Last summer I stumbled upon the work of Dr. William Walsh of the Walsh Research Institute, when he was interviewed by Dave Asprey on the Bulletproof Podcast. I was instantly struck with Dr. Walsh’s character; his authenticity, accessibility and humanitarian stance, as well as the groundbreaking scientific work that he has been doing for more than 30 years. He is the founder of The Walsh Research Institute, whose mission has been to “bring the benefits of advanced biochemical therapy to millions of persons challenged by ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, clinical depression, behavior disorders, autism, and neurodegenerative disorders, conduct research studies into a range of mental disorders and train doctors around the world in advanced, drug-free biochemical treatment of these disorders.”
When Dr. Walsh mentioned a training that he would be hosting for physicians in Chicago in October 2014, I immediately resolved to go and learn from him.
Just as Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride was way ahead of her time, this is equally true of Dr. Walsh. Long before the mainstream media began to regularly report on the human micro biome, Dr. Natasha had developed the GAPS Healing Protocol, which is based upon the recognition of the primacy of the role of gut flora in autism, brain disorders and general immunity. I believe that Dr. Walsh’s treatment approach, which targets biochemical individuality and uses natural substances to correct imbalances, is the future direction of psychiatry. He actually just did a presentation at a recent meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, where his talk was well received and generated a great deal of interest.
Current conventional psychiatric practice, with its reliance on chemical pharmaceuticals and disregard for biochemical individuality, is in comparison, very primitive. Listening to Dr. Walsh, I felt inspired in the same way as I did when I attended the GAPS Practitioner Training with Dr. Natasha in 2011. It was clear to me that I was again in the presence of a courageous and brilliant pioneer. Dr. Walsh’s treatment approach will enable me to individualize treatments to a greater degree, and to incorporate natural nutrient therapies to help my patients, making it possible for more of them to avoid medications. When medications remain necessary, lower the dosages will often be sufficient, which reduces side effects. I am also excited about doing the laboratory studies on myself and identifying and treating my own imbalances. I am always my own best guinea pig.
This summer when I read Dr. Walsh’s book, Nutrient Power, I was very disappointed that treatment protocols were not included. Dr. Walsh does not want the reader to try this at home. My initial response was that this reflected a patronizing distrust of the patient; that only doctors can do this. But I changed my mind over the course of the conference. Walsh’s approach is intricate and sophisticated, and though all the nutrients are natural substances , they are extremely powerful and can do a lot of damage if not administered properly. It is truly complicated, and it was a real challenge during the training to wrap my mind around the complexities of this approach. One of Dr. Walsh’s collaborators, Dr. Albert Mensah, who also taught at the training, stated that he believes that it takes about four years to gain facility with the method. Dr. Mensah has a practice in the Chicago area, Mensah Medical, in partnership with Dr. Judith Bowman. Their website contains much useful information, including a great video library.
Here is one example of what I admire about Dr. Walsh’s work: Mainstream psychiatry treats depression as though it were single entity, essentially a serotonin deficiency condition. The first line conventional treatment for depression are medications which inhibit the re-uptake of serotonin (SSRI’s), such as Prozac. It’s essentially one size fits all. Dr. Walsh has a database of 300,000 chemical analyses of blood and 2,800 of urine and has determined that depressed persons can be classified into five major chemical classifications or biotypes. Separate nutrient therapy protocols have been developed for each of the depression biotypes. This classification explains why some people respond well and others terribly to the same medication.
Depressed persons with one of the subtypes characterized by folate deficiency, experience worsening depression and become violent after starting SSRIs. Dr. Walsh stated that there have been about 50 school shootings since the advent of Prozac in 1988, and that 40 of the perpetrators were taking SSRI’s.
Dr. Walsh has studied 10,000 violent children and adults, and noted that most of them exhibited troubles before the age of 5. In contrast, the school shooters were pretty good students until about the age of 14 or 15, when they developed anxiety and depression, were started on an SSRI, and then became violent. He believes that this is likely a very nasty effect of SSRIs in some young males with the folate deficiency depression biotype.
This is a quote from Nutrient Power, ” The school shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech were carried out by students who had begun taking SSRI antidepressants. The FDA has mandated that prescriptions for SSRIs contain a warning that “anti-depressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior.” It seems likely that person with the low-folate biotype are especially vulnerable to this medication side effect. I recommend that psychiatrists perform simple blood tests prior to initiating SSRI therapy in order to identify low-folate individuals who are at risk for adverse side effects.” This makes a lot of sense, right?
Dr. Walsh contends that it’s simply not possible to eat the amounts of food necessary to correct inherited or acquired biochemical imbalances that are correlated with many psychiatric conditions, though you can exacerbate the condition with the wrong diet.
Individualized nutrient therapy is another powerful arrow in my healing quiver, which includes therapeutic conversation, nutrition and life style recommendations which support immunity, mind-body and energetic approaches.
Here is Asprey’s interview with Dr. Walsh: