Treatment resistant epileptic children – Can they be helped ?

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that can be either idiopatic ( occur without a clearly identified cause) or can be a secondary effect of an injury to the brain. In epilepsy disturbed electrical signals cause seizures which depending on site and magnitude can be short or longer with loss of consciousness.

Epilepsy in children is usually much more complicated and has more consequences then adult epilepsy. Epileptic children has increased risk of developing anxiety and depression, social problems, learning problems and cognitive disturbance.

Up to 2% of children who gets epilepsy may develop periods of intractable epilepsy where they do not respond to medicine. The risks of treatment resistant epilepsy in children is severe and can lead to intellectual disability, psychiatric comorbidity, and sudden unexepected death.

For that reason – finding alternatives to medication has been extremely important for those children, and new studies seam to bring hope that they can be helped.

In my last article I went through 3 stories of people who unexpectedly recovered comas that they were not supposed to recover from because they were given high doses of Omega 3 to repair their brain tissue, and more importantly the nerve paths that process the signals in the brain.

So could Omega 3 supplementation also help drug resistant epileptic children ?

The answer appears to be yes. Animal studies has indicated that long chain Omega 3 fatty acids (from fish) have anti convulsant activity. A randomised placebo controlled study in US adults, showed that 1 gram of Omega 3 daily over 10 weeks reduced seizure frequency by 34% in people who stayed on their anti epileptic medicine. Simultaneously an egyptian study has shown negative correlation between DHA levels in the blood and the duration and severity of seizures in egyptian children with treatment resistant epilepsy.

But then another study was conducted also in egypt which is probably the largest and most comprehensive study to date on treatment resistant epilepsy and Omega 3. The study was made by Reda and colleagues at Alexandria University.

The children were randomly assigned to two groups – a fish oil group given 3 ml. fish oil with 18% EPA and 12% DHA daily over 3 months.

The first month after starting the fish oil intake, a 50% reduction in the number of seizures was noted. 60% of the children experienced freedom from seizures after two months and 20 of 35 children in the fish oil group was seizure free after after 3 months. No change was noted in the control group.

The study brings significant hope that something as simple as a low dose of Omega 3 from fish oil can help these otherwise doomed children. What we see these days as we become wiser and wiser on neurological conditions is that fish oil might be the most overlooked treatment to neurological disorders.

Further Reading and source material

Fish Oil Intake and Seizure Control in Children with Medically Resistant Epilepsy

Polyunsaturated fatty acids in children with idiopathic intractable epilepsy: Serum levels and therapeutic response

Brain Trauma – When doctors give up, What then ?

Imagine this scenario – one of your loved ones is at the hospital and their doctor approaches you and says “I am sorry but he/she is not going to make it, there’s nothing we can do”.

Now let me direct your attention to two cases that was reported on CNN a few years ago.

Grant Virgin a 16 year old boy is send into coma after a hit and run accident. Doctors told his parents to let him go and die – because there’s nothing to be done.

Imagine a doctor who’s responsibility is to save lifes giving up on a 16 year old boy ! Life is not supposed to end at 16, and any doctor should be fighting for a 16 year old, like their own life depended on it ! But they just gave up and said “It’s over” !

Doctors might be right – from a medical standpoint there might not be anything that can be done – but here’s the deal – medicine is not about curing any disease, but about reducing symptoms. But wouldn’t you expect your doctor to look into other directions when he doesn’t know what to do ?

In Grant Virgin’s case his miracle was having parents who refused to let go of their 16 year old boy.

Inspired by an earlier case where a mining accident threw the only surviving worker into coma with severe brain damage, but made a complete recovery by treatment with a high dose fish oil, the Virgin’s started feeding Grant 20 gr. of fish oil daily.

This happened in spite of doctors advice. The doctors reasoned that Omega 3 in that dose increases bleeding, and even though Grant’s mother J.J. showed them that there’s no relevant research that documents risk of bleeding from Omega 3, they still said no.

The case being: There’s a previous case (actually two but we’ll come back to this later) that shows that Omega 3 can cure brain damage in coma patients, and also in theory there’s substantial reasoning to this because our brains are literally build from Omega 3 fatty acids – so it would make sense to think that Omega 3 fatty acids can also rebuild the damaged tissue. The case is also that doctors have said – let him die – and then they are concerned that he will die from bleeding ! Where is the reasoning ?

But to Grant’s luck his mother did continue with feeding him the high dosage fish oil which brought him to an almost full recovery.

The other story which was also reported on CNN is about Bobby Chassemi who ended up in deep coma after a car accident. Again his parents should be the ones to save him. they also learned about the mining accident, and contacted fish oil expert Michael Lewis who advised them to give Chassemi a high dose Omega 3 treatment – again after severe fight with his doctors.

Chassemi came out of his coma and can function today.

These stories underlines just how important it is to keep yourself prepared and educated when in contact with doctors. Their knowledge is mostly limited to synthetic chemicals and serving as salesmen to the pharmaceutical industry.

But, what we need to teach our doctors is that when you give your body the right tools, then it can heal itself.

