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Vitamin B12 & Seizures

by
author image Adam Cloe
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.
Vitamin B12 & Seizures
A soluble tablet of vitamin B12 sits in a glass of water on a white counter. Photo Credit Anna Khomulo/iStock/Getty Images

Abnormal electrical activity in the brain triggers seizures, and can be caused by a variety of health problems, including epilepsy, tumors, vitamin deficiencies and other abnormalities. Vitamin B-12 is important for people suffering from seizures because of its role in maintaining the health of neurons. However, vitamin supplements should not be used as a substitute for a doctor's care.

Vitamin B-12 Function

Vitamin B-12 is bound to the protein in animal based foods and is ultimately absorbed by the intestines. You need adequate amounts of vitamin B-12 to make DNA and to synthesize new red blood cells. It is also needed to make myelin, a protective covering that covers the nerves in your body and speeds nerve transmissions. A lack of vitamin B-12 can result in nerve damage due to a loss of myelin.

Vitamin B-12 and Seizures

If you do not get enough vitamin B-12, you may develop seizures. A case report published in a 2004 issue of "Neurology India" presented the case of a 26-year-old man who developed recurrent seizures. After he was diagnosed with a vitamin B-12 deficiency and was treated with B-12 supplements, the seizures went away. However, this particular manifestation of a vitamin B-12 deficiency is rare.

Anticonvulsants and Vitamin B-12

If you have epilepsy or some other disorder that causes seizures, you may be treated with medications known as anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsants help reduce the amount of activity going on in your brain and can help prevent the aberrant electrical currents that cause seizures. Some anticonvulsant medications can deplete the amount of vitamin B-12 in your body. As a result, if you are being treated for seizures, you may need to take vitamin B-12 supplements to prevent a deficiency.

Considerations

While a lack of vitamin B-12 can cause neurological problems, seizures due to a vitamin B-12 deficiency are very rare. If you develop seizures, it is essential that you seek medical attention, as a seizure may be a sign of a serious underlying disorder. Talk to your doctor before treating seizures with vitamin B-12 or any other supplement.

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