG technology to ensure the most accurate diagnosis for children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

By using a QEEG brain map, she has discovered that up to 50% of children with neurodevelopmental disorders and language deficits are suffering from seizures that are causing their symptoms.

In actuality, these children did not have a neurodevelopmental disorder; instead, when treated for seizures, their neurodevelopmental disorder symptoms and diagnoses disappeared.

What Your Doctor May Tell You About Seizures

Neurologists specialize in seizures, and your child’s pediatrician may refer your child to a neurologist if your child has had a seizure.

After a seizure, your child’s neurologist will likely review your child’s symptoms and medical history and may order blood tests to determine infections, genetic conditions, blood sugar levels or electrolyte imbalances.

The neurologist may also inquire and test your child’s behavior, motor abilities and mental function to determine if there are any issues with the brain and nervous system.

Your child’s neurologist will likely order an electroencephalograph (EEG) to see if there is reoccurring seizure activity in your child’s brain.

If your child is prone to frequent seizures, the neurologist will likely write a prescription for diastat, a rectal gel that controls seizures within minutes.

Your child’s neurologist may tell you that no matter what type of seizure your child may be experiencing at any age, seizures may be life threatening and usually require anti-convulsive pharmaceutical treatment.

The neurologist may also tell you that it is difficult to know exactly why seizures develop and how to stop them, which is why seizures are often categorized as “idiopathic”.

Your neurologist will likely advise you to take your child to the emergency room if the seizure is prolonged or if the child’s airways are compromised by the seizure and the child is unable to breathe.

Most hospitals will provide discharge paperwork with recommendations such as the ketogenic diet.

Seizure Triggers and Contributing Factors

Even though seizures are considered idiopathic (cause unknown), there are other ways of looking at seizures if you address seizures not only as an isolated neurological crisis, but rather as a symptom of your child’s current whole-body and neurological status.

There are many different triggers and underlying contributing factors, yet not all children with epilepsy respond exactly the same to them.

We recommend that you keep a journal of your child’s diet, sleep and activities to help you and your doctor determine what may be triggering your child’s seizures.

One thing is certain, though: Events or situations that upset the homeostasis of a child’s body are common triggers for seizures.

Here are some possible underlying conditions that may be contributing to your child’s seizures:

Sleep Disturbances

Sleep disturbances, especially a lack of sleep, are common seizure triggers. These disturbances can be caused by:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Anxiety
  • A sympathetic-overdrive nervous system
  • An inability to calm the brain and body down
  • Inflammatory foods
  • Too much sugar during the day, leading to hypoglycemia during sleep (see below)
  • Foods containing chemicals and  such as:
    • Preservatives
    • Artificial colors
    • Artificial flavors
    • Natural flavors
    • Salicylates
    • Phenols
  • Food intolerances and allergies
  • Too much glutamate and not enough GABA (see below under “Excitotoxicity”)
  • A lack of fatty acids and good fats (see below)
  • Stressful environment (see below)

Excitotoxicity

The misfiring and over-firing in the brain known as excitoxicity can trigger seizures and cause brain-cell death.

Russell Blaylock MD brought the issue to the public’s attention with his book Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills.

Excitoxicity is caused by an excess of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and a lack of the calming, inhibitory neurotransmtter GABA.

Excitoxins are found in foods containing glutamate and aspartate such as:

  • Diet soft drinks and foods
  • Natural flavors
  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • Aspartame
  • Maltodextrin
  • Glutamic acid
  • Autolyzed yeasts
  • Yeast extract
  • Hydrolyzed foods
  • Whey
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Carrageenan
  • Barley malt
  • Malt extracts

Stress

Stressful situations upset a child’s body’s homeostasis and can lead to a blood-sugar drop, which can cause nutritional deficiencies due to the strain they put on the body’s adrenal glands.

Common causes of stress are:

  • Emotional stress
  • Physical stress
  • Photosensitivity (see below)
  • Lack of sleep (see above)
  • Severe change in temperature
  • Loud noises such as sirens

Low Blood Sugar

A blood-sugar drop in the brain can cause a seizure, as the drop can trigger a release of glutamate.

