Besides vaccines, increasing evidence points to diet and allergies as a cause of epilepsy. (See Alternatives, p 9, for the evidence linking this condition with allergies, particularly to gluten-containing foods.) If you are epileptic and wish to control your fits with a minimum of drug use, you may wish to review your nutritional status. Never embark upon this programme or come off drugs without the supervision of a highly experienced practitioner.
Work with an experienced allergist to discover if you are allergic to anything, and suspect wheat and other gluten-containing foods first. If so, avoid those foods.Eat normal, well-balanced meals at regular intervals. Children especially should not be given large, infrequent meals as these may make them more vulnerable to seizures (Davidson and Passmore: Human Nutrition and Dietetics; 1986: 471).
A ketogenic diet a highly specialist, low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet has been effective in treating some types of childhood seizures which don't respond to medication, according to nutritional specialist Melvyn Werbach. Do not attempt this except under close medical supervision.
Don't drink more than one standard unit of drink in 24 hours a single whisky, glass of wine, or half pint of beer.
Avoid caffeine, which is a stimulant (methylxanthine) and preconvulsant (Psychophar [Berlin] 1981; 723: 269-73).
Have your nutritional status analyzed. A deficiency of copper may cause seizures (Arch Dis Child 1982; 579: 716-18).
Supplements of vitamin B6 may, in some cases, reduce the frequency of attacks (Ann NY Acad Sc 1969; 166: 7-15, Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53: 1266-74, and Int Clin Nutr Rev 1988; 83). Niacin also acts as a weak anti-convulsant, and may enable you to lower your drug dosage (Epilepsia, 1983; 24: 238-44). Vitamin E also has also been shown in one study to reduce seizures (Epilepsia, 1989; 30 (1): 84-9).
Be alert for vitamin deficiencies caused by epileptic drugs. Anti-convulsants can lower your levels of vitamin E, manganese and zinc, copper, B6 and folic.
Do not supplement with omega-6 fatty acids or large doses of folic acid, warns Dr Werbach, since both have been known to make epilepsy worse.
Supplement with Dimethylglycine (DMG), an amino acid. There is some evidence that it could reduce the frequency of seizures if anti-convulsants don't work for you.
Relaxation techniques could be helpful a warm bath, controlled and gentle, deep breathing, or relaxing each part of the body in turn.
Work with your doctor to see if you can come off your drugs. Studies show that epileptics who stay off drugs for several years often remain seizure free.