Bipolar disorder is mood disorder with a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.
Someone with this disorder, may not understand why they’re feeling depressed, having manic episodes, or even recognize their symptoms of a manic episode. They may also experience feelings of hopelessness and recklessness, or thoughts of suicide.
People with bipolar disorder can experience severe changes or shifts in mood. There are high or manic episodes where they may feel very happy and on top of the world.
For some people, a major depressive episode may be part of their symptoms, though this doesn’t always happen in bipolar 1 disorder.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, a healthcare provider can recommend a treatment plan to help.
Researchers have tried to determine exactly what causes bipolar disorder. A 2004 study has suggested that the L-arginine-nitric oxide pathway may be linked to the development of bipolar affective disorder.
L-arginine is an amino acid that’s made by the body. Foods that contain proteins also have L-arginine.
In your body, L-arginine is converted to nitric oxide (NO), which causes your blood vessels to open wider. This helps to improve blood flow. NO is made from L-arginine through the action of an enzyme known as NO synthase.
NO may play a part in psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder. The 2004 study previously mentioned showed that NO levels were increased in people with bipolar disorder. This suggests that there may be a link between the two.
However, there aren’t enough studies to determine if there’s truly a connection between NO levels and bipolar disorder. More research is needed.
You should be careful when using L-arginine because it can have dangerous side effects, including low blood pressure (hypotension).
L-arginine use has been associated with death in some people with heart conditions.
It also interacts with many medications. When taken with other medications, such as aspirin, blood thinners, or antiplatelet drugs, L-arginine can increase your risk for bleeding. It can also interact with heart, potassium, or nervous system medications.
L-arginine can also affect your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, it’s not recommended unless your healthcare provider prescribes it.
L-arginine increases erections and improves libido, so it shouldn’t be used with any similar drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra). If the two drugs are used together, it can be very dangerous.
So much is still unknown about L-arginine, and no long-term studies currently exist. The effects of NO are also still being studied. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider if you’re having depression or if you think you may have bipolar disorder.
Don’t try to self-diagnose bipolar disorder or treat bipolar disorder by yourself. Having the right treatment plan that’s designed for your healthcare needs is an important part of a having a healthy life with bipolar disorder.
Some L-arginine or NO supplements on the market may claim to help, but proceed with caution. There isn’t enough research on these supplements to know if they’re effective.
Prescription medications, such as lithium, have proven to produce results for people with bipolar.
Don’t stop taking any medications or begin taking any new ones, including supplements, without talking with your healthcare provider first.