Vitamin D Deficiency Among Individuals with Epilepsy

Notepad with Vitamin D sunshine and notesWith continuous exploration and a handful of studies and research running at any one time, we often come across new findings within the Epilepsy community.

And this month there have been more conclusions between the correlation of vitamin D and epilepsy; particularly amongst children.

Individuals with epilepsy more often than not turn to medications in an attempt to reduce their seizures. Whilst 70% of those who do so experience positive changes with the right treatment, others may face side effects such as vitamin deficiency. Read here for more information:

Epilepsy and Anti-Epilepsy Drugs (AEDs)

More than 50 million people worldwide are living with Epilepsy. Of that number, 600,000 people in the UK are affected and at least 60,000 of these individuals are children under the age of 16. That?s 1 in every 100 children.

Taking place when there is a sudden burst of intense electrical activity, Epilepsy, which is a neurological condition, is generally marked by seizures and other symptoms such as sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, and convulsions.

Whilst the majority of individuals turn to Anti-Epilepsy Drugs (AEDs), 30% of people with epilepsy cannot control their seizures with medications alone. There are also, as with many prescribed drugs, a number of potential side effects. And one of the most common is a Vitamin D deficiency, which is particularly prevalent among children.

The Latest Findings

There have been countless studies over recent years concerning the effects of medication affecting Vitamin D in those with Epilepsy. Conducted by South Korea?s Dankook University Hospital, researchers looked at Vitamin D status? in a group of 198 children who were, at the time, taking antiepileptic drugs.

Of the 198 children studied 124, or 62.6%, were shown to have a Vitamin D deficiency. This was particularly prevalent in those aged over 12 years. According to the report, fifty-seven of those who were not shown to have a deficiency developed one in the follow-up period (which was just over 5 years).

The study found that the largest declines were linked to a period of medication, decreased mobility, and the presence of underlying brain abnormalities.

Why Is Vitamin D So Important?

Previously known as the ?bone vitamin? data now suggests that Vitamin D is considerably more vital to the natural functioning of our bodies. Creating most of our Vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin, research demonstrates that nearly every tissue and cell type in the body has receptors for Vitamin D.

Therefore we need Vitamin D for adequate, daily functioning in order to regulate genes that control cell growth and development, immune function, and metabolic control. Low Vitamin D levels are associated with the increased risks of cardiovascular and neurological disease, autoimmune disorders, and is even more likely to progress to insulin resistance. You may also find that a deficiency can cause fatigue, aches and pains, and frequent infections.

So what can you do to promote Vitamin D production within the body? Sunlight spurs the body to make Vitamin D but we certainly don?t suggest spending your days mindlessly sunbathing. Up to half an hour of sunlight a day can make large differences.

You should also make simply changes to your diet and try to consume regular amounts of the following:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and tuna
  • Eggs
  • All infant formula milk
  • Some dairy and soya products
  • Breakfast cereals

Alternatively, you can even get your hands on Vitamin D supplements such as oral spays. Take the Better You DLux Spray which boasts a natural peppermint flavour and contains enough for 3 months when sprayed once a day under the tongue. As with adapting an appropriate diet, the oral spray claims to aid the strength of bones and teeth, strengthen the immune system, and help prevent flu.

More Help and Information

Further developments regarding anti-epileptic medication are hugely beneficial, allowing individuals to make the appropriate lifestyle changes. You can find further information regarding many areas of research in our blog.

Whether parent, carer, or individual with Epilepsy you may also be in need of Assistive Technology to ensure the peace of mind for yourself or the individual you care for. Why not take a look at our Epi-iT range of alarms and monitors which have been designed to detect signs of oncoming seizures. For more information and advice give our team a call on 0845 217 9552 or 01530 231215