Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the most misunderstood mental health conditions out there. Most are under the assumption that medication is the only cure for this illness, however, that is anything but true. In fact, many have found relief by taking a concoction of vitamins and supplements for borderline personality disorder.
Throughout this article, we’re going to look into the best vitamins and supplements for BPD. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
BPD is a mental health condition that’s defined by extreme changes in behavior and mood. Symptoms can last for a few hours or days and are usually characterized by anger, anxiety, and depression. When BPD overwhelms an individual, it can impact the way they think and go about their day-to-day lives. ¹
More specifically, BPD has been found to leave people with a distorted self-image. Consequently, those who struggle with the condition may react with: ²
- Emotional instability
- Mood swings
Most notably, those with BPD have a difficult time controlling their emotions. As a result, they also struggle with their values and interests along with their views of people and situations. This makes it difficult for those with BPD to maintain relationships.
The most common symptoms associated with BPD are:
- Extreme mood changes
- Fear of abandonment
- Feelings of emptiness, isolation, and boredom
- Irritability followed by guilt and shame
- Lack of trust in others
- Loss of touch with reality (i.e. paranoia)
- Self-destructive behaviors (i.e. reckless driving, unsafe sex, etc.)
- Shifting self-image
- Self-harm (i.e. suicidal ideation)
- Unstable relationships
If you or someone you love struggles with BPD and you’re led to believe you/they’re suicidal, it’s important to understand that help is available. When it comes to non-life-threatening situations, you can contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. For life-threatening situations, it’s important to call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room immediately.
What is Traditional Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment?
Luckily, BPD is very treatable in comparison to other personality disorders. In fact, nearly 50% of those who receive a diagnosis are cured after just 2 years of treatment. ³ Furthermore, another study found that after 10 years of treatment, 85% of those initially diagnosed with BPD no longer meet the criteria. ⁴
Treatments for BPD vary from patient to patient, but most involve a course of medication alongside psychotherapy. If you’re currently looking for BPD treatment, it’s vital you seek out a personalized recovery plan. More often than not, BPD occurs alongside other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse disorder. Accordingly, no single treatment will work best for everyone. ⁵
When it comes to medication, you’ll likely receive one of the following:
- Mood stablizers
Furthermore, some individuals may receive a combination of these. However, it’s important to note that some medications prescribed for BPD have addictive qualities. With that, it’s vital you only take as much as your doctor recommends.
Best Vitamins and Supplements for Borderline Personality Disorder
Currently, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved of any medication for BPD. Most doctors will prescribe medication that targets specific symptoms, but there is no drug to help with every symptoms an individual may experience. With that, it’s been in some people’s best interests to look for vitamins and supplements for BPD.
Unfortunately, there’s only so much research looking into BPD and alternative medications. However, many have found these vitamins and supplements efficient in helping to ease symptoms:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
At this point, it’s common knowledge among psychiatrists that a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids can lead to a number of mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. For this reason, fish oil supplements (or omega-3 diets) are highly recommended for those with BPD.
In fact, one study suggests that using omega-3 fatty acids can be effective in treatment for adolescents and adults. In one study, participants were given a daily dose of 1000mg omega-3 fatty acids over an 8-week course. The study found that the supplement helped to reduce symptoms of aggression and depression. ⁶ ⁷
If you struggle with symptoms of anxiety, restlessness, or nervous energy, you may find benefits from a Vitamin C supplement. One study discovered that college students who took 500mg of Vitamin C were able to reduce anxiety associated with their courses. ⁸ Another study found that vitamin C can play an essential role in reducing blood pressure’s response to stress. ⁹
Unfortunately, all of these studies looked into Vitamin C’s effects on anxiety rather than BPD. With that said, it’s still unclear how effective Vitamin C might be for BPD.
There has been more than enough research to indicate that those who are deficient in Vitamin D are at risk of mood and anxiety disorders. ¹⁰ Currently, there are two notable studies looking into Vitamin D and mental health:
- A 2018 study found that Vitamin D supplements were able to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults. ¹¹
- A more recent study discovered that Vitamin D supplements were able to reduce the intenseness of depressive symptoms over a three-month course. ¹²
As with Vitamin C, these studies don’t look into BPD and Vitamin D. So, it’s difficult to tell how much of a role the supplement can have in this disorder. Still, getting extra sunlight or taking a Vitamin D supplement is likely to have benefits for everyone.
If you’ve experienced depression, migraines, and anxiety, you may benefit from a magnesium supplement, which has been found to be natural muscle relaxer. Not to mention, those with a co-occurring anxiety disorder may also find relief in magnesium.
