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Top Labs To Run Bi-Annually On Your Patients Who Suffer From Epilepsy

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Top Labs To Run Bi-Annually On Your Patients Who Suffer From Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a prevalent neurological disorder primarily characterized by recurring seizures. Globally, it affects approximately 50 million individuals, many of whom manage the condition with medication. Beyond pharmaceuticals, functional medicine provides an alternative, using lab tests to evaluate overall body function for a more comprehensive treatment strategy.

This article will look at the best labs to check twice a year for people with epilepsy. We'll talk about why regular tests are key for spotting any issues early and making sure treatments are working as they should. Because epilepsy affects many parts of a person's health, getting regular tests is important for managing it well.


What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurring seizures, which result from abnormal bursts of electrical activity in the brain. These seizures can manifest in various ways, such as involuntary muscle jerks, brief lapses of attention, or more severe symptoms like prolonged convulsions that may include loss of consciousness. The condition is heterogeneous, with variations in seizure type, the specific brain region affected, age of onset, and frequency of episodes. Diagnostic tools like electroencephalograms (EEGs) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are commonly used for assessment and treatment planning.

The diagnostic criteria for epilepsy typically involve the occurrence of at least two unprovoked seizures or one unprovoked seizure with a high likelihood of future episodes. It is essential to distinguish between isolated seizures and epilepsy, as not all seizures indicate the presence of this disorder. A comprehensive approach to management often includes antiepileptic medications, lifestyle modifications, and sometimes surgical interventions for treatment-resistant cases (2,3). 

What Causes Epilepsy?  

Epilepsy's etiology is varied and often complex, with many cases having no clearly identifiable cause. The causes can generally be grouped into several categories: structural, genetic, infectious, metabolic, immune, and unknown. Structural causes include brain damage sustained from prenatal or perinatal events, such as loss of oxygen or trauma during birth, as well as congenital abnormalities and brain malformations. Head injuries, strokes, and brain tumors are also structural causes that can lead to epilepsy (2,3). 

Genetic factors account for about 30-40% of epilepsy cases. In some instances, the condition is hereditary, with genes being passed from parent to child. First-degree relatives of individuals with inherited forms of epilepsy have a two- to four-fold increased risk of developing the condition. However, it's worth noting that not all genetic forms are inherited; spontaneous genetic mutations can occur, leading to epilepsy even when there is no family history (2,3). 

Infectious causes are especially prevalent in developing countries and are a major risk factor for epilepsy globally. Infections that can lead to the condition include neurocysticercosis, cerebral malaria, toxoplasmosis, and various forms of meningitis, among others. In terms of immune-related causes, autoimmune epilepsy can result when the immune system produces antibodies that erroneously target and damage brain tissues (2,3). 

Metabolic disorders, although rare, should not be overlooked, especially in children. Over 750 metabolic conditions can potentially lead to epilepsy. These disorders often result from deficient enzyme activities that lead to imbalances in neurotransmitters, structural brain malformations, or the accumulation of cellular waste products (2,3). 

Epilepsy Symptoms

The main signs and symptoms associated with epilepsy are (2,3):

  • Recurring seizures
  • Brief lapses in awareness
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements
  • Reduced muscle tone
  • Temporary confusion and slowed thinking
  • Sensory changes in hearing, vision, taste, and smell
  • Automatic movements like lip-smacking or hand-rubbing
  • Sudden emotional shifts such as fear or anxiety
  • Involuntary loss of bowel or bladder function

What Are The Benefits of Regular Lab Testing For Patients With Epilepsy?

Regular lab testing is an essential part of managing epilepsy effectively. These tests mainly help in two ways. First, they monitor how well the medication is working and whether it's causing any harmful side effects. Liver and kidney health are often areas of focus, given the impact of some antiepileptic medications on these organs (2,3). 

Secondly, labs can identify any metabolic or systemic issues that might make seizures worse. For example, certain deficiencies or metabolic imbalances can be contributing factors to epilepsy. Addressing these through early intervention may help reduce the frequency of seizures (2,3). 

In addition to this, tests like complete blood counts and assessments for vitamin and mineral deficiencies offer a broader view of the patient's health. This is important because many people with epilepsy also experience mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Understanding the body's overall condition helps to provide more personalized care and treatment (2,3). 

Top Labs To Run Bi-Annually On Patients With Epilepsy

For patients with epilepsy, bi-annual functional medicine labs offer a variety of tests that can help personalize treatment strategies. The frequency of lab tests for these patients can also be influenced by the type of antiepileptic medications they are taking. As discussed above, many of these drugs come with side effects that may require more frequent monitoring of specific bodily functions, such as kidney and liver function.

Liver Function Testing 

Antiepileptic medications may have an impact on liver health. Liver function tests can help monitor this and provide an early warning system for potential liver damage.

Kidney Function Testing

Similar to liver function, kidney health can also be affected by long-term medication use. Monitoring renal function can prevent complications.

Metabolic Panel 

Given that metabolic imbalances can be an underlying cause of seizures, keeping track of electrolyte levels can be beneficial for managing seizure triggers.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A CBC can give insights into the patient's overall health, potentially revealing signs of anemia or infection that could exacerbate seizures. 

Inflammatory Markers (CRP) 

Inflammation can exacerbate neurological conditions, including epilepsy. Monitoring levels of inflammatory markers can provide additional information on treatment efficacy and disease activity.

Micronutrient Testing

Checking nutrient levels may offer some insight into seizure management, as imbalances in specific vitamins and minerals could potentially be linked to seizure triggers. Addressing these imbalances may assist in fine-tuning treatment and could possibly help to reduce the frequency of seizures.



In summary, epilepsy is a neurological condition that primarily causes seizures and can have a broader impact on a person's overall health. Medications used to control seizures often have side effects, especially affecting the liver and kidneys. Running labs twice a year is an essential part of keeping track of how well treatments are working and whether there are any issues that need attention. These labs not only monitor medication side effects but also can uncover other health issues that may complicate epilepsy management. Thus, regular lab testing is an essential tool for optimizing ongoing care and enhancing the quality of life for patients with epilepsy.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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Lab Tests in This Article


  1. Epilepsy. (2023, February 9).
  2. A Functional Medicine Protocol for Epilepsy: Testing, Supplements, and Nutrition. (2023). Rupa Health. Retrieved September 7, 2023, from
  3. A Functional Medicine Approach to Anxiety: Testing, Nutrition, & Supplements. (2023). Rupa Health. Retrieved September 7, 2023, from
  4. Integrative Medicine Approaches to Managing Anxiety and Depression Naturally. (2023, August 24). Rupa Health.
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