November 10, 2011

TRUE HOPE (Part III)

So if we begin with the idea that we are likely all malnourished, and that nutrient deficiencies play a role mental illness, an obvious and safe place to begin would be with replacing those nutrients to see what emerges.  Given the interplay of all of the micronutrients, including essential fatty acids and amino acids, moving beyond the single nutrient interventions except where obviously devoid (i.e. beriberi) to utilize a potent micronutrient mixture in a somewhat sawed-off shotgun approach would make the most sense as a first line strategy.  To first use what your body has evolved to run on optimally, but may be missing, and thus give your body a chance to heal itself, before inserting some foreign chemical in there to literally alter neurological functioning (in the case of most psychotropics which alter neuronal firing, receptor expression and sensitivity, neurotransmitter expression, etc).  Medicines do have a place in mental health care and often times are necessary to quell urgent problems.  They can be life saving.  But as a first line remedy, nutrients make natural sense. To FIRST DO NO (p)Harm and to begin by replenishing the body and brain completely.

In the Ultramind Solution, Dr. Mark Hyman  postulated a tantalizing idea that most illness, from arthritis to depression, stems from the same mechanism- toxicity and inflammation. The particular way this toxic overload manifests, i.e. the disease, depends on your particular genetic make up and subsequent gene expression.  He further proposed that the departmental divisions within medicine (internal medicine, rheumatology, endocrinology, psychiatry, etc) are essentially artificial demarcations since the sundry illnesses are essentially different manifestations of the same pathological.  Every one is talking about the same process using a different vocabulary- sort of like different religions using their own terminologies to name the same common mythology.  In this case, environmental toxins create inflammation, which causes a cascade of events that alter gene expression, which results in the different  illnesses/disease states.  If this is so, depression, bipolar, ADHD and anxiety- essentially everything that falls under the rubric of mental illness, might just be different manifestations of the same underlying condition, taking its outward form from the individual person’s particular genetic milieu.   From the Triage theory we understand that nutrient depletion causes DNA damage, which subsequently leads to disease manifestation through altered gene expression. It makes makes sense then- no matter the outward psychiatric manifestation- i.e. bipolar, depression, anxiety- to begin with nutrient replacement (and detoxification).   There are likely a number of potential sources for these products from reputable names, but one that really stands out is TRUEHOPE’s EMPOwer+.

The story of Truehope is itself miraculous.  Details about this nonprofit company can be found at: http://www.truehope.com and are well worth exploring.  Truehope was founded by Anthony Stephan and David Hardy, the former a father struggling to keep his family together in the grips of a devastating, multigenerational bipolar disorder and the latter an animal feed formulator.   In hearing of Anthony’s troubles at a chance encounter in a church basement, David noted that some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder manifesting in Anthony’s kids sounded similar to a syndrome in pig’s called ear-and-tail biting syndrome, which occurred when their diets were not optimal; the syndrome corrected with proper nutrient balance. Extrapolating this insight to humans, they worked together to develop EMPower.  And it worked!  Anthony’s kids got off of their psychotropics with EMPower and are doing GREAT!   The two men are truly amazing people, pioneers to whom we mental health professionals owe a tremendous debt of gratitude and respect.

EMPower has subsequently been used in hundreds of people to help treat affective, anxious, and psychotic disorders.  Research being conducted (which will be presented later) in New Zealand and Canada are showing very promising results for ADHD, which is in dire of need of stimulant alternatives.   Again, essentially every psychiatric disorder has the chance to be treated through a broad based micronutrient strategy.

That should be the natural first step (in most cases….).

If it fails, then we can move on to the industry standards.