Willy’s Three Year ADHD/Bipolar Recovery Story (August 2007)

My son Willy was diagnosed with ADHD at six years old, and began taking Ritalin for this diagnosis about a year later. Unfortunately, things were even worse than this, as Willy exhibited classic bipolar symptoms at this age as well. Not only did he think about suicide at the tender age of six, he could talk non-stop at a very rapid pace for over an hour despite four other people being in a car. Although never diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Willy was likely to be third generation bipolar (my mother, myself, and then himself).

Willy was a sickly child throughout his childhood. He was much smaller than most other children his age. He also exhibited “easy bruising”, he had very soft teeth, he had chronic nosebleeds, and he was so sensitive to cold that I even bought him a wetsuit to go swimming with during the summer.

The biggest part of Willy’s learning disability was that “he just could not read”. Year after year he would be passed on to the next grade without the ability to read. Although his verbal comprehension was always fairly good, his reading comprehension was not. Even as late as seventh grade, Willy would often rely on his brother to read a few words on a computer screen for a video game he was playing… and Willy never read books at home on his own.

Willy’s mental and physical health today is a much different story.

At the end of ninth grade attending New Hartford Junior High School last year (2006), Willy won the Principal’s award (only four children out of about 200 received this award). He also won three other academic awards, got an 89 and a 91 on two Regents exams, and made the Honor Roll for the first time in his academic career.

This past year Willy’s academic progress continued. He repeated making the Honor Roll last November, he got a 98 on a midterm Regents exam in January, and he got a 95 on the only Regents exams he took this June. Willy also received two academic awards for effort at the end of tenth grade this year. All of this from a child that had failed third grade, was on Ritalin for about four and a half years, and was considered to be severely reading impaired as late as the end of seventh grade (June 2004).

And the best news as far as I am concerned is that for the past few years Willy can finally read books, and he reads what he is interested in on his own. He still needs to improve on his spelling, but Willy has come so far these past three years that I am sure he will be able to spell well eventually.

Willy’s change in physical health over the past three years has been no less than miraculous. Willy was only able to bench press sixty pounds about four times in August 2004. At the end of ninth grade last year Willy could bench press 250 lbs., despite only weighing 151 lbs. himself. Willy now weighs about 175 lbs. and is only sixteen years old, but he can bench press 300 lbs., leg press 400 lbs. over 25 times, do one arm pull-ups, and do twenty five or more sit ups “uphill” on an inclined bench with a fifty pound plate on his chest (he tells me that no one that goes to his health club can do this). Willy recently won an informal weightlifting contest at the health club he attends in New Hartford, a contest in which he was competing with some persons that were both much older and much heavier than himself. In essence, Willy went from almost the weakest child in his class three years ago, to one of the strongest young men in his entire school, and he did so on his own, without any parental pushing at all.

Despite Willy having mood swings and classic bipolar symptoms throughout most of his childhood, beginning at six years of age, Willy is now “rock solid mood stable”… and he will almost certainly be so throughout the rest of his natural life. Willy simply knows far too much about “how to cure himself”, and how to remain very healthy, to ever suffer from “bipolar” mood swings again.

Willy’s amazing turnaround in both physical and mental health began on a camping trip in the Adirondacks three years ago. On this trip I had brought over $500. worth of nutritional supplements with me as a result of Willy having repeatedly expressed an interest to take them. Willy had told me for months prior to this camping trip that “I want to get better the way you got better”, even though he knew his mother (my ex-wife) was adamant against the use of such. (I am a non-custodial father, and I have no legal right to intervene with Willy’s health care decisions. However, when Willy began to ask for my help in 2004, despite what the law said, as a father I really had no choice but to help my son.)

