What follows is a proposed speech that I wrote for a Safe Harbor Alternative Mental Health conference that was held in Los Angeles in June 2002. This speech was deemed to be too long for the time I was allowed to speak, and thus it was not given in its current state (I was allowed to talk for five minutes, and I got in what key points I could).
I emailed this speech to Dr. Abram Hoffer first, to see what he thought of it.
Despite it’s age, many of the points made in this proposed speech are still very germane today.
Dear Dr Hoffer:
Attached is a proposed speech that I sent recently sent to Dan Stradford, the man behind the website http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/.
This is a speech that I would like to make at their upcoming conference in mid June 2002 in Los Angeles. I do expect this proposed presentation to get cut way down time wise (it is about 27 minutes at present).
Despite the above, I thought that you might find this proposed speech a “good read”, if not a powerful presentation in content.
All the very best,
Proposed speech draft:
I wish to express my thanks to Dan Stradford and Safe Harbor for letting me speak to you here today.
I am a person that has fully recovered from over three decades of severe symptoms of manic depression.
I would like to share with you some of what I have learned in my recovery from this severe condition of biochemical imbalance.
The first thing that I would like to share with you is the answer to the question “can manic depression be fully corrected by using only natural means and without using any medication whatsoever?”
Absolutely, yes it can.
Even if someone has suffered from manic depression, or it’s other name, bipolar disorder, for decades, as well as used medication to control it’s symptoms for many years, can it still be corrected fully via natural means?
The answer again is absolutely, yes it can.
The current medical model of manic depression being an incurable mental illness” that requires medication daily for the rest of one’s life is incorrect.
The anecdotal evidence is currently overwhelming that manic depression involves multiple essential nutrient deficiencies. Correcting these nutrient deficiencies often results in either a major or a complete resolution of manic depressive symptoms.
Anecdotal evidence also exists today that strongly suggests that manic depression is simply a malabsorptive and/or allergic condition that impairs brain and other organ function.
What this means is that manic depression does not involve a permanent structural problem with the brain itself. Manic depression is often, if not nearly always, simply a condition of chemical imbalance. This condition of chemical imbalance always involves multiple deficiencies of many essential nutrients, as well as nearly always involves overexposure to allergens and toxins as well.
Many persons now are telling a story similar to the one that I am going to tell you here today. The actress Margot Kidder is one of these persons. (xxx) is another. (xxx) is another. Many dozens, if not hundreds, of persons, that are taking the nutritional supplement found on http://www.truehope.com are some of the others. All of us have become stable and well from manic depression without using any medication whatsoever.
I am, or I was, bipolar from about 1963 until late 1999. This thirty-six year span of time involved my having literally hundreds of severe mood episodes. These mood episodes became both much more frequent and much more severe as I became older.
My recovery from manic depression by using nutrients and other natural measures began in August of 1996, when I first started using vitamins and minerals to resolve a long-standing depressive state. I knew that these vitamins and minerals helped me out of this severe depression. As a result of this, my interest in using nutrients to treat manic depression in myself immediately grew, and grew quite substantially.
In November of 1996, I realized that taking a potassium supplement made my hypomanic state noticeably worse. A few months later, in January of 1997, I realized that this same potassium supplement made my depressive state noticeably better.
The power of potassium is nothing compared to the power of amino acids in effecting mood change. In July of 1997, I went from a state of severe depression to a state of severe mania in eight hours, simply as the result of amino acid ingestion. Within the next month, I became substantially manic three more times as the result of taking excitatory amino acids.
The first lesson that I learned from these amino acid experiences is that all bipolar persons need to learn how to use inhibitory amino acids and other inhibitory nutrients before they begin to use excitatory ones. In this way, if a bipolar person makes a mistake and becomes manic by using excitatory nutrients, they will already know how to slow themselves down within a few hours by taking inhibitory ones.
Within a month of using inhibitory nutrients to slow my brain down, I was able to resolve a serious benzodiazapine addiction in myself. I was also getting the best sleep of my entire adult life. In September of 1997, nearly five years ago, I was able to cease all medication use to control my bipolar diagnosis. What I was doing with amino acids and other nutrients within months of my first taking them on a serious basis was so much more effective than any of the dozen or so medications that I had ever taken for manic depression.
