WHY and HOW to promote better diets for improving mental health


Thank you for that inspiring talk. Our next
speaker is Bonnie Kaplan. Bonnie Kaplan PhD is a professor emerita in the
Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary in Alberta Canada.
She’s published widely on the biological basis of developmental disorders and
mental health, particularly the contribution of nutrition to brain
development and brain function. Her nutrition related studies have focused
on broad-spectrum micronutrient treatments for mental disorders and the
effect of intrauterine nutrition on brain development and maternal health
and she’s going to speak to us about the importance of nutrition and mental
health. Where is Bonnie Kaplan? This is the equivalent of
sitting on telephone books at the dinner table when I was little. Okay, thank you
very much. What a wonderful audience and I want to thank all the staff and
faculty for putting together a really terrific program I’m very pleased to be
a part of it. So I’m going to talk about something different but possibly related
to the previous presentation. This is a standard disclosure slide. I have no
commercial interest in any company or sale of any product and I also usually
show a disclaimer – I want you to know that I know, (because I know you know) that nutrition isn’t magic. It’s not the be-all and end-all and there are lots of
causes of mental challenges. It’s just that I’m only talking about nutrition.
And also I wanted to mention, I don’t know if Victoria just slipped out of the
room, I thought it was wonderful the way she incorporated the idea of tools
working together that are presented at this meeting in her talk on anxiety
yesterday. That’s how nutrition works, in synergy. So
this is an overview of what I’m going to talk to you about. I’m going to talk
about bad news, then I’m going to give you a little bit of information about
how the brain works, then the good news, and then some practical ideas for you
and your patients and clients. So let’s start off with this. Don’t answer, just
think about this. What do these characteristics resemble? Depression,
hysteria is an old-fashioned term, we might call it mania or anxiety, high
anxiety. Now we might use different term for self-mutilation, self-harm, but I
think if you look through that list, what you see is depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
I’m going to come back to that. This is a study that came out recently about
Canadian data, but I assure you it’s the same in the United States and every
other Western country and it’s shocking. It was a random sample
from a very large group it’s our cross Canada Canadian Community Health Survey
they analyzed the nutrient and caloric intake for Canadians over the age of 2
all the way up to the top and then they divided them according to whether or not
their nutrient intake was from whole foods, various levels of slightly
processed and more processed foods, or what you see on this slide, ultra
processed foods, and half, if you don’t mind me rounding up from 48 percent, half
of the caloric intake of all Canadians is ultra processed food.
That means no nutrients. So what happens to people whose, in other words our
society’s, whose nutrient intake is 50 percent of what it should or could be.
And of course most of this has been happening since World War Two. Well, we
know. We know because of that other slide I showed you. Six months of nutrient
deprivation at a 50 percent level in 36 normal healthy men were reported from a
University of Minnesota’s starvation experiment. They did a lot of starvation
experiments after World War Two when people were let out of the camps and most of them were focused on the GI tract and physical health things, but
somebody did look at mental health and this is what happens: depression, anxiety
and attention problems at 50%. So we’re doing this massive experiment in the
public right now on ourselves and is it any wonder that we have an increase in
these disorders? So we know the mental health impact of cutting nutrient intake.
