Are We at a Tipping Point?

Bonnie Kaplan, PhDJulia Rucklidge, PhD
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This week the Huffington Post  published an article: “Diet may be as important to mental health as it is to physical health.”  This comes on the heels of an opinion piece written by the executive of ISNPR (International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research) published in one of the most esteemed journals, Lancet Psychiatry (Sarris et al., 2015), entitled: “Nutritional Medicine as Mainstream in Psychiatry: A Consensus Position Statement from The International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research.” That same month, our article on “The Emerging Field of Nutritional Mental Health” (Kaplan et al., 2015) was published in Clinical Psychological Science. And, just this week, a report written by a task force advising on new dietary guidelines commissioned by the US departments of Health and Human Service and Agriculture recognized the importance of nutrition in mental health outcomes for the first time:

“The hypothesis that nutrition can reduce and/or play a role in the treatment of these mental diseases and their related burdens has been studied in relation to several nutrients and foods, including the B vitamins, vitamin E, and selenium. The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are among the most studied nutrients for neural health, in part because DHA is a major component of the brain, specifically gray matter and its synapses, and the specialized light detecting cells of the retina. DHA, in particular, supports the amplitude and signaling speed of neural response. EPA has emerged as a nutrient with antidepressive properties and continued studies to define its role in prevention and therapy are underway. Sufficiently strong medical evidence has been obtained for EPA and DHA such that supplements are now considered as complementary therapy for major depressive disorder by the American Psychiatric Association and more recent data from a meta-analysis has found them effective. Before 2010, the number of published dietary pattern studies was small. However, a more substantial literature on dietary patterns and neuropsychological health has been published since 2010. The DGAC was therefore able to consider prevention of adult neuropsychological ill health for the first time.”

On a more local level, we have both been flooded with emails and inquiries from the public asking for more information about what we do, and requests for us to speak locally and internationally. Data collection for studies abound and we are both busy with writing manuscripts on nutrition and mental health as well as engaging in the never-ending search for funds for further studies. Julia’s TEDx talk has now received over 20,000 views, with so many encouraging comments. After decades of minimizing the role of nutrition in mental health, it would seem to us that the public and professionals are reuniting with the notion that nutrition IS important. So, with all of these exciting developments, we are both wondering, are we at a Tipping Point?

Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea of a tipping point in his bestseller book (2010) “The Tipping Point”– describing the point in time when ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses. It is that point where an idea can become contagious, little causes can have big effects and change no longer happens gradually, but at one dramatic moment. Could we be reaching that Tipping Point for nutrition and mental health? And if we are at the cusp of a Tipping Point, that means there is a fundamental belief that change is possible, and that people can radically transform their beliefs and their behaviours in the face of the right kinds of motivations. But the wider system also needs to be ready to adapt.

So we think the very Big Question is, can our health system cope? Our current system of funding and regulating treatments is going to need to adapt rapidly. And we suspect a lack of adaptation from regulatory authorities might cause a bottle neck. Two 1-year follow-up studies from Julia’s lab show that people often stop taking their nutrients even when those nutrients had successfully treated challenging psychiatric symptoms (Rucklidge et al., 2014). Why? Cost, of course. Often they switched to medications as those are subsidized or covered by insurance whereas the nutrients are not. The issue isn’t that there is no money available through the public system, it’s just that money needs to be redirected within a system that is driven largely by the pharmaceutical industry.

In Alberta, Bonnie and others have tried for years to get the provincial health care system to put micronutrient formulas on the ‘formulary list,’ which would enable doctors to prescribe them for mental health and people to obtain them at no (or little) cost. To the best of our knowledge, there is no insurance system in the U.S. that will cover the cost of a nutrient formula for mental health (there are some individual nutrients such as folic acid that are covered for heart health). What we need is for people to be able to afford better food and nutrient supplements as needed.

Other challenges we are faced with include the quality of products currently on the market as some, but not all, have been rigourously tested and many have never been researched for the treatment of mental health problems. We have discovered that often products tested in research are not the products being sold on the supermarket shelves but the public may not appreciate the differences in quality and dose quantity. Not all supplements are created the same. MIA recently highlighted a study that came out of the University of Auckland that showed that fish oil supplements in New Zealand are highly oxidized and do not meet label content of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (Albert et al., 2015). Almost all of the products available in NZ contain concentrations of EPA and DHA considerably below what was claimed on the label. More than two-thirds of the supplements tested contained less than 67% of the EPA/DHA levels claimed on the label.  Also, the vast majority of supplements studied exceeded the recommended levels of oxidation markers. Best before dates could not explain this oxidation.

