by Bill Sardi
Recently by Bill Sardi: Reduce Health Care Costs. AreWe Chasing theWind?
Do you or a family member suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADHD), autism, mental depression, post-natal depression, autism, schizophrenia, anorexia, bipolar disorder or any behavior disorder?
It's a fact that most people with chronic mental problems would like to wean themselves off of psychiatric drugs commonly prescribed for these conditions, but just precisely how to do that is the question.
Before you learn more about this topic, ask yourself an important question: who would you listen to for advice about weaning away from psychiatric drugs?
Would you listen to a well-qualified PhD who has studied more than 25,000 patients with mental disorders and who has obtained over 3 million chemistries from blood, urine and tissue samples from over 25,000 patients over a 35-year period?
Would you listen to a man who has studied every behavioral disorder ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, all the way to severe cases of violent behavior exhibited by toughened criminals (including chemical analyses obtained from more than 25 serial killers and mass murderers)?
My bet is you would certainly listen to what a man like this has to say. And that man is William J. Walsh PhD, a recognized expert in the field of nutritional medicine and founder of the non-profit Walsh Research Institute in Naperville, Illinois. Medical examiners, coroners, Scotland Yard and the FBI have also listened to him.
With behavioral disorders affecting nearly every extended family in America, it is a good time to get acquainted with Dr. Walsh as he has recently published a new book entitled Nutrient Power (Skyhorse Publishing, 203-pages, 2012) that presents the idea of individualized nutrient protocols to normalize body and brain chemistry.
You can also go to the Walsh Research Institute website and watch Dr. Walsh talk about various behavioral disorders or skim through slide show presentations on various topics he has lectured on, to gain confidence in his non-drug approach.
He is no pony-tailed self-proclaimed guru who has just returned from Nepal with the latest herbal remedy for the brain. He conducted biochemical investigations with the late Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, a noted pioneer in the field. He has presented his research at the American Psychiatric Association, the U.S. Senate, the National Institutes of Mental Health, and has been a speaker at 30 international conferences.
The age of epigenetics
Dr. Walsh says we live in exciting times because researchers are beginning to learn how to favorably influence genes via the study of epigenetics, something Dr. Pfeiffer would have only dreamed of.
Dr. Walsh concludes, after years of investigation, that a gene-altering process called methylation (explained below) is involved in 70% of serious psychiatric conditions. That means it will soon be possible to molecularly reverse chronic mental problems. As brain science advances, the use of psychiatric drugs will gradually become obsolete since most mental disorders involve disturbances or imbalances of essential nutrients that alter brain function.
Dr. Walsh says, until recently, all heritable mental illnesses were presumed to have an unavoidable genetic component. That is, people have been misled to believe their biological and psychological fate has already been predetermined and is locked in by gene mutations.
Dr. Walsh asks, if these mental disturbances are inevitable, why don't identical twins follow a Mendelian pattern of inheritance?
Walsh notes that spontaneous gene mutations in humans occur only once in every 500,000 cell divisions and few are transferred to the next generation and therefore could not possibly explain a sudden upswing in cases of autism, for example.
Dr. Walsh says so many mental disorders now appear to be epigenetic, rather than genetic.
He asks: why do many autism regressions result in radical changes in speech, socialization, food sensitivities, etc., in just a few days after an environmental insult? It is obvious gene structure is not being changed, gene function is.
Gene protein making can be switched on (called gene expression) or off (called gene silencing). Environmental factors such as radiation, temperature, food or lack of food, can switch genes on or off. Certain molecules within foods (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential oils) can do this reliably. To the dismay of the pharmaceutical industry, Walsh says the future of behavior therapy with nutrition lies in epigenetics – the nutritionally modifiable aspect of our genes.
Dr. Walsh says even the most severe heritable mental disturbances will be reversible once we understand how to tap into epigenetics. Moreover, present nutrient therapies have already resulted in thousands of reports of recovery in persons diagnosed with violent behavior, ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.
For example, Dr. Walsh presents a case in his book of a 21-year-old male diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, the same condition that had affected his mother. This patient arrived for his first evaluation wearing a metal helmet and had chains wrapped around his neck, which he said were necessary to keep him from floating up into outer space. He believed his parents were aliens from outer space.