Now some more bad news. What if even in that 50%, because you’re sitting there
thinking ‘that’s okay, I don’t eat from the lowest level, I eat from whole food’,
which is great, that’s what we have to do, what we should do, but what if even in
that 50% that is not in the lowest level? What if we’re getting fewer minerals and
vitamins than our ancestors did? Time for a little review. Now I know that some of
you know this, but I’ve discovered that a lot of people, it’s kind of like not
thinking about where your beef comes from. You know, it comes in
packages with cellophane or something, right? Plastic wrap around it. We don’t
think about how plants grow unless we have an agricultural background, so
forgive me if this sounds like I’m talking down to you, but it’s just a
little reminder. Plants grow in soil. The soil has, well except I got to wonder
about hydroponics. When I finish this talk, if someone wants to talk about it
knowledgeably, I’d love to hear. Anyway, plants absorb approximately 15 minerals
from the soil, (if the minerals are there), and what do
they do with them? Well, plants are smarter than you and me. We cannot
synthesize vitamins, except a small amount in our gut, a little bit of the B
vitamins, but plants know how to do it. They take those 15 minerals, if they’re
there, and they synthesize a whole bunch of vitamins. So we come along, because we need approximately 30 vitamins and minerals, we come along and we eat the
plants or we eat the animals who have eaten the plants, and if we’re lucky we
get all 30 minerals and vitamins. But if they’re not there, we don’t. So this is
some unpublished data collected in western Canada recently. We had 440 soil assays
that were randomly selected from a larger set of 80 representing all four
Western Canadian provinces, that’s British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan
and Manitoba, and it’s a significant area. It’s 30 percent of the land which is
cultivated in Canada, and you know, just like with lab tests, you have a minimally
accepted level and then you have a level that’s too high for any value that
you’re looking at. We use the Albrecht method which does the same thing for
each individual mineral in the soil and this is what we found. Of course, we would
like to have a hundred percent of the minerals above the lowest level just
like when you’re looking at serum assays and this is what we found. So you might
not be able to read along the bottom, although I’m sure some of you are
following my slides online, but I’ll just read it to you from the left. It’s
calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, boron iron, manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt,
molybdenum, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphate. And what you can see there, I think the
next, yeah, this just shows 50%. Not, I mean, not even fifty percent of them, way
less than that, meet the minimum standards. It just happens in this
distribution of samples magnesium came out looking not too badly. I don’t know
if that would be replicated elsewhere. You cannot conclude from that that
magnesium is good in the soil in any particular area, but overall it clearly
shows we have a problem. So if the minerals aren’t in the soil, and clearly
we have a problem there, then what are our plants using to synthesize our
vitamins? And you’re sitting there thinking ‘that’s okay, I eat organic.’ It
might not be okay. Think about what organic means. It says nothing about
mineral or nutrient density. Organic means pesticide and herbicide free. Now
that’s a good thing. I think we should all try to eat organic and we should
support organic farmers and everything. It just happened that we had two samples
of almost adjacent fields, one organic and one not. So I’ll show you what we
found there. The green bars are the organic fields the blue ones are not and
the low bar is the 50% of ideal and the red bar at the top is the hundred
percent. So once again, really strong evidence for mineral deficiency and it’s
not related to being organic. I was surprised at this because I think
of organic farmers as being better stewards of, pardon me, better
stewards of the soil and they probably are, but it doesn’t show up in this way.
Now is this a problem? I’ve just talked to you about this experiment we’re doing in society. This is a book published by E Fuller Torrey, some of you have probably
heard of him, and Judy Miller in 2001 and on the basis of data prior to 1750
compared to data from 1750 to 1960 they said, ‘oh my G’, except they don’t say it
that way, ‘we have a tripling of mental disorders, the prevalence of mental
illness has tripled, this is an invisible plague’ and that’s what they called their
book. And I wonder, if they wrote another one now, what they would call the over
20%. It’s no longer invisible and what is a stronger word than plague, I don’t
know. So the take-home message from all this bad news is that mental health
problems are epidemic. Do you know someone, would you quickly raise your
hand if someone close to you and I don’t mean a patient or a client, I mean a
loved one, a family member has struggled with, or yourself, struggled with
mental disorders? Okay, isn’t that phenomenal? It’s really close to a
hundred percent and that’s true in every audience that I speak to. Now raise your
hand if conventional psychiatric medication has resolved the problem in
the people you’re thinking of. Ah okay. Three. That’s more, I didn’t mean to be funny,
that’s more than I usually see. It’s usually 0, so I will no longer say you get no one when you do this kind of survey. Okay, 3. Not in 900. So
conventional treatments are not helping enough. I think we can agree on that. If
they were, the rates would be going down. It’s as simple as that. So we’re all
looking elsewhere and now I’m going to turn to the other topic I mentioned. I’m
going to talk to you a little bit about the brain function and here I’m going to
do what your previous speaker said, which is, we should be teaching this in schools.
I should not be teaching it. All of our kids in elementary school should learn
about this. So this is what we all should have been taught: each of us has four to
six litres of blood inside us. One liter of, I’m sorry, quart, same thing,
approximately passing through our brain every minute, and the reasons for that is,
you know, are to bring oxygen and to bring nutrients and to take away waste
products and there are some other immunologic functions too, so it’s
complex, but bringing nutrients to the brain is a really important part of that.
