At the same time, if indicated, GABA and/or taurine (glycine is milder) seem to be among the more potent mood-stabilizing, mania-moderating nutrients.
In epilepsy, repeated, continuous or excessive exposure to convulsive stimuli eventually increases the intensity and frequency of reactions. Over time, progressively milder stimulation is capable of triggering symptoms, eventually leading to apparently "spontaneous" seizures.
Sound familiar? Think about the role of amphetamines, antidepressants, allergens, sugar and junk food, hyperthyroid, environmental stressors, and other stimulants in triggering episodes. And of the tendency of a single initial mania, whatever the cause, to lead to a future episode in 90-95% of cases. And how after years of mood disorder without orthomolecular treatment, episodes often become more frequent, but triggers tend to become more minor and more difficult to identify.
Consider that all established mood stabilizers dampen excess signalling, and so block kindling. (Most inhibit calcium and sodium transfer across the neural membrane. Several interfere with the creation of inositol- and choline-related second messengers, and/or inhibit kinase and G protein activity.) Thus, fewer messages are conveyed, and mania and seizures are suppressed.
3 Most mood-stabilizing meds are anticonvulsive and antikindling
(Post 1992, 95, 97, Ketter 1994, Ghaemi 1999, Bell 1992, Weiss 1995)
Carbamazepine (CBZ), valproate (VPA), lamotrigene, and calcium channel blockers all have significant anticonvulsive properties.
About two-thirds of bipolars have been found to respond best to CBZ or VPA; two-thirds, to lithium. Lithium shows minor anticonvulsive activity, while CBZ and VPA are clearly anticonvulsant and antikindling, especially in the temporal and limbic regions of the brain associated with mood disorders. Moreover, neurological problems (e.g., history of seizures, head injury, or abnormal EEGs) strongly suggest responsiveness.
So the question remains, do these drugs work because they are antikindling and anticonvulsant?
More on taurine, GABA, and glycine in future posts.
For further description of inhibitory aminos, seizural/bipolar connections, biotype issues, etc., and for contraindications and references, see my book: Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder.
Reminder: Treatment must be tailored to each individual's unique biochemical requirements, including contraindications. If you need treatment for bipolar disorder, epilepsy, or any other medical condition, consult a knowledgeable physician. In some cases, this will be an orthomolecular or other nutritionally-oriented physician.