Optimizing Mental Wellness Through Nutrient Therapy: A Gastroenterologist’s Perspective


When anyone asks me why I became a gastroenterologist, I often say it’s because when I was in medical training the GIs I knew had the best senses of humor. I mean, you can’t take things too seriously when you are talking all day about the gut and its varied and often unpleasant functions. I also went into GI because good digestive function is paramount to optimum overall body health. As film and television producer Nigel Lythgoe noted after he emigrated from the UK, “Since I’ve been in the US I’ve lost the back of my heart, 15 ft. of intestine and my marriage — and god, I miss my intestine.”

As a pediatric gastroenterologist, my practice contains patients from infancy to young adulthood. I have witnessed repeatedly across that age continuum that when intestinal health improves, other seemingly unrelated things such as behavior, development and temperament also improve.

Although my practice focuses on patients with a multitude of gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain, poor growth, vomiting and liver disease, I have also noticed that many of my patients have mental health diagnoses like anxiety, depression, ADHD and bipolar disorder. In fact, it is well validated in the literature that anywhere from 50-90% of patients with either irritable bowel syndrome1 or the more severe inflammatory bowel disease2 can have anxiety and/or depression. There are many hypotheses that may explain the bidirectional brain-gut connection. They include genetic predisposition, central nervous system hypersensitization, unbalanced gut microbiome3, altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis, and psychological distress that triggers low-level gastrointestinal inflammation.4

A few months ago, because I have become increasingly concerned about the rising number of psychiatric medications I see prescribed for children, I reviewed the medication lists from the patients that I had seen the previous week. Amongst the laxatives and antacids was a list of psychiatric medications including stimulants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), alpha-agonists for sleep, norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRI), and antipsychotics. Some of these medications were prescribed to children as young as four, and many children were on multiple classes of psychiatric medications. These medications cause side effects that impact gastrointestinal (GI) function such as weight gain and dyslipidemia (antipsychotics), nausea, vomiting and GI bleeding (SRRIs), and decreased appetite, abdominal pain and decreased growth velocity (stimulants).5 These adverse side effects can negatively impact treatment plans.

Yet I have a more personal interest in the connection between gut function and mental health issues. You see, until recently my nine-year-old son took four psychiatric medications. Even when he was a toddler I worried about his hyperactive and impulsive behavior. It was not a surprise to us that at age five, after struggling to get through the first few months of kindergarten, he was diagnosed with ADHD. His neuropsychological testing placed him below the 10th percentile for maintaining attention and inhibiting impulses, and labeled him with Disruptive Behavior Disorder, NOS and Oppositional Defiant Disorder as a rule out.

He was started on a stimulant medication and that helped him get through school. However, he soon developed concerning side effects from the stimulant therapy, including a poor appetite, slow weight gain, worsening sleep and increasing irritability. The volume and variety of healthy food he ate diminished as his appetite decreased. He also began to have intermittent rage episodes that would bring our entire family to a standstill.

His symptoms waxed and waned over the next few years and we tried a variety of other stimulants to address the side effect profile, all to no avail. His medical management soon went beyond the scope of his pediatrician and he was referred to a psychiatrist who added anxiety and possible bipolar disorder to his list of diagnoses. He was started on an SSRI and a medication for sleep and then eventually Risperidone, an atypical antipsychotic.

Placing him on those medications was heartbreaking, but we felt like there was no alternative as my son’s behavior, rapid mood changes and lack of sleep had almost paralyzed our family. As I went to pick up his new prescriptions I felt a profound sense of disempowerment and fear. I felt that I had lost control over my son’s future. It felt like a powerful force was pulling a part of my heart out of my chest and it was hard to take a deep breath. My ability to parent, to shape, to educate, to train was now dependent on a finely tuned combination of medications.

My son’s downward spiral propelled me to start a support group for families with ADHD in my local community. I had to do something positive in an otherwise depressing situation. At our first session, I did a poll to tally people’s interest in a variety of topics including medication management, parenting approaches, alternative therapy and nutrition. Nutrition gained many votes, and as the only medical professional in the group with a nutrition background I offered to give this talk. I had been counseling my patients and their families for years about the importance of healthy eating and good nutrition, and had seen the positive impact of this on their health. Invigorated with the idea that I might find something that would help my son, I completed a large literature search on the role diet and nutrients play in mental health issues.

