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Vitamin D Supplementation Recommended for People With Epilepsy

People with epilepsy are at a higher risk of osteoporosis and are also two to six times more likely to suffer from fractures due to seizures, poor balance, inactivity, low bone mineral density, and poor calcium intake. A recent study suggests that people with epilepsy who are taking anti epileptic drugs should consider taking vitamin D supplements, as they are at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency and poor bone health. 

Participants in the study included 596 epilepsy patients with a mean age of 41. The same two clinicians at the Emory University Epilepsy Center treated all of the patients from 2008 to 2011. Fifty-six percent of them were women, 55% Caucasian, 34% Black, 2% Asian, and 7% Unknown.

While 32% of the US general population is vitamin D deficient, the researchers found that 45% of the patients with epilepsy who were taking antiepileptic drugs (AED) were vitamin deficient. For this study, deficiency was considered to be less than 20 ng/ml. The mean vitamin D level for the AED patients was 22.5 ng/ml.

The results also differed based on which types of AEDs the patients were on. Fifty-four percent of those who took enzyme-inducing AEDs were deficient, whereas only 37% on non-enzyme inducing AEDs were deficient. 

Researchers from Emory Healthcare, Emory University, and Stanford University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 6, 2014, in Epilepsy Research.

Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.


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