Could arthritis drug combat Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s affects 35 million people worldwide and billions have been spent on research – to little avail. But an unconventional approach based on a 30-year-old evolutionary theory might provide a way forward
alzheimers graphic View larger picture

At the beginning of next year, Clive Holmes will attempt to do something remarkable. But you’d never guess it from meeting this mild-mannered psychiatrist with a hint of a Midlands accent. In fact, you could be sitting in his office in the Memory Assessment and Research Centre at Southampton University and be unaware that he was up to anything out of the ordinary – save for a small whiteboard behind his desk, on which he’s drawn a few amorphous blobs and squiggles. These, he’ll assure you, are components of the immune system.

As a psychiatrist, he’s had little formal training in immunology, but has spent much of his time of late trying to figure how immune cells in the body communicate with others in the brain. These signals into the brain, he thinks, accelerate the speed at which neurons – nerve cells in the brain – are killed in late-stage Alzheimer’s disease and at the beginning of next year he hopes to test the idea that blocking these signals can stop or slow down disease progression.

If he shows any dent on disease progression, he would be the first to do so. Despite the billions of pounds pumped into finding a cure over the last 30 years, there are currently no treatments or prevention strategies.

“Drug development has been largely focused on amyloid beta,” says Holmes, referring to the protein deposits that are characteristically seen in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s and are thought to be toxic to neurons, “but we’re seeing that even if you remove amyloid, it seems to make no difference to disease progression.”

He mentions two huge recent failures in drugs that remove amyloid. The plug has been pulled on bapineuzumab by its developers Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer after trials showed its inability to halt disease progression; and the wheels seem to be coming off Eli Lilly’s drug solanezumab after similarly disappointing results.

Other drugs in the experimental pipeline are a long way off. Few make the jump from efficacy in animals to efficacy in people. Fewer still prove safe enough to be used widely.

Holmes’s theory, if true, would have none of these problems. He’s been testing etanercept, a drug widely used for rheumatoid arthritis. It blocks the production of TNF-alpha, one of the signalling molecules, or cytokines, used by immune cells to communicate with each other. In the next few months, he expects the results of a pilot trial in people with Alzheimer’s. If they are positive, he’ll test the strategy in people with only the mildest early forms of the disease.

“If we can show that this approach works,” says Holmes, leaning forward in his chair, “then since we already know a hell of a lot about the pharmacology of these drugs, I’m naive enough to think that they could be made available for people with the disease or in the early stages of the disease and we can move very quickly into clinical application.”

It seems too good to be true. Why, then, has the multibillion-pound drug industry not at least tested this theory? There are roughly 35 million people in the world with this devastating, memory-robbing disease, and with an increasingly ageing population, this number is expected to rise to 115 million by 2050. It’s not as if there is no financial incentive.

The answer might be because the idea that Holmes and his colleagues are testing took an unconventional route to get to this point. It started life as an evolutionary theory about something few people have even considered – why we feel ill when we are unwell. The year was 1980. Benjamin Hart, a vet and behavioural scientist at the University of California, Davis had been grappling with how animals in the wild do so well without veterinary interventions such as immunisations or antibiotics. He’d attended a lecture on the benefits of fever and how it suppresses bacterial growth. But fever is an energy-consuming process; the body has to spend 13% more energy for every 1°C rise in body temperature.

“So I started thinking about how animals act when they’re sick,” says Hart. “They get depressed, they lose their appetite. But if fever is so important, what they need is more food to fuel the fever. It didn’t stack up.”

After a few years of mulling this over, Hart published a paper on what he termed “sickness behaviour” in 1985. Lethargy, depression and loss of appetite were not, as people thought, a consequence of infection, but a programmed, normal response to infection that conferred a clear survival advantage in the wild. If an animal moves around less when ill it is less likely to pick up another infection; if it eats or drinks less, it is less likely to ingest another toxin.

“The body goes into a do-or-die, make-or-break mode,” says Hart. “In the wild, an animal can afford not to eat for a while if it means avoiding death. It allows the immune system to get going. You do this – and this is the important bit – before you’re debilitated, when it’s still going to do you some good.”

