Omega-3 and epilepsy


Anyone can develop epilepsy, it happens in all ages (but is most commonly diagnosed in people under 20 and people over 65). Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which the normal pattern of neuronal activity becomes disturbed, sometimes causing convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. In some people, this happens only occasionally; for others, it may happen up to hundreds of times a day. Seizures can cause brain damage if they are severe, but most of them do not seem to have a detrimental effect on the brain. In any case, children who have epilepsy have to be careful in places where they could get hurt if they have a seizure.

Diet has demonstrated to be an effective treatment in the management of seizure disorders and, with respect to epilepsy, there is evidence suggesting the importance of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in its treatment. Recent studies in animal models have shown that they can raise the threshold of epileptic seizures. Approximately one-third of patients with epilepsy do not achieve seizure control with the available drugs, and many of them experience adverse drug effects.

In children with medically resistant epilepsy, supplementation with fish oil (containing long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids [EPA + DHA]) elevated the seizure threshold, reducing the frequency of epileptic seizures. In epileptic patients, supplementation with fish oil may help in achieving seizure control.



Reda DM, Abd-El-Fatah NK, Omar Tel-S et al. Fish Oil Intake and Seizure Control in Children with Medically Resistant Epilepsy. N Am J Med Sci. 2015 Jul;7(7):317-21. doi: 10.4103/1947-2714.161248.