Low doses of omega-3 fatty acids are a key component in fish oil capsules that may help decrease the frequency of seizures in people who are afflicted with epilepsy and have not been helped by drug treatments, says a study.
Just three capsules of fish oil a day - around 1080 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, could reduce the incidence of seizures in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, the findings showed.
"Low dose fish oil is a safe and low cost intervention that may reduce seizures and improve cardio-vascular health in people with epilepsy," said lead author of the research, Christopher DeGiorgio, a professor from the University of California, Los Angeles in the US.
Omega-3 fatty acids can cross over into the central nervous system, where they reduce the excitability of brain cells which trigger seizures. For the study, researchers provided three separate treatments, each lasting 10 weeks and separated by a period of six weeks to 24 people whose epilepsy was no longer responsive to drugs. They found that two people on the low dose fish oil were completely seizure free during the 10 week trial.
However, no one taking the high dose fish oil or the placebo was seizure free.
"We do not completely understand why low dose works and higher doses do not, but there is evidence from animal studies that high doses are counterproductive," DeGiorgio concluded.
The study appeared in the journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry (JNNP).