Parasites and groin pain

What are parasites?

Parasites are animals or plants which must live on or in another plant or animal to survive (go on living). There are several parasites in the environment and when they get into a person’s body, his/her health can be affected. Some parasites enter the body by way of contaminated food or water and some live on the skin and the hair. Examples of parasites include:

  • stomach and gut worms (threadworm, hookworm)
  • skin mites (scabies)
  • hair and body lice (head lice and crab lice)
  • protozoa (Giardia)

Most of these parasites cannot be seen without the help of a magnifying glass. Like a microscope, this is another kind of special instrument which makes things look bigger than they really are. Some adult worms are big enough to see without the help of a magnifying glass.
It is often easy to see where parasites have been, such as when they cause rashes on the skin.

Protozoa

Protozoa are tiny single-celled animals which can move about on their own. Protozoa are so small they can only be seen with the help of a microscope and only some of them cause disease in humans. An example of one of these is Giardia lamblia.
Fig.  1.10: Giardia, a disease-causing protozoan
Fig. 1.10: Giardia, a disease-causing protozoan.

Worms

Parasitic worms are small animals which can live inside the body. Their eggs are taken into the body, usually by swallowing. The worms then hatch out of the eggs and live in the body. Some types of worm larvae (young worms) can also burrow their way into the body through the skin.
When the worms live in the body they can cause sickness. They may get into the stomach and gut and eat the food before the body has digested it. This means that the body does not get enough nourishment. Sometimes the worms will find their way into other parts of the body, such as the blood or liver. When this happens these parts of the body may not work properly.
Fig.  1.11: Worms
Fig. 1.11: Worms

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Mites and lice

These are small animals which affect the skin and hair of the body. They cause the skin, especially the scalp, to become very itchy.
Fig.  1.12: Lice
Fig. 1.12: Lice.

5.2 Diseases caused by parasites

Common diseases in Indigenous communities which are caused by parasites are described below.

Giardiasis

This is a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan Giardia lamblia getting into the small intestine. Giardia is a single celled animal which is so small it can only be seen with the help of a microscope.

This disease can occur anywhere in Australia and is very common in Indigenous communities. The symptoms (signs) of this disease are:

  • very severe or chronic (long-lasting) diarrhoea
  • stomach cramps and pain
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • weakness
  • weight loss

There is special medicine which can be taken to get rid of Giardia from the body.

Hookworm infection

This is a widespread disease in warm, tropical and sub-tropical places, especially where sewage disposal is inadequate. It is common in the Kimberley and other parts of tropical northern Australia.

Hookworm is a parasitic worm. The adult worm is about 1 cm in length and is about the thickness of a pin.
The worms suck blood from the human host. The disease becomes serious when there are many worms in the intestine sucking blood from the host. When this happens, the host loses too much blood which contains the body’s important nutrients (nourishing food).

This can cause:

  • the body to become anaemic (pale and weak)
  • fever
  • diarrhoea or constipation

In extreme cases hookworm infestation can stop the person from thinking and moving properly. It can also slow down children’s growth.

To get rid of these worms from the body, the person must be treated with special medicine.

Threadworm (or pinworm) infection

This is a disease which can occur in any part of Australia. It is another disease which is caused by a parasitic worm which lives in large numbers in the human intestine.

Threadworm causes anal (bum hole) itching. This can lead to disturbed sleep and can cause people to become grumpy. Excessive scratching can lead to broken skin which may become infected (pus sores).

Threadworms are easily passed from one person to another and frequently whole families or groups become infected.

There is also special medicine to get rid of these worms from the body.

Dwarf tapeworm infection

Dwarf tapeworm is the most common human tapeworm in Australia. It is a parasitic infection of the stomach and intestine.
Infection with this tapeworm can cause:

  • diarrhoea
  • stomach pain
  • weight loss
  • weakness

There is special medicine which will get rid of these worms from the body.

Scabies infection

This is a skin disease caused by a tiny animal which is called a mite. It is usually about 0.3 mm long. The female burrows into the skin to lay her eggs and this irritates the skin and makes it very itchy. As a result, the person scratches the skin a lot.
If the skin breaks as a result of the scratching, germs can enter the break in the skin and cause an infection. When treating the infection it is important to also get rid of the mites or lice; otherwise the irritations will continue and cause more infections.
To get rid of scabies a specially medicated lotion is used.

Pediculosis (head lice infection)

These tiny bloodsucking animals live their whole life on a person’s head. The lice stab an opening through the skin and suck up blood from the host. This causes irritation. The resulting scratching can lead to broken skin which can become infected.
Special shampoos are used to get rid of head lice. The eggs which are stuck to the hair need to be removed with a special fine-toothed comb.

5.3 Methods on how some important parasites are spread

Giardia

Giardia occur in the intestines of humans. When Giardia are inside the body they can move about quite easily, but they often leave the body as tiny egg-like cysts in faeces.

Infection happens when these cysts are taken back into the body of someone who does not have Giardia in their intestines. Once inside the intestine they become mobile (able to move) again and start to reproduce themselves by dividing and redividing.

Giardia cysts can be passed:

  • directly by the faecal/oral route from an infected person to one who is not infected
  • indirectly by taking in the cysts in contaminated water or food when eating or drinking

Hookworm

When hookworms get inside people, they lay their eggs inside the person’s intestines. These eggs get into the soil or water when infected human faeces has been left on the ground or from faulty or broken sewage systems.

Tiny larvae (young worms) will hatch out. If the soil is wet the larvae will develop to a stage where they can infect people. They can survive in wet soil for several weeks and are able to burrow through unbroken skin. This happens when people’s skin comes into contact with water, soil or faeces which is infected with hookworm larvae.

People can become infected with hookworm directly by the ingestion of larvae or by larvae burrowing through the skin.

People in the tropical parts of northern Australia who walk around in contaminated wet places without shoes are very likely to get infected.

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Inside the body the larvae travel through the blood stream to the lungs where they are coughed up and then swallowed. They finally reach the intestines where they develop into adult worms. Adult worms are able to attach themselves to the walls of the intestines. They have hooks around the mouth which allow them to do this. They live there and suck blood from the human host.
Fig.  1.14: How hookworm gets into the body and where it lives in the body
Fig. 1.14: How hookworm gets into the body and where it lives in the body.

