i-polar disorder (manic depression) describes a category of mood disorders. When it comes to mood and intense emotional states, the first planet considered in astrology is the Moon.
The second consideration and one that involves our internal messaging system along with our thought processes is Mercury.
Hormones (from Greek for "impetus")
are the body's chemical messengers that transport a signal from one cell to another and are intimately involved in mood swings and bipolar disorder, along with many other ailments.
The Good Oil
Natural steroid hormones are synthesized from cholesterol
These hormones are lipids and are grouped by the receptors to which they bind, ie. mineralocorticoids (eg. aldosterone)
, glucocorticoids (eg. cortisol or hydrocortisone),
androgens (eg. testosterone),
estrogens (eg. estrone, estradiol, estriol)
, and progestagens (eg. progesterone).
About 20-25% of total daily cholesterol production occurs in the liver;
other sites of high synthesis rates include the intestines, adrenal glands and reproductive organs.
The name cholesterol originates from the Greek chole-
(bile, produced by the liver) and stereos
(solid), and the chemical suffix -ol
for an alcohol.
Jupiter has long had associations with 'oil'
and alcohol/spirits - it is the planet granted rulership over the liver while Saturn was known as the 'oil presser'.
From an astrological perspective, beginning considerations with the Moon we would then turn to the 'chemical messenger' (Mercury) and consider its function in relation to that which plays an integal role in its formation, ie. cholesterol (Jupiter) and the receptors (planets) to which the messenger is bound (aspect).
Cholesterol - a lipidic, waxy steroid - is also required to build and maintain cell membranes. It regulates membrane fluidity over a range of temperatures.
When it comes to oils, excessive levels of omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to depression.
The optimal ratio is considered to be around 3 to 1 of omega-6 to omega-3, however modern western diets typically have ratios in excess of 10 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1.
As cholesterol is a building block for hormones which consequently affect mood, then an important consideration is the nature and quality of oils we consume that contribute to supporting our ability to function or weaken it.
Foods containing animal fat contain cholesterol to varying extents. Major dietary sources of cholesterol include cheese, egg yolks, beef, pork, poultry, and shrimp. Human breast milk also contains significant quantities of cholesterol.
However, total fat intake, especially saturated fats
, plays a larger role in blood cholesterol than intake of cholesterol itself.
Saturated fat is present in full fat dairy products, animal fats, several types of oil and chocolate.
Trans-fats are derived from the partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fats, and in contrast to other types of fat, they are not essential for life. Trans-fats are more harmful than naturally occurring oils and for this reason are generally recommended to be avoided. They are found in fast food, snack foods, fried food and baked goods.
A diet high in simple sugars received from refined sugars (carbohydrates) and depleted (processed) grains also contributes to increasing cholesterol levels, with insulin resistance (a condition of Venus) being investigated as a link between glucose and cholesterol metabolism.
The sugar-cholesterol connection in astrology points to the nature of a relationship between Venus and Jupiter.
Abnormally low levels of cholesterol, or hypocholesterolemia, has also been linked to depression amongst other things. Generally, the low cholesterol levels are thought to be a consequence of an underlying illness, rather than a cause.
In this instance we would consider how the function of Jupiter may be "down-regulated".
When it comes to hormones, it's important to consider how planetary functions may be "up-regulated" or "down regulated", constrained or supported. For example, estrogen (Venus) can "up-regulate" progesterone (Moon). Such considerations include phase, declination, latitude, quadrant, sign, house.
Bipolar often manifests in a person's late teens into early adult years. This is a phase of rapid development often associated with high risk behaviour and significant hormonal changes. At least half of all cases reported are said to start before age 25.
In astrology, high risk behaviour is often associated with Jupiter and Mars.
Full myelination (the electrically insulating white matter essential for proper functioning of the nervous system)
is not completed until adolescence. And while we continue to learn throughout life, the human brain - the center of our nervous system - is said to reach maturity during our early 20s, a time commensurate with completing higher/tertiary/university education.
