June 25, 2018

477 Depression Biotypes [25 June 2018]

In his book Nutrient Power – Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain, William J. Walsh describes the five major depression biotypes that he discovered over 20 years collecting data on nearly 3,000 depressive patients. Like the schizophrenia biotypes discussed last week, each depression biotype has its own unique biochemistry, neurotransmitter imbalances, symptoms and characteristics. Walsh also outlines the nutrient therapy protocols he developed to correct the imbalances.

Undermethylated depression (38%) is characterized by reduced serotonin and dopamine activity. Patients tend to be high achievers and perfectionists, with a high tendency to suicide. SSRI meds offer some improvement. Beneficial nutrients include SAMe and methionine. Avoid folate, choline, and certain other nutrients.

Folate deficiency depression (20%) is characterized with elevated serotonin and dopamine. Patients tend to also have anxiety and ADD, and frequently have food and chemical sensitivities. They are intolerant to SSRI antidepressants (sometimes suicidally), antihistamines, SAMe and methionine. They improve with folic acid and certain other nutrients, and need to avoid tryptophan, 5HTP and some others.

Copper overload depression (hypercupremia) (17%) is characterized by elevated norepinephrine and reduced dopamine activity. These are usually women, often with a history of post-partum depression. They may also have anxiety, sleep disorder, childhood hyperactivity, tinnitus and estrogen intolerance (birth control pills, chocolate worsens depression). Nutrient therapy includes zinc, manganese, and several antioxidant nutrients.

Pyrrole disorder depression (15%) is characterized by reduced serotonin, dopamine and GABA. Depression is often severe with anxiety, low stress tolerance and extreme mood swings. Improvements are rapid with nutrient therapy including B6 or P5P, zinc, selenium, and manganese.

Toxic metal overload depression (5%) weakens the blood-brain barrier, disables brain antioxidants, and damages the myelin sheath. Nutrient treatment may include EDTA chelation and supplementation of vitamins and minerals which will depend on the metals involved, usually lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic.

The takeaway lesson here is that there are several conditions usually lumped together as “depression”, each with a different cause. It is critical to know the biotype because the commonly prescribed serotonin enhancing drugs work well on a few types, don’t work on a few others, and can be fatal for another. A good case history and a few blood tests can determine which group a depressive patient is in and therefore which therapy protocol is most likely to benefit.

The second lesson is that there are nutrient therapies that effectively correct the imbalances without the usual side effects of the psychiatric drugs.

Again, like with the schizophrenias, diagnosis and nutrient therapy should be undertaken only under the supervision of an experienced professional.

Next week: autism.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

June 18, 2018

476 The Schizophrenias [18 June 2018]

In his book Nutrient Power – Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain, William J. Walsh refines Carl Pfeiffer’s biotypes of schizophrenia, and describes each in some detail as to symptoms, chemistry, and their nutrient therapy.

Walsh’s schizophrenia biotypes are (with % of occurrence):
• Overmethylation (42%)
• Undermethylation (28%)
• Pyrrole disorder (20%)
• Gluten intolerance (4%) – see Grain & Our Brain [#240 Oct 2013]
• Other (6%) – porphyria, cerebral allergy, polydipsia, thyroid deficiency; homocysteinuria and drug-induced.

The overmethylated biotype is the most common. It is characterized by auditory hallucinations, severe anxiety, paranoia, hyperactivity and depression, and is often diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia. Signs include elevated serum copper, low blood histamine, and low basophil count; with high dopamine and norepinephrine activity. Patients often have an adverse reaction to SSRI drugs or SAMe, but improve with benzodiazepines and lithium. Biochemical therapy includes zinc, manganese and vitamins B10 (folic acid), B3 (niacin), B6, B12, C and E.

The undermethylated biotype is characterized by delusions, OCD, high anxiety, and catatonic behavior, and is usually diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder or delusional disorder. Signs include low methyl/folate ratio, high histamine (subject to seasonal allergies), high basophil count, and low SAMe/SAH ratio; with low activity of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Patients respond well to SSRIs and antihistamines but not to benzodiazepines or folic acid. Biochemical therapy includes SAMe, methionine, calcium, magnesium, zinc, serine and vitamins A, B6, C, D and E.

