Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nutrients and Bipolar Mania: Aminos Acid Therapies in Context

Amino acid therapy for bipolar disorder is becoming relatively popular.
It may be one of the more potent symptomatic approaches. 
However, keep in mind that excess aminos (some more than others) can be harmful, especially with long-term use, and may interact with drugs. For a starter,  see:

Remember that getting as close as you can to specific underlying causes, i.e., the individual's unique biochemical (i.e., nutritional/orthomolecular) requirements, is what supports long-term stability.

One of many examples: while the amino acid, taurine has been used successfully to calm many bipolar manias, in people who are zinc-depleted (e.g. pyrolurics, many histapenics, many under stress, etc.) it can be counterproductive, actually increasing agitation.

So attention to the entire nutrient/health picture is imperative (methylation imbalances, pyrrole disorder, oxidative stress, hormonal issues, neurological problems, metal metabolism dysfunction, second messenger dysfunction, allergies, toxins, nutrient dependencies, depletion or overload, etc., as dictated by individual needs. 

For more on these conditions, see Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder, and meanwhile,  stay tuned!

See also Nutritional Therapies for Bipolar, and Biochemical Individuality

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bipolar Nutrients: Intro to Inhibitory Aminos

So, there are three main biotypes to consider in bipolar disorder.

Nutritional therapies: Three Major Approaches

and Some preliminary indications of nutritional outcome

We've been discussing pyroluria for some time (April 19, 20, 23, May 6, 7, 14, 21, and May 28 to June 17), but it's just one of the biotypes, probably present in less than one third of bipolars.  
The mechanisms underlying the other two major biotypes involve the status of neurotransmitter activation or suppression.
So before talking about these, I'd like to give you some background on amino acids and neurotransmitters. 

As a short introduction, see Margot Kidder's comments on the inhibitory aminos:

Important: Since we are now focused on mania, the info on tyrosine, and the inclusion in her regimen of  tyrosine, phenylalanine, and glutamine are not relevant  here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bipolar Nutrients: More on pyroluria therapy

Other important therapeutic issues for the pyroluric:

Antioxidant nutrients - oxidative stress is always involved; some researchers wonder to what degree it is causal.  Take into account copper content in some antioxidant nutrients.

Essential fatty acids - with significant pyroluria, GLA is often more helpful than omega 3.
See Bibus/Walsh article at: http://www.biobalance.org.au/articles/15

Adrenal support - pyroluria is a stress disorder, taxing the adrenals. Adrenal support includes such nutrients as B5, C, B vitamins, etc., and attention to blood sugar issues.

Therapy for Candida or other illnesses (often fostered by the low B6 and zinc, critical nutrients for immune function).

Even the mildest stress (e.g., leaving the house) can produce major deterioration in some pyrolurics. Not all stressors can be avoided. Increased support with relevant nutrients is imperative when anticipating or undergoing, and for some time after, mental or physical stress (illness, fatigue, toxicity, psychosocial stress, etc).

Similarly, limiting exposure to toxins is important, to the degree possible. Consider also,
metal metabolism functionality.

Medication issues - particular care is warranted, as pyrolurics often react intensely to mediation, and to changes in med intake.

Note: Pyrolurics deteriorate quickly on the wrong treatment or in the wrong environment, but also respond rapidly to appropriate therapy.

We have only skimmed the surface here. For further discussion on pyroluria, and for references, see my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder.

Reminder: The material in this blog is for educational purposes only. Actual treatment must be fine-tuned to each patient's unique biochemical requirements. So, if you need treatment for bipolar disorder or any other medical condition, consult a knowledgeable physician.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bipolar Nutrients: Pyroluria mineral balances

With the relatively high doses of zinc and B6 (or P5P) for pyroluria, the balance with other minerals becomes an important consideration.

Manganese is given almost routinely to pyrolurics, in whom it is usually depleted, and then decreased further by the high supplemental zinc.

Insufficient manganese can foster depression and memory problems, and compromise sugar and protein metabolism, and joint function.
On the other hand, excess can raise blood pressure in susceptible persons, and may contribute to movement disorders in histadelics.

Pyroluric dosage is typically 5-20 mg, depending on individual requirements (Dr. Joan Larson, PhD)

Zinc/ B6 (or P5P)/ manganese imbalances can foster seizures.
Thus, untreated pyrolurics are prone to seizures. Similarly, nutrient intake must be fine-tuned to support neurological stability.

