3 Supplements That Fight Bipolar Depression

3 Supplements That Fight Bipolar Depression | TheSunnyShadow.com >> Click to Read!*This is a great time to read over The Sunny Shadow Disclaimer 🙂

It’s been a rough summer. Full of hypomania, mixed states, and the inevitable crash of bipolar depression. But I am thrilled to report that I’ve finally returned to, well – me! Shew! That was exhausting to say the least. I want to keep this post positive so that means not going into the ugly realities of bipolar depression. {Another time}

There were a few instances during my recent bipolar depression when hope was a bit elusive, but generally speaking it didn’t escape me. I found comfort in reading posts shared by brave mental health warriors around the web, including your emails and comments! Thank you. And for once I resorted to my own words, “the one and only constant of bipolar disorder is change.” This reminded me that what I was going through was temporary. I had faith that if I hung in there and kept diligent in my mental health care I would eventually make it to the other side, like I had many times before. And I did! WOOHOO!

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At the same time, there are many who are still suffering. That’s why it’s important that I share what helped me. Just as your experiences have helped me, I hope to repay the favor. And the cycle continues!

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This recovered stability brought with it medication adjustments. Those are always fun! {sarcasm} . . .  As I’m sure most any bipolar disorder patient can relate. I’ve had my share of adverse side effects (‘hello unwanted weight gain!’). But when you’re the type of miserable that only bipolar depression brings, all of that somehow fades away. You become willing to try almost anything.

While my psychiatrist did add one new psych med, Latuda {entirely different blog post, but I love it so far}, he also added three supplements. But I want to be clear, my psychiatrist did not replace any of my psych meds with supplements. He added to them.

The word Supplement means something added to complete a thing, supply a deficiency, or reinforce or extend a whole. See, so by its very nature it’s not meant to stand on its own.


STOP

Do NOT start ANY medication, including supplements, without discussing it with your doctor FIRST. Do NOT stop taking any medication without discussing it with your doctor FIRST.

PROCEED


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3 Supplements That Fight Bipolar Depression

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FISH OIL + OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

#1 - From day one, my psychiatrist suggested that I take fish oil, as it’s a natural mood stabilizer. But I didn’t take it regularly until recently. For those of you who cannot take fish oil supplements, Flaxseed Oil is a great alternative. Omega-3 Fatty Acids consist of LNA {Alpha-linolenic acid}, EPA {eicosapentaenoic acid}, & DHA {docosahexaenoic acid}. They’re considered essential fatty acids & necessary for human health, but our bodies cannot make them on their own. They’re also known as polyunsaturated fats {PUFA’s}. Omega 3’s play a crucial role in brain function.

It’s widely known that Omega-3’s may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, but more recently it’s been discovered that they may also reduce depressive symptoms. More specifically, bipolar depressive symptoms.

Fish Oil Capsules
from PublicDomainPictures

“This study may represent the first demonstration of an effective therapy for bipolar disorder.”  ~takeaway quote from the below referenced study.

A Life Enhancement article cites a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in Archives for General Psychiatry. It states that Omega-3 Fatty Acids share similar biochemical mechanisms with currently used mood stabilizers. Researchers believe that because Western diets are low in essential Omega-3’s, replacing them may provide benefits by reversing nutritional deficiencies in lipids that are crucial to brain function.

It’s kind of impossible to get an effective quantity of Omega 3 Fatty Acids from food alone, at least through the typical American diet. But some foods that contain Omega-3’s are salmon & other cold-water fish, wild game, & free-range livestock. You may find this Omega-3 Family Shopping List on Web MD to be helpful.

Read the Mayo Clinic’s Cautions Here. Discuss all supplements & dosages with your doctor prior to taking.


VITAMIN B-COMPLEX

#2 - B Vitamins help the process our bodies use to get or make energy from the foods we eat. They also help form red blood cells. Want to know what all eight of them do, independently? Check out this descriptive article I found on Livestrong.

Vitamin B-12 & other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood & other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 & other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 & folate may be linked to depression.” ~ MayoClinic.org

Jim Haggerty, M.D. of PsychCentral calls B Vitamins “mood regulators.”

People with bipolar disorder are often found to be deficient in B-vitamins, such as Inositol, Choline, Folic Acid, & B-12.

Symptoms of a Vitamin B deficiency range in variety depending on which type of B vitamin is lacking. But several of them are capable of producing symptoms of depression & anxiety when deficient.

Our bodies cannot make B-vitamins, we must get them from foods &/or supplements. Foods containing Vitamin B-12 include animal products like fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, low-fat & fat-free milk. Another good food source of Vitamin B is fortified breakfast cereals.

Older adults, vegetarians, & people with digestive disorders {e.g. Crohn’s disease, Celiac’s disease} are at an increased risk for a Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Though Vitamin B-12 deficiencies can occur for unknown reasons.

According to Vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms.

Caution: Vitamin B can interact with some medications. Discuss all supplements & dosages with your doctor prior to taking.


VITAMIN D3

#3 -

“Vitamin D activates genes that regulate the immune system & release neurotransmitters {i.e. dopamine, & serotonin} that affect brain function & development. Researchers have found vitamin D receptors on a handful of cells located in regions in the brain – the same regions linked to depression.” ~James M. Greenblatt, M.D., PsychologyToday.com

Dr. Greenblatt’s article goes on to cite four studies confirming the link between low vitamin D levels & depression. I easily stumbled across a few myself. Like this one by Kaitlyn M. Schneider of WPA. In this 6-patient, 12-week long, double-blind, placebo study, there was a significant decrease in depression & anxiety symptoms experienced by participants between the initial visit & the study’s completion.

And then, of course there’s SAD {Seasonal Affective Disorder}. This mood disorder produces depression symptoms. It literally occurs during the darkest time of the year, when the days are shorter & the natural vitamin D we would typically get from the sun is in short supply.

I think it’s clear, vitamin D is an important component of a healthy mood.

Who’s at risk for vitamin D deficiency? People living far from the equator, those with medical conditions {obesity, liver disease, Celiac’s disease, renal disease}, the elderly, & those with darker skin.

Read the Mayo Clinic’s Cautions Here. Discuss all supplements & dosages with your doctor prior to taking.

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So there you have it. 3 Supplements That Fight Bipolar Depression. Have you any experience with any of these supplements? What supplements do you take?

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer


2 Comments

    1. Thanks Rebecca. I haven’t had trouble with the taste of fish oil. I just take the capsules, not the actual liquid. I know the old versions would cause me to belch that nasty fishy taste throughout the day – I know, gross. But they’ve fixed that problem in the new formulations. And I don’t even take any special brand. I take Kroger brand or Vitamin World’s brand, typically. But I’m not really sensitive to that kind of stuff, so of course, this is only my experience with it.

      Thanks for reading & taking the time to comment! So excited to have you here. =-)
      -Krista

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