Forget Carpe Diem…
“…we need to dispel one myth promulgated by the medical profession: that prescribed medication and/or brain surgery are the only effective ways to treat seizures.”
“A seizure can be a response to stress, hypoxia (low oxygen), poorly controlled diabetes, alcoholism, drugs, low blood sugar, food allergies, even heart problems.”
Epilepsy is a condition believed to be rooted in the malfunction of electrical activity within the brain, via the nerves. It is diagnosed by the presence of recurrent seizures and tests such as the EEG which measures your electrical activity while noting abnormal variations. Putting a name to a condition and labeling the afflicted is easy, but treating and preventing it seems completely unattainable.
Can lifestyle modifications in diet, exercise, and stress ease the pressure to find a cure and eliminate our need to tinker with our surroundings in order to heal the internal? Do we become stuck with a diagnosis or do we choose sit and eat with it every day for the rest of our lives (pun possibly intended)?
It is estimated that one to two out of every 100 in America have epilepsy and a Columbia University study has linked epilepsy with migraines. It found that 11% of the general public experience migraines compared to the twenty percent of epileptics. Sugar, chocolate, dairy, caffeine, and white flour, which can all be found in a nicely packaged factory produced square nowadays, are triggers to both epilepsy and migraines.
Patricia writes: “…they discover that a very small portion of food, far less than they previously ate, will start symptoms again.” We are designed to eat a certain way, we cannot be redesigned in order to fulfill some money-making scheme. We can and do become altered, both at the cellular level and at the environmental level, but never do we become redesigned.
The Lancet has directly linked gliadin to eighteen different medical conditions, including epilepsy, autism, and celiac disease. Gliadin is believed to be the portion of the gluten protein found in grains that is responsible for our inability to properly digest it. We as a people (probably everyone) lack this ability to some extent and in referencing the results from the Italian Working Group Study, this becomes something we cannot ignore.
Seventy-seven percent of the patients (patients had cerebral calcification and epilepsy) had the symptoms of celiac disease. Not everyone is affected to the extent where the antibody reaction to gliadin produces an unobliging internal environment of inflammation, but everyone is indeed affected. Can seizures be the end result of a disrupted gastrointestinal tract? I would rank this at a more than a maybe.
“I hold milk and milk products to be absolute poison for anyone with any neurological disorder,” Dr. Robert Fried. Patricia writes that milk (cow) contains about twenty-five different proteins, five of which have been consistently linked with food allergies.
Patricia expands a bit on a very interesting concept of how milk can have deleterious effects on our health and be a promoter of epileptic activity. Acid base balance is literally part of the equilibrium that is kept within our bodies. It is this system that works diligently to counteract and maintain certain pH levels (7.35-7.45 are usually the accepted values), and it is the calcium in milk that depletes our very own calcium, thus disrupting this internal harmony.
As calcium is used up via acid base balance, acidosis is what results, and this is a “calamity for seizure sufferers.” No need to worry yet, our body has compensatory mechanisms that can correct and regulate this system and according to Patricia, the kidneys are responsible for 35% of the workload and the rest is covered by our lungs. Take a deep breath and let it ease itself out slowly.
There’s no debate, your brain needed that, as well as every cell within your body. We are not equipped with the ability to breath only a couple times a day or even not at all. We are equipped in a way that our brain regulates the breathing process, a process in itself that goes about like a tip-toer in the background. We do have the ability to make adjustments: deep breathing, holding our breath, gasping… but each has its consequences (positive or negative).
As we become acidotic due to our body’s inability to adapt to what the dairy industry suckered us into, our lungs compensate by hyperventilating. Rapid breathing restores the balance (positive), but constricts blood vessels throughout the body and in our very vascular brain (negative). Our vessels transport blood, our blood transports oxygen and nutrients, and our vessels are now constricted!
Various body parts will scream for that oxygen and nutrients, but due to the compensatory maintenance, they must endure. This is why Patricia believes that milk can possibly be a causative agent for seizure activity. Seizures are your body telling you something is not right, whether your epilepsy was caused by trauma or by unknown reasons, something is obviously out of whack.
William Philpott, M.D.: “fifty percent of seizures may be related to maladaptive reactions to foods, chemicals, or inhalants.” Patricia refers to these effects on the central nervous system as being brain allergies. Whether the brain allergy is induced by milk, eggs, wheat, or another environmental toxin, it can cause people to become confused, act drunk, or even have a seizure.
