Barriers to Success with the Walsh Approach | Second Opinion Physician

Before spending money on Walsh Panel testing, or a medical Consultation it is advisable to consider other factors that may limit success of this protocol.

I have seen many patients and witnessed tremendous success with the Walsh Protocol. Among those, I treated a teenage girl, hospitalized with severe psychosis, return to school in 5 days following supplementation for copper overload. I've treated a patient with 40 years of chronic depression become symptom free within 4 months. And I've managed a young boy with Autism and Oppositional Defiance who was cutting himself become the most loving and well adjusted child after a year on supplements per the Walsh Approach.

Schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and psychosis are frequently caused by factors of oxidative stress that cannot be easily managed without removing other impediments to recovery. If you have been diagnosed with mental illness, consider working with your physician to reduce the chances of a poor response.  It may be helpful to have a pre-test consultation with your doctor to rule out the factors that may lead to less than remarkable results with the Walsh Approach.

Toxic Environment

We are all living in a somewhat toxic environment. However, an impaired liver or excessive exposure to various compounds and elements may produce free radicals that cause oxidative stress which can overwhelm the body.

Various toxins and oxidative stressors include chemicals, EMF's, bacterial endotoxins, inflammatory foods, heavy metals, cigarettes, pesticides, radiation, molds, and etc can not only impair the body's ability to respond to supplementation but may lead to permanent, disabling or life threatening conditions. Autism, Alzheimer's, heart disease, chronic fatigue, immune compromise, and cancer are examples of conditions that may have resulted from an unmitigated toxic overload.

Digestive Disorder

A major cause of mental health disorders is malnutrition and malabsorption. This is a common issue with persons who have Autism, obesity, intestinal symptoms and auto-immune conditions. The cause of digestive disturbances typically originates in the gut and in the diet. If nutrients cannot be assimilated or absorbed then a supplement protocol is likely to fail.

Factors that lead to intestinal wall inflammation or leaky gut syndrome include yeast colonization, digestive flora imbalance, parasites, heavy metals, radiation or scarring, dysautonomia and other intestinal motility disturbances. A functional medicine doctor or physician should be considered when there is a suspicion of digestive disorders. When nutrition is inadequate or nutrient uptake impaired there will become a chronic state of oxidative stress.

Until this is addressed it is unlikely that supplements will be absorbed or that they can be relied on to overcome a depressive disorder and the challenges of an overburdened intestinal tract.

Fetal or Delivery Complications

Anoxia or oxygen deprivation during birth caused by umbilical cord choking or fetal distress signals may cause brain damage that cannot be overcome with supplementaiton. Other factors might include fetal alcohol syndrome or drug use during pregnancy

Head Trauma

Head trauma may lead to neurological impairment, including PTSD, that requires other remedies. Dr Mark Gordon MD has demonstrated that neuro-protective hormone production may be impaired to do down-regulation of the hypothalamus.

Response time: Weening off of prescription drugs

When patients have been on prescription medications it is advisable to remain on these medications for as long as six months after starting nutrient therapy.

According to Walsh's research, as many as 70% of depressives, behavioral disorders and ADHD feel best, when after six months of supplementation, they have completely eliminated medications. The remaining 30% report that they feel best when taking a combination of supplements and prescription medications. The combinations allows most to take a reduced level of medicines, thereby limiting drug related side effects.

With schizophrenia, there is a less frequency of complete elimination of psychotropic medicines. Only 5% were able to come off the prescriptions entirely, however the majority were able to take reduced levels. Reduced medications means greater overall compliance and lessened risk of harmful side effects due to any sudden discontinuation side effects from incidents of non-compliance.

In order to ween off of medicines, patients are encouraged to work with their prescribing physician, only after six months of supplement therapy. Because there are reasons why supplement therapy may not have fully corrected the biochemical imbalance, it is important to restest. This is most important with Copper Overload Biotypes and those with elevated homocysteine and low levels of vitamin D.


There are cases whereby seemingly ideal candidates for supplement therapy do not respond. When the above limitations have been addressed and there are clear indications of Biotype imbalances there are eight primary causes of ineffective treatment.

  1. Non Compliance - 50% of all treatment failure is due to noncompliance. This is most likely with oppositional children or ADHD kids with behavioral issues. It is advisable to monitor their use of supplements carefully.
  2. Growth Spurts - demand for nutrients such as zinc may outstrip the dosages given with supplementation
  3. Physical injury - symptoms may be exacerbated by injury
  4. Illness -  biochemical changes can delay response
  5. Emotional stress -  even with good compliance if there are stressful circumstances may limit benefits
  6. Type A blood -  these folks tend to respond to nutrient therapy very slowly. This is particularly the case with copper overload.
  7. Extended use of anti-psychotic medicines - some medications are known to cause some degree of neurological damage
  8. Drug abuse - when addiction to alcohol or street drugs such as cocaine, heroine and methamphetamine, etc, outcomes may be very limited.