The next crucial step came from across the Atlantic in Bordeaux. In a series of experiments published between 1988 and 1994, Robert Dantzer, a vet turned biologist, showed three things. First, that inflammatory cytokines in the blood, even in the absence of infection, were enough to bring about sickness behaviour. Second, that these cytokines, produced by immune cells called macrophages, a type of white-blood cell, signal along sensory nerves to inform the brain of an infection. And third, that this signal is relayed to microglial cells, the brain’s resident macrophages, which in turn secrete further cytokines that bring about sickness behaviours: lethargy, depression and loss of appetite.

Dantzer, who has since moved to the University of Texas, had thus dispelled one of the biggest dogmas in neurology – that emotions and behaviours always stemmed from the activity of neurons and neurotransmitters. He showed that in times of trouble, the immune system seizes control of the brain to use behaviour and emotions as an extension of the immune system and to ensure the full participation of the body in fighting infection.

In late April 1996, he set up a meeting in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, on the Bay of Biscay in the southwest of France, to gather together researchers interested in cytokines in the brain. It was there, in a chance meeting over breakfast in the hotel lobby, that he met Hugh Perry, a neuroscientist from Oxford University.

Perry is now at Southampton University. Sitting in his office, surrounded by framed pictures of neurons, his eyes light up as he recounts that meeting with Dantzer. “I remember as he told me about this idea of sickness behaviour thinking, ‘Wait a minute, this is a really interesting idea’. And then when he said that the innate immune cells in the brain must be involved in the process, a bell rang.” He puts down his coffee and rings an imaginary bell above his head. “Ding, ding, ding – so what if instead of a normal brain, it was a diseased brain. What happens then?”

Perry had just started working on a model of neurodegenerative disease in mice. He was studying prion disease, a degenerative disease in the brain, to see how the brain’s immune system responds to the death of neurons. He had switched laboratories from Oxford to Southampton the year after meeting Dantzer and the idea had travelled with him.

He injected his mice with a bacterial extract to induce sickness behaviour, and instead of a normal sickness behaviour response, he saw something extraordinary. His mice with brain disease did substantially worse than those with otherwise healthy brains. They were very susceptible to the inflammation and had an exaggerated sickness behaviour response. They stayed worse even though his healthy mice got better.

This, Perry explains, is because one of the microglial cells’ many roles is to patrol the brain and scavenge any debris or damaged cells, such as the misfolded proteins in prion disease. “When there’s ongoing brain disease, the microglial cells increase in number and become what’s called primed,” he says, referring to the procedure by which the immune system learns how to deal better and more efficiently with harmful stimuli. “When primed, they make a bigger, more aggressive response to a secondary stimulus.”

When the signal of peripheral infection came into the diseased brains of the mice, their microglial cells, already primed, switched into this aggressive phase. They began, as they usually would, to secrete cytokines to modulate behaviour, but secreted them at such high concentrations that they were toxic, leading to the death of neurons.

“But you never really know how your findings will translate to humans,” Perry adds. “So all this mouse stuff could be great, but is there any real importance to it? Does it matter? And that’s when I called Clive.”

Perry hadn’t met Clive Holmes at that point, but had heard of him through Southampton University’s Neuroscience Group, which brings basic researchers and clinicians together. He’d called him in 2001 to ask whether people with Alzheimer’s disease got worse after an infection. The answer was a categorical yes.

“And then Perry asked me if there was evidence to show this,” remembers Holmes. “And I was sure there must be. It was so clinically obvious. Everybody who works with Alzheimer’s just knows it. But when I looked into it, there was no evidence – nobody had really looked at it.”

In several ensuing studies, Holmes and Perry have since provided that evidence. Patients with Alzheimer’s do indeed do worse, cognitively, after an infection. But it’s not only after an infection. Chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes, which many elderly patients have, and which also lead to the production of inflammatory cytokines, also seem to play an important part.

Holmes and Perry speculate that it’s the presence of the characteristic amyloid beta deposits in the brains of these individuals that primes the microglial cells. And that when signals of inflammation come in, be it from an infection or low-grade chronic inflammatory condition, the microglial cells switch into their aggressive, neuron-killing mode. This, they think, is why removal of amyloid beta might not be working: the damage, or in this case the priming of the microglial cells, might have already been done, meaning that the killing of neurons will continue unabated.