Children (and adults) with low blood sugar may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Irritability
  • Crankiness
  • Temper tantrums
  • Aggressive behavior

Make sure your child does not go for prolonged periods of time without eating to prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) from occurring.

Giving your child foods with simple carbohydrates creates a constant vicious cycle of blood-sugar highs and blood-sugar lows.

Simple-carbohydrate foods typically contain:

  • Refined sugar
  • White flour
  • White refined carbohydrates
  • Chemically processed foods

Meals and snacks with a combination of complex carbohydrates, protein and fat will typically stabilize your child’s blood sugar.

Nutritional Deficiences

Mineral Deficiencies

Deficiencies in minerals cause a strain on the body’s ability to handle stress because minerals are necessary for proper function of the adrenal glands, which govern:

  • Circadian rhythm
  • Sleep
  • Inflammation control
  • Blood sugar

Minerals, also known as electrolytes, can trigger seizures when there are low levels of electrolytes or a sudden drop in electrolytes.

Major Electrolytes

The most common (major) electrolytes are essential to kidney functioning, and they are:

  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium

Magnesium levels are often found to be low in children who have seizures; maintaining these levels supports the nervous system and helps prevent seizure activity in the brain.

Please note that children with excitotoxicity issues should not take calcium because it is a catalyst to the misfiring of neurotransmitters in the brain and can cause excitoxicity.

Electrolyte levels can plummet rapidly during exercise and exposure to heat because electrolytes are released from the body in the form of sweat; hydration is key (see below).

Trace Minerals (Minor Electrolytes)

Trace minerals in the diet contribute to

  • Proper hydration
  • Nervous system and brain function
  • Immune-system function
  • Adrenal-gland function

Zinc is a trace mineral in which many children with seizures and other chronic conditions are commonly deficient; a zinc deficiency has been shown to cause seizures.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Supplementation with vitamin B1 has been shown to reduce seizures; thiamine is essential for glucose metabolism and healthy nerve, muscle and heart functioning.

Vitamin B6 (P5P: Pyridoxal-5′-Phosphate)

Vitamin B6 is an important vitamin to maintain critical functioning of the nervous system.

GAD – (glutamate decarboxylase), the enzyme that converts glutamic acid, an excitatory amino acid in the brain, to GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid), an inhibitory calming amino acid – is activated when vitamin B6 binds itself to it.

It’s important for the brain to have increased levels of GABA (see Excitotoxicity, above) to reduce the possibility of seizures; research has shown that the more absorbable form of vitamin B6, P5P, is more effective.

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Folate (not to be confused with the synthetic version of vitamin B9, folic acid) plays a very large role in metabolic processes of:

  • Mitochondrial function
  • Methylation of the gene variant MTHFR
  • Homocysteine metabolism

Any disruption in these processes can increase the development of seizures in a child, and children with a folate deficiency are more likely to have seizures.

Many children with autism have autoantibodies to folate receptors, which causes deficiency.

Supplementation with folinic acid has been shown to reduce seizures in people with a cerebral folate deficiency.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Deficiency of vitamin B12 is common in children, and it has been linked to seizures.

Many of these children may have a B12 deficiency due to a genetic mutation called MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase), which affects the body’s ability to detoxify.

Supplementation with vitamin B12 has been shown to reduce seizure frequency.

Vitamin D3

Research has shown that increasing vitamin D3 levels can reduce seizures by an average of 40%.

Researchers have falso ound that anti-convulsive medication lowers vitamin D levels in individuals with seizures; so, make sure your child is taking vitamin D3.

Vitamin E

Children with epilepsy are much more likely to be deficient in vitamin E, and supplementation with it has been shown to prevent seizures.

Dehydration

Dehydration is always a concern with children because electrolyte levels can plummet rapidly, especially when they are hot and sweaty, because electrolytes are released from the body in the form of sweat.

Proper hydration is critical in epileptic children for this reason.

If the body does not have adequate amounts of certain kinds of fatty acids (see below), then hydration is more difficult.

Cells maintain hydration better when there are cholesterol and fatty acids in the diet because these nutrients protect the integrity and fluidity of the cell membrane.

