It only a matter of time before Dr Walsh and his nutritional protocol for treating mental disorders becomes mainstream. Thanks to popular health advocates such as Dr Mercola, Dr Walsh will get the exposure that is needed to wake up the medical community.
With the ever increasing ill effects on our epigenetics from the environment and the blind mis-use of medications to treat mental disorders, there is no better time than now to pay close attention to the research and perspective of Dr William Walsh in the treatment of autism, depression and all other mood and behavioral disorders.
Dr Mercola interviews Dr Walsh at a glance:
By Dr. Mercola
- There are four biochemical types of violent people. Many have severe zinc deficiency, pyrrole disorder, low blood spermine and methylation defects — an unusual combination of bad biochemistry
- While there are hundreds of nutrients that are important for health, in the brain, six or seven dominate. These are nutrients that are either involved in synthesis or functioning of neurotransmitters
- Nutrients that have a powerful influence on mental health include zinc, copper, B-6, selenium, folates and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe)
Can you use specific nutrients to improve your mental health? Yes, you can. William Walsh, Ph.D., president of the nonprofit Walsh Research Institute in Naperville, Illinois, and author of “Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain,” specializes in nutrient-based psychiatry and nutritional medicine.
He and I are both fellows of the American College of Nutrition. He’s designed nutritional programs for Olympic athletes, NBA players and major league baseball players. More importantly, he’s spent a great deal of his career seeking to improve mental health through nutrition.
“I started off in the hard science. I was an experimentalist,” Walsh says. “I worked, in the beginning, in the nuclear field … with places like Los Alamos, the Institute for Atomic Research and University of Michigan Research Institute. I wound up at Argonne National Laboratory. While working as a scientist there, I started a volunteer project at the local prison, Stateville Penitentiary.
I eventually got really interested in why people were violent … [W]hen we started the ex-offender program, I got to meet the families that had produced a criminal. I found some wonderful families, caring and capable families, that have other children who turned out just fine …
I began to realize we didn’t understand why people had bad behavior. We then asked the question, ‘Could it be something related to their brain chemistry or the body chemistry?’… I started doing lab studies of their blood, their urine and hair. I found out that they were very, very different from the rest of the population. That’s how I got started.”
Biochemistry and the Criminal Brain
Walsh received valuable direction after meeting Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, who was doing work on heavy metals and schizophrenia. As it turns out, levels of metals, including copper, zinc and manganese, were all abnormal in criminals compared to the general population.
Walsh discovered four biochemical types of violent people. One of these was the sociopaths, all of whom had severe zinc deficiency, pyrrole disorder, low blood spermine and undermethylation. In all, it’s an unusual combination of bad biochemistry. A collaborative investigation with Pfeiffer resulted in nutrient therapies for each of the behavior types.
Pyrrole disorder is a stress condition commonly found in brain disorders. A urine test developed by niacin expert Abram Hoffer and Pfeiffer is the gold standard test for this genetic condition, which involves altered biochemistry in your bone marrow and spleen.
People who have pyrrole disorder may produce five to 10 times more pyrroles than normal — a byproduct of natural reactions, like the formation of hemoglobin. While harmless in and of itself, pyrroles bind to and draw out anything that is an aldehyde, such as B-6. It also sharply depletes zinc.
As a result, people with pyrroles disorder have exceptionally low levels of B-6, and zinc which can have serious effects on brain function, affecting their memory and ability to read, for example. B-6 deficiency is quite common among children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well.
The Earlier the Treatment the Better the Results
“Eventually, [Pfeiffer] and I jointly evaluated 500 patients, mostly violent adults and violent children. We got our best results with the kids, young people with the same kind of chemistry, who were mostly very violent,” Walsh says.
