Study Reported Consumption of Processed Meat Linked to Manic Episodes

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Researchers reported that patients hospitalized for mania were 3.5 times more likely to have eaten cured meats prior to admittance

The research study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US found that consumption of processed meats could accelerate mania associated with bipolar disorder. Processed meat include Beef jerky, salami, hot dogs, and other cured meats. As a part of study, it was found that patients admitted to hospital for an episode of mania – which is characterized by hyperactivity, euphoria, and insomnia – were three times more likely to have eaten nitrate-cured meats than people without a history of a serious psychiatric disorder. Mania is generally seen in people with mood disorders such as bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder. Manic states can lead to dangerous risk-taking behavior and can include delusional thinking.

The experiments on rats revealed similar mania-like hyperactivity after just a few weeks on diets with added nitrates. The researchers said that their study adds to evidence that certain foods, combined with certain types of gut bacteria, could contribute to mania, and other disorders which affect the brain. Analysis of gut bacteria of the rats reported that animals with nitrate in their diet had different patterns of bacteria living in their intestines compared with other rodents. The animals also had differences in several molecular pathways in the brain that have been previously implicated in bipolar disorder.

Furthermore, the team is working on analyzing mechanism by which nitrates increases the risk of mania, but tests on rats showed that rodents which ate nitrate-added jerky displayed irregular sleeping patterns and hyperactivity as compared with those which did not. However, the team explained that it is too early to state clinical messages from the results, adding that occasional cured meat consumption is unlikely to spur a manic episode in most of the population.

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