Fish Oil Cut Seizures in Drug-Resistant Epilepsy

HealthDay News — For patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, low-dose fish oil can reduce seizures compared with placebo, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Christopher M. DeGiorgio, MD, from the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a randomized placebo-controlled crossover trial of low-dose and high-dose fish oil versus placebo in 24 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. A three-period crossover design was used, with three 10-week treatment periods, and two six-week washout periods. Participants were randomly assigned to receive different sequences of placebo and high-dose and low-dose fish oil.

There was a 33.6% reduction in seizure frequency with low-dose fish oil (three capsules/day; 1,080 mg eicosapentaenoic acid+docosahexaenoic acid) versus placebo, the researchers found. A mild but significant reduction in blood pressure was seen with low-dose fish oil. There was no difference for high-dose fish oil compared with placebo with respect to reducing seizures or improving cardiac risk factors.

“The results indicate that low-dose fish oil may reduce seizures and improve the health of people with epilepsy,” the researchers wrote. “These findings justify a large multicenter randomized trial of low-dose fish oil (n-3 fatty acids <1,080 mg/day) in drug resistant epilepsy.”


  1. DeGiorgio CM et al. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2014; doi:10.1136/jnnp-2014-307749.

Disclosures: One author is a part-time employee of NeuroSigma, which develops devices for epilepsy and other disorders.