Threadworm (or pinworm)

These worms look like tiny white threads and live in the intestine. The female worm will travel to the anal opening to lay its eggs on the skin around the anus. It is this activity which causes the itching. The eggs and the worms leave the body in faeces. The eggs hatch when they are taken into the same or another person’s intestine.

The worms or their eggs can be passed from one person to another:

  • directly through the faecal/oral route from an infected person to one who is not infected
  • indirectly through contact with contaminated clothing, bedding or food

Dwarf tapeworm

The dwarf tapeworm occurs in the stomach and intestines of humans. The adult tapeworm lays its eggs in the body. The eggs are passed out of the body in the faeces. If these eggs are ingested by other people indirectly or directly, the eggs will hatch in the intestine. The immature worm goes through two further stages of development before it becomes an adult.

Humans become infected with dwarf tapeworms:

  • directly by touching the mouth with fingers which are contaminated with faeces containing the egg
  • indirectly by ingesting eggs in contaminated food or water, or by swallowing an insect which has ingested eggs which have then hatched into larvae inside the insect

Roundworms

Roundworms are nematodes and are found in northern parts of Australia and in many tropical countries. Strongyloides stercoralis is a roundworm which causes a life threatening disease called Strongyloidiasis.

People can become infected through contact with soil contaminated by faeces containing the parasite.

People can often get sick where hygiene and sanitation are poor. Infection can be detected with a special blood test and people can be cured with special tablets.

Scabies

These small animals are a type of mite. The female burrows into the skin where it lays its eggs. When the mites hatch they climb out onto the surface of the skin and then enter hair follicles. These are the small openings in the skin which hold the hair roots. The young mites grow into adults in the hair follicles. They then climb out and mate and start the process all over again. It is the burrowing activity of the mites which causes the skin irritation associated with scabies.
Fig.  1.15: Scabies' life cycle
Fig. 1.15: Scabies’ life cycle.

Scabies prefer to live in certain places in the body. These are body creases such as the backs of the knee and elbow and in the armpit and groin.
Fig.  1.16: Scabies rash on the body
Fig. 1.16: Scabies rash on the body.

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Scabies can be passed from an infected person to an uninfected person by:

  • direct contact; or
  • indirect contact with contaminated clothing or bedding. Infection happens more frequently when people live in overcrowded conditions

 

Head lice

Adult lice live their whole lives in the hair of a person’s head. The lice stab openings in the skin to suck blood. The eggs of the head lice, which are also called nits, are glued to the hairs on the person’s head. The nits are about 1 mm in size and are whitish in colour. They take about a week to hatch.

The lice can be passed:

  • directly from person-to-person, such as when small children play or sleep together; or
  • indirectly through the sharing of infected combs, brushes and hats

While head lice can be killed with special shampoos, the nits are difficult to kill in this way. For this reason, nits must be removed with a special fine toothed comb.

Vitamin A and zinc

Scientists found that vitamin A and zinc supplementation was associated with distinct parasite-specific health outcomes. Vitamin A plus zinc reduces G. lamblia incidence, whereas zinc supplementation increases A. lumbricoides incidence but decreases E. histolytica-associated diarrhea.

Supplementation of B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium reduce the risk of infection by invasive diarrheal pathogens.

Supplementation of selenium and copper may help the control of H. contortus.

Step 1 to cancer free: Limit stress that leads to high blood glucose and lipids

Adrenals and liver come to the rescue as blood sugar levels drop.  The endocrine pancreas, liver and adrenal glands work to normalize blood sugar and triglycerides.

Take care of your stress so it will be easier for you to prevent obesity, depression, sugar cravings and nerve pain which may start to happen at around 55 years of age. When we take care of our stress level, we take care of our metabolism , brain , whole body and we then prevent chronic diseases that lead to cancer.

Activities to make you happy

Beach stroll, dancing, watching comedians , laughing , sleeping at nigh, massage , happy and loving friends and relationships , spending time with family and friends , playing with your pets, gardening , singing , praying , deep breathing exercise, meditation

Side effects of chronically elevated cortisol can include:

Anxiety , Autoimmune diseases , Cancer,  Chronic fatigue syndrome , Common Colds , Hormone imbalance , Irritable bowel disease , Thyroid conditions , Weight loss resistance

Needed nutrients

Digestive enzymes, vitamin C (citrus, kiwi, berries, tamarind), vitamin B, L-carnitine, chromium, anti-oxidants, fiber-rich foods (squash, yams, sulfur family of garlic and onions, greens, okra, radish), spearmint, ginger, beets, carrots, all root crops, sprouts, pineapple, papaya , taurine rich foods (breastmilk, sea algae, fish)

Adaptogenic herbs

  1. Eleuthero ginseng
  2. Holy basil
  3. Rodiola rosea
  4. ashwagandha
  5. Astralagus
  6. Sour date
  7. Mimosa pudica
    Extracts of Mimosa pudica are successful in wiping out harmful bacteria and can be useful in antibacterial products
  8. Medicinal mushrooms
    Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins such as riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), and niacin (B3).
  9. Licorice root
  10. Valerian

 

Guava fruit, leaves and bark, as super fruit for the liver and rich in Vit C and E

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Protective Effects of Guava Pulp on Cholestatic Liver Injury – Hindawi


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Guava……. – It’s You Enterprises


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Super Fruits – The Best Things About Them | Emerson A – Academia.edu


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Toxins, metals and left over foods, Vitamin C, detox ways

Yesterday, I have a fast heartbeat. I was guessing I ingested a toxin. So , I went home and ate 3 soft boiled eggs, took Vitamin C powder in my hot lemon water, calcium and magnesium with zinc tablet and massaged my stomach with oils (essential oils, eucalyptus, castor oil) and rested.

I am fine now.

Be careful of mercury tooth fillings and left over foods.

Connie

 

Source: https://www.selfhacked.com/blog/heavy-metals-detox/

Heavy metals have been shown to bind proteins and prevent their functioning and to disrupt cellular function by interfering with necessary minerals like zinc and magnesium and causing oxidative stress [R].