“So next year if these initial results look promising,” says Holmes, “we’re hoping to try and block TNF-alpha in people with the early stages of Alzheimer’s to block this peripheral signal before the disease fully takes hold. We want to see what kind of a dent on disease progression we can get. I don’t know what that’s going to be, but that’s what we’re going to find out.”

If all goes according to plan, and he can secure funding to start the trial at the beginning of next year, Holmes will, by mid-2017, find out for sure whether he can stop the disease taking hold. But the results of his trial in people with late-stage disease, due in the next few months, will give him a strong indication of what to expect.

New Charges of Fraud on Heels of Abbott’s $1.5 Billion Plea Agreement .

Only weeks after pleading guilty to criminal charges that it promoted its anti-seizure drug Depakote for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Abbott Labs is being sued again for similar charges with a different drug.

The new lawsuit alleges similar practices with Abbott’s cholesterol drug, TriCor. A former employee filed the whistleblower lawsuit.

Illegal Marketing Practices Mean More Trouble for Abbott

Earlier this year, Abbott settled for $1.6 billion for aggressively promoting their seizure drug Depakote to physicians for off-label use in elderly dementia patients, despite lacking evidence of safety or effectiveness.

In most cases, a billion-dollar (or more) fraud settlement would be a death-sentence for a business, but for the drug industry, it’s just another cost of doing business.

Now, just weeks later, Abbott is in the hot seat again after Amy Bergman, a former Abbott saleswoman, filed a federal lawsuit against them, alleging the company illegally promoted the drug TriCor for uses not approved by the FDA, such as reducing cardiac health risks in patients with diabetes.

The suit, which was filed under the False Claims Act in September 2009, was previously kept confidential in order to protect the whistleblower, but it was recently unsealed after federal and state governments declined to intervene.

Doctors are well within their legal rights to prescribe a drug for off-label use; it’s actually a common, albeit sometimes dangerous, practice. However, drug companies may not promote them for uses other than those that are FDA-approved.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune:1

“Bergman, who says she was an Abbott saleswoman from 1999 through 2008, alleges in the suit that she was ‘trained, directed, incentivized, and encouraged’ by Abbott to promote TriCor for so-called off-label and medically unnecessary uses. She also claims the company directed her to give illegal kickbacks to doctors to encourage them to prescribe the drug.

In doing so, she alleges, the company defrauded federal health programs, including Medicaid, for an eight-year period between 2000 and 2008.”

Even Billion-Dollar Settlements are Not Enough to Ensure Public Safety

The idea behind Big Pharma lawsuits, especially those that settle in the hundreds of millions or billions, is that the punishment will make these criminal corporations start to straighten out, abandon their fraud and deception, their kickbacks, price-setting, bribery and all other illegal sales activities in favor of looking out for public health, which to date has been clearly ineffective.

It would appear that a far better strategy would be to file criminal charges against the responsible individuals and put them in prison. This would make them think hard and long about trying to get away with these types of illegal behaviors in the future.

In the pharmaceutical world, there seem to be few crimes that don’t pay off – as long as you don’t get caught (and even then, all you’re bound to receive is a fine (a mere slap on the wrist) as long as you’re large and important enough). So make no mistake – the leading pharmaceutical companies are also among the largest corporate criminals in the world, behaving as if they are little more than white-collar drug dealers.

Two years ago, I set out to investigate some of the criminal activities that some of the largest pharmaceutical companies had been convicted of lately, and the amount of gross misconduct, fraud and deceit I found was so insidious, so massive, and so overwhelming that it shocked even me. In all, no less than 19 drug companies made’s Top 100 Corporate Criminals List! And if it seems like the number of lawsuits that Big Pharma is settling – many of them out of court without going to trial – are rising, it’s because they are.

