So, I love doing Taekwondo and was once a national champion. But a lot has changed since then. I went off to medical school, became a physician. I had a son, and then a daughter. And I developed a chronic disease for which there is no cure. In 2000 when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I turned to the best MS center I could find, the Cleveland clinic. I saw the very best doctors, received the best care possible. taking the latest newest drugs. Still by 2003, my disease had transitioned to secondary progressive MS.
I took the recommended chemoterapy I got the tiltrecline wheelchair. I had one with a motor I could drive around. I took Tysabri. And then CellCept but continued to become more severely disabled. My disease had transitioned. I was afraid that I was going to become bedridden. I turned to reading the latest research using podmed.gov I knew that brains afflicted with MS, overtime, shrank. I therefore went, every night, reading the latest medical research about the diseases in which brains shrank. These diseases were Huntington’s, Parkison’s and Alzheimer’s. I saw that in all three conditions, the mitochondria do not work well,.
Leading to shrinking brains. With more searching, I found studies in which mice’s brains and their mytochondria had been protected. Using fish oil, creatine and coenzyme Q. I translated those mouse sized doses into human sized ones and began my first round of self experimentation. The rapidity of my declined slowed and I was very grateful. But I was still declining. Next I discovered the Institute for Functional Medicine. And through their continuing medical education course, Neuroprotection, a functional medicine approach to common and uncommon neurologic syndromes, I learned more brain cell biology and what I could do to protect mine.
Minding your mitochondria Dr. Terry Wahls TEDxIowaCity
This is some of what I learned. We have a billion cells in our brains, with ten trillion connections. All of that connective wiring must be insulated with something called myelin. And multiple sclerosis damages myelin. In order to make healthier vast myelin, your brain needs a lot of B vitamins. In particular vitamin B1, which is thiamine, B9 which is folate, B12 which is cobalamin. It also needs omega3 fatty acids and iodine. This is a sinapse. Those beautiful golden drops are the neurotransmitters. For your brain to make neurotransmitters,.
It needs a lot of sulfur and vitamin B6, which is pyridoxine. These are mytochondria. They are so beautiful. And they are so critical to your lives because it is the tiny mitochondria in each of our cells that will manage the energy supply for that cell. Without your mitochondria, you’d be no larger than bacteria. In medical school, I had to memorize countless reactions involving my mitochondria but I never learned which compounds my cells could manufacture and which I needed to consume in order for those reactions to happen properly.
I now know that I need a lot of B vitamins, sulfur and antioxidants for my mitochondria to thrive. And so, I added B vitamins, sulfur and antixidants to my daily regimen. And then it occurred to me that I should get my long list of nutrients from food, that if I did that, I’d probably get hundreds, maybe thousands of other compounds that science had yet to name and identify but would be helpful to my brain and my mitochondria. But, I didn’t know where they were in the food supply.
And neither did the medical text, nor the food science text with whom I consulted. But the internet did. And so. laughter That’s really very helpful. So using it, I was able to design a food plan specifically for my brain and my mitochondria. And now, before I tell you what that food plan is, we are gonna check in to see what Americans are eating. I’m gonna start with you guys. So, I want you to think back to the last twenty four hours add up all the fruits and vegetables that you’ve eaten.
Don’t include potatoes or corn, because those are starches. Now, if you could cover a dinner plate heaped high, raise your hand. Come on, don’t be shy, raise your hands. Ok, now if you could cover two dinner plates, keep your hands up. Anyone can have eaten three dinner plates Look around, see how few hands are up. Ok Now, we are gonna check with another family. This is from Hungry Planet by Peter Wenzel. It shows what this American family will eat in the coming week. Look closely and you are gonna see a lot of processed foods in boxes.
Jars, and other containers. This is how most Americans eat, and this is how most societies eat as they become more affluent. And it’s likely why as societies become more affluent, their health declines. This slide is from work done by professor Lauren Cordain. He is showing the percent of Americans whose daily intake is below the recommended daily allowance for a variety of important nutrients. On the botton half of the slide are the. you will see that less than half of us take in enough B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin A.
Now if you look at the top of the slide, you will see that two thirds of us do not take in enough calcium, magnesium, zinc or iodine. And that eighty percent do not take in enough omega3 fats. We, you, are all starving your cells. We are alive because of complicated chemical reactions. If you are not providing the building blocks , that is the vitamins, minerals, essential fats, those reactions cannot happen properly. Leading to the wrong structures being made, or srtuctures not being made at all. You set the stage for chronic disease.
This is why our children are born with jaws that are too small leading to crooked teeth and smaller brains. This is why your blood pressures, your blood vessels become stiff as you age. This is why one in three American children or one in two, if Afroamerican or Hispanic will become diabetic and obese as children or young adults. This is why if you go to our schools every year we have more and more children with severe brain problems and severe behavior problems. But, it does not have to be this way.
For two and a half million years, humans ate what we could gather and hunt. They were called foragers, also known as huntergatherers. That huntergatherer diet, that paleo diet, consists of leaves, roots, berries, meat and fish. It’s locally obtained fresh in season, and, of course, organic. The Inuits in the far north ate very differently than the Africans on the savanah. And yet, when scientists have analyzed these huntergatherer diets, they exceed the recommended daily allowance two to ten fold, depending on the nutrient. These ancient people know more about eating for optimal health and vitality.