Another very important study relevant to this issue is one that Julia supervised. It looked at vitamin levels in pills purchased in the supermarkets in NZ, and showed that the doses were probably too low to have any effect on psychological symptoms Rucklidge et al., 2014). Should nutrient supplements have to show a health benefit before being sold? Since the vast majority of  formulas are unstudied, that would be a politically unpopular step. Should individuals have to demonstrate that the supplements they are taking have benefited their health? This would also be complicated. We do not have any easy answers to this issue, but we do know that our current system of making psychiatric medications more economically accessible is simply wrong.

So … are we ready? Based on how many phone calls, emails, and invitations to speak we both are receiving, we think that the public is ready to accept the importance of nutrition for mental health. Can we take on the challenges outlined above? How should our health care systems deal with these challenges? We hope to hear some interesting suggestions from our readers.

* * * * *

References:

Albert, B. B., Derraik, J. G. B., Cameron-Smith, D., Hofman, P. L., Tumanov, S., Villas-Boas, S. G., Garg, M. L., & Cutfield, W. S. (2015). Fish oil supplements in New Zealand are highly oxidised and do not meet label content of n-3 PUFA. Scientific Reports, 5. doi: 10.1038/srep07928

Gladwell, M. The Tipping Point: How little things can make a big difference. (2000). Abacus, London UK.

Kaplan BJ, Rucklidge JJ, Romijn A, McLeod K (2015 Feb 2). The emerging field of nutritional mental health: Inflammation, the microbiome, oxidative stress and mitochondrial function. Clinical Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/2167702614555413

Rucklidge, J. J., Harris, A. L., & Shaw, I. C. (2014). Are the amounts of vitamins in commercially available dietary supplement formulations relevant for the management of psychiatric disorders in children? New Zealand Medical Journal, 127(1392), 73-85.

Rucklidge, J. J., Frampton, C. M., Gorman, B., & Boggis, A. (2014). Vitamin-Mineral Treatment of ADHD in Adults: A 1-Year Naturalistic Follow-Up of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Attention Disorders. doi: 10.1177/1087054714530557

Rucklidge, J. J., Blampied, N., Gorman, B., Gordon, H., & Sole, E. (2014). Psychological functioning one year after a brief intervention using micronutrients to treat stress and anxiety related to the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes: A naturalistic follow-up. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 29(3), 230-243.

Sarris, J., Logan, A. C., Amminger, G. P., Balanzá-Martínez, V., Freeman, M. P., Hibbeln, J., Matsuoka, Y., Mischoulon, D., Mizoue, T., Nanri, A., Nishi, D., Ramsey, D., Rucklidge, J. J., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Scholey, A., Su, K. P., & Jacka, F. N. (2015). Nutritional Medicine as Mainstream in Psychiatry: A Consensus Position Statement from The International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR). Lancet Psychiatry, doi: h ttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00051-0

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Bonnie Kaplan, PhD
Nutrition and Mental Health: Bonnie has published on the biological basis of mental health – in particular, the contribution of nutrition to brain development and function, micronutrient treatments for mental disorders, and the effect of intrauterine nutrition on brain development and maternal mental health.
Julia Rucklidge, PhD
Nutrition and Mental Health: Julia's interest in nutrition and mental illness grew out of her own research showing poor outcomes for children with psychiatric illness despite conventional treatments. She has been investigating the role of micronutrients in mental illness.

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Bonnie-I’m thrilled that the diet story is getting so much attention. Not only is it what you eat, but probably the story on what not to eat deserves attention too. Gretchen Neigh, over at Emory, has studies showing that above a certain level, consumption of fructose makes the mice very anxious. My book, Neuroscience for Psychologists and Other Mental Health Professionals: Promoting Well-Being and Treating Mental Illness published by Springer should be out in April. It covers nutrition (exercise, meditation, yoga) and I cite you folks. Maybe things can change.

  2. At long last it’s happening, but making supplements affordable will be a challenge and it is worrying that those products out there are not as good as their labels. Thank you so much for your work. Great Ted talk Julia and great to see you have so many views. Yes the public are getting it now lets hope the psychiatrist’s will do too.