To get a picture of what’s been going on, FiercePharma compiled a list of top marketing settlements that the industry has made in the past 10 years. In total, drug makers have agreed to pay more than $11 billion so far for their misdoings. But the worst may yet be ahead: more than 900 whistleblower lawsuits were filed in the last year alone. Some of the most not able in history include:2

  1. 2012: GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3 billion for illegal marketing of Paxil, Welbutrin and downplaying safety risks of Avandia.
  2. 2009: Pfizer pays $2.3 billion for marketing fraud related to Bextra, Lyrica and other drugs.
  3. 2012: Johnson & Johnson will pay anywhere from $1.5 to $2.2 billion for illegal marketing of Risperdal.
  4. 2012: Abbott Laboratories settles for $1.6 billion for aggressively promoting their seizure drug Depakote for off-label use in elderly dementia patients, despite lacking evidence of safety or effectiveness.
  5. 2009: Eli Lilly pays $1.4 billion for promoting Zyprexa for off-label uses, often to children and the elderly.
  6. 2011: Merck settles for $950 million to resolve fraudulent marketing allegations related to Vioxx.
  7. 2005: Serono (now Merck Serono) paid $704 million after pleading guilty to two felony charges for fraudulent marketing related to a growth hormone to treat wasting in HIV patients.
  8. 2007: Purdue Pharma paid $634.5 million for fraudulently misbranding Oxycontin, and suggesting it was less addictive and less abused than other painkillers.
  9. 2010: Allergan paid $600 million for aggressively pushing Botox for unapproved uses.
  10. 2010: AstraZeneca settled for $520 million for trying to persuade doctors to prescribe its psychotropic drug Seroquel for unapproved uses ranging from Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD to sleeplessness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  11. 2007: Bristol-Myers Squibb paid $515 million for illegally promoting its atypical antipsychotic drug Abilify to kids and seniors.

Drug Company Fines

Year Fine Drug Company
2012 $1.6 Billion Depakote Abbott
2011 $950 Million Vioxx Merck
2010 $600 Million Botox Allergan
2010 $520 Million Seroquel Astra Zeneca
2009 $2.3 Billion Bextra Pfizer
2007 $515 Million Abilify Bristol Meyers
2007 $635 Million Oxycontin Purdue
2006 $7-4 Million Serono  

Drug Companies Control the System

It is a well-documented fact that the drug companies have the largest political lobbying organizations. They are some of the most clever marketers on the planet, as they know how to leverage their resources by bribing politicians to give them an unfair advantage in the marketplace, often “buying” legislation that is devastating to their competition. This is typically implemented through federal regulatory agencies like the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The pharmaceutical industry spent $1.5 billion lobbying Congress in the last decade, and in so doing has manipulated the government’s involvement with the way medicine is being practiced and secondarily reinforced our dependence on pharmaceuticals, through government policies. So it should come as no surprise that the federal government has a long history of siding with, and protecting, the drug companies, such as:

  • Previous drug company funding – to the tune of $2 billion – in helping drug companies bring flu vaccines to the market faster3
  • Letting drug giants like Pfizer off the hook for fraudulent marketing charges so their products could continue to flow through Medicare and Medicaid
  • Including incentives in the “Affordable Health Care for America Act” for people to purchase more expensive prescription drugs in favor of their less expensive over-the-counter cousins4

So there should be no doubt about the power the drug industry wields in shaping the U.S. health care system. There are simply so many revolving doors between the pharmaceutical industry and the government that it makes your head spin. Here are just a few examples:

  • The American Cancer Society has close financial ties to both makers of mammography equipment and breast cancer drugs. Other conflicts of interest include ties to, and financial support from, the pesticide, petrochemical, biotech, cosmetics, and junk food industries – the very industries whose products are the primary contributors to cancer!
  • The second-highest funding source for drug studies is the National Institute of Health (NIH), which is not the group of neutral government experts you may have assumed them to be. In fact, NIH accepts a great deal of money from Big Pharma and is deeply enmeshed with the industry.
  • Drug companies pay seven-figure amounts into FDA coffers to gain approval of their drugs. FDA staff knows that the cash means higher salaries and more perks in the agency budget. (Incidentally, the FDA’s commissioner Margaret Hamburg came straight from the boardroom of America’s largest seller of dental amalgam, Henry Schein, Inc.)
  • Conflicts of interest are also rampant in a mass vaccination infrastructure that has the same people who are regulating and promoting vaccines also evaluating vaccine safety.
  • The vaccine industry gives millions for conferences, grants, and medical education classes sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The vaccine industry even helped build AAP’s headquarters.

