Q:  Vitamin-Mineral Supplements

i am currently not taking meds for my bipolar, and fortunately i am doing quite well. i have been taking Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) and this seems to help. Are there any other vitamin or mineral type supplements i can take that might be helpful?? thanks doc!!


Dear Jennifer -- 
As you probably know, doing well for a time on no medications except the omega-3 source doesn't necessarily mean it's the fish oil that's keeping you "well"; it could be a phase in your cycling that you would have had anyway (unless your cycles are generally so short that you can be pretty sure already).  There has not been much support for fish oil for bipolar disorder since the first Harvard study came out.  But, you could be one of the folks for whom it really works well, and that would be great.  

Can you add to this?  If it's working "well", obviously you wouldn't need to.  If it's not working well enough, generally I recommend folks start with medications with good evidence both for their effectiveness and for their safety.  There is excitement about the True Hope vitamin approach, but very very little information so far on safety and still no randomized trial results (one is underway).  

Here is some information on a thyroid hormone approach.  Otherwise, I'd recommend that you look further, if you need to supplement the fish oil, with the "mood stabilizers" we know.  You can read about all the ones we currently use here, and about non-medication approaches here.  

Dr. Phelps  

Published August, 2001