Do you know TED conferences? These conferences broadcast “ideas that are worthwhile”. One of the most successful conferences across the Atlantic is Terry Wahls, viewed more than 1.5 million times. This scientist has suffered for 10 years from multiple sclerosis. Despite the latest medical cures she takes, her condition worsens. Until she adopts a paleo diet and reverses the effects.
It’s been several months since I discovered this video. I did not share it with you earlier because she is English. And then I undertook to translate it for you. So you can discover this uplifting conference on the Paleo diet with French subtitles (do not forget to activate them). For those who can not read the video, the transcript is below.
For four years, she suffered from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, which confined her to a wheelchair. But in this TED talk, she explains how she used functional medicine to create what’s called the Wahls Protocol. With him, she transformed her health and all her life! She walks easily without a cane and goes to work by bike.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS for short, is an inflammatory disease in which the myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, resulting in demyelination and scarring as well as a wide range of symptoms. It affects the ability of nerve cells to communicate effectively with each other in the brain and spinal cord. When myelin is lost, the axons are no longer able to drive the signals effectively.
There is no known cure for the disease, but Dr. Wahls has found a way to eat to at least keep it at bay. What do you think? The before and after photos above are … striking …
Transcript of the video
The story of Terry Wahls
I like to practice tai kwon do and I was national champion. But many things have changed since then: I became a doctor, I had a son, 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 clinic in Cleveland.
I saw the best doctors, received the best possible care, taking the last drugs. But in 2003, my illness progressed to multiple sclerosis. I did the recommended chemo. I had to use a wheelchair. I had one with an engine to walk around. I took Tysabri and CellCept, but I became more and more disabled: my illness had progressed. I was afraid of being bedridden.
I then began to read the latest research using I learned that brains with multiple sclerosis shrink over time. So I went to read every night the latest medical research on brain diseases that shrink (Huntington, Parkinson, Alzheimer). I noted that in these three diseases, mitochondria do not work well which leads to shrinking brains. I found studies on the mouse where brain and mitochondrion are protected using fish oil, creatine and coenzyme Q. I converted the dose for humans and tried a first experience on me. My decline slowed down.
I was very grateful but my health was still declining. I then discovered the Institute for Functional Medicine and through their continuing education called “neuroprotection: a functional medicinal approach for common neurological syndromes and rarer”, I learned the biology of the brain and what I could do to protect mine.
How cells work: the mitochondria
Here’s what I learned: we have one billion cells with 10 trillion connections. All of these connections must be isolated with what is called myelin. Myelin is damaged in multiple sclerosis. In order to have robust myelin, the brain needs a lot of vitamin B especially vitamin B1 (thiamine), B9 (folate), B12 (cobolamine). We also need omega 3 fatty acids and iodine. The brain cells communicate with neurotransmitters. It takes a lot of sulfur to make, as well as vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
Mitochondria are essential to life because they manage the energy input of each cell. Without the mitochondria, you would not be bigger than a bacterium. In medical school, I had to memorize innumerable reactions involving mitochondria, but I never learned what components the cells could make, nor what I had to consume for these reactions to occur properly.
I now know that I need a lot of B vitamins, sulfur and antioxidants for my mitochondria to work properly. So I added vitamin B supplements, sulfur and antioxidants to my diet. Then I told myself that I should get my nutrients from my diet. That if I did, I would probably get hundreds or even thousands of other compounds that science had not yet named or identified but useful to my brain and my mitochondria. But I did not know in what foods they were. No medical or scientific text helped me either. But the internet could help me.
The state of “rich” countries
I was able to conceive the diet specifically for my brain and my mitochondria. But before you introduce this diet, let’s check what Americans are eating. A typical American family consumes a lot of processed, refined foods and that’s how most companies eat when they get richer. And that’s probably why, by becoming richer, their health status declines.
Professor Loren Cordain has been working on the daily intakes of Americans for different nutrients. Nearly half of Americans do not take enough vitamin C and A. Two-thirds do not take enough zinc, calcium and magnesium or iodine. And 80% do not take enough omega 3. We all starve our cells. We are alive thanks to the complex chemical reactions. If you do not provide the essential elements of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, these reactions can not occur properly leading to the manufacture of bad structures or an absence of them. And you set the stage for chronic diseases. This is why children are born with a too small jaw – deflecting their teeth – and a smaller brain. That’s why your blood pressure goes up, your blood vessels become stiff with age, which is why one in three American children, or 1 in 2 if you are African American or Hispanic will become diabetic and obese. That’s why if you go to schools we have more and more children with serious behavior problems. But this is not inevitable.
The paleo diet
For 2.5 million years, man has eaten what he can pick and hunt. They are the hunter-gatherers. The paleo diet consists of leaves, roots, berries, meat and fish. These are seasonal, local and of course organic products.
