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Med Hypotheses. 2010 Jan;74(1):158-61. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.07.009. Epub 2009 Aug 8.

Benefits of sunlight: vitamin D deficiency might increase the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

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Disciplina de Neurologia Experimental, Universidade Federal de São Paulo/Escola Paulista de Medicina, São Paulo, Brazil.


Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological condition and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the most important direct epilepsy-related cause of death. Information concerning risk factors for SUDEP is conflicting, but high seizure frequency is a potential risk factor. Additionally, potential pathomechanisms for SUDEP are unknown, but it is very probable that cardiac arrhythmias during and between seizures or transmission of epileptic activity to the heart via the autonomic nervous system potentially play a role. In parallel, studies have shown a link between vitamin D dysfunction and epilepsy. Moreover, several evidences in the literature suggest an association between low vitamin D and seizures, indicating the possibility of anticonvulsant properties of this hormone. Quite interesting, a growing body of data suggests that low vitamin D levels may adversely affect cardiovascular health, directly associated with death from heart failure and sudden cardiac death. In view of the above findings, our research group focused in this review article that SUDEP, at least in some cases, could be related with low vitamin D levels.

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