During this search, I came across a case series from Dr. Julia Rucklidge that tested a broad-spectrum micronutrient (BSMN) formula on children with ADHD.6 The results were impressive as some patient’s symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity dropped into the non-clinical range. Like my son, many of the children in the study had combined type ADHD with a co-existing mood disorder. Remarkably, the children’s mood also seemed to improve while taking the micronutrients.

I looked up the micronutrient formula and it was called EMPowerplus Advanced and was made by a small company in Canada. I found additional articles that tested BSMNs on other mental health problems, and came across Dr. Bonnie Kaplan’s work on bipolar disorder7 and anxiety8 and Dr. James Adams’ work in autism9 (Dr Adams uses a different BSMN formula). I read Autumn Stringam’s book, A Promise of Hope, that detailed her recovery from generational bipolar disorder using the same micronutrient formula.

After months of reading and discussion, my husband and I decided to transition our son off his psychiatric medications onto the BSMNs. The company that makes EMPowerplus Advanced has a well-staffed and knowledgeable call center and a physician educator that walked us through the tapering of his prescription medications and starting the BSMNs. My son had a lot of withdrawal symptoms from his psychiatric medications, and was sick enough to miss two weeks of school. However, the difficult transition was well worth it as he is now drug free and doing better than we could have imagined.

His life (and ours) has been completely transformed. In the six months since stopping his medications, as his appetite improved, he gained eight pounds and grew three inches! He is generally happy and chatty and no longer has rage episodes. His teacher has sent home wonderful notes about his behavior and academics, and he has started to expand his social circle. He is no longer hyperactive nor inattentive and is learning techniques to handle his intense personality. We have been more able to implement positive parenting techniques as his mood and temper stabilized. Finally, we no longer feel disempowered about my son’s health and future. I can watch as self-control, empathy, kindness and executive planning functions develop with appropriate limit-setting and positive reinforcement.

When we made the transition onto BSMNs, I had no idea what a narrow escape we had made. I just had an instinctive feeling that nutrient therapy was a better treatment path. As John Maynard Keynes once said, “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas, but escaping from old ones.” It was hard to believe, initially, that nutrient therapy could have that profound an impact. My son’s remarkable recovery with “just nutrients” has made me question the entire medical model behind ADHD and other neurobehavioral disorders.

Since then I have read Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic, and was shocked and sickened to learn that psychiatric medications may be contributing to our mental health epidemic. I researched in more detail the reported outcomes in the medical literature regarding ADHD, and found the NIMH-funded Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA) study. This study followed almost 600 children with ADHD over 16 years from around age 8 to 24 years of age. Children were randomized to four groups: medication management, behavioral therapy, combined medication and behavioral therapy, and routine community care.10 Even though children initially seemed to do better with medication management, by three years into the study all randomized groups were doing about the same.11 At the end of the study when the previously 8 year olds were now 24, all groups were again functioning about the same, independent of what randomized arm they started in.

Disturbingly, the young adults with persistent ADHD were doing much worse than their non-ADHD peers. They were less likely to have graduated college, were almost nine times more likely to be on disability, more likely to use marijuana, more likely to be sexually promiscuous, more likely to experience ongoing mood issues and, most shockingly, more likely to die by either homicide, suicide or motor vehicle accident.12

This data deeply saddened, shocked and angered me. It also raised a lot of questions for my critically thinking physician mind. From one perspective, you could say we just choose an alternative path to treat my son’s ADHD. But another, more deeply troubling perspective is the possibility that my son never had a disease, but rather multiple subclinical nutrient deficiencies that manifested themselves as hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. He was then placed on medications that led to irritability, poor sleep, decreased appetite and eventually rage episodes. It was not until his nutrients were replete and his medications discontinued that he was able to achieve normal wellness and behavior.

I have trained and worked at well-regarded academic teaching hospitals all over the United States and had never once been presented with this data or an alternative view to my son’s “disease.” It is estimated that over six million children under age 18 in the US are currently taking psychiatric medications. Millions of children and adolescents whose lives and future might be dramatically improved if they knew about research-grade nutrient therapies like BSMNs. Framed from that perspective, the scale of this problem in our society today was overwhelming — although I don’t routinely prescribe psychiatric medications, I am complicit in supporting this medical view in my practice and with my patients.