  3. IMO, we’re *beyond* the tipping point.

    Why the reluctance to accept the obvious? –

    There’s not a lot of money in nutrition.
    Not a lot of professionals are needed.
    Not a lot of sensationalism, drama.

    Nutrition works.
    It works quite well.
    But it’s so simple.
    Too simple, for many.

    Duane

  4. A few comments to the problem of drugs vs nutrition: have you considered the fact that many psychiatric drugs actually interfere with proper nutrition? Not only monster drugs like Zyprexa cause people to overeat on the worst kids of food creating cravings but also some of the drugs can create/exacerbate specific nutrient deficiencies. Zyprexa and Seroquel caused a restless leg syndrome for me which turned out was manageable with magnesium and treatable with iron supplement. Many people report digestive issues while on drugs or withdrawing from them.

    I also wanted to ask: what specific micronutrients do you use? I strikes me as very unspecific to just supplement everything since it’s well known that too high levels of certain microelements (like iodine or iron) and vitamins can be toxic. Do you monitor blood or urine levels of specific metabolites? I agree that nutrition and supplementing missing nutrients is important but I don’t think this is going to “cure” or prevent most of “mental illness” and it should not be used as one size fits all.

    • B,

      I agree. Supplements have risks: making sure the brand is manufactured safely; watching for how some nutrients interact – with other nutrients, and with prescription medication; long-term use, especially with fat-soluble vitamins.

      With that said, I think it’s important to keep some perspective on the use of nutrients. For instance:

      There are 100,000 deaths per year from prescription drugs:

      http://yournewswire.com/100000-deaths-per-year-in-the-u-s-caused-by-prescription-drugs/

      There are almost zero deaths per year from supplements:

      From Andrew Saul, PhD:

      “Natural health products, such as amino acids, herbs, vitamins and other nutritional supplements, have an extraordinarily safe usage history. In the USA, close to half of the population takes herbal or nutritional supplements every day. That is over 145,000,000 individual doses daily, for a total of over 53 billion doses annually.”

      “Nutritional supplements are exceptionally safe. In 2003, there were no deaths from multiple vitamins without iron. There were no deaths from amino acids. There were no deaths from B-complex vitamin supplements. There were no deaths from niacin. There were no deaths from vitamin A. There were no deaths from vitamin D. There were no deaths from vitamin E.”

      The full article here:

      http://www.doctoryourself.com/testimony.htm

      One of the best sites I’ve found for anyone who wants to learn more – including good safety information:

      http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/

      Others are:

      National Institutes of Health – National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

      National Institutes of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements

      American Botanical Council – Commission E Monographs (herbs)

      Be well,

      Duane

      • Duane,

        I have extremely mixed views on this issue. On a related note to your post, I was extremely angry and frustrated when the media made such a big deal about the bogus herbal supplements that were being sold when I feel they look the other way regarding horrific adverse reactions to meds.

        On the other hand, as I keep saying on this site, supplements are definitely not harmless as I have had adverse effects from taking things that definitely were not high doses. Just because something is not a drug doesn’t mean it is harmless.

        I wish to god it was possible to find a true integrative doctor who would start a patient with the treatment that was least harmful but proven by the evidence to be the most effective. The dose would be carefully titrated to the most beneficial effect. If several non drug remedies backed by scientific evidence didn’t work, then the next step would be a careful prescription of meds.

        Unfortunately, what exists are alternative professionals including alleged integrative doctors who want to clobber a system with a “million” supplements vs. the conventional doctor who equates the use of supplements to a foreign language and thanks that drugs are the answer to everything. Oh and by the way, even if drugs are the best option, there isn’t any advice on replenishing the nutrients that drugs deplete.

        Once again, the patient is forced to be her/his own healthcare professional which obviously, is not the best position for someone to be in. It truly stinks.

        • Psychiatrists “treating” (aka abusing) me had my blood panel and still were not able to see that I had low iron levels (which are known to contribute to depressed mood, fatigue and restless leg syndrome). They only do blood checks because they are required to pretend that they rule out physical illness while they don’t bother to look at the results (similarly they do EKG on you but it has no bearing on putting elderly people with heart problems in restraints and on heavy drugs and when a guy like this dies – of course pulse and breathing is not being monitored – it’s an “unfortunate accident”).