When the cell membrane is too rigid, cells do not maintain hydration well and must leak important nutrients, including ATP, to maintain a proper balance; this is known as mitochondrial dysfunction.

Cell-membrane rigidity is typically caused by the inclusion of trans fats in the diet, which are commonly found in:

  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Fried foods
  • Commercially prepared baked goods
  • Margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Solidified vegetable oil spreads
  • Vegetable oils, which can turn into trans fats due to exposure to heat

Fatty Acid Imbalances

A lack of healthful fatty acids also contributes to cell-membrane rigidity, which contributes to dehydration.

In addition, the brain consists of 60% fat, and fat protects the brain; when the brain does not have enough fat, it is more prone to having an electrical storm.

A malabsorption of fat can lead to lack of fat in the brain, which is why it’s important to have your pediatrician run a stool test that can check for fat malabsorption.

Important fatty acids for brain health are:

Brain Infections

Infections that cross the blood-brain barrier and cause autoimmune encephalitis (also known as PANS/PANDAS), a swelling of the brain, can cause seizures.

Examples of infections that have crossed the blood-brain barrier to cause chronic encephalitis, and thus potentially seizures, are:

  • Streptococcus
  • Lyme disease
  • Specific viruses, especially herpetic viruses such as Epstein-Barr virus and herpes simplex viruses
  • Pathogenic bacterial infection, such as Staphylococcus aureus
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection
  • Influenza infection

Pharmaceutical Medications

Seizures can be a side effect of many prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Examples of seizure-inducing medications are:

  • Routine pediatric medical interventions. Always ask your doctor for the medical insert required by law and read it thoroughly for a list of adverse risk events associated with the intervention; seizures are common side effects of many of these routine pediatric medical interventions.
  • Anti-psychotic medications such as:
  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, which is commonly found in cough syrup and Benadryl
  • Systemic steroids

Environmental Toxin Exposure

Exposure to environmental toxins such as chemical-warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, and natural toxins can cause seizures.

Toxins that cause seizures typically do so by either blocking GABA, increasing glutamate or causing nutritional deficiencies.

Examples of toxin exposure that may cause seizures are:

Stimulants

Stimulants, including foods and drinks containing caffeine as well as narcotic stimulants, may induce seizures. Examples of these stimulants include:

  • Caffeine
  • Cocoa
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Energy drinks
  • Caffeinated soft drinks
  • Caffeinated teas
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Nicotine

Hormonal Changes

Puberty is a common time for the onset or increase of seizures because of the changing levels of hormones in a child’s body.

Research has found that progesterone is anti-convulsant, while estrogens are pro-convulsant because they “potentiate glutamate responses“.

Testosterone can trigger seizures: “Testosterone increases the electroconvulsive threshold in males at low doses, and in both sexes at higher doses“.

Both boys and girls can have elevated testosterone, especially if they have Childhood Precocious Puberty (CPP).

The heavy metal mercury raises testosterone levels, while dramatically lowering glutathione.

Head Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injuries, such as concussions, are well known to trigger seizures because of changes in glutamate caused by the injury.

Photosensitivity

Photosensitivity is another well known trigger to seizures; photosensitivity can be triggered by:

  • Flashing lights
  • Strobe lights
  • Fluorescent lights
  • Sunlight
  • Video screens
  • Television
  • Video games
  • Computer displays
  • Smartphones
  • Tablet devices

Gluten

While epilepsy is 1.8 times more common in people with celiac disease, medical researchers have discovered that people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, even when the sensitivity may not be apparent, are more susceptible to seizures as well.

In addition, researchers discovered that a gluten-free diet is effective in the management of epilepsy in 53% of cases.

Electromagnetic Fields

Increasing exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) has created environmental “electromagnetic smog” that escapes no one and that can disrupt the body’s sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Researchers have shown that exposure to EMFs can trigger seizures; examples of EMF-emitting devices are:

  • WiFi routers
  • Cellphones
  • Wireless/cordless phones
  • Baby monitors

Other Triggers

  • Reading
  • Skipped medication
  • Hyperventilation
  • Brain tumors
  • Inherited conditions
  • Prolonged illness
  • Febrile illness
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders, which can cause nutritional deficiencies
  • Anemia

Seizures Checklist to Start

As can be seen from the list of triggers and contributing factors above, there are numerous deficiencies, dietary changes, environmental exposure changes and lifestyle changes that can be made to improve your child’s susceptibility to seizures.

