I searched the PH site and found nothing on bipolar disorder and paleo. Does anyone here suffer from bp and if so, how has (if at all) paleo helped you? I found that my moods are a lot more even on paleo however, I wonder if there are specifics to this diet of which I should be aware.
A bit of background, since I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer your question: I'm undiagnosed but my doctor highly implied that she thought I was rapid-cycle bipolar. However, she failed to refer me to a psychologist, and thus I remain without a label. My mother is bipolar, though, so I'm pretty certain I've got it, as well. I'm self-diagnosed with cyclothymia. :)
Anyway, onward, to answer your question! I find myself much more mellow these days, but oddly enough, I'm having more of the hypo-mania periods as of late. Then, instead of plummeting, I tend to settle back into feeling almost normal. I still get my lows, but they're not "pit-of-despair" quality like they used to be.
It is theorized that bipolar is small seizures in the brain. Therefore some feel that a ketogenic diet can regulate bipolar just as it can stop seizures from occuring.
I think a lot of of are going to come to the same consensus, but I'll share my story anyways.
I am bipolar, or I should say I was diagnosed as bipolar, but since going gluten free and even more so since going paleo I have been largely asymptomatic. I haven't read all of the literature out there, but I'm pretty sure I remember both Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf touching on how ongoing reactions to our SAD foods could trigger bouts of depression either in documented examples or in "let's share a story" (honestly I just don't feel like looking up chapter and verse) - well no kidding, if you feel like shit all the time, and you're already predisposed to a psychiatric condition, you're not doing yourself any favors.
As I have never been able to stay on my meds longer than 4 weeks before they sent me into extreme lows (and I had probably been prescribed EVERYTHING at one point or another up until I just gave up trying meds to fix the problem about 5 years ago) I can honestly say that the ONLY thing that has worked has been a change in my diet. Adding CrossFit has helped some of my stress, but definitely going grain free has helped my bipolar disorder. I still have the odd highs and lows every now and then, we all should, that's part of what makes us human and they're no where near what they were before.
I'm sorry I can't post this as a doctor with a great explanation, but I can say that what you're going through I believe is normal. As far as I can tell, there is nothing about the diet that will harm you or make it worse. Your doctor has probably told you already to eat well, get plenty of rest, and to exercise - that's regularly prescribed as part of our treatments - they just don't tell you to get off the grains and get some extra sunshine too.
Would anyone here be interested in sharing a googledoc or something similar to trade new research/articles/personal experiences on bipolar and paleo/gluten-free/celiac? Paleo cured my 'rheumatoid arthritis' (life changer!) and a family member is thinking of trying it out for mood issues. Would be great to share info.
From what I've heard and researched, They're starting to call Alzheimers "Type 3 Diabetes" because there are issues with glucose metabolism in the brain. The Brain can run off Glucose or Ketones. Apparently Medium chain fatty acids have been found to help Alzheimers. And those are in Coconut Oil. Dr Mary Newport has reversed some of her husbands Alzheimers with Coconut Oil. And Bruce Fife has lots of stuff on Coconut Oil.
Anywayz, I know you don't have Alzheimers but it seems all these conditions of brain health (depression, Bipolar and Alzheimers) have skyrocketed along with Diabetes ever since we've been on this low-fat, high carb lifestyle.
I also saw on Paleoparents.com that Their whole family benefited in their brain health and emotional issues
Paleo diets are higher in omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are beneficial to brain function and can ameliorate depressive symptoms. (the health benefits of omega3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; a review of the evidence. Ruxton, Reed, Simpson, Millington.) If not then a supplement is a good idea. Also as paleo is very low in sugars, sugar is responsible for a whole gamete of awful side effects such as inflammation and mood swings. And who knows what other consequences come from additives and preservatives. So it stands to reason that in the absence of these toxic substances your moods become moderated and you feel " normal".
I am type II Bipolar and have noticed that I am far more "up" and not at all depressed. I have read the same thing, that doing a ketogenic diet helps, and that staying away from sugar will also help to stabilize mood. I think that the exercise helps too with depression. I take an antiepileptic drug called lamictal, which has no side effects. I wish I didn't have to take anything, but bipolar mood swings can be devastating and I am not willing to take any risks! Maybe you could ask your doctor about taking a med with fewer side effects. There are many options other than Lithium.
I am struggling to find out if I have bipolar. I've tried Paleo before but have not been able to stick to it, since my reasons for doing so were largely "cosmetic." For me, that never lasts. Everyone's positive testimony here makes me want to try again, and since I'm going to the grocery store tonight, I can make the right choices.
I am un-diagnosed as of yet, but I have had several doctors heavily imply that they thought I was bipolar, and my paternal grandfather was. I have had some serious indicators in my life. Thank you so much to everyone who has shared here. I am suffering pretty intensely right now, and will be seeing a counselor Wednesday, which I'm looking forward to, but I don't want to be slapped on meds for the rest of my life if I don't have to. I already take an anti depressant but I just don't think it's enough. I think I need to start respecting my body, Paleo style again, with foods that can heal me from the inside out.
Blessings to all of you.
I'm writing an answer here so I'm notified of future posts. My family suffers greatly from depression. I can't get through the carb flu without caving in because of mine. My resilience seems to be good for all of 4 days or so.