How can omega-3 help children with refractory epilepsy?

About one-third of people with epilepsy will develop refractory epilepsy: they will be treatment-resistant patients (people for which medicines don’t control the seizures). Because of the impact of seizures on physical, social and psychological functions, these people may have trouble at work or school and, may even, have injuries as a result of their seizures.

A special diet, called a ketogenic diet, may help control the seizures. This diet, medically supervised, may be used as a treatment option for some children with epilepsy. It is a very high fat, very low carbohydrate and moderate protein diet that ensures the body will burn fat instead of carbohydrate to obtain energy; this process produces ketones and, for some children, having a very high level of ketones in blood helps to reduce seizures. Fatty acids are the most important constituent of the ketogenic diet and, amongst these, polyunsaturated fatty acids increase anticonvulsant properties and reduce diet-associated complications.

Therefore, a diet enriched with polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) seems to increase diet-therapy efficacy and reduce high-fat diet complications in children with refractory epilepsy.