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Medic for Bipolar Disorder

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7. B Vitamins

vitamin B

B vitamins can be beneficial for those suffering from bipolar disorder because they help regulate the mood. Vitamins B1, B6, B9 and B12 are particularly important as they can help decrease symptoms like anxiety, irritability, depression, mood swings and fatigue.

Vitamin B1, also called thiamin, improves blood circulation in the brain and body. Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, combats irritability. Vitamin B9, popularly known as folic acid, is critical for maintaining proper brain function and synthesis of key brain chemicals.

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is required for manufacturing certain neurotransmitters and its deficiency is linked to symptoms of mania, irritability, psychosis, depression and fatigue.

  • As B vitamins work together, it is best to take a vitamin B-complex supplement that has the proper the proper proportion of the different B vitamins.
  • You can also eat more B vitamin rich foods like milk, eggs, fortified cereals, whole grains, leafy greens and soy products.

8. St. John’s Wort

st johns wort

St. John’s Wort is a popular herbal antidepressant as it helps treat mild to moderate depression. It also affects various brain chemicals.

However, those suffering from bipolar disorder should take this herb only after consulting a doctor as it can trigger mania. Plus, it tends to interact with a large number of prescription medications.

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42 thoughts on “Medic for Bipolar Disorder”

  1. Hi,

    My son was just diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He is at the manic stage and refuses to take any medication. I am trying to get him to take natural remedies but am not sure which ones and how much. My son is 29 and currently staying with us. He is vegan and takes vitamin and supplements such as St Johns Wort, Ginko, Sage and niacine.

    Thanks for any suggestions you could provide.

    Louise

    1. Louise,

      A company called Native Remedies produces several homeopathics that can help/treat during the manic phase. I have not used them, but am going to get and try them. That they are all-natural homeopathics, your son might be very open/willing to taking them. His unwillingness to take the Rx drugs is understandable and not fundamentally “wrong”…unfortunately during mania we don’t think very clearly, are paranoid, and know what is best for us.

      I’m sorry if my response isn’t very timely, but perhaps it may still be helpful to your son. MOST IMPORTANTLY: It is critical to understand that a lot of the herbs and supplements suggested for bi-polar are beneficial to the depressive state, but disastrous to the manic state. They can even CAUSE MANIA! Things like fish oil, st. Johns wort, etc. are basically “uppers” that help with depression, but when going into or in a manic state you want “downers” or depressants! So they are the worst kinds of things during a manic episode.

      A manic episode in vary serious and lack of adequate sleep due to the imbalances almost always leads to full blown psychotic states. In my (bi-polar myself) opinion, at that point there is very little that can be done besides Rx drugs to bring it under control. Whether or not someone stays on those drugs, or which ones, is an entirely different matter. The most critical thing to get control during a manic episode (or prevent/limit it going full-blown) is adequate sleep. Rx sleeping pills are a Godsend and can head off psychosis without the need for the big guns such as seroquel, valproic acid/depakote, lithium, etc. If its too bad, even sleeping pills won’t knock out a manic and seroquel is my recommendation, but to go off it ASAP…meaning as soon as he can sleep at least 6 hrs. using sleeping pills. If it were me personally I would want to be treated first by sleeping pills, if they are insufficient, then seroquel. Also, concurrently Valproic Acid / Depakote / Depakete, etc. on a slow uptake/increasing dossage for 4 days. Reduce/get off Seroquel quickly down to sleeping pills. When the episode is over/controlled after about 10 days I would then taper off the valproic over 5 days, get off the sleeping pills, and then switch to herbal/natural/homeopathics. Keep and use the sleeping pills as needed and always have 100mg. Seroquel on-hand!

      Controlling and ending a manic episode is critical and unfortunately Rx Meds are the way to go. Once out of the manic phase, you can consider going off the meds and working the foundational cornerstones to prevent a future one: 1) Regular/Adequate Sleep. 2) Stress reduction and mangement. 3) Balanced essential nutrition/supplements. 4) Homeopathics/herbs with extreme caution paid to which are good for depressive side and which are good for manic side.

      Well wishes to you both.

