Treating seizures with D-Leucine and L-Leucine

Posted by joseph1963 @joseph1963, Oct 8, 2023

I've been doing my own research for decades finding alternative ways to control my seizures. I recently came across the supplement L-leucine. And the chemically developed D-leucine. There're not many studies on the usage of human consumption. The reason for this is L-leucine is a supplement and can be purchased OTC.
Here's an article from John Hopkins University. It's a simpler explanation that most should be able understand.
I started using the L-leucine and have it's been very beneficial for me.
As always with any supplement, purchase from a reputable manufacture, and do your research on-line.
Johns Hopkins Medicine

News & Publications
Halting Seizures with D-Leucine
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The role of the amino acid D-leucine has been a mystery. Now, recent studies in mice, led by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in Neurobiology of Disease, suggest that it could play a vital role in halting seizures, offering a novel signaling pathway that differs from any of those currently targeted by anti-seizure medications.

“Epilepsy treatments over the last 50 years have not improved much, so there’s an acute need for better therapeutic approaches, especially for the millions of people with drug-resistant epilepsy,” says Johns Hopkins pediatric neurologist Adam Hartman. “If confirmed in larger animals and humans, our results carry a real promise for those suffering from unremitting seizures.”

Hartman and his colleagues started out with the premise that certain amino acids may play a role in seizure prevention because they produce some of the same metabolic byproducts as high-fat ketogenic diets, an alternative therapy for patients whose seizures are not well-controlled on medication. A form of the diet was used as standard epilepsy treatment in the 1920s and 1930s during the pre-medication era but fell out of favor when the first epilepsy drugs emerged. An improved version of the diet, brought back into vogue by the late Johns Hopkins neurologist John Freeman and recently retired Johns Hopkins epileptologist Patti Vining, offered relief to countless children with drug-resistant seizures. However, the food regimen requires complex calculations, can be challenging to follow and doesn’t always provide complete seizure control.

In an initial set of experiments, researchers pretreated mice with the amino acid L-leucine and another one, called D-leucine, which has an identical structure to L-leucine except it is its biochemical mirror image. When researchers induced seizures with an electric shock, animals pretreated with either amino acid fared better, developing seizures at notably higher electric currents than mice that received placebo, a sign of greater seizure resistance.

To see whether D-leucine and L-leucine could also interrupt ongoing seizures, researchers induced seizures in a group of animals and, once convulsions began, they administered low and high doses of both amino acids. L-leucine failed to abort ongoing seizures, while D-leucine effectively interrupted convulsions. Strikingly, the researchers say, D-leucine terminated seizures even at low doses.

Next, researchers compared the ability of D-leucine to terminate prolonged, unrelenting seizures against the sedative diazepam, commonly used to stop such seizures in humans. Both treatments terminated seizures. In addition, mice treated with D-leucine resumed normal behavior faster and experienced none of the drowsiness and sluggishness observed in animals treated with the drug, also common side effects seen in human patients.

A final set of experiments showed that D-leucine interacted with none of the signaling pathways known to spark or avert seizures.

“Our results suggest that D-leucine affects neurons differently from other known therapies to control seizures,” says Hartman’s colleague J. Marie Hardwick, a microbiologist and immunologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “This finding gives us hope of new approaches to epilepsy on the horizon.”

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Epilepsy & Seizures Support Group.

Welcome to the Mayo Clinic Connect family.
Do these products give you total seizure freedom & what type of seizures do/did you have? Did you investigate these products because of AED side effects?


Hi @joseph1963
Thank you so much for sharing this relevant information with us all, and bringing new treatment alternatives. I did not know about it and will do some more research on the internet and learn more about it. I also have been doing my own research on alternative treatments to AEDs as I do have refractory or drug-resistant epilepsy (mesial temporal lobe epilepsy).
What kind of epilepsy do you have? Could you please share more about how L-leucine has been beneficial to you? Any side-effects?
After trying 5 different AEDs that did bring more harm than benefits to me, I have tried medical cannabis which has been helping me with my seizures with very few side-effects. Have you tried this alternative?
Another thing that has helped much to reduce my seizures is a 100% gluten-free diet. With such a diet, my seizures were reduced by 60%. And taking gluten out of my diet was much much easier than I thought. It is definitely not as complex as the keto diet.
Since you have already been doing this research on L-leucine for some time, I would very much appreciate if you could share some links on L-leucine studies for seizure control. Would you mind?
Kind regards,
Chris (or Santosha)


My left temporal lobe has a small spike. It shows up with an EEG. I had bacterial meningitis at 20 months of age. I've been on every medication that's been available. I did go through my teen years without any seizures. But shortly after High school graduation I started having seizures again. 1 or 2 times monthly and very mild. To find articles on L-leucine and information on vitamins and other supplements you can go to these websites. WEBmd, science,, ,, These are just a few of the many websites that provide information regarding herbs, vitamins, and supplements. Most of these websites have a search bar where you can type in a herb and find information. There're also studies done by Universities, and other educational organizations. I'll continue to google for articles regarding D-Leucine and L-leucine along with other supplements that interest me. The B-Vitamins are essential for proper brain function. Just start with vitamin A and search for articles. You can google ( The B-Vitamins ). Hundreds of articles will appear and go thru each one to back up what you have just read. Many will reiterate the same information. That just assures me more that I'm finding the correct information. I bookmark those websites and go back to refer to them to see if any information has changed. You may want to have paper and pen when searching for information. Writing it down will reinforce your memory to eventually memorize it. It takes a lot of practice and patience when you do research. Develop the patience to do so and you should find sucess in whatever information you looking to get educated about.