Symptoms of heavy metal intoxication include:

  • Intellectual disability in children [R]
  • Dementia[R]
  • Kidney and liver diseases [R]
  • Insomnia, emotional instability [R]
  • Depression [R]
  • Vision abnormalities [R]

Studies in worms have shown that these metals have synergistic toxicity, meaning that combined they are more toxic than the sum of their toxicities together [R].

The vast majority of research on heavy metal and chelation therapy focuses on these 4 metals as they are present in disproportionately higher levels in the environment than other heavy metals and have the greatest likelihood to produce health issues [R].

This article will focus on how to safely and effectively remove the “Big Four” heavy metals: lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium.

Types of Toxic Heavy Metals and Why They’re Bad

Mercury Toxicity

Mercury is considered to be the most toxic heavy metal in the environment [R].

The majority of exposure to mercury is due to seafood, with additional sources including occupational exposure such as small-scale gold mining and dental amalgam installation and removal [R].

Mercury accumulates in organisms as you go up the food chain, meaning larger fish such as tuna, shark, and swordfish have proportionally more mercury than smaller fish like sardines, mackerel, and anchovies [R].

Because it’s attracted to fat (lipophilic), the metal accumulates in the fat and liver of fish, and when consumed by humans it accrues in the brain and nerves (specifically the myelin sheaths of nerves, which are made of fats) [R]. The brain, kidneys, and liver are the major storage sites for mercury accumulation.

Mercury poisoning can cause:

Chronic mercury exposure is associated with:

Higher mercury levels were found in the brain and blood of Alzheimer’s patients. In animals, low levels of mercury are able to cause cell deterioration similar to what is seen in Alzheimer’s disease [R].

Moreover, mercury levels range from 2-10 times higher in individuals with dental amalgams, and women with dental amalgams had a 13% increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease compared to women without them [RR].

Mechanism of Harm by Mercury

Mercury increases the formation of reactive oxygen species, both directly by being a pro-oxidant and indirectly by depleting crucial antioxidants like glutathione, which leads to an increase in oxidative damage to DNA, lipids, and proteins [R].

Mercury can also bind to key amino acids and enzymes like glutathione, cysteine, and sodium-potassium adenosine triphosphatase. This binding disrupts cellular function [RR].

The neurotoxic effects of mercury are likely due to its ability to increase levels of glutamate. Excess glutamate levels damage neurons leading to neuronal death [RR].

Arsenic Toxicity

Chronic exposure to arsenic causes a variety of symptoms and health conditions.

Foods grown in contaminated soil and water are the main sources of intake for most people [R].

Also, people working in glass-making, smelting, pesticide manufacturing, and semiconductor manufacturing industries may be exposed to significantly higher levels of arsenic than the general population [R].

In recent years, there were scandals where high levels of arsenic were found in rice and apple juice. It’s recommended that babies don’t drink rice-based drinks because of this [RR].

The primary targets for arsenic and compounds containing arsenic are the kidneys and the liver because they are generally processed by the liver and excreted in the urine [RR].

Excessive exposure during childhood can lead to behavioral dysfunction during puberty even lasting into adulthood [R].

Arsenic exposure has also been associated with:

  • Deficits in verbal intelligence long-term memory in children [R]
  • Diabetes [R]
  • Increased fetal mortality and preterm birth [R]

Long-term exposure can cause:

  • Inflammation of the nerves, causing pain and loss of function [R]
  • Skin lesions, darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation) [R]
  • Internal cancers including bladder, kidney, liver prostate, and lung [R]
  • High blood pressure [R]
  • Increased risk of mortality [R]
  • Toxic effects on genes, which can cause mutations [R]

Mechanism of Harm by Arsenic

Arsenic exerts its toxic effect by inhibiting enzymes in the mitochondria, replacing phosphorus in various biochemical reactions, depleting thiamine(vitamin B1), and causing oxidative stress through depletion of key enzymes like glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD) [R].

Lead Toxicity

Up until recent years, lead was often used in paints, ceramics, and pipes. Although its use in these products has been significantly reduced, a report found that 25% of homes in the US have significant amounts of lead-contaminated paint, dust, or soil [R].

The majority of lead poisoning cases in adults are due to occupational exposure, such as inhaling lead-contaminated dust, while lead exposure in the general population is mainly through food [R].

Lead can accumulate in the kidneys, liver, heart, brain, and especially in the bones [R].

Symptoms of lead exposure on the brain include:

  • Headaches [R]
  • Poor attention span [R]
  • Irritability [R]
  • Memory Loss [R]

Lead exposure is of particular concern in pregnant women, as it easily crosses the placental barrier and enters the developing fetus. Both human and animal studies show that lead exposure during pregnancy is associated with reduced birth weight and preterm delivery, as well as cognitive deficits in the offspring [RRR].

Mechanism of Harm by Lead

The main mechanism by which lead exerts toxic effects is through its ability block the actions of calcium and disrupting the activity of various enzymes and proteins, including glutathione and superoxide dismutase, and causing oxidative stress [R].

Cadmium Toxicity

Cadmium is a relatively highly water-soluble metal. In smokers, tobacco is the main source of cadmium because tobacco plants tend to accumulate the metal from the soil [R].

For non-smokers, the main source is through diet and occupational exposure, including metal industries, soldering, battery manufacturing, and cadmium-contaminated workplaces [R].

Cadmium is highly toxic to the kidneys and preferentially accumulates in a specific type of cell (proximal tubular cells) [R].

Long-term exposure can cause:

  • Kidney disease [R]
  • Osteoporosis [R]
  • Disrupted calcium metabolism [R]
  • Kidney stones [R]

Mechanism of Harm by Cadmium

Although the mechanisms of cadmium toxicity are not fully understood, research suggests it causes oxidative damage indirectly by decreasing antioxidants, rather than directly creating free radicals like the other metals discussed [R].

Cadmium also tends to bind to key enzymes and proteins, preventing them from functioning normally [R].

Due to its damaging effects on the kidney, cadmium toxicity tends to disrupt calcium balance, which the kidney plays a large role in regulating [R].