In addition, there are many kinds of interventions and therapies that can help to reduce seizure activity:

Manage Seizures:

A warning system such as a seizure-response dog can help tremendously in notifying parents of an impending seizure in their child.

This form of service dog is trained to summon help when a seizure occurs or can sense a seizure before it occurs.

This is an ideal solution for parents with non-verbal children.

Use Hot and Cold Compresses:

Hot and cold compresses, alternately placed at the back of the head, are very effective in reducing seizures.

Apply a warm towel first and then a cold one.

Doing this for two to four minutes a few times a day can increase blood circulation to the brain.

Use Essential Oils:

Inhalation through the olfactory system (nose) of essential oils can be a quick way to ward off or stop a seizure because inhalation is the quickest way to reach the brain.

Essential oil molecules hit the olfactory mucous membrane with its thousands of receptors, passing through the olfactory nerve, and into the limbic system in the brain.

The limbic system is triggered by nerve impulses which can be either stimulated or relaxed.

If you know your child has a seizure coming on, try using an equal combination of Melissa, chamomile, frankincense and sandalwood in rose water sprayed numerous times close to your child’s nose, encouraging your child to breath in as much as they can.

This may stop the seizure from continuing or even coming on.

Manage Blood Sugar:

To break the cycle of high-then-low blood sugar and to keep your child’s blood sugar steady, feed your child a combination of:

  • Protein, which stabilizes blood sugar
  • Complex carbohydrates, which break down into glucose much more slowly than simple carbohydrates, slowing down the hypoglycemic effect
  • Fat, which controls the release of glucose into the blood stream

Be especially sure to give your child this combination in the morning for breakfast in order to head off a vicious hypoglycemic cycle for the rest of the day.

Manage Sleep:

Ensuring that your child gets a good night’s sleep is an essential part of seizure management, as it helps to lower stress on the body.

Things that can help achieve good-quality sleep are:

  • An age-appropriate bedtime (earlier is better)
  • No screentime for at least two hours before bedtime
  • Magnesium
  • GABA
  • CBD oil
  • Homeopathic sleep remedies
  • Calming herbs
  • Lavender essential oil on the body and in a diffuser

Please consult your child’s physician for advice in using any remedies mentioned.

Supplement with CBD Oil:

Both medical marijuana (cannabis) and one of its non-psychoactive constituents, CBD (cannibidiol), have been shown to reduce seizures because they are nerve-protectant and anti-inflammatory.

Although medical marijuana is illegal on a federal basis, many states have approved its use for medicinal purposes; at this point, the U.S. federal government has chosen not to prosecute these states for doing so.

Because CBD is a non-psychoactive component of medical marijuana, it can be found legally in most states.

CBD oil got its claim to fame with a young girl named Charlotte Figi who struggled daily with seizures but dramatically changed her life after consuming the Charlotte’s Web strain of cannabis oil which was named after her by the Stanley Brothers in Colorado.

Today, thousands of children are seizure-free and no longer medication-dependent, thanks to CNN’s story on Charlotte by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

See a Neurofeedback Practitioner:

Neurofeedback is an effective modality to normalize and balance the brain by changing the over and under activity of the five brain waves: gamma, delta, alpha, beta and theta.

There are numerous peer-reviewed medical research studies, such as this meta-analysis of EEG biofeedback in treating epilepsy, that show that the use of neurofeedback over time has resulted in a significant reduction in seizure activity.

Find a practitioner that can perform a QEEG (quantitative electroencephalograph) brain map first so you can understand how your child’s brain works.

Implement a Ketogenic Diet:

The ketogenic diet, a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet that increases ketones in the body, has been used for decades to lessen seizures.

In a typical diet, the brain runs on glucose, while in a ketogenic diet, the brain runs on ketones; ketones are found to prevent irritation of the central nervous system, the spinal cord and the brain.

