Diets for bipolar

Foods to Avoid and Good Foods to Eat

Written by Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD

In this Article

  • What Is Bipolar Disorder?
  • Is There a Diet for Bipolar Disorder?
  • Does Fish Oil Improve Mood With Bipolar Disorder?
  • Which Foods Should I Avoid if I Have Bipolar Disorder?
  • What About Alcohol and Bipolar Disorder?
  • Can I Drink Grapefruit Juice While on Bipolar Drugs?
  • Should I Take Bipolar Medication With or Without Food?

If you or a loved one has bipolar disorder, you know how important it is to manage mood episodes with bipolar medications and healthy lifestyle habits. But did you also know that certain foods and dietary supplements might play a role in helping -- or hindering -- people with bipolar disorder?

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a complex disorder that's defined by dramatic or unusual mood episodes of highs and lows. The episodes of mania and depression can range from very mild to extreme in their intensity and severity. With bipolar disorder, mood episodes can come on gradually over many days or even weeks. Or they can come on suddenly, occurring over the course of just a few days. To count as episodes, symptoms must occur as a constellation of features that affects not only mood but also sleep, energy, thinking, and behavior and must last for at least several days, representing a change from your usual self.

With bipolar disorder, the person may experience episodes of major depression or instead, extreme elation and excessive energy. The elation is called mania. The mood episodes of bipolar disorder are accompanied by disturbances in thinking, distortions of perception, and impairment in social functioning.

Bipolar disorder was once thought to affect about 1% of the population. Some experts now believe it's higher, perhaps affecting 3% to 4% of the population. There are no laboratory tests to diagnose bipolar disorder, and its symptoms can overlap with other psychiatric disorders. As a result, it's often misdiagnosed and undertreated.

Is There a Diet for Bipolar Disorder?

There is no specific bipolar diet. Nevertheless, it is important to make wise dietary choices that will help you maintain a healthy weight and stay well. These choices include:

  • Avoiding the "Western" style diet that's rich in red meats, saturated fats and trans fats, and simple carbohydrates. This eating style is linked to a higher risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Eating less saturated fats and simple carbohydrates can help overall health but does not directly affect the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
  • Eating a balance of protective, nutrient-dense foods. These foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, cold-water fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, soy products, and nuts and seeds. These foods provide the levels of nutrients necessary to maintain good health and prevent disease, in general.
  • Watching caloric intake and exercising regularly to maintain a healthy weight. Some findings show that those with bipolar disorder may have a greater risk for being overweight or obese. Talk to your doctor about ways to avoid weight gain when taking bipolar medications.

Does Fish Oil Improve Mood With Bipolar Disorder?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating non-friedfatty fish at least two times a week. Good choices include:

  • Albacore tuna
  • Anchovies
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Trout

If you do not like fish, you can take an over the counter fish oil supplement, but it is not known if that will have the same positive effect. 

Fish oil can help keep your heart healthy. But some experts also believe that fish oil might play a role in brain function and behavior. While studies of omega-3 fatty acids for mood symptoms are not conclusive, some experts believe that they may be helpful in some people with bipolar disorder, particularly if they have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease or high triglycerides.

Some research suggests that getting more omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil is linked to greater volume in areas of the brain. In particular, these areas are related to mood and behavior. In one study of 75 patients, one of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids was decreasing depression in bipolar disorder.

Still, the overall evidence for benefit of fish oil in bipolar disorder is inconsistent. More studies are needed before fish oil can be recommended as a proven treatment for bipolar disorder.

If you're a vegetarian or vegan looking for possible benefits of fish oil, go with nuts. Walnuts, flaxseed, and canola oil contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is converted to omega-3 fatty acid in the body.

Which Foods Should I Avoid if I Have Bipolar Disorder?

