Loch Venachar, photographed by my friend on his way to work.


What are you prepared to do to radically change your life?

Some months ago, my friend was in a dire situation. He’s in his late 50s, and was extremely ill, hallucinating, exhausted, in tears and living in a country where they don’t readily issue psychiatric medication.

He had to make a plan.

He took his last money, sold his possessions, packed up, went on a journey, and after many months ended up living a simpler lifestyle in the countryside.

Since he didn’t have access to good doctoring, I tried to the best of my ability to help him out with ideas of things he could do and take to deal with the problems from the inside. He also did a good deal of studying of his own with what remained of his concentration.

I shared with him what I had been studying about nutrition for depression…

Basic anti-depression shopping list

…and bipolar disorder specifically.

Phosphatidylcholine, acetyl-l-carnitine and magnesium for managing bipolar states

Today, he posted an encouraging public update on Facebook. Having tweaked this regime for himself, here’s what he wrote:

It’s the 8th month of 2019. This means I’ve not had a psych medication for 7 months. I am calm, relaxed, not in any way depressed, rather resilient, completely able to handle the oddness that life is throwing.

What is different is that I’m taking a set of over-the-counter supplements, and the result appears to be remarkably good.

What are you prepared to do to radically change your life?

I gave up coffee.

I take these daily:

  • 250mg Acetyl-L-Carnitine,
  • 200mg ALA,
  • 200mg B6,
  • 500mg B5,
  • 100mg Choline
  • 500mg Magnesium citrate

I weather the comments of every person who has an opinion on vitamins. I’m not fazed. I’ve seen for myself that this is working.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine is known as earplugs for the brain. Not without reason. Thanks for that tip, Tania Melnyczuk!

I feel like I am supposed to conclude this with a moral lesson, or some kind of disclaimer like, “I’m not a doctor, remember that bipolar disorder is lifelong, we’re all different, and… whatever”. For now, though, let’s just celebrate that sometimes things do work out, and end with this line from his story: What are you prepared to do to radically change your life?

Important update

We’ve subsequently learned that acetyl-l-carnitine supplementation must be partnered with thiamine supplementation to prevent beri-beri.