You didn't mention what type of seizures you have. I assume with what may be Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE) you may be having Focal Aware or Impaired seizures. Are these amino acids helpful in both Focal and Generalized seizures?
Have they controlled your seizures?


I've just started taking them for about 2 months. Seizure improvement is noticeable. I will give a better analysis after I've taken L-leucine for a couple more months. Too soon to say yes or no.


Hi @joseph1963 , A Very Good Morning to You
Thank you so much for sharing all this information with us! I will definitely look into those sites you mentioned this weekend. I have my appointment with my epileptologist this Wednesday and will bring it up to the table and later share it with you all.
You said that you are also taking Vitamin B. This is something I have already been checking, my blood exams show that my Vitamin B level is normal (above 300 ng/L). Did you do that because your blood exam said that you were deficient in this vitamin? Or even if your level is normal, are you taking it to have a better level of this Vitamin? If you could share that, I would also thank you very much.
I understand that your situation is very similar to mine, having also Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (and perhaps Mesial TLE). At the age of 5, I took some medication that my grandfather unadvisedly had left on his night table, thinking they were sweeties and my mother found me in a strange state, taking me to hospital, where they gave me more medication and I went into a coma for 1 week. After that, I did many exams and it seemed there was no harm. But when I became a teenager, I started to have those deja vus episodes rarely (3 times a year and very mild). Again I went through many exams, including EEG and nothing came out. I had a normal life up to 2017 (I was 47 years old at that time), went to university, did my master's degree, and worked a lot, when in 2017 (a year of much stress) my seizures started to increase and became stronger and my cognition started to decline, which was also proved in a neuropsychological assessment I did in 2019.
Joseph, did you also experience a decline in your cognition?
As my mother has Alzheimer's, I have been following Dr. Dale Bredesen, a neurologist focused on dementia and cognition decline. This week the Alzheimer's World Summer has been taking place and I have been learning quite a lot. Differently from traditional medicine, which has been focusing on one pill to halter Alzheimer's, Dr. Dale Bredesen has a more holistic approach, including changing diet and lifestyle, vitamins, and others, called the ReCODE protocol. He has discovered that there are 36 factors that lead someone to have dementia, working on them to prevent dementia and improve the cognition of people who have already experienced some decline and has been having good results. The traditional pharma industry continues instead continues to try to search for a miracle pill to destroy amyloids, without having much success. Just 5 medications have been approved by the FDA in those past 30 years and recent studies have shown that people who had NO dementia also had those amyloids in the brain. Yesterday, after watching a documentary called - Memories for Life - with journeys of people who have followed the ReCODE protocol, I was wondering if Dr. Dale's protocol could be also helpful to us.
Thank you Joseph!
Wishing you all a nice weekend.
Chris (or Santosha)


I've been taking a multi-vitamin for years. Simply because I don't get all the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) needed to stay healthy. All the B vitamins are important. Especially B-6 & B-12. Most epilepsy drugs interfere with absorption of vitamins and minerals from the food we eat. The small intestine is where vitamins, minerals, and drugs are broken down and enter the blood stream. All of them compete with each other. It's the main reason to avoid alcohol and caffeine as both enter the bloodstream easier than nutrients and prescription drugs. You can easily find a website that list the B-vitamins and what their function does. Just google "the B Vitamins.


Good Morning Joseph,
Thank you very much for the information you shared.
I have meanwhile checked for my past B Vitamin blood exams and the ones I did (not all of them) are in the normal range. Perhaps because I do not take AEDs anymore to treat my epilepsy, being medicated with medical cannabis? On Wednesday anyway, I will be with my epileptologist and will ask him for the B-vitamin exams to check if all is OK. Thank you!!!!
Joseph, have you also experienced a decline in your cognition?
Have a nice day!


Hi @joseph1963
I am just back from my consultation with my epileptologist, having mentioned L-Leucine and D-Leucine studies. He did not know about it and checked for some studies during the consultation, asking me to send him studies with humans. I will look for it again. He was not against it :-), my doctor is quite open-minded.
Thank so much again!
Chris (or Santosha)


I can say the L-Leucine, as far as I know, have kept me from having any seizures. I will add that I do take numerous supplements. Whether it's a combination with the other supplements that I can't say. When I added L-Leucine to my routine, is when I noticed a change of my stress level and my seizure threshold. It's been 2 months since I started taking L-Leucine. It may still be too early to say that it will keep me from having seizures. But I'm hopeful that it'll reduce the number of seizures I have. Will continue to keep you updated as times progress.
A reminder that L-Leucine is a essential branch chained amino acid. It's found in many foods including Chickpeas, Salmon, Brown Rice, Eggs, Soybeans, and these nuts, Almonds, Brazil nuts, and Cashews. These food sources may not be enough to make a factor for many of us that have issues with seizures.

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