Some general dietary recommendations for treating bipolar disorder include:

  • Getting only moderate amounts of caffeine and not stopping caffeine use abruptly
  • Avoiding high-fat meals to lower the risk for obesity
  • Watching your salt if you have high blood pressure but not skimping on salt if you are being prescribed lithium (low salt intake can cause higher levels of lithium in the blood)
  • Following your doctor's instructions to stay away from foods that may affect your specific bipolar medication, if any

In addition, you need to be wary of natural dietary supplements that can cause a drug-herb interaction.

Avoiding too much caffeine may be helpful for getting good sleep, which is especially important for people with bipolar disorder. When someone with bipolar disorder is feeling depressed, extra caffeine may temporarily cause a boost in energy, and possibly mood. The problem is that caffeine can disrupt sleep. Caffeine can also cause nervousness, heart palpitations, and headaches, worsen high blood pressure, or cause irritation in the stomach or esophagus in people that have acid reflux.

In addition to lowering caffeine, it's important to avoid high-fat meals with some bipolar medications. High-fat meals may delay the time it takes for some bipolar medications to be absorbed into your system. Talk to your doctor about your medications and necessary dietary changes.

If you take MAO inhibitors (a certain class of antidepressant that includes phenelzine (Nardil,) and tranylcypromine (Parnate), it's important to avoid tyramine-containing foods. These foods can cause severe hypertension in people taking MAO inhibitors. Some foods high in tyramine are:

  • Overly ripe bananas and banana peels
  • Tap beer
  • Fermented cheese
  • Aged meats
  • Some wines, such as Chianti
  • Soy sauce in high quantities

Your doctor can give you a list of foods to avoid if you take these drugs.

Also, avoid taking natural dietary supplements if you are taking bipolar medications. Supplements such as St. John's wort and SAM-e are touted to treat moderate depression. A few studies show benefit for some people with depression. But these natural therapies can interact with antidepressants and other bipolar medications. Discuss any natural dietary supplement with your doctor to make sure it is safe.

What About Alcohol and Bipolar Disorder?

Instructions for most psychiatric medications warn users not to drink alcohol, but people with bipolar disorder frequently abuse alcohol and other drugs. The abuse is possibly an attempt to self-medicate or to treat their disturbing mood symptoms, and they may also cause mood symptoms that can mimic those of bipolar disorder.

Alcohol is a depressant. That's why many people use it as a tranquilizer at the end of a hard day or as an assist for tense social situations. While some patients stop drinking when they are depressed, it is more common that someone with bipolar disorder drinks during low moods. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with bipolar disorder are five times more likely to develop alcohol misuse and dependence than the rest of the population.

The link between bipolar disorder and substance abuse is well established. Alcohol is a leading trigger of depressive episodes in many people who are vulnerable to depression or bipolar disorder. Substance use disorders can seriously disrupt efforts to treat bipolar disorder and often may require their own forms of treatment.

Can I Drink Grapefruit Juice While on Bipolar Drugs?

Be careful. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice with your bipolar medication. Grapefruit juice may increase the blood levels of many psychiatric medications that are used in bipolar disorder. These include some antidepressants - such as fluvoxamine (Luvox) or sertraline (Zoloft), the anti-anxiety drug buspirone (Buspar), certain anticonvulsants - such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro,Tegretol), some antipsychotics - such as lurasidone (Latuda), quetiapine (Seroquel) or ziprasidone Geodon), stimulants - such as dextroamphetamine (Adderall, Adderall XR, or Dexedrine), and many sedative-hypnotics (benzodiazepines), such as alprazolam (Xanax),clonazepam(Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan), which could cause excessive drowsiness, mental impairment and even toxicity.

Should I Take Bipolar Medication With or Without Food?

Each bipolar medication is different. So talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking the first dose. Some bipolar drugs can be taken with or without food. Others (such as Latuda or Geodon) are better absorbed into your system when taken with food or are less effective if taken with food (such as Saphris). Your doctor or pharmacist can pull the latest recommendations on taking the bipolar medication so you can safely take the medicine and get the full benefit of the drug.

Bipolar Disorder Guide

  1. Overview
  2. Symptoms & Types
  3. Treatment & Prevention
  4. Living & Support

Bipolar Disorder Foods to Avoid

5 Foods to Avoid if You Have Bipolar Disorder

It’s no secret that eating unhealthy foods can lead to a host of ailments. But a lesser-known effect of a poor diet, according to research, is that it can contribute to bipolar mood episodes. And while there is no specific diet recommended for bipolar disorder, certain food choices may help manage manic episodes.

Moreover, individuals with bipolar disorder have a high prevalence for multiple chronic conditions, such as being overweight or obese, says Rachel Bergmans, PhD, MPH, a research fellow in the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. So choosing healthy options is particularly important if you have this condition. “Maintaining a healthy diet has the potential to not only benefit the symptoms of bipolar disorder but reduce the burden of these co-occurring illnesses,” explains Dr. Bergmans.

There is increasing evidence that nutrition affects mental health, including the mood states in bipolar disorder. For example, a study published in September 2015 in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that certain fatty foods could contribute to poor mental health and overall dysfunction in people with bipolar disorder. A review published in March 2016 in the same journal concluded that an overall healthy lifestyle, including exercise and diet, can be useful in managing bipolar disorder long term (though the authors note that changing certain unhealthy habits can be a challenge).

To help you follow and stick to healthy diet guidelines, which include eating more fruit and vegetables and paying attention to the fat content in your diet, it may be helpful to work with a registered dietitian to come up with a plan that works for you.

There is also some evidence that an imbalance in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid intake is problematic in bipolar disorder, says coauthor of the September 2015 study Melvin G. McInnis, MD, who is the Thomas B. and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth professor of bipolar disorder and depression and director of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program at University of Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. According to a study published in March 2016 in the journal Psychiatric Clinics of North America, having a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio increases the body’s inflammatory response, which is harmful for overall brain function.

Research has also uncovered a link between low levels of omega-3s and the development of bipolar disorder; conversely, an adequate intake of fatty fish is associated with a lower risk of developing the disorder, according to an article published in June 2019 in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. According to the authors, nutrition is now recognized as an important factor in the prevention and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Dr. McInnis explains that people with bipolar disorder should rebalance the types of fat in their diet to include more omega-3 fats and fewer omega-6 fats. “The ideal ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids is around four to one or even less,” adds Bergmans. “In Western diets, this ratio can be as high as 16 to 1, due to consuming too many foods high in omega-6 fatty acids and not enough foods that are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.”

Since omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3s in the body, you should try to avoid foods with a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, including oils such as corn, soybean, and cottonseed, advises Bergmans. Better oil options include canola, flaxseed, and olive, which are also low in saturated fat.

It’s a good idea, too, to add more omega-3-rich foods to your diet. Walnuts, almonds, flaxseed, wild-caught salmon, sardines, anchovies, spinach, collard greens, and winter squash are some options.

If you eliminate bipolar-incompatible foods from your diet, you will improve not only your psychological well-being but also your physical health, including your heart health. That’s particularly important for people with bipolar, because the disorder can increase your risk of obesity and heart and vascular disease, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

“People with bipolar disorder have, in general, poor diets and are not good at planning healthy diets with appropriate foods,” McInnis explains. One particular problem is fast food, which is a primary food source for a number of people with bipolar disorder, he says. “It’s convenient, cheap, and provides satisfaction — albeit short term.”

What Foods and Drinks Should People With Bipolar Disorder Avoid?

If you have bipolar disorder, the fundamentals of a healthy diet include not just what you should eat but also what you shouldn’t eat. Consider cutting back on or cutting out these items that could worsen your bipolar symptoms.

1. Caffeine

“Stimulants can trigger mania and should be avoided,” says Jess G. Fiedorowicz, MD, PhD, an associate professor in the departments of psychiatry and internal medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City. Caffeine is an underappreciated bipolar trigger and can also impair sleep, he says, which can be particularly problematic because sleep deprivation is a notorious trigger for bipolar mood swings and mania.