How to Test for Heavy Metals

Physicians often test for heavy metals using urine, whole blood, red blood cell, and less commonly, hair, or rarely, toenail samples [R].

Blood Tests for Heavy Metals

In most cases blood testing is indicative of acute exposure rather than the total body burden (total amount of heavy metals accrued over one’s lifetime that is present in the body), however, there are exceptions [R].

Urine Testing for Heavy Metals

Urine testing is the gold standard for the “Big Four” toxic metals (mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium). However, even urine test can give an inaccurate representation of body burden for some metals, as they are often present in different forms, stored in different areas and processed by and excreted by the body differently [R].

For example, mercury is present in the body in two forms: organic (methylmercury or dimethylmercury) and inorganic (mercury salts, such as mercury chloride). Organic is largely excreted through the bile and feces, while inorganic is eliminated via the urine [R].

Therefore, whole blood is the preferred test for organic mercury body burden and urine testing is optimal for a measure of the body burden of inorganic mercury [R].

The Heavy Metals Challenge Test

A popular type of test is called the “challenge test”, or “provoked urine test,” which involves using large doses of a strong chelating agent, usually dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), to draw metals out of the body and into the urine where they can be analyzed [R].

Chelation the process by which the body naturally binds toxic heavy metals in order to prevent them from causing harm and to excrete them from the body [R].

Chelation challenge tests are associated with adverse reactions, as the influx of mobilized metals can oftentimes overwhelm the body’s detoxificationpathways as well as redistribute them to different or more critical tissues during the test [R].

Other criticisms of challenge testing include the possibility of false positives and lack of a standard of protocol and laboratory reference ranges to interpret the results [RR].

Therefore, many professional and government organizations strongly recommend against their use because of this [R].

Despite this, the test is still commonly used by some practitioners. These clinicians argue that it allows them to determine the most effective chelating agent and to detect an absorption or tolerance problems with the agent [R].

If an individual decides to go the route of the challenge test, it is advised that their excretory pathways are open and not overburdened, i.e. in conditions like constipation or kidney and liver diseases, so as to allow the metals to pass out safely [R].

Additionally, urine samples should be taken pre- and post-challenge testing to establish a reference for the individual [R].

Instead of challenge testing, heavy metal toxicity is often diagnosed with a combination of reported symptoms and urine tests that reveal metal levels above the reference range [R].

Hair Testing for Heavy Metals

If done correctly, hair analysis is another reliable way to see if you have heavy metal toxicity [R]. Hair testing mainly reflects past exposure, so it should be combined with urine or blood testing to confirm heavy metal toxicity [RR].

How to Safely Chelate and Detoxify Heavy Metals

The overall goal in chelating and detoxifying heavy metals is to bind them with a strong chelator and then excrete them safely out of the body without redistributing them to other organs.

1) Supplement with Essential Minerals

During this process, supplementation with zinccalciumiron, and magnesiumis recommended, as these nutrients reduce the absorption of toxic heavy metals and their depletion results in enhanced toxic metal uptake from the gut [RRRR].

2) Remove Sources of Heavy Metal Exposure

The first step in reducing the body burden of heavy metals is to reduce or remove the source of exposure, if possible. This may mean reducing consumption of high mercury seafood, testing and filtering drinking water, or quitting smoking.

3) Ensure that Excretory Organs Function Correctly

If you will use chelation to remove toxic heavy metals, it is important to ensure that your excretory pathways are open and not overburdened in order to allow the metals to pass out safely. Constipation, leaky gut, or kidney and liver diseases will prevent metals  [R].

4) Bind (Chelate) Heavy Metals

The next step is to bind heavy metals where they are stored in the body, escort them into the bloodstream, and excrete them through the liver via bile in the feces, through the kidneys via urine, or through the skin via sweat [R].

5) Detoxify Slowly or Pulse the Chelation Process

It is important to detoxify from heavy metals slowly to prevent redistribution through the body and therefore it is recommended to temporarily discontinue or lower dosages of chelating compounds if symptoms worsen and allow the body’s detoxification and excretory systems to “catch up” [R].

Moreover, it is generally advised to pulse the chelation process and to work with a qualified physician during this time.

Supplements that Help with Heavy Metal Chelation and Detoxification

1) Glutathione Protects Against Mercury Toxicity

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is produced from three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid (closely related, but not to be confused with glutamine), and glycine.

Glutathione contains sulfur components that readily bind with mercury, lead, and cadmium [R].

Other compounds that have thiol groups include the amino acid cysteine, albumin, and metallothioneins. Mercury has a high affinity for thiol groups and will readily bind to the thiol-containing compound (usually glutathione) in the highest concentration [R].

Higher levels of glutathione protect against mercury accumulation [R].

Mercury has been shown to deplete glutathione levels in brain cells, red blood cells, and kidneys [RRR].

Glutathione protects against mercury in 4 ways:

  1. Binding to it and preventing it from causing damage to enzymes and cells [R]
  2. Preventing the mercury from entering the cell where it does the most damage [R]
  3. Helping transport and eliminate it from the body [R]. Indeed, glutathione mercury complexes are the most abundant form of mercury in both bile and urine [R].
  4. Serving as an antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals such as hydrogen peroxide and lipid peroxides that are produced by mercury [R].

You can learn how to increase your glutathione levels in this post.

2) Alpha-Lipoic Acid Protects Against Arsenic, Cadmium, and Mercury Toxicity

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is another strong antioxidant with the ability to penetrate the cell membrane as well as cross the blood-brain barrier to chelate heavy metals stored there [RR].

This is important as lead and mercury easily accumulate in the brain [RR].

Alpha-lipoic acid decreases damage to cell membranes (lipid peroxidation), which can be caused by heavy metals [R].

Alpha-lipoic acid has also been shown to increase glutathione levels both inside and outside of the cell by regenerating used glutathione to make it active again [RR].

Additionally, alpha-lipoic acid increases the production of glutathione by increasing the uptake of cysteine, the rate-limiting component of glutathione, into the cell [R].

Although no clinical trials have investigated the use of alpha-lipoic acid in chelating heavy metals, animal studies show that the compound reduces uptake of cadmium into liver cells and prevents absorption of arsenic in the intestines [RR]

Of note, animal studies have also shown that alpha-lipoic acid has the potential to redistribute heavy metals, however, these studies have administered the compound intravenously, which may cause alpha-lipoic acid to combine with glutathione in the liver and prevent the glutathione from carrying heavy metals out of the body [R].

This effect has not been seen in human trials with alpha-lipoic acid and the vast amount of evidence strongly suggest that it can prevent the damage caused by heavy metals as well as help glutathione bind to and excrete metals [RR, ].

Oral doses of as much as 1,800 mg/day of alpha-lipoic acid are well-tolerated with no side effects in clinical trials [R].

3) Modified Citrus Pectin Increases Lead, Cadmium, and Arsenic Excretion

Pectin is a fiber in plants. Modified citrus pectin (MCP) is a form of pectin that has been altered to be more digestible.

In children with high blood levels of lead, 15 grams of MCP a day for 28 days decreased lead in the blood, while urine lead levels increased by more than 132% (indicating lead removal) [R]. No side effects were reported.

Another study found that 15 grams of modified citrus pectin a day for five days increased urinary excretion of arsenic (130%), cadmium (150%), and lead (560%) [R].

Note: the studies were performed by the creator of MCP.

4) Sauna/Sweating Increases Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury Excretion

Sauna use increases the circulation throughout the skin and induces sweating, with blood flow to the skin increasing from 5-10% of the amount of the blood pumped through the heart at rest to 60-70% [R].

Sweating, caused by either exercise or sauna use, has been shown in many studies to excrete clinically meaningful levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, in some cases surpassing the amount excreted in urine [RRRR].

Beneficial metals, vitamins, and electrolytes, such as zinc, coppermanganesevitamin E, sodium, and chloride, are also lost during sweating. Therefore, it is crucial to consume a diet sufficient in these nutrients to counteract any loss due to sweating.

5) Vitamin C Protects Against Lead Toxicity

Low vitamin C levels have been associated with decreased glutathione levels and increased oxidative stress [R].

Vitamin C increases glutathione levels by recycling used glutathione, as in human red blood cells (DB-RCT) [R].

In rats, vitamin C supplementation increases lead excretion in the urine and feces and prevent lead absorption in the intestine [R].

Lead toxicity can lead to damage to the membranes of red blood cells, impairing their function. In 15 workers exposed to lead, one year of vitamin C (1 g/day) and E supplementation (400 IU/day) reduced lipid peroxidation in red blood cells between 47.1% and 69.4%, comparable to 19 non-lead exposed workers [R].

Dosages between 500-1500 grams a day are often used in clinical research settings, however many users greatly exceed these levels, with few adverse effects beyond diarrhea.

6) Selenium Increases Mercury Excretion

Selenium is a crucial nutrient when it comes to chelating heavy metals.

The mineral increases the activity of glutathione, and increased levels of selenium are associated with increased levels of glutathione in the blood [RR].

In rats exposed to mercury, selenium prevented the destruction of neurons and suppression of protein synthesis caused by mercury and helped repair damaged tissue that helps conduct nerve signals (myelin sheath) [R].

In 103 mercury-exposed villagers in China, 100 micrograms of selenium daily in the form of enriched yeast increased mercury excretion and as well decreased markers of inflammation and oxidative stress compared to controls who were given the yeast without selenium [R].

Brazil nuts are often mentioned as important food to chelate heavy metals. Any chelating effect is likely due to its high concentration of selenium, with one nut containing 68-91 mcg of selenium.

7) N-Acetylcysteine Reduces Mercury and Lead Levels

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a form of cysteine that increases the production of glutathione.

In mice, N-Acetylcysteine enhanced excretion of mercury by 400% in comparison to control animals [R].

In 171 workers exposed to lead, N-Acetylcysteine reduced blood levels of lead and increased glutathione concentrations, while at the same time decreasing oxidative stress [R].

8) Zinc Prevents Cadmium and Lead Absorption and Increases Cadmium Excretion

Zinc competes with cadmium and lead for the binding sites on proteins, and zinc deficiency can lead to greater absorption of cadmium and lead [RR].

Zinc supplementation also increases synthesis of metallothionein, a protein that binds cadmium and helps detoxify it from the body [RR].

Moreover, supplementation with zinc protects the activity of an enzyme called δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) that is very sensitive to lead [R].

9) Calcium Disodium EDTA Increases Lead Excretion

Calcium Disodium EDTA (CaNA2EDTA) is effective in chelating lead from the body [R]. Because it is poorly absorbed orally, EDTA must be administered intravenously.

Caution is needed when chelating with CaNA2EDTA as it tends to deplete essential minerals, particularly zinc, copper, and manganese [R]. It should not be used during pregnancy or in people with kidney or liver diseases [R]

10) DMSA Increases Lead, Mercury, Arsenic and Cadmium Excretion

Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) is a water-soluble pharmaceutical chelator that contains two thiol groups, making it an especially strong chelator of heavy metals.

It can be administered orally, intravenously, or through the skin.

Chelation therapy is the use of intravenous pharmaceutical chelation agents such as DMSA, dimercaptopropane sulfonate (DMPS), or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) to pull heavy metals out of the blood in cases of acute toxicity [R].

Chelation therapy is also used to treat cardiovascular disease, but a systematic review found that evidence does not support its use for such diseases [R].

Oral supplementation with DMSA has been shown in many studies to significantly and greatly increase urinary excretion of lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium [RRRR].

In 17 lead-poisoned adults, DMSA increased urinary lead excretion by a factor of 12 and rapidly reversed symptoms related to lead toxicity [R].

Caution is warranted with DMSA, as it has also been shown to excrete beneficial metals like zinc, iron, calcium, copper, and magnesium as well, so it strongly advised to supplement with these after therapy [R].

11) DMPS Increases Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, and Cadmium Excretion

Dimercaptopropane sulfonate (DMPS) is another pharmaceutical chelator, like DMSA, with two thiol groups.

Oral absorption of DMPS is about 40% higher than that of DMSA [R].

Like DMSA, DMPS increases excretion of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in the urine, with the former more effective in excreting mercury from the brain and the latter more effective in excreting mercury from the kidney [RRRR].

In mice, DMSA was more effective in removing cadmium than DMPS [R].

Also like DMSA, DMPS increase urinary excretion of necessary nutrients like copper, selenium, zinc, and magnesium, necessitating supplementation with them before or after treatment [R].

In one trial with autistic patients, a few children developed worsening of symptoms [R]. The researchers thought that this was likely due to the redistribution of recently mobilized metals without the ability to excrete them sufficiently [R].

In addition, adequate hydration and bowel regularity are essential, as during chelation therapy, mobilization and chelation of metals should not exceed the ability to excrete them, otherwise they will be redistributed throughout the body where they have the potential to cause more harm than their initial storage site.

Chelating Compounds With Non-Human Evidence

12) Garlic

Garlic has been shown to protect against the damaging effects of heavy metals and help with their excretion.

When rats were given garlic at the same time as cadmium and mercury, accumulation of the heavy metals in the liver, kidneys, bone, and testes was decreased and the activity of certain key enzymes was partially restored [R]. In addition, cadmium excretion was increased.

In rats given mercury, cadmium, and lead in addition to 7% raw garlic in their food, accumulation of the heavy metals was decreased in the liver, with the greatest effect seen for cadmium [R].

13) Chlorella

In mice, diets consisting of 5% and 10% of Chlorella significantly increased urinary and fecal excretion of mercury, and decreased mercury levels in the brain and kidneys, without affecting glutathione levels [R].

14) Cilantro

In mice, cilantro supplementation alongside lead administration resulted in significantly fewer lead deposits in the bones [R].

In humans, a study (RCT) on 32 children aged 3-7 years with lead-exposed parents found that cilantro extract given for 14 days decreased lead concentration in blood while increased its excretion in urine. However, it didn’t increase significantly more than the placebo group [R].

15) Activated Charcoal

While there are studies showing activated charcoal’s ability to bind mercury, lead, and nickel in industrial waste, no studies that have measured its chelation abilities in the human body [R].

16) Methionine

Methionine may help with chelating metals because of its sulfur group.

When methionine was added to the diet of rats, it significantly increased fecal excretion of lead [R].

17) Taurine

Taurine is a sulfur-containing compound.

When taurine was given to mice, it protected against oxidative damage in the brain caused by cadmium and improved the antioxidant status in the animals [R].

Another study in rats found that taurine supplementation prevented damage of brain tissue due to arsenic [R].

Taurine has also been shown to protect against lead toxicity in rat ovaries and mercury toxicity in the hearts and livers of rats, without affecting excretion of either metal [RRR].

18) Carnosine

Carnosine is a molecule made of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine with strong antioxidant properties [R].

Carnosine is able to chelate cadmium and mercury and prevent heavy metals from harming cell membranes [R].

In rats, carnosine supplementation was able to prevent kidney damage from lead and increased glutathione levels [R].

Other Supplements That May Be Effective:

Experiences of People who Removed Heavy Metals from their Bodies

Many users have reported that N-Acetylcysteine supplementation improves symptoms of depression, reduces brain fog, and provides a slight energy boost. I supplement with N-Acetylcysteine regularly, but I do not exceed 1 g/day as I tend to experience gastrointestinal discomfort and headaches beyond this dosage, which I suspect are due to increased mobilization of metals exceeding my ability to excrete them.

Users report mixed results when supplementing with alpha-lipoic acid, with some noting increased energy and feelings of general well-being and reduction in nerve pain, while others report an increase in fatigue and mental fogginess, to which some attribute to redistribution of mercury.

One individual claimed to have removed heavy metals by taking 1 g/day of DMSA (in addition to N-Acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid) for 3 days every 2 weeks, which eliminated chronic Candida infections and persistent anxietyand brain fog. Another DMSA user noted that just 50 mg of DMSA resulted in psychosis lasting for a month.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

Vitamin D rich foods to prevent seizures

Foods that provide vitamin D include:
  • Fatty fish, like tunamackerel, and salmon
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy productsorange juicesoy milk, and cereals
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks

Our client has epilepsy and goes on seizure many times a month. She has poor appetite but loves walking especially during sunny days. She loves cheese. She is on many medications.

card mother

Some anti-seizure medications interfere with how vitamin D is processed in the body. Supplemental vitamin D may be necessary for people who have these risk factors to maintain normal blood levels. A study published in 2012 showed that correcting vitamin D deficiency reduced seizures in people with epilepsy.

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Epilepsy

Natural and Complementary Therapies

Many natural compounds also affect the brain and may be able to influence epilepsy; natural compounds will likely be most beneficial as adjuvants to conventional therapies.

Vitamins and Minerals

Epilepsy patients should also be aware that long-term use of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) can negatively affect their vitamin and mineral status. For instance, patients taking anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) have significantly lower levels of vitamin D in their blood (Menon and Harinarayan 2010, Shellhaas and Joshi 2010, Pack 2004, Valsamis et al. 2006, Mintzer S et al 2006). This is because many AEDs increase the activity of a liver enzyme known as cytochrome P450, which also breaks down vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium; consequently, patients taking AEDS absorb less calcium in their diet, which increases their risk of developing osteoporosis. Patients who are taking AEDs may need to take vitamin D and calcium supplements (Fong et al. 2011).

Anti-epileptic drugs have also been shown to reduce levels of several B vitamins, including folate and vitamins B6 and B12 (Sener et al. 2006Linnebank et al. 2011) These vitamins are critical for controlling metabolism in the body; low levels of these vitamins can also lead to low red blood cell levels, causing fatigue and pallor. One of the most serious consequences of the low folate levels caused by AEDs is high levels of the compound homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease (Sener et al. 2006; Kurul et al 2007, Apeland et al 2001). Elevated levels of homocysteine have been implicated in the increased risk of heart disease seen in epileptics. Moreover, some studies have indicated that elevated homocysteine may contribute to AED resistance or increase seizures in epileptics (Diaz-Arrastia 2000). Based on these findings, some researchers call for routine supplementation with the B vitamins, especially the metabolically active form of folic acid, L-methylfolate, to reduce homocysteine levels (Morrell MJ 2002). Folate deficiencies can also lead to seizures, particularly in infants. Impaired folate transport in the body can be a cause of seizures that do not respond well to typical treatments (Djukic A 2007). In addition, epileptics often have reduced folic acid levels, possibly due to the use of AEDs (Asadi-Pooya 2005). Doctors of epileptics should routinely monitor folic acid, vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels in patients to help prevent an increased risk of cardiovascular disease that could otherwise be treated.

Some forms of epilepsy are directly linked to vitamin B6 deficiencies; these convulsions, known as pyridoxine-dependent seizures, can only be treated with high doses of vitamin B6 (Asadi-Pooya 2008). Low vitamin B6 levels are also associated with general epilepsy. Even in patients without pyridoxine-dependent seizures, low levels of pyridoxine might increase seizure sensitivity, although more research needs to be done to determine if pyridoxine can treat seizures (Gaby 2007). Some types of seizures cannot be treated with pyridoxine, but they can be effectively managed with pyridoxal-5-phosphate, the biologically active form of vitamin B6 (Tamura et al. 2000, Jiao et al. 1997, Wang et al. 2005).

Antioxidants, such as vitamin Evitamin C and selenium are able to mitigate mitochondrial oxidative stress in the brain and other tissues, lowering seizure frequency in various types of epilepsy (Tamai et al. 1988, Zaidi et al. 2004, Savaskan et al. 2003, Yamamoto et al. 2002, Ogunmekan et al. 1979, 1989 and 1985). Animal models have shown that alpha-tocopherol alone is able to prevent several types of seizures (Levy et al 1990; Levy et al 1992). Epileptics are also more likely to have low vitamin E levels, though this may be a result of taking anti-epileptic drugs (Higashi et al. 1980).

Magnesium helps maintain connections between neurons. It has been shown to suppress EEG activity and limit seizure severity in animal models, and magnesium deficiency is associated with seizures in humans (Oladipo 2007; Nuytten et al 1991, Borges et al. 1978). Within the body, ionic magnesium acts as a natural calcium channel blocker, offsetting the excitatory influence of ionic calcium in a manner similar to the calcium channel blocker class of conventional AEDs (Touyz 1991). Moreover, magnesium levels decline sharply following seizures in patients with idiopathic epilepsy (Gupta 1994). In fact, intravenous or intramuscular magnesium is often administered to women to safely prevent eclampsia, a pregnancy-associated disorder characterized by seizures (Bhattacharjee 2011).

A recently developed form of magnesium, known as magnesium-L-threonate, may be particularly effective in epilepsy and other neurological disorders. This form of magnesium appears to be better at penetrating the blood-brain barrier and thus is more efficiently delivered to brain cells (Slutsky et al. 2010, Abumaria et al. 2011). In fact, in an animal model, magnesium-L-threonate boosted magnesium levels in spinal fluid by an impressive 15% compared to virtually no increase with conventional magnesium. Moreover, oral magnesium-L-threonate was able to modulate learning and memory, indicating that it does indeed impact the central nervous system (Abumaria 2011).

Thiamine, manganese and biotin are often low in epileptics as well (Gaby 2007).

Melatonin plays an important role in the brain, particularly in regulating the brain’s sleep-wake cycle. It also exerts a calming effect at the neuronal level by reducing glutaminergic (excitatory) signaling and augmenting GABAergic (inhibitory) signaling (Banach et al. 2011). Melatonin is widely used as a sleep aid and to treat jet lag; the side effects of taking melatonin are mild and it is one of the most commonly used supplements in the United States. Animal models have shown that melatonin can be effective in reducing epileptic seizures (Lima et al. 2011, Costa-Latufo et al. 2002). Melatonin has also been beneficial in humans with epilepsy and is particularly effective in the treatment of cases of juvenile epilepsy that do not respond well to anti-epileptic drugs (AED’s) (Banach et al. 2011). Due to its widespread use and minimal side effects, melatonin has potential to improve control of epilepsy (Fauteck et al. 1999).

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs), such as omega-3 fatty acids, are a type of essential fat that play an important role in maintaining central nervous system health. Animal studies have suggested that PUFAs, including omega-3 and some omega-6 fatty acids, may be able to modulate neuronal excitability (Blondeau et al. 2002, Taha et al. 2010). This is further supported by the fact that children on the ketogenic diet often have higher levels of PUFAs in their cerebrospinal fluid, which suggests that increased PUFA levels is one of the ways that the ketogenic diet prevents seizures (Xu et al. 2008, Auvin 2011). Clinical trials in adults have yielded mixed results. In one such study, 57 epileptic patients were given 1 g EPA and 0.7 g DHA daily. Seizure activity was reduced over the first six weeks, although the effect was temporary. The researchers called for more in-depth studies, with larger doses and larger observational groups (Yuen AW et al 2005). However, a randomized controlled trial did not find that fish oil reduced seizure frequency; although, the study did find, that PUFAs reduced seizures when administered in an open-label format, meaning when subjects knew that they were not receiving a placebo (Bromfeld et al. 2008). An ongoing National Institutes of Health-sponsored trial is examining the effects of fish oil on cardiac health in epileptics (ClinicalTrials.gov).

Life Extension suggests that the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio should be kept below 4 to 1 for optimal health. More information on testing and optimizing your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio can be found in the Life Extension Magazine article entitled “Optimize Your Omega-3 Status“.

Resveratrol, derived from red grapes and Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), and the plant Bacopa monnieri both appear to be promising in the management of seizure-related neurotoxicity. Resveratrol and bacopa-derived compounds have been extensively studied in experimental settings and consistently shown to guard against neuronal damage (Jyoti 2007; Hosamani 2009; Kanthasamy 2011; Chung 2011). In the context of epilepsy, numerous mechanisms by which resveratrol might prevent seizures have been proposed (Shetty 2011), and, indeed, in an animal model resveratrol prevented chemical-induced seizures (Wu 2009); though studies on epileptic humans have yet to be performed. Likewise, bacopa has been the subject of several animal model experiments, many of which have revealed a clear benefit relating to seizure frequency and post-seizure brain cell damage (Pandey 2010; Mathew 2010; Krishnakumar 2009). Nonetheless, bacopa also has yet to be studied in a controlled manner in a population of epileptic humans.

Phytocannabinoids (pCBs), which are compounds found in marijuana that closely resemble chemicals the body produces naturally called endocannabinoids, have shown great potential in the treatment of epilepsy. Phytocannabinoids can affect both the central and peripheral nervous system because neurons have receptors that respond directly to binding by cannabinoids. One of the major effects of pCBs is to reduce neuronal excitability by modulating electrical activity around synapses; as a result, these chemicals are sometimes referred to as potential “circuit breakers” for neurological disorders, including epilepsy (Wallace et al. 2003, Katona and Freund 2008). Therefore, researchers have been studying the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other phytocannabinoids on the brain to try to develop new mechanisms for treating epilepsy (Hoffman and Frazier 2011, Hill et al 2012). One small clinical trial found that the phytocannabinoid, cannabidiol, did reduce seizures in epileptics who were already taking AEDs (Cunha et al 1980). Another study that was largely based on epidemiology found an association between marijuana use and decreased risk of seizure (Ng et al 1990). Moreover, it has been reported that patients treated for epilepsy subjectively feel that marijuana use helps eases their epilepsy (Gross et al 2004). More research is needed to determine the efficacy and safety of natural and synthetic cannabinoids for the treatment of seizures. A comprehensive review of studies examining the effects of cannabinoids on seizure frequency in humans is currently being carried out by the Cochrane Epilepsy Group (Gloss and Vickrey 2011). Marijuana is illegal except as a prescribed treatment for medical problems in certain states; Life Extension does not recommend consuming illegal drugs as a treatment for epilepsy. However, the benefits of these phytocannabinoids do suggest that marijuana-derived compounds may soon become an accepted form of therapy for epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

Lifestyle Modifications

Seizure Interruptions. Although auras do not occur in all individuals with seizure disorders, some people are aware of a change in their sensory perception (whether auditory, olfactory, sensory, visual, or gustatory, sometimes involving malaise, vertigo, or the sense of deja vu) that signals the onset of a seizure. Anecdotal reports indicate that some people have learned to interrupt their seizure process by replacing the aura-induced perception with another. In these individuals, the aura is a known signal of seizure onset. For example, if the aura is a smell or unpleasant odor, these individuals can often interrupt the seizure by immediately smelling something else (in general, something with a more pleasing smell than the aura).

Some people are able to take the interruption technique a step further. By simply relying on mental imagery (e.g., remembering a pleasant, positive smell), they can arrest a seizure. Some find that anger can effectively interrupt a seizure; they are able to arrest their seizures by yelling at them. Other individuals who have seizures with an observable onset pattern enlist a support person to shout at them or give them a quick shake when the pattern commences. The techniques that successfully “interrupt” an aura vary from patient to patient and must be performed at a specific time to stop the seizure (Wolf 1994). However, the use of aura interruption may be able to help reduce or eliminate seizures (Elsas et al. 2011).

Stress Reduction Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is a very important component of seizure prevention. Some scientists hypothesize that one major function of REM sleep is to reduce the brain’s susceptibility to epileptogenic influences (Jaseja H 2004). Stress reduction and relaxation techniques such as meditation may also aid in reducing seizures (Swinehart 2008).

Physical exercise can also be an important way to relieve stress that may be particularly beneficial for epileptics. Not only can exercise reduce stress, improve social integration and improve quality of life, regular physical exercise may directly help reduce seizure frequency (Arida et al. 2010). Physical exercise may “desensitize” neurons to emotional stress, helping avert seizures brought on by other triggers (Arida et al. 2009).

Biofeedback, another relaxation technique, can also be helpful. When the autonomic nervous system (or the involuntary nervous system) is in a state of overarousal, the likelihood of seizure activity can increase. Biofeedback is a technique that uses displays of some form of biological monitoring, such as an EEG, to help patients identify how their body responds to certain situations. By observing changes in EEG readings, patients are able to learn how to partially control the electrical activity in their brains and can develop the ability to reduce their risk of having seizures. Although most clinical trials involving biofeedback have been small (Tozzo CA et al 1988; Andrews DJ et al 1992; Ramaratnam S et al 2001), a comprehensive review of many studies found that biofeedback can provide significant relief for epileptics, particularly those that have not had success with anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) (Tan et al. 2009). On average, almost 75 percent of people who try EEG biofeedback for epilepsy will experience fewer seizures. Biofeedback using other biologic responses, such as slow cortical potential feedback and galvanic skin response has also been promising (Nagai 2011).

Other behavioral interventions may reduce seizure frequency as well. Yoga can improve quality of life and result in fewer seizures (Lundgren et al. 2008, Khan et al. 2010) Acupuncture may also be helpful in seizure prevention. A thorough review of published trials found that acupuncture may be beneficial, but that more and better designed studies need to be done (Cheuk 2008). Studies of the benefits of other relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy have also found a possible benefit (Ramaratnam 2004).


Disclaimer and Safety Information

This information (and any accompanying material) is not intended to replace the attention or advice of a physician or other qualified health care professional. Anyone who wishes to embark on any dietary, drug, exercise, or other lifestyle change intended to prevent or treat a specific disease or condition should first consult with and seek clearance from a physician or other qualified health care professional. Pregnant women in particular should seek the advice of a physician before using any protocol listed on this website. The protocols described on this website are for adults only, unless otherwise specified. Product labels may contain important safety information and the most recent product information provided by the product manufacturers should be carefully reviewed prior to use to verify the dose, administration, and contraindications. National, state, and local laws may vary regarding the use and application of many of the treatments discussed. The reader assumes the risk of any injuries. The authors and publishers, their affiliates and assigns are not liable for any injury and/or damage to persons arising from this protocol and expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

The protocols raise many issues that are subject to change as new data emerge. None of our suggested protocol regimens can guarantee health benefits. The publisher has not performed independent verification of the data contained herein, and expressly disclaim responsibility for any error in literature.

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