Who Can You Trust With Your Life?

This is the question you need to ask yourself when deciding on a plan for your own health care, as your very life is at stake and depends on the options you choose.

Unfortunately, as the ever increasing slew of pharmaceutical company lawsuits and settlements reveal, when it comes to making money, many industries throw ethics and integrity out the window. You cannot blindly trust that the companies making your medications have your best interest at heart.

There’s a mountain of evidence supporting the use of drug alternatives, and there’s very strong evidence that some “alternative” treatments, such as diet and exercise, are FAR more effective than any of the drugs currently in use. But if your doctor is also under the spell of drug-industry influence, you also cannot trust that he or she will inform you of them (or even be aware of their benefit).

Sources and References


Source: Dr. Mercola




Why have Antipsychotic Prescriptions in Children Skyrocketed?

Thanks to aggressive marketing techniques, pharmaceutical companies are raking in profits from atypical antipsychotic medications – drugs originally approved for mental illnesses that are as serious as they are rare.

It’s no surprise then that a major portion of the sales of these types of “hard-core” psychiatric drugs come from off-label uses. Drugs such as Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal and Abilify are now increasingly prescribed by psychiatrists and primary-care doctors to treat conditions they were never intended or approved for, such as:

Illegal Marketing Largely Responsible for Skyrocketing Misuse of Dangerous Antipsychotics in Children

Most of the atypical antipsychotics were approved in the 1990’s, at which time they were reserved for a very small minority of serious mental illnesses; primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – diseases afflicting an estimated three percent of Americans. More recently, some atypical antipsychotics have also been approved for the treatment of severe depression. Shockingly, children as young as 18 months are now receiving antipsychotic drugs, despite the fact that the diseases they’re designed to treat rarely develop before adolescence.

Drug makers are increasingly getting caught in the act of illegal marketing of this class of drugs:

  • In July, GlaxoSmithKline was found guilty of the largest health fraud in US history, and was fined $3 billion after pleading guilty to three counts of criminal misdemeanor and other civil liabilities relating to a number of different drugs, including Paxil and Wellbutrin
  • In June, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $2.2 billion for illegally marketing its drug Risperdal
  • In 2009 Eli Lilly was fined $1.4 billion for the illegal marketing of its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa
  • Bristol Myers Squibb was fined $515 million in 2007 to settle charges of illegal marketing of Abilify to child psychiatrists
  • Pfizer paid $301 million for illegal marketing of its drug Geodon, and
  • AstraZeneca has paid out $520 million to settle illegal marketing charges of Seroquel

In each of these cases, the drug manufacturers were targeting children, despite the fact that none of the drugs in question were approved for use in that age group. To understand how effective these illegal marketing schemes are, consider that sales of antipsychotic drugs to children have increased eight-fold since 1993. Sales to teens have quintupled, while adult sales doubled in the same time frame. In 2008 alone, an estimated $6 billion was spent on off-label antipsychotics in the US, of which $5.4 billion was for uses based on uncertain evidence!

According to the featured article in Time:1

“There is much evidence that the vast increases in atypical antipsychotic prescribing in recent decades were fueled by the aggressive marketing tactics of drug companies. In recent years, every major manufacturer of atypical antipsychotics has been involved in the illegal marketing of the drugs (while doctors can prescribe drugs off label, it is against the law for drug makers to market them for off-label uses), each ultimately paying hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in fines for their sales and marketing tactics. The settlements with the U.S. government were among the largest in history.”

“Trends Signal Need to Re-Evaluate Clinical Practice Patterns”

A recently published study2 found that nearly two-thirds of all antipsychotic drugs prescribed to children between 2005 and 2009 were for the treatment of ADHD and other disruptive behavior disorders. In teens, 34 percent of all antipsychotic prescriptions were for these conditions. These are astounding statistics when you consider the fact that there’s virtually no data supporting the use of these kinds of drugs in children, or for those conditions. The authors seem to agree, concluding:

“In light of known safety concerns and uncertainty over long term risks and benefits, these trends may signal a need to re-evaluate clinical practice patterns.”

