Vitamin D and Bipolar Disorder/Krill Oil and Cognitive Function/Anatomy of an Illness

Vitamin D and Bipolar Disorder

While several studies show an association between schizophrenia and low levels of vitamin D, there are few studies about the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with bipolar disorder.

This Dutch study looked at 118 patients with bipolar disorder, and 202 patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and found that vitamin D levels were deficient in 30.3% of the cases. The type of psychiatric disorder was not a predictor of vitamin D deficiency, but vitamin D deficiency was 4.7 times more common among outpatients with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder than among the Dutch general population.

The study concluded that: “Given the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, we believe that outpatients with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder should be considered at risk of having low levels of vitamin D. Annual measurement of vitamin D levels in psychiatric outpatients with these disorders seems to be justified.”

“Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in Adult Outpatients With Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia.” Boerman, et al. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: December 2016 – Volume 36 – Issue 6 – p 588–592)  (Study)

Krill Oil and Cognitive Function

Krill oil is well established to have many positive effects on physiological function, but there are few studies published that describe the effects of krill oil on brain function. This study investigated the influence of krill oil on cognitive function in elderly subjects by using near-infrared spectroscopy and electroencephalography.

Three types of supplements were used in the study: krill oil, representing a phospholipid form of omega 3 fatty acids, sardine oil to represent conventional triglyceride forms of omega 3’s, and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT oil) as placebo. The supplements were supplied in soft gelatin capsules containing 250mg of oil per capsule, and the subjects were asked to take four capsules twice a day after breakfast and dinner for 12 weeks.

The conclusion was that: “This study provides evidence that Omega-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids activate cognitive function in the elderly. This is especially the case with krill oil, in which the majority of Omega 3’s are incorporated into phosphatidylcholine, causing it to be more effective than sardine oil, in which Omega 3’s are present as triglycerides. The Omega 3’s bound to phosphatidylcholine in krill oil may thus be taken up by the brain tissues more readily than the Omega 3’s of sardine oil, most likely bringing about the observed difference in their effects.”

Krill oil is unique in that being a phospholipid form it is absorbed into the cells far more efficiently than other fish oil products, which all exist in the triglyceride form. It should be noted that each NutriKrill capsule contain 500mg of krill oil; therefore, to mimic this study, one would only need 2 capsule twice daily.

Clin Interv Aging. 2013; 8: 1247–1257. “Effects of krill oil containing n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in phospholipid form on human brain function: a randomized controlled trial in healthy elderly volunteers.” Chizuru Konagai, et al.  (Study)

Anatomy of an Illness

Anatomy of an Illness, originally published in 1979, was written by Norman Cousins, a longtime editor of the Saturday Review, and later to author eleven books on health and healing, among other works.

“Anatomy of an Illness was the first book by a patient that spoke to our current interest in taking charge of our own health. It started the revolution in patients working with their doctors and using humor to boost their bodies’ capacity for healing. When Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a crippling and irreversible disease, he forged an unusual collaboration with his physician, and together they were able to beat the odds. The doctor’s genius was in helping his patient to use his own powers: laughter, courage, and tenacity. The patient’s talent was in mobilizing his body’s own natural resources, proving what an effective healing tool the mind can be.

The author’s strategy involved the use of laughter, and found that 10 minutes of laughter, in his case watching Marx brothers movies would give him 2 hours of pain relief. Tests conducted by the hospital proved that the laughter caused the sed rate (which monitors tissue inflammation) to drop, proving the strategy worked. In addition taking megadoses of Vitamin C would also inhibit the deterioration of his connective tissue.”

Ultimately, Cousins made a recovery from what had been diagnoses as a terminal illness.

Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by the Patient (Twentieth Anniversary Edition) Paperback – Deluxe Edition, July 17, 2005; by Norman Cousins

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