      1. Awesome information. Just one thing I would disagree with. You have said fish oil is an upper and can cause mania. It is in fact a mood stabiliser. It works to stabilize my moods with two weeks, however it does not diminish depression at all. You are totally right about sleep – if I realise I’m hypomanic I can halt it by going to bed at 10 pm and sprinkling lavender on my pillow. I wake up in a normal mood usually. Obviously this wouldn’t work for everyone but it’s not harmful so worth trying.

    2. St. John’s Wart can trigger mania, so be careful. I’d work with a naturopath to help him determine what healthy remedies work for him. Fish oil is always good.

  2. Not sure what natural remedies work best for bipolar, as I am here trying to find the answer to that question myself. However…. I would say from my own experience, that your son should be very, very, careful with the St Johns Wort if he is bipolar. St Johns Wort can trigger manic episodes, make them worse, (and in my case, also cause hallucinations).

    1. I never had a problem with my thyroid until I started taking lithium now another pill for something else…yay not

  3. I have been told by family and ex boyfriends that I must have bipolar because of my mood swings. I do not experience the huge highs and deep lows that I have read about. What I do experience is great irritation. I can be having a wonderful day and suddenly flip out because of something very minor. Like not being able to find the scissors or my keys. I will just flip right out and it will ruin my whole day. I will go from happy to wanting to punch a wall in an instant and can feel the irritation building in my chest. I would like to take something that keeps me on an even keel. I also take meds for hypothyroid. What can you suggest.

    1. helen i am bipolar there are different types i am more on the depression side however i expirience hypomania which are the symptoms u are describing i dont get the euphouric part of a full blown manic episode i would talk 2 your dr about it i wish u well

    2. Helen,

      What you describe doesn’t sound like bi-polar disorder at all to me. It simply doesn’t work like what you experience. I would suggest you consider 2 more likely causes: 1) A nutritional/hormonal imbalance in your brain and/or thyroid. 2) A possible side-effect of your thyroid meds. 3) Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.

      For the first two you should consider looking at nutrients/diet holistically to get all your systems healthy and balanced. You should also strongly consider researching Iodine/Iodide supplementation to reduce or even replace the Rx Thyroid drugs. If you symptoms started or are a result of those drugs then reducing it or maybe even going off it by using Iodine supplementation would fix it.

      For the last one, spend some time researching on on the internet PTSD. It has quite a few overlapping symptoms/presentations as bi-polar but is completely different. I know someone that was mis-diagnosed as bi-polar by her personal Dr. a hospital, AND a Psychiatrist! Turns out she had PTSD! It usually treated by behavioral therapies, whereas bi-polar is treated by medication. If you had seriously traumatic issues in your life such as deaths of parents/family, sexual abuse, rape, etc. then it’s likely you have some level of PTSD.

      Best wishes.

    3. helen, sounds more hormonal to me. speaking from experience and a bit of science, when estrogen levels fall prior to a period, SHBG falls as well, releasing TESTOSTERONE. turns a nice girl into the HULK– things happen all of a sudden, like acne, feeling crazy, urges to punch a wall, shove people out of your way, and picking fights with big, scary dudes. there are other hormones that tie in too, but I would start there. personally, hysterectomy at 40 put me on a very even keel. magnesium, progesterone cream, anti-anxiety pills, or even the right birth control pill can help.

      secondly, r u checking your TSH? too much thyroid (TSH less than 1) can produce anxiety and irritability. i really don’t think this is your issue, though. usually too much thyroid will make you wired, jittery or even fearful, but not angry like you describe.

      thirdly, is there any history of bipolar in your family? you indicated you do not have the huge swings, and i’m guessing you are not bipolar. however, amanda is right, there us such a thing as atypical bipolar, which my husband has. in his case, it looks like unipolar depression, any feel-good dopamine converts very quickly into survival, OMG norepinephrine. what this looks like: he doesn’t get happy, euphoric highs, but rather stomps around– busy, irritated, worried, sometimes impulsive and a little irrational/unreasonable.

      you do not mention a history of depression, so I’m still leaning toward those crazy hormones.

  4. I was diagnosed with bipolar a couple years ago.I always think I can change my mood, because I’m tired of getting mad at minor things everyday. My whole family hates me pretty much and my daughter told me what a terrible mother I am, it’s all because my whole family is sick of my terrible moodiness.I can’t control myself and medication doesn’t make one control themselves.All I do is make enemies. People just think I’m a nut and I get called one all the time.

