Optimizing Brain Functioning with the WALSH PROTOCOL
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT
It is commonly known that our diet has a significant effect on our growth and overall health of our body. Classic examples of this are seen with life threatening food allergies from such foods as dairy, gluten and nuts when one gets inflammatory reactions of hives and restriction of breathing.
What is grossly underappreciated is the effect of one’s diet on our brain, mood, and consciousness.
Though typically the reactions in the brain and central nervous system are not life threatening, they certainly affect ones quality of life in a multitude of profound ways. I regularly see such food sensitivities show up as attention deficient, anxiousness, brain fog, and sleepiness. When these symptoms go unnoticed for years, individuals suffer in their ability to learn, stay attentive, focus, along with memory impairment in various school, work, and social inter-reactions. Over time, this not surprisingly affects not only one’s self image, but one’s ability to advance scholastically and at the work place.
In a simplistic way, I put foods into two categories: “God’s natural foods” and “man’s processed foods.” Whereas, “God’s foods” are made for our health and wellbeing; “man’s foods” are made for our taste and convenience. One could certainly argue that taste and convenience certainly don’t make up for the amount of disease and mental compromise “man’s foods” cause over one’s lifetime.
THE GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION
Increasingly over the years, we are continually learning more and more about how interconnected our body is. Certainly, the similarity of chemistry and the interrelationship between the gut and brain best highlights this. Both the gut and brain have a robust immune system, similar neurotransmitters, and a protective barrier that protects from becoming infected and controls absorption. Furthermore, though we think of our intellectual thoughts coming from our brain it is most interesting that we often go with our “gut instincts” for making the major decisions of our life!
FACTORS EFFECTING DIGESTION
By far, the most important factor of digestion relates to the quality of the food choices we make. These food choices affect the type of micro-organisms we grow, the type of waste products they produce, and the ability to maintain optimal health, or continually be in an overall health deficient which we call disease. Another factor to consider is that one of our first levels of defense to the outside world relates to the quality of microorganisms in our gut as well as the integrity of the walls of the gut to control what nutrients we absorb and avoid foreign organism’s entrance into our body. The size and anatomical position of the spleen organ is a good example of our immune defense which literally has the potential backup support equal to that which is present in the gut. Essentially, microorganisms due to excess sugar in one’s diet, food left in the refrigerator to long, food poisoning, or parasites are potential ongoing threats that causes inflammation which causes gaps in our gut wall lining creating a “leaky gut” which can overwhelm our immune system and overall health.
FACTORS EFFECTING OUR BRAIN
Although, most people realize that food sensitivities can cause serious health problems, few people realize how much food sensitivities affect one’s thinking process. Anyone, who gets regularly sleepy after a meal is either experiencing a reaction to excess consumption of sugar/carbohydrate or a food sensitivity/intolerance to something they ate. For many more people the reaction presents as problems with learning and concentrating on a task. In my patients, I have also seen a correlation with food sensitivities and dreams, nightmares, or lack of restful sleep. For these patients with sleep problems I suggest doing a dinner-sleep journal to help pinpoint foods they might be sensitive to. Many patients also like to do an IgG food sensitivity panel that helps give insight not only to individual food items, but also spices and the ability to consider the effects of food combinations. When one consumes multiple foods that they are sensitive to the symptoms typically are markedly worse than when an individual item is consumed. Typical examples are bakery goods which contain the common allergens of dairy and gluten.
THE WALSH PROTOCOL-metabolic solutions
The Walsh Protocol builds on the original research and treatment approaches of Carl Pfeiffer M.D., who in the 1970’s pioneered the use of selected vitamins and minerals to optimize brain functioning. Dr. Pfeiffer found that by restoring the proper balance of nutrients through diet, detoxification therapies, and selective nutritional supplementation, he was able to significantly improve the brain function of individuals suffering from such conditions as hyperactivity to schizophrenia. William Walsh PhD. has continued and expanded the research and treatment of Dr. Pfeiffer, through the teaching of physicians across the country helping patients to have improved health with conditions from ADHD to Alzheimer’s disease.
The Walsh Protocol starts with a thorough history, tailored laboratory testing related to any suspected health concerns such as any toxic exposure, hormone or nutrient imbalances that might affect brain chemistry. Patients are coached to help improve their dietary intake along with nutritional replacement of any imbalances found from lab testing. Additionally, it is important to optimize the treatment of any other health conditions the patient might be suffering from. Initially, it is most important to do retesting of any out of balance findings initially every 1 to 3 months and when more stable, every 4 to 6 months, for optimal health improvement.
CRANIAL-SACRAL THERAPY-musculoskeletal solutions
Cranial- Sacral Therapy is based on the research and development of William Garner Sutherland D.O. a student of Andrew Taylor Still D.O. the founder of Osteopathic Medicine. As a student, Dr. Sutherland was intrigued by the anatomy of the human skull-observing that its formation consisted of 22 boney plates with saw-like edges giving an appearance of motion between the boney plates. With Dr. Still’s encouragement and spending over 20 years of research, Dr. Sutherland started teaching other physicians how to release restrictions that he often found formed between the boney plates. He found that such boney restrictions interfered with spinal fluid circulation, blood and sinus drainage causing various neurological symptoms.
Restrictions of these boney plates typically occur from various forms of trauma. At birth, the cartilage plates of the baby’s skull can get restricted from prolonged passage and pressure though the birth canal producing such findings as irregularity in the shape of the infants head. This causes increased irritability, challenges with breast feeding, tightness of the neck muscles, and later frequent ear infections. Children, as well as adults, suffer through many accidents, falls, sports injuries, or motor vehicle accidents which often cause one to experience a concussion. Multiple head injuries and concussions have a multiplying effect that have far more effect on brain functioning than the more obvious symptoms of headache or chronic sinus congestion. Effects on brain function can include: hyperactivity, challenges with vision, concentration, coordination, and memory, depending on which boney plates are being restricted.
Another area that visibly gets effected is the alignment of one’s teeth. I look at our mouth as the “picture window” of our head in that if the boney plates are out of alignment so too will be the teeth. And then there are the complaints of TMJ, dizziness, vertigo, chronic neck pain, and migraines which are all affected from mal-alignment of the cranial bones.
By now you probably can see why I refer to Cranial- Sacral Therapy as non-surgical Neurology for substantial improvement can be done for all these conditions without drugs or surgery. Whenever a patient presents with one or more of the above conditions I will recommend an initial trial of 6 to 10 Cranial-Sacral therapy sessions- ideally done every week or two to evaluate for improvement. Any history of trauma, especially after suffering one or more concussions will have the biggest negative affect on one’s brain functioning.
HOLISTIC APPROACH for OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE
The Osteopathic Approach to Health Care considers the whole person- body, mind, & spirit. To this end therapeutic approaches necessarily need to address all three of these areas namely through: physical medicine, nutritional medicine, and psychological medicine tailored to one’s individual needs. I am continually impressed how much improvement can be made when all these areas are addressed by a motivated patient and a compassionate physician. I find that nothing of any importance comes without effort. The journey provides learning, and the outcome leads to the blessings of optimal health. Are YOU interested in participating in your health journey? If so, call my office and set up an appointment.