According to Time:

“‘As the actual evidence base that would support [such off-label prescriptions of antipsychotics] is scant to non-existent, and the evidence of permeating undue influence of pharma on prescribing practices in psychiatry is abundant, one is led to the conclusion that this is another example of irrational prescribing that can be traced to both the overt and tacit influence of [drug companies] on practitioners,’ says Dr. Bruce Perry, a senior fellow at the ChildTrauma Academy…

Perry testified for the state of Texas in a case that resulted in a $158 million settlement with Johnson and Johnson in January to resolve claims that it fraudulently marketed Risperdal and swindled the state’s Medicaid program. One aspect of the case involved misleading claims about the drug’s effectiveness for behavior disorders in children.”

The Hidden Cause of Psychiatric Disorders Almost No One Considers

American children are the most medicated children in the world. For example, they get three times more prescriptions for antidepressants and stimulants, and up to double the amount of antipsychotic drugs than kids from Germany and the Netherlands.

How can we, as a society, continue to allow corporate profits to come before lives, and even before children’s lives?

It’s just not right. I don’t even advocate giving children cough syrup, Tylenol or antibiotics, as these alone can be harmful. But when you’re talking about powerful psychotropic, mind-altering drugs that in no way shape or form even begin to address the underlying cause of the disease. You’re entering an entirely different ballgame with these dangerous drugs. Unfortunately, psychiatric conditions are primarily believed to be the result of chemical dysfunction in your brain, or in some cases hereditary and therefore out of your control. Many fail to realize that:

  1. Your lifestyle can override genetic predispositions, and
  2. Your lifestyle can be a major underlying cause of that chemical imbalance or dysfunction.

If you or your child is suffering from an emotional or mental challenge, please seek help, but do so from someone who does not regard psychotropic drugs as a first line of defense. It will be very helpful if you first optimize your or your child’s diet and lifestyle as this will significantly improve the likelihood of any successful natural intervention.

The Importance of Probiotics for Mental Health

An important factor to address is gut health. It’s important to realize that children are now increasingly BORN with damaged gut flora – courtesy of less than ideal lifestyle choices by the child’s mother. Many aspects of our modern lifestyle contribute to destroying your all-important gut flora, including:

Antibiotics; both from prescription antibiotics, and from consuming antibiotic-laden foods like non-organic meat, chicken, and milk from cows raised in Confined Animal Feeding Operations Processed foods. Not only are processed foods void of “live” beneficial bacteria to begin with, the high sugar and grain content serve as fuel for the growth of pathogenic anaerobic bacteria, fungi, and yeast, which competitively inhibit your good bacteria
Genetically engineered foods and agricultural chemicals Aspartame, which inactivates digestive enzymes and alters gut barrier function, has been found to destroy up to 50 percent of your beneficial gut flora
Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water Oral contraceptives (birth control pills)


In a very real sense, you have two brains: one inside your skull and one in your gut. While they may seem very different, these two organs are actually created out of the same type of tissue. During fetal development, one part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system. Your vagus nerve – the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen – connects these two organs together.

Your gut actually produces about 90 percent of the neurotransmitter serotonin – thought to play an important role in many psychiatric conditions, in addition to having a beneficial influence on your mood in general – than your brain does, so optimizing your child’s gut flora may indeed have tremendous benefit for his or her psychological health.

Behavioral problems in children – including what might appear to be serious mental disorders – are very frequently related to improper diet, emotional upset and exposure to toxins.

Increasingly, scientific evidence shows that nourishing your gut flora with the beneficial bacteria found in traditionally fermented foods (or a probiotic supplement) is extremely important for proper brain function, and that includes psychological well-being and mood control. The reason I am more fond of using fermented foods as a source of beneficial bacteria is leverage. A small serving of fermented vegetables can provide you with more than 100 times the amount you would get from a typical dose of a probiotics supplement. You can get trillions of bacteria instead of billions, and consuming a variety of fermented foods will provide you with a much wider variety of probiotics strains as well.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has successfully demonstrated the power and effectiveness of this theory. In her Cambridge, England clinic, she treats children and adults with a range of conditions, including autism, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems using the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) Nutritional Program, which she developed.