The Modified Atkin’s Diet is a less-restrictive version of the ketogenic diet that has also been shown to lower seizure susceptibility.

The Modified Atkin’s Diet discourages too much protein, encouraging fat in its place.

Both diets do an excellent job of stabilizing blood sugar, but patients should be tested first for a fatty acid disorder or a carnitine deficiency beforehand.

The autonomic nervous system plays an important part in fat absorption because digestive juices, stomach acid and bile are all secreted normally when the body is parasympathetic dominant.

Children with seizure disorders, especially those with neurodevelopmental disorders, chronic anxiety and/or PANS/PANDAS, may be chronically sympathetic dominant (“fight or flight”) mode, which impedes proper gastrointestinal functions.

Calming your child’s nervous system not only helps the gastrointestinal system but also the brain.

Bowel cleansing can restore healthy bowel function which is integral to the whole-body approach and can increase fat absorption.

More than one bowel movement a day is normal and encouraged; make sure your child is not constipated  and encourage more fruits, vegetables and fiber.

Role of Hydrochloric Acid

The stomach produces hydrochloric acid to aid in the digestion of food and fats.

The body needs adequate zinc to produce enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Supplementing with zinc and betaine hydrochloric acid with pepsin can help to increase fat absorption.

Effects on the Liver

Patients should be monitored by a doctor for safety, as the high level of fats in the long term can be hard on the liver, leading to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and systemic glucose intolerance.

Excess fat in the diet can contribute to liver congestion, which prevents the liver from synthesizing good bile, which is necessary for the fat emulsion and digestion.

We recommend that you work with a healthcare practitioner to see if any of the following supplements and foods may be needed to help your child’s liver working well:

  • NAC (N-acetylcysteine)
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Milk thistle
  • Dandelion
  • SAMe
  • Chlorella
  • Glutathione
  • Carrot juice
  • Beet juice
  • Cucumber juice

Effects on the Pancreas

These high-fat diets can strain the pancreas because of the increased need for lipase, a pancreatic enzyme that digests fats and increases the body’s ability to absorb fats.

Supplementation with a digestive enzyme containing lipase to help break down fats may be necessary; check with your practitioner to determine which brand is best for your child.

Effects on the Gallbladder

A high-fat diet can also strain the gallbladder, which is where the body stores bile.

If your child has any of the following symptoms, the child’s gallbladder may need some help digesting fats:

  • Nausea
  • Pale stools
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating after meals

A practitioner that specializes in integrative digestion can help you determine if your child needs to supplements that can support gallbladder function, such as:

  • Ox bile: A source of bile salts that is like human bile and helps break down fats in the digestive tract. Improving the quality of bile helps with the absorption of fats.
  • Choline
  • Taurine: Used in the body to help convert bile salts to a more water-soluble form of bile which is less toxic.
  • Beet root/betaine: Thins the bile and helps prevent the formation of gallstones.
  • Chanca piedra/royal breakstone: Helps break up gallstones.
  • Collinsonia root/richweed: Helps to eliminate gallstones and prevent constipation.

Effects on Adrenal Glands

Excess fat and a lack of carbohydrates in the diet can cause excess mineral loss and/or lower mineral consumption, putting stress on the adrenal glands.

Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are produced by the adrenal glands, and an imbalance of minerals can lead to adrenal fatigue.

Be sure to work with a practitioner that can guide your child through this pitfall.

Consider Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS):

TMS is a non-invasive treatment that changes brain activity in the cortex.

Studies such as this one have shown a significant reduction in seizures from the use of TMS.

Further studies need to be done, but TMS does show to be a promising treatment for autism and seizures.

Make Dietary Changes:

Eating a clean diet made from whole foods is an essential way to avoid some potential seizure triggers; we recommend that you:

  • Eat whole foods
  • Buy organic foods
  • Remove all GMO foods
  • Remove all fast and processed foods
  • Remove all foods with:
    • Artificial colors
    • Artificial ingredients
    • Preservatives
    • Phenols
    • Salicylates
  • Remove potentially inflammatory foods such as
    • Casein
    • Gluten
    • Soy
    • Corn
    • Eggs
  • Strictly limit:
    • Sugars
    • Refined salt
    • Refined carbohydrates
  • Join the Feingold Association to learn more.