Kids can be tormented with:
- Learning Disabilities
- Inability to Concentrate
Adults can suffer from:
- Manic depression
- Other Mental Disorders
Whether or not you choose to believe these connections, you should take allergies seriously.
A double-blind placebo controlled study in which a food regiment was followed to remove possible food allergens, further exposed food as a likely culprit. When re-introduced with the food, fifteen out of the sixteen participants had their symptoms reappear. The placebo group, given foods that were not deemed allergenic, had no reappearance of their symptoms.
Patricia recommends a rotating diet in order to avoid food sensitivities and she writes that sometimes it is not due to a poor diet, but malabsorption. My opinion, a rotating diet eliminates the causative agent some of the times, but never completely, and it is a poor diet and inefficient lifestyle that leads to an inflamed and over-burdened gut.
Walter Alvarez, M.D. took a retrospective look at the effects of alcohol on families. He found that 38% of the epileptics had a higher presence of alcoholism within the family compared to the presence of additional epileptics. Alcohol is a poison, an addiction, and its effects on neurotransmitters are similar to those of sugar, white flour, and refined carbs. Withdrawal from alcohol can lead delirium tremens, which is Latin for “shaking frenzy” (need I say more).
It is estimated that Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee each and every day. Like alcohol, coffee adversely affects blood sugar by raising it. Coffee is a stimulant and it amplifies your dependency through its addictive pull, and on a lighter note, it also helps constrict blood vessels so they cannot get sufficient oxygen and nutrients to the rest of your body. Withdrawal symptoms are then fledged throughout your body, and include headaches (possible coincidence?).
Patricia terms sugar (refined/unnatural) as “antinutrition” because it uses up vitamin stores and corrupts lipid metabolism. “Complex carbohydrates in most fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, break down into glucose more slowly than other carbohydrates” (also great sources of fiber) whereas simple carbs, such as those found in pastries, french fries, and pizza, bring constipation and low blood sugar levels along for the ride—constipation and low blood sugars are two common symptoms in epilepsy.
R. B. Allen believes that 50-90% of epileptics experience constant or periodic low blood sugar levels. Specific foods hit the system too quickly and yield an overproduction of insulin which drops your sugar levels. So, what happens when your body does not get its much needed supply of fuel?
- Inability to concentrate
- And even seizures
Fruit often gets lumped into this category too, but Patricia notes that fructose, the fruit sugar, accounts for only 5% of the net weight for most fruits.
SENSE OF TASTE
Yet again, another author (Patricia) mentions reorientation of our sense of taste, leaving artificially sweetened and manipulated foods tasting too sweet or even unbearable. These sugars provide no vitamins, minerals, enzymes, or fibers, yet they can be found everywhere:
- Canned Goods
- Iodized Salt
- Frozen Fruits & Veggies
As mentioned above, fiber plays an all-so-important role in removing bodily wastes. If a diet constantly consists of a bombardment of non-nutritious and pro-inflammatory substances while lacking a good source of fiber, this trashy food will park itself in the garage (gut) and remain running (disaster-to-be). Your body will do a dandy job in trying to eliminate these wastes, but an insufficient diet disallows it of this ability. These wastes will recirculate and the brain is a future stop…
“…when brain cells are exposed to these substances, they can become overly excited and fire very rapidly until they are exhausted to death,” Dr. Robert Blaylock.
“…chronic exposure to them can cause increasing damage.”
From what I learned in school over the years, especially college, I came to understand that our brains have the best defense system around. This defense system was responsible for blocking certain drugs and postponing the acceptance of others (SSRTIs, etc…). I learned that the blood brain barrier was impenetrable and this concept become impenetrable in of itself and I felt no need to delve any deeper.
According to Patricia though, some parts of the brain are not as protected as we would like them to be and they can even function as a “backdoor” access point to the rest of the brain. One such part, the hypothalamus, can apparently be affected by:
- Various Toxins
- Excitatory Proteins
- Low Blood Sugar
MSG, a taste enhancer, found often with these labelings…
- No MSG - my favorite for obvious reasons
- Natural Flavoring
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
…is an excitotoxin. High doses have been shown to cause cell death, low doses cause impairments over time, and the FDA only requires ingredients to be listed if they make up at least one percent of the total product. At this rate, companies can stick just about anything they wish into a product and you would never know, and if they did list it, a misleading label would prompt no further investigation.
