Bipolar Disorder and Foods to Avoid
Does Fish Oil Improve Mood With Bipolar Disorder?
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fatty fish at least two times a week. Good choices include:
- Albacore tuna
If you do not like fish, the AHA recommends taking 0.5 to 1.8 grams of fish oil per day as supplements. That way you will get enough dietary omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).
Fish oil can help keep your heart healthy. But some experts also believe that fish oil is an important bipolar supplement and that it may play a role in brain function and behavior. These experts report that omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful for those 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 since 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.