By October of 1997, I was clearly having some of the best biochemical days of my entire adult life, both as a result of using a wide range of nutritional supplements and my having made some key dietary changes.
I knew in 1997, as I know now, that the medical model of my illness was almost totally incorrect.
I knew in 1997 that my manic depression was the result of a substantial deficiency of a wide range of essential nutrients. I also knew in 1997 that I had at least two hidden food allergies that had contributed to my manic depressive symptoms as well.
By late 1997, my question to myself was why? Why was I so deficient in essential nutrients such that manic depression was the end result?
Thank God for orthomolecular medicine. Orthomolecular medicine has for many years been working on both identifying and resolving a wide range of malabsorptive issues that result in essential nutrient deficiency.
I took a logical approach to manic depression in 1997. As I knew that I was primarily bipolar because I lacked a wide range of essential nutrients, I theorized in 1997 that “any factor which impairs a person from having an adequate supply of essential nutrients can be a factor that either directly causes or greatly contributes to the symptoms of manic depression”.
I used perhaps a hundred books written by orthomolecular doctors and two orthomolecular doctors themselves to identify not only why I lacked so many essential nutrients, but to identify what nutrients I should supplement with and why. I also used my own common sense here, taking various dosages of many nutritional supplements on both an individual and a combined basis, sorting out what was helping me by how I felt.
Please believe both myself and other bipolar persons that are using nutritional supplements, many of these supplements are quite powerful in regard to their psychotropic effect. Many nutritional supplements can readily be felt in “mood effect” within an hour or two of their ingestion, especially amino acids. Amino acids can change the level of their associated neurotransmitters within hours, neurotransmitters with names such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. How the current medical model can ignore the tremendous therapeutic power of amino acids is nearly unbelievable in this day of advanced scientific and biological understanding.
The job of correcting manic depression in myself was for all ostensible purposes complete by the fall of 1999. This was about two years after I started using nutrients and other natural measures heavily.
The reason that I took about two years to really get a grip on manic depression in myself was that I was in an entirely new ball game without a lot of solid answers. I had to learn a great deal to become well from manic depression via natural means. This learning took me quite a bit of time.
I have a number of reasons to believe that the same goal that took me two years to achieve could take as little as two to three months for someone else. This assumes that the person that is getting well from manic depression via natural means has learned a great deal of what I had to learn, or it assumes that they have someone that is quite knowledgeable guiding them in the right directions.
Orthomolecular medicine is so amazingly close to defining all of the key answers that some one needs to become well from manic depression. However, it appears that orthomolecular medicine is still somewhat confused in regard to it’s conceptual understanding of what manic depression is all about. It also appears that orthomolecular medicine does not yet know how to apply its principles to manic depression well in a practical everyday sense. Hopefully, this confusion will be resolved in the near future.
I think that one key to this situation resolving fairly soon is a meaningful and on going dialogue occurring between orthomolecular medicine and those of us that are getting better from manic depression by using it’s principles and it’s therapies. This sharing of information between us could help us all.
I propose that this dialogue occur on http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/, the meeting place for those of us that are getting well from mental illness using a natural approach and the doctors that are treating us by using such natural means.
One error in understanding that such a dialogue would correct is that orthomolecular medicine would begin to realize that manic depression is, far more often than not, simply a complex malabsorptive condition that effects not only the brain, but nearly every other organ in the body as well.
By “complex malabsorptive condition”, I simply mean that our malabsorptive status often has more than one single cause that underlies it. Common malabsorptive causes of manic depression may be any one or more of the following:
The number one suspect that can cause manic depression is hidden food allergy. This biochemical issue has been strongly linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, depression, autism, arthritis, migraines, and a myriad of other ailments.
