There are numerous claims on the internet and in natural health magazines of alternative remedy cures for bipolar disorder, but these claims are not scientifically proven. There is no known scientifically proven cure for bipolar disorder--there are only approved treatments. Scientific research on natural remedies is limited and often shows contradictory results. Newer clinical trials on natural therapies may shed light on the benefits of herbs and nutritional supplements. In the meantime, due to the seriousness of bipolar, alternative remedies should be used under the supervision of a medical professional.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Many people who have mood disorders are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is obtained through a diet rich in fish and certain plants or through vitamin supplementation. Mood disorders are less prevalent in cultures whose diet consists largely of fish, which further substantiates the claim that omega-3 plays an important role in psychiatric health. A scientific study on women who had bipolar 1 published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increased brain membrane fluidity in study participants. Researchers who conducted the study explain that “membrane fluidity is a critical modulator of several cellular functions” in the brain.
Vitamins and Amino Acids
The Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation states in their report titled Nutritional Therapies for Mental Disorders that a majority of bipolar patients have “biochemical abnormalities," which result in nutrient deficiencies. Bipolar patients are often deficient in vitamin B, vitamin C and the amino acid taurine. Supplementation with these nutrients may improve mania and depressive bipolar symptoms.
Lithium carbonate is a proven and accepted prescription mood stabilizer that is commonly used to treat bipolar patients. The problem with lithium carbonate is that high doses have to be taken for the medication to be effective. High doses are associated with unpleasant and sometimes serious side effects, including renal failure. Lithium orotate, a non-prescription alternative to lithium carbonate, crosses the blood brain barrier more effectively, which means it can be taken at lower doses, according to a two-year study published in Agressologie. Lower doses equal fewer side effects. It is important to note that despite the results of the study reported in Agressologie, lithium orotate is not an accepted treatment for bipolar disorder due to lack of current research and conflicting scientific study outcomes.
- American Journal of Psychiatry 161:1922-1924; Omega-3 Fatty Acid Treatment and T2 Whole Brain Relaxation Times in Bipolar Disorder; October 2004
- Nutrition Journal 7: 2; Nutritional Therapies for Mental Disorders; Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation; Shaheen E Lakhan, Karen F Vieira; 2008
- Agressologie 14(6):407-11; The Clinical Applications of Lithium Orotate. A Two Year Study; Nieper HA; 1973