A recent study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry has found that low doses of fish oil may be beneficial in reducing the frequency of epileptic seizures, especially when no conventional treatment is effective.
The small study involving 24 people was conducted by the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California, and found that even though low doses are beneficial, high doses are no different to placebo doses.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to cross into the heart from the bloodstream. They have been found to stabilise heart rhythm and therefore provide protection from heart attacks. Those with epilepsy have a higher risk of heart attack and therefore this ability of omega-3 to protect against them is especially important to these people.
However it was the results of the 3 separate test samples given to the 24 people over the test that were of the most interest. Each daily dose sample was given to the test subjects for 10 weeks with a six week break between each. The first sample was the low dose fish oil (equivalent to 1080mg omega-3), the second was high dose (equivalent to 2160mg omega-3) and the third was the placebo of corn oil.
Each of the 24 people were epileptics who were no longer responding to conventional drug treatments.
It was found that over the test period, the low dose averaged only 12 epileptic seizures per month, whilst the high dose averaged 17 and the placebo around 18.In fact, over the trial two of the test subjects displayed no seizures at all whilst on the low dose fish oil.
The study was only small and will need more work, but it also found that over the trial the low dose fish oil reduced blood pressure by nearly 2mm Hg whilst the high dose increased it by slightly less than 2 mm Hg.
The next step is obviously a much larger study to clarify and confirm the results but low doses of fish oil do not seem to cause any harm and may in fact be very beneficial, especially to those with epilepsy.
One thing that seems to come out of this study is a confirmation that sometimes we only need to have a little of something to make a big difference.
Written by Rachelle Williams, The Green Food Safety Coach.