Bipolar Disorder (BD) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by mood disturbances with recurrent episodes of mania, hypomania, and depression.1Vihang N. Vahia. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders 5: A quick glance Indian J Psychiatry. 2013
Also known as manic-depression, bipolar depression is prevalent in about 2-3% of the population. It is a chronic, lifetime disorder that can be debilitating if left unchecked. Luckily, it is treatable through therapy and medication.
And, there is evidence that nootropic supplements may be useful for some people with bipolar disorder as an adjunct treatment.
What Are The Best Nootropics for Bipolar Disorder - Quick Answers
|Lithium Orotate||Important trace element with profound mental effects||Learn More|
|Magnesium||#1 Magnesium Product||Learn More|
|Mind Lab Pro||#1 Nootropic For Beginners||Learn More|
|Reishi ||A staple in Eastern medicine||Learn More|
|Qualia Mind||Most Nootropics Per Serving||Learn More|
|Blood Sugar Breakthrough||Stabilizes and promotes healthy blood sugar levels||Learn More|
|Chaga Mushroom||One of the most powerful antioxidants on Earth||Learn More|
|GABA||Your body's natural relaxant||Learn More|
|Uridine Monophosphate||One of the basic building blocks of your body||Learn More|
|Phosphatidylcholine||Crucial component of all neural cells||Learn More|
|NAC||Versatile and effective all-round cognitive supplement||Learn More|
|Citicoline||Supercharged source of choline for your brain||Learn More|
|Adrafinil||A legal over-the-counter version on Modafinil||Learn More|
Types of Bipolar Disorder
There are multiple varieties of bipolar disorder, each with distinct symptoms:
- Bipolar I Disorder: defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks. Episodes of depression with mixed features (having depression and manic symptoms at the same time) are also possible.
- Bipolar II Disorder: defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes of Bipolar I.
- Cyclothymic Disorder (cyclothymia): defined by periods of hypomanic symptoms as well as numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years (1 year in children and adolescents). However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode.
Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders: defined by bipolar disorder symptoms that do not match the three categories listed above.2Bipolar Disorder, National Instistute Of Mental Health. 2016
Bipolar Disorder and ADHD
In fact, emotional and cognitive deficits are present in each disorder and can appear similar. Mood lability (uncontrollable, exaggerated, rapid changes in mood) in ADHD can appear similar to mood dysregulation in BD.5Miller S, Chang KD, Ketter TA. J Clin Psychiatry. 2013
READ MORE: How Leaky Brain Affects Your Mental Health
Is Bipolar A Disability?
According to the World Health Organization, bipolar disorder is a severe psychiatric illness that has been ranked as one of the 20 leading medical causes of disability.7World Health Organization. WHO. 2011
Bipolar disorder continues to be associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. It ranks behind only depression and alcohol abuse for related disabilities and overall economic load.8Alan D. Lopez & Christopher C.J.L. Murray. Nature. 1998
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Traditional Bipolar Disorder Treatment Efficacy
There has been a substantial expansion of research into bipolar disorder and potential treatments during the past two decades. Despite this, true advances have been few.
The underlying mechanism of this disease is largely unknown, and many of the current treatments are just extensions of treatments for other conditions. For example, using antipsychotics for manic episodes, and antidepressants for depressive episodes.
Lithium remains unique because its main therapeutic use is in bipolar disorder, so investigating its mechanism of action is crucially important in the identification of future targets.9John R Geddes, David J Miklowitz Lancet. 2013
The treatment of bipolar depression is a major challenge, with few treatments of proven efficacy and, in particular, substantial controversy about the role of antidepressant drugs.
Are Anti-depressants Effective in Treating Bipolar Disorder?
In fact, a recent updated meta-analysis of antidepressants in bipolar depression reported that the statistically significant effects were no different from placebo.12Sidor MM, MacQueen GM. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2012
The antiepileptic drug lamotrigine has shown promise, at least initially. Researchers investigated it after they saw some clinical benefit with the drug in patients with bipolar disorder.13Weisler RH, et al. J Affect Disord. 2008
However, a meta-analysis of individual patient-level data from five trials of lamotrigine in bipolar depression reported a modest treatment effect; however, no one trial showed statistically significant benefits of treatment with lamotrigine in comparison with placebo.