It is no accident that Margot Kidder, the actress, Mary Ellen Copeland, a well known author of recovery material, myself, and a number of other bipolar persons have all determined that we have hidden food allergies to such common foods such as the gluten grains, dairy, corn, eggs, peanuts, citrus, the nightshade family, and/or other foods. These hidden food allergies can greatly contribute to, if not actually cause, many of our bipolar symptoms. However, these hidden allergies are truly “hidden”. They often go unrecognized by those persons that have them for decades, if not for their entire life.
The number two suspect that can cause manic depression is an overgrowth of yeast in the gastrointestinal tract. This yeast condition is often called candida. Candida has been strongly linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by orthomolecular medicine for perhaps a few decades. And ADHD is strongly linked by many to manic depression. Yet candida is hardly ever mentioned as being either potentially causative or contributory to manic depression. To not link candida to manic depression is absolutely a big mistake.
Incidentally, candida is often itself caused by the prescription of antibiotics. Antibiotics decimate the friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. These friendly bacteria act to keep yeast in check, amongst many other things. When antibiotics kill off these friendly bacteria, this often allows yeast to take over. The frequent use of antibiotics often contributes to causing both ADHD and manic depression.
Just like hidden food allergy, the yeast condition called candida can cause a significant degree of malabsorption of essential nutrients.
Other common malabsorptive factors that can and do often contribute to manic depression are improper bacteria in the GI tract, a lack of digestive enzymes, a lack of adequate stomach acid, a lack of nutrients involved in making any other necessary digestive secretion, such as bile, and the possibility of parasites.
Even the lack of adequate water intake can contribute to the symptoms of manic depression, as water assists both proper gastrointestinal function and nutrient absorption, amongst it’s many other functions in the body.
What this means is that the current search for a gene for bipolar disorder is both a waste of time and money, as a number of common biochemical glitches can either cause or contribute to this diagnosis.
I don’t have the time today to explain all of the malabsorptive issues that can cause or contribute to manic depression in any depth. For those of you interested in these topics I suggest that you read the books “Depression – Cured At Last” and “No More Heartburn” by Dr. Sherry Rogers as a start.
Obviously either a lack of appetite or a poor diet can be contributory to manic depression as well. You cannot absorb an adequate supply of essential nutrients if your diet is deficient in their intake.
Stress, alcohol, coffee, tea, cigarettes, exposure to any other toxin, overwork and a number of other factors can contribute to manic depression as well, as all of these are biochemically depleting, especially stress.
Incidentally, I am still guilty of smoking cigarettes. Please don’t judge me by what I am doing wrong here, judge me by what I am doing right.
An acidic condition in the body called acidosis can cause or contribute to manic depression as well, as acidosis robs the body of its mineral supply.
Often under functioning organs and glands such as the thyroid, the pancreas, the adrenal glands, and the liver are contributory to the symptoms of manic depression as well. However, this under functioning is often a result of these organs and glands themselves starving for an adequate supply of essential nutrients, just as the brain is starving for nutrients in which to function properly when one is bipolar.
The proper correction of manic depression strongly appears to be similar to the following:
All common malabsorptive and biochemically depleting causes have been rather well defined for us by orthomolecular medicine. Simply go though the entire list of malabsorptive and biochemically depleting causes, identify all of those that apply to you, and then correct them.
As all of the common malabsorptive and biochemically depleting causes are both identifiable and correctable in any person that has them, manic depression is CURABLE.
As well as fixing the various “nutrient leaks” that result in a bipolar person becoming deficient in essential nutrients, one should also consider supplementing their diet with nearly all of the essential nutrient range in supplement form to bring their depleted biochemistry up to a functional and mood stable level.
Strong anecdotal evidence suggests that a “shotgun approach” of nearly all of the essential nutrient range of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids may be better than only taking a few or even a few dozen essential nutrients. This “shotgun approach” of supplementation may be superior to using laboratory tests and filling in the deficient gaps in nutrient status, as is commonly done by many orthomolecular practitioners. A “shotgun approach” of nutritional supplementation is certainly worth considering on a trial basis regardless, especially in light of the success of the Truehope supplement, a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral preparation.