Include plenty of good quality fats, such as:

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Wild salmon
  • Organic chicken
  • Organic turkey
  • Grass-fed ghee
  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Nut butters such as almond butter (not peanut butter, which is too moldy and yeasty)
  • Essential fatty acids from:
    • Cod liver oil
    • Hemp seeds
    • Flax seeds
    • Evening primrose oil
    • Borage oil
    • Walnut oil

Remove vegetable oils such as:

  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Safflower
  • Sunflower

Include plenty of high-quality proteins with every meal, such as:

  • Pasture-raised eggs and chicken
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Wild-caught fish
  • Legumes
  • Nuts

Clean Up Your Environment:

Environmental exposures are a significant factor that can trigger seizures; exposure to the following are toxic to the brain and central nervous system:

  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides
    • Organochlorine pesticides
    • Round-up, a pesticide containing glyphosate, can cause elevated levels of Clostridium difficile, a microbe that has been linked to autism and that can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, leading to inflammation. Glyphosate negatively affects the gut microbiome and mitochondria. Eating organic and non-GMO foods can reduce exposure to pesticides.
  • Phthalates
  • Flame retardants: Research has shown that exposure to PBDE, a type of flame retardant, is associated with:
    • Neurodevelopmental delays
    • Inability to stay focused
    • Poor fine motor coordination
    • Lower cognitive abilities in school-aged children
  • Chemical preservatives
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • PCBs

Environmental Exposure Checklist

  • Identify and remove possible toxic exposures in the home from purchased products, such as detergents, soaps, lotions, and other cleaning and personal care products
  • Make sure your household products such as soaps, cleaning fluids and all self-care products are environmentally safe and clean
  • Buy organic and green building materials, carpeting, baby items, mattresses and upholstery to reduce overall PBDE exposure
  • Remove animals (both live and stuffed!)
  • Remove carpets
  • Use non-toxic cleaners
  • Use non-toxic building materials
  • Green your home
  • Reduce EMF exposure by:
    • Keeping cellphones on airplane mode
    • Using an airtube headset for making phone calls on a cellphone
    • Limiting all interactive screen devices and the TV
    • Turning off WiFi in your home, especially at night
    • Hardwiring your home’s internet access instead of using a WiFi router
    • Getting rid of wireless/cordless phones in your home
    • Eliminating baby monitors and security monitors
    • Making sure your cell phone has an electromagnetic neutralizer attached to it
    • Requesting that your electrical provider change your Smart Meter to the old meter

Ask Your Pediatrician to Run Some Laboratory Tests:

  • Fatty Acid Metabolism Test from Patricia Kane of Kennedy Krieger at John Hopkins
  • Heavy metals with a heavy-metal hair test
  • Possible food sensitivities and allergies
    • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) IgG, IgA, IgE and IgM
  • Nutritional deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. The NutrEval by Genova Diagnostics Labs covers the following areas:
    • Malabsorption
    • Dysbiosis
    • Cellular energy
    • Mitochondrial metabolism
    • Neurotransmitter metabolism
    • Vitamin deficiencies
    • Toxin exposure
    • Detoxification needs
  • Bacterial and yeast overgrowth
  • Gluten and casein sensitivities
  • Organic acids: The organic acid test by Great Plains Laboratory for:
    • Yeast overgrowth (Candida)
    • Oxalates
    • Other microbial infections
  • Comprehensive Stool Analysis by Genova Diagnostic Labs to identify:
    • Malabsorption
    • Maldigestion
    • Altered gastrointestinal function
    • Bacterial/fungal overgrowth
    • Chronic dysbiosis
  • Neurotransmitters: Neurorelief (Neurosciences Laboratory) is a specialty lab that tests neurotransmitters to determine chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Genetic mutations such as MTHFR, CBS and SUOX, which may interfere with your child’s ability to detoxify.
    • The MTHFR defect in the methylation process means that the body is unable to excrete toxins and pathogens very efficiently due to reduced glutathione, which is the master antioxidant in the body. If your child has the MTHFR defect, it is best to provide nutrient support for the methylation process through methylated B vitamins such as methylB12, folate and P5P. An effective way to support your child’s methylation process is through the skin, where there is maximum absorption of nutrients.