In a safety report on MSG for the FDA: “motor disturbances and changes in seizure threshold have been noted in numerous studies,” yet it was deemed safe. Glutamate (MSG) has the ability to slowly seep through the “impenetrable” barrier of the brain and also the placenta. Yes, your children are not spared from its deathly grasp. If there is one thing neurologists know about newborns and children in general, it is that their brains are growing at amazing rates. Does it help to know that glutamate can be found in formulas, vitamins, and medications?
Another excitotoxin, aspartame, has been “accused of causing more than ninety side effects and contributing to brain damage, seizures, and cancer.” An astounding 80% of FDA food complaints have been about aspartame, yet you can find it on labels today. Between 1973 and 1990, those over 65 years of age have been dealt a blow: brain tumors are up 67%!
Aspartame has also been shown to increase the brain levels of phenylalanine and methanol. Methanol is converted to formic acid and formaldehyde, two “powerful neurotoxins.” Just as with MSG, aspartame is also capable of crossing the placental barrier and…
Aspartame has also been shown to increase free radicals (highly reactive substances).
Nutrasweet, a deceiving name, an unnatural sweetener, and utilizer of aspartame, has funded studies which were submitted to FDA to “prove” the efficacy of aspartame use. Funding for studies from the company that would be directly affected by the results is often thought to be off kilter. Not only did Monsanto, who owns Nutrasweet, fund these studies, they also hired government officials who approved them to work for Nutrasweet afterwards. Some of these studies showed evidence of the development of brain tumors and or death in mice… but this offers no proof of causing tumors within humans(?)!
“Since pesticides purpose is to kill living organisms, what potential effect might it have on humans, especially humans prone to seizures.” Some “interfere with biochemical interactions in the brain and cause seizures,” Mary Gilbert, M.D.
If animal studies show that even low-level injections and cause seizure activity, why do we allow such things as baby foods to have these pesticides within them. We wonder why disease is on the rise, I wonder why a toxin that was banned in 1920(!) can be found in baby food (oh yeah, less than one percent…). It was the Environmental Working Group Study that found sixteen pesticide residues within eight commonly eaten baby foods (Gerber, Heinz, and Beechnut).
It is recommended that you buy organic foods because “exposure over a prolonged period is more insidious and harder to detect” and organic foods have been found to be 75% richer in minerals.
Heavy metals weigh in on the toxic side too. Mercury has been shown to cause:
- Birth Defects
- Brain Damage
- Linked to various types of Mental Disturbances
Do not take it lightly when the media portrays some parents as quacks because they believe vaccinations are derailing their children. Instead, take a stand, and become informed about it. Some things sound crazy when they are interpreted by the uninformed, uneducated, and unopened minds of society, but with studies that can link aluminum to brain damage and nervous system disruption, can we actually sit quietly?
Aluminum found in:
- Table Salts
- Some Flours
Patricia briefly mentions GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) or “frankenfoods,” as they call them in Europe. Long story short: these foods have had their DNA altered (by us), and DNA is the substance responsible for the “me-ness” or pretty much everything in every living thing.
Patricia goes into great detail about the benefits of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids with epilepsy and shares valuable information about each. A diet specifically produced for use by epileptics, the ketogenic diet, was touched upon next.
“Dr. Freeman says that several children have died as a result of unsupervised ketogenic diets.” “The diet is not nutritionally adequate, so multivitamins and mineral supplements…” I do share these quotes from this book in order to scare you and I urge you to recognize and acknowledge the seriousness of nutrition and your dietary choices.
Ketones are the residue or waste products of metabolized fats. In school, I learned about ketones and their relation to diabetes (DKA: diabetic ketoacidosis). DKA is a condition that is not sought after in the diabetic community, it is feared and treated as an emergency. So, how can epileptics profit where diabetics would shrivel?
Unlike diabetics, those with epilepsy do not have a diagnosed blood sugar condition and they may be able to more appropriately handle this emergency situation. That is my highly speculative opinion and it likely overshoots by quite a bit. My theory rattles the rim because this diet does indeed put the body in an overly awkward situational crisis.
Awkward because it seems to dissipate seizure activity while encouraging unhealthy consumption simultaneously. Some studies do back this diet up though: One from the 1930s: “completely controlled seizures in 50% of children on diet and markedly improved seizure control in 75%.” Another followed children aged 1-16 years for one year and found that 50% had greater than a 50% reduction while 27% of the studied population experienced a 90% reduction (Children averaged 410 seizures/month and tried six medications on average, prior to the study).
This diet lost a ton of grounding with the introduction of anticonvulsants, but is this the classic swap one evil for another? Our lives and our health should not be compromised due to our inability to negotiate our needs.
The ketogenic diet consists of:
- Getting 90% of your calories from fat
- Butter, oil, heavy/whipped butter
- Entertaining a low protein and low carb appetite
- Avoiding all sugar
- Restriction of fluids – 1 oz/lb of body weight
A high fat diet has also been associated with:
- Stunted growth
- Elevated cholesterol
If I haven’t scared you yet, it may benefit you to reread the last few paragraphs.
Patricia also mentions that children fare better with this diet because children have a greater ability (4-5x) to extract ketones from the blood to the brain.
“…forced to burn fat instead of sugar.” To me, this diet is like trying to fix your mother’s most cherished and recently chipped vase with a sledge hammer. You cannot force your body to do anything without some kind of consequence. Seizure activity may diminish, but other illnesses are surely sneaking their way in. I do not know much more about this diet than what was presented in the book, but it would be interesting to see how different diets affect epilepsy (vegetarian, vegan, etc…). In short, I do not find this option to be very appealing, let alone healthy.
“You can have the best diet in the world, but if you are self abusive, anxious, or unhappy, your nervous system and digestive system may suffer.”
Patricia shares that “stress is a leading cause of seizures” and offers insight into various ‘stress busters’:
- Progressive Relaxation
- A meditation study resulted in one third less seizures for those who meditated for the three months, unlike the control group.
Breathing is so amazing, so complex, and so simple in that we can control it, alter it permanently or periodically, and because it can dramatically change us. “Breathing deeply from the diaphragm comes naturally to healthy babies. Unfortunately, many of us lose this natural capacity when we get older and acquire poor breathing habits.”
As mentioned in my article about fibromyalgia, a body that is constantly stressed or in the ‘fight or flight’ mode, has a diminished ability to heal itself and promote relaxation. Deep breathing turns on this relaxation response and settles the storm, and with time, it wards off future storms.
There are four types of brain waves (mentioned):
- Beta – awake, concentration, and possibly anxious
- Alpha – awake and relaxed
- Lower levels in Epileptics.
- Theta – drowsy and before sleep
- Thought to induce seizures.
- Delta waves – sleep
“Ironically, seizures while exercising are rare, and overall, exercise helps reduce seizures.” You do not have to fear the hyperventilation effects of exercise either, this occurrence has been shown to improve the EEG reading (measures electrical activity within the brain). Patricia recommends that you do not exercise within four hours of sleepy time though.
Migraines and seizures are often accompanied by auras and Patricia offers a very interesting tactic in using auras to defend against the approaching seizure. She recommends attacking them directly:
- Deep breathing to calm yourself.
- Smelling something else (if it is a smell aura).
- Pin-pricking above the tingling or tickling sensation of the aura.
- We can also attack seizures with our sleep (another leading cause of seizures).
One study found that 78 out 88 children achieved disappearance of epilepsy and migraines when food allergies were removed.
In a study with greater than two million subjects, the general population was found to have a 33% higher fertility rate when compared to epileptic women. According to Patricia, estrogen is a pro-convulsant, progesterone has a seizure protective effect, and this is likely linked to why 30% of epileptic women report catamenial (menstrual-related) seizures. Women tend to accumulate water a few days before they menstruate in order to be prepared for the eventual fluid loss, this is a buildup of pressure that can cause premenstrual seizure activity.
To help alleviate menopausal symptoms, Patricia recommends:
- Reducing meat, alcohol, sugar, and refined carbs.
38-71% of epileptic men been found to be hyposexual and have lower fertility rates. In one study, men who ate organic food produced 43% more sperm.
ELDERY & CONCLUSION
Patricia writes that the incidence of epileptic seizures rises dramatically after the age of sixty and that this may be due to the build up of unhealthy practices and habits over time. In my opinion, this is no coincidence. How can it be a coincidence that a disease process typically takes greater control of its host at a specific age? It cannot.
Our daily choices affect how many tomorrows we will have. We can have as many tomorrows as we set out to have, but we often lack the ability to achieve something tomorrow that can be achieved today (Now!). Do not put your natural pursuit of health and your intertwining relationship with the natural world onto tomorrow’s to do list. Carpe vitam (seize the life) because carpe diem (seize the day) is just not enough. Life is a daily process, ignorance occurs in weeks, months, years, and lifetimes. Grab hold and seize life for all of its purpose.
Do you have epilepsy (share what has worked for you)?
Do you know anyone with epilepsy?
Is it possible to heal naturally, or can we only benefit from what we create?
What are your feelings about this topic and health in general?