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.