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Can Alpha Lipoic Acid Help Reduce Epileptic Seizures?

Can alpha lipoic acid reduce seizures from epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a common brain condition. Doctors still don't completely understand what causes epilepsy to develop, but research indicates both environment and genetics are involved. (iii.64)

Treatment involves preventing and controlling the seizures epilepsy causes. This is typically done with anticonvulsant drugs that treat chemical imbalances in the brain. Unfortunately, it's often difficult to fully stop seizures from happening, and some patients develop resistance to the drugs. Antiepileptic drugs also can cause toxic side effects (including diminished brain function).Although still in the early stages, studies suggests that alpha lipoic acid may help. (iii.1064-65)

What Are Neurotransmitters?

Brain neurons use chemical signals to communicate with each other and to function. These brain chemicals are primarily amino acids called neurotransmitters. They are necessary for the brain to work properly. (iii.68-69)

Some neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, are excitatory. When excitatory neurotransmitters attach to receptors a receiving neuron, they trigger an electrical impulse. This tells the receiving neuron to release more neurotransmitters. (iii.68-69)

Inhibitory neurotransmitters (such as GABA) regulate excitatory ones. They attach to and stop neurons from producing an electrical impulse and releasing more neurotransmitters. (iii.68-69)

Chronic diseases such as epilepsy create a chemical imbalance and excitotoxicity. This can cause neurons to malfunction. In epilepsy, the brain produces too much glutamate and not enough GABA, which can induce seizures. (iii.68-69)

The brain's neuron cells produce electrical and chemical signals to send messages between cells. Epilepsy makes neurons malfunction, setting off electrical impulses all at once that trigger a seizure. Epileptic seizures create more chemical imbalance in the hippocampus and cortex regions of the brain, increasing the risk of seizure. Eventually chronic seizures can cause neuron brain cells to die. (iii.67)

Figure iii.7 The Brain

Figure III.7: Epileptic Seizures in the Brain

What Causes Seizures?

Overexcited brain cells create an inflammatory, excitotoxic environment that can trigger seizures. Conditions or injuries can create a seizure-prone, epileptic brain include: (iii.2866)

How Can Alpha Lipoic Acid Help?

In animal studies, alpha lipoic acid has shown the following benefits:

Researchers looking to improve treatment options indicate that alpha lipoic acid's antioxidant properties may help protect the brain from damage caused by epilepsy. (iii.10)

Choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE). (iii.37)
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