Improve Mental Health without Drugs
Are all cases of depression the same? Dr. William Walsh Ph.D. thinks this is unlikely. After working with more than 30,000 patients, Dr. Walsh has identified specific chemical imbalances that lead to emotional and mental problems. Out of his experiences, he identified five distinct biotypes from what was once lumped together as ‘clinical depression:’ undermethylation; folate deficiency; copper overload; pyrrole disorder; and toxic metals.
Undermethylated depression arises from low activity at serotonin receptors due to rapid re-absorption after serotonin is released into a synapse. This occurred in 38 percent of the patients he studied and is not serotonin deficiency, but an inability to retain the serotonin in the synapse for a necessary amount of time. Patients usually report excellent improvement in mood with SSRIs, but for some, serious side effects such as headache or loss of libido can occur. Nutrient therapy should avoid folates, but use SAMe- methionine. Other nutrients such as zinc, serine, inositol, calcium-magnesium and vitamins A, B6, C, D and E can be supplemented as needed.
Symptoms and traits: Strong willed, tendency toward obsessive-compulsive disorder, calm exterior with high inner tension, competitive and perfectionistic, addictive tendencies, high libido and more than 75 percent exhibit seasonal allergies.
Undermethylated people are the “classic depressives,” according to Walsh. Highly depressed, but typically able to hide it; undermethylation tends to run in families. About 20 percent of babies are undermethylated at birth.
Some of the nutrients used to treat Undermethylation include:
SAM-e or Methionine
Methyl B12 (also known as Vitamin B12)
Along with antioxidant vitamins and other minerals
Elevated homocysteine level should be lowered before working on the undermethylation in order to avoid increased inflammation.
People with undermethylation benefit from a diet higher in protein.
High copper depression is marked by extreme levels of copper in the blood and brain, causing a dopamine deficiency and norepinephrine overload. Increased copper retention is necessary to rapidly produce capillaries and blood vessels for the growing fetus, and some mothers are unable to eliminate the excess copper. Walsh suspects that postpartum depression is usually caused by copper overload. Seventeen percent of the depression patients in the study fit this category. Most reported little effect from taking SSRIs, but gained relief from embarking on nutrient therapy to normalize levels of copper.
Symptoms and traits: More than 95 percent female with onset during hormonal event, high anxiety, tendency to panic, estrogen intolerance, tinnitus, hyperactivity, ADHD, Skin sensitivity (tags, rough fabrics, seams), intolerance to estrogen or birth control pills, onset during puberty, pregnancy or menopause, postpartum depression or psychosis, skin intolerance of cheap metals, emotional breakdowns/frequent anger, ringing in ears, high anxiety, sleep problems, poor concentration, poor immune function.
Testing for high copper: Get Serum copper and Ceruloplasmin levels
Copper/Zinc Imbalance – both copper and zinc are important minerals for proper functioning of biochemical processes; however, they must be in proper amounts relative to one another. Copper and zinc levels are regulated by metallothionine, a short linear protein composed of 61 amino acid units. When this protein fails to perform its necessary functions, abnormal levels of nutrient metals (such as copper, zinc, and manganese) and toxic metals (such as cadmium, mercury, and lead) can result. Nutrient treatment to eliminate these overloads must be cautious and gradual to avoid worsening of symptoms and kidney damage. Zinc enhances resistance to stress and help maintain intellectual function, memory and mood levels. More than 90% of persons diagnosed with depression, behavior disorder, ADHD, autism and schizophrenia exhibit depleted zinc levels. Zinc deficiency has been associated with delayed growth, temper control problems, poor immune function, depression, poor wound healing, epilepsy, anxiety, neurodegenerative disorders, hormone imbalances and learning problems.
Laboratory testing adds a plasma Zinc level to the above copper and ceruloplasmin levels to determine the relationship between these metals.
Nutrient Treatment similar to that of Copper Excess.
Pyroluric depression occurs when serotonin production is impaired and there is a high level of oxidative stress. The production of pyrroles/ hydroxyhemopyrrolin can increase with stress, which in turn decreases zinc and B6 – nutrients that are essential for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, melatonin, GABA, and acetylcholine. SSRIs were advantageous for the 15 percent of the patients with pyroluric depression.
Pyroluria is a biochemical imbalance that many anxious people have been living with for years. Although identified and studied since the 1950s, chances are your doctor has never heard of it.
Pyroluria requires an understanding of biochemical processes that make life possible, along with orthomolecular knowledge to keep these processes functioning properly… and as Dr. Hugh Riordan once noted, “Orthomolecular medicine is not the answer to any question posed in medical school.”
Pyroluria is a genetic, chemical imbalance, involving abnormal hemoglobin synthesis. People with this disorder over-synthesize a chemical byproduct called kryptopyrroles (KP or pyrroles) which appears in the bloodstream. This chemical has little or no function in the body and is efficiently excreted in urine. The problem with pyrroles is their strong affinity for pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and zinc. Pyrroles take these essential nutrients with them when they are excreted, and this brings on many metabolic imbalances that the brain expresses as anxiety.