When I began to tell Willy on this camping trip that “you should take these supplements in the morning, these at lunch, and these at dinner”, Willy immediately said “No way! I have to hide all of this from Mom. Dad, I can only sneak in supplements once a day.” So I did something very unusual, which was to combine over 60 capsules or tablets of nutritional and natural supplements in a plastic baggie for Willy to take all at once. I also gave him a bottle of probiotics to take on the side. (Willy was only thirteen years old when he first began to supplement himself in this way.)

About five months after Willy began to apply nutritional and natural supplements to himself at home, “we” got caught. In December 2004 I was asked to attend a meeting at New Hartford Junior High School in which I had to admit to my ex-wife and to some school officials what Willy and I had been doing. Thankfully, Willy had already come so far in his recovery that my ex-wife wisely relented her stance against the use of nutritional supplements. At this point she let Willy and I continue to work together without interference.

Although Willy said he felt great for about four days from the very first baggie of supplements that he took, I never thought Willy would come as far as he has from such a simple to implement approach involving a wide range of nutritional supplements taken all at once every other day or so, with some vitamins, digestive enzymes, probiotics, etc. taken in between. I sure was wrong in this assumption, as Willy’s recovery these past three years has been rather substantial, to say the least. He just keeps getting healthier and stronger month after month, and he has no symptoms of either ADHD or bipolar disorder whatsoever. Willy is simply a happy and contented young man, and one that tries his best at all times.

I first discovered the wisdom of alternative medicine in the summer of 1997. As a result of this, Willy did have laboratory tests taken of his mineral and amino acid levels (www.metametrix.com) in the fall of 1997. Dr. Charles Gant, an alternative doctor, administered these tests. The test results showed that Willy was low in all essential minerals tested, with the exception of copper, which he was high in. They also showed that Willy was low across the entire amino acid range.

Unfortunately, Willy’s pediatrician, a conventional medical doctor, totally ignored the abovementioned test results of many essential nutrient levels. These test results were not acted upon for almost seven years, until Willy began to supplement himself in August of 2004.

Sadly, essential nutrient levels simply don’t matter at all to the conventional medical system and conventional medical doctors in the United States. By FDA mandate (law), ONLY A DRUG can be used to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are not drugs. Doctors actually face being brought up on charges before a medical review board, and the potential loss of their license to practice medicine, if they effectively address nutrient deficiencies in ADHD children rather than use drugs (such as Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, etc.). In addition to this, doctors cannot make money by prescribing nutritional supplements, as any member of the public can simply buy what they need off of the Internet or in a health food store.

The sad truth is that pharmaceutical money controls and directs medical reality. As a result of this doctors continue to treat serious nutrient deficient states (such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism, etc.) in persons with drugs. These drugs never actually cure such illnesses, but only mask (hide) one’s symptoms. Doctors and medical researchers continue to ignore the fact the therapeutic use of nutrients and other natural measures can cure people of ADHD and bipolar disorder (the anecdotal evidence is absolutely overwhelming in these regards). Only drugs matter and essential nutrient levels don’t matter at all. This is how backward (corrupt?) the conventional medical system in the U.S. actually is.

The use of nutrients to deal with ADHD and bipolar disorder is only common sense. Early on in his recovery I taught Willy the basics of the human body as follows: if one takes the water out of an average human body, the remainder by weight would be about 70% amino acids, 20% fats, 5% minerals, and a small amount of vitamins and toxins. I also taught Willy that there are roughly 100 known neurotransmitters, and that 99 of these are primarily amino acid based, with various vitamins and minerals often needed in their production. From my own experience, I knew that supplementing with vitamins, minerals, and broad based free form amino acids readily increases almost all neurotransmitters. Increasing neurotransmitter levels can have a profoundly positive effect on mood, brain function, and brain performance.

The single neurotransmitter that is not amino acid based is a major neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. I had also learned in my recovery that acetylcholine in my brain could be rather readily increased by supplementing with the nutrient combination of phosphatidyl choline and L-carnitine (in addition to other supplements that he would be taking). I told Willy that the nutrient combination of L-carnitine and phosphatidyl choline would probably slow his brain way down, such that he could focus much better and not be hyperactive (it did just this for Willy, just as it did for me).