Have you ever wondered why we have evolved to need so many nutrients every
minute? Because that’s a quart of blood in your tiny tiny little brain which is
only two percent, roughly, of your body weight. It’s a real, you know, our brain is
gobbling up, it is metabolically the most active organ, although I think
cardiologists might sometimes say, ‘no, it’s the heart’, but so maybe they’re tied,
but anyway, we are eating primarily to feed our brains and our hearts. So why
have we evolved to need so many nutrients every minute? It comes down to
brain metabolism. Metabolism is, you know, it’s just the transformation of one
compound to another, so if you have ‘chemical a’ you want to convert it to
‘chemical b’ or you want your brain to convert it to chemical b, you have to
have enzymes there, and enzymes have to do the work, but they can’t do the work
unless you have enough cofactors. Cofactors for enzymes, that’s what
vitamins and minerals are doing in the brain and then you can do the
transformation. Now the next couple slides on brain metabolism,
I’ve taught to people as low as sixth grade and whenever I have given a talk and people have given me feedback about my
slides, I’m always told at first they looked at these slides, if they didn’t
have a biochemical background they were daunting and later
they said it’s the only thing I’m gonna remember of what you said. So we’ll see
if that’s true of you. This is an abridged piece of a very very very
complex set of pathways involving serotonin. You can see in red, I’m very
bad with pointers, but okay serotonin oh and I’m pointing in the wrong place,
that’s probably why. I have to point up here. Serotonin, I have a beautiful
presentation in front of me here and tryptophan and melatonin there and red
just because you probably know what they are. The other chemicals on that picture,
you don’t need to know what they are. The point is that every arrow is an
enzymatic reaction and you can go online and you can click on these arrows and
ask the question, ‘what vitamins and minerals, what nutrients are needed to
make that step happen’, and this is what you find. So going from tryptophan to 5-hydroxytryptophan, you need iron
phosphorus and calcium; vitamin b6 there, b6 riboflavin iron there, vitamin b6
there. A lot of people think, ‘oh you have to’ and I heard it said in one of his
talks yesterday, ‘you got to have your B vitamins to convert tryptophan to
serotonin’, but I mean, it’s much more than that, more than B vitamins. If you take a
look, zinc, iron and niacin etc and throughout the entire graph, okay? So the
bottom line is, if you don’t provide a brain with adequate vitamins and
minerals and not just one of them but all of them to cover all of those
pathways, these pathways are sluggish. That is not a DSM diagnosis but that’s
maybe underlying a lot of the DSM diagnoses. We want to optimize brain
function. Hold on. So that was tryptophan. I don’t know why you’re getting a big
red X there, the picture was just a picture of food. Anyway, this graph
was prepared by my colleague Jeni Johnstone who’s in the audience and she
did it in a circular form to do – to look at dopamine. It’s the same thing if you
look at every step along the way, you’ll see a bunch of vitamins and minerals. I
haven’t said anything about omega-3 fatty acids, and of course, I hope you are
eating fish and you are telling your clients to eat fish or getting them onto
a good fish oil kind of supplement, but you might not realize that in order to
get your omega-3, now these are the omega-3 pathways, ok, the metabolic
pathway going down in omega-6 and you do not get this enzymatic activity like the
Delta5-desaturase in the middle, etcetera unless you have what? You’ve got
to have the cofactors present, so for proper metabolism, even of the Omega
threes you must have a lot of vitamins and minerals on board. That’s the
message. Now, knowing that, which vitamin or mineral would you select to optimize
brain health? I know what the funding agencies say. They say, ‘pick one’, because
my colleagues who have tried to get funding in the States for excellent
clinical trials of broad spectrum, 30 vitamins and minerals, get it sent back
saying, ‘wonderful study, wonderful trial, wonderful team, why don’t you pick one of
those nutrients to study?’ So that’s how NIMH works. It’s not how the brain works.
I’ll see more about that later. Yeah, so at any rate, and also, I mean, many of us
in this audience, we all look for magic bullets, don’t we? And we tend to focus on
one or two when we talk about important nutrients for the brain, but I look at
those pathways and I don’t know how we can justify that, so I’m going to move on.
