… Ultradian rhythms are activated by dopamine they should run on a 4 hour cycle but don’t function properly in bipolar syndrome and schizophrenia, running too long and disturbing sleep…
-Chapter XX-

Ultradian Rhythms and Bipolar Syndrome

PeterSmithUK.com © 2015 (updated March 15)

What Are Ultradian Rhythms

Ultradian rhythms are biorhythms that run on short cycle about every 4 hours. Elsewhere I discuss the circadian rhythm or daily 24-hour cycle that is run by our internal biological clock called a tiny structure in the brain called suprachiasmatic nucleus. The 24-hour biological clock sends out signals every 24 hours to different parts of the body to do different things for example it tells the Colon to have a bowel motion in the morning, or adrenal glands to produce cortisol in the morning and stop producing it nearly evening and it also tells us when to go to sleep and wake up. I’ve also discussed how the timing of the biological clock particularly the sleep-wake cycle goes out of balance at times of bipolar mania and that directly treating and regulating the timing of our biological clock and sleep cycles gives us another avenue by which we can live well with bipolar syndrome.
The ultradian rhythms are mini cycles that influence our energy, body temperature, hormones and brain chemicals; the ultradian rhythms are shorter for our cycles superimposed on the 24-hour circadian rhythm. The cycles can be observed in infants before they are able to sleep to the night.
In the past disturbed sleep cycles were only associated with disturbances in the biological clock (suprachiasmatic nucleus) and there is an enzyme (GSK 3B) in the biological clock that needs lithium as a cofactor to make it work which seemed like more than a coincidence given the powerful effect that lithium can have on treating bipolar syndrome. To correct imbalances in the 24-hour rhythm of the suprachiasmatic nucleus I’ve developed a protocol to treat bipolar sleep cycle dysfunction using low-dose lithium orotate combined with bright blue light plus sublingual B12 in the morning and blue blocking glasses in the evening.
The treatment protocol targeting the suprachiasmatic nucleus has turned out to be incredibly useful so I don’t think we should throw disregard the role of disturbances in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in bipolar syndrome, however the new research has demonstrates another rhythm or oscillation in our bodies that seems to be run not by the biological clock but by a dopamine dependent system (the dopamine transporter gene) which gives rise to an dopaminergic ultradian oscillator DUO. 

The research showed that in good health dopamine levels in the striatal region of the brain fluctuate in a 4 hourly synchronised fashion with giving rise to the 4 hourly ultradian rhythm and this nicely fits into the 24-hour cycle laid down by the suprachiasmatic nucleus. In periods of bipolar mania however when dopamine activity becomes elevated the DUO can become dramatically extended from 4 hours up to up to 48 hours and may be separate independent cause of the delayed sleep cycles seen in bipolar syndrome; it may also explain the 48-hour manic-depressed cycling some people experience.

Instead of being just another thing to worry about I think this is a cool new discovery and I’m gonna work on how to use the timing of our meals, what we eat and natural remedies to see if I can’t work out a way to hack into this cycle, bring it back into balance and we couple it with the 24-hour cycle to give us yet another way to live well with bipolar syndrome. I’m preoccupied on other projects at the moment so it may not be until 2016 that I get back to this potential new technique and update this page. In the meantime do your own research on ultradian rhythms, set your biological clock with my bipolar sleep cycle protocol and make sure you eat 3 square meals a day for the ultradian rhythm. The other thing that might be influential is to take a 20 minute break and switch off the mind and body every 4 hours, as I said I need to investigate this further, any assistance will be greatly appreciated.
For the latest on ultradian rhythms see [i]

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Hi my name is Peter Smith I specialise in treating and coaching people how to live well with mental health problems, digestive health problems/IBS, sleep problems and type II diabetes using natural therapies.
I used these techniques to overcome and live well with my own bipolar disorder and IBS. I've been in practice as a natural medicine practitioner since 1988.

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