Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nutrients and Bipolar Mania: Overview

Before proceeding further on nutrients and mania, here is a general overview of  investigational targets. 

Note: Only some of these would be relevant for any given individual
Minerals: magnesium glycinate, zinc, trace-mineral-dose lithium orotate, etc. May need to restrict copper and/or iron.
Inhibitory aminos: taurine (plus zinc), GABA (especially with histapenia or pyroluria), glycine (pyroluria). Perhaps, serotonin precursors.
B1, B3, B6, or other B vitamins.
Vitamin C. Other antioxidants.
Choline. Perhaps, omega 3 and/or GLA.
Kava (especially with histadelia), valerian (histapenia), theanine, skullcap, Bach Rescue Remedy, passion flower.
Moderate thyroid overactivity; support blood sugar and adrenal balance.
Treat histapenia, pyroluria, MT disorder, etc..
Attend to Candida, allergies, toxicity, malabsorption, immune, neurological, and other health issues.
Decrease stressors (e.g., quiet, darkened room; regular meals, sleep, etc).
Increase support with seasonal change and other stressors.

Important: These investigational targets should not to be construed as treatment directives. This material is presented for educational purposes only. 
Remember that therapy must be tailored to each individual's unique biochemical requirements, including contraindications. So if you need treatment for bipolar disorder, or any other medical condition, consult a knowledgeable physician. In some cases, this will be an orthomolecular or other nutritionally-oriented physician. 

For further info, see:"Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder," available from boragebooks.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nutrients and Mood: A great website

For a great background on magnesium, including effects on mood, see:

For more info on magnesium and its interaction with bipolar, see my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder.

Nutrients and Bipolar Mania: Magnesium: Some of the research

Some of the research:

Weston, 1921 — IV magnesium sulfate produced relaxation, sleep, and sedation in 50 patients with mania, agitation or agitated depression.

Blabicher 1997 — IV magnesium sulfate was effective as an adjunct for severe mania.

Heiden 1999 — seven of ten severely agitated treatment-resistant manics improved markedly on up to 23 days of IV magnesium sulfate, added to medication. Neuroleptic and benzo doses were able to be significantly reduced.

Giannini 2000 — magnesium oxide augmentation of verapamil was significantly more effective for mania as compared to controls on the drug alone.

Chouinard 1990 —  response in at least 50% of severe, treatment-resistant, rapid cyclers was equivalent to, or better than, that to lithium.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nutritional Therapies for Bipolar, and Biochemical Individuality

Therapeutic choices ultimately resolve down to the individual's unique biochemical needs.
Everyone is different, has different genetics, and different environmental experiences, and so has different therapeutic requirements.

The task of the physician is to look deep, and ferret out each individual's specific needs (e.g.,  by attention to symptoms, individual and family history, biochemical and physiological labs, and response to treatment, etc.)

Thus, the statements in this blog cannot help but be generalizations, and will not apply to everyone. As they say:  One man's meat is another man's poison.
Hence, keep in mind, that my purpose in this blog is certainly not prescriptive, but solely educational.

And, if you need treatment for bipolar disorder, or any other medical condition, please seek the services of a knowledgeable physician. 

 See the introduction, by Jeffrey Bland, PhD, to the classic on the subject, Biochemical Individuality, by Roger Williams, PhD.

 For more on bipolar,  see Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Orthomolecular therapies for mania: Introduction

One would ultimately want to heal key underlying causes, but until that process is completed, symptomatic approaches (e.g., stopping the mania) are often critical.

Orthomolecular therapies for mania involve:
1 Stabilizing nutrients, herbs and diet.
2 Biotype therapies, as relevant.
3 Attention to allergies/ environmental illness, Candida,  hormone balances, immune status, neurological function, and other health conditions, as relevant.
4 Moderation of mental and physical stressors
5 Medication changes only when indicated.

More to follow.

See Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder, for detailed descriptions.

Spring Mania Cautions

At this season, when sunlight beckons, days get longer, and mania looms (for some), many bipolars decide to stop or reduce meds, or just forget to take them.

This is a recipe for disaster, e.g., a mania followed by an almost inevitable depression, higher drug doses, perhaps hospitalization, often further mood destabilization.