Many people question whether there is an ethical dilemma to discuss a brand name like EMPowerplus Advanced in an article like this. I would say unequivocally NO — it is a research-based therapy for mental health issues, therefore I have no ethical qualms telling readers and patients about it. I review the science (or sometimes the lack of science) behind therapy options with families frequently in my practice. Patients themselves ultimately decide what treatment path they want to go down. I agree that I am likely biased to treatment options I believe have less potential for harm and more evidence for efficacy, but that is what every practitioner weighs daily in making treatment decisions.

My view is also clearly influenced by my son’s story and newfound wellness. The bigger moral dilemma for me is: what do I do professionally with this transforming yet deeply disturbing information? I continue to work in an environment where a high percentage of my patients take psychiatric medications. What do I tell a family whose child comes to see me for belly pain and poor weight gain but also has ADHD, anxiety, a poor appetite and irritability? Do I mention there might be a better path for their child’s overall health or just focus on the belly pain? What is my moral obligation in that scenario?

So that is my dilemma now, and one I have not totally resolved. As Charles Eisenstein so eloquently describes in his book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, I find myself in the ‘space between stories.’ Eisenstein writes: “The old world falls apart but the new has not yet emerged. . . . The life trajectory you had plotted out seems absurd, and you can’t imagine another one. . . . Without the mirage of order that once seemed to protect you and filter reality, you feel naked and vulnerable, but also a kind of freedom.”

Show 12 footnotes

  1. Whitehead, WE., et al., Systematic Review if the Comorbidity of IBS with other Disorders: What are the Causes and Implications? Am J Med. 1999;107:41S-50S.
  2. Mikocka-Walus A, Knowles SR, Keefer L, Graff L. Controversies Revisited: A Systematic Review of the Comorbidity of Depression and Anxiety with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2016 Mar;22(3):752-62.
  3. Rogers, GB et al., From Gut Dysbiosis to Altered Brain Function and Mental Illness: Mechanisms and Pathways. Molecular Psych. 2016:21:738-748.
  4. Wouters, MM and Boeckzstaens GE. Is There a Causal Link between Psychological Disorder and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders? Expert Rev. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 2016, 10(1); 5-8.
  5. Givens, C. Adverse Drug Reactions Associated with Antipsychotics, Antidepressants, Mood Stabilizers and Stimulants. Nurs. Clin. North America. 2016; Vol 51:309-321.
  6. Gordon, HA., et al., Clinically Significant Symptom Reduction in Children with ADHD Treated with Micronutrients: An Open-Label Reversal Design Study. J Child Adolesc Psychopharm. 2015;25(10):783-798.
  7. Kaplan, BJ., et al., Effective Mood Stabilization in Bipolar Disorder with a Chelated Mineral Supplement. J Clin Psych. 62(12);936-944.
  8. Rucklidge, JJ., et al., Database analysis of Children and Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder Consuming a Micronutrient Formula. BMC Psych. 2010; Sept 28(10):74.
  9. Adams, JB., et al., Effect of a Vitamin/Mineral Supplement on Children and Adults with Autism. BMC Peds. 2011;12(11):111.
  10. Jensen, PS., et al., Findings from the NIMH Multimodal Treatment Study of ADHD (MTA): Implications and Applications for Primary Care Providers. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2001 Feb:22(1):60-73.
  11. Jensen, PS., et al., 3-Year Follow-up of the MINH MTA Study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psych. 2007;46(8):989-1002.
  12. Hechtman, L. et al., Functional Adult Outcomes 16 Years after Childhood Diagnosis of ADHD: MTA Results. J American Acad. Child Adolesc Psych. 2016;55(11):945-952.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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    • I do want to support what another commenter said about the lack of validity for the label “bipolar disorder” – let alone generational or hereditary bipolar. The human genome did not evolve to reify or transmit invalid DSM diagnoses.

      MIA author Jay Joseph has some excellent essays about why twin studies and other gene investigations do NOT support a genetic basis for schizophrenia, bipolar, or other related “illnesses”/severe behavioral-emotional problems.


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  1. Thanks for writing this piece, sharing the information you have.

    Regarding “What do I tell a family whose child comes to see me…”
    Myself, I do not believe in giving/forcing drugs (others call medicine) to children, as in “no behaviour or misbehaviour is a disease” . T. Szasz.