To date, lithium remains the most effective clinical medication for bipolar disorder.
Non-Medication Treatments for Bipolar Disorder
Psychological therapy (with or without medication) specifically designed for bipolar disorder is effective in preventing or delaying relapses in bipolar disorders.15Miklowitz DJ, et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008
One study reported that patients who received 12–14 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy were less likely to have depressive episodes and had better social functioning than patients who did not for years afterward.16Kessing LV, et al. Br J Psychiatry. 2013
It also appears that family-focused therapy is effective (in combination with pharmaceuticals) in stabilizing bipolar depressive symptoms among adolescents.17Miklowitz DJ, et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008
Treating circadian rhythm irregularities by improving sleep has also shown a lot of promise for patients with bipolar disorder, who often have sleep disorders.18Frank E, et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005
Why Nootropics for Bipolar Disorder?
Nootropic supplements may be an option for treating some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. They tend to have a much milder side effect profile than traditional pharmaceuticals.
However, these supplements should not be considered a substitute for treatment by a licensed physician. Therapy and medication are still the most reliable ways to manage bipolar disorder, and nootropics are not a substitute for professional help.
However, there is evidence that some of them can help certain aspects associated with bipolar disorder.
Best Nootropics For Bipolar Disorder
Important trace element with profound mental effects
Lithium is a naturally occurring trace mineral that your body requires for proper metabolism and nerve health.
#1 Magnesium Product
As per several scientific literature, magnesium has demonstrated its effectiveness against severe manic agitation and bipolar disorder. This can be due to the resemblance in chemical structure and properties with Lithium, the drug of choice to stabilize mood and manage bipolar disorder.21G Chouinard , L Beauclair, R Geiser, P Etienne, A pilot study of magnesium aspartate hydrochloride (Magnesiocard) as a mood stabilizer for rapid cycling bipolar affective disorder patients, Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1990
Hence, regular intake of dietary magnesium may lighten the need and dosage of Lithium. However, it is important to note that magnesium cannot replace Lithium entirely.22Mihai Nechifor, Magnesium in psychoses (schizophrenia and bipolar disorders), University of Adelaide Press; 2011
Magnesium has also been found to help individuals with bipolar disorder who experience gradual irregularities in sleeping patterns prior to the manic episode.23Ewa Poleszak , Bernadeta Szewczyk, Ewa Kedzierska, Piotr Wlaź, Andrzej Pilc, Gabriel Nowak, Antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like activity of magnesium in mice, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004
Magnesium Breakthrough is full-spectrum magnesium supplement as it contains seven different forms of magnesium in an optimized ratio to provide best outcome for conditions like insomnia, depression, chronic anxiety and bipolar disorder.
#1 Nootropic For Beginners
- Mind Lab Pro is a potent formula for treating bipolar disorder.
- The 11 included nootropics include the ability to boost neurotransmitters, lower inflammation, and modulate your HPA axis' stress response.
- Ingredients like CDP-choline, Lion's Mane, and phosphatidylserine enhance acetylcholine.
- Bacopa monnieri, L-theanine, and Pine Bark extract lower inflammation and keep you calm.
- The supplements themselves are 3rd party tested and free of excess fillers and toxic ingredients.
- I love this stack for nootropic newbies and experienced nootropic users alike.