Add Fermented Foods and Probiotics Daily:

Fat absorption starts in the microbiome, and it is critical to have a healthy microbiome, which can be created by:

  • Eliminating gut pathogens
  • Eating prebiotic foods with inulin to populate the small intestine with good bacteria that can overtake bad bacteria that produce proprionic acid. Examples of inulin-containing foods are:
    • Garlic
    • Onion
    • Chicory root
  • Eating naturally fermented foods such as:
    • Kefir yogurts
    • Fermented vegetables
    • Umeboshi plums (very alkalizing)
    • Miso soup, if soy is tolerated
  • Taking probiotics such as those from:
    • VSL#3
    • Gut Pro
    • Ohirra’s Live Cultured Probiotics
    • Garden of Life
    • Culturelle
    • Klaire Labs

In addition, enzymatic activity dramatically increases with the fermentation process helping to absorb fats that are necessary for proper brain function.

Use Nutritional Supplements with Your Practitioner’s Guidance:

Check with your practitioner to see if any of these supplements can help lower your child’s seizure activity:

  • CBD oil
  • Cod liver oil
  • Other omega-3 fatty acids
  • Coconut oil
  • GABA, especially PharmaGABA
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B6 (P5P)
  • Vitamin B9 (folate or folinic acid)
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium: If your child is not absorbing magnesium well, consider Re-Mag, which is a very absorbable type of magnesium.
  • Zinc: Zinc picolinate is a well absorbed form of zinc.
  • Phosphyotidyl serine complex
  • Other minerals
  • DMG
  • NAC (N-acetylcysteine)
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Milk thistle
  • Dandelion
  • SAMe
  • Chlorella
  • Glutathione
  • Ox bile
  • Choline
  • Taurine
  • Beet root/betaine
  • Chanca piedra/royal breakstone
  • Collinsonia root/richweed
  • Carnosine
  • L-carnitine/acetyl-L-carnitine
  • CoQ10
  • Glutathione
  • Rescue Remedy
  • 5 Hydroxytryptophan (5HTP)
  • MSM transdermal cream
  • Epsom salts bath: These are an effective way to calm down your child and improve magnesium absorption.
  • Ash gourd
  • Bacopa leaf
  • Black cohosh
  • Blue vervain
  • Castor oil packs
  • Chamomile tea
  • False pepper
  • Frankincense
  • Indian gooseberry
  • Licorice
  • Lobelia
  • Motherwort
  • Skullcap
  • Turmeric
  • Valerian root
  • Violet tree

Please note that children with excitotoxicity issues should not take calcium because it is a catalyst to the misfiring of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Substitute chamomile or nettles for calcium supplements.

If your child has high testosterone, apple pectin is a safe way to lower down testosterone levels naturally.If your child has high testosterone, apple pectin is a safe way to lower down testosterone levels naturally.

Consider the Use of Epi-Still

Epi-Still is a liquid proprietary blend of herbs by Native Remedies that can calm down the brain and relax an overactive nervous system.

Parents have reported that Epi-Still has reduced seizure activity in their child.

Epi-Still promotes healthy neurons, neural connections and electrical activity in the brain.

Consider the Use of HILTON

HILTON is an anti-seizure herbal medication formulated by Greener Herbal World, with an herbal mode of treatment protocol by Dr. Ajay Mohan Bose, to be followed over a seven-month period.

Many individuals have reported to be seizure free with the use of HILTON.

Help Your Child Detoxify:

Some forms of detoxing heavy metals, parasites, yeast, fungus, mold and any kind of pathogen may be problematic if your child is having seizures.

Detoxing may trigger seizures by increasing neurological activity and over-exciting the brain.

Instead, choose gentle cleansing such as vegetable juices and non-invasive therapies such as the ionic footbath, mud packs, infrared saunas and Epsom salt baths, which are all less stimulating to the brain.