See more on magnesium in my blogpost on May 10th, and the two posts on April 20th. 

Magnesium/B6 balance

Dr. Bernard Rimland, PhD, finds magnesium helps prevent sound sensitivity and irritability from excess B6.

Copper/Zinc Balance
After months of high zinc, the pyroluric sometimes needs very small quantities of copper to support zinc absorption, or to prevent anemia, support antioxidant and immune function, or nourish the musculoskeletal system.
On the other hand, if given too much, the pyroluric will worsen, and psychosis or other severe symptoms may emerge.
-- Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, MD, PhD

Urinary pyrroles
B6: EGOT, red cell P5P
plasma or red cell zinc, copper, magnesium
whole blood manganese
Also consider symptomatic response. 

Actual treatment must be tailored to each patient's unique biochemical requirements. So, if you need treatment for bipolar disorder, consult a knowledgeable physician.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bipolar Nutrients: Mega vitamin B6 and zinc in pyroluria

Why are pyroluric doses of zinc and vitamin B6 so high?
Pyrolurics regularly excrete large quantities of  zinc and B6, and even more when under stress.
So with significant pyroluria, corrective doses may seem relatively massive, but remember that most of the zinc and B6 won't even be used.
Pyroluria, Vitamin B6 and/or P5P
Dr. Bonnet, MD, says:
"Usually pyroluric people require doses between 250 to 1500 mg. Some require up to 2000 mg, and there is an occasional patient that does need more. In the past, we always had to keep a close watch on the dosage, especially watching for a more serious side effect, numbness in the toes...
"With Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P-5-P), the active form of vitamin B6, we have been able to prevent the peripheral neuropathy."
General guidelines from Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, MD, PhD
B6 and/or P5P increased to the dose at which  the patient can remember one dream per night, no more.
In substituting for B6, P5P should generally be given at 1/5 to 1/10 the B6 dose.

Urinary pyrroles
B6: EGOT, red cell P5P
Also consider symptomatic indications.
Some symptoms of deficiency
Depression, poor memory, fatigue, agitation, irritability
Nausea and other digestive symptoms; pallor; immune dysfunction; female hormone imbalance
Of excess
Peripheral neuropathy (numbness, tingling)
For more, see Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder 

Pyroluria and zinc
Dr. Woody McGiness, MD, says:
"Very high doses of zinc are needed to normalize the plasma zinc level -- 50 to 200 mg daily...
Probably going to need to take 200 mg or so (build up slowly) before it starts to build your stores, just test with the assay to make sure you're not getting too much."
Pfeiffer's general guideline
Zinc and other relevant nutrients should be increased when anticipating or under stress.

Urinary pyrroles
Plasma or red cell zinc and copper
Liquid zinc taste test
Also consider symptomatic indications.
Some symptoms of deficiency
Stress, anxiety, psychosis, insomnia, irritability, paranoia
White spots, or soft, light nails; acne; weak sense of taste and smell; poor  appetite
Frequent infections; joint pain; slow healing of wounds
Of excess
Lethargy, dizziness, mental and physical suppression
Nausea; immune dysfunction; anemia; kidney dysfunction
For more, see Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder 

Further considerations in the next entry.

This information should not be used in place of medical diagnosis and treatment. Nutrient choices must be tailored to unique biochemical requirements. The purpose here is solely educational.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bipolar Disorder Nutrients: More Pyroluria Links

More good links on pyroluria:

Dr. Bonnet interview:

Dr. Woody McGinnis, MD, Dr. William Walsh, PhD, et al, Discerning the Mauve Factor, Parts 1 and 2,
PDFs, available at:

Dr. Joan Larson and Larry Hobbs, Pyroluria, B6 and zinc deficiency, anxiety and depression:

Direct Healthcare Access Lab:


Friday, June 4, 2010

Bipolar Disorder Nutrients: The Pyroluria Biotype

Since we've been talking of zinc, and vitamins B6 and B3, pyroluria (pyrrole disorder) is probably a good biotype to look at first.
To get some idea, see one of the of the pages on pyroluria in Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder:

And for more details, check the following site, including its links to articles by Doctors William J. Walsh, PhD, Carl C. Pfeiffer, PhD, MD, Woody McGinnis, MD, and Jeremy E. Kaslow, MD:

For further info on nutrients, health issues, contraindications, etc., see Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder