I do counseling and I do nutritional therapy. Sometimes one, sometimes the other, and sometimes both. They are both great disciplines to help people reach their potential.
I do counseling and I do nutritional therapy. Sometimes one, sometimes the other, and sometimes both. They are both great disciplines to help people reach their potential.
I like “distress”, and will think about that one. Distress is usually mental, I think, because otherwise “sick” would do it. She’s sick: What disease is it? She’s distressed: What is going on? Maybe that’s good. I mean, you can go with therapy, or look into nutritional status, or do lots of other things, so maybe I like “distress”. It could be mental, physical or spiritual and be distress. Hmmm. We can’t jettison the word “mental” because it describes mentation, and certainly, we need that! But maybe backing away from it’s use too soon would be good.
I am not being reductionistic, but some of you are! I am not saying that every single mental disorder is entirely caused by poor nutrition. Never said that. But, the truth is, many are. Yes, there are external circumstances that cause distress. Yes, yes, yes. BUT: since I have done the training and lots of research, I know that proper nutrition is essential for proper brain function. There are many considerations in diagnosing or assessing problems. .
And, I just wonder what I should call mental disorders, or mental problems. It seems the word mental has to be in there somewhere, unless you use brain, but the brain is not the mind, it is only the organ that is used for thinking. So, tell me, what is the non-upsetting terminology to describe problems of being?
Pellegra: Dementia, dermatitis and death. The three “D’s”
Steve: Look at it this way: Every human body needs the same 50 essential nutrients to function properly, and beyond that, a life-sustaining diet. You state that today, mental problems are caused predominately by socially distressful experiences. I ask: What is the proof of that? And here is the problem, behavioral science will do lots of research into the causes of mental disorders, and ask lots of questions as to why people think they are upset, etc., But, do they EVER ask about the nutritional status of those subjects. Or better yet, do they ever do an assessment of their nutritional status. You know the answer is “NO!” So, you have a closed system, and the one thing that would help is NEVER considered. So, you can blame social constructs or whatever else, but I can tell you one thing, proven through endless articles on nutrition and mental health: People are not healthy! Their bodies do not function properly, and that includes their brains. It’s like the Emperor’s new clothes, in a way. Everyone just looks past the obvious and keeps on the same old path. We need a new path to health!!! Yes, it is a “new” idea, and I call it a new paradigm, but so what? The old one certainly is NOT WORKING!!!
I went around the country and informed thousands of seminar attendees that there is no such thing as “mental illness”. I hate that lie, and some of you think I used it in my article. I did, only to demolish it. Better reread!
Anorexia is starvation, not a mental disorder, but profound malnourishment. I will tell you the protocol my teacher, Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, a neurologist created. First, I won’t get into all the details, but, anorexics suffer from leaky gut (1200 citations on PuBMed for this). What she does is put them on the GAPS diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome), which means they start drinking bone broths to heal their intestines and keep toxins from seeping to their brains. The toxins cause disordered thinking, and this perpetuates their delusion, i.e., I am fat and need to lose weight, regardless of their extremely low weight. Once she gets them on the GAPS diet, she starts adding some supplements, probiotics to restore gut health, and more and more nutrient dense foods. Slowly, they are nourished, and she reports that at some point the client will have an “Aha!” moment, when they look in a mirror and see clearly what they look like. At that point she knows they will get better. In other words, there is a long runup to anorexia, and no one can tell when they have gone too far until the leaky gut more or less takes over brain functioning. There are many eating disorder programs that encourage the patients to “eat whatever you want! Just eat!”, but this is wrong. The best way to overcome this is to get at the root of the problem, a leaky gut, and the only way to heal it is to consume healing foods and some supplements. If you want more information on this, you can get her book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”, from gaps.me.
As for the insomnia, there are non-drug solutions. Just a general recommendation that everyone should be consuming anyway: A good essential fatty acid supplement is healing to brain inflammation, which means it calms the brain down. You should be taking that anyway, unless you are up in Alaska living on blubber and fat!
Feelingdiscouraged: We should call you feeling courageous! What a great plan you have put together for yourself. I am quite sure you will do well on it. And, if I am permitted to say this: God Bless You!
Wikipedia is very carefully guarded to promote certain ideologies. Szasz was a physician, so by extension, not trained in nutrition. Most doctors are very defensive about nutritional ideas, having no knowledge of that science. My friend just was board certified as an internist. I asked her, “how much nutritional training did you have in medical school?” She replied, “Oh, I think two days.” Right.
