Epilepsy and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

September 21, 2007


Schlanger, S., et al. Diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acids alleviates convulsion symptoms in epilepsy patients. Epiplepsia. 43(1): 103-104, 2002.
Yuen, Alan W.C., et al. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in patients with chronic epilepsy: A randomized trial. Epilepsy & Behaviour. 7: 253-258, 2005.


Epilepsy is a disorder in which the sufferer experiences transient but reoccurring disturbances in brain function. These disturbances may or may not result in loss or impairment of consciousness and or abnormal movement and behaviour.

An intervention study in a mental health institution supplemented five patients with a flavoured omega-3 rich spread providing 1.46g DHA and 0.59g EPA daily for six months (Schlanger et al. 2002). These patients suffered from epilepsy secondary to a variety of other diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). The authors found a considerable decrease in the frequency and strength of grand mal (GM) and petit mal (PM) seizures in all patients. Furthermore, no adverse affects were exhibited by the patients. A more recent randomized placebo-controlled group trial involved 57 epileptic patients who were taking anti-epileptic drugs and assigned to either daily supplementation of 1.7g omega-3 fatty acids (DHA= 0.7 g, EPA= 1.0 g) or control for twelve weeks. A larger portion of the patients receiving the omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (5/29) had at least a 50% decrease in seizures during the first six weeks as compared to those receiving the placebo (0/27) (Yuen et al. 2005).

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