While the evidence isn’t conclusive, a systematic review published in September 2020 in the journal Bipolar Disorders points out that caffeine’s stimulant effect may be responsible for triggering mania symptoms, and it may also change the way certain medications used to treat bipolar disorder are metabolized in the body.

The National Sleep Foundation points out that caffeine can increase irritability and anxiety in addition to affecting sleep and recommends avoiding caffeine as you approach bedtime. Fiedorowicz adds that some over-the-counter medications, such as pseudoephedrine — found in some cough and cold medicines — have stimulant properties similar to caffeine and can also trigger bipolar mood swings.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol and bipolar disorder are a bad combination. Alcohol can affect bipolar mood swings and may also interact negatively with medication such as lithium, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). People with bipolar disorder are also more likely to die prematurely if they use alcohol or other substances, according to a study published in the September 2015 in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry that analyzed data on more than 11,000 people with bipolar disorder.

3. Sugar

Eating a diet high in sugar can make it harder to control weight and obesity — and related belly fat — and make some bipolar disorder drug treatments less effective, according to the results of a multicenter study published in June 2015 in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, reach for fruit.

4. Salt

If you’re taking lithium for your bipolar disorder, you’ll need to carefully monitor your salt intake, because any sudden increase or decrease in the amount of sodium you ingest can affect lithium levels. According to NAMI, people who take lithium should avoid low-sodium diets and dehydration, because they can increase the risk of lithium toxicity. Talk with your doctor about how to safely manage the salt in your diet to stay within a healthy range. Equally important when taking lithium is to make sure you drink enough fluids since dehydration can cause dangerous side effects, Fiedorowicz cautions.

5. Fat

Fiedorowicz suggests following the heart-healthy recommendations from the American Heart Association to limit the amount of saturated fat and trans fat in your diet. That means opting for lean protein and low-fat dairy products and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains. You might have heard that the fat in foods could alter the way your body uses medication: Generally, your medication will still be effective, but eating a lot of fried, fatty foods just isn’t good for your heart. And remember that the oils used for frying are high in the omega-6 fatty acids you want to avoid.

Healthy Foods to Swap in for Less Healthy Options

Planning a healthier diet doesn’t have to be a chore. McInnis advises going to your local farmers markets, exploring the options, and talking with the farmers themselves about how to best use their produce. And for quick stops at the store, he recommends sticking to the periphery, where whole foods, such as produce and fish, are usually found. For more ways to make your diet healthier, McInnis advises:

  • Munch on fresh vegetables with a savory dip, such as hummus, instead of potato chips or fries.
  • Skip the sweet pastry and instead top a slice of whole-grain bread or a few crackers with fruit preserves.
  • Choose a decaf latte or herbal tea instead of a fourth or fifth cup of coffee.
  • Avoid the burgers and fries at fast food places and order a fresh salad instead.
  • Swap a fried entrée for steamed or broiled fish.

Building the best diet often takes a group effort, including help from your bipolar treatment medical team. If your diet and lifestyle need a complete makeover, reach out to your doctor or a dietitian for help.

Additional reporting by Barbara Kean and Jessica Migala

How to eat properly with bipolar disorder

The material was prepared by Anna Malkova , clinical psychologist and community administrator Bipolar memes . This chapter is part of the Guide to Bipolar Disorder.

« The drugs helped me get out of a debilitating two-year depression. And the side effects didn't bother me too much. If not for one thing: I gained excess weight. A lot of excess weight, +20 kilos. nine0009 What diets I tried on myself, once I spent two weeks on kefir and buckwheat. The weight didn't come off. In the end, I decided that it was better to be fat than depressed, and I resigned myself. But still, sometimes I look at my old " slim " photos, and I want to cry ", - Alla, 36 years old.

When you have bipolar disorder, it's worth watching what and how you eat for several reasons. First, many drugs used in bipolar disorder cause weight gain. On the one hand, they increase appetite and hunger, on the other hand, they affect metabolism. Rapid weight gain, in turn, can lead to hormonal imbalances, including the development of type II diabetes. nine0003

Secondly, mood swings themselves contribute to a chaotic and unhealthy diet: either you forget about the feeling of hunger in hypomania, or you feed yourself in the nearest fast food for weeks in depression.

Thirdly, the brain with impaired neurotransmitter metabolism needs additional nourishment in the form of certain trace elements and vitamins.

There is evidence that proper nutrition can even help reduce the risk of new attacks in bipolar disorder. nine0003

  1. Cut down on junk food and fast carbohydrates (that is, stop eating foods that are low in nutrients but high in calories and artificial additives).
  2. Replace harmful foods with healthy ones: meat, fish, vegetable dishes and fresh herbs.
  3. Eat regularly and around the same time.

A healthy diet is an adequate quality and quantity of food, as well as a certain frequency of meals.[1] nine0003

We all heard from mothers and grandmothers that proper nutrition should be three times a day, and that skipping breakfast or overeating at night is terribly harmful. Let's see if these rules are relevant in our case.

The optimal number of meals actually depends on your health. The classic hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner are suitable for most healthy people. But in the presence of diseases of the stomach and intestines or diabetes, fractional meals are more useful: light meals or small portions, but four to six times a day. So the digestive and hormonal systems are easier to cope with the load. If you are overweight, it is also better to eat more often and in small portions: the energy received will be better spent, and not stored in body fat. nine0003

Skipping meals, let alone fasting, is bad for bipolar disorder: sudden fluctuations in blood sugar levels, when you first eat a lot and then do not eat at all for a long time, increase mood swings.

« My most common side effect from antidepressants is weight loss. I often lose my appetite, I just can't force myself to eat something substantial. In total, I have lost about 30 kilos over the years of taking medication » , - tells S.

Underweight is no less harmful to health than excess. After all, a lack of weight means not only getting rid of fat, but also weakening muscles, disrupting hormone metabolism and the functioning of internal organs. This problem is often underestimated due to the widespread cult of harmony. Although the "model parameters" (for example, weight 50 kilos with a height of 172 cm) do not speak of harmony, but of signs of anorexia. Such a diagnosis is made for girls with a body mass index less than 17.

Against the background of depression, many bipolar people's appetite does not increase, but decreases. Sometimes loss of appetite occurs as a side effect of medication. With such a problem, it is extremely important to adhere to a regular and nutritious diet, even if you don’t feel like eating. You can, for example, divide lunch into parts, and eat a little, but regularly.

A hot hearty breakfast helps kick start your metabolism in the morning, making you feel more energetic. By skipping breakfast (or replacing it with black coffee and a cigarette), we deprive the brain of its main energy source, glucose. Because of this, cognitive functions suffer: memory, attention, thinking. Which is quite inopportune at the beginning of the working day. nine0003

Since the metabolism slows down in the evening, so does the digestive tract. A heavy late dinner will be slow and difficult to digest. And the absorbed calories are more likely to be deposited on the sides. In addition, heaviness in the stomach can interfere with sleep.

But some people find it harder to fall asleep on an empty stomach. And with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and diabetes, it is harmful to remain without food for more than 4-5 hours. In this case, it is better to break dinner into two parts: a hearty meal early, and a light snack an hour or two before bedtime. Eating at night is bad anyway. nine0003

The energy ratio of meals should be something like this: 25% calories for breakfast, 50% for lunch, and 25% for dinner. The required amount of calories, fats, proteins and carbohydrates is best calculated individually, focusing on your gender, age, body mass index and lifestyle. You can contact a nutritionist with this question or start a food diary.

There are many smartphone apps that help you calculate how much you have already eaten and how much more you can afford. The app can be synced with a smartwatch that records your activity so you can correlate your calorie intake and consumption. nine0003

Bipolar Diet bestselling author Sarah Freeman, who suffers from bipolar disorder, has compiled a list of the best and worst foods for bipolar people.

Take, and more


Water, green tea, herbal tea Lemonade, sugary drinks, energy drinks
Fish and seafood Fast food (burgers, french fries, fatty sauces)
Poultry and lean meats
Vegetables with a high content

fiber, greens

Salty snacks (crackers, chips, dried fish, etc.)
Olive oil Saturated and trans fats (found in foods cooked with margarine or deep fried).
Berries, fruits Cakes, sweets, sweetened corn flakes and other products with a large amount of refined sugar

The first column contains products with a high content of vitamins, beneficial trace elements, low calorie content and a minimum amount of harmful substances. Let's talk about them in more detail.

Water, green and herbal teas. The basis of a healthy diet is the maintenance of water balance. Recall that you need to drink about 1.5-2 liters of water per day (there may be exceptions during pregnancy and certain diseases). For the body, the most useful and easily digestible liquid is pure water. It cannot be replaced by store-bought juices and soda (contain a lot of sugar) and strong teas (contain a lot of caffeine). A large amount of tea, in addition, increases urination, which ultimately leads to the leaching of beneficial substances from the body. nine0003

Green tea (weak) is considered healthier than black tea: it does not undergo fermentation during production and retains more nutrients. In particular, antioxidants that protect cells from aging.

Herbal teas are a good substitute for tea and coffee because they do not contain caffeine. But here you need to be careful: natural is not a synonym for safe. Some medicinal herbs (primarily St. John's wort and valerian) have a strong effect on the psyche and are able to react with medications. We will tell you more about this below. But such additives to drinks as chamomile, Ivan-tea, rose hips, mint, lemon, lingonberries are quite safe. nine0003

Fish and seafood. These products are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining the functioning of nerve cells and the cardiovascular system. Fatty acids (as well as any useful substances) are absorbed better from food than from artificial supplements, so it is better to make up for their deficiency in a natural way. It's easy: the daily requirement of Omega-3 is contained in 100 grams of salmon. Unlike meat, fat content only makes fish healthier. Fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel and cod are especially useful if they are properly stored (not frozen, but chilled) and cooked (boiled and lightly salted fish are healthier than fried). nine0003

Poultry. Chicken and turkey meat (especially breast) is an excellent source of protein. But you need to know how to cook them right! Breaded nuggets are not the best choice: they are fatty and very high in calories. The ideal option is boiled, stewed, baked or grilled poultry with a minimum amount of oil.

Vegetables high in fiber and vitamins. The healthiest are avocados, broccoli, spinach, green beans and other green vegetables. Vegetable fiber improves digestion and prevents weight gain, because the calories in these vegetables are minimal. nine0003

Berries and fruits. Fresh or canned berries (with minimal sugar!) are a great substitute for sweets. They contain many vitamins and a minimum of calories. Many fruits are quite high in calories (for example, bananas and dates), but still this is incomparable with the calorie content of muffins and sweets.

Olive oil. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and thus lowers cholesterol levels and improves vascular elasticity. It is very useful to replace ordinary sunflower oil with olive oil for dressing salads and adding to ready meals. nine0003

Authors' views on the bipolar diet may vary, but everyone agrees on one point: Added sugar and alcohol should be kept to a minimum. In addition, it is necessary to reduce the consumption of high-calorie foods and foods with harmful additives. This unhealthy diet increases the risk of additional health problems that bipolar people are prone to (obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome).

Muffins, sweets, sweetened corn flakes and other refined sugars. nine0009 It is impossible to forget the advertising slogans that the best way to recharge the brain is to eat a candy bar. But in fact, foods high in refined sugar are harmful not only to the figure, but also to the biochemistry of the brain.

Blood sugar can have a pretty big impact on mood. Many people notice how their mood deteriorates (weakness, apathy, irritability appear) when they miss lunch time.

The first thing that comes to mind in such a sudden decline, especially if you are immersed in business, is to swallow something very sweet (the same candy bar) on the go. As a result, blood sugar levels first rise sharply and then fall rapidly. And with it the mood. So we ourselves create an additional "roller coaster" that amplifies mood swings. nine0003

Some bipolar sufferers even experience hand tremors and arrhythmias due to this “sugar doping”. Soda, sugary, energy drinks. Cola, like any other lemonade, is essentially liquid sugar.