The science of nutrition is quite young. Vitamins, for example, were not discovered until the early 20th century. Nobody knew about carbohydrates, proteins, and fats until chemistry got going. Enzymes, were unknown quantities until recently. Of course, neurotransmitters are still largely a mystery, with some researchers proposing we have over 600 different ones. The brain is a complete mystery, being the most complex object in the universe. So, when we learn a bit, and find ways that make people feel and function better, without any drugs, this is a very good thing. People did not understand nutritional deficiencies hundreds of years ago, but what they had was a long history of eating their traditional diets, which served them well for thousands of years. We have lost our connection to our ancestral diets, and are awash in what I call anti-food: Substances that LOOK like food, and perhaps TASTE like food, but which actually rob your body of nutrients. Have a Pop Tart!!
Let’s just think back to former times. Like, around 1650 in America. People came over on small ships, braving monstrous ocean voyages. They landed here and went into the wilderness, where they were at the mercy of the Native Americans, who might want to kill them, and who often did just that. No security, is what I mean. No real food supply, either. They then left the coast and moved into the further wilderness, charting unknown paths through dangerous territory, meeting up with wild animals, and more angry natives. They persevered, and planted themselves across this land. Do you honestly think that those times were less stressful? But, for the most part, no one was suffering from serious mental problems, and no one was on psych drugs. Shouldn’t they all have been traumatized by their lives? Something has happened, and people are now unable to cope with regular, boring life. What is the difference? I think a look at the food supply would be in order. You have our ancestors’ resilience in the face of grave danger and uncertainty. Could we do that today?
It’s not biochemical individuality, it’s bio-individuality. This refers to the fact that everyone is unique in their physical makeup and in all other ways, too.
No, not everything is nutritional in origin.
Matt: You take the most horrible situation imaginable as proof I am wrong. I am not extreme, just trained to do these nutritional interventions. And, if you look at all kinds of research, for example 700 articles on PTSD in PubMed, you would not find the word “nutrition” in any of them. Think about your criteria: Abuse, neglect, trauma, poverty, discrimination. At least three of those generally would involve poor nutrition. Certainly neglect and poverty, and probably abuse. Discrimination? I don’t see that as a major cause of mental disorder. Trauma, again, is handled by the brain, and no one has yet looked into this angle, although I plan to do some research in this area. Nutrition certainly could be involved in that as well. But, the behavioral health world never thinks about nutrition, because they are not trained in it. If they were, they would be making these connections, too. As far as nutrition being a “small piece”, you should do more research on Mental Health and Nutrition, and you would find 3000 articles in PubMed on the topic. People are dying because of psych drugs and poor nutrition, and I am standing in the breach.
Steve McCrea: I think looking at nutritional status is a quite simple and effective starting point, unless the problem is one of something like sub-assertiveness, or marital conflict. Even then, I think about nutrition, too, because when a person is well nourished, they really can cope with a lot more. Many people are eating lots of sugar, and eventually, this involves the adrenal glands, and then you can get someone with no coping mechanisms left. Stress affects the body and the mind, so why not see if we can help with better nutrition. Of course, there are lots of counseling strategies for stress, too, so I use those. But lets think about this: Is this person being subjected to overwhelming stress, or are their adrenal glands over-stressed, so that they cannot handle one more thing? It makes sense to strengthen body functioning. Any spiritual practices you might undertake are likely to help, as well. Exercise is good, too!
Well, those are wonderful steps to take! Yes, supplements do cost a lot sometimes, and people struggle with that. Perhaps you could work on including nutrient-dense foods in you diet. For example, a can of salmon is not expensive, or sardines, either. Liver is cheap! Eggs are cheap! You can learn to make yogurt and then it is also cheap. I don’t understand the comment about vitamins. They are absolutely necessary for proper body and brain function. It also might be the quality of the vitamin: Synthetic versus based on whole food. Keep going on your path to wellness.
We all live in society, and are affected by the political. But, first, we reside in our bodies. No political system change is going to fix malnourishment, it will persist unless we make changes to our nutrition. It’s really fundamental, and we ignore it at our peril.
What you call table salt is a terrible industrial product. For thousands of years people gathered salt from salt mines and from the sea. All salt is sea salt until it is processed into table salt, which began in late 19th or early 20th Century. They processed sea salt because the new product didn’t clump as much. Big deal. What they did, though, was removed the scores of minerals that were in the sea salt, and left only sodium chloride, plus aluminum, a neurotoxin. After a few years thousands of people started developing goiters, a thyroid condition, because the iodine had been removed from the sea salt during processing. So, in their great wisdom, they “iodized” the crappy salt, and that was the end of the goiters. However, our bodies needed the other seventy or so minerals in the sea salt, and they were gone forever. Nutritional deficiencies began. Now we know that everyone should be consuming at least a half teaspoon of sea salt every day to get the minerals and electrolytes the body needs for proper functioning. So, get some good sea salt and eat it every day. Throw the industrial salt onto the roads when they are icy! That’s all it is good for!
