People with mood swings, such as bipolar disorder, are sometimes recommended to take drugs to manage their condition. However, many patients continue to experience the debilitating symptoms right after the effect of the medication has subsided. While there’s limited evidence suggesting the role of nutrition in mental problems such as depression and bipolar disorder, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals could be effective in alleviating the symptoms for a longer period, a new study finds.
Bipolar disorder is a common mental health problem affecting a significant portion of the British population. This condition is characterised by a series or episodes of mania and depression at both extremes. Such episodes are separated by normal moods. The problem with bipolar disorder is that extreme mania can lead to severe symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions while extreme depression could increase suicide risk. Prescription medications such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants and anticonvulsants are taken by patients to manage their mood swings. In some instances, they are advised to undergo continued medical treatments and hospitalisations.
In a study published in the Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, researchers analysed the role of nutrition in managing mood swings in their most extreme forms, like in the case of bipolar disorder. They found that alternative adjunct treatments such as nutritional therapies may actually strengthen the effects of drugs in enhancing the condition of patients.
For their study, the researchers reviewed the findings of clinical trials in humans which were published between the period of 1960 and 2012. All of them suggest that using nutritional therapy, which includes taking supplements containing chromium, choline, magnesium, folate and tryptophan alone or in combination enhances the effects of pharmacotherapy in treating bipolar disorder. The natural substance called inositol was also found to contribute to this therapeutic effect, but researchers suggest more studies are needed to verify this claim.
While further research is necessary to define the role of nutritional therapy in alleviating mental health problems, there is no danger in promoting good nutrition to patients. After all, decades of research tells us that our brain needs varying nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for proper functioning. And we get these essential compounds from only the healthy stuff.
I hope this helps you. Best wishes, Steve