The Vitamin Kid

Avoiding bad medicine and finding non-toxic treatments that actually work

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Location: Ankeny, Iowa, United States

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bipolar disorder, ADHD: in your head or in your diet?

Discover magazine, May 2005, features an article by Susan Freinkel, "Vitamin Cure." Frankel tells the story of two Canadian hog farmers who formulated a vitamin and mineral cure for irritable pigs who bite the tails and ears of other pigs when confined in crowded pens. The same formula was refined for human consumption and is now being offered for sale. It is also being tested in the laboratory to determine its effect on the brain and nervous system. A variation on the hog farmers' formula, EMPowerplus, was fed to rats, who developed bigger brains and more synaptic connections than rats fed only normal rat chow. Clearly nutrition can affect brain structure.

A small clinical study of the supplement by Dr. Bonnie Kaplan at the University of Calgary found EMPowerplus helpful in bipolar patients for whom conventional medication had proved ineffective. Harvard's Dr. Charles Popper tried the supplement in a similar group of drug-resistant bipolar patients, with 80 percent responding favorably. Often the response was faster than that usually obtained with pharmaceutical drugs.

The British Journal of Pharmacology published a study in 2002 demonstrating that a vitamin and mineral supplement plus fish oil and evening primrose oil (to provide essential fatty acids) could clearly reduce antisocial acts in a prison population.

Harvard psychiatrist Andrew Stoll found that Omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon and flax seed) were helpful in improving the mental health of bipolar patients, decreasing symptoms and apparently guarding them against relapse. Other studies suggest that Omega-3 oils are also helpful for depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The standard treatment for bipolar disorder is lithium -- a simple mineral. Other nutrients which may prove helpful for mental illness include folic acid for depression, magnesium for mood disorders, chromium for depression, and inositol for depression, panic disorder, and OCD (obbsessive compulsive disorder). Details are in the Discover magazine article, the text of which can be read here.


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