It is estimated that approximately 2.3 million people suffer from bipolar disorder. Because every person is different, there are a variety of factors that may contribute to bipolar. Scientific evidence has shown that bipolar disorder accompanies chemical imbalances in the brain. Varied studies suggest that it can be caused by many factors, such as genetic abnormalities, trauma, illness, drugs, environmental factors, and poor nutrition (consuming highly processed and chemical-laden foods and poor balance of wholesome, natural foods).
Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a mood disorder that is characterized by elevated periods of moods and energy levels followed by depressive episodes. Generally in between these mood fluctuations there is a ‘normal’ mood period except in the cases of rapid-cycling bipolar, where the fluctuations are very frequent.
Some common symptoms of bipolar are :
- Feelings of euphoria
- Easily distracted
- Poor temper
- Reckless behavior
- Elevated mood
- Rapid speech
- Little sleep
- Increased need for sleep/fatigue
- Eating problems
- Poor self image
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of pleasure in activities
- Suicidal thoughts
There are many treatments available for bipolar, such as medications, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and proper nutrition.
Nutrition plays a very important in mental health. Studies have shown that people who suffer from bipolar disorder have low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for brain health and are highly concentrated in the brain. When there is a deficiency of Omega 3, psychological/brain disorders may occur due to the imbalance.
Hempseeds and hempseed oil are considered superfoods and are an excellent way to incorporate Omega fatty acids into the diet. Hempseeds have the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids required by the human body for optimum health. Not only are they an excellent source of Omega fatty acids, hempseeds are also packed with edestin protein (the protein most easily digestible by the human body, as it is similar to human globulin), vitamins, and minerals.
In a 12-week double-blind study, individuals with bipolar were given Omega 3 fatty acids alongside with their medication. The Omega 3 improved their depression. (Frangou, Br J Psychiatry. 188:46-50, 2006)
Another double-blind controlled study that found that 9.6 g of omega-3 fatty acids (6.2 g EPA/3.4 g DHA) helped bipolar disorder depression.
Omega 3 fatty acids enhance brain function and health, as do medication (as needed in some cases), exercise, and proper diet.
~ As someone who has suffered from bipolar disorder, I can certainly attest to the fact that for me, nutrition has been an important factor in treating my condition. I was diagnosed in 2003 and placed on Lamictal. I took the medication for 2 years to get my brain chemicals back in balance, then weaned myself off the chemical prescription drugs. (*I would NOT recommend anyone going off their medication without speaking to their care provider.)
Eating wholesome, raw foods (organic whenever possible) has greatly reduced my symptoms. Incorporating hempseed and hempseed oil (packaged hempseeds and foods enhanced with hempseeds) into my diet has given me more mental and emotional balance, better sleep in most cases, and a sense of well-being. I have noticed gradual memory improvement as well as a better ability to handle stressors. Minor manic episodes have all but disappeared. The depressive symptoms have lessened greatly and the instances are occurring further and further apart.
*Everything in this post is for information only. I am not a physician and do not intend this article to be a replacement for medication/counseling. If you are on meds to control your bipolar, please do NOT stop taking them without consulting your physician.*