Inuit in the Far North have a very different life from the savanna, yet when scientists analyze their paleo diet, it exceeds the recommended nutrient intakes by 2 to 10 times. These ancient peoples know more about food bringing health and vitality than our doctors and scientists. The Paleo diet is more nutritious than the diet of the American Heart Association, than that of the American Diabetes Association or the food pyramid of the USDA. So I started with a hunter-gatherer diet, used the concepts and structured to be sure to get the crucial vitamins and minerals for brain cells and mitochondria.
Here is this diet: a large plate of green vegetables, a large plate of vegetables rich in sulfur, a large plate of colorful vegetables, meat (grass fed animals), offal, seaweed.
I started with green vegetables because they are rich in vitamins B, A, C, K and minerals. Cabbage in particular, which has the best nutritional ratio per calorie among all vegetables. B vitamins protect brain cells and mitochondria. Vitamins A and C help immune cells. Vitamin K keeps your blood vessels and bones healthy. Minerals are the co-factors of hundreds of different enzymes. Consuming a plate of green vegetables daily reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the United States. So eat more cabbage, parsley, cooked green vegetables, smoothies, cabbage you can make dehydrated crisps.
Consume a large plate of vegetables rich in sulfur every day. Your brain and your mitochondria need sulfur. Your liver and kidneys need it to remove toxins from your blood. The cabbages are rich in sulfur: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnip, rutabaga, radish and kale. The onion family is also rich in sulfur: onions, garlic, leek, chives, shallots, as well as mushrooms and asparagus.
You must also consume a large plate of 3 vegetables of different colors. The colors represent flavonoids and polyphenols. These are powerful anti-oxidants essential for your retina, your mitochondria, your brain and the elimination of toxins. The colors are in vegetables like beets, carrots, peppers, red cabbage, berries and colorful fruits like peaches and oranges.
Protein and Omega 3
You must consume high quality protein rich in omega 3. Omega 3 are very important for the myelin of the nervous system, essential for the development of the jaw and in order to have very straight teeth and a bigger brain. So eat fish like salmon and herring, meat from grass fed animals. All old companies value offals that are a concentrate of vitamins, minerals and coenzyme Q, particularly powerful for the health of your mitochondria. Consume offal such as liver, heart, tongue, gizzards, sweetbread, once a week.
The elders traveled long distances or traded to access algae. Algae are rich in iodine and selenium. Your brain needs iodine for myelin but also to eliminate toxins like mercury, lead and heavy metals and enough iodine lowers the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Studies show that 80% of Americans have a low level of iodine. So consume algae at least once a week to ensure and maintain a good level of iodine.
It’s your choice
Most Americans can not imagine eating 3 large plates of vegetables and berries every day. But if you commit to having this amount of these incredibly healthy foods every day before you consume cereals, potatoes, and dairy products, you will have dramatically increased the vitamin mineral content of your diet and you will have significantly reduced the risk of food allergies.
Food allergies and food sensitivities are much more common than we think. They are difficult to diagnose and in particular sensitivity to gluten, wheat protein, rye and barley, and sensitivity to casein, the protein of dairy products that is associated with a wide variety of health problems, such as but not limited to eczema, asthma, infertility, allergies, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, chronic headaches, neurological problems and behavioral problems.
Yes it will cost you more to consume these beautiful vegetables and fruits, but anyway you will pay the price. Either you pay the price now for the food that gives you health and vitality or you pay the price later for medical visits, medications, surgeries, salary shortfall, early retirement and nursing home care. It’s your choice.
Seven years ago, I received the best care, the best medicine and my condition worsened. In November 2007 I could not sit on the chair on which you are, I had to be inclined in a zero gravity chair at home or at work or in bed. I could walk short distances using two rods, use my keys, a phone. I had a nightmare that my boss was taking away my clinical privileges.
It was when I designed a diet specifically for my brain cells and my mitochondria that I became a modern hunter-gatherer. Three months later I could walk between the examination rooms with a cane, the next month I could walk through the whole hospital without a cane. After 5 months I took my bike for the first time in 10 years and I cycled around the building. After 9 months of my new diet I cycled 30 kms. The following year, I hiked in the Canadian Rockies.
I am the canary in the coal mine, as a warning to all of you. We have the choice, we can continue to eat these delicious, practical, tasty processed foods and we see ourselves and our children becoming more and more depressed and diabetic fat.
Either we continue to passively satisfy ourselves with expensive medical care that collapses us individually and collectively, or we eat for our mitochondria, vegetables and berries, meat, giblets, seaweed for more vitality. We all have the choice. I chose to teach the public the healing power of food and clinical trials of progressive and secondary plaque sclerosis. We present our research this Sunday at the 2011 Neuroscience Conference. The results are breathtaking.
We all have the choice. I challenge you to become modern hunter-gatherers and eat for your mitochondria, become the ambassadors of your mitochondria. I was able to get out of my wheelchair by doing it, imagine what it can do for you, your family, your country, your community, your world. We have the choice. What will yours be?