Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Back from the dead

Well not literally dead, but in a bad state and going downhill fast.

This is the story of how Dr Terry Wahls went from a fit and active parent and academic to someone unable to sit up or rest without being in a specially padded recliner.  She had relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis and the standard treatment wasn't working.

Today she is back and now cycles many miles without difficulty.

How did she do it?

Terry is a medical doctor, practising and teaching at a medical school in the USA.  She knew how to dig into research on MS and ways of treating it.  After 7 years she found Functional Medicine, an organisation which helps doctors take better care of complex chronic diseases.  After taking nutritional supplements and finding some improvement in her condition, Terry began to consider how to derive the same nutrients from her food intake.

Her research and experimentation led to the Wahls diet, which can be summarised as:

1  Eat 3 cups of greens, 3 cups of sulphur rich vegetables, 3 cups of colourful fruit and vegetables, fats from food (seafood, grass fed meat, game, wild fish, organ meat, flaxseed, walnuts)

2  Avoid gluten and dairy (to prevent allergies)

3  Find high quality food (organic, locally grown or your own produce)

The focus of her efforts was to keep her mitochondria in good condition.  These are the the oval shaped sub units of human cells, which are known as the 'power plants' of the cell.  They supply energy to the cell in the form of adenosine triphosphate as well as playing an important part in signaling and the growth and life cycle of the cell and the aging process.

One of the difficulties that many enthusiasts have is in convincing people that their findings have value.  Dr Richard Bernstein was dismissed when he tried to get his results published in medical journals, because it was 'just anecdotal evidence' of improving health and minimising symptoms of diabetes.  He studied for a medical degree so that he could publish and treat others who deteriorated on the standard diet and lifestyle recommended by government and diabetes associations.

As a practising doctor and university lecturer, Dr Terry Wahls is not so easily dismissed.  Watch her TED talk and make up your own mind.

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