Maybe using the word “does” would be better than “can”. Nutrition does resolve many mental problems. And therapy isn’t needed, in my mind, except in a supportive role to bring the client to a realization that they have solved a problem that may have plagued them for many years. There is a genetic condition called pyroluria, which is a bit complicated, but I will skip that and say, persons who have this condition are in a constant state of anxiety. They are constantly excreting zinc and B-vitamins from their bodies. These nutrients are very calming, so the absence of them leaves the person anxious. When these nutrients are then provided in sufficient quantity, the anxiety subsides, and the client can begin to see what life is like if one is not anxious.
And the other part of my answer: If one has never tried nutritional therapy, how can he or she say it doesn’t work? If one has never been assessed as to which nutrients are missing from the diet, how can he or she say it doesn’t matter what is eaten? What would be lost by trying to nourish oneself? We all have to eat, so why not try to find a diet that enhances your physical and yes, mental heath?
I am sorry people don’t like the word “mental”, but we do have minds, after all. We have brains, and we have bodies. We also have souls, but I won’t get into that right now except to say that our souls use our minds to function. Some people may disagree that we have souls. OK, but I don’t think anyone would say we don’t have minds. The word
“mental” refers to the mind or intellect. So while there is no mental “illness” as a disease, there are mental problems, when the brain is affected by something, and is not functioning properly. Just in the past year or so the reason we need to sleep was discovered: When we sleep, the vasculature in the brain opens wide and all the toxins accumulated through the day are flushed out. This is why sleep is restorative. It’s a reset to neutral when things are going well. Therefore, people who do not sleep for several days can become disoriented and if you like the word, psychotic – out of touch with reality. Is this psychosis a mental event? Yes, I believe so. Is this person up for some psych label? I would say they have a toxic brain, and it can be cleared up with sleep. This way of looking at mental problems is one which is fluid, ever-changing and malleable to amelioration. It’s not a genetic thing, it’s not a permanent thing.
Another thing to remember is that we are all bio-individual, which means we are all completely unique in our biological makeup. So, a one-size-fits-all approach will never work. Maybe you can handle lots of sugar, but that guy over there is going to develop problems like depression, and possibly diabetes. If someone is even more depressed, suicide could rear its ugly head, or cutting behavior, etc. Again, many people now cannot handle much or any gluten, while others are downing loaves of bread every day, and doing fine. Young people today are often terribly malnourished. It is tragic. And, they have lots of mental problems because of it.
Catnight: I am absolutely with you when you talk about the horrors of psychiatry. Terrible things have been and are being done to many people in the name of medicine. I have found a way for many people to get past their mental suffering, and this is why I am so adamant about what I have learned. I would like it if no one on earth ever was prescribed a psych drug, and that everyone still on them could be helped to come off safely. At the same time, I wish we could teach everyone what they need to stay physically and mentally healthy and that they would adopt those teachings and have good, joyful lives.
Talking about stress is talking about the autonomic nervous system and perhaps the adrenal glands, which produce cortisol, the stress hormone. We can follow protestations of stress back to the body, which is registering it. There is no escaping the body, I’m afraid. Not that this is disease, it is just poor functioning. And, some clients can resolve their issues through counseling alone, of course. Some, however, benefit when we address poor functioning and give support to those body systems that are stressed and tired. It’s really not that difficult to figure all this out for someone trained to do so.
Yes, that is the point of my article. Thank you!
Gluten restriction shows promise in the treatment of schizophrenia. Pubmed: Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2006 February.
This post brings the enteric nervous system into the game. Humans actually have TWO brains, the “other” one being the enteric nervous system. It directs all of our gastrointestinal operations, plus a lot more, and is responsible for our “feelings”. Think of the phrase “gut reaction”. Think about feeling sick to your stomach when you are anxious. The vagus nerve (nerve X) is the highway between the two brains. We must begin to think holistically. Our two brains are connected, we are connected to our microbiome, and that, too affects our moods. There are no broken brains, or we would be dead. There are only brains that are not getting what they need, or are getting things they don’t need. This is the science of nutrition, and it’s time is upon us!
OF COURSE, there are millions of people who are suffering from mental problems! Millions, and more every day. We might ask, Why???? Again, we must go back to this answer: People do not have any idea what their bodies, and brains, need to function properly. No idea! They go into a supermarket and are faced with 200,00 different products, and they choose what they “like”. But here’s an easy way to look at this. Sugar is more addicting to the brain than cocaine. More addicting! How many teenagers or adults do you know who drink 5-10 cans of soda a day. Every molecule of sugar requires 56 molecules of magnesium to process it. The enormous intake of sugar w/o sufficient magnesium leads to depression. Is this a mental illness? NO, it is a nutritional deficiency, but it LOOKS like something the DSM could glom onto, and medicate, to no avail, because the person is still drinking the soda and is still deficient in magnesium. No mental illness here!!! But, since doctors are usually never trained in nutrition, and their model is a drug for every problem, that’s what people get. And remember, every single prescribed medication depletes the body of nutrients. So is this an epidemic of mental illness? I think not! And, know that for 50% of Americans, their diet consists of 95% processed foods, the bad stuff. Check out the carts in Walmart if you want a scare, and see what people are buying for their families!