The role of nutrients in the brain is not a mystery. I’ve only talked about
metabolism. These other topics that are also very related, I’m going to be
covering in the workshop this afternoon. That’s a shameless pitch to come to the
workshop that Scott Chan and I are giving, if you’re interested in that. I
need to move on to the good news. So the most important good news is,
and you know this, diet is a modifiable risk factor. When you’re dealing with
your clients, your patients, you cannot go back and get rid of trauma, you cannot
fix some of those families that you just want to reach out and shake, but maybe
you can educate the person in front of you about diet. This whole
conference has been about, so far, about healing and resilience and building on
the other concepts of flourishing, etc, presented here, I want you to think about
nutrition, and in particular, and I’ve been pitching this to a few people
individually, we need to do some studies of pre-treating people with
broad-spectrum micronutrients – minerals and vitamins – and then introducing
therapeutic kinds of interventions, whatever else you’re doing – lifestyle
psychotherapy or whatever, because we hear so many anecdotes of people
coming to us and saying, ‘after I took micronutrients, I could think clearly and
utilize the skills that people had been teaching me and I couldn’t really make
use of that information until then,’ so we need to all work together on these
lifestyle things. But for this talk, I have to provide you with some proof that
nutrient treatment has a beneficial impact. So I’ve already shown you the top
ones and that’s a University of Minnesota study. It’s an important link. I
can go back 2,600 years, but there’s no time here, but I do have that lecture
online if you want an hour of the history of knowing the role of nutrients
and brain function. But for now, we just we know that people who are deprived of
nutrients express more mental health problems. I’m going to talk about these
other three areas, giving you illustrations. So there are at least 15
population health studies showing that the Mediterranean diet results in, and
that’s broadly speaking, Mediterranean/ whole foods diet, lower rates of mood and
anxiety symptoms and our Western diet is associated with higher rates of mood and
anxiety symptoms and these studies are from all over the world, Australia, Spain,
etc. In fact, these studies are coming out so many times now I wish that the
funding agencies would stop funding them because they’re very
expensive to do and we know it already. There are lots of other important things
(you can tell my bias) that we need to study, so I do want to show you, though,
unless there is something novel about it and this is one of my PhD student Karen
Davison showed something I think really important in a correlational study and
that is that you could take about a hundred people with mood disorders and
study their intake over just three days not change their medication, not change
anything else in their life, and literally, in three days, we could see a
relationship between their food intake and their overall mental function, and
nobody was more surprised than me. But these are, this is in your slides I won’t
dwell on it, but this is seven vitamins and seven minerals, the only one that was
not significantly correlated, oops, sorry, not significantly correlated with
overall assessment of functioning with sodium, and of course, why would it be, but
it’s interesting that the minerals, if anything, were slightly more highly
correlated, although all of them were statistically significant and this one,
again, it’s a unique study. It was not done by my group but it was done in
northern Alberta showing as early as the fifth grade, they were able to show a
correlation between the amount, the kind of score on healthy eating and the
amount of worries and sadness that the children reported. What are we doing to
our children? You know, we do need more, I think, more correlational studies in
young children would be worthwhile. Let’s move on to adequacy of diet predicting
the emergence of symptoms. Now there are only a few studies in this area because
it’s very very expensive and hard to do longitudinal prospective research of
this type and I usually use one study as teaching because I think, so some of you
maybe heard me present this before, I think it really illustrates it very well.
This was done in Spain and they used a semi-quantitative food frequency
questionnaire and none of the participants at the beginning had a
diagnosis of a mood or an anxiety problem. That’s really important to
understand. They evaluated their eating for commercial baked goods and fast foods
and put it all together in an unhealthy diet score. So we’re gonna do that here
with some pretend data. So we’re going to pretend that the first three rows are
the people who ate pretty well. Okay, you had a low unhealthy diet score, a good
healthy diet scoring, it’s based on whole foods, okay, and Mediterranean diet. You
folks in the middle, were a medium. You folks over here, in the last three rows
or columns, you ate an awful lot of processed food, so then we sit back and
just watch to see over time who develops depression and this is what they found.