Be careful.
Give yourself time to heal.
See previous entry.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nutrient Approaches for Bipolar and Ongoing Medication

Nutrient therapy does not preclude bipolar medications.
Orthomolecular therapists start therapy with whatever meds the patient is taking.

Decreasing meds is not the goal of nutrient treatment, but often occurs because, with therapeutic improvement, the specific dosage may no longer be medically indicated.
Eventually, as recovery emerges, this process may lead to complete withdrawal, but not necessarily (e.g., the brain may have become irreversibly adapted to the med).

But even when nutrients create definite improvement, orthomolecular therapists are generally very cautious when reducing meds
An uncalled for, or too rapid reduction, often triggers symptom flareups, engenders life-threatening risk, and usually leads to increased meds, perhaps hospitalization and, often, greater difficulty regaining previous improvements, i.e., the illness generally becomes less responsive to treatment.

So orthomolecular reductions typically involve  5-10% steps, usually only one med at a time.
These steps may take place over months, or even years.
The pace is generally dictated by the degree of therapeutic improvement and mood stability at each stage.
With each step, many orthomolecular physicians increase nutritional and other support, and closely monitor patient reactions.
If symptoms worsen, relevant nutrients and other support are increased, and an increase toward the previous med dose may be undertaken.

Reductions only occur if medically indicated:
1 Symptoms improving enough so the old dose is no longer relevant, or
2 Improving enough so medication effects become excessive (e.g., antipsychotics or anxiolytics overly suppressing mental activity), or
3 Adjustments as a mood episode ends (e.g., tapering of antidepressants after a depression resolves; and  antipsychotics or anxiolytics, after a mania; if indicated).
4 Meds are causing a medical emergency, or other dangerous medical situation.

WARNING: To reiterate, reducing bipolar meds poses a life-or-death risk, especially when done too quickly or when not indicated. Do not reduce meds without sufficient therapeutic support, and the guidance of a knowledgeable physician.
Thus, the risk of suicide in the first year or so after withdrawing from lithium (and most likely other mood stabilizers) is known to skyrocket to as great, or greater than before treatment began.
And if the pace is too rapid, or therapeutic support insufficient, reductions in antidepressants, antipsychotics, or  anxiolytics can lead to a particularly potent depression, mania, psychosis or anxiety, with attendant risk.

For more on nutrient therapy for bipolars, see my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy spring! Vitamin D and mania?

Vitamin D helps balance blood sugar, promote natural biorhythms, counter  free radicals, and protect against allergies and seizures, actions likely to support mood-stability.
Several thousand IU doses have recently become popular.
See:  vitamindcouncil.org/mentalIllness.shtml

Most bipolars know that increasing seasonal sunlight may trigger spring/summer mania
See: http://boragebooks.com/bipolar_8_biorhythms.html
But what role does vitamin D play?

1 - Vitamin D supports the creation of thyroid hormone, and of the major antidepressant neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine; and it helps with calcium use; altogether suggesting  antidepressant activity. And that is just what researchers are reporting. (See, for instance, Vieth 2004, Gloth 1999, Landsdowne 1998)
Thus, D seems to be antidepressant, so is potentially promanic.   See previous entry, Therapeutic Moderation, & Attention to Causes

2- Vitamin D is created by the interaction of sunlight with skin. Levels typically increase about 50% over the year, from approximately 16 ng/mL in winter to 24  in the summer. Vieth 2004
Schneider 2000 found levels in depressives at 80% that of normals.
If the continuum holds, manics would have above-normal levels.

Question is, especially in those bipolars prone to mania as hours of sun increase, does several thousand IU of supplemental D, at a time when body levels are already rising, further fuel those manias...  making temporary intake reductions advisable?

For more info, see my book, available at naturalhealingforbipolardisorder.com/bipolar.html

Monday, April 5, 2010

Antimanic Nutrient Adjustments

Typically, the stronger antidepressant nutrients and herbs would have been tapered around the time that depression ended (e.g., phenylalanine, korean ginseng, etc; perhaps tyrosine, serotonin, inositol, ginkgo, NADH, etc., depending on how strongly they influence mood in the individual.)

But even some nutrients, foods, and herbs which mainly support vibrant health and general stability (e.g., multiples, essential fatty acids, chlorophyll sources, vitamin D, etc.)  may need to be reduced some before an anticipated mania, or as it progresses, again, depending on individual reactions.

For a general overview, see: