I have been having problems with food allergies for a few years now. Actually, these are not the full fledged anaphylactic reaction (where your throat closes up and without an epinephrine shot, you have danger of dying) kind of allergies, I suppose my allergies would be better described as food sensitivities. My symptoms are not the typical gastrointestinal ones, but rather are joint pains and fatigue. A few years ago, I was tested for food allergies using an IgG test, by a rather unconventional doctor. My tests came out positive for many food, including bananas, beef, corn, wheat, rice, casein (a milk protein). I stayed off those foods for a year and then tried to add them in, unfortunately, it didn’t really help. Then when I moved to Louisville, I went to a doctor in Cincinnati, an extremely unconventional doctor, to the point of charlatanism. He offered to cure my bipolar disorder! That’s when I stopped seeing him. Now I am seeing an allergist, he has done IgE food allergy testing and found I am allergic to about 12 foods. I’ve been avoiding those foods for two months. A few days ago, I added dairy back in and started having knee pain and fatigue. Darn! I love ice cream, and whipped cream, and butter and Flan! Now I will have to go off dairy for a year.
Considering my food allergies and my having bipolar disorder (BPD), I decided to do a search about food and bipolar d/o. Below is an article I found about the five so called worst foods for bipolar d/o. In my experience, caffeine is only bad when I am not on Lithium, when my mood is controlled on Lithium, I can have 5 cups of coffee and I will not get jittery, hyper, neither will my muscles start trembling, all the case if I am not on Lithium. I once asked my doctor, a long time ago, if Caffeine can push someone with BPD into mania, because I had felt the “upness” after having coffee. He didn’t really have an answer for me. Now I believe it can, if your mood is not managed wit Lithium (for me) or another mood stabilizer.
Alcohol, definitely reacts badly with the medications used for BPD. The meds potentiate the effect of alcohol, which means a very little amount of alcohol can have quite a big effect. I drink one glass of wine and my dead starts swimming, although it does make me really happy 🙂 It says below that people with BPD can become addicted to alcohol easily, may well be the case, but not in my experience.
Sugar can of course. spike your blood sugar, and the ensuing elevation in Insulin can make your blood sugar levels drop. Not so good for people with mood disorders. Stability, evenness, and steadiness are the most coveted states, in sugar levels and moods for any one with BPD!
Salt can interfere with Lithium metabolism and of course, water metabolism. When one is on Lithium, one has to stay very well hydrated as Lithium is a diuretic as well as a mood stabilizer. Also salt can be dehydrating, with Lithium, that is not a good idea. I find that I crave salt when I’m on 900 mg of Lithium. I don’t eat too much salt, but neither do I restrict my salt intake. And my doctor told me to eat more salt if my side effects such as fine muscle tremors (mostly in my right hand) get to be too bothersome. I suppose the extra salt lowering Lithium levels to stop the tremors.
Fat, I don’t understand why fat is on the list below… Good fats such as nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are actually quite beneficial for the brain. The cell membranes of neurons, as well as glia are made of fat, so this one, I don’t know. I would leave fat off the list of the five worst foods for BPD.
The Five Worst Foods for Bipolar Disorder
- Caffeine. “Stimulants can trigger mania and should be avoided,” Fiedorowicz says. “Caffeine is an under-appreciated trigger and can additionally impair sleep,” and sleep deprivation is a notorious trigger for bipolar mood swings and mania. Caffeine can also worsen anxiety, which tends to go hand in hand with bipolar disorder and, if you’re taking antipsychotic medications, might also affect how those drugs work. Fiedorowicz adds that some over-the-counter medications — such as pseudoephedrine, found in some cough and cold medications, for instance — have stimulant properties similar to caffeine and can also trigger bipolar mood swings.
- Alcohol. Bottom line, alcohol and bipolar disorder make a bad combination. Alcohol can negatively affect bipolar mood swings and also may interact negatively with medications. People with bipolar disorder are also more likely to become addicted to alcohol and other substances.
- Sugar. People with bipolar disorder are at risk for metabolic syndrome, a pre-diabetes condition that may make it hard to manage blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the highs and lows that come with the sugar roller coaster could just add to bipolar mood swings, particularly mania. If you really want a sweet treat, reach for fruit.
- Salt. If you’re on lithium, moderating salt intake can be tricky because a change in salt intake, either an increase or a sudden decrease, can affect lithium levels. Talk to your doctor about how to safely manage the salt in your diet to stay within a healthy range, often between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams a day. Equally important when taking lithium is to make sure to drink enough fluids — dehydration could cause dangerous side effects, Fiedorowicz cautions.
- Fat. Fiedorowicz suggests following the recommendations of the American Heart Association for a healthy diet in order to limit saturated fat and trans fat in your diet. That means opting for lean protein and low-fat dairy products when choosing animal products. You might have heard that the fat in foods could alter the way your body uses medications. Generally, your medications will still be effective, but eating a lot of fried, fatty foods just isn’t good for your heart.