In the video clips inside this article you can watch the CNN reports on both the Virgin and the Chassemi cases and a 30 minute interview with Grant Virgin’s mother J.J.

Why Your Omega 3 source might not work !

We know it, and there’s no reason to debate it – Omega 3 is good for you. Yet could it be that some sources of Omega 3 is better then others, and could it be that some supplement companies lie about the dosage of Omega 3 that you need to consume ?

I started asking these questions after noticing that most people who are using regular fish oil or plant based Omega 3 products was not in the right Omega 3 to 6 balance, when tested. What’s even more interesting is that switching from one product to another could actually remove their chronic pain, and other inflammatory markers, that was not removed on their previous product.

So could it be that Omega 3 is not just Omega 3 ? The answer is YES !

Lets start out with plant based Omega 3 vs. fish oil. The vegan community has over the years hyped flaxseed & chased as the ultimate source of Omega 3 that is going to save the oceans and make us healthy at the same time. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fatty acids we need in our bodies are EPA & DHA. Plantbased Omega 3 is in the form of alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA) which must first be converted to Stearidonic Acid and Eicosatetraenoic acid before it ends up in the form of EPA and DHA that we need. Studies have shown that women converts aprox. 5% and men far less.

That way having a primary Omega 3 source from plant based Omega 3 source is no way near sufficient in balancing your Omega 3/6 ratio, and as such plant based Omega 3 intake becomes highly inflammatory.

But even for those using a fishoil based Omega 3 product there’s problems – and most likely they are not doing you any good.

When I made the post that you can see on the right hand side of this article – I caused an uproar. People started commenting that it’s to much and I was overdosing.

this only proves the ignorance that surrounds the general public about how much Omega 3 we should take. If 2o ml. of Omega 3 would cause an overdose then we should be seeing inuits, who’s diet was mostly seafood, die like flies from an Omega 3 overdose. That was not what was found, the Inuits lived longer and had less lifestyle diseases as the western world.

First off – ditch the recommended daily dosage on 99,9% of fishoil products. 1-3 capsules per day won’t take you anywhere. It’s a sales trick made up by the supplement industry because they believe that the impact it makes on your wallet is more important to you then wheter it works. In other words, if you can be convinced that you do something good for your health without paying to much for it, they believe that it’s easier to sell the product.

The reason why we need to take fish oil in a g/kg body weight ratio is because the goal is to get rid of inflammation and restore the Omega 3 to Omega 6 balance as closely to 1:1 as we can. Hence you also need to take fish oil in a ratio equivalent to your Omega 6 intake. This goes hans in hand with a study published earlier this year that clearly concluded that trials on Omega 3 that is aiming at a biological effect should use a weight based dosage rather then an age based dosage.

So how much Omega 3 should you take ? In the book The Paleo Solution, Robb Wolf recommends 1 gram of EPA/DHA per 10 lbs. of body weight for sick, overweight and highly inflamed people. For lean, muscular athlets he recommends 0,25-0,5 gr. EPA/DHA per 10 lbs bodyweight.

That’s probably cutting it a bit high – but that again depends on the quality of your fish oil, and that’s where we go with our 3rd and last point of why your Omega 3 source might not work for you.

in a review study published in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2015 Dr. Paul Clayton and Szabolcs Lady asked the question why some fish oils appear to work better then others in scientific studies.

The scientists points to the purification process as the culpit. They reference a study made by The University of tromsø that has shown that the purification process (which due to the build up of toxic waste in our oceans unfortunately has to be done) also removes trace ingredients in fish, such as algal-derived lipophilic polyphenols.

The argument is that for fish oil to continue to be effective we need to add those lipophilic polyphenols back into the oil.

The problem is – most fish oil supplements has been enhanced with vitamin E as an antioxidant to protect it from oxidation during the long process it takes for the body to accumulate the fatty acids. However vitamin E alone is not an effective antioxidant for protecting fish oil. The result of such products would therefore be that most of the Omega 3 is not accumulated and some of it would turn rancid through the process.

One way to add these lipophilic polyphenols is to add olive oil made from unripe olives, and thus bring fish oil back to the composition it has from nature’s hand.

If you do this then I would say you do not need as high as dosage as Robb Wolff describes – the fish oil that I shoed in my post is about 5 grams which is good for my body weight and with a quality polyphenol rich fish oil I would say that most people are good at around 2-5 grams of EPA and DHA.

To my knowledge though, there’s less then a handful of companies out there who actually do this to their fish oil. The product that I use and recommend Balance Oil does contain these polyphenol high olive oil and with this product the recommended dosage is 0,15 ml / kg body weight.

So if you are not sure if your fish oil is working for you then ask the following questions:

1). Is my Omega 3 source plant based ?

2). Is my dosage high enough ?

3). Does my Omega 3 source contain lipophilic polyphenols ?

If any of the answers is no, then you’re most likely not experiencing optimal benefits !

Further reading and sources:

α-Linolenic acid metabolism in adult humans: the effects of gender and age on conversion to longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids

Body weight affects ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) accumulation in youth following supplementation in post-hoc analyses of a randomized controlled trial.

From alga to omega; have we reached peak (fish) oil?