Back in November I wrote quite a lengthy post about my success at convincing my neurology team to allow me to come off some if not all of my medications. As of now, it’s been 11 months since I started tapering off one of the two medications I’ve taken for epilepsy.
It’s been a long and sometimes stressful stretch of time. I will admit that at the beginning I sometimes thought I could feel a seizure just on the threshold but nothing ever came up. I think a lot of it had to do with me paying full attention to how I was feeling at all times and that sort of diligence can be quite exhausting to tell you the truth.
Over the months, I have experienced moments like that but I’ve come to realize that they do not in fact lead to a breakout seizure. That brain fog seems to coincide with certain lifestyle aspects that I may have neglected one or even two days prior.
In my case, the main thing I’ve notice that has the greatest impact on how I feel would be my sleep. I’ve talked about this before, but if I don’t get at minimum of 9 hours and preferably 10 hours of sleep per night, I definitely notice a difference almost immediately throughout the next day. If I let this continue and don’t get enough sleep for several nights in a row, my symptoms only worsen. So I’ve made it a point to try and hit that quota each night.
While I’ve successfully been able to identify certain lifestyle aspects that affect my seizure threshold, I still didn’t feel that I was doing 100%. A little while ago, my mom had sent me an article that discussed the efficacy of fish oil for treatment of absence seizures, which is the exact type that I have.
Since then I’ve done a hefty amount of research and discovered there are multiple sources that talk about the benefits of regular fish oil supplementation for epilepsy. An article published last month from Clinical Neurology News reports daily low-dose fish oil capsules reduced seizure frequency by 33.6% in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy in a single-center, randomized, trial.
Logan and I met up and we discussed the information I had been reading and he was intrigued. Especially since the majority of the Orignal Nutritionals clientele are athletes or at the very least, lead a very active lifestyle and aren’t necessarily trying to treat a complex medical condition. So, I got my first bottle of Functional 03 that day and began my plan for fish oil supplementation.
I had taken fish oil supplements before. Well before I discovered CrossFit and Paleo, my mom suggested that I take it to help with my overall health, she really was ahead of her time when it came to this kind of stuff. If only I hadn’t been such a young punk and listened to her back then. Oh well, live and learn right?
Even still, I choked down a couple capsules a day of poor quality fish oil and I did feel better overall. Slightly. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, my overall health wasn’t all that important to me at the time so I stopped taking it.
The problem was, back then, fish oil could only be found in capsule form and it wasn’t very potent. Usually had about 100-150 mg of the two most common omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) COMBINED per 1000mg capsule. That’s extremely low. Original Nutritionals for example, has 825mg EPA and 550mg DHA per TEASPOON.
Fish oil capsules also came with a particularly unappetizing side effect: the dreaded fish oil burps. Those were bad enough to turn most people off fish oil completely and certainly me back then and from what I understand, they’re also people’s number 1 reason for not taking regular fish oil.
Once I discovered (and subsequently became obsessed with) CrossFit, I started reading more and more about the benefits of fish oil consumption. I began taking the fish oil capsules again only this time I was following a much higher dosage. Which resulted in taking up to 15 capsules per day…if I thought the fish oil burps were bad before…
The really nice thing about the fish oil from Original Nutritionals other than the potency of course, is that it’s a mild tasting liquid oil. No capsules to swallow. Which also means it’s digested faster and thus, NO FISH BURPS!!
All I need to do is take 1-2 teaspoons a day, usually in the morning for me and I get more than enough omega 3’s to reap their benefits. So essentially, it’s easier to take and there’s no dreading when those fish oil burps will show up…because they never do.
Fish Oil is a potent Anti inflammatory. Particularly EPA which acts much the same way as pharmaceutical grade drugs like corticosteroids. EPA is an inhibitor of the enzyme delta-5-desaturase (D5D) that produces arachidonic acid (AA), which is necessary to produce pro-inflammatories in the body.
This powerful anti inflammatory effect would explain that even though I’ve been much more active while living in Vancouver, my nearly 3-year ankle injury hasn’t been a problem whatsoever (I’m walking an average of 15,000 steps every day). I’m also noticing much less aches in my joints, particularly my knees and aforementioned ankle, and I seem to recover faster from days where I’m particularly active.
My cognitive function has drastically improved since I’ve been taking Functional O3. Even with a mentally taxing job as a visual effects artist, I’ve noticed that my memory, mental quickness and overall focus are vastly improved. Before, I struggled somewhat in all 3 aspects.
This improvement is helped by the EPA in my Functional O3 dosage due to its anti-inflammatory properties but the main factor in my cognitive and neurological performance boost is due to the high levels of DHA in this fish oil.
Where EPA has an anti inflammatory component, DHA has neuro protective qualities. Including, brain development as a child, aiding in short term memory, visual acuity and even help slow or reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s. There’s even strong evidence suggesting the link between DHA deficiencies and mood disorders.
Another major change I’ve noticed in the positive category is that my mood has greatly improved overall since taking fish oil. And I mean in a big way. I’m so much calmer, less irritable and much less depressed feeling since I started my regimen. And this is also at the same time when I’m away from Suz for months while I work up here in Vancouver and she’s back in the US of A.
This is also incredible news. As I’ve mentioned before, individuals with epilepsy also commonly suffer from mood disorders. When I first learned that little factoid, I was convinced that I didn’t have any sort of mood disorders but as it turns out, I do have the potential to fall into depression. The daily consumption of fish oil has greatly helped out though.
One of the main things that I’ve noticed is if I miss a day or two of dosage, I notice it immediately the next few days. This is quite similar to now when I get glutened by mistake or miss a quality night’s sleep. Funny how that happens. Whereas before, because I was eating like crap and sleeping like crap, I wouldn’t notice a difference at all.
The upside to my fish oil vs gluten contamination, is it only takes a day for me to get back on track vs with gluten or poor sleep, it could take up to two weeks for me to feel 100%. Although, I should mention that with this steady fish oil consumption, that recovery time is noticeably less now.
With all the benefits I’m experiencing with Original Nutritionals, I was really excited to learn that they are rolling out an even higher potency DHA fish oil called Protect O3. It’s been formulated to help those who need a higher dose of DHA such as yours truly, in their daily intake of nutrients. I can’t wait for this variation to come out so I can see how my symptoms do on a fish oil tailored to neurological health.
I am NOT a medical professional. Anything you read here is simply information that I have obtained through my own research on the subject. As such, I cannot give medical or nutritional advice.