Than we physicians and we scientists. The huntergatherer diet has more nutrition than the American Heart Association diet more nutrition than the American Diabetes Association diet and more nutrition than the USDA food pyramid diet. I therefore started with a huntergatherer diet, I used those concepts but I structured it, to be sure I was getting the nutrition, the vitamins, minerals, nutrients that I identified as critical to my brain cells and my mitochondria. That diet is this three cups of green leaves three cups of sulfur rich vegetables three cups of bright color.
Grassfed meat, organ meat and seaweed. Three cups is a dinner plate heaped high. I start with greens, because they are rich in B vitamins, vitamins A, C, K and minerals. And those are two types of kale. Kale has the most nutrition per calorie of any plant. The B vitamins will protect your brain cells and mitochondria. Vitamins A and C support your immune cells. Vitamin K keeps your blood vessels and bones healthy. And minerals are cofactors for hundreds of different enzymes in your bodies. Plus having a plateful of daily greens.
Will dramaticly lower your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. So, have more kale, more parsely, more cooked greens. Have more smoothies and greens. Have dehydrated kale chips which are so delicious my teenage daughter and her friends love them. I want you to have 3 cups, a plateful of sulfurrich vegetables every day. Your brain and your mitochondria need sulfur. Your liver and kidney need sulfur so they can remove toxins from your blood stream. The cabbage family is rich in sulfur.
That includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, rutabagas, radishes, and kale. The onion family is also rich in sulfur. Onions, garlic, leeks, chives, shallots and so are mushrooms and asparagus. I also want you to have a plate, 3 cups, preferably 3 different colors every single day. Colors are flavonoids and polyphenols. These are potent antioxidants that will support your retina, your mitachondria, your brain cells and the removal of toxins. You can get your colors from vegetables like beets, carrots, peppers, red cabbage. or you can get them from berries.
And brightly colored fruits like peaches and oranges. I want you to have highquality proteine that is rich in Omega3 fatty acids. Omega3 fatty acids are very important to insulate that wiring in your brain. It’s also critical for the development of your jaws You can have straight teeth and a larger brain. Therefore have wild fish, in particular salmon and herring. Also have grassfed meat every day. Our ancient societies all valued organ meat. And organ meats are concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and coenzyme Q. They are particulary potent at supporting your mitochondria.
Therefore have organ meats like liver and onions, heart, tongue, gizzard, sweetbreads once a week. The ancients would travel great distances or trade to ensure access to seaweed. Seaweed is a rich source of iodine and selenium. Your brain needs iodine to make myelin the insulation for the wiring. It also needs iodine to move toxins in particular mercury, lead and heavy metals. And adequate iodine lowers your risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Studies have shown that 80 of Americans have a relatively low iodine. Therefore have seaweed at least once a week.
To ensure and maintain adequate iodine levels. Most Americans can’t imagine eating 9 cups, 3 plate fulls of vegetables and berries every day, but. if you’ll commit to having 9 cups of these incredibly healthy, wonderful for you, vegetables and berries every day, before you have grain, potatoes, dairy, you will have dramaticly increased the vitaminmineral content of your diet. Plus you will have dramatically lowered the risk of food allergies. Food allergies and food sensivities are far more common than we realize. They are difficult to diagnose and in particular,.
Sensivity to gluten, the protein in wheat, rye and barley, and to dairy, the protein, the casein protein in dairy, is associated with a wide variety of health problems, including, but not limited to eczema, asthma, allergies, infertility, irritable bowel, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, chronic headache, neurological problems and behavior problems. Yes, it will cost more to eat these beautiful vegetables and berries, but I assure you, you are going to pay the price. You will pay the price now for food that restores your health and vitality, or you pay the price for doctor’s visits,.
Prescription drugs, surgeries, missed time from work, early retirement and nursing home care. The choise is yours. Okay. Seven years I get the best care, the latest newest drugs I continue to get more disabled By november of 2007 I could not sit in a chair like you are now. I had be reclined in a zero gravity chair like this, at home or at work or in bed. I could walk short distances using two canes. I was losing my keys, my phones. I was having nightmares that my chief of staff.
Had pulled my clinical privileges. That is when I designed a diet specifically for my brain cells and my mitochondria. That’s when I began. I became a modern day huntergatherer. Three months later I could walk between the exam rooms using one cane. The month after that I could walk throughout the hospital without a cane. At five months I got on my bike for the first time in a decade and I pedaled aroud the block. Nine months into my new way of eating I pedaled 18 miles. The following year I did a trail ride in the Canadian Rockies.
I am the canary in the coal mine here as a warning to all of you. We have a choice We can continue to eat that delicious, convenient, tasty processed food and watch ourselves and our children grow steadily more overweight, depressed and diabetic, or… 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, grassfed meat, organ meat and seaweed and have more vitality. We all have a choice.
I choose to teach the public about the healing power of food into conducting clinical trials. We are testing minor preventions and others of secondary progressive MS We’ll present our research on Sunday at the 2011 neuro science conference. The results are breath taking. We all have a choice. I challenge you to become modernday huntergatherers and eat for your mitochondria, become ambassadors for your mitochondria. For if I can rise up from my tiltrecline wheelchair doing this, imagine what eating for your mitochondria can do for you, your family, your country, your community, your world.