Infared saunas can detox heavy metals through the skin by sweating. However, this form of detoxification may not be suitable for young children who lack the ability to sweat.

Make sure your child is well-hydrated taking minerals, eating lots of fats and has good fat absorption and intaking enough protein to keep the glucose stable to ensure safe detoxing.

Mud packs are an effective, gentle and safe way to detox and remove the toxic load by applying mud packs to the abdomen up to twice a day.

Consider Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT):

HBOT is 100% oxygen under pressure that can increase blood flow to the brain and the amount of oxygen flow to the brain.

Increased oxygen to the brain may aid in reducing seizures.

Seizure patients may have to lower the atmospheric pressure (ATA) to 1.3 instead of 1.5.

Teach Your Child Stress-Reduction Techniques:

Because stress can be a seizure trigger, it’s important for your child to learn how to keep him- or herself as calm and centered as possible.

Yoga, tai chi and qi gong are great ways for your child to learn relaxation and stress reduction techniques.

Specifically, the positive effects of yoga have been reported on EEGs and seen with the autonomic nervous system.

Other techniques that a child can do to reduce stress are:

Consider the Use of Castor Oil Packs:

Edgar Cayce, an American clairvoyant also known as The Sleeping Prophet, recommended focusing on what he called the most frequent cause of seizures: adhesions in the lacteal ducts of the abdomen.

His protocol is the application of castor oil packs to break up the adhesions in the lacteal duct area which are located along the right side of the abdomen.

He recommended saturating a piece of flannel cloth with one cup of hot castor oil and placing it on the area of the abdomen because the combination of the heat and oil may break up these adhesions associated with seizures.

He also recommended that each session last from between ½ hour to an hour and that these sessions be done three times per week.

See a Chiropractor:

Chiropractic care on a regular consistent basis may help the body heal itself. Some chiropractors use specific manipulation of the spine to help control seizures

See a Homeopath or Naturopath:

These practitioners can diagnose and treat gastrointestinal disorders naturally so that the child’s immune, sensory, neurological and nervous systems develop without being compromised.

See a Well-Trained Acupuncturist:

Acupuncture done on the ears (auricular acupuncture) has been medically documented to reduce seizures significantly by activating the parasympathetic dominance of the nervous system through vagus nerve stimulation.

Acupuncture in general can be extremely calming.

Still Looking for Answers?

Visit the Epidemic Answers Provider Directory to find a practitioner near you.

Related Pages

Allergies and Sensitivities 101

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Child Not Sleeping Well – What to Do?

Cortisol, Adrenal Dysregulation and ACTH

Emotional, Behavioral and Mood Symptoms

Essential Oils

Fat and Brain Development

Mitochondrial Dysfunction

PANS/PANDAS

Sleep Issues

Sleep Solutions

Sleep Strategies for Autism, ADHD, SPD and Other Developmental Delays

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation with Robert Silvetz MD (webinar replay)

Vagus Nerve Healing (webinar replay)

Why Diet Matters

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Books

Blaylock, Russell, MD. Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. Health Press, 1996.

Haines, Caren, RN. Silently Seizing: Common, Unrecognized, and Frequently Missed Seizures and Their Potentially Damaging Impact on Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders. AAPC Publishing, 2012.

Herbert, Martha, MD PhD. The Autism Revolution: Whole Body Strategies for Making Life All That It Can Be. Ballantine Books, 2013.

Lambert, Beth, et al. Brain Under Attack: A Resource for Parents and Caregivers of Children with PANS, PANDAS and Autoimmune Encephalitis. Answers Publications, 2018.

Websites

Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheets: Seizures, Epilepsy and Autism

Epilepsy Foundation

Harvard School of Public Health: Nutrition Source: Shining the Spotlight on Trans Fats.

Theraspecs.com: Photosensitive Epilepsy: How Light Can Trigger Seizures

Weston A. Price Foundation: Trans Fats in the Food Supply

Videos

Aditi Shankardass: A Second Opinion on Developmental Disorders (TED India 2009)

Richard Frye MD PhD, the Director of Autism Research at Arkansas Children’s Hospital discusses seizures and mitochondrial disorders in autism