Razi Berry

An interesting study has recently associated hot dogs and other processed meats with the development of mania, a psychological state marked by hyperactivity, euphoria and insomnia. An analysis of over a thousand individuals with and without psychiatric conditions has suggested that nitrates – compounds used in processed meats such as hot dogs, jerky, deli slices, and other snack meats – may be a factor in the development of mania.1

Study conducted by John Hopkins School of Medicine

The study was conducted by John Hopkins School of Medicine and was not intended to establish a cause and effect relationship. It did, however, find that individuals who had been hospitalized for manic episodes had more than 3 times the odds of having eaten nitrate-rich foods than individuals without a history of a psychiatric disorder.

Diets that include nitrates

These findings have been supported by similar findings in rats, who show mania-like symptoms after only a few weeks on diets that include nitrates. Though other risk factors such as genetic predisposition to psychiatric disorders play a role in manic episodes, they have been unable to fully account for the cause of these conditions, such as bipolar disorder and other psychiatric conditions that include mania. More and more, environmental factors, including dietary factors are being considered as causal contributors to these conditions.

Certain dietary elements have potentially harmful psychiatric risk factors

The authors of this study conclude that this study adds to the evidence base supporting certain dietary elements having potentially harmful psychiatric risk factors associated with them, as well as the potential for certain types of bacteria in the gut playing a role in these conditions – which has been increasingly validated.

Mania and its Significance

Mania is an abnormal elevation of mood, energy and arousal that lasts weeks to months, and as associated with conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder. Manic states can be dangerous, as risk taking behavior often ensues out of delusional thinking; hospitalizations are very common.

It is estimated that as high as 3 percent of the population in the U.S. is affected by bipolar disorder. The direct cost to the healthcare system has been estimated at around $25 billion annually.


  1. Khambadkone SG, Cordner ZA, Dickerson F, et al. Nitrated meat products are associated with mania in humans and altered behavior and brain gene expression in rats. Mol Psychiatry. 2018.
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Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of  the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review  that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath.  She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia though naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at  Love is Medicine  to explore the convergence of love and health.

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