Her GAPS theory – which is fully explained in her excellent book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome – is an elegant description of how such conditions can develop as a direct result of gastrointestinal toxicity.

Pathogenic microbes can damage the integrity of your gut wall, and once your beneficial gut flora has been crowded out by pathogenic microbes inside your digestive tract, toxins and microbes can reach your bloodstream. And once they’re in your bloodstream, they can reach your brain… Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) may manifest as symptoms that can fit the diagnosis of a wide range of conditions and syndromes, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Could a B Vitamin be the Answer for Some Psychosis?

The book Niacin: The Real Story, co-authored by Dr. Andrew Saul and Abram Hoffer M.D., Ph.D., who has published over 600 reports and articles as well as 30 books, describes the psychiatric benefits of niacin. Dr. Hoffer died in 2009 at the age of 91, but he successfully treated many thousands of patients with high dose niacin for psychotic disorders. His work includes some very compelling evidence to support treating most psychotic disorders as a vitamin B3 deficiency.

Considering the fact that niacin is very inexpensive and has virtually no dangerous side effects, it would certainly be worth consideration for anyone who has a family member with this mental health challenge. I would also highly recommend picking up this $12 book at Amazon and learning more about its use.

Correcting Behavioral Problems Without Drugs

Here are a few additional guidelines to help you address underlying toxins in your child, without, or at least BEFORE, you agree to any kind of drug therapy:

  1. Severely limit or eliminate fructose from your child’s diet as sugar/fructose has been linked to mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia.
  2. Avoid giving your child ANY processed foods, especially those containing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. This includes lunch meats and hot dogs, which are common food staples in many households.
  3. Replace soft drinks, fruit juices, and pasteurized milk with pure water. This is HUGE since high fructose corn syrup is a primary source of calories in children.
  4. Make sure your child is getting large regular doses of healthy bacteria, either with high quality fermented organic foods and/or high quality probiotic supplements.
  5. Give your child plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil. Also, make sure to balance your child’s intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, by simultaneously limiting their intake of vegetable oils.
  6. Include as many whole organic foods as possible in your child’s diet, both to reduce chemical exposure and increase nutrient content of each meal.
  7. Also reduce or eliminate grains from your child’s diet. Yes, even healthy organic whole grains can cause problems as they too break down into sugars.

Additionally, whole wheat in particular contains high amounts of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which can have adverse effects on mental health due to its neurotoxic actions. Wheat also inhibits production of serotonin, the largest concentration of which can, again, be found in your intestines, not your brain. Try eliminating them first for 1-2 weeks and see if you don’t notice a radical and amazing improvement in your child’s behavior.

  1. Avoid artificial sweeteners of all kinds.
  2. Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise and outdoor playtime.
  3. Get them out into the sun to help maintain optimal vitamin D levels. Scientists are now beginning to realize vitamin D is involved in maintaining the health of your brain, as they’ve recently discovered vitamin D receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system. There’s even evidence indicating vitamin D improves your brain’s detoxification process. For children and pregnant women, getting enough vitamin D is especially crucial, as it may play a major role in protecting infants from autism.

If natural sun exposure is not feasible, for whatever reason, you can use either a safe tanning bed or an oral vitamin D3 supplement. For more details on how to safely optimize your and your child’s vitamin D levels, please see this previous article.

  1. Give your child a way to address his or her emotions. Even children can benefit from the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which you or an EFT practitioner can teach them to use.
  2. Prevent exposure to toxic metals and chemical by replacing personal care products, detergents and household cleaners with all natural varieties. Metals like aluminum, cadmium, lead and mercury are commonly found in thousands of different food products, household products, personal products and untold numbers of industrial products and chemicals. The presence of toxic metals in your child’s body is highly significant for they are capable of causing serious health problems by interfering with normal biological functioning. The health effects range from minor physical ailments to chronic diseases, and altered mood and behavior.



Soure: Dr. Mercola