There are only four classes of essential nutrients; vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Willy’s baggie contained them all. In loading Willy’s baggie, I used a quality multi-vitamin/multi-mineral tablet readily available in many health food stores, or on the Internet. To this I added more vitamin B complex, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, as I felt this tablet just did not have enough for Willy’s needs. I also used broad based “good oils”, to include capsules containing coconut, fish, cod liver, flax, borage, evening primrose, and olive oil. And to cover the last class of essential nutrients, I added over twenty capsules of free form amino acids that covered the entire amino acid range, as I had found these so incredibly helpful in overcoming bipolar disorder in myself. (Twenty capsules of amino acids may seem excessive to some people, but this equates to only 10 grams of protein, or about an egg and a half’s worth.)

In addition to supplementing Willy with the entire range of essential nutrients, to his baggie I added the “supergreens” of chlorella, spirulina, and super blue-green algae (we humans just don’t eat enough greens, like chimpanzees do), quercetin (a food allergy mediator), L-carnitine and phosphatidyl choline (to cover the key neurotransmitter amino acids miss), milk thistle (a detoxification aid), grape seed extract (an antioxidant found helpful for ADHD), and some powerful digestive enzymes (all persons diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder lack digestive enzymes, at least some of the time). Essentially I took every supplement that I had found to be helpful to me in overcoming manic depression in myself, and combined them in a baggie for my son, hoping for the best. I could not be more pleased with the results, nor can Willy.

Malabsorption was the reason why Willy was so deficient in essential nutrients, such that he lacked health and his brain “did not work quite right”. I taught Willy that the use of supplements is not the whole story as far as his recovery was concerned. “It is not just what you eat, or what you supplement with, it is what you digest and absorb into your body that is important”. Many essential nutrients simply get pooped out into the toilet a day or two later in persons that are absorbing well, and I told Willy that he was one of these persons, just as I was for years until I discovered the wisdom of alternative medicine and how to fix malabsorption in myself.

Alternative medicine has done a great job over the years in identifying the common factors that cause essential nutrient malabsorption in ADHD children. Dr. Doris Rapp and Dr. William Crook are two notable pioneers in this regard. Both of these doctors identified hidden food allergies and candida (a common problematic yeast in the gut) as being two of the largest factors underlying nutrient malabsorption in ADHD kids. They taught us that malabsorption due to unrecognized hidden food allergies and candida is actually the cause of ADHD in most children that receive this diagnosis. I found in my own recovery that the resolution of hidden food allergies and candida applies rather heavily to the correction (cure) of bipolar disorder as well.

On the critical issue of hidden food allergy, I taught Willy what to look for in regard to food allergens, and he has learned how to identify and at least partially avoid a number of food allergens in himself. Eggs seem to be Willy’s most serious allergen, as they are mine. Willy does not drink milk, he knows that he reacts negatively to popcorn, pizza, ice cream, and he avoids sugar, for the most part. He also eats more fresh fruits and vegetables than most children his age. A bit surprising to me is that Willy tested allergic (www.metametrix.com again) to both wheat and dairy in 1997, yet he has remarkably recovered despite not strictly avoiding these foods. Willy tells me that his baggie of synergistic nutrients has helped to reduce his food allergy reactions. He also tells me that eating a few apples or other fibrous food helps to clear out his gut after he eats allergic foods. However, Willy knows that he is wise to avoid certain foods, or he will pay a price for a little while in not feeling that well.

Willy was chronically constipated as a child, and sometimes severely so. Constipation is strongly indicative of a low amount of good gut bacteria known as probiotics. Probiotics are scientifically known to be absolutely necessary for human health. An adequate amount of probiotics (and over 95% of people are woefully inadequate in this regard) are also known to be necessary in order to keep candida, a yeast which is present in everyone to some degree, from overgrowing in the gut such that it eventually becomes problematic to one’s health.

