In episode 75 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
The medical community does a poor job addressing mental health and mental health issues. A study published in the journal Molecular Psychology evaluated nitrate consumption and the risk for mania in people who have bipolar disease.
The one thing we do know is that nitrates are one of them and a great place to start to reduce the episodes of mania in those who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. DR. CHAD LARSON
Bipolar disorder is a condition where a person is at a higher risk of being in a manic or depressive elevated mental state or mood in an abnormal way.
People who experience mania have conditions like insomnia that can go on for weeks at a time, and after the episode of mania disappears, there is an equal drop in their mood to an exaggerated depressive mental state.
Researchers took 1000 cases of bipolar disorder and evaluated participants diets before a manic episode happened. And what they found, was that when the participant experienced a state of mania or an abnormally elevated mood, they had a three and a half greater times consumption of nitrates.
Nitrates came up over and over again as a shared trait in the study. Nitrates are a curing or preserving agent that is used in meats like jerky, bacon and hotdogs.
Other researchers took the concept of nitrates and set up a scientific model with three different subject groups of rodents. The first subject group was the control group that didn’t consume nitrate containing foods.
The second group of rodents ate typical foods that contain nitrates like jerky. And, then the third group, consumed cured meat that was void of nitrates. What the researchers found was that the rodents that consumed cured meats with a higher level of nitrates had mood changes and sleep disturbances.
Although bipolar disorder only affects about one to three percent of the population, it has a direct health cost of about $25 billion a year. The more pieces that researchers can put together about what causes manic episodes, the better chance they can reduce the cost of it.
Bipolar is a multi-pronged or multi-factor illness, meaning that there are several reasons that someone can trip into a state of mania.
Thanks to recent studies, the one thing we do know is that nitrates are one of them and a great place to start to reduce the episodes of mania in those who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Researchers are finally beginning to look at the way that mental disorders are influenced by diet. Food is the absolute centerpiece of health. We know that it affects things like the gut microbiome, which influences the way that the brain operates.
So, the next step is to study how nitrates influence the brain to trigger mania. The likelihood is that it causes an imbalance in the gut microbiome that leads to influencing the way that the brain works.