A quick overview of what those nutrients do for us explains why:
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) acts as a coenzyme for over fifty different enzymes. It is essential in the metabolism of all amino acids for their conversion into neurotransmitters. It also supports the immune system. Deficiency symptoms include anxiety, nervousness, and depression. Severe deficiency cause convulsions, heightened anxiety, and extreme nervous exhaustion
Zinc is a mineral that often works together with B6 to affect numerous functions in the body. It aids in the formation of insulin and is essential for protein synthesis. It helps the body maintain acid/alkaline (Ph) balance, works to normalize prostate function (even reverses some cases of impotence), helps to normalize all reproductive organs, accelerates the healing of wounds, revives our taste for foods, promotes mental alertness, decreases cholesterol, and aids in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Serious zinc deficiency affects brain function, creating severe mental problems, including learning and behavioral disorders, and the inability to handle stress. Zinc is essential for hormonal activity, reproductive health, and normal physiological function.
Nutrient therapy includes normalizing B6 and zinc, adding antioxidants, and augmenting with biotin and primrose oil.
Symptoms and traits: Severe mood swings, extreme anxiety and fears, poor short-term memory and reading disorders, little to no dream recall, sensitivity to light and noise, abnormal fat distribution, episodic explosive anger, poor stress control, severe inner tension.
Pyroluria is a stress disorder based on the abnormal production of kryptopyrroles. Pyrrole levels can be measured with a chemical analysis of urine. Normally, people (non-pyrolurics) have pyrrole levels of 0-10 micrograms per deciliter. People with levels above 20 are considered to have pyroluria, especially when the aforementioned symptoms are present.
For testing, samples need to be carefully handled, due to kryptopyrrole’s tendency to decompose quickly. Urine samples should be frozen and overnighted on dry ice to a reputable lab. Sometimes it is necessary to repeat the test to properly identify KP levels. The test will not be accurate if the patient has been taking B6 and zinc prior to giving a sample.
Mild and moderate pyroluria usually responds rapidly to treatment, provided there are no other chemical imbalances.
Severe pyroluria may take several weeks before progress begins with gradual improvement over 3-12 months. If the nutritional treatment is stopped, symptoms usually reoccur within two to four weeks. Pyroluria is treated by loading high levels of vitamin B6 and zinc so both deficiencies get corrected.
Zinc must be provided in an efficiently absorbed form. Vitamin B6 is given as both pyridoxine hydrochloride (Start at 50mg up 400 mg a day) and pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P) 50 mg.
Typical Treatment for Pyrrole Disorder generally includes doses of the following vitamins and minerals, often in higher amounts than taken by the general population and individualized based on the person’s symptoms and lab test results:
Zinc Picolinate 50 – 100 mg
Vitamin B6 200- 400 mg and Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P) 50 mg
Vitamin C 3000 mg per day
Evening Primrose Oil
This condition often responds within several weeks to treatment, but the full benefits may take a few months to be obtained.
Low-folate depression is of critical importance, in that most of the shooters in some 50 school shootings over the past five decades likely had this type of depression, according to Walsh. For these patients, taking SSRIs can lead to suicidal or homicidal ideation.
Nutrient therapy using folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements helped patients in the study. For some, anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines) such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin and Ativan were also beneficial. Twenty percent of the patients in Walsh’s study fell into this category.
(i.e. excessive methylation occurring in the cells); in these people there is increased activity at serotonin
and dopamine receptors. there is a tendency for:
Symptoms and traits: High tendency for anxiety and panic, non-competitive in sports and games, food and chemical sensitivities, high musical or artistic ability, underachievement, sleep disorders, absence of inhalant allergies, low libido, tend to be “people persons,” constantly talking. High, labile anxiety; Sleep disorders; Non-competitive; Can’t stop talking; Moving body more/in motion; Hyperactive (especially with Benadryl); Intermittent explosive disorder; High energy/verbosity; Artistic/musical ability; Sensitive to food/chemicals; Low libido; Dry eyes/mouth; ; Like extreme sports, Piercings & Tattoos; Cutters; Eeyore males: “I can’t…”; Eczema; Estrogen intolerant; Hairy (men); Tend to be copper intolerant; High pain threshold; Improve with benzos & lithium Caring, generous; History of volunteer work; Good neighbors 42% of people with schizophrenia have overmethylation, and 20% of depressives. Other associated diagnoses include Mania, Intrusive thoughts, Obsessions without rituals or compulsions and stuttering.
Beneficial Nutrients for Overmethylation include:
Folate or Folinic Acid
Hydroxy or Adenosyl B12
As well as other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
Overmethylated people benefit from Vegetables or Vegetarian Diet
Toxic metal depression is caused by toxic-metal overload—usually lead poisoning. The removal of lead from paint and gasoline has lowered the frequency of these cases. Walsh estimates that about 5 percent of depressed patients fall into this category. Nutrient therapy concentrates on zinc, glutathione, selenium and other antioxidants – and calcium in the special case of lead poisoning. In severe cases, hospitalization and chelation may be necessary.
Symptoms and traits: Unrelenting depression, abdominal distress, tendency toward irritability and/or anger, absence of trauma or emotional triggers, food sensitivities, metallic taste in mouth, bad breath.