We arbitrarily set your risk at one point oh because there is a baseline
level of depression that would be expected and what we found is that you
folks in the middle really did not differ, okay? You were in 1.02 risk,
not really different, but the people over there are in trouble, and I suggest
you mend your ways, and that was an important finding – that the eating style
preceded emergence of symptoms. But the other important finding is what we
learned from you folks in the middle, which is, it’s okay to eat something
occasionally, okay? You don’t have, I would not be a good purist on any topic in the
world, so I’m very comforted by this. The chocolate dessert last night was
wonderful, okay? If that was for the faculty dinner, I’m sorry the rest of you
didn’t get it, but I’m sure, it was, but I’m sure you had
other wonderful things to eat and I hope you don’t feel guilty about it, as long
as most of the time you are eating whole foods. So I’m not saying, and the data
don’t say, that muffins cause depression. It’s that with every bite, we make a
choice and when we here eat from the rainbow, you know which slide or which
picture, it means. Okay, now the last topic in this part of the talk is that
symptoms can be successfully treated with improved diet and/or nutrient
supplements. I’m not a fan of meta-analysis, for a whole lot of reasons, but there was a recent meta-analysis I thought I should tell
you about published, in Psychosomatic Medicine that they covered about 16
randomized controlled trials, trials of the whole diet approach, and found there
was a signal for a significant benefit of improved diet for depression. So as we
collect more and more data on these whole diet approaches that you know
we’ll get more information on other symptoms. I’m going to show you, I’ve
tried to combine two studies in one slide. The investigators aren’t in the
room, so maybe I don’t have to ask their forgiveness, but it just
happens that they were both done in Australia but by completely separate
teams. I wonder if they hadn’t been in the same country if I would have tried
to combine them, but anyway Falice Jaca and Natalie Parletta
in the same year published whole diet approach and they did it with adults
with major depressive disorder and a poor diet. So they took a group,
in each case they took a group of people with major depression, randomize them to
get either dietary counseling or peer support – now you cannot use a placebo in
this kind of whole diet approach. What would the placebo be? You have to use a
comparator and of course most comparators that you would use it would
be ethical are active comparators and we know peer support is very helpful, but
and what they found, what both studies found, is that people who got dietary
counseling for a Mediterranean kind of whole foods diet did better than those
who were in the peer support, but the next slide shows you, I think,
oh, this is, you know what the Mediterranean diet looks like, okay, but
the combined results of both studies show, on this slide, shows you the result
that I think is the most mind-boggling. It wasn’t a question of getting better,
but eight percent of those who receive peer counseling went into remission, no
longer meeting criteria for major depression, but almost a third, now that’s
from, these numbers are from the smiles trial, almost 1/3 went into
remission as a result of dietary counseling. Has anybody ever heard of an
antidepressant that resulted in, any antidepressant, that
resulted in a 1/3 remission rate? And you know, Doctor Weil yesterday talked about
how the the distance between active and placebo seems to be shrinking over time
and that certainly seems to be the case like they’re satisfied with a three
point difference on a Hamilton depression rating scale and yet it’s the
antidepressants like prozac that get on the cover of Time magazine. When this
came out, I started using it a lot in teaching and I said this should be on
the cover of Time magazine because a one-third remission rate from changing
diet with no side effects, okay, is worthy of note – and replicated immediately by
Parletta’s study – and yet the media does not cover nutrition research unless the
results are negative. I hope you realize that. Have you noticed that? Raise your hand if you’ve noticed that. You read about how nutrients are bad for you and that
kind of thing but you don’t read about any of our positive results on nutrition
and mental health. The other thing is Parletta showed very very clearly is that
those whose diets improved the most showed the most improvement, and by the
way, everyone says, ‘oh, it costs too much to eat that way.’ That is not the case.
You know, it’s expensive to eat chips and and drink pop all the time and some of
the processed foods even that aren’t that egregious, but it’s it can be very
expensive, so the recommended diet was in fact less expensive in the SMILES trial.