A 2015 study found that those who struggle with BPD often have low levels of magnesium. ¹³ In a 2017 study, it was discovered that magnesium can help alongside traditional depression treatment. ¹⁴
If you struggle with memory or focus, you may benefit from incorporating chocolate into your diet more frequently. A 2019 study found that dark chocolate had the ability to reduce symptoms of depression. ¹⁵ In a more significant 2013 study, chocolate was also found to decrease anxiety symptoms. ¹⁶
When it comes to chocolate, it’s important to understand the differences between dark chocolate and other forms (such as white chocolate). Not to mention, the differences between cacao and cocoa. Both dark chocolate and cacao are rich in antioxidants that may help us with our mental health. ¹⁷
Other Natural Ways to Treat Borderline Personality Disorder
While vitamins and supplements can help to ease borderline personality disorder, they aren’t the be-all, end-all. Just like traditional medication, it’s vital to receive other forms of therapeutic treatment in order to help curb this condition. In fact, some mental health professionals may recommend these vitamins and supplements alongside your traditional treatment route.
With that said, here are a few other natural ways for you to continue treatment and take control of your life back:
Brain Healthy Diet
Research has shown that there’s a strong link between our diet and our mental health. In fact, foods that are high in sugar or heavily processed have been found to leave people more susceptible to anxiety and depression. ¹⁸
When it comes to borderline personality disorder, it’s been found that the following foods are most beneficial:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean proteins (i.e. lean meats, seafood, nuts, and legumes)
- Low-fat dairy
- Unsaturated fats (i.e. olive oil)
- Whole grains and cereals
By incorporating these foods alongside supplements into your diet, you’re offering your body the best chance at overcoming BPD. ¹⁹
Avoiding Drugs and Alcohol
As mentioned, many people struggle with BPD alongside another condition. Often, this condition is a substance abuse disorder. By using drugs and alcohol, an individual is increasing their risk of putting themselves in dangerous situations and worsening their BPD.
For this reason, it’s highly suggested you avoid drugs and alcohol at all costs. If you’re currently struggling with addiction, we recommend you find a facility that will address your dual diagnosis. ²⁰
Exercise has been found to have an enormous impact on our well-being. Simply put, the more exercise we get, the better we feel. This is thanks to the fact that exercise releases endorphins on our brain which can be helpful for stabilizing our mood. In the case of BPD, mood stabilization may be key for overcoming the condition. ²¹
Beyond mood stabilization, exercise can also help: ²²
- Develop stronger emotional resilience
- Enhance your self-esteem
- Promote better sleep
- Provide you with more energy
- Sharpen your memory and thought-pattern
If you’re new to exercising, it’s beneficial to start light and work your way up. You may find it more practical to practice exercises alongside a physical trainer.
Overcoming borderline personality disorder isn’t easy. But with the right tools, it’s very possible. In fact, BPD may just be one of the most treatible mental health conditions out there.
If you plan to use any of the supplements and vitamins mentioned in this article, we highly recommend you consult your doctor first. They will have the best understanding of your situation and what treatment path is right for you.
Still have questions about the best vitamins and supplements for borderline personality disorder?
We invite you to ask them in the comment section below. If you have any further knowledge to share – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.
¹ NIMH: Borderline Personality Disorder
² PubMed: The self-image in borderline personality disorder: an in-depth qualitative research study
³ CJP: The Lifetime Course of Borderline Personality Disorder
⁴ Archives of General Psychiatry: Ten-Year Course of Borderline Personality Disorder
⁵ Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease: Borderline personality disorder: current drug treatments and future prospects
⁶ PubMed: Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in adolescents with borderline personality disorder and ultra-high risk criteria for psychosis
⁷ PubMed: omega-3 Fatty acid treatment of women with borderline personality disorder
⁸ PubMed: Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students
⁹ PubMed: The impact of essential fatty acid, B Vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc supplementation on stress levels in women
¹⁰ PubMed: Mood disorders are associated with a more severe hypovitaminosis D than schizophrenia
¹¹ PubMed: Database Analysis of Depression and Anxiety in a Community Sample-Response to a Micronutrient Intervention
¹² PubMed: Vitamin D Supplementation Ameliorates Severity of Major Depressive Disorder
¹³ PubMed: [Very low magnesium levels in red blood cells as a significant factor in the etiopathogenesis of borderline disorders]
¹⁴ PLoS One: Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression
¹⁵ PubMed: Is there a relationship between chocolate consumption and symptoms of depression?
¹⁶ PubMed: Cocoa polyphenols enhance positive mood states but not cognitive performance
¹⁷ BJCP: The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance
¹⁸ Scientific Reports: Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: prospective findings from the Whitehall II study
¹⁹ Dickinson College: Food Consumption as Affect Modulation in Borderline Personality
²⁰ BMC: Borderline personality disorder and substance abuse disorders
²¹ PubMed: Could physical exercise be an effective treatment for adults with borderline personality disorder?
²² The Primary Care Companion: Exercise for Mental Health