Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Melatonin and seizures

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‘m very excited about being able to get hold of some melatonin. As such here are some interesting articles on the subject.

In this study, published in the journal Neurology, the levels of melatonin in the saliva of 11 people with epilepsy and 6 people without epilepsy were studied.

Two major differences were discovered between the two groups. The melatonin levels of people with epilepsy were low – about half of the level of those without epilepsy. In addition, melatonin levels in people with epilepsy peaked at around 11pm, three hours earlier than the peak of those without the condition.

However, following a seizure, melatonin levels tripled, to more than 60 per cent higher than the levels of those without epilepsy.

The findings suggest that the taking of melatonin supplements could help control seizure activity as well as help regulate sleep in people with epilepsy. Low Melatonin Associated with Uncontrolled Seizures

This is an interesting article: Patients with Epilepsy Increasingly Embrace Alternative and Complementary Medicines. A shame Dr Pearl of the Epilepsy Foundation takes such a conservative viewpoint. Lumping “vitamins and herbs” under a generalised “unproven” category is misleading and smacks of laziness in research. There are some extremely useful and clearly proven orthomolecular remedies for epilepsy. For example GABA, taurine and DMG/TMG. Valeric acid, an acid found in valerian, is known to act on GABA levels and is virtually identical to valproic acid (sodium valproate). The kavalactones in kava kava also have clear antiseizure effects based on the evidence available in PubMed. One of the weirdest things about the above article is that it fails to report a large number of studies that are very easy to look up.

Melatonin supplementation may be helpful in treating epilepsy; 5–10 mg of melatonin taken at bedtime reduced the frequency of seizures and improved sleep in a group of children with epilepsy in a small, preliminary trial.22 However, in a group of children suffering from neurological disorders, 1–5 mg of melatonin per night led to an increase in the rate of seizures.23 Children with a seizure disorder called “myoclonus” were reported to have been cured by supplementing with 3–5 mg of melatonin per day in a preliminary trial.24 Until more is known, children with neurological conditions should take melatonin only under medical supervision. Melatonin HealthNotes

Melatonin is only suitable for some types of seizures, as I’ve discussed before, and knowing which type is which is currently more of an art than a science. Successful treatment of non-epileptic myoclonus in children with melatonin [pdf], however, is encouraging because the mechanisms of non-epileptic and epileptic myoclonus are said to be similar if not identical.

A certain kind of cherry (Montmorency cherries) contain melatonin. At 13.5 nanograms per gram, that means 0.0135 micrograms per gram of cherries. The minimum effective dose of melatonin is 300 micrograms. Which means you’ll have to get through 22222.22 grams of cherries. Walnuts contain 2.5 to 4.5 nanograms per gram. Feverfew, St. John’s Wort, and Chinese scullcap or skullcap, and cannabis also contain melatonin. Other foods (anecdotally) said to be high in melatonin include bananas, ginger, tomatoes, corn, cucumber, beetroots and rice (I wonder if that explains why I get whacky dreams when I eat most forms of rice?).

MAO inhibitors may also increase melatonin due to increased levels of serotonin, at the risk of increased levels of all amines. This throws a new light on thiamin, thought to be a natural MAOI. Taking melatonin in the morning wakes one up. Taking melatonin in the evening sends one to sleep. Could it be that our problems with thiamin were caused because it was being taken in the morning? I’ve read some information that thiamin is good for epilepsy: perhaps if it was being taken at night?

Milk is another option. Milk naturally contains melatonin, which is part of the reason it helps us to sleep. Melatonin levels in milk are determined by many factors such as breed, and largely by when the cow is milked: traditional milking just before dawn leads to higher melatonin levels in the milk. Apparently “Night Time Milk” is available from some Sainsburys, Tescos and Waitrose stores.

For those suffering food chemical intolerances who have disturbed sleep patterns or become anxious without milk, melatonin could well be a trigger. Milk is best drunk an hour or two before bedtime.

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Written by alienrobotgirl

10 May, 2006 at 11:46 am

Posted in Neurotransmitters

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