[A few years after this material was written my son Willy used a "shotgun approach" of the entire nutrient range that I had put together for him beginning in August of 2004. The effect of this "shotgun approach" on Willy's ADHD diagnosis, bipolar symptoms, and weak and sickly health has been no less than amazing. Many blogs on http://my.opera.com/nutrientscure/ relate to Willy's recovery, what he took supplement-wise, and why.]
A few other key lessons that I learned in my recovery from manic depression are:
1. Food allergy testing by any method whatsoever is too inaccurate to be of any real use. Hidden food allergy is only well determined by a cave man elimination type diet performed at home.
2. Candida overgrowth is far better and more quickly removed from the intestines by a combination of bentonite and fiber than it is removed by any antifungal medication or herbal preparation whatsoever. High dosage bentonite mixed with fiber and taken on an empty stomach is perhaps the best gut cleansing routine available today. It is unparalleled in its effect.
[A GREAT CAUTION: I later learned that many persons cannot take a high dose of bentonite and psyllium as I do, as doing such puts great pressure on the gut, to the point where the bowel could actually rupture, and death might be the end result. Go slow with this stuff, and "educate yourself" first.]
3. The amino acid glutamine is one of a number of “must trial” nutritional supplements in the treatment of manic depression. However, the use of the amino acid glutamine can be a “two edged sword”. Glutamine can increase nutrient absorption in the small intestines significantly within a matter of hours. However, it also can increase the absorption of hidden food allergens and toxins present in the GI tract as well. One should identify and eliminate major food allergens before using glutamine in order to use this supplement without serious negative consequences. One should also insure that a high level of toxins is not present in the gut before taking glutamine as well.
4. Combining the removal of problematic issues in the gut with bentonite and fiber with taking glutamine in separated stages can nearly always correct a state of very poor nutrient absorption to a far better one within a matter of hours. Cleansing the gut and correcting nutrient malabsorption are the foundation for a profoundly effective nutrient treatment of severe depression within an incredibly short period of time for many. Depression, even severe depression with suicidal ideation attached, can be corrected in most persons within a period of time of as little as a single day.
5. Inhibitory, anti-manic, mood stabilizing, and sleep promoting nutrients are not too difficult for any bipolar person to identify in himself or herself. To do so may only involve a few weeks time. Often nutrients to resolve these various inhibitory issues are one and the same. Proper use of inhibitory nutrients on a daily basis can have a profoundly positive effect on manic depression. Use of such inhibitory nutrients often eliminates the need for either mood stabilizing or sleep medication as well.
Recently I was able to profoundly help a person resolve a five-year heroin addiction with inhibitory, anti-depressive, and sleep promoting nutrients. Nutrients not only help with manic depression, they can help incredibly well with so much else.
Yes, the medical model of manic depression is incorrect. To treat the condition of chemical imbalance called manic depression without addressing the chemicals that we humans are made out of at birth, chemicals with names such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids is illogical. This approach simply does not make any sense, except to continue to make the pharmaceutical companies a ton of money.
Unfortunately, obscene pharmaceutical profits currently direct both medical research and medical reality. Due in part to this fact the medical model is really dragging its feet on developing any real answers for manic depression. A second factor that causes the medical model to delay finding answers for us is what are they going to say to the medical student that has just paid a quarter of a million dollars to become a psychiatrist? How are they going to say to these persons “I am sorry, but the education that you just received is already obsolete”? The medical model is in a real quandary here.
Real answers to manic depression have been, and are currently, being found. These answers are not often the result of any formal medical research. These answers are often the result of private, individual, and totally unfunded effort. These answers have brought us very close to a real cure for this devastating condition of biochemical imbalance.
The time has come for change.
The time has come for those of us that have learned how to treat manic depression naturally to share what we know with each other, whether we are doctors or not.
The time has also come for a concerted effort to find persons that are fiscally well endowed and truly care about resolving manic depression to consider funding research for us that makes sense. This research should focus on the applied use of essential nutrients and/or identifying and correcting the various malabsorptive issues that underlie manic depression. We could do so much good with so little funds in these regards.
I wish to thank all of you for listening to me today.