July 18, 2024

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Supplements to Consider for People with Bipolar Disorder in 2024

9 min read

Some people managing bipolar disorder consult with their treatment team and agree on supplements to use. Here are some recommendations.

If you live with bipolar disorder, hopefully, you have a consistent treatment team, support system, and sound regimen, including:

You might also be interested in specific supplements.

The word “supplement” covers a wide range of products, including:

  • extracts or concentrates
  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • amino acids
  • herbs (cannabis not recommended)

Some supplements increase your daily nutrient intake. Others have been marketedas antidepressants. Certain supplements are even touted to improve the function of your brain and the nervous system.

Still, evidence of these benefits is of varying quality, so it’s essential to stay vigilant of claims that sound too good to be true.

The products on this list include vitamins, amino acid compounds, and supplements, some of which are natural or herbal.

Each supplement has been researched and medically reviewed concerning managing of bipolar disorder.

Though we have suggested some brands of supplements as a way to help alleviate symptoms of bipolar disorder, other brands could be more suitable depending on your body and other medication you may be taking.

We recommend consulting a medical professional before using supplements to address bipolar disorder.

Our brand, content, and integrity teams have also vetted all products to ensure they’re appropriate for those with bipolar disorder.

Persona Omega 3

Price: $

Why we like this brand: Persona offers personalized daily vitamin packs to streamline your supplement routine and even provides free consultations with a wellness coach.

Promising research suggests that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids could be beneficial for managing bipolar disorder.

For instance, a 2016 review found that omega-3 fatty acids may prevent and improve symptoms of depression. It also suggested combining omega-3 with prescription medication might benefit people with bipolar disorder.

Similarly, a 2023 study showed that omega-3 fatty acids could decrease markers of inflammation and reduce depression compared to a placebo in people with bipolar disorder.

A 2016 study also found that omega-3 fatty acids could reduce the severity of mania in bipolar I disorder, with researchers noting that supplementation could be beneficial alongside other treatments.

Also, one 2020 review examined how some nutrient supplements may target the neurological pathways disturbed in bipolar disorder. Omega-3 fatty acids revealed some promising results, though it was highlighted that more research is needed on any possible benefits.

Note: Since Persona’s vitamins and supplements are assessed by a quiz to determine your personal needs, product pricing varies depending on the quantity and combination of your nutrient packs.

MegaFood Balanced B Complex

Price: $$

Why we like this brand:MegaFood specializes in producing high quality, food-based supplements with ingredients sourced from its farms.

According to a 2016 review, B vitamins are essential for the function of nerve cells, and a deficiency could be linked to an increased risk of depression.

B complex supplements also provide several specific B vitamins that may be beneficial for managing bipolar disorder, including thiamine, folate, and vitamin B12.

B1, aka thiamine

Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin found in:

Also known as thiamine, vitamin B1 helps prevent complications in the:

  • nervous system
  • intestines
  • brain
  • heart
  • muscles
  • stomach

It’s also involved in the flow of electrolytes into and out of muscle and nerve cells.

Thiamine deficiency is associated with beriberi and involves disorders of the heart, nerves, and digestive system.

One 2021 study of more than 7,000 adults found that vitamin B1 can help ease the anxiety that can accompany bipolar disorder. Still, more research is needed to better understand how B1 may help manage the condition.

B9, aka folate

Vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid, is a B vitamin needed for the production of DNA, among other bodily functions.

Folate is the form of vitamin B9 found naturally in foods, such as:

  • beef liver
  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • nuts
  • legumes

Meanwhile, folic acid is synthetic in many supplements and fortified foods.

A 2020 review of 14 studies concluded that folate supplementation could be safe and effective for improving symptoms of depression and bipolar manic episodes when used with other treatments.

Another 2022 review had similar findings, reporting that folate could improve clinical outcomes for several mental health conditions, including bipolar affective disorder. However, additional research is needed on the long-term effects of supplementation.

B12

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a vitamin your body doesn’t produce on its own. It’s found in:

  • animal products
  • certain fortified foods
  • oral supplements

Vitamin B12 has many roles in your body, such as supporting the functioning of your nerve cells. It’s also needed for red blood cell and DNA molecule formation.

Though there is no proven correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and bipolar disorder, the vitamin is known for its energy-boosting benefits. So, it may be a beneficial addition to the supplement regimen.

According to a 2019 study, Vitamin B12 can also play a role in synthesizing and metabolizing serotonin, the chemical responsible for regulating mood. So, being deficient in vitamin B12 may lead to decreased serotonin production and a depressed mood.

Horbäach Ashwagandha Capsules

Price: $$

Why we like this brand:Horbäach offers a wide range of budget-friendly supplements and follows strict quality standards.

Ashwagandha is an herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional alternative Indian medicine. “Ashwagandha” is Sanskrit for “smell of the horse,” which refers to the herb’s scent and its touted ability to increase strength.

Ashwagandha may help reduce stress and alleviate symptoms of mental health conditions.

In one smaller study from 2013, people with bipolar disorder took ashwagandha for 8 weeks. Afterward, it was found that they performed significantly better in a test called “the digit span backward test,” which measures working memory.

A review from 2019 found that ashwagandha had the potential to curb cognitive dysfunction in those with bipolar disorder.

Still, more research on the possible benefits of this herb is needed before it can be recommended as a suitable supplement for managing bipolar disorder.

Traditional Medicinals Lemon Balm

Price: $

Why we like this brand: Traditional Medicinals provides an assortment of organic and wild-collected herbal supplements and uses eco-friendly packaging. It’s also extensively vetted to ensure composition, identity, and purity “from field to cup” as advertised.

Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb from the same plant family as mint. Grown around the world, lemon balm is traditionally used to improve mood and cognitive function. It is also known as Melissa officinalis.

In traditional medicine, it’s been used as an astringent to cleanse pores and manage nervous headaches. In people with bipolar disorder, lemon balm has been used to:

  • relieve stress
  • reduce anxiety
  • help with memory

A small 2018 trial found that people with consistent chest pain due to heart disease who were receiving Melissa officinalis in capsule form had a significant reduction than a placebo group in scores of:

Also, a 2022 study found that lemon balm could relieve mild symptoms of mental stress and act as a sleep aid.

Though the effectiveness of lemon balm is not well-studied, it may also have the potential to treat symptoms that can occur between episodes of bipolar disorder related to:

Garden of Life Raw CoQ10

Price: $$$

Why we like this brand: Garden of Life specializes in sustainably produced, vegan, whole food-based supplements, many of which are also certified organic.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant produced naturally by the body.

Though it’s most often used to support heart health, some research suggests that CoQ10 could aid in managing bipolar disorder.

For instance, one 2019 study showed that CoQ10 supplementation could decrease markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in people with bipolar disorder during the depressive phase, with researchers noting that it could be a safe and effective strategy for treatment.

Another 2018 study found that supplementing with CoQ10 for 8 weeks improved symptoms of depression in people with bipolar disorder, which could be due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Also, other research suggests that CoQ10 could help decrease fatigue, a common symptom of bipolar disorder.

Doctor’s Best 5-HTP

Price: $$$

Why we like this brand: Doctor’s Best supplements are all third-party tested, so you can feel secure that they’re free of heavy metals and other contaminants.

A naturally occurring amino acid, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can be converted to serotonin in the body.

Because serotonin is involved in regulating mood, memory, sleep, and more, 5-HTP supplements are a popular choice to help manage symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Though studies on the effects of 5-HTP on bipolar disorder specifically are limited, some research has found that it could offer some benefits for symptoms that often accompany the condition.

One small 2017 study found that combining 5-HTP with creatine could decrease symptoms of depression by 60% in women resistant to treatment with antidepressants.

A 2021 study also showed that 5-HTP could reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep in older adults with poor sleep quality when taken for up to 8 weeks. (Researchers concluded this was due to the supplement accumulation in the body.)

Plus, 5-HTP might also be beneficial for other mental health conditions that can occur alongside bipolar disorder, such as anxiety.

However, keep in mind that 5-HTP is not recommended for those taking antidepressants. It could increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, a severe condition that can be life threatening.

Thorne Amino Complex

Price: $$$

Why we like this brand: Thorne is a well-known supplement brand with a reputation for producing high quality products free of artificial additives, dyes, and fillers.

This supplement contains several amino acids that could be beneficial for managing bipolar disorder, including L-tyrosine and L-tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin.

Some older research suggests that L-tryptophan could help reduce the severity of symptoms in people with bipolar disorder, including mania.

Though there is limited recent research on the potential benefits of L-tryptophan for bipolar disorder, a 2021 review found that L-tryptophan could improve mood and decrease anxiety in people without bipolar disorder.

Meanwhile, L-tyrosine produces other chemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, that can enhance mood.

A 2016 animal study concluded that tyrosine could help treat depression in rats but noted that more research is needed.

Also, one 2015 study showed that tyrosine could improve memory, which is often affected in people with bipolar disorder.

Still, more high quality research in humans is needed to evaluate the potential benefits of L-tryptophan and L-tyrosine specifically for bipolar disorder.

What helps with bipolar disorder naturally?

In addition to taking supplements, you can also try some natural techniques, such as:

  • meditation techniques
  • light therapy
  • other forms of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy

Still, discuss these techniques with your health professional before trying them.

Is bipolar disorder caused by a vitamin deficiency?

Research from 1998 suggests that specific protein deficiencies might be linked to the onset of bipolar disorder symptoms.

Still, more research is needed to better identify or understand potential causes or contributing factors to the condition.

Regardless, eating a balanced diet of whole foods is a good way to ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs.

How can I help my bipolar disorder without medication?

Starting and stopping meds prescribed by a psychiatrist is not recommended. Additional, non-medicated ways to support bipolar disorder management include:

  • getting enough sleep
  • eating a well-balanced diet
  • regular physical activity
  • regular sessions with a therapist or psychiatrist

If you’re interested in learning more about how to manage bipolar disorder, talk with a medical professional.

What are the most suitable supplements for bipolar disorder?

Several supplements might be beneficial for managing symptoms of bipolar disorder, including:

  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • B vitamins
  • lemon balm

However, it’s essential to note that these supplements should not be used as a replacement for other medications or treatment methods. You should also check in with a doctor before beginning supplementation.

What is a natural supplement for bipolar disorder?

Ashwagandha is a natural supplement that has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory in people with bipolar disorder.

Lemon balm is another option, which may act as a herbal sleep aid and reduce:

What supplements should be avoided if you have bipolar disorder?

Specific supplements — including St. John’s wort and ginkgo biloba — could interact with other medications commonly used to treat bipolar disorder and may need to be avoided. S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAME-e) is another supplement that can worsen mania and is not recommended for those with bipolar disorder.

Is there a vitamin for bipolar disorder?

Several vitamins might be helpful for those with bipolar disorder, including a vitamin B complex. This supplement provides B vitamins like folate and vitamin B12, both of which may be beneficial for reducing certain symptoms of bipolar disorder.

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