Hoffer was fantastic!! He treated thousands of persons, many of them who were labeled “schizophrenic” with orthomolecular medicine. He also cured Bill W. of his alcohol cravings. When Bill W. reported this miracle to the AA Board, they didn’t want to hear about it: A gigantic opportunity missed. Millions of people could have been similarly helped! The recent work of researchers like Felice Jacka in Australia are proving continuously that just giving micronutrients to people (vitamins and minerals) can completely cure many mental problems, and at a cost of only 2% of inpatient treatment. There’s a new world out there!
There is no mental illness, and no labels for it that reflect reality. Reality is, human bodies need certain nutrients to function properly. This is not a hard thing to understand. If you are malnourished, both your brain and body do not function properly. For example, here’s an easy one:
Many persons in America drink quantities of soda. It contains a lot of sugar. Every molecule of sugar requires 56 molecules of magnesium to process it in the body. Ergo: someone drinking lots of soda and not taking in sufficient magnesium is prone to depression. Is this a mental illness? No, it is a magnesium deficiency. I can’t tell you how many teenagers I counsel, and even adults who are drinking 5-10 cans of soda a day. Add to this the fact that sugar is more addictingr than cocaine, and you have an epidemic of depression, caused by insufficient magnesium/too much sugar.
I just repeat your words: Of course people will feel better if they have proper diet, nutrition sleep and exercise. Case closed. I am just someone who helps people understand what proper nutrition is. And mental health does exist: It is the ability to form good relationships with oneself, with family, with community and with God. That’s the definition I use, and it is not the least psychiatric or medical. It’s about being a joyful human.
If I’m blaming anything, it is malnourishment and poor nutrition, not the brain.
Those who are nourished properly also have problems in life external to themselves, but what they seem to have is resilience, and the ability to cope. Again, this is based on the availability of raw materials to make the neurotransmitters the brain needs to function properly. I relate this to PTSD as well. In a given traumatic situation, in war, 81% of those so traumatized suffer from acute stress syndrome for about thirty days, then they come out of that and are all right. This leaves 19% who go on to develop PTSD. What could the difference between these groups be? Could it be their nutritional statuses?: Some more nourished and others less or malnourished. Again, the second group could not be producing enough GABA or other calming neurotransmitters, leaving them in a sympathetic state where they cannot calm themselves. This occurred to me after reading the recent book by Porges on PtSD. It’s also very logical.
Well, then we are definitely on the same page. I just struggle to understand why so many are adamant in resisting the idea that nutrition could be at the root of mental problems. So you, then, would be vitamin B3 dependent, according to Orthomolecular theory.
Yes, they are more coherent, but what about the fact that they can be cured of their mental problems. This is reality!!!
Why is the fact that nutrition greatly influences mental health illogical? It would seem to me to think that social forces or thinking could cause brain dysfunction is much more illogical. “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” — Hippocrates in 480 B.C. He was on to something. Another way to think about it is: Those who are properly nourished have the raw materials to create the neurotransmitters they need for brain function. Is this illogical? If you provide the body with the raw materials, it knows just what to do with them! Some estimate that we have over 200, or even 600 neurotransmitters being created in our bodies all the time. A poor diet does not provide those essential amino acids needed!
Yes, all drugs cause nutritional depletion of important micronutrients, vitamins and/or minerals. And, of course, antibiotics destroy bacteria, which often causes the fungi or yeast to rapidly proliferate. This is why nutritional therapy is a crucial piece in the healing puzzle. In addition, there are other conditions, like leaky gut, which allow toxins to enter the brain, and wreak havoc with clear thinking. For me, madness is a toxic brain, not a psychological problem. The work of many researchers show that very many people labeled “schizophrenic” have leaky gut, often due to gluten problems. There was a study in Sweden that went like this: They took 36 so-called schizophrenics off gluten for six weeks, and at the end of that time, ALL returned to complete proper mental functioning. Was it a fluke? They continued, putting half back on gluten foods, and the other half stayed off. Six more weeks: The non-gluten consuming patients were still doing great, and the others had returned to psychotic thinking. This experiment was replicated in America. What does this mean? It demonstrates that foods and other elements of nutrition can either help or harm people, and mental conditions are part of this. Many people reject this truth, but there it is.