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Is Mental Illness Preventable?








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 This page is under construction,starting Sep 12,2007

I hate to say this but I am unhappy with psychiatrists. I am a family doctor in Dublin,Ireland, but I believe that the current standard treatment for schizophrenia in most countries is either bad or very bad. Most of these human beings never achieve their full potential. Yet for over 50 years information has been available from certain doctors and scientists, especially in Canada and the US, which has opened the possibility of many of these people making a good recovery. By that I mean holding down a decent job and having a reasonable  quality of life. By now I am becoming quite used to about half of these  people doing fairly well and it is very satisfying to see it happen. I get best results in young people where a parent or sibling comes along with them and ensures that they continue their medication as well as the nutrients that I will recommend. The worst prognosis is in those over 60 who have no support system and who have a problem with alcohol. In this case I can do nothing for them.I can do nothing too for those in whom I find no biochemical abnormality-this comprises less than 10% of those I see and the other cases I see who do not do well are usually non-compliant with the  nutrients and usually non-compliant with the medication too in most cases. Some people come expecting me to cure them but that I cannot do and if they stop taking the nutrients they will be back to square one in a few weeks. I get better  results from those who come from the city in which I live-Dublin- but I see patients from far away too. I really need to follow them up for about a year for them  to get the maximum possible benefit from nutrition.They need to continuue their medication too if they have a history of psychosis.

What is schizophrenia? It is a term used to describe losing contact with reality,usually starting in the late teens, but it can start anytime and I have seen it develop long before that. It refers really to certain combinations of biochemical abnormalities which bring this situation about but most psychiatrists never go deep into the subject and prescribe a one variety serves all type of treatment. The commonest type  is what is known as paranoid schizophrenia.The patient develops an idea  that they are being threatened by a situation or persons. One of their main symptoms is that they suffer from auditory hallucinations-they hear a voice or voices- it may be visual too in a small number. Several other types make up the rest. I no longer find these categories satisfactory and prefer instead to divide this condition into differnt types of biochemical disorders.

The brain is a chemical factory and all day long it is making chemicals called neurotransmitters. The raw material for these comes from our food,especially proteins. These are broken down in the gut  into amino acids and asssembled in the brain into over 300 neurotransmiitters. Various vitamins,minerals and essential fatty acids are required too. If we have an  imbalance of these we have what is called oxidative stress. This is an excess of free radicals which causes damage to our brains and can  even kill some of the cells there. We have lots of spare brain cells but prolonged oxidative stress is severely damaging and it can affect other organs too such as the heart and lungs. Vitamins such as vitamin C and E are used to minimise this damage .

Who did this research on the biochemistry of mental illness. One of the first was Professor Roger Williams (1893-1988) of the University of Texas who wrote a book called Biochemical Individuality. This explains  that  every individual has their own particular chemistry/biochemistry and treatment should be based on this factor to get the best result. Standard treatment  of schizophrenia gives most patients an antipsychotic ,such as olanzapine 10-30mg daily-practically the same really for everybody.  In particular I admire the work of Abram Hoffer,MD Ph.D, a Canadian researcher and psychiatrist who discovered in the 1950s that niacin or niacinamde (vitamin B3 ) is actually a pretty potent natural antipsychotic and if used in association with  standard antipsychotics can reduce the psychotic features in almost half of those with schizophrenia and lead in turn to less medication being required. He and a colleague discoverd too  that some 20% of those with schizophrenia have a zinc and B6 deficiency as their main biochemical problem and if they are replaced there can be a rapid recovery. I have seen many of these cases myself and it is a wonderful sight.This condition is known  as pyroluria.Dr Hoffer retired from seeing patients in his mid 80s,not long ago, but still maintains an interest and a passion for helping people to recover.                                                                  

Dr Carl Pfeiffer MD researched the biochemistry of schizophrenia in 16000 patients with schizophrenia and in 4,000 with Bipolar Disorder. He was nominated for a Nobel Prize by Linus Pauling but did not win. He was a very dedicated researcher and fortunately he took on to work with him a scientist from Argonne National Laboratory, a famous American institution. Dr William Walsh Ph.D worked with Dr Pfeiffer for 10 years and set up what is now called the Pfeiffer Center in Chicago ( .  This clinic has run several courses for doctors in Sydney and I was privileged to attend one of them in 2006. Another section of this website has some of Dr Walsh`s views and you can read  some of his Australian presentations at

Let us now look in  detail at the main types of schizophrenia as described by those with a biochemical view of the condition.

Paranoid Schizophrenia is described in nutritional terms as Histapenia. They are low in histamine. Histamine itself is a neurotranmitter but we measure it here because it is a marker for methylation- a bulk chemical  in the form CH3. If the histamine is low we are overmethylated.There is functional overmethylation with overabundance of methyl in the body. People with low histamine tend to be creative,artistic people and also tend to underachieve regardless of their intelligence as a general rule.They often have anxiety,poor motivation,difficulty falling asleep and trouble waking up in the morning. Seasonal allergies are usually absent but they have a tendency to food and chemical sensitivities. Depression is common. Musicians often have low histamine. It only becomes a problem towards the end of the spectrum. It can present as anxiety/depression. Worse still it can show up as bipolar and the most extreme biochemical abnormailties turn up in those with schizophrenia.Almost one in two people with schizophrenia has it-45% in fact. Paranoid ideas and auditory hallucinatiions are the two main features as a general rule. They find it hard to sit still,shuffle around in their seats a lot and are frequently heavy smokers and heavy drinkers. If we were to look at the chemistry of the patient we would find as a general rule low basophils and high copper as well as low histamine.High copper increases the conversion of dopamine to noradrenaline in   the body. Noradrenaline in turn is converted into various chemicals including adrenaline. High  copper then indirectly makes high adrenaline. That is the chemical that was very useful when our ancestors lived in caves and had to fight or flight when a lion came by.High adrenaline causes anxiety and palpitations so it is not surprising that those with high copper  are anxious as  they are making too much adrenaline 24 hours per day.In treating these human beings we will try to reduce the copper and we do this by adding zinc,which in effect competes with copper to find its way through the same pathway in the gut wall into the body. 

On the first page of this website you can now access the slides of Dr William Walsh on the biochemistry of mental illness and the  complemetary treatment that can help so many of them them to a much more satisfying quality of life. I feel really privileged that I have come to know about this type of treatment and as a result have seen hundreds of people whose lives  has been utterly changerd for the better. 


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