In psychiatry, as well as in other medical fields, there is an ongoing interest in vitamin and herb-based remedies. Many practitioners are becoming increasingly well-versed in incorporating non-traditional methods into what is being called complementary and alternative medicines (CAM).
Among the substances receiving ongoing attention in the treatment of bipolar disorder, although no definitive studies have been completed, are the omega-3 fatty acids. Studies looking at these substances have had mixed results, one placebo-controlled study showed benefit, and another did not, further study is required.
Various other compounds that have been looked at for the treatment of mild depression include St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatume), SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine), Rhodiola rosea, and inositol. It’s important to remember that any compound that has antidepressant activities can precipitate a mixed or manic episode, and that all substances, natural or man-made, have the potential for drug-to-drug interactions, as well as side effects and adverse reactions.
In general, if you want to explore any of these treatments, it’s best to do so in conjunction with a practitioner who is knowledgeable about the research, including specific products, as vitamins, herbs, and nutritional supplements are not under FDA oversight and the standardization (both purity and quantity of a substance) can vary widely between brands.