Epilepsy supported naturally
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
There are so many different types of neurological disorders that it was hard to decide which to use as a case study. I could write a book about the different neurological disorders that have been successfully treated by natural interventions including diet and lifestyle adjustment.
I decided to write about Georgia, a young 25-year-old woman, who had epileptic seizures for about three years prior to first seeing me. Her mum was naturally very concerned, as these events were destroying her girl.
Georgia, a once vibrant healthy young lady without a care in the world suddenly started getting seizures after she travelled overseas and got a ‘tummy bug’ of some sort which also gave her high fevers. The fevers only lasted for 24hrs, but there may have been some damage done to the nerve pathways in her brain, as from that point on she started to get seizures.
Georgia was put onto medication but it seemed that her body would keep overriding the meds and she would continue to have the seizures. They were very violent episodes that would often leave her with a broken arm, collar bone or severe bruising from when she was thrown onto the floor by her ‘fits’.
I couldn’t treat her epilepsy, but I could look at balancing her body as best as possible to see if this would help her condition. Because of her previous infection, we started by looking at her intestinal microbial balance and discovered that although she didn’t have any ‘bad bugs’ in her system anymore, her ‘good bugs’ were on the low side and she had high inflammation markers.
So the first thing was to put her onto a good multi-strain probiotic and an anti-inflammatory, low histamine diet. She went gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and additive free, including some extra supplements to help bring down the gut inflammation.
Things settled a little, but not enough.
I had read that low histamine levels can trigger seizures in those susceptible. Normally I advocate a low histamine diet for anti-inflammatory reasons, but in this case I advised Georgia’s mum to include in Georgia’s diet some bone broths, fermented foods and other gut healing recipes, which are high in histamine.
Georgia’s seizures had been occurring from two to six times a day. Within two weeks of introducing the high histamine foods, the seizures reduced to once per week, or less. Having additional histamine appeared to play a positive role, which was a great help in Georgia’s case.
It is hard to say if it was the gut healing or the histamine that helped. But at the end of the day if the seizures reduced, that’s was all that was necessary at that stage.
Usually it only takes a few months for gut healing to occur and then a person doesn’t need to keep up a protocol of bone broths and fermented foods. In Georgia’s case, if she stopped eating high histamine types of foods, then her seizure frequency increased.
By staying with the diet, over time her seizures became almost non-existent.
What’s interesting about this case study, and many more, is that things aren’t always as they seem. Rather than accept previous conclusions about health, if the condition remains, then it can be worthwhile to look deeper and consider other approaches.