    1. Hi Christine, I feel for you because I often feel like people must be sick and tired of my mood swings too. I have been blessed with a pretty understanding family and I’m really grateful for that. I think it’s important for you to stop thinking of yourself as a nut. You have a disability and that’s not your fault. You obviously want to find a way to get help or you wouldn’t be on this site looking for answers. I find it extremely helpful to have regular sessions with my therapist and to keep myself surrounded by people who can and will support me and try to be understanding. I also found a really really good book called Loving someone with bipolar disorder by Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston. If you could get your family to read this book or one like it they may be more understanding and helpful to you. I wish you all the best, keep trying, don’t give up…

    2. It sounds like maybe u need amed change hun u say meds cant change make u control urself. Mine always have I get so frustrated cuz I cant cry, I feel pretty calm all the time. I dont know what u on but u might try upping the dose or something different or adding melatonin get more sleep but your description does not sound right every drug doesnt work for everybody but we all have to be proactive let ur dr know these issues ur having u might find u are a lovable person to everyone given thd correct med/dosage good luck hun I am mostly manic and am on lithium btw but have tried about everyone and had many hospitilizations even blackouts

  5. I study herbology and I have used them for many things. It was not until this year when my 20 year old college son tried to kill himself that bipolar struck home! He took himself of his meds after they made him feel bad. Against my wishes. So know I have done studying about this and have him asking about natural herbs. I am putting some together for him. I agree about St. Johns Wort, you have to be very careful. I suggest if you are taking meds not to use this WITHOUT talking to your doctor!

  6. Ive found that tea made with passionflower and skullcap can do wonders for balancing the mood. I give it to family members who are livinv with bipolar and I really see a difference in their behavior. When they stop.drinking the tea, they are back to their unpredictable moodiness.

    When their moodiness sets in, I drink valerian tea to calm my nerves.

  7. Try empower advanced. Best treatment for
    mood swings and totally natural. Website
    truehope.com. My sister and I are both taking.
    Wonderful effective And I want to spread the news becuase they help
    people with this drug.

  8. My son is bipolar. After many years of research and many bad episodes, he is now stable and feels better than he ever has. The only perscription meds he takes are Lamictal and klonopin for occasional anxiety. He works out every day, drinks protein-laced drinks, and work out enhancing formulas. However, the one factor that has made the biggest difference in his stability is the addition of lithium orotate to his regimen. When he started into a manic episode over a year ago, I was able to bring him back to stability with this wonderful mineral. It is not toxic like the prescription lithium carbonate and can be purchased from health food stores. In addition to to the LO, he takes fish oil, folic acid, vitamin c, vitamin d, taurine, l tyrosine, magnesium, and milk thistle daily. He says he feels normal and knows that all of this is working for him. I am so thankful!

    1. Sandra, what does the taurine help to do? Thanks. I am going to purchase the lithium orotate, as well as the different vitamins. My husband refuses to take the his prescription medications because of all the side effects and I am hoping this will work!

  9. Seek the advice of a qualified Medical Herbalist when considering Herbal treatment as we are trained in drug/ herb interactions and contra-indications , and a GP / doctor over the use of pharmaceutical drugs and generally they are not trained in drug/herb interactions and contra-indications (and indeed tend to have no real interest or knowledge in natural treatments)
    This way you have additional safety and proper and accurate advice.

    1. Hello. I am writing to you Mr. Cutler because my 27 year old son is working through a manic high bi polar episode that required hospitalization for a week. The docs want him to start Depakote which he is resisting, and which I also hate to think of him going through the anti pscyh maze. How can I get more information from you regarding natural remedies for bi polar, which is coupled with a head injury to the frontal lobe, and major stress as he finishes his masters in chemical engineering. He also quit drinking, smoking pot and cigs this year. He recently ran a 26 mile marathon and rode 180 mile bike ride with a group from campus. He is physically fit. If you could direct me on which herbs we can try to calm him, relieve stress, and help him to manage bipolar behavior, I would love to talk to you. He may be moving in with me for a while once he is released from the hospital. I can get him started on the herbs and supplements while he is here and monitor his response. I also want him to start acupuncture and yoga. He will be fishing and beaching while here, as he finishes writing his thesis paper. It should be an ideal environment, but I know from his recent visit and horrid uncontrolled behavior, that I will have a full plate with him. Can you help?

