Bipolar Disorder and Dairy/Casein: Why You Should Avoid Dairy/Casein, More Importantly, Casein When Living With Bipolar Disorder
We’ve talked about the connection between gut health and brain health numerous times here on the blog but what I haven’t touched on yet is the insane connection that consuming dairy can have on your mood. Remember that while we need serotonin to help us feel better serotonin is an important neurotransmitter needed for proper digestive health and function. About 95% of our bodies serotonin is found in the gut so when our gut is out of balance, our serotonin levels are out of balance causing a mood imbalance.
What is Casein & What it does
First thing first, let’s break down the basics of why dairy can affect your mood and what really is going on. Casein is one of the many short chains of proteins found in dairy, it has been reported to be linked to addiction, aggression, depression and even anxiety. Casein takes a long time to digest, not only that but also causes the body to work more to process the protein and more importantly affecting the brain in the process.
Since the receptors in the gut and brain react to the casein and create antibodies as a way to fight back this all create stress throughout the body. All of this heightens manic-depressive symptoms. Another interesting note is that when casein escapes through the gut and makes its way to the brain, it can mimic the same effects that opioid have on our brain.
Remember that casein can also be tough on the body and cause inflammation, inflammation inversely affects our gut and once again bringing up the fact that when our gut is out of balance so is our serotonin levels, it shows why depression, anxiety and more are linked to dairy consumption.
John Hopkins published a study on the effects that casein has on patients with bipolar disorder and found that all patients with bipolar disorder have significantly elevated antibodies to casein. Interestingly enough their conclusion really caught my eye because it states the following: “…Patients with bipolar 1 diagnoses, psychotic symptoms history, and many severity scores suggest that casein-related immune activation may relate to the psychosis and mania components of this mood disorder.” You can guy check out the entire article here, HIGHLY recommend you read it.
TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT: CASEINS
To be honest, while I did know everything else I had no idea there was a connection between the psychosis my wonderful illness gifted me with for various years and my beloved cheese. Meaning, that while I did consume dairy from time to time, I am no longer on the dairy/casein consuming boat. I will share that a few months ago, think September/October your girl went crazy for the cheese and was eating it like it was my job. I can say that not only did my sleep suffer but my anxiety was through the roof and I was experiencing some of the not so fun remedies that the manic side brings out like- no patience, irritable, angry, frustrated and just anxious.
These emotions didn’t pop out right away, they are slow to show up and show up at full force in experience so for now on. I share this all with you guys so that you don’t that I am also struggle with keeping my eating habits up to standards and also like to indulge in different foods, but this last up and down rollercoaster really brought out the importance of giving eating good food without compromising my mental well being.