        • AA,

          as to your point that you felt worse after taking a modest amount of a supplement, Dr. William Walsh (author of “Nutrient Therapy”) emphasizes that nutrient overloads (too much of a vitamin/nutrient that is wrong for you) can be more of a problem than nutrient deficiencies. Dr. Walsh is a proponent of biochemical individuality (as was his mentor, Carl Pfeiffer, M.D.). and he recommends a nutrient regimen that is individualized based on one’s history, symptoms and lab results. Herbal supplements are different from minerals or vitamins; unlike minerals/vitamins (which occur naturally in your body), herbals have have psychoactive properties…a good reason to shy away from them, in my opinion. And no, not every alternative provider or dispenser of nutrient therapy is trustworthy, competent or well-motivated. This may become even more of a problem as more people seek out nutrient therapy; there always have been charlatans and quacks who prey on vulnerable people. Drs. Kaplan/Rucklidge/Walsh are the real deal and a great starting point for any research.

          • Agree with you here, anyone interested in this kind of nutrient based therapy should also have a look at Dr. William Walsh’s work. He has founded the Walsh Research Institute, which is a non-profit and they have done tens of thousands of biochemical tests on individuals with various mental disorders. They’ve picked out some recurring patterns in these individuals and found that normalizing methylation cycle imbalances and correcting nutrient deficiencies and overloads can absolutely help people to recover completely.

        • AA,

          Yes, it does stink.

          The psychiatric drugs deplete nutrients, and to add insult to injury, many people experience what I guess might be called a hypersensitivity to supplements during withdrawal.

          And there are so few doctors who are well-versed on all of this. Those who are, many people cannot afford. Buying a bronze plan on the healthcare marketplace can have a 5 – 6,000 deductible. And nutrients aren’t covered.

          For those who can afford to see an alternative health care provider:

          https://discoverandrecover.wordpress.com/find-health-care-provider/

          Yeah, you got it right… it’s a mess.

          Duane

      • I’m in no ways suggesting that supplements are as bad as psych drugs – I just want to be wary that, when studying their beneficial effects we don’t make the same mistakes as are done in case of mainstream medicine. We often criticize clinical trials for tehir dumb design and dubious logic so we should take precautions not to fall into similar traps.
        That aside – supplements did a lot of good for me when used for specific purpose and short term (iron, magnesium for RLS for example). I’d be very interested in more studies into this subject, especially given how bad is human nutrition even if we have more than enough to eat in terms of calories.

    • I agree with this point as well. I think it could potentially be a bad idea for some people to start broad-spectrum supplementing. Get tested properly and find out what your individual needs are FIRST because you may find out that you are overloaded in something – like copper for instance – and then taking a multivitamin is going to make things worse. A few people reference the work of Dr. William Walsh here, which I think is important to look at. He has done testing on tens of thousands of people with various mental disorders, and has picked out some general patterns in nutrient deficiencies/and overloads in people with these disorders. Copper is a repeat offender. I am posting this because I struggled with various health issues (including anxiety, depression, hypersensitivity, insomnia, fatigue) for years and would usually feel worse when I started taking a multi-vitamin (and yes it was a high quality brand). Years later, I get tested for every heavy metal and mineral and low and behold, I found out that COPPER was OFF THE CHART, with low zinc and also low iron. I did testing via a second method to confirm these results. So now I understand why no medications ever worked to treat my symptoms, because they were not addressing the underlying root problem. I think there is a lot to this nutrient therapeutics approach and could revolutionize how we are treating mental disorders, but I do think that testing should be an important piece and that blindly supplementing could potentially be dangerous for some people. What I say is find a good practitioner, like a Dr. or Naturopath trained in Functional Medicine, who can do the proper testing and work with you and design a protocol that is specific to your individual needs.

      • I consulted Dr. Abram Hoffer in Victoria, BC in 1987(?) or so. He was an orthomolecular psychiatrist and prescribed niacin and a bunch of other shit for “anxiety bordering on schizophrenia.” I don’t know what to make of that. I’m surprised a plain multi-vitamin fucked you up.

        • I was already having issues, taking the multi simply made me feel worse and way more fatigued. And yes, I’ve heard of Hoffer. That was more the ‘old school’ of nutrient therapeutics from what I understand, there is a lot of new research that has built from and improved upon his work since the 80’s. Did you stick with that protocol or did it not work for you? I’m curious about whether he was actually testing people – or just recommending a bunch of supplements?

  5. Factor in toxic exposure, bacterial/viral and other underlying medical conditions and you will have a winning strategy to combat the “epidemic” of severe mental illness.

