Using micronutrients to come off psychiatric medication; is it a thing or not?
If you’re sitting there thinking “that is ridiculous, micronutrients can’t replace psych medication”, then you are not alone. I thought similar when I first heard of using them to come off medication. I thought it must be a placebo effect, or people just blowing smoke about something that has no real standing.
But I was wrong.
With a diagnosis of Bipolar 2, I had spent 11 years on medication trying to find stability. I wanted to come off the three psychiatric medications I was on, because of the physical side effects from the long-term use of these drugs; these side effects scared me because I was only 39. With LOTS of life left to live, I needed to see if there was another way. Curiosity set in about what being drug free would look like to me.
I had spent years developing coping strategies that helped me when I felt low. This made me feel as though I could handle the hard days that would accompany reducing off my meds, (knowing it wouldn’t be a walk in the park after so long on medication). I was ready.
Hardy Nutritionals created a product called Daily Essential Nutrients (DEN), which is a clinical-strength broad-spectrum micronutrient formulation. These nutrients provide a foundation your brain and body need to perform optimally and enhance mood, mental clarity and behaviour. It has helped people come off medication for mental illness globally.
Backed by independent, peer-reviewed research including double-blind studies, DEN piqued my interest to investigate further. One study included 15 people with Bipolar where at the end of the program, 11 were completely off their meds and the other 4 were on very reduced doses. Those statistics made me excited, it seemed this would be something worth trying.
Lithium was one of my mood stabilisers, and I had read it was notoriously hard to come off. If done too quickly I was likely to bounce back into a Bipolar episode. The fear of this had been holding me back from trying this for a couple of years.
During my conversations with a Hardy’s product specialist, I learnt that Bipolar is very receptive to the Daily Essential Nutrients because of its high mineral composition. Lithium is different from other psychiatric medications because it is also a mineral (salt), therefore the high doses of minerals in the DEN work beautifully to replace the Lithium.
At that point I was sold!
How does it work?
DEN repairs the cells and replenishes the nutrients depleted in the body, and this reduces the need for psychiatric medications. This works on the premise that a person is lacking certain nutrients and this is affecting their mental health.
When it comes to eating a healthy, whole foods diet, that may not be sufficient for those predisposed to mood disorders and mental illness. Due to the lack of nutrients in our food from overprocessing, it turns out that our food may not be giving us as much nutrition as we require.
While the repairing and replenishing of the cells is happening, you are going through the tapering off medication process. The body signals it’s ready for another reduction by feeling over-medicated and experiencing side effects. This indicates your medication level is now too high and you are ready for the next reduction.
The feeling after making a reduction is what I describe as a feeling of relief, physical and emotional relief.
Over 4-months, with 8 reductions, I was off Lithium and Dothiepin, two of my three medications. It took an extra month for my other medication Quetiapine (Seroquel). I needed to reduce it at a slower rate due to the withdrawal symptoms I was feeling. The aim is to be comfortable. If it’s uncomfortable with withdrawal symptoms, you take a bit longer in the reduction period.
Taking micronutrients showed me that there is another way to deal with my mental health. It supported my transformation away from conventional medication and completely changed my life. I’m grateful to have found this avenue.
It turns out using micronutrients definitely does help when coming off psychiatric medications!