Hot dogs, bacon and processed meat may cause ‘manic episodes’

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Nitrates used to cure processed meats like beef jerky may cause mania even in people without psychological disorders.

After reviewing and analyzing the data, the researchers found that eating nitrate cured meats correlated with an increased risk of hospitalization for mania. Mania, which is a state of abnormally alternating mood swings, is most often associated with bipolar disorder.

Experts are increasingly of the belief that, in addition to genetic circumstances, diet or other environmental factors may play a role in causing mental health issues.

"Our findings only tell us that patients hospitalized with mania had an increased history of cured meat consumption compared to healthy controls, and that in animal studies the consumption of nitrated cured meat led to mania-like behavior and brain changes in rats", the researchers said in an email to Laboratory Equipment.

"Future work on this association could lead to dietary interventions to help reduce the risk of manic episodes in those who have bipolar disorder or who are otherwise vulnerable to mania", said Robert Yolken, the lead author of the study. Taylor saw improvements in the conditions of people with severe bipolar disorder after they were given antibiotics, followed by worsening symptoms after antibiotic treatment stopped. Mania can include delusional thinking and lead to unsafe risk-taking behavior. It's not entirely clear why, but more and more research is showing that the bacteria that live in and on our bodies affect health in profound ways. The study involved over a thousand respondents with mental disorders. One way in which food can exert this influence health is through inflammation, which is triggered by the immune system and may have an impact on the risk of developing a number of chronic conditions.

Yolken was originally interested in studying the effect foods may have on mental illness, and conducted a demographic study of 1,101 people both with and without mental disorders. Cured meats were not associated with a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder in people not hospitalized for mania, or in major depressive disorder.

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Dr Yolken said: 'We looked at a number of different dietary exposures and cured meat really stood out.

Nitrates are chemicals that are sometimes added to processed and cured meats as preservatives.

The dietary survey did not ask about frequency or time frame of cured meat consumption, so the researchers couldn't draw conclusions about exactly how much cured meat boosts one's risk of mania, but Yolken hopes future studies will address this. Nitrate-cured meats, which are the things like bacon or beef jerky that have been connected to broad times of hyperactivity, a sleeping disorder, and consideration misfortune in individuals encountering hyper scenes.

The researchers then worked with a beef jerky company to create nitrate free dried beef and again a group of rats was split into two groups.

Mania is characterised by hyperactivity, euphoria and insomnia.

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