I gave Willy various probiotics over the past three years, starting with the best I knew of (Primal Defense Ultra), and then switching to various others due to its cost. I continually harped to Willy about the critical importance of probiotics in order for him to recover. I told him repeatedly that supplementing with probiotics daily was almost as important as taking all of the supplements in his whole baggie. I also told Willy that that he should dose up slowly with probiotics (to avoid a die off reaction) to the point he was having at least one good sized bowel movement a day (and that two would be even better).

[Perhaps worthy to mention here is that a double blind study in regard to the use of probiotics by autistic children collapsed last summer due to the fact that parents refused to give their children placebos vs. probiotics, and pulled their kids out of the study, when they saw how much that probiotics had improved the autistic children that were receiving them. This study, one in which the major media in the U.S. was strangely silent on, was done by Glenn Gibson in the UK. (see http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=1308572006)]

Incidentally, probiotics are killed by antibiotics. Willy had multiple rounds of antibiotics for ear infections as a child. Antibiotic use almost certainly caused Willy to have low probiotic levels in his gut, as well as high candida levels (one heavily relates to the other). It is inevitable (inevitable because it is the truth) that antibiotic use will be found to be a common contributory causative factor of ADHD, bipolar disorder, and autism. This is a situation that the current medical model virtually has to turn a blind eye to and completely ignore… due to the likelihood of a massive class action lawsuit against it some day, once the facts that (1) antibiotics decimate probiotics, and (2) probiotics are critical to maintaining human health (both mental and physical health) become much more widely known.

In general, Willy’s recovery was comprised of three basic parts: (1) Apply a wide array of nutrients that may be lacking (as his lab tests in 1997 showed), (2) while resolving all common factors that block such nutrients from adequately arriving into the body (hidden food allergies, low levels of probiotics in the gut, candida, a lack of digestive enzymes, underhydration, a lack of exercise such as walking, etc.) at the same time… and then (3) let God/Nature/the wisdom of the body (whatever term you prefer) do the rest, as far as healing is concerned.

It certainly appears that, in a very big way, the brain is simply “a secondary target organ” to “primary gut events”. Heal the gut of any problems it may have, avoid hidden food allergens, take in an adequate amount of essential nutrition in food and supplement form, and the brain will invariably follow suit (heal as well). This general principal not only seems to apply to the brain, it seems to apply to every other organ and cell in the body as well.

As well as Willy has become in the past few years, he continues to strive for more. A few months ago, I suggested to Willy that he should try a detoxification substance called zeolite to remove some of the deep toxins that may still reside in his body and brain, as the result of being chemically compromised for so many years as a child (a lack of nutrients leads to weakened detoxification ability, as all detoxification pathways in the body and the brain are 100% nutrient dependent). Willy has been slowly dosing up with zeolite drops these past few months, and reports to me that “this is real good stuff”. Not only has it cleared up some acne issues he had, he feels somewhat better from taking it (which means it is very likely to be removing some toxins that still resided in him).

Other than my own personal experience, the knowledge that I used to help my son came out of books written by Dr. Sherry Rogers (www.prestigepublishing.com, “Depression Cured At Last”, “No More Heartburn” – two “must reads”, etc.), Dr. Doris Rapp, Dr. Jeffrey Bland, Dr. William Crook, Dr. Priscilla Slagle – a free “must read” ebook called “The Way Up From Down”, and a very good beginning at conceptual understanding despite its being a bit out-of date, at www.thewayup.com, Jordan Rubin, Bernard Jensen, and others. I cannot thank these and other alternative medical authors enough; first they saved me from over thirty years of bipolar symptoms, and then they saved my son from a severe lack of health. (I cannot recommend enough that you read at least one book from all of the authors mentioned.)

