Seizure disorders and Vitamin A metabolism connection?

I’m a dietitian, not a doctor. This is only written to inform and is not intended to diagnose or treat a disease. Please consult with your physician prior to making any changes in medications, diet, or lifestyle.

Calling all seizure experts because I am not one. I’ve let Zoey’s “diffuse cerebral dysfunction with epileptic discharges” be unexplored because our neuro felt she wasn’t having too many epileptic discharges (her current EEG results are pending), and so medication had more risks than benefits since she does have this very slow back ground wave issue.

So, I’m not an expert in seizures, but I have a hypothesis. I propose that Zoey’s slow background waves are from low levels of ethanolamine containing ether lipids due to retinal “stealing” her ethanolamine. So structurally she is compromised pushing her towards a very slow brain.

From a biochemistry stand point, I think she fluctuates between high levels of retinoic acid and low levels of retinoic acid depending on what is going on with her mitochondrial levels of NAD. Overall, she probably has way to much vitamin A in the brain, so that adds to the fun puzzle. At any given point Zoey may have too much retinoic acid causing SLOW brain or too little retinoic acid (lots of retinal to bind ethanolamine) causing FAST brain (epileptic discharges). There are no perfect solutions in nutrition and metabolism; only trade offs.

Brain Dump Notes

  • Voltage gated calcium channels need to be “open” for nerves to conduct- voltage gated calcium channels need to be “closed” for nerves to stop conduction
  • retinoic acid helps to “close” voltage gated calcium channels-
  • if retinoic acid levels are too low in the brain, more voltage gated channels will be “open” leading to rapid firing of nerves (seizure)-
  • if retinoic acid levels are too high in the brain, then too many voltage gated channels will be “closed” leading to a very slow firing of nerves (diffuse cerebral dysfunction)
  • the fluctuation of retinoic acid in the brain is dependent on the enzymes ADH and ALDH as well as NAD levels- alcohol can directly tie up ADH and ALDH which would lower retinoic acid.
  • Alcoholics sometimes have seizures. Also, too many aldehydes in the diet could cause similar issues (people with histamine issues could be at risk as they are sensitive to acetylaldehydes which I think is really just a sign of low NAD or mitochondrial dysfunction)
  • a pathogenic gut microbiome can steal NAD leading to low NAD which would mean low retinoic acid levels. Low retinoic acid levels will mean more calcium channels are “open” causing seizures or possibly epileptic discharges on top of slow brain waves from low ether lipid status.
  • low NAD levels in the brain will cause low retinoic acid, but high retinal levels.
  • This causes retinal to steal ethanolamine lipids leading to A2E shift which causes microglia cells to attack and causes brain inflammation and nuerodegeneration.

Ummm….retinoic acid metabolism in the brain is apparently crucial for normal brain function. – This highlighted part of a journal that I’m reading about voltage gated calcium channels is interesting. We are still not sure what truly regulates the brain. Maybe NAD and vitamin A are part of this?

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