    In Wyatt v. Stickney 325 F.Supp. 781 (M.D.Ala. 1971), a key issue was that patients have a “constitutional right to receive such individual treatment as will give each of them a realistic opportunity to be cured or to improve his or her mental condition.”

    Our broken mental health care system is a result of our mental health professionals using the DSM5 with a flawed “Chinese Menu” approach that rubber-stamps stigmatizing labels on individuals and feeds psychiatry’s Medication Management Monopoly.

    If mental health advocates want to tip the scale quickly, they must consider the fact individuals in a psychotic state can be a danger to others and this results in lawmakers supporting coercive psychiatry. We are in need of a unified advocacy agenda that supports Best Practice assessment of psychosis and treatment that will address the underlying cause.

    https://psychoticdisorders.wordpress.com/bmj-best-practice-assessment-of-psychosis/

  6. Hello B:
    For an answer to your questions, please read, with an open mind, “Nutrient Power” by William Walsh. I am not exaggerating when I say that reading and acting on this book has saved our child and family. But I still remember how hard I had to work on breaking down my resistance to the idea that disordered brain biochemistry is involved. So, above all, keep an open mind.

    • That’s amazing! I’ve just discovered his work in the last year, and have started a treatment protocol. I wish there was a site where people could report on their experiences with following Walsh’s suggestions – I feel like he should have a testimonials page or something, where others could read about the experiences of people who have had success with his approaches. I think that would be helpful if people could band together, who have had success with nutrient therapeutics. Would be a powerful challenge to the current paradigm in mental health care, that these kinds of alternatives are effective.

      What was your child diagnosed with?

  7. Thanks for all the comments and support of this work. In reply to “B”, we are certainly aware of the literature showing that medications can affect nutrient levels and so your observations are quite accurate. We have blogged quite extensively on the query you have on why we would use a broad spectrum of nutrients and do hope you read some of our past blogs where we address these most important issues about magic bullets. While it may seem unspecific to give a broad array of nutrients, it actually makes perfect sense physiologically. Our bodies work best when presented with a broad array of nutrients as they work synergistically. Ultimately though, the best evidence to determine whether it is a viable way forward is to test them in controlled conditions. And that is what we and others have done for over a decade. The data we and others have collected show that nutrients ARE an effective way to change psychiatric symptoms (in people who present with psychiatric symptoms, this is an important distinction, some studies show they don’t work but those researchers studied people without psychiatric symptoms so there is very little room to observe benefit), so there is evidence to support these ideas.
    As for the issue of safety, with any treatment for a serious condition one has to weigh the risks and benefits and decide whether it is a good way forward. Please read this blog where we discuss issues of safety in depth: https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/09/supplements-simply-creating-expensive-urine/
    I hope you find it helpful. We have published safety data in these two articles:
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-244X/11/62/
    http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/204/4/306.long
    Both articles are available for free.

    In reply to Maria, we couldn’t agree more that there are of course other environmental factors that contribute to the expression of mental illness and we certainly don’t disregard these very important factors.

    • “While it may seem unspecific to give a broad array of nutrients, it actually makes perfect sense physiologically. Our bodies work best when presented with a broad array of nutrients as they work synergistically.”
      That is true for some nutrient combination but not for the others. For instance iron is best absorbed in presence of vitamin C but there are a lot of substances that interfere with its uptake. Similarly magnesium and calcium compete for the same uptake pathways if I remember correctly and so on. Do you take these kind of interactions into account when designing the treatment?

      “As for the issue of safety, with any treatment for a serious condition one has to weigh the risks and benefits and decide whether it is a good way forward.”
      Do you think it makes sense to monitor people’s blood and urine for possible excess of certain more toxic vitamins/microelements?

      I do agree that diet is very important and supplementation is often a very good way to start (I know it personally as a vegetarian who has to supplement my iron once in a while when my diet goes south for some reason) but I’d be vary to treat a mixture of many things in high doses as a panacea.

      • A Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) would be more effective as it can identify various mineral deficiencies, as well as the presence of toxic substances which can cause or contribute to symptoms. I’m aware of one woman who was able to get rid of all her symptoms (she was diagnosed with schizophrenia) after receiving a HTMA -which found she had low level arsenic poisoning – likely obtained from eating the vegetables she had grown on tailings from an old mine. Cleaton therapy and stop growing/ eating vegetables from that location ended her symptoms.