    I don’t know how anesthesiologists can justify their actions on a patient before electroshock, but they have some rational.

    Do whatever your conscious lets you live with, but you shouldn’t take advice from an un-“medicated” schizophrenic.

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  2. Thanks for your very touching story about your son. I’m so happy that the word is getting out on the profound impact of diet on mood and behavior. You might be interested in some other health professionals who are less than enamored with the psychiatric perspective. Steve Francesco has a website and has founded an organization for assisting parents whose children have received psychiatric labels. Steve’s story is tragic. He lost his son to a side effect of an atypical antipsychotic. David Permutter is a neurologist who explores the impact of diet on mood and behavior. He has a website. Bose Ravenel is a pediatrician in North Carolina who genotypes patients for enzymes associated with folate and processing of methionine. He offers an alternative to Ritalin for hyperactivity.

    I am a psychologist and I have a masters in immunology. (I also blog occasionally for madinamerica.) I work with the immunologists at Georgia State University where I am employed. My GSU colleague, Andrew Gerwirtz, works on Crohn’s disease and IBD. He has investigated the impact of the preservatives that are put into bread, ice cream, etc. to extend shelf life of products. It’s all bad news. The preservatives induce inflammation. There is an extensive story on inflammation inducing mood and behavior problems. I wrote an article on the connection between inflammation and major depression. The article can be downloaded from Frontiers in Psychology. I also published a book, Neuroscience for Psychologists, which reviews the link between inflammation and psychiatric classifications. The book provides information on life-style changes for decreasing inflammation.

    Physicians are trained in the perspective that physiology determines much about mood and behavior. I share this perspective. Rather than relying on drugs, there is a strong case, supported by good science, for treating behavioral problems with life style changes. Since the dietary recommendations to treat behavioral problems are the same as the recommendations for cancer and heart disease, it’s an all-around win. Hopefully, the word will get out.

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  3. Very good blog and well written. Helpful story to hear about impact of diet and nutrition. This blog can be applied to schizophrenia as well.

    When talking about the association of the gut to the brain you mentioned central nervous system hypersensitization and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis.

    Central nervous system activity with the firing of neurotransmitters to and from the brain is a theory I agree with for being a cause of schizophrenia.

    You also mentioned altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis and this would be a function of the endocrine system. The activity of the endocrine system and regulating hormones is another theory I agree with as a cause of schizophrenia.

    Schizophrenia is a cluster of different illnesses (could be one of two ways mentioned above or something totally different) and so the path of recovery or prognosis is different for each individual.

    Very good blog.

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    • Much as I wish it were so, I would hesitate to agree with your assertion that a cause of schizophrenia is malfunctioning central nervous system, which presumably treating the gut and doing other nutritional interventions will cure. Sure, most people do wonderfully well when they are ingesting nutrient dense food and supplements, and no longer on pharmaceuticals, but in my experience, “schizophrenia” is much more elusive. I’m glad the author’s son is doing well, but he is probably doing well because he’s off the drugs and never should have been drugged in the first place.

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      • I agree with your statement as the story seemed to have little proof to link between nutritional suppliments and behaviour.

        The way I read it the improvement came when the drugs were carefully withdrawn, which was at the same time as the micronutrients were added to his diet. So it is impossible to know what was more important.

        I think nutrition is worth investigating but this story as I read it has no evicence that shows any effect. At the very least nutrients will do a whole lot less harm than drugs though.

        As far as I know the story on what to eat is pretty simple: eat a varied diet, mainly plant based, don’t over do the refined sugar or fats. There is some evidence that some people do better with dietry suplimentation but maybe that reflects the poor nature of people’s diets with cheap fat and sugar being at the core of so many people’s eating habits these days? To my mind that is probably about the influence of Big Agribusiness and the food industry and supermarkets.

        I think behaviour that gets labelled ADHD has a whole host of causes. Some children have a lot of challanges. Some don’t fit in with school. Some children, especially boys, can be difficult to parent, or a right handful, as we say in the UK, but they then calm down as they grow up. That may have happened here and to my mind is just as convincing on the evidence given as any micronutrient theory.

        I like the altrnative to drugs aspect of the piece but I also find the publishing of trade marked product a bit worrying. There are other blogs about diet on this site that I find more convincing.

        I’m glad that they boy is doing well and has escaped the dead hand of psychaitry.

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        • Having worked with using a lot of supplements for my relative, they have real heath benefits, but, they’d be good for anyone, as you suggest. We get sucked in to the belief that supplements are a lot more important than they are when it comes to severe mental illness. (I don’t agree with the SMI term, but I’m trying to make a point.) I’m glad the author finally saw the light, but her medical training, IMO, is a hindrance, not a help, in these matters. She’s still seeing the science, not the art.

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      • Rossa _ I appreciate your comments. But he was very sick before he went on the medications. We would have never medicated him just for some mild inattention and hyperactivity. He got much sicker with the medications that I agree – but he was very sick before and has NEVER been as well as he is now.

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        • It interests me that you refer to your son as “very sick” when talking about his mood swings and rages. I just can’t bring myself to refer to behavior as “sickness” even when it’s very challenging for the parent.

          What else was going on in his life when all of these difficulties started? What kind of a baby was he when you brought him home from the hospital? Was he fussy from the beginning or was he laid back? How did he act when you took him to kindergarten for the first time? How did he deal with new challenges and new people as a baby and small child? What kind of personality did he have as a small child?

          I am very glad for him that you got him off those damned drugs that are so destructive of peoples’ lives and tat he’s doing well these days. I’m glad that you followed your own instincts as a mother and not what some other doctor, especially a psychiatrist, wanted you to do.

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        • Rebecca, I believe you when you say that you never would have medicated him for mild inattention, etc., but like Stephen here I also wonder why truly awful childhood behavior is construed as a sickness. I see these little monsters (I was one of them) as adults trapped in children’s bodies. We don’t fix ourselves until eventually the acting out gets in the way of our wanting to join society. In the meantime, family life is sacrificed to the personality of its smallest members. We are being told the chemical imbalance story and that normal children don’t act this way, but there is a spectrum of childhood behavior that is seen from birth. School is no place for hyperactive young boys, and for most boys who don’t learn the way girls do, but what are the alternatives? Almost none. Perhaps one alternative should be more support for the idea that children are little savages, and parents need every trick they can muster to ride out the time until the child decides that their parents are stupid and living at home sucks. Another alternative IMO is segregated classes for girls and boys with curriculums for the boys involving more life skills and less academics (They catch up pretty quickly in their mid-teens.) Schools have become the neighborhood drug pushers. I’m glad that you are telling your story because it’s wonderful to hear from doctors who drank the Kool-Aid and are having second thoughts. I sympathize with your situation because it does leave you in an awkward position vis a vis the medical profession.

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  4. When talking about diet and nutrition it may not cure schizophrenia but it can lead to decreasing amount of medications taken as well as decrease dosage. A person may only need to be on one medication with lower dosages if change diet habits.

    Dirt and nutrition choices could cure totally some people have schizophrenia.

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    • The drugs are awful, agreed. I do think that there is ‘maturity’ factor, that just comes with age, insight, empathic relationships, etc. The problem I have found, is that diet and nutrition gets oversold because it seems ‘scientific’, and we end up chasing a dead end.

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  5. Yes, it did, although I almost got the idea you didn’t quite grasp that, while I was reading the top lines of the blog. I also chanced to read some of your earlier text above that, which showed me you have it down about “schizophrenia” being a syndrome, rather than an independent disease entity.

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    • Well I’m not a dr. or researcher but I like to study this and then think about for hours in complete silence.

      I don’t think schizophrenia is a syndrome because the indicators are not a group of associated symptoms.

      That’s theoretically not the same as a group of different illnesses that cause psychosis. This means that treatment should be different depending on person. If a mental illness was caused by the regulation of hormones the treatment wouldn’t be same as if it was caused by the central nervous system.

      A researcher in theory could make the case that psychotropic medicines might help if cause is central nervous system but likewise would do nothing if cause was endocrine system or regulation of hormones.

      As I was saying I have a degree in business administration.

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  6. Here’s a stretch but if you look at effectiveness of psychotropics in treating an illness like schizophrenia quite possibly it’s due to central nervous system as there is evident link to neurotransmitters and that’s where psychotropics function.