Now is there also an argument to be made for nutrients in pill form? I hope so,
because that’s what I’ve spent most of the last 20 years of my life doing. There
are a couple of good reasons. First of all, a good diet might not be sufficient
for optimal brain function. Why is that? Well, one I already showed you and that
is the impoverished nutrient density of our soil. Get out there and talk to
people who are working on – there are lots of good people working on nutrient
density of the soil, if you can be of any help to them, in support of them, you
should do that, but the other thing is individual differences. And we have seen
in our study, so this is anecdotal, but we’ve seen people who seem to eat good
diets and a good diet that’s adequate for
somebody else, might not be for them, because then when they take additional
minerals and vitamins their symptoms get better, so we already know about
individual differences, we should not be surprised, and well, I won’t go any
further into that. At any rate, I just want you to know how I’m going to divide
this next few sets of slides into two things. One is studying people without
diagnoses, people without clinical samples, okay, and in that area
the most underappreciated treatment is b-complex, okay? And actually Victoria
mentioned this yesterday in her anxiety symposium. There are more RCTs even
than you presented, Victoria, showing that b-complex decreases stress and
anxiety in both stressed and non-stressed populations, but if you look at clinical
samples and it’s important you understand, I’ve never seen anybody
in a clinical sample get rid of, you know, bipolar disorder or psychosis or
anything with a b-complex. If you look at clinical samples, then you seem to need
for treatment the broad spectrum, meaning the roughly 30 minerals and vitamins. In
that area, we also have Level A evidence, we have multiple randomized controlled
trials, we have trials with active comparators that are not
placebo controlled, they’re active versus comparator, we have on/off control of
symptoms which you can do in the setting when you’re working with nutrients.
That’s harder to do with medications and they cover a wide span of different
kinds of disorders. Where are we, what are we using to study these things?
We currently have three complex formulas in the Western world that have been
studied by independent scientists. There’s a fourth one from the States
that I’m very hopeful for. We need lots more and especially those of us who
study these formulas, people think, ‘well, they’re only one or two, like we must be
working for the company and none of us does, and it makes us more comfortable
and there’s a great need out there. So two of them were developed in Alberta.
One is by True Hope, the second one by Hardy Nutritionals. Hardy nutritionals
has a table out here, so you might have seen them. One was developed in Arizona
by the Autism Nutrition Research Center – Jim Adams’ work. We can’t get it in
Canada anymore and I think that group is actually, although they’re still doing
some nutrition work, they’re doing a lot more work on fecal transplant, pardon me,
for autism which I don’t have time to go into now, but those are the three. What
they have in common is that no one who has studied any of them will ever gain
financially from sales. If you’re in the mental health world, you know what a
dramatic statement that is. I mean, I’m old enough to remember what it was like
before our literature was corrupted by pharmaceutical money and our rounds were all paid for by pharmaceutical companies and our studies were all done and
paid for by pharmaceutical companies, so we decided to do it differently in the
nutrition world and so none of us will ever get money from it. The formulas all
have about 30 minerals and vitamins so we call them broad-spectrum. We’re not
studying a formula, we’re studying a concept, that the brain needs all the
minerals and vitamins and all have been shown in multiple studies, including
randomized control trials, to improve mood regulation, although the third one
has been restricted to people with autism because it’s the autism research
center. Now the next two slides I just slipped in last night when a colleague
of mine who sat in on the ADHD workshop, our presentation yesterday, said that
none of the empirical evidence on ADHD using broad-spectrum micronutrients was
mentioned and I hadn’t planned to present that to you, as you’ll see, I’ve
decided to focus on a different topic, but I was disturbed that that was the case
and I thought I’d just tell you, there are about ten or more, most of it and
though not all, from Dr. Julia Rutledge’s group from University of Canterbury and
Christchurch, New Zealand and Jeni Johnstone who I mentioned before.