        • This is an amazing story. I wish we would hear of more examples like this one, where people undergo a profound recovery after treatment. I know there is a documentary called ‘Bipolarized’ by Ross Mckenzie, which tracks one man’s life story with bipolar disorder and his experiences with toxic meds. He went to a prominent naturopathic doctor because he was so miserable and unwell on psych drugs, and was looking for alternatives. He was treated with chelation therapy for heavy metal toxicity (no one had ever bothered to check for this before) and now in his 40’s he reports feeling healthier than he ever has in his whole life and is now living drug free.

      • Dear B, sorry I did reply to this query but somehow it never got posted. Shall try again.
        I don’t manufacture the products but understand that the manufacturers do consider these interactions that can usually be dealt with based on how the mineral is chelated and the balance of the minerals with each other.
        As for doing blood/urine analysis, my research has shown that it isn’t that useful, at least not to identify what your nutrient needs might be. Using serum blood markers to determine whether someone is deficient in a nutrient to prevent them from consuming nutrients unnecessarily, would be ideal but we have shown that not having a deficiency doesn’t actually mean you won’t benefit from a nutrient. See a related paper http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24374068 on moderators of treatment outcome using micronutrients. Scientists wonder if we all have our own individual nutrient requirements such that those levels aren’t always useful to determine what one person might need for optimal functioning. Also serum nutrient levels don’t tell us what a metabolically active organ like the brain is actually using and requiring. I encourage you to read the article I just referred to so you can read at great depth some of the limitations of using serum markers to determine what someone might require nutritionally. Having said that, nutrient biomarkers could be useful for detecting toxicity but it would be very expensive to monitor every nutrient in your blood. Also, hard to define what is toxic?
        We are interested in hair analysis and we are collecting data at that at present.
        As for the safety of the individual ingredients – most of the studies that report safety concerns, tend to study the one ingredient on its own so we don’t know if we can extrapolate those concerns to multi-ingredient formulae. It is something we need to continue to research.

        • Thanks for the clarification and a link. I’m asking because I actually had a blood test which has shown low iron levels (though still in the “norm”) which was consistent with my problems which subsequently got resolved with iron supplementation. But I also known high levels of iron can be toxic (same goes for iodine and many others).
          Also a lot of specific deficiencies can be found by asking for symptoms – magnesium deficiency with muscle cramps for instance.
          In any case, it’s really interesting and I wish you all the best of luck with your research.

        • Hi Julia, you mentioned that serum nutrient levels are not useful for determining one’s needs.

          I can tell you that I did BOTH the panel of tests recommended by the Walsh Research Institute (which tests serum copper and plasma zinc using the Walsh-Pfeiffer rangers, rather than standard lab ranges, which are apparently more sensitive) and I did I a Hair Element Analysis. The tests were in agreement. I think if people are trying to figure out what their needs are it might be useful to do more than one type of test to confirm that there is a problem. My lab tests came back with copper being off the chart high, low zinc and low iron and slightly elevated lead. Everything else was normal. A friend of mine also got tested using a Hair Element Analysis (she has CFS and anxiety disorder) and she also tested positive with copper levels being extremely high. This is why some people are expressing concerns about nutrient overloads, because there are a lot of people who find out about Walsh’s work, they get tested and find out that mineral or nutrient overload is an issue, just as he predicts. If you take a multi-vitamin that potentially has added copper in it, then it is just going to make the problem worse for that person not better.

          I think your work is extremely important, but people like me would like to see effective methods of testing become part of mainstream healthcare. Screen people for potential heavy metal toxicities, or nutrient overloads/deficiencies before starting any kind of treatment approach. I know many years of my life were wasted going along with multiple trials of different psychotropic meds (may have tried at least 8, none of them worked and made my life worse with side-effects). And then I find out years later that I did in fact have issues certain nutrients being out of whack, but I am glad I found out specifically which ones. I know that, at least for the time being, I should not be supplementing with multi-vitamins that contain added copper.

        • You said urine analysis is not useful – can you comment on whether this was using a chelation agent (urine challenge) or not? I’ve heard some professionals saying that the Urine challenge with chelation agent can be very useful, especially for assessing heavy metal toxicities. It seems like whenever I try to research the different testing methods, there is always some element of controversy that surrounds each one. I look forward to hearing more as your research progresses, on whether you think Hair Analysis proves to be more useful.