“I have to say we didn’t really succeed in finding a way to help the adult criminals. They would get better for six to eight months, and then I’d find out they were back in prison. That had a lot to do with the fact that they were abusing alcohol and illegal drugs … At about 1990, we decided to focus on children …
It’s been very successful. If we can get a child before their lives are ruined, before they pass puberty perhaps, our success rate [is] very high … The doctors report a striking improvement in behavior. Most of these kids, of course, [are] on drugs, everything from Ritalin to powerful antipsychotic medications. Usually when we’re finished and [have] balanced their chemistry, they can wean off the medication. They usually are fine without it …”
Nutrients Involved in Synthesis or Functioning of Neurotransmitters Dictate Mental Function
Later on, Walsh expanded to also include children with autism and ADHD. Fond of numbers, Walsh began amassing enormous databases. At present, he has one of the world’s largest chemistry database for autism, depression and behavior disorders.
“When you look at these millions of chemical analyses of blood, urine and tissues, it’s obvious that there are very great differences,” he says. “I found that for mental disorders, about six or seven chemical imbalances dominate mental function. There are hundreds and hundreds of important nutrients in the body, but in the brain, there are about six or seven that [seem] to dominate everything. Eventually, I found out why …
[T]hese are the nutrient factors that are either involved in synthesis of a neurotransmitter or the functioning of a neurotransmitter. They include methylation — undermethylation or overmethylation. In our database, 70 percent of all humans in the United States have normal, typical methylation; 22 percent are undermethylated … 8 percent are overmethylated.
About 70 percent of all people who have a mental disorder have one of these methylation disorders. The symptoms are completely different, and the treatment they need is completely different. We also found that most people [who have mental disorders] are depleted or deficient in zinc. That’s the most common [deficiency] we see … Virtually everyone with a mental disorder seems to need zinc and improve on it.”
Copper Overload Linked to Autism, Schizophrenia and Postpartum Depression
Copper is another important trace metal, as it plays a distinct role in the synthesis of norepinephrine, a major neurotransmitter. Divalent copper (Cu2+) is a dramatic factor in the ratio of dopamine and norepinephrine. Read more here…
The Importance of Methylation and Folates in Mental Health
Walsh was among the first people to alert the world to the importance of methylation in mental health, especially autism. The No. 1 causes of undermethylation are single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or mutations in the enzymes for the one-carbon cycle (the methylation cycle).base. The largest phenotype … is undermethylation. Read more here…
Changing the Face of Psychiatry
Walsh is convinced the use of psychiatric medication will eventually fade away as we learn more about normalizing brain function through nutritional interventions. “These powerful drugs … they do not normalize the brain. They cause an abnormal condition,” he warns. “They might correct depression or anxiety, but you wind up with something that’s not normal.”
The Walsh Research Institute is a public charity with no financial interests, and they are slowly but surely helping to change mainstream psychiatry. Walsh has given talks at the highest levels, including the Surgeon General’s office, the U.S. Senate and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He’s also spoken at American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meetings several times.
“The last time I went there, they finally listened to me … I was there about two and a half years ago. I gave an invited talk on depression. I basically explained to them they’re doing depression wrong. They actually listened to me. I showed them our huge chemistry database and explained that depression is a name given to at least five completely different disorders, each involving different symptoms and each involving different neurotransmitters that are malfunctioning.
Then I described each one of these biotypes and actually showed them that if they would simply do some inexpensive blood and urine testing, they could identify which people would be good candidates for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or which ones would do better on benzodiazepine, but even more importantly, how they can correct it with nutrients.”
There were 17,000 psychiatrists at this meeting from all over the world, and Walsh was 1 of 4 speakers at a well-attended session. Afterward, there was tremendous demand for more information, which gives hope. Walsh also offers a training program for doctors. In the U.S., 45 psychiatrists went through the program last year. In all, 500 physicians and psychiatrists in 32 countries have taken his program so far.
To learn more about Dr Walsh, visit www.WalshInstitute.org. There you can also purchase Walsh’s book, “Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain.” Questions and information requests can be sent to Dana@WalshInstitute.org, or you can call (630) 506-5066.
“Our website has a resources section that recommends quality labs, compounding pharmacies and a list of doctors who we’ve trained, who are now able to do this kind of therapy,” Walsh says.