Hold the bacon! If you are a fan of beef jerky, salami, hot dogs and other cured meats, you may be putting yourself at risk for manic episodes, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have discovered an apparent link between consumption of nitrate-cured meats and hospitalization for mania, an elevated mood characterized by hyperactivity, euphoria and insomnia.
Manic episodes, which are associated with bipolar disorder and schizo-affective disorder, may last for weeks or months and can lead to delusional thinking and risk-taking behavior. Researchers seeking to find what factors, other than genetics, cause these abnormal mood states were surprised to find a peculiar dietary link.
“We looked at a number of different dietary exposures and cured meat really stood out,” says lead author Robert Yolken, a professor of neuro-virology in pediatrics with the university, in a statement. “It wasn’t just that people with mania have an abnormal diet.”