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Fish Oil can Reduce the Frequency of Seizures for Epileptic Patients

Update Date: Sep 09, 2014 01:20 PM EDT

The health benefits of taking fish oil supplements have been debated over the past few years. According to a new study, taking the right amount of fish oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, can be beneficial for people with epilepsy.

For this study, the research team recruited 24 people who had epilepsy. The participants did not respond to current drug treatments. They were given three different kinds of treatments, with each one lasting 10 weeks. The time between treatments was six weeks.

The first treatment plan required the participants to take three fish oil pills, which amounted to 1080 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, and three corn oil capsules per day. The second plan involved taking six capsules of fish oil, which was equivalent to 2160 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, each day. This dosage was considered high. The last treatment involved only three corn oil capsules, which acted as a placebo, taken two times a day.

The researchers found that people on the low-dose fish oil treatment had an average of 12 seizures per month. Participants on the high-dose fish oil plan had an average of 17 seizures per month whereas people taking the placebo suffered from an average of 18 seizures per month. Two people in the low-dose group were seizure-free during the 10 weeks of treatment. No one from the other groups became seizure-free.

The team added that low-dose fish oil helped reduce blood pressure whereas high-dose fish oil increased blood pressure. Fish oil in general was not associated with any changes in heart rate, blood fat levels, or the severity of the seizures.

"Low dose fish oil is a safe and low cost intervention that may reduce seizures and improve cardiovascular health in people with epilepsy," the authors concluded according to the press release.

The researchers added that more studies should be conducted to examine this link further. The study, "Fish oil may help to reduce seizure frequency in drug resistant epilepsy," was published in the British Medical Journal.

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