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Vitamin D deficiency: Low levels could increase worrying seizures symptoms – what to spot

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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin used by the body for normal bone development and maintenance by increasing the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. About one billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency.

It has been found that during the winter, 30-40 percent of people in the general population and belonging to all age groups are vitamin D deficient.

Near the end of the summer months, 13 percent of adolescents and 8 percent of adults are vitamin D deficient.

The intake of vitamin D and its status are imperative for overall health and wellbeing, as well as for bone and calcium-phosphate metabolism.

A study published in the National Library of Health, the correction of a vitamin D deficiency in helping to improve seizure control in epilepsy was analysed.

The study showed that correcting vitamin D deficiency reduced seizures in people with epilepsy.

Only one of the 13 people in the study had sufficient vitamin D levels at the start of the study.

All were provided with supplemental vitamin D based on their blood levels.

Each person was checked during the study to make sure that the vitamin D levels normalized and didn’t become toxic.

Seizures were recorded 90 days before and after individuals received the supplemental vitamin D.

Research in animals has also shown that vitamin D may play a role in seizures.

The study also found that:

  • 10 of the 13 participants experienced fewer seizures with vitamin D supplements.
  • Two of the 13 experienced more seizures and one had no change.
  • Five of the 13 experienced a 50 percent or greater reduction in overall seizures from baseline.

In addition to potential seizure control, there is preliminary evidence that vitamin D may also play a role in sudden unexpected death epilepsy (SUDEP).

Another large study involving 2,300 people, sudden cardiac death was twice as high for those with vitamin D levels below 20 ng/dl compared to individuals with levels above 20 ng/dl

Researchers hypothesise one possible cause of SUDEP is irregular heart rhythm.

Seizure symptoms include:

  • Staring
  • Jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • Stiffening of the body
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Breathing problems or stopping breathing
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Falling suddenly for no apparent reason, especially when associated with loss of consciousness.

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