  10. I think my son of 39 years of age has bipolar. We can’t even be in the same room together most of the time. I thought it was a drug use problem but now believe it to be bipolar. I don’t even know him anymore and at times he can’t stand me but loves me at other times. I’m so glad to be reading about the natural remedies. We have no money but he’s worth saving. Will I be doing him any harm or good by giving him Fish oil, Ginkgo Biloba, Valerian root at the same time? Does anyone have the amount he should take of these on a daily basis?

    1. Patty,

      I recommend caution with your armchair diagnosis. Only a psychiatrist can accurately diagnose bi-polar (and as previously posted, they sometimes misdiagnose PTSD for bi-polar). If you are concerned he has it, get an appointment with a psychiatrist before you begin trying to treat a condition you don’t even know he has. A starting point would be using the internet to look at bi-polar and PTSD and do a bit of “self-assessment” after educating yourselves.

      As to your question about using those things in conjunction…probably OK, but using both things that stimulate and relieve depressive symptoms in combination with those that relieve anxiety/manic symptoms then you are kind of canceling them out.

    2. sounds exactly like my brother. same age. he is just now considering that he might have a mental illness. loves us and hates us. been a roller coaster his whole life. has a drug history. (many bipolars will self medicate the highs with things like alcohol or marajuana and their lows with uppers like cocaine or meth.)

      agree with the guy who posted on getting some professional help both for meds (psychiatrist) and life (psychologist/therapist) most communities have a mental health clinic and many work on a sliding fee-scale based on your income. our community has a free clinic once per week. investigate and seriously consider a proper diagnosis. call or show up and let them know you need help and don’t have a way to pay. many times, they will let you know about programs available that you may not know about. knock on a lot of doors and keep at it.

  11. I am 55 healthy women independent with own home husband good life style. I have been treated for Bipolar for several years but I have very mild symptoms especially as I went thru a lot of recovery, was a peer support counselor etc. I am in a new Job and want to help my memory retain as I am learning about Student Loans in a CSR position.

    I have taken Lithium, work out, walk a lot when I can; take recently Omega 3, Ginseng/Gingko and I have been taking Lithium Carbonate with overall good Lab Readings, levels. But read Lithium can Cause Memory loss–so I have decreased from 900 mg Lithium to 600mg. Since using the supplements (including Serenity Formula from Health Factors) sometimes for anxiety.

    Please verify any tips, advice? I have consulted with my Pharmacist too to verify risk of Side Effects on above remedies–and there isn’t any.

    Beside the interest of what I am learning at my new Job–is a lot to do with Loans, banking, repayments of student loans, etc.

    Thank you for a response at your convenience!

    Terri From Canada

  12. For psychiatric problems you have to make sure you’re getting enough calcium with the fish oil. The omega-3 fats in fish oil raise the level of calcium available to the neurons and it is the calcium that lowers their excitability (raises their trigger threshold).

  13. I feel so disconnected from the world, I feel very lonely all the time even though I have beatiful children & a loving family spiritual & natural. I like nobody really understand why the mood swings, why the episodes & I do not want to take medication for these problems. one minute I will take them, then one minute I am throwing them away. I am so confused & do not know what is the wrong or right thing to do. I work everyday but struggle something fierce trying to stabilize. one minute I am at 100% at work other times I can be at 0% according to my monitoring scores. Please help with some positive advise.

    1. Please seek professional help. It may take a few doctors and several medication trials to get things right -but, eventually you can love a “normal” life.You’ll feel good about yourself even though you may have limitations and sacrifices to make for a stable life. You DESERVE to be HAPPY in this life. You just need to take that first step out regardless of doubt and fear. Do it anyway!
      It took me a while and my life is a different one than what I had envisioned -but it’s a good life with a lot of great days…

  14. I experienced my first episode when I was 18. Now, 33, I no longer become manic, but still experience depression. Meditation on a regular basis, primarily the transcendental meditation or TM technique, has helped me more than anything else. I started meditating at 25 years old.
    I do take omega 3’s consistently and agree that calcium has a calming effect especially when I can’t sleep. 5-10 minutes after I take calcium I fall right to sleep. In addition I put lotion on my feet because the moisture soothes my nerves. Hope this helps!