By late teens a person is half-way through their second Jupiter return, a time of broadening social networks and shouldering new pressures, broadening horizons, entering higher education, the workforce, travel. They are being exposed to a new array of experiences, determining where and what their boundaries are in context of this larger environment. This is a time when they've entered the second half of their Saturn return, a learning curve which reaches fruition at around age 29.5 yrs.
Other times bipolar may manifest is following pregnancy/birth (notably another time of hormonal disruption), acute stress - sustaining states of hyper-vigilance leading to exhaustion, injury (eg. neck, spinal cord) and/or illness... essentially major life events or internal developments that cause stress for a protracted period throwing the hormones into disarray.
Self-medicating behaviour is often linked to the mood swings of bipolar (manic depression).
Hormones affect cravings - we have hunger hormones. Pica, which is considered to be an appetite for things non-nutritive, or an abnormal craving for particular food ingredients, can be indicative of the body having a mineral deficiency eg. iron.
With this in mind, what might the body be seeking from a nutritional standpoint through self-medicating behaviour?
Barley was one of the first domesticated crops and is used for malting in beer and whiskey.
It's thought barley beer was one of the first drinks developed by Neolithic humans. Subsequent brews had ritual significance and were prized chiefly for their herbal content.
Depression is linked to ruminating, which is another form of fermentation, but barley itself is both a fortifier and stabilizer.
was called "Barley Mother".
Barley was a staple in ancient Egypt where the name for it "sma"
(pronounced "She-ma") was also a symbol for Upper Egypt.
The ancient Gladiators were known as "barley eaters"
and it's been a staple food in Tibet since the 5th century, "producing a civilization able to raise great armies".
In Islam the Prophet Muhammad prescribed barley for the seven diseases which included grief, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, treatment of cancer, effects of aging, diabetes and hypertension.
Avicenna in his 11th century work The Canon of Medicine
wrote of the healing effects of barley water.
- contains all eight essential amino acids;
- can regulate blood sugar for up to 10 hours
- has been shown to reduce cholesterol by 9-15% after consuming daily for 6 weeks
- reduces visceral fat by 10% when consumed daily for 12 weeks;
- vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Folate (B9), Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Zinc.
Inositol is commonly used as a cutting agent in many illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and sometimes heroin.
Research has shown people suffering from clinical depression generally have decreased levels of inositol in their cerebrospinal fluid with high dose inositol supplements showing promising results for people suffering unipolar and bipolar depression, OCD, agoraphobia, bulimia and panic disorder.
Inositol is the basis for a number of signaling and secondary messengers and is involved in serotonin modulation, breakdown of fats and reducing blood cholesterol, insulin signal transduction, calcium control.
It mobilizes fat deposits in the liver caused by metabolic imbalance.
D-chiro-inositol has been found effective in treatment of insulin resistance and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Myo-inositol is naturally present in a variety of foods that include fruits, beans, grains and nuts.
Hemp seed oil (Cannabis)
Cold pressed Hempseed oil is pressed from the seed of the plant which does not contain the psychoactive component THC.
This oil is extremely high in essential fatty acids with a high nutritional value due to its 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids, which matches the balance required by the human body.
It also contains Omega 9, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12*,
C, D & E along with calcium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, zinc and chlorophyll.
* Vitamin B12
(a water soluble vitamin) plays a key role in normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, along with formation of blood. Deficiency can cause pernicious anemia and symptoms of mania and psychosis. It is naturally found in meat (especially liver). Excessive alcohol intake for longer than 2 weeks decreases B12 absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. Antiobiotics can also prevent its absorption.
Chia Seed (salvia hispanica)
Tired of cod liver oil? Or find it hard to stomach the after-taste of fish oil supplements?
This one's here as an alternative to research for the benefits of omega-3.
The word "chia"
Chia seed was cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Columbian times and is very rich in omega-3 (approx. 64%) as well as being a good source of antioxidants and amino acids. It contains no
Its ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 per 100g is 2.9g omega-3 to 1.1g omega-6.
It also contains Calcium, Vitamin B12, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous and Potassium.