Dr. Terry Wahls had to put her own medical knowledge and education to the test when she developed relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, or MS. The disease advanced rapidly, and three years later she was diagnosed with secondary progressive MS.
For seven years after her initial diagnosis she went to the best doctors known to her, and took all of the newest and latest drugs, including going through chemotherapy, but got zero results. Instead of improvements, her body was deteriorating rapidly, and she had to get a tilt-recline wheelchair. She also had to use two canes when walking, and could not go far.
“I developed a chronic disease for which there is no cure,” she said in her viral TEDx Talks video, “I was afraid I was going to become bedridden.”
Her life from that point became a journey of searching for the cure. Every night she read the latest medical research on PubMed.gov.
She knew that brains afflicted with this disease shrank over time, just as they shrank when a person had Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s. She found a similarity between these conditions – the mitochondria, power generators of the cells, did not function properly. She then found a study that discovered three supplements that protected mitochondria: fish oil, creatine, and coenzyme Q10.
The study was done on mice, but Dr. Wahls translated the doses to humans, and started to experiment on herself.
The development of her disease slowed down, which gave her enough hope to continue.
Her second discovery was from the Institute of Functional Medicine, and their medical course called Neuroprotection, a functional medicine approach to neurological syndromes.
She began to study extensively on protecting brain cell biology, and which nutrients are needed for all the functions within the brain to happen properly.
This is what she learned.
Nutrients That Help Reverse the Symptoms of MS
Multiple sclerosis damages myelin, mitochondria, and diminishes the number of neurotransmitters. All three of these damages prevent proper brain function.
But there are specific nutrients that can reverse the damage.
Myelin works as insulation between all the connective wiring in the brain. To make healthier myelin, the brain needs the following vitamins: B1, B9, B12; omega 3 fatty acids, and iodine.
Mitochondria manage energy supply in each cell. It needs B vitamins, sulfur, and antioxidants to function properly.
The Brain also needs to create new neurotransmitters, which require a lot of sulfur and B6.
Dr. Wahls started adding B vitamins, sulfur, and antioxidants to her diet, but soon realized that instead of taking them in supplement form, she needed to get them from foods that she eats.
“If I [got there vitamins from foods], I’d get hundreds, maybe thousands of other compounds that science had yet to name and identify, but would be helpful to my brain,” she explained on Tedx Talks.
She said that she hit an obstacle when researching which foods contain the nutrients she needed; she was not finding these information in the medical texts. Luckily, she said, the internet helped.
Soon, she had a list of foods that were vital for her brain health.
Using this list, she designed a diet specifically for brain cells and mitochondria health.
The daily protocol was the following: she ate three cups of green leaves (especially kale – one of the most nutritious greens), three cups of sulfur-rich vegetables (cabbage and onion family, mushrooms, and asparagus); three cups of colorful vegetables and berries; wild fish, and grass-fed beef. She also ate organs and seaweed at least once a week.
After three months on this diet, she could walk with only one cane. After four months, she could walk with no help at all. After five months, she rode her bike around the block. After nine months, she biked for 18 miles straight.
Dr. Wahls now advises everyone: “We have a choice. We can continue to eat that delicious, convenient, processed food, and watch ourselves and our children grow steadily more overweight, depressed, and diabetic. We can continue to watch health care costs balloon out of control, bankrupting us individually, and collectively as a country. Or, we can eat for mitochondria, eating vegetables and berries, grass-fed meat, organ meat, and seaweed, and have more vitality. We all have a choice.”
Today, Dr. Wahls teaches the public about the healing power of food, and conducts clinical trials.
“The results are breathtaking,” she talks about her research.
Dr. Wahls called her diet The Wahls protocol, and she writes about it on her website, and also wrote a book about it: The Wahls Protocol: A radical new way to treat all chronic autoimmune conditions using Paleo principles.
This diet will work not only with brain health, but will also help prevent eczema, asthma, allergies, infertility, irritable bowel, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, chronic headache, neurological problems, and behavioral problems.
“If I can rise up from my tilt-recline wheelchair…imagine what eating for your mitochondria can do for you,” Dr. Wahls tells the audience in her Tedx talk.
Watch her full lecture below: