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Fish Oil & Epilepsy

By William Gamonski

Epilepsy is a condition that affects brain activity and results in repeated seizures. Patients with epilepsy are usually prescribed medications, but research indicates that fish oil might have beneficial effects for epileptics. Fish oil, which contains docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, may be effective for reducing seizure frequency. Consult your health care provider before consuming fish oil supplements.

DHA Status

Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine studied the DHA status of patients with uncontrolled epilepsy. They measured the blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with and without refractory complex partial seizures, a type of seizure resistant to medication. Scientists discovered that patients with refractory complex partial seizures had significantly lower DHA levels compared to those without it, according to the Science Daily website.

Chronic Epilepsy

In research published in the September 2005 issue of the journal “Epilepsy Behavior,” scientists from UCL Institute of Neurology in the United Kingdom studied the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in patients with chronic epilepsy. For 12 weeks, participants were assigned 1 g of EPA and 0.7 g of DHA or a placebo. Scientists discovered that the EPA and DHA experienced decreases in seizure frequency compared to the placebo group.

Seizure Frequency

Scientists from the Kalanit Institute in Israel examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on the frequency of seizures in epileptic patients. For six months, patients received a bread spread containing 5 g of omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers reported in the April 2002 issue of the journal “Epilepsia,” that participants experienced a decrease in seizure frequency.


Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may interfere with several medications, including diabetes medications, blood thinning medications and cyclosporine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center website. Confer with your health care provider before taking omega-3 supplements, especially if you are pregnant or taking medications.

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