  8. Among the neglected Reasons for Brain Dysfunction in the Medical Model (which is not the only viable model) are: the Lack of oxygen or glucose & Electrolyte imbalance – both of which are affected by diet.
    Symptoms of mild cerebral hypoxia include inattentiveness, poor judgment, memory loss, and a decrease in motor coordination. (What Are the Effects of Lack of Oxygen to the Brain? By Blake Biddulph http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/anoxia/anoxia.htm) “…an intimate link exists between the brain and the metabolism of sugar—one that has too long been overlooked by the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry…insulin appears to be important in the development of several neuropsychiatric disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s… an essential step in the development of preventive treatments, and targeting insulin-related pathways in the brain could lead to new approaches for treating neurological and psychiatric disorders.” (Metabolism and the Brain – Evidence for the role of insulin in mediating normal and abnormal brain function may lead to new treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders. By Oksana Kaidanovich-Beilin, Danielle S. Cha, and Roger S. McIntyre http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/33338/title/Metabolism-and-the-Brain/| December 1, 2012)
    The adrenal glands which work with the pancreas to balance blood sugar levels and also create cortisol, which has many functions, including to help increase blood sugar levels and make the cells more receptive to thyroid hormones. Weakened adrenals and low cortisol can result in nervousness, anxiety, racing heart, nausea, hot flashes, dizziness, and shakiness.
    “No man, woman or child today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply their bodies with enough magnesium for perfect health. There has been a gradual decline of dietary magnesium … from a high of 500mg/day at the turn of the last century to barely 175-225 mg/day today. ” (ransdermal Magnesium Therapy ©2007 by Mark Sircus, Ac., O.M.D. pg. 291) …When sodium levels are high, the body retains more water, raising blood pressure (hypertension) as increased water makes the heart work harder. Too little sodium can result in muscle cramps, muscle weakness, headache, nausea, and fatigue. ..Potassium helps to maintain blood pressure and is needed for muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. Deficiency of potassium is more common, especially with aging or chronic disease. Fatigue is the most common symptom of chronic potassium deficiency. Early symptoms can include muscle weakness, slow reflexes, and dry skin or acne; and can progress to nervous disorders, insomnia, slow or irregular heartbeat, and loss of gastrointestinal tone. Some common problems associated with low potassium levels include hypertension, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, fatigue, depression and other mood changes. ..Sulfur is needed for the formation of cartilage, tissue, hair and nails, and needed for metabolic processes and for a healthy nervous system. .. Zinc is needed for the functioning of many enzymes. It helps to boost the immune system, blood clotting, growth and repair of tissues. It also regulates cholesterol and sugar levels in our blood and blood pressure…. More in Liberty & Mental Health – You Can’t Have One Without the Other – http://www.libertymentalhealth.com

  9. Certainly the Public is at a tipping point. Does that make a difference though? The USA gladly put me on SSDI & food stamps rather than nurture the compassion, intelligent, and work ethic I have. (I can hardly spell that word “intelligent” any more after the psychotropics….) Thus, I can get as much Cocoa Cola or Lays Potato chips I desire, however can only get limited organic veggies. Oh, naturally I can not get vitamins. Also, I can not go to a holistic or naturopath health care worker vs an Allopath Md or psychiatrist.

    The ironic part about it is I have no problem sacrificing or working harder to finance those things myself. What I struggle with is the daily reminders I’m crazy for not following the “traditional” medication path. A perfect example is a “friend” that works at the health food store asking me “are you back on your meds, or are you still just using supplements?”; as I was looking at the supplements on the shelf. I hadn’t even ever told her I was ever on psychotropics! It was another community member who told her that is why my marriage ended.

    Thus, without even the support of the people who supposedly care about me, how is the tide to be turned? I am much too exhausted to keep explaining my catch 22 plight of meds making me sick and still a mess without them.

    So perhaps there is a “tipping”, but like the titanic it still feels like “music to die by”.

  10. Mental illness is a myth. Please read books. Please study. All of this nonsense about “mental health” and “mental illness” is what is making society sick. No one can “treat” fictitious “diseases,” either with harmful pharmaceutical chemicals or fancy-sounding micronutrients.

    By all means, take vitamins, eat healthy food, exercise and sleep well… but please, please, please, for the love of Pete, let’s stop perpetuating the myth of mental illness.

    Thank you.