Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mental Health & Nutrition Part A

Perhaps nothing is more disturbing than seeing a loved one experience the symptoms of mental illness. In this months’ edition, I would like to share Anthony Stephan’s passionate search to find a cure for his families’ mental health problems. DE

Not satisfied with standard treatments
Anthony Stephan is a hero to both his family and to thousands who have benefited from his efforts. Stephan not only lost his wife to mental illness (she committed suicide) but he also saw two of his children develop symptoms of mental illness as well. His daughter Autumn began acting erratically and experienced hallucinations. His son Joe experienced symptoms of his mother’s manic-depression (alternating depression with bouts of hostility, high energy and impulsive acts). The drugs used to control their symptoms caused them to experience side effects such as fatigue, gain weight and feeling indifferent.

Anthony Stephan was not happy with the standard approaches to mental illness which rely heavily on drugs. As Stephan began his quest for a better approach, he read medical books and searched the internet for answers. Stephan shared his concerns about his family with his friend David Hardy. David listened to the symptoms and commented that it sounded like a disease he had seen in pigs known as “ear-and-tail-biting syndrome.” David described the pig condition as one in which the pigs “become hyper-irritable, hyperactive, and they'll actually kill one another, or tear off an ear or a tail, if it doesn't stop.”

A breakthrough for bipolar disorder
David was a former high school biology teacher who was now making his living formulating and selling pig feed. He explained how a mixture of minerals in precise ratios was useful in correcting “ear-and-tail-biting syndrome.” Since the treatment sounded safe, Stephan decided to try it on Joe and Autumn.

While the results of the initial formula were very limited, Stephan and Hardy kept working and they came up with a formulation which actually normalized his son’s behavior. Joe was able to go off all his medications within a few days. His daughter was able to wean off and stay off her 5 psychiatric medications.

The Medical Community takes Interest
Anthony Stephan and his friend David Hardy worked on many revisions of the formula. After treating 100 volunteer patients, Mr. Stephan approached scientists at the University of Calgary, who began testing the pill.

"I was skeptical at the outset of this study," said Dr. Bonnie Kaplan, the principal investigator "However, the results are quite striking." In most cases, the supplement has entirely replaced psychoactive drugs and the patients have remained well, Dr. Kaplan said.

She found that 80 percent of the participants in her uncontrolled trial showed a significant reduction in symptoms, and half of those (40 percent) were able to discontinue all psychiatric medications within the first six weeks.

The key findings of this supplement are:

1. 80 percent have significant results (over 3,000 have used it)
2. Psychiatric medications seem to slow effectiveness. Those starting the supplements while not taking psychiatric medications often saw results within 5 days. Being on the medications typically slows the results.
3. When the supplements are added to psychiatric medications, the side effects of the medications often worsen. Adding this product requires the dose of medications to be lowered. Therefore, if you are taking medications you must work with your doctor before using this product. You should not do this on your own.

In Canada, Dr. Kaplan published the positive results of her preliminary uncontrolled study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

In the U.S., Dr. Charles Popper, a specialist in psychopharmacology from Harvard Medical School heard of these results and assumed the claims were being overstated. He reluctantly shared the product with a colleague for use on his 10 year old son with bipolar related tantrums. The results amazed Dr. Popper. Dr. Popper then tried the supplement formula in 22 other bipolar patients (10 adults, nine adolescents, and three more children). He found 86 percent showed a positive response to the supplement and 73 percent were able to gradually get off their medications.

Dr. Popper is careful to point out that when the supplement works, it’s a control, not a cure, and that going off it leads to relapse.

Opposition to Natural Solutions
Sadly, as we have seen in the US, the Canadian drug regulators are biased against natural products. The Canadian government launched a legal battle against those who smuggled the product into Canada despite a ban. During the trial, the evidence of effectiveness was presented by highly credible researchers such as Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Charles Popper. In the end, the judge ruled that those using the product were not guilty of any wrong doing and were well justified in using the product.

What is this Product?
I need to repeat that if you are currently taking psychiatric medications or high-dose lithium (not low dose supplemental lithium such as Lithate) it is critical that you work with a physician if you want to try this alternative supplement. This formula can increase the side effects of these medications and you will need help to safely see if you can wean off medications.
The supplement is called Empowerplus®— you can learn more about it at www.truehope.com.
You can read about the various ingredients. The exact amounts of some of them are proprietary.
To order, I suggest you go through Dr. Jonathan Wright’s Tahoma Clinic Dispensary http://www.tahomadispensary.com/istar.asp?a=29&search=empowerplus

Additional Mental Health Applications
Empowerplus® has been used primarily to control the symptoms of bipolar disease but it appears to contain the nutrients that are key to help correct many mental health problems. In very preliminary research from the University of Calgary, Empowerplus has been found useful in controlling mental symptoms in two children diagnosed with atypical obsessive- compulsive disorder and pervasive developmental delay. 9 of 11 children variously diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Asperger syndrome, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), Prader-Willi Syndrome depression, anxiety, and rage, compulsive disorder (OCD), Asperger syndrome, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), Prader-Willi Syndrome depression, anxiety, and rage also saw improvement.

Bottom line

We are learning more and more about the fundamental factors which are behind mental disorders. I would like to see more studies on this product so that we can gain a better understanding of exactly how these nutrients help. Empowerplus is the newest natural tool I have found for promoting mental health. Please remember that those already taking psychiatric medications should work with their doctor before using this supplement.

Next month, I will cover several other supplements that I have used with very good results. I will focus on two common conditions - depression and anxiety.