Intestinal Irritation And Seizures

Polly: All too often, seizures are a topic on the Internet autism lists. Part of the problem may be the intestinal irritation that is so prevalent in autism. The Meridian Institute has shown that epileptic seizures can be due to adhesions in the lymphatic ducts surrounding the intestine. Deborah Taylor reports, “When absorbed food encounters these strictures, caused by adhesions, they irritate these strictures causing spasmodic reactions. These are then referred by neurological pathways to the cerebral cortex, initiating a seizure.” [49]

Autism Interventions 45 Couple this with the fact that Dr. Wakefield found lymphoid nodular hyperplasia (swollen lymph tissue) in the intestines of autistic children. Since oils are easily absorbed into the lymph system, perhaps one should be particularly careful about which oils are used in the diet. (See the chapter on oils in Book 3 for some properties of different oils.)

Intestinal irritation can induce seizures. So logically one would want to reduce inflammation and irritation. There are many agents that may help do this. However, to be on the safe side, I wouldn’t pick bioflavonoids as an antiinflammatory agent. Bioflavonoids have some estrogen-like properties, and estrogen promotes seizures. (See the leaky gut chapter in Book 2, and the oil chapter in Book 3 for some ideas on how to lower intestinal inflammation without resorting to bioflavonoids.)

Seizures In General

Polly: Anything that interferes with metabolism could promote seizures. Examples of things that interfere with metabolism are: too much unsaturated oil, not enough thyroid, too much estrogen, not enough B6, lack of glucose, lack of oxygen, and/or not enough magnesium. Susceptibility to seizures is also increased by water retention, low sodium, running, strong emotions, or unusual sensory stimulation. Hyperventilation with its loss of carbon dioxide is associated with seizure activity.

Of all the possible alternative treatments, magnesium, B6, and taurine are perhaps the most well-known. They should probably be among the first interventions tried. However, there are many things to try.

1. Progesterone is known to be protective. [50]

2. Avoid estrogen, phytoestrogens and pseudoestrogens (pesticides).

3. The amino acid glycine is used to treat epilepsy, as well as to treat depression, and hyperactivity. [51] However, glycine can feed certain intestinal bacteria and yeast, so glycine isn’t always appropriate.

4. Doris Rapp, MD, author of the book Is this your Child?, gives examples where allergies and even electromagnetic radiation can set off seizures in susceptible children.

5. Getting rid of the pesticides and chemical cleaners in your house would be a good idea. Shaklee and Neways make environmentally safe cleaning products. (Pesticides have estrogen-like properties.)

6. Pregnenolone might be helpful. Ward Dean, MD, has an article at his website on using nutrition to control seizures. See [52] He mentions that there is one dramatic case in which pregnenolone controlled seizures that had plagued a woman for 50 years. (This is only one anecdotal report without confirmation or other examples.)

7. Ward Dean also mentions the use of taurine, DMG (di-methyl-glycine), GABA, B6, B1, folic acid, magnesium, selenium (to help increase glutathione peroxidase), Kava Kava, and a gluten-free diet in the control of epilepsy. Although these substances might be helpful for an individual, one must always be careful. In particular GABA or DMG, if in excess, could be harmful.

8. Since certain anti-epileptic drugs deplete carnitine, this amino acid must be supplemented in some cases. Be careful with the amount used. Too much or too little carnitine can promote seizures.

9. The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) has an interesting Hope for Autism through Nutrition The Health Forum—Book 5 46 perspective. They feel that seizure medication is often damaging and can actually cause seizures. Instead of medication, they use training techniques to help heal the brain.

10. Dr. Freeman has written a book about a high fat diet to control epilepsy. It is a carefully regulated diet with four times as much fat as protein and carbohydrates combined. The book is titled The Epilepsy Diet Treatment: An Introduction to the Ketogenic Diet, Demos Publications, 1994, New York (Maltz, 1994). The publisher’s phone number is (800) 532-8663. For additional information on the diet see

11. The estrogen in animal fat could pose a problem. So only purchase meat where you know that hormones have not been given. Animals fed grains are usually exposed to more pesticides than those fed grass.

12. The saturated fats are protective, especially the lauric acid found in coconut oil. (If you try coconut oil, only use a teaspoon to start. Give your body a chance to get used to it.)

13. Give thyroid if appropriate.

14. Adequate salt is needed. Salt in the diet is particularly important because sodium and chloride are needed for the transport of taurine to the brain.

15. Taurine normalizes brain amino acids, and is particularly important in the treatment of seizures.

16. Threonine also has anti-seizure properties. It is closely related to glycine. [53]

17. Get rid of the intestinal irritation.

To see what the patients are finding helpful, take a look at the testimonials from patients here, messages.

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