The pyrrole disorder biotype (also called “Mauve” from the purple color of urine) is characterized by extreme mood swings, severe anxiety, low tolerance to stress, light or noise, and a combination of delusions and auditory hallucinations. A common diagnosis is rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Signs include very high pyrroles in the urine, severe deficiencies of zinc and B6, deficiencies of biotin and arachidonic acid, and depleted glutathione. Patients exhibit severe oxidative stress and low activity of glutamate and GABA. Biochemical therapy includes zinc, B6, and evening primrose oil.

Biochemical therapy involves high doses of certain minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients, and is different for each biotype. Diagnosis and treatment should only be undertaken by an experienced professional.

Next week – biochemical classification of depression.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner. Find this article on my website for links to sources and further reading.

June 11, 2018

475 Biochemical Imbalances in the Brain [11 June 2018]

In his book Nutrient Power – Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain, William J. Walsh stated that he considers the greatest achievement of Dr. Carl Pfeiffer to be his discovery of different biochemical types of schizophrenia, each with distinctive symptoms and blood and urine chemistries. Pfeiffer had also developed effective nutritional therapies for each biotype. Over the last three decades Walsh refined these biotypes and their biochemical therapies.

Mental health depends on a balance of the neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Their concentration is largely regulated by special large molecules in the cell membrane called transporters which allow the neurotransmitters to be reused, a process called reuptake. The synthesis of transporters is in turn regulated by the relative amounts of methyl (CH3) and acetyl (CH3CO) attached to the DNA of the respective genes. The methylation and acetylation processes are strongly influenced by the presence of certain nutrients: folate (B10) and niacin (B3) promote acetylation (which enhances gene expression) while methionine and SAMe promote methylation (which inhibits gene expression). Walsh writes:
“After 25 years of searching, we finally have a convincing explanation for the apparent effectiveness of the folate, niacin, and methylation therapies developed by Abram Hoffer and Carl Pfeiffer”.
In addition to over or under-methylation, Walsh observed other biochemical imbalances that occur in unusually high frequencies in many completely different mental disorders: copper overload, B6 deficiency, zinc deficiency, oxidative stress overload, amino acid imbalances, essential fatty acid imbalances (especially DHA deficiency), and toxic overload (heavy metals, pesticides). He realized that what these had in common was playing a role in the synthesis or function of neurotransmitters.

The levels of these nutrients are well-regulated for most people, but genetic or epigenetic abnormalities can result in a deficiency or overload. Walsh found that providing the missing nutrients in appropriate doses, while slower to take effect, worked as well or better than psychiatric drugs but without the undesirable side effects.

Next week – the schizophrenias.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

June 4, 2018

474 Biochemical Therapy [4 June 2018]

In previous articles on nutrition and mental health [#297 8 Dec 2014 “Mental Health Revolution”; #300 5 Jan 2015 “Medicate or Nutrate?”; and #317 4 May 2015 “Nutritional Psychiatry”] I argued that it was time for another revolution in mental health treatment. A recent book by William J. Walsh (revised 2014), Nutrient Power – Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain, indicates that this revolution is well on its way.

Walsh worked closely with Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, a pioneer in nutritional treatment of mental illness and the first to recognize that there were different biochemical types of schizophrenia (in my personal reference library I have a 1970 copy of Pfeiffer’s book The Schizophrenias, Ours to Conquer). Walsh went on to refine both the diagnosis and nutritional treatment (which he calls biochemical therapy) of mental illness based on recent research. His book Nutrient Power summarizes many decades of research and tens of thousands of cases.

Brain biochemistry is highly complex. More than 100 different neurotransmitters are active in the brain, and mental health depends on their proper function at the nerve synapses. Each neurotransmitter depends on numerous nutrients for its synthesis and function. Special proteins called transporters embedded in the nerve cell membranes allow the neurotransmitters to be reused. Epigenetics – inheritable environmental factors which control gene expression – plays a critical role in the production of neurotransmitters and transporters. The presence or absence of certain nutrients or toxins turns on or off the genes which produce these critical proteins.

Walsh cautions readers not to try this therapy without supervision by an experienced medical professional. There are many different biochemical imbalances which cause mental illnesses, and specific tests and history analysis are required to determine which are involved and therefore which treatment to use. Too much of a nutrient, for example folate, can be as harmful as not enough. In Walsh’s words:
The challenge is to carefully identify the specific nutrient overloads and deficiencies possessed by an individual and to provide treatments that normalize blood and brain levels of these chemicals with rifle-shot precision. This is the essence of biochemical therapy.
I find this book fascinating and will share more from it in coming weeks.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.