Raise your hand, Jeni, and if anybody wants to know more about it she’s the second
author on the first couple of papers there. She was in New Zealand at
the time, but is now in Oregon Health and Sciences Center and here are some of the
other references. Children and adults with ADHD, there’s a lot of research on
broad-spectrum micronutrients – minerals and vitamins – for ADHD and the associated mood components and I’m sorry you didn’t hear about that before and that I didn’t
put it in my talk, because I have to move on, but we’ll give you the studies if you
want them, okay? So this is what I decided. I decided I had to pick an area and I
thought this is a very mixed audience. I thought I’d talk about general anxiety
and stress and this story actually starts with Julia Rutledge also, because
in September of 2010 when she was doing her RCT on adults with ADHD, that is when
Christchurch New Zealand had that major earthquake, you might remember, and she
found after the earthquake that, oh and by the way, prior to the earthquake,
everybody had been assessed for the study. After the quake, she found about 15
people who had been taking the formula – it was one of the Alberta formulas – taking a formula during the earthquake and about 15 people who weren’t, well what a great
chance to do a matched study, and she did that and reported on it and those who
had been taking one of the Alberta formulas were, in fact much less, they had
much less depression, anxiety and stress than the group that had not and that’s
published. But then along came, I’m not going to go over that, along came the
second major earthquake five months later, February 22nd 2011. I got this
slide from Julia who put it in right to the minute it was at 12:51 p.m. but you
can see why it was a very emotional and devastating earthquake and many people
died and a third of Christchurch downtown was destroyed and so she went and did a
randomized control trial which she couldn’t do after the first year’s quake
because no one, you know, really knew that was coming, and so this is the impact of
micronutrients on stress, anxiety and PTSD symptoms in people randomized to
get either B-Complex or one of the Alberta formulas broad-spectrum at a low dose or that same formula at a higher dose and it was a
four-week trial, all the treatment groups got better which is kind of what we
would predict. Remember this is not a clinical sample, it’s general population
and a B-Complex helped a lot of people. The Alberta formula helped a lot of
people, basically they built resilience in people and I don’t have all the
slides with me I want to show you the PTSD slide
because this is amazing. So the first set of bars is the control group, the blue is
baseline and the yellow is four weeks later, and if you look you’ll see that B-
Complex and the multinutrient formula at low dose and at high
dose, those whom, they used, sorry I’m tangled up in my sentence, they used the
Impact of Events Scale to evaluate those who met criteria for PTSD. Those who took
any of the nutrient formulas had dramatic decrease in their PTSD in four
weeks. Doesn’t that make you want to help some people with PTSD? If you look at it
all together, the pooled data showed PTSD levels went from about 62% to 19% in
four weeks. So I’m going to move on and show you, oh and this is the long-term
data. They did a one-year follow-up, something you don’t often see in drug
trials but we’re trying to do with the nutrient studies, and you can see that
those who are on the nutrients, the treated group, were better after a year.
Okay, this is where I live on a good day, not February, March or April, but maybe
June. You can see the Rocky Mountains in the background, but this is what it
looked like one day after a major flood. They called it a Hundred Year
flood, but they’re calling a lot of things 100-year floods now, right, that are
more often, anyway so this happened after the earthquakes and
Julia called me and we decided to put together a study, but there was a huge
difference because in New Zealand, they had had eight thousand earthquakes – they call them aftershocks – 8,000 earthquakes between the first major one and the second major one and I was dealing with our city which
had had a single event on one day, so I didn’t think we’d see much. We had adults
who were randomized to one of three groups – no placebo is ethical in the
crisis situation like that. We used the same scale that she had used and we had
people who got single nutrient vitamin D, a thousand IU’s, few nutrients which was
B-Complex, or one of the Alberta broad-spectrum
formulas and this is what we found. So this is an active comparator now and
there was some improvement from a small amount of vitamin D, this is the drop in
depression, anxiety and stress. We went out to six weeks and you can see
there was no difference between the B- Complex and the broad-spectrum. Oh, that’s very weird, I don’t remember what
was there, so it can’t have been important. I think it was another picture.
So, why not just test for deficiencies in people instead of using a broad spectrum
formula which is a shotgun approach? We know it’s a shotgun approach, but again,
the New Zealand team has published two papers actually trying to determine
whether serum levels of nutrients predicted treatment response, whether
MTHFR status predicted treatment response, demographic variables
etc and the answer is, no, basically there are no specific demographic or clinical
characteristics right now including the MTHFR status that
really identifies who will benefit from one of these formulas. So why not just
try it under proper guidance? Oh my, okay, my pictures have just totally
disappeared. So practical suggestions, I’m moving to the last part of my talk. I
want to talk to you about being practical – for yourself, for your clients,
etc. Even though I studied during my career- I’m no longer an active
researcher – studied nutrients in pill form, I always said I was studying a
proof of concept, because we cannot put the whole world on pills. We have to first
get people eating better and even before that, we have to improve the soil and
have healthier food and get rid of glyphosate Roundup which is sequestering
some of those minerals and affecting us in other ways, so focus on the importance
of real food first and I always say to people, look, some of these specialty
diets are interesting and help lots of people, but for the general population we
would really have a big impact if we could just get people to follow Michael
Pollan’s rules of, you know, just eating whole food and walking around the outer
part of the grocery store and don’t eat anything which you’re, there it is, don’t
eat anything that your ancestors would not recognize as being food, etc, we’d
have a big impact. I think we’d have a big impact if the metabolic pathways were taught in elementary school and if they were
taught in medical school. Is that asking too much? You know, I mean, why is it that
psychiatrists, I wish I had a nickel for every time a psychiatrist has said to me,
‘Bonnie, those vitamins and minerals you’re
studying, they don’t, they can’t actually affect the brain, can they? It’s like, what
do you think? Well, never mind, anyway, but you know you can have
an effect on yourselves, when you’re thinking of certain kinds of
foods, think about those metabolic pathways and how you want to feed them.