His biochemical imbalances were treated with a regimen of vitamins and minerals. He wasn't always compliant in take the vitamin and mineral supplements. But after six months significant improvement was reported. After several years of wellness, a hiatus from his nutritional regimen resulted in a return of his delusions. He resumed his nutritional regimen and returned to wellness.
Another case presented by Dr. Walsh involved a 22-year-old student with schizophrenia. He told friends Russian agents were trying to kill him and would sit for hours with a blank expression. Once diagnosed, he was medicated with mind-altering drugs (Zyprexa, Depakote and Zoloft) which resulted in improvement but he couldn't hold a job or resume studies. A nutritional regimen did not produce any change for six weeks, followed by gradual improvement. After a year of nutrient therapy a near-complete recovery was reported and he was weaned away from the drugs.
Dr. Walsh says just because a mental disorder runs along family lines does not mean it is inevitable and irreversible. Advanced nutrient therapy can be effective by (a) normalizing the synthesis of our brain chemicals, (b) adjusting activity at brain cell receptors by alteration of gene expression, and (c) defending against oxidative stress.
The idea of throwing people with severe aberrant behavior into a prison or mental institution, locking the door and throwing away the keys can now be discarded for many.
One of the telling experiments that Walsh and his colleagues conducted consisted of 24 pairs of brothers who lived in the same household with one brother having a history of delinquency and violence and the other ideal behavior and good academics. Dr. Walsh found that the violent brothers had abnormal biochemistry while their well-behaved siblings exhibited normal levels in blood and urine.
For example, Dr. Walsh found that the violent brothers exhibited higher lead and cadmium levels than their well-behaved siblings although they shared the same diet and general environment. Brothers exhibiting oppositional, defiant, assaultive behavior as well as cruelty to animals and fascination with fire were found to have a low copper/zinc ratio. Violent brothers with alternating good behavior and explosions exhibited a very elevated ratio of copper to zinc.
Methylation and the brain
Dr. Walsh's most striking discovery was that more than 70% of people with behavioral and mental disorders have a methylation imbalance…. either too much or too little of this chemical that dominates gene expression. For example about 42% of schizophrenics are overmethylated while 28% are undermethylated. More than 95% of persons diagnosed with autism, OCD, and antisocial personality disorder (e.g., convicted felons) exhibit undermethylation.
The body's methyl groups arise from methionine, one of the amino acids present in meat and other proteins. Walsh has developed nutrient therapies that can normalize methylation and correct many brain chemistry imbalances without resorting to drugs.
The zinc/copper ratio
On page 18 of his book he makes a startling claim. Copper overload is a primary offender in many mental disturbances, including autism, paranoid schizophrenia, clinical depression, hyperactivity, learning disability, and postpartum depression. Excessive copper reduces the brain chemical dopamine and increases norepinephrine.
Walsh cites two studies showing diet and nutritional supplements can eliminate excess copper and restore normal brain function in these persons. An outcome study of hundreds of women with post-partum depression brought reports of significant improvement in 85% of them, after blood copper levels were normalized.
Walsh goes on to explain the relationship between postpartum depression and copper overload. During pregnancy, blood copper levels more than double so as to stimulate the development of new blood vessels as the baby grows rapidly. If copper levels do not return to normal after birth, then postpartum depression may result. All this will likely come as a surprise to physicians who have been trained to treat post-partum depression with antidepressant drugs that usually do not help these women.
Dr. Walsh identifies vitamin B6 is another nutrient that is associated with many mental health issues, producing symptoms of irritability, depression, poor short-term memory, insomnia, muscle weakness, difficulty walking and even psychosis. B6 is needed to produce important brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and GABA (a relaxing brain chemical).
Walsh says zinc deficiency is "by far the most frequently observed chemical imbalance in mental health populations." Walsh estimates more than 90% of persons diagnosed with mental abnormalities are either low-normal or deficient in zinc. Zinc deficiency is associated with temper control problems, weak immunity, depression, poor wound healing, epilepsy, anxiety, learning problems and hormone imbalances, says Walsh.
