DIETARY AND CHEMICAL SEIZURE TRIGGERS
This is a list of seizure triggers compiled from a survey of readers of this website. Please keep in mind the following three things about this list:
A person’s overall health and well-being is a huge factor in seizure activity. For this reason, the top reported seizure triggers, by a large margin, were sleep deprivation, stress, irregular eating and overheating. While some of the items on this list may be called seizure triggers, others may be more accurately classified as things that make a person more susceptible to triggers by “lowering the threshold”.
Sleep issues are a big piece of the puzzle. Getting enough rest is important for our health. For those who suffer from seizures, it is critical. Beyond getting enough rest, there are other issues. For example, blood sugar levels drop while sleeping and this may trigger a seizure. Therefore, some people may need to eat something right before bed, (legumes may help balance blood sugar levels, or a fatty snack may be in order). The process of moving from sleep to waking, or from one sleep state to another, is partly a function of the brain. Our brain waves and electrical processes change and this can lead to seizure activity, especially if the change is abrupt.
This is not a complete, or scientific, survey and list. Several hundred people responded to our survey. The respondents are readers of this website from all over the world. If you are willing to share triggers you’ve discovered that are not this list, nor on the other two lists of triggers (State of Health Triggers and Environmental Triggers), please email us and we will add it to the list. Please note that substitutes for many of these foods and products can found in our low carb suppliers and resource section.
Reported Dietary and Chemical Seizure Triggers
Red & Yellow Food Dye
Sulphates (common in wine)
Fruits (could be fructose)
AED Seizure Medication
Herbs (inc. Herbal Tea)
Avocados (not all)
Cod Liver Oil
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Deet (mosquito repellent)
Cleaning Produces (inc. airborne sprays and surface residue)
Sweet and Low
Vanilla Extract (with Alcohol)
Yeast (inc. Fermented Foods)
Citric Fruits & Acid
Chlorine (Pool or Tap/Shower)
Calcium Carbonate (found in latex products, mortar mix, and antacids)
Toothpaste might not be the issue at all. Stay away from all products containing saccharin and you will improve seizure control 1000%! Most dental products have it, but there are a few out there that are saccharin and sls free.
Thank you for your advice! We’re always happy to hear what has worked for individuals.
Thanks..helps me not to feel by myself being limited on what I can consume .
I’m glad our experience resonates with you. We’d love to hear more about your personal experiences if you’re interested in joining our facebook group…https://www.facebook.com/groups/353691905370250/
Wow am shocked that all this stuff can trigger a seizures .I started have mine about 6 years ago and it has taken me 5 fives to find that it food I eat like Gluten,milk ,soya Garlic,sugar and spices
I’m glad to hear that you are making some headway in figuring out what triggers your seizures. Thank you for sharing!
My wife has lung cancer mets to the brain. She had a bad turn in September 2020 and since then has had three seizures after the first one she had in hospital. Not sure what caused the first, but my wife thinks that the second might have been caused by MSG in some food we had. She had a third seizure this morning; we had pizza to celebrate our son’s birthday last night and we think it might have been the pizza. Of course when we mentioned this the doctors here said no – it’s the cancer. We are looking into a more carefully controlled diet to manage her symptoms.
I’m so sorry to hear about your wife’s cancer and now, seizures. I hope you have success in managing them with the Modified Atkins Diet.
All you can do is to put the odds in your favor by eliminating the things that might cause problems.
Certain (not all) enzymes
Thank you! We will add these to our list.
DEET (mosquito repellent)
I’ve had grand mal seizures 28 years and can never find anyone to talk about it.
I’ve tried drug after drug, diets and am trying counseling now. Who has any ideas?
Please do this Pranayama yogiv breathing for fifteen minutes a day . Tell me how you feel . Kuraikar at gmail com .
I am 42 & started having seizure around 12. Medication has never helped. I tried Muscle testing, also known as applied kinesiology. I tried it 3 different times w/ 3 different Chiropractors over a 1 year period. I didn’t tell any of them what the other Chiropractor had told me. All 3 of them told me independently that Corn was a major problem for me. Even going so far as to saying to try corn free eggs & grass fed meats. So I have cut corn out as much as humanly possible with my lifestyle. I can’t cook every single meal that I eat, I just can’t seem to pull it off. It is in everything, salad dressings, etc… But most of the time I control all my seizures w/o medication by diet & cutting out as much corn as possible. I am not saying everyone has a problem w/ corn, but it seems to be a huge deal for me.
Wow, thank you for sharing this! I’m sure it will be helpful to other people.
I too have seizures due to a head injury when I was around 12 years old. I have nocturnal seizures and never realized it until I was in my forties. After nearly 20 years I have narrowed it down to corn in any form. If I eat it in small amounts I may not have ever realized the connection. It seems to have a cumulative effect building up over several days and then it triggers a seizure. I also have accute effects if I binge on something containing any form of corn. That’s how I finally made the connection. I try to avoid anything with a corn derivative in it. Whole corn, modified corn/food starch, maltodextrine, msg, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, sorghum (genetic corn variant!), ANYTHING! As you say it is almost impossible to do unless you eat lettuce all day. I told my doctor that it is impossible/unsustainable to do this. So I just try to eliminate as much as possible and take the medication. Believe me, I feel your pain.
WOW….I suffered at age 3o a TBI from automobile accident and I am now 67 yrs old. My diet is very restricted such as gluten free, dairy free, no process food, avoid additives, msg, and other food ingredients that may trigger my seizures. One of the most difficult situations is meeting friends for lunch or social setting and have to avoid 80 % of what is available to eat. When this happens I remind myself there are other individuals who are dealing with more challenging physical problems that is just as bad or worse than what I dealing with seizures. God Bless All