  15. I was diagnosed bipolar 1 in 2006. I have highs & lows. I’ve been manic and I suffer from insomnia. Right now I’m on Lexapro, Lithim & Xanax. But I have been doing CRAZY things at night. I get up and cook. My husband & daughters have told me this. My youngest daughter recently missed her bus. Apparently, I took her to school. I have NO memory of doing these things! That really scares me. I also take meds for migraines. I would love to take the “natural” route. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow. I’m suffering some major side effects. Please let me know what you would recommend. Thanks!

  16. Hi last yr I started getting really chronic headaches dr’s and neurologist couldn’t find or give me a diognosis. A close friend of mine has bipolar and said my symptoms sound like bipolar. I feel as though I have a week or so of normal behaviour then all of a sudden i get angry adjutated and its taking a massive toll on my relationship. I feel i want to be on my own, I have all these things going round in my head but cant focus on one thing, I feel tired a lot and have no willingness to go out or do anything. I feel when someone is talking to me there are a thousand voices all at once n i just want to scream! Could this be bipolar ?

  17. As I sit here at the computer at 12:30 am reading all these comments, it gives me hope. Hope because I realize that there are so many other people who are going through exactly the same thing as me, and it sucks! I have tried medication, meditation and natural remedies and still I can’t find anything that helps. I have a very loving man in my life and I will lose him if I can’t get this under control and I don’t know what to do. There are so many days when I just want to crawl under the dirt and not ever get up. My search for something, anything that will help me will continue and I pray that someone, somewhere will have some information they will post that will help. You are all in my prayers.

  18. I have been reading the comments and realize chances that I have bipolar diorder are high. I get angry at minor things, my mind is always racing between thought, can’t focus and then get mentally tired that I don’t want to do anything else. I have been working out a lot and it helps but I avoid talking and socialising as I get irritable so easily. It has really taken a huge toll on me, I can’t maintain a stable relationship of late.

  19. hi there have read all the reports on you site? my daughter as biopolar she will not take her medication what i would like to say is we are all one hundered % in charge of our own lives we are all very special ! we need to feed our selves good food good thoughts and really love our selves happiness comes from inside yourself not outside of your self life in always leadinding you never missleding take a deeper look love always Ann love love love

  20. I would like to try some of these herbal remedies with my Husband. He refuses to take his bipolar meds. If I tell him what these herbal things are for he will refuse them as well. He was diagnosed as a teen and the military tested him as well. The military diagnosis was sever bipolar. More mania than the depression side. He wakes nice, then instantly starts screaming and throwing things as well as calling me names. They found he has ADD and PTSD as well. I can tell him these will help him sleep or improve his memory and he would take them. Some days are good and some are bad. It’s hard to handle sometimes and leaves me beside myself at times. His Mother is also bipolar but more depressed. Any suggestions?

  21. Won’t list the website where this is located because nobody wants another website on their site but…
    I have to tell people about this miracle cure for Bipolar.

    Four supplements:
    Morning: about 5 mg of nascent iodine (in glycerine)
    and 3 Vitamin A & D capsules (cod oil)
    Never take synthetic vitamins.
    A person is also supposed to eat a little liver every day.
    But I bought desiccated liver.
    Evening: 20 mg lithium orotate.
    That broke her mania attack in about 20 hours.
    All of these are well below the safety level.

    Take the iodine in the morning because it can prevent sleep.
    Iodine and the lithium orotate should not be taken together.
    They do not like each other.
    Iodine in the morning and lithium orotate in the evening.

    I got this from a German doctor that said this would cure 97% of all illnesses. Well….I believe it after the change in my daughter.
    The two times she did not take this combination,
    she had a bipolar attack.

    Her problems started at about 14 or 15 years old.
    It progressed. Did not realize it was bipolar.
    At age 18, she went into a psych ward.
    For one year, it was in and out, over and over.
    Prescription lithium gave her Parkinson-like tremors.
    She began to be dizzy and would fall on the floor.