So you want to eat from this kind of diagram, you know, the Mediterranean
kind of diet and not this. You want to teach your clients to eat porridge or
oatmeal rather, oh rather than one of my wonderful pictures that isn’t showing.
You want to, you’ve got a lot of options down here for carbonated water, a lot of
people are just used to drinking carbonated drinks, carbonated water
without sugar or artificial sugar. Drink that kind of thing or better yet, water
or tea, trust me that’s what’s there, but not sodas or diet sodas. And to save
money, to save money, this is the most important thing I think you could do for
your clients and in mental health centers is to teach people how
they can live on just a few dollars a week, really, if they learn how to cook
beans, legumes, lentils, all that kind of stuff, and go online and get some of
those recipes. Let’s get everyone in our families to learn to cook from scratch.
Now some people don’t like to do meal prep, but now you can buy these things
cut up. There are people who really, that’s a big obstacle, cutting up the
vegetables and the garlic. What can clinicians do – you can start the
conversation. You can’t do it by saying ‘do you eat a good diet?’ or ‘how have
you eaten today?’ You know, people get a little defensive, ‘oh yeah it’s fine.’
You have to ask a few questions so you have to gently work into it and I gave
you some wording in the slides. There’s an increasing amount of scientific data
showing that what we eat influences how we feel, even in three days, it’s been
shown. Let’s talk about your diet. Use Amy Paxton’s ‘Start the Conversation’. There are
no right or wrong answers to these four questions. You don’t score anything but
it enables you as a clinician to talk about them with your patients,
perhaps recommend B-Complex for improving resilience to stress in every
mental health setting in every family practice. You can educate people about
nutrition. We can teach children about it too. They currently think that food has
to be a treat. Eating out should be a rare event and as
clinicians, start first with nutrition. That’s my view of the better world –
before we expose a developing brain to any psychiatric medication, first
nutrition. And I give you two ways you can become a nutrition activist with the
media which is so down, pardon me, on nutrition. I gave you an example about
the MIND diet. How many of you know about the mind diet research cutting
Alzheimer’s risk by 50 percent? Why isn’t that in the news more? That’s a good set
of studies from Illinois. If you hear a reader report of the escalating mental
health problems on campus you could call and say you know living on ramen and
sodas might be part of the problem. You Americans need to keep track of what
your FDA is doing because on February 11th they announced that they’re going
to reevaluate DSHEA which you’ve had for 25 years and this could be a good thing or it might not be a good thing. There’s no
way to know yet, but you need to watch it. It’s happening in Canada right now and
is being proposed will bankrupt our natural health product companies, so
we’re a little concerned about it. Keep your eyes on that. Finally, I want to
mention to you, because I keep telling you the media doesn’t cover this, and
you cannot get funding for a multi nutrient study very easily, so when I was
preparing for this so-called retirement that I’m in, I set up, yeah right, I set
up two charitable funds. I do not get a penny. One is in the U.S., one is in
Canada, and we’ve been very successful in raising almost six hundred
thousand dollars, it’s all distributed, there is a multi-center trial I
mentioned that Jeni Johnstone is leading and that’s cross border Canadian
and U.S.There is a study in Maine, there’s a study in New Zealand, but we are always
looking for funds for that, and so I put that in every single talk I give no
matter to what audience, just want you to know that that’s what we have to do
right now, but thank you for your interest in nutrition.

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