Multi-vitamin mineral supplement treats intractable bipolar disorder

In this small pilot study (Am J Clin Psychiatry 2001 Dec;62(12):936-44) 11 patients with severe bipolar disorder, some of whom did not respond to standard medical treatment, were given a single high-dose multiple vitamin and mineral supplement on a daily basis. After six months on this regimen, researchers found that average symptom reduction ranged from 55% to 66% and the need for medication decreased by more than 50%. In some cases the supplement replaced psychotropic medications and the patients remained well.

According to researchers there are two possible explanations for the effectiveness of the supplement. One is that bipolar disorder stems from an inborn error of metabolism that leads to a critical need for high doses of vitamins and minerals, and the other is that a certain group of people may be especially vulnerable to vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the food supply and may develop the condition as a result of inadequate nutrient intake.

This small study is now being followed by a large-scale randomized, placebo-controlled study.

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