    If you look at ineffectiveness of psychotropic’s in treating an illness like schizophrenia then possibly there is a link that most of the time the illness root is endocrine system or some other non biological cause such as exposure to trauma.

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  7. Many of readers are tenured and salaried researchers, but I figured this out years before it will be able to enter academic research papers. It’s known only by gifted researchers higher up in scientific arena and it’s not going to be released yet. This proves even more how most researchers around world only read medical journals for solutions.

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  8. Integrative/Functional clinicians have long been treating children’s behavioural issues by cutting gluten, dairy, sugar, and processed foods; and by increasing the intake of ‘behaviourally’ friendlier foods. Vitamins (especially Bs, zinc, magnesium, D) are always highly recommended, but the jury is still out on amino acids (which ones and for how long). Parents need to do due diligence on ‘recommended’ products of specific companies. (I’m well aware of this product/family company.)

    But, here as elsewhere, conventional medicine has been far behind the gut-brain work of Integrative and Functional professionals. Noted Integrative neurologist Datis Kharrazian doesn’t take the amino acid route but makes other more practical recommendations to support the brain. There are many high-profile Integrative practitioners working on children’s issues, and they all come to the table with a whole-child view that conventional medicine lacks.

    On the parenting and family side, Ross Greene, a clinical psychologist, wrote the first of several editions of ‘The Explosive Child’ in 1998 (most recent is 2014), and there has been no need to seek or accept psychiatric diagnoses or to drug a child for these issues since. Parents can see his excellent non-profit site (information, news, radio shows, and even training): http://www.livesinthebalance.org/

    Liz Sydney

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    • I’m now of the opinion that people, especially parents, need to cook everything from scratch. It takes lots of time but you can bake your own bread (although this doesn’t take care of the gluten thing) and you can cook your own fresh vegetables and fruits so that you can be sure that there are no chemicals of any kind added to things. You can monitor the amount of sugar and fat that goes into the food that is eaten in your household. I don’t know what to do about meat since so much of it has antibiotics in it. We grew our own animals to butcher and never fed them anything but grains and grass.

      I was raised in a family that had a large garden, baked it’s own bread, and milked its own cow for milk, butter, and cheese. We had our own chickens for meat and eggs and they provided great manure for our garden. It was a lot of work but I think that my family was healthier than today when everything you lay your hands on has some kind of chemical in to for preservation or to extend shelf life. Those things just can’t be good for people.

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  9. This is what is so stunning:

    “I have trained and worked at well-regarded academic teaching hospitals all over the United States and had never once been presented with this data or an alternative view to my son’s “disease.”

    We know doctors are smart–it’s hard to learn what they learn and pass tests and graduate. They have to be good memorizers, but they don’t have to advance science to graduate, the way PhDs do. A PhD dissertation is original research of publishable quality. Exam scores are not. So we have a lot of smart, highly confident men and women living in an information bubble. They rely on what other doctors believe, and what other doctors believe is what other doctors say. Sticking to the standard of care and being wrong can never get them in trouble. Rocking the boat and being wrong (or just being accused of being wrong) is far too costly.

    It’s great to hear from an MD who pierced the membrane and let herself out, and better yet, is working to get some fresh air in to educate doctors without the same tenacious will to find something better than the status quo.

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    • Great points that go a long way to explaining the groupthink mentality that makes it so difficult to communicate with an MD. An MD literally can’t ‘hear’ patients beyond certain keywords because his/her mind has been shut down to what it considers ‘outside’ (‘lay’) information. And yet, the MD’s mind is trained to remain open to pharma rep information. Crazy system.

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  10. Nutrition and mood extremes…it just does not seem like food could matter very much, but some people swear by it.

    Medium chain triglycerides ended the torment of dopamine agonist withdrawal (DAWS) for me, and I didn’t expect or hope for it. I was looking for improved memory and cognition after 5 lost years. There were three ruinous years of polydrugging that started with a misdiagnosed withdrawal effect after mis-prescribed venlafaxine/Effexor. 3 years on drugs ended in a spectacular burst of psychosis, followed by 2 years in DAWS, coped with by heavy beer drinking + daily pot (opiates are said to work better, but that’s a double-bind set-up), resolved entirely by MCTs for 10 days. Just a big glob of coconut oil and a smaller glob of grass-fed cows’ butter (Kerrygold, good omega 3/6 ratio, as I understand it) in a cup of instant coffee in the morning, and carb avoidance at other times, for good measure. Sleep came back, nearly unbearable dread/doom/horror stopped, and drinking/pot went away spontaneously and effortlessly.