Just one liter of cola that you quietly drink on the way to work contains more than 110 grams of pure sugar. This is already more than the daily norm for a healthy person.

Many bipolar athletes resort to various types of “doping” during burning deadlines. Some try this way to force their brain to work into depression. Liters of coffee and energy are used. It's hard to say which is worse in energy drinks: the killer sugar content or the caffeine? But the most dangerous thing about them is that their immoderate consumption can indirectly provoke mania. As a rule, people drink them in the evening to finish work or cheer up on vacation. This interferes with normal sleep, and lack of sleep is a major trigger for mania. nine0003

Saturated and trans fats. This is exactly the harmful fat , which is deposited on the abdomen and on the walls of blood vessels and increases cholesterol levels. It is formed from vegetable fats when heated.

Almost all margarine or deep fried foods contain trans fats: fried pies, donuts, chips, french fries, popcorn, cookies, breaded nuggets, as well as cheap sauces (mayonnaise, ketchup) and butter spread. Trans fats for our body are garbage that is poorly processed and clogs the body. nine0003

Salty snacks. Snacks like a pack of chips or crackers are harmful due to excess salt. This is especially true for people taking lithium preparations, since excess salt reduces the concentration of lithium in the blood. So be careful with other goodies, like pickles and dried fish.

Fast food. We all have heard about the dangers of fast food more than once, but we quickly forget about common sense when, tired, hungry or depressed, we pass by McDonald's. nine0003

Fast food is very versatile in its harmfulness: at the same time it is a set of products with a huge content of trans fats and sugar, high-calorie food, and at the same time “empty” food, containing practically no useful substances.

Alcohol. We will analyze the difficult relationship of bipolar people with alcohol in the chapter “Especially bad habits”.

If you often drink herbal teas, you need to be very careful when choosing them. Some medicinal herbs are incompatible with drugs for the treatment of bipolar disorder. The greatest number of contraindications are St. John's wort and valerian . Their combination with some medications can even be dangerous to health. It is better to exclude tea with St. John's wort altogether, since the list of medicines, in combination with which this supplement becomes toxic, is quite long (in particular, many antidepressants and contraceptives).

It is worth paying special attention to such a seemingly harmless drink as natural grapefruit juice . For most people, it is very, very useful. But not for those who take psychotropic medications. nine0003

It is able to greatly increase the concentration of a number of drugs in the blood. This is attributed to the fact that grapefruit ingredients inhibit the production of an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of medicinal substances.

There is evidence that other citrus fruits in concentrated form (natural juice) may have this effect. At the moment, there is scientific data on the incompatibility of grapefruit with the following drugs:

nine0163 Alprazolam




Preparations that should not be combined with grapefruit juice
Antidepressants Fluvoxamine (fevarin)

Sertraline (Zoloft)

Buspirone (Spitomin)

Normotimics Carbamazepine
Antipsychotics Lurasidone

Ziprasidone (Zeldox)

Quetiapine (seroquel, quentiax)

Sleeping pills, sedatives

Studies show that many people with bipolar disorder are deficient in vitamins C, D and B vitamins. that is, together with useful products - in this form they are better absorbed, and at the same time there is no risk of hypervitaminosis, that is, poisoning with too large doses of the vitamin. nine0003

Secondly, before buying in pharmacies, you need to be tested for a deficiency of specific vitamins. The ubiquitous advertising of nutritional supplements has taught us the idea that you cannot live without them, and if you have any chronic disease, then you are doomed to expensive monthly orders on IHerb.

But, as shown by a very recent and very large study (an analysis of 33 large studies with 11,000 participants), only a few of these supplements have proven effectiveness in depression and mania. We will tell about them. nine0003

Omega-3s The omega-3s found in fatty fish and also sold in pretty yellow capsules are really helpful for bipolar disorder. Their positive effect on depression has been confirmed, but only when taking large doses - 1400-2200 mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) per day. This means that the small balls of fish oil familiar to us from school will not help - the concentration of Omega-3 in them is too low.

