Bipolar Disorder: A Good Diet May Boost Treatment

Posted on January 23, 2019

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Individuals with bipolar disorder suffer from moods that fluctuate between the extreme ends, one moment they could experience “highs”, feel euphoric and engage in risky behaviours, the next moment they could be “low”, feeling lethargic and depressed. These are known as manic and depressive episodes respectively and it is hard to treat both simultaneous with the same efficacy. However, new research conducted suggest that weight and dietary habits might have an influence on the effectiveness of bipolar treatments where having a healthy diet may be beneficial for therapy of depressive episodes, and a poor diet could instead result in heighten inflammation that could potentially aggravate an individual’s symptoms.

To confirm these results, a study was conducted with the help of 133 participants that experienced the “low” phase of bipolar disorder. Each of these participants were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments namely, one group received natural nutrients or nutraceuticals including the anti-inflammatory substance n-acetylcysteine (NAC), another just received NAC, and the last group received a placebo. These treatments were provided in addition to their usual medications for bipolar disorder and their usual diets. Additionally, they were evaluated on their dietary habits through a questionnaire where a healthy and poor diet was conceptualized as anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory respectively.

This took place over the course of 16 weeks with an assessment of their progress every 4 weeks, including 4 weeks post cessation of treatment. What was found was that individuals who generally had a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet with a lower BMI presented better treatment response to the nutraceuticals or natural nutrients as compared to those with a poor, pro-inflammatory diet that are overweight as well.

These results are however still preliminary and exploratory. More studies specifically designed to evaluate the effect of diet and BMI on drug response must be conducted to ensure its reliability and validity. If this truly holds true even in larger clinical populations, it could greatly help individuals with bipolar disorders, improving not just their mental health but their physical health as well.

Category(s):Bipolar, Mood Swings / Bipolar

Source material from Medical News Today