Bipolar disorder is so called because sufferers exhibit unpredictable mood swings, from the heights of mania to the depths of depression. In the manic phase, symptoms might include euphoria, grandiose delusions, hallucinations, an increase in appetite and sexual activity. Behavioural symptoms may be hyperactivity, aggression, lack of inhibition, fast speech, and short attention span. In the depressive phase there may be loss of energy, libido and appetite, sleep disturbance, feeling of guilt and worthlessness, paranoid delusion and suicidal thoughts.
There seems to be a strong genetic influence with this disorder, which is often seen in highly creative and intelligent people. The real cause is unknown, one theory is that it may be due to an overload of the mineral vanadium. Other theories suggest that it may be linked to glucose intolerance and Syndrome X.
The drug lithium is the main medication used to treat Bipolar disorder, but it can cause Folic Acid deficiency.
|Supplement/Herb||What it does||Dosage|
|Fish Oil||Help provide the Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential to brain function.||10gm daily|
|Folic Acid||Corrects deficiencies and improve the action of lithium.||200mcg 1-2 times daily|
|5HTP||Makes serotonin which acts to elevate mood and is calming.||100mg 3 to 4 times daily|
|Multivitamin & mineral formula (vanadium free)||Helps to correct any nutritional deficiencies which may cause depression.||as directed|
|Vitamin C||Helps to remove vanadium from the body.||1000mg 3-4 times daily|
|Phosphatidyl Choline||Helps to produce the brain chemical acetyl choline, needed for nerve impulse transmission and brain function.||15-30gm daily|
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
Eat a well balanced diet that includes 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily, whole grains, oily fish, nuts and seeds.
Eliminate caffeine, sugar, saturated fats and alcohol as they all have a negative influence on brain function and mood.
Check out food intolerances by taking a food intolerance test. Home testing kits are available from Food Detective.
Regular cardio vascular exercise can help to increase serotonin levels and improve mood.
Suggested further reading:
- What is bipolar disorder
- Treatment & Lifestyle