    Others report miracles on a 100% meat diet. Not viable for compassionate vegetarians and vegans, of course. I have found two people online who went this route and swear by it–both women, for what it’s worth. Here’s one.

    Stated benefits: an end to “bipolar” and 60 lb weight loss.

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  11. Welcome, and thank you for telling your story, Dr. Carey. I’m sorry your child and family became ensnared in the fraud of today’s psychiatric industry, I’m glad you were able to help your child escape, please help other children escape as well.

    As to, “He was started on an SSRI and a medication for sleep and then eventually Risperidone, an atypical antipsychotic.” Combining the antidepressants and/or antipsychotics is already known to make a person “mad as a hatter” and “psychotic,” via anticholinergic toxidrome, remember from med school?


    As a doctor it’d be great if you could help encourage other doctors to persuade today’s psychiatric industry to change the “bipolar” drug cocktail recommendations. It breaks my heart how many children, and adults, had the adverse effects of the ADHD drugs and antidepressants misdiagnosed as “bipolar,” resulting in this egregious maltreatment.

    And, just an FYI, the neuroleptics can also create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome. I know the doctors cannot distinguish the drug induced anticholinergic toxidrome or NIDS from “bipolar” or “schizophrenia,” since the symptoms are almost identical.

    Great quote, “The old world falls apart but the new has not yet emerged. . . . The life trajectory you had plotted out seems absurd, and you can’t imagine another one. . . . Without the mirage of order that once seemed to protect you and filter reality, you feel naked and vulnerable, but also a kind of freedom.”

    I’m pretty certain we’re still in the process of helping “the old world fall apart,” by exposing the evils of those who have controlled the narrative within the world for centuries, or longer, due to their unjust, un-Constitutional debt and fraud based based monetary system. But I do have hope “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible” will emerge, the self proclaimed globalist “elite” are not looking pretty on the Internet these days. No offense, but the doctors were miseducated by these “elite,” and most of you are currently still on the wrong side. I hope you can help encourage more doctors to wake up, or take the red pill, as they say on the internet.

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  12. Interesting article. Thanks for sharing your experience. Medicine and biomedical research are dominated by pharmaceutical companies because science in its present form is easily influenced by funding. Peer review does not filter out flawed studies effectively. If you apply enough funding to biased research, then you can impose widely accepted but false theories on science because you can get hundreds of bad studies published with enough money.

    I did a lot of research on ADHD and nutrition and came to the conclusion that adding high-quality protein to the diet, especially meat, should be effective against ADHD. For example, one Australian study shows that ADHD patients consume 50% less animal protein on average. The vast majority of anorexics have ADHD symptoms. In my experience, a good experimental model of ADHD is a fruit-and-vegetable diet for several days: it causes all the symptoms of ADHD quickly.

    Self-experimentation suggests that the most effective supplement for attention function is boiled meat and pulverized nuts, the more the better. This method is less effective against impulsivity. Through trial and error I found that the most effective food against impulsivity is whole-grain bread (boiled whole grains are less effective, but also help), the more the better. If you go on a bread-and-water diet, you will notice that you are very calm and perhaps somewhat slow. Zero impulsivity, but attention function is not very good. Attention function returns to normal if you add meat to your diet. The bread-and-meat diet will make you severely constipated unless you add sufficient amounts of raw fruits and vegetables to your diet.

    My theory and experiments (with tons of scientific references) are detailed in my free ebook available everywhere (How to Become Smarter, Charles Spender).

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    • Darlin, I eat a mainly fruit and veg diet and have done for years. I’m more of a going to bed for years at a time guy than an ADHD one.

      One Australian study – how big? How well designed? How big an effect? And was it measured against poverty or other factors.

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      • Here is the Australian study: Ng KH, Meyer BJ, Reece L, Sinn N: Dietary PUFA intakes in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms. Br J Nutr 2009, 102(11):1635–1641.

        And here is another one, showing that ADHD correlates with iron deficiency (meat is the main source of iron): Konofal E, Lecendreux M, Arnulf I, Mouren MC: Iron deficiency in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2004, 158(12):1113–1115.

