September 2014

Fish Oil Might Benefit People with Epilepsy

Taking fish oil might reduce seizures in people with epilepsy, according to a recent study.

Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to provide a wide range of health benefits, including a lower risk of coronary heart disease and improvement in cholesterol. Additionally, previous research suggests that omega-3 supplements might help improve brain energy and health in people who have epilepsy.

In a new study, researchers randomly assigned 24 people with drug-resistant epilepsy to receive a low dose of fish oil, a high dose of fish oil, or placebo daily for 10 weeks. After a six week washout period, each participant switched treatments until all participants received all treatments for 10 weeks with 6 weeks in between. The frequency of seizures was measured throughout the study.

The researchers found that taking a low dose of fish oil (3 capsules daily,1080mg EPA+DHA) was linked to a 33.6 percent reduced seizure frequency compared to placebo. Furthermore, taking low-dose fish oil reduced blood pressure. However, taking high-dose fish oil did not reduce the frequency of seizures or improve heart health.

The authors concluded that taking low-dose fish oil might reduce seizures and improve overall health in people with drug-resistant epilepsy, justifying the need for a larger-scale study to further evaluate these findings.

For information about fish oil, please visit Natural Standard’s Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.

For information about integrative therapies for epilepsy, please visit Natural Standard’s Comparative Effectiveness Database.


  1. DeGiorgio CM, Miller PR, Harper R, et al. Fish oil (n-3 fatty acids) in drug resistant epilepsy: a randomised placebo-controlled crossover study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2014 Sep 8.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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