A staple in Eastern medicine
Reishi mushroom has been used traditionally for many years to boost the immune system, and support overall mental health.24Emmanuelle Bostock, Kenneth Kirkby, Michael Garry, Bruce Taylor, and Jason A. Hawrelak, Mania Associated With Herbal Medicines, Other Than Cannabis: A Systematic Review and Quality Assessment of Case Reports, Front Psychiatry. 2018
This mushroom has been shown to be successful at treating chronic emotional distress caused by psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder.25Pengjiao Zeng, Zhihua Guo, Xuan Zeng, Cui Hao, Yiran Zhang, Meng Zhang, Yong Liu, Hui Li, Juan Li, Lijuan Zhang, Chemical, biochemical, preclinical and clinical studies of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide as an approved drug for treating myopathy and other diseases in China, JCMM. 2018
In clinical studies, reishi has been found to ease warning signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder which include mood swings, states of confusion, sleeplessness, and overall low mood.26Sissi Wachtel-Galor, John Yuen, John A. Buswell, and Iris F. F. Benzie, Chapter 9Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi), CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. 2011
Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Reishi.
Most Nootropics Per Serving
- Qualia Mind offers a lot of support for those who have Bipolar Disorder.
- The advanced formula includes adaptogens, which can help regulate stress hormones. These include:
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Bacopa Monnieri
- Mucuna Pruriens
Stabilizes and promotes healthy blood sugar levels
Research shows that the prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus among individuals diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder might be up to three times greater in comparison to the general population.27Roger S McIntyre, Jakub Z Konarski, Virginia L Misener, Sidney H Kennedy, Bipolar disorder and diabetes mellitus: epidemiology, etiology, and treatment implications, Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2005
Patients with glucose metabolism abnormalities are at a higher risk to suffer from bipolar disorder.
A hyperglycemic state induces oxidative stress on the body which is associated with cognitive impairment, and increased irritability, hence, a person may experience more frequent and severe episodes of extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).
Although the detailed mechanisms of the interplay between the brain, endocrine disturbances and psychological disorders are unknown, it is fair to say that formulations such as Blood Sugar Breakthrough, that consist of multipotent ingredients with neuroprotective effects can be very beneficial for overall wellbeing.28Cynthia V Calkin , David M Gardner, Thomas Ransom, Martin Alda, The relationship between bipolar disorder and type 2 diabetes: more than just co-morbid disorders, Ann Med. 201329Tomas Hajek, Roger McIntyre, Martin Alda, Bipolar disorders, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and the brain, Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2016
One of the most powerful antioxidants on Earth
Chaga mushroom contains naturally occurring molecules that help with chronic neurological symptoms of bipolar disorder such as moody nature, unwarranted aggression, and feeling spontaneously sad.30Zhiguo Li , Junjie Mei, Liping Jiang, Chengyan Geng, Qiujuan Li, Xiaofeng Yao, Jun Cao , Chaga Medicinal Mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (Agaricomycetes) Polysaccharides Suppress Tacrine-induced Apoptosis by ROS-scavenging and Mitochondrial Pathway in HepG2 Cells, Int J Med Mushrooms. 2019
This mushroom improves the overall mind-body connection as it has been proven to boost the immune system and help with multiple health concerns including inflammation, and overwhelming oxidative stress.
It has the potential to protect brain cells and its components against free radicals and support mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, fatigue, and stress.31Honghai Hu Zhenya Zhang Zhongfang Lei Yingnan Yang Norio Sugiura, Comparative study of antioxidant activity and antiproliferative effect of hot water and ethanol extracts from the mushroom Inonotus obliquus, Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering. 2009
All of these benefits work synergistically to stabilize mental well-being and lower instances of bipolar disorder.32Vijayasree Vayalanellore Giridharan, Rajarajan Amirthalingam Thandavarayan, Tetsuya Konishi, Amelioration of scopolamine induced cognitive dysfunction and oxidative stress by Inonotus obliquus - a medicinal mushroom, Food Funct. 2011
Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Chaga.
One of the basic building blocks of your body
Uridine monophosphate is a naturally occurring compound that forms part of your body's RNA. It is critical for cellular metabolism and can improve overall cognition.
Theoretically, this could ease some of the symptoms of this disease.
Crucial component of all neural cells
Supercharged source of choline for your brain
Like phosphatidylcholine, citicoline is a powerful source of choline. This makes it potentially valuable for treating this disorder.
A legal over-the-counter version on Modafinil
Is there another Nootropic or supplement out there you are using to treat bipolar symptoms?
Let us know in the comments!