Zinc is in balance with copper in healthy persons. A lack of zinc can lead to copper overload. Walsh says it usually takes about two months to correct a zinc or copper disorder. Walsh says a blood plasma blood test for zinc should be mandatory for all patients diagnosed with a behavioral disorder.
A largely unknown fact that Walsh shares is that there is a chemical produced in the body called pyrrole that binds to zinc and vitamin B6 and increases their excretion in the urine. Nearly one-third of persons diagnosed with depression, behavioral disorders, autism, and psychosis have elevated pyrroles. An $80 urine test can reveal whether a pyrrole disorder is present. This important chemical imbalance can be corrected within weeks using supplements of zinc, B-6, and augmenting nutrients.
White spots on fingernails and acne are a sign indicating low zinc levels associated with pyrrole disorder. Pyrroles can also produce dominance of omega-6 oil over omega-3 oils, which can lead to symptoms of dry skin, dry eyes and brittle nails. Pyrrole patients with these symptoms often benefit from supplementation of GLA omega-6 oils (evening primrose, borage or black currant seed oil).
Pyrrole disorder often materializes as a wide range of symptoms that generally include extreme mood swings (could be mistakenly thought to be bipolar disorder), sensitivity to light and noise, poor stress control, severe anxiety, little or no dream recall, preference for spicy foods and abnormal body fat distribution.
A recent published report suggests pyrrole disorder is not only involved in human behavior, later in life it is associated with cancer and an eye disorder called macular degeneration.
Walsh notes that while only 10% of mental illness cases involve severe malabsorption of nutrients, more than 90% of autistic children have this problem. A major cause of distress in autism-spectrum patients appears to be severe oxidative stress in their G.I. tract.
How rapidly does nutrition therapy work?
In Walsh's vast experience, he says more than 80% of ADHD and depression patients report significant improvement within three months, and that more than 70% can wean away from psychiatric drugs without a return of symptoms. Walsh says the pyrrole disorder is the fastest chemical imbalance to be rectified by nutritional therapy, with significant improvement often reported in the first week. Treatment of undermethylation requires great patience since 4-6 months often required. Treatment of copper overload and zinc deficiency usually requires 60 days.
An interesting aspect of what Dr. Walsh presents is that many people with mental problems react to nutrients in opposite ways even though they have the same diagnosis.
For example, among people who suffer from chronic mental depression, about 38% in Walsh's cases are under-methylated and are highly intolerant to folic acid but thrive on SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) or methionine, whereas about 20% of depressed persons in his database are deficient in folic acid which is their primary nutrient imbalance. Most of these folic-acid responsive depressed subjects also report anxiety disorder and even panic attacks.
Another phenomenon revealed in the case histories presented in his book is that individuals may experience brief adverse effects in the first few days of nutrient therapy as toxics and excess copper are driven out of the body. However, in most cases they begin to improve within a week or two, sometimes all the way to full recoveries or prolonged remissions.
The future of advanced nutrient therapy in behavioral disorders
The Walsh Research Institute does not see patients but refers to capable doctors and clinics. He says the treatment protocols roughly outlined in his book should be supervised by a trained medical practitioner and should not be used for self-treatment. He warns that improper nutrient therapy could cause harm (worsening depression, anxiety, behavior, etc.).
The Walsh Research Institute has trained about 125 physicians with a goal to train an additional 1000 doctors within the next 5 years. Dr. Walsh also wants to motivate other researchers in the mental health field to seek natural therapies that normalize the brain without side effects and to conduct research towards that end. Dr. Walsh wants to put an end to research projects whose primary goal is to development of another billion-dollar blockbuster drug.
Dr. Walsh knows his efforts will be speeded by expanding public awareness of nutrient therapy for mental disorders. Most doctors now providing these protocols report they now can help many patients that previously failed to respond.
The singular efforts of this one man, William J. Walsh, could lift the dark cloud posed of psychiatric drugs that hovers over America. Mind altering drugs are now pervasive in America, from youth (Ritalin in grade schools for attention deficit disorder) to old age (anti-depressants among over-medicated nursing home patients).
How many more times will Americans hear of mass killers who were taking mind-altering drugs before these foreign molecules are abandoned in favor of a more-scientific and more natural therapy?