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Vitamin D and Bipolar Disorder

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There is a guy at my group that has been supplementing his diet with large amounts of Vitamin D.  He is doing this under Doctors order and care. He is BP1 with psychotic features.   ( same as me) 

He supplements for a few months and then not anymore.  Mostly to combat winter depression.  He runs low on vitamin D when he does his blood work.

It has helped him in the past.   I guess its best under a Doctors care cus it can increase your chance of a manic episode.  (google)

I really dont know much.   I googled it. Lots of info so it's a thing.  Some studies say its helpful for Bipolar Depression, others not.

Does anyone have experience with vitamin D supplements?    Or know anything more than what is available online?

I sure would like to have something I can take only in the Winter to combat depression.  

I really dont want another med added to my cocktail, its confusing enough.  A vitamin that helped would be nice.

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When you take Vit D, take it with food that has fat in it.  It is fat soluble so it absorbs better when taken with food that has fat in it.  It also gets stored in fat, so an obese person might be more at risk of developing a Vit D deficiency:



Being overweight or obese may put you at risk for a vitamin D deficiency. A study done on 2,187 overweight and obese subjects found that those with a BMI above 40 had 18% lower serum vitamin D levels than those with a BMI under 40. Another study compared the vitamin D levels of 154 obese subjects to those of 148 nonobese subjects and found that the obese subjects' vitamin D levels were 23% lower. While diet and decreased sun exposure may have some impact on this, there appears to be an increased need that cannot be met without a supplement. One study tested the blood levels of vitamin D after sun exposure in both obese and nonobese subjects. Both saw an initial rise in vitamin D levels after similar exposures, but 24 hours later, there was 57% less vitamin D in the blood of the obese subjects. Both groups had a similar capacity of the skin to produce the vitamin. The difference was seen in the release of vitamin D from the skin into the circulation. It is believed that the fat under the skin holds onto the fat-soluble vitamin instead of releasing it,




Depression: The association between lack of sunlight and depressive disorders was first noted 2,000 years ago. Vitamin D plays a role in regulating adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine production in the brain through vitamin D receptors in the adrenal cortex, as well as protecting against the depletion of serotonin and dopamine. This is the possible link with vitamin D's role in depression. The research is new in this area, and only the associations have been shown so far. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an 8%-14% increase in depression. Research is also finding a relationship with low vitamin D levels and increased risk of suicide. In a study done on the Department of Defense Serum Repository personnel, researchers compared the vitamin D levels of 495 verified suicide cases versus 495 controls. They found the lowest 25(OH)D level are associated with an increased risk for suicide. Another study compared vitamin D levels in 59 suicide attempters, 17 nonsuicidal depressed patients, and 14 healthy controls. The suicide attempters had significantly lower vitamin D than depressed nonsuicidal patients and healthy controls. Research is ongoing in this area to determine if you can prevent and treat depression by correcting vitamin D deficiencies.


*Both of these links above also have info as you continue down each page (more than just the words that I quoted).

These 2 links above are from 2 separate pages of a longer article -->  http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/article.htm

that has a lot of interesting information in it ... If you start at ^ link, you can go to each page of info ... click on the "NEXT" button (in orange) to get to the next page.

Edited by melissaw72
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For me, my diet has had a prominent effect on provoking an episode. When I am well, I generally consume a large amount of, dairy 4+ servings a day depending on my protein goal, eggs, mushrooms and fish. All containing high levels of vitamin D and other good stuff.

Have been putting a lot of research into my diet the last couple days. I ask why was that good for me? Oh... 

Typical "western" diet is pretty much all bad for my health.

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@Toas the better my mental health the better I eat.  I am eating well ATM.  When I am not it's pretty much cereal if anything at all. Cereal is fortified with vitamin. ?

I try to eat no processed foods.  It's doable.   The typical western diet is absolutely horrid. It's out of control. People living on fast food and such. 

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3 minutes ago, dragonfly23 said:


wow, thanks so much for all the info.  It's excellent.  In my area the weather just broke a record for longest streak with out sun....ever.   It can be such a struggle. 


You're welcome, glad I could help :)

I rarely go outside (gotta love agoraphobia) at any time, including the summer, so get a blood test yearly to see if my level has increased or decreased.

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Here is my personal experience. If I don't take a high dose vit D daily, my levels get too low, and yes I do get my levels checked to avoid excess. I do think I feel less fatigued on it. I haven't had a big depression on it but I attribute that to meds, since I was already even. I have gone into hypo/manic mode on it related to med tweaks, so no help there. I hope I get some other big benefit from it, who knows. I wouldn't say it affected my bipolar as far as I can tell. I was no worse when my levels were low, as far as moods changing. I felt very tired all the time was my main problem. 

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I was prescribed Vit C because I was always wearing long sleeves because I have a massive scar on my arm. Now it could be because of Bipolar because it is on bloody repeat and it tastes like oil but it could be just because I don't receive a lot sunlight and all....England and all.

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There is a test for Vitamin D levels as it is a stored vitamin you build up a reserve of it. If it is not it should be the standard of care for adults to get this test at least once. It is a simple blood test. If it is low then you can take large doses, called IU or International Units for a time to quickly build reserves and then it varies how much is needed to maintain a good level. It requires a bit of tinkering, trying different amounts of IU's and then testing. I've settled on 2,000 IU a day after a few tests and now we test twice a year and adjust if needed. Insurance has always paid for this test. There are clear links to a Vitamin D deficiency and depression, and some cancers. Not to mention it's importance, with calcium, to bones.

The toxic dose is quite high but overzealous supplementation can reach toxic levels so I advocate for testing first and then supplementation if needed. 


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Best bet to get a blood test, You would be surprised how low you could be in it. Then go from there to determine the strength. I was at a 9. Yes, a 9. I had to do 50,000 units; a prescription dose for a month.  Here are the levels. Good Luck.



Edited by KnickNak
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