Dietary and Chemical Seizure Triggers
This is a list of seizure triggers compiled from a survey of readers of this website. For the most part the participants were working hard to manage their epilepsy at least partially (and some completely) through diet. Many have worked very hard to isolate their particular triggers! Hopefully this list will save you some hard work by giving you clues in your search to isolate triggers. Please keep in mind the following three things about this list.
Most people surveyed were only sensitive to a handful of these items, and some just four or five. Very few people (4%) listed more than 10 items on this list. (Those 4% listed MOST of the items on the list.) Therefore, most likely – you need to only identify a handful of these things to avoid in your diet. If you find your list getting long – you may be in the 4% that is sensitive to most of these items. In any case, it will benefit you tremendously to keep a careful food and seizure diet for a period of time to isolate your specific triggers. Keep in mind a food trigger can have an “instant” effect (if reason is allergy or blood sugar spike) or a “delayed” effect (digestive or other systemic stress burden).
This is not a complete or scientific survey and list. Several hundred people responded to our survey. The respondents were readers of this website from all over the world. I do believe this list will save you time and give you clues we did not have – however, I am also CERTAIN there are many additional triggers that need to be added to this list. Please be open minded beyond this information in your search for answers. If you are willing to share triggers you’ve discovered that are not this list or the other two lists of triggers (Environmental Triggers and State of Health Triggers) please email us and we will add it to assist other people.
Identified triggers vary in specificity. For example, some reported “hot dogs” and “bacon”, whereas others isolated “nitrates” (found in most hot dogs and bacon). Similarly, some identified “spices” and “food additives” while others identified “cinnamon, vanilla extract, and red dye #40”. Are there other things in hot dogs and bacon other than nitrates than could be a trigger? Certainly. On the other hand, if you can isolate your trigger to the specific level of “nitrates” – then you can still enjoy nitrate free hot dogs and bacon. Since I have no idea how deeply you want to drill down to find your trigger – I have listed both the general and the specific triggers people mentioned in the survey. Because of this, there is considerable repetition in the list.
As a general rule, these food triggers are listed from the most commonly returned in the survey to the least commonly returned. Please note that substitutes for many of these foods and products can be found in our low carb supplier and resource section of this website.
Reported Dietary and Chemical Seizure Triggers
Cleaning Products (airborne sprays & surface residue)
Red and Yellow food dye
Fruits (could be fructose)
Sweet and Low
Herbs (and Herbal Tea)
Vanilla Extract with Alcohol
Sulphates (common in wine)
Yeast (and fermented foods)
Chlorine (from a pool or from the tap/shower)
Avocados (some types)
Citrus Fruits and citric acid
Cod Liver Oil
AED Seizure Medication (ironic! could be the preservatives?)
Vaccines (again with the preservatives?)
Chewing Gum (sweeteners?)