Fevers & Febrile Seizures

Has your child ever had a febrile seizure? Are you looking for information on how to support your child’s immune system when they have a fever?

I have been doing a lot of reading on this. My daughter had a febrile seizure a year and a half ago when she had the flu and it was terrifying.

While some claim that temperature does not affect febrile seizure, I believe there is a definite link between the two, for at least some children – it may mean that the immune system is struggling to do what it needs to do… it can be an indication of this.

My wonderful pediatrician has mentioned twice to me that magnesium is important for preventing febrile seizure. And that makes perfect sense, to help calm the nerves and reduce the risk of excitotoxicity. (Calcium triggers nerve cells to fire, magnesium calms them down. We need a proper balance and most people are magnesium deficient.) This may also be why calcium channel blockers have been found to help prevent febrile seizures… but the presence of calcium is not the problem, it’s magnesium deficiency (among others).

I also spoke with Dr. Tetyana the immunologist, at the Natural Health Symposium and she had mentioned that in the Ukraine they give calcium for fevers.

So I looked into that more and calcium definitely plays a role in mobilizing the immune response and affects temperature regulation. But of course supplementing calcium *alone* can increase risk of febrile seizure in some children because it pushes the balance or ratio of mag:cal towards too much calcium and therefore towards firing neurons without being able to calm them down. So you definitely need magnesium first.

⭐️ I also found research showing that lower levels of zinc, selenium, folate, and B12 were all indicators for febrile seizure.

👉🏻 So a couple months ago my daughter had the flu again and when her fever would get above 101.5 I would give her a dose of magnesium threonate (powder, in water – mag threonate is a form that is better absorbed by the CNS). Then about a half hour later I’d give her a multi-gummy which contained B12, folate, zinc, and selenium.

When it got to 103 (just above 103 is when she had her febrile seizure), I’d give her a calcium supplement (a gummy/chew) containing vitamin D. In about 15-20 minutes her fever would gently go back down to between 101.5-102 (it didn’t knock her fever down). Then about 30 min later I’d give her one packet of Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C in orange juice (because that stuff is amazing and we take it any time anyone in my family is under the weather).

I repeated this cycle a few times as her fever would eventually rise again during the night.

⭐️ A side note: We have an ear thermometer. I always make sure to check temp in each ear to see if they are the same or not. Obviously if a child is laying down on one side, that side will be warmer. However if they have been sitting up and one side is hotter than the other side, it is likely that there is a pinch in the cervical spine (in the neck). When this happens, I always give the kids a massage from the top of the back of their neck, down to their shoulders, on either side of their spine, to try to loosen or open up the area. After I do that, I check temps again and they have evened out. You don’t want a blockage there. Also, a massage in that area is really good for improving lymphatic drainage.

All of this takes a lot of maintenance (my daughter was having trouble sleeping and I just committed to knowing I wouldn’t get much sleep). But it worked. I never had to give ibuprofen or Tylenol. (But if I felt for some reason that I had to, I would do ibuprofen over Tylenol.)

⭐️ Note: I didn’t give everything all at once. I gave the magnesium first, before the calcium, so that I wouldn’t over excite her nervous system. Also, I made sure to not give more calcium than magnesium.

It all comes down to the fact that when people are borderline deficient in vitamins or minerals, their immune systems will struggle to deal with infections and recover from them.

Also, some kids like my own, have genetic mutations that make it more difficult for them to obtain enough nutrients, for example, to convert folic acid to folate or even utilize the natural form of folate from food. They will likely always be sensitive when it comes to infections, because of this, and is just another reason why eating healthy is a must. However, my daughter did well with this “protocol”. She was over the flu in about a day.

⚡️ Though it should be known without stating it, “this is not medical advice”. Find a knowledgeable doctor or pediatrician who recognizes the importance of nutrition, who would be willing to discuss this with you! I just wanted to share what I personally did that worked, because there is research supporting the use of these vitamins & minerals, for these purposes.

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This is what we used:

Magnesium threonate:

https://www.amazon.com/Life-Extension-Neuro-Mag-Magnesium-Threonate/dp/B076B6JTMW/

Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C:

https://www.amazon.com/Lypo-Spheric-Vitamin-Bioavailability-Professionally-Phospholipids/dp/B000CD9XGC/

Calcium & Vitamin D:

https://www.amazon.com/Natures-Way-Alive-Calcium-Gummies/dp/B00I0VPZA6/

Multi-vitamin:

https://www.amazon.com/Garden-Life-Organics-Certified-Childrens/dp/B06XSCPJZK/

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Some reading:

Magnesium and zinc for febrile seizure:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/abc9/6dc7673de5b9de1eb64b8f81bf0298d53970.pdf

“Several preliminary studies have shown that deficiencies in vitamin B12, [folate], selenium, calcium, and magnesium increase the risk of febrile seizures.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6052913/

Calcium plays an important role in adaptive immunity, T cell activation and proliferation:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3795426/

Role of selenium and calcium in immune activation:

https://www.jimmunol.org/content/jimmunol/186/4/2127.full.pdf

The following study speculates that some simple febrile seizures may in some cases actually be a “hypocalcaemic convulsions due to vitamin D deficiency” masquerading as a simple febrile seizure. In other words, if an individual is calcium deficient when a fever stimulates the calcium channels, it might cause some episodes categorized as simple febrile seizures:

https://adc.bmj.com/content/96/Suppl_1/A68.1

Calcium is an initial trigger in our immune response to healing damaged tissue:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130214111608.htm

Calcium channels temperature sensitive:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4010887/

Calcium produces fall in body temperature:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1395666/

Calcium & vitamin D for Dengue fever:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22128411/

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Additional notes.

Excess calcium can push some individuals towards excitotoxicity, especially in the presence of neurotoxic metals like aluminum, so why would supplementing with calcium help reduce fever or febrile seizure?

The research on calcium playing only one role or the other is not clear, in my search of the literature. It is likely either/or, depending on the situation.

However, it *is* clear that it plays a role in immune cell activation / activating and proliferating T cells. What we *do* know, is that fever is a GOOD thing in response to infection, that calcium channels are temperature dependent, but that calcium itself can also affect the regulation of temperature by the hypothalamus.

Clearly, calcium plays an important role in the immune system’s response to infection. We need the calcium.

So the immune system kicks into gear (pyrogens/cytokines trigger the hypothalamus to raise temp), then fever stimulates calcium channels. When calcium channels are blocked, this may help prevent febrile seizure in some kids, but it also serves to artificially suppress or shut down proper immune system response. (Not a good thing.)

However, when there are sufficient levels of magnesium, selenium, and other vital nutrients mentioned above, the addition of calcium does not cause an imbalance (shifting the nervous system toward excitotoxicity and febrile seizure), rather it helps the immune system follow through with the function that it originally activated the calcium channels for. Which, in turn, makes the immune system more *effective* against the infection, and reduces the need for a stronger fever.

Side note to my notes…

Another role that calcium may play in reducing the need for a strong fever is that it can help buffer the acidity that is increased in the presence of chronic illness and infection.

Unravelling the Interplay between Extracellular Acidosis and Immune Cells:

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/mi/2018/1218297/

*** Note: I cannot make any recommendations on dosage. I personally follow what is on the bottle/package when it comes to the % of the RDA per dose, and make sure to know what the upper tolerable limits are for these vitamins and minerals.

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