    Psych doctor took her off all med to clear the body.
    Ended up in the psych ward again.
    When she came out, she was still nuts.
    Started the German doctor’s protocol.
    In 20 hours, she was a normal person.
    Not perfect, but acceptable, normal behavior.
    Over time, she improved.
    Began to smile, was able to leave the house, etc.

    This is our third month.
    This is the winning remedy for her.
    I took the same supplements so I would have a control reference.
    I had some itchy skin for awhile, but over time it stopped.
    We are still taking those four supplements and doing great.
    I liked this remedy because there is nothing that is dangerous.

    1. Hello Fred,

      My name is Caterina and just finished reading what you posted and quite frankly THRILLED your daughter is doing better.!!! I hope your daughter has regained some happiness and some stability in her precious life.
      Listen my brother also was diagnosed with Bi-polar along with other possible disorders. This cure I would love my brother to try it for he is doing really BAD!! I am afraid a little, could you provide the Dr’s name so I or we can consult with him? I hope this email reaches you, for our entire family are in dire need of help for the psychotropic drugs are not helping!
      May God bless you and your family and continued heath most of all.

      SINCERELY CATERINA,

  22. Love the article! Herbs have really helped my wife get her life back. I found it was hard to get good quality of herbs each time. I found a good company botanical products that really carry all the herbs you mention in your article and the quality is amazing. So many people don’t even think of natural only meds:( Keep up the good work!

  23. Hello you all ,
    I have/ suffer from bip.disorder after accidently being prescribed Prozac and after becoming rapid cycling ,and becoming suicidal ,then a psychiatrist prescribed Effexor ,i then became hypomanic , after a cardiac arrest , i stopped this medication , and became depressed (slowly like a bucket with a hole in it, running empty ) , now ,after everything i think i know what happens when taking those ¨¨”medicines¨¨”, it reduces bloodsugar , after 2 weeks or so (depending on the person, and age ) , it is reduced below ¨”optimum bloodsugar levell ¨¨ , and adrenalin kicks in (together with cortisol } , you become ¨¨very lively / or aggresive ,irritated , this is mistaken by your surroundings as being healed ,not depressed anymore……, and you become fatter and fatter , get sexual problems , and so on , now i am ¨¨ disregulated ¨¨ (mentally and physically ) , and have a disabillity pension , and will never take ¨¨regular medication ¨”again .
    When mentioning , to my cardiologist , that i had been on antidepressants for 2 years , i saw him being startled , and excammening my MRI scans , he said : thank god your heart valves are ok ….., so they know …….
    Now i ¨¨ doctor myself ¨¨ with herbals and am doing reasonably well , but will never recover completely …..

  24. ps,
    After reading the part concerning the “German doctor ¨¨ , i must say he is right , the cause of almost all disease is an imbalance of the automic nerve centre ( what the Chinese call Yin and Yang ) , between sympatic function ¨¨action being awake ¨¨ , and parasympatic function ¨¨ resting /restoring / sleeping , this system is in sympatic overdrive in the whole western world , and is caused by excessive stress , and mallnutrition : ¨¨refined ¨” foods ,like vegatable oil ( an example flaxseed is good for you the oil is not , has no choline in it , this being water soluble , so is present in the whole food , not the oil ) and sugar etc. , this is why flaxseedoil can cause prostate cancer . and the whole seed can cure it…,also never eat foods from packages ,coming from factories , like ¨¨ heart healthy ¨¨margarines ,and oils etc ( see doctor Esselstyn, no oil ! ) it is only healthy for the people who make the profit……
    This choline together with acethyl (see acete as vinegar ) forms acethylcholine ,this is the activator of the parasympatic nerve centre , so choline is essential for good health , the richest choline foods being liver and eggs , foods that are being dodged because of ¨¨ dangerous cholesterol ¨¨…….,
    Lately they ¨ discovered ¨¨ that cholesterol is not that unhealthy …, even essential to good health , it is the same as saying nails are a hazard because someone died afrer a car crash caused by … a nail .!
    My last comment : i think bipolar disorder is the mental expression of an imbalance of the automic nerve centre ,as almost all disease and should bee seen and treated as such .
    From Utrecht the Netherlands : good health to you all!!

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