Folates (folic acid - vitamin B 9 and methyl folate). Like Omega-3, these are one of the most important substances for maintaining the functioning of the nervous system. Most of them are found in greens and legumes. The best results in depression showed methylfolate at a dosage of 15 mg / day.

Vitamin D , which many residents of non-sunny countries suffer from a deficiency, is also useful for depression. The optimal dosage (for adults without vitamin absorption disorders) is 500 IU (1 drop) per day. Patients with malabsorption syndrome (impaired vitamin absorption) will need 3000-5000 IU (6-10 drops) per day. Keep in mind that vitamin D deficiency can only be confirmed by a laboratory, and taking in doses above the prophylactic dose should be under the supervision of a physician. nine0227

Author: Malkova A.

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    9047 Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health //(HHS Publication No. SMA 15–4927, NSDUH Series H-50). - 2015. - Retrieved from
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Andrey Shilov

Bipolar disorder is a condition causing unpredictable mood swings and activity levels, also known as manic-depressive psychosis.

There are many studies confirming the relationship of good nutrition with the prevention or treatment diseases, but the impact of diet on mental health is not yet known. Australian scientists from Murdoch and Deakin Universities wrote a review of previous research on the impact of nutrition on bipolar disorder. According to them, connection exists. nine0003

How diet affects bipolar disorder

Cross-sectional studies show that people with bipolar disorder do not eat properly. diet influences several biological processes that in bipolar patients violated. These processes are:

  • Monoaminergic activity, which is responsible for dopamine, epinephrine, histamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.
  • Immune processes, including inflammation, which can become chronic and cause serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. nine0065
  • Oxidative stress caused by imbalance of antioxidants and radicals and damaging cells.
  • Mitochondrial activity, i.e. the body's natural ability to produce energy from cell metabolism.
  • Neuroprogression, or changes in clinical manifestations, biochemical markers and cerebral structures in mentally ill patients.

Found that diet can affect the effectiveness of bipolar treatment. Healthy food including a lot of fruits and vegetables helps fight depression, and a harmful diet of saturated fats and refined carbohydrates, provokes inflammation, which, in in turn, exacerbates the symptoms of bipolarity. nine0003

Which foods help with bipolar disorder

  • Avocado - this the fruit contains many healthy fats that increase sensitivity brain receptors for serotonin, a hormone that stabilizes mood. The fats in avocados also lower cholesterol and blood pressure, which may help. you feel relaxed.
  • Beans - high homocysteine ​​in the blood caused by a lack of vitamin B9(folate), leads to depression and functional impairment in bipolar patients. For supporting normal levels of homocysteine, it is recommended to eat foods containing folate, for example, beans.
  • Brazil nuts - with depression is also associated with a lack of magnesium, selenium and zinc. Therefore, when brazil nuts, which contain all three of these minerals, are beneficial for bipolarity. They also contain B vitamins, which can help with nervousness and irritability.
  • Chocolate - It has long been known that dark chocolate can elevate mood and improve control. over its slopes. This product not only stimulates the production of hormones pleasure, which are called endorphins, but also contains serotonin - a natural antidepressant that helps lift your mood.
  • Dark green leafy vegetables - Vegetables such as kale, spinach and turnips contain folate, already mentioned above. Some articles have written about the importance of folate for treatment of depression and enhancement of the effects of other antidepressants. nine0065
  • Fruit - bananas, mangoes and pineapples contain vitamin B6, with which the body produces hormones that affect on mood, such as norepinephrine, which improves not only mood, but also brain function.
  • Salmon - except for vitamin B6, for norepinephrine production also requires tyrosine and dopamine. Tyrosine is an amino acid found in protein foods such as meat, eggs, and fish. Salmon is a particularly good source of tyrosine as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
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