Lastly, Willy, I would like to say a few words to you. You have taught the whole world something very significant about health, and about health recovery. Perhaps some day the world will have the wisdom to thank you for what you did to cure yourself, beginning at age thirteen. And son, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Not only did you teach me a great deal, the baggie of nutrients that you insisted upon three years ago has greatly simplified my own chemical correction… and for the past few years it has profoundly helped me.

And Willy, it appears that your baggie of synergistic nutrients, in one form or another (as it becomes refined by others), when coupled with an adequate degree of “gut correction”, may be destined to help millions of people some day. (Willy and I believe that the very broad based and adequately balanced nutrient approach that we are using would help many people that suffer from depression. This is especially true after Willy’s baggie, some raw vegetable juice, and some allergic food avoidance got a person receiving ECT treatments for depression to immediately cease ECT. This person became substantially better from a longstanding depressive state in only a single day!, a timeframe similar to that in which the baggie helps me.)

Allen Darman

email: allen_dar@yahoo.com


27 thoughts on “Willy’s Three Year ADHD/Bipolar Recovery Story (August 2007)

  1. Thank you so much for posting your son’s experience and for giving such hope. I am going through a very similar experience although what I am suspecting is ODD and not bipolar. It is another disorder that is co-morbid with ADHD. I have been looking at Dr Natasha McBride’s book about Gut Psychology. I think I can learn a lot from you about the way you helped your son to help my son. I will try contacting you through your email soon. Thank you very much again and all the best for future.

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  3. Dear Allen

    your thorough and well written diary of your son’s healing journey is a testiment to what I have believed and understood from friends who practice this type of life style.

    My daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD, and defiance dissorder. I realized it myself from an early age as her behavior was not normal.
    Her father and grandfather suffered from both and as well bi polar disorder.

    She has had typical therepies for years and I am frustrated by attempts to discuss nutrition and missing levels of nutrients with her various doctors who are unwilling to listen or believe testimonials. My daughter is 10 (has been taking various drugs for five years and is not improving, in fact is exhibiting a more bi polar reaction the older she gets. I have been unable to get her diagnosed for bi polar however she is exhibiting about 98% of the listed symptoms. All the doctors thus far say it’s too early to tell and just ply her with the regular known stimulants. She also had a weight issue and dislike for eating, so much so that she was about 35 pounds under weight for her height which was quite tall. It was first believed that she had a wheat and gluten alergy as she is also constipated however it turned out not to be the case, although now I will check if that test checked for Candida. As well, when she takes any kind of stimulant she can improve and excel (highest level and above high average for Woodcock Johnson tests, so without them she is in decline at school and at home is up and down and out of control with when she is in a manic episode. I notice she is worst in the mornings and evenings when the drug wears off or before eating. I took her off the vivance (best drug for better focus and behavor results but worse for effects of lack of appetite) and have recently substituted with the non stimulant Intuive. Her appetite has improved, now she is obsessed with eating, food products and cooking and has gained 25 pounds in a month. it is an improvment but her behavoral issues have increased.
    I would eventually like to wean her off the medication and work on what you suggest.

    I am confused about two things. First of all how did you arrive at the amounts of each drug to buy? Also how did you arrive at which suppliment brands to buy? was it trial and error?
    Also how does one afford such a therepy? I know it sounds strange but the amount of suppliments you are suggesting must cost many hundreds of dollars a month or more, more like maybe 4-500 per month? If one is on a limited budget and or is obviously not covered for them how do financially strapped people who want to do the right thing as you suggest actaually do it? I also am finding it hard to find doctors in my area of NJ that will use any diagnostic tools along these lines that specialize with people having these chemical imbalences in their bodies.

    I am also suggeting as my daughter’s family history suggests that in some cases genetics plays a role in symptoms, not saying she lacks the amino acids and other items you are saying but it’s clear her pattern stems from her family history.

    If you can tell me about how you figured out the amounts of pills and how many in all he is taking at one go? Is there any way to use a powder and not have a kid swallow that many suppliments? I’m not sure in reality a kid that is agressive and defiant will take to it easily.


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