        I haven’t followed the literature on this topic since 2012, perhaps there are newer better studies. Your experience puts a dent in my theory, but perhaps you are an outlier (wink, wink)?

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  13. I am all about finding ways to live a healthy life. Great that you found a better way for your son, but there are people out there who have tried it the other way around then you with alternative ways before medicine. It made all the different, and articles like this can make those parents and children seem like they have given up into the big pharma or do not do the best for there children. I just want the humbleness of exressing that; “okay I have found this to work best for my son, but find it important to say that it does not mean that medicine is what is working best for others”. My bias is that healthy diets works for better health for every people, diagnose or not. I find it logical that if you have a genetic disorder that you get more easier effected by your surroundings. That include also food. So changing to food that suits that genetic system will have big effect, and therefor look like the solution to the case. It sure looks like it for your son, and that is great! That does not mean that it the best solution for other. It is so easy to preach when ones seem to have found a better way espesially when it comes to ones own children. I would recommand reading and respecting this:

    Lisa and I tried everything – changes in diet, homeopathic remedies, therapy, behavior-modification programs. He suffered the loss of every privilege he had and practically lived in time-out. ….I hate to say it, but I believe that Ritalin is working for him. http://m.additudemag.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.additudemag.com%2Fadhd%2Farticle%2F856.html&utm_referrer=#2866

    After years of debate, trial and error, and living smack in the middle of the “medication bandwagon”, here I stand, tall and proud, so take aim: I GAVE MY CHILD PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATIONS, AND IT HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. But hey, don’t take my word for it, let’s look at some data from the CDC:

    This woman talks about her experience with weeks without medication. She is humble and remind us that ADHD people are different, and to respect alterative solutions also. https://youtu.be/rD9qK8-sMGQ

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    • You are right – everyones path to wellness is different and I would never tell you how to parent or raise your child. This was just our path for all it is or not worth. Based on the MTA study however medications seem to work in the short term but over the long term kids with ADHD wether on medications or not don’t do as well as their non ADHD peers – lower college success, more chance of being on disability etc. So I think all that really says is for a parent that you have to be on top of stuff, educated about the medications and alternatives, watching for side effects and you won’t get all the answers you need from your doctor. But remember ADHD has never been proven to a be a defect in the manufacture of stimulants/Ritalin in the brain so what is the medication actually treating.

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      • Thanks! I appreciate your reply!

        I did not know about this:
        “ADHD has never been proven to a be a defect in the manufacture of stimulants/Ritalin in the brain so what is the medication actually treating.” Can you send me a link to exlain this more in depht?

        Are you refering to this when it comes to medicine short term effect:
        “American studies have shown, for example, that the effect of stimulant medication is superior to behavioural treatment after one year, but after three years the effect is no longer superior. If long-term stimulants lead to brain adaptation, this would support the typical practice of drug holidays. To stop medication during school holidays is a very good idea because this prevents the brain from adapting to the medication. On the more positive side, structural MRI studies comparing medicated and non-medicated patients have shown that medicated patients have more normal brains than unmedicated patients, which would suggest that medication has a positive effect on brain development.”

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    • These could be honest people or they could be shills for drug companies. You never know. For example, former CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson says that you cannot trust Wikipedia regarding medical information because drug companies *pretending to be regular users* badly distort all the information there.

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  14. As someone who knows Dr. Carey well as a friend and colleague, I hope all that read her story will realize that it comes from the best place—a place of deep conviction to help her family and yours consider the best options in improving health and well-being. Dr. Carey would be the first to tell you that she like everyone else does not have all the answers when it comes to health related issues, of whatever kind. But a close reading of what she has written will serve as a great reminder for all parents and providers; that is, we must constantly be learning and discerning with what we are doing, and considering whether a countercultural move is necessary to take care of what matters the most. Potential solutions abound, if we have the courage to take the first steps.

    Thanks Rebecca for having the courage to share your story so that many others will consider a “road less traveled”, when it might make all the difference despite the bumps and potholes along the way.

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  15. Certainly, *removal* of *Mentally* Ill Guts,will become a *new* method of *Psychosurgery*, one day…
    You will be *gutted*,my crazy brethren from USA…I can only give you warnings here,the *removal* of Mental
    Health System is in your hands!

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