New Approaches to Neurological Conditions

I’ve been amazed at the outpouring of tremendous support since I wrote “A Piece of Me.” That post was the first time I truly poured my heart out here, and I’m completely overwhelmed by your wonderful responses. This community is amazing. I had no idea when I started this blog in 2006, that I would have such an incredible online family here. Your support is absolutely wonderful and I am so grateful for all of you every single day.

In addition to your unconditional support, I was very impressed by the level of knowledge and ideas shared here. In order for everyone to benefit from all of your helpful suggestions, I am compiling a summary called New Approaches to Neurological Conditions. This list is for those newly diagnosed, as well as those who have been living with a neurological condition and the label of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lewy body dementia (LBD), epilepsy, early onset dementia, as well as other serious brain disorders. Those with fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, EMF sensitivity, and other disorders with neurological components will also benefit.

My wish here is that people dealing with severe neurological conditions will not lose hope and may find a helpful idea here or there to add to their treatment plans. Since science is constantly changing, health is a puzzle that requires continuous research. By compiling all of your ideas, I hope, and truly believe that we can heal here together.

New Approaches to Neurological Conditions

1. Lyme Disease

If you have been diagnosed with a neurological condition, be sure to rule out Lyme disease and see a Lyme literate doctor. This was the top suggestion that came from readers. Lyme disease can cause severe neurological impairment that is similar to many neurological diseases. Thankfully, I’ve had numerous tests done by IgeneX and have been able to rule out Lyme disease.

As an aside, a fairly well known treatment for Lyme disease is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). If you receive HBOT and have Lyme disease, it is likely that you will have flu-like symptoms after at least one of your treatments, if not more. This is because hyperbaric exposure extracts the spiral bacteria from the connective tissue, forcing it into the blood stream of Lyme patients. This causes a Herxheimer reaction, basically a detoxifying process that can last from days to a few weeks. Herxheimer can include flu-like, as well as other symptoms.

Thankfully, I felt better during the entire course of my HBOT treatments and did not experience a Herxheimer response, leading my team of functional medicine doctors to believe that my IgeneX results were accurate.

2. Heavy Metal Toxicity

Unfortunately, many of us had mercury used for our dental fillings when we were younger. If you have a neurological condition get tested for heavy metal toxicity, as it can impair brain function. Functional medicine doctors have a battery of tests that they can deploy in this situation, and your doctor will know what is best for you.

I had heavy metal testing done in 2003, and had my fillings removed by a biological dentist in 2004. The dentist followed the safest of protocols when removing my fillings, using a dental dam and oxygen during the procedure. Still, I had some fairly severe side effects for a few weeks. In the long run though, I was better off and my mercury levels are now very low. If you decide to have your metal fillings removed, do so in conjunction with a functional medicine doctor who can test you for heavy metals before and after the removal process.

For someone such as myself, who detoxifies more slowly due to the presence of an MTHFR genetic mutation, it was important to go slow and not overdo detoxifying supplements. My doctor and I also ruled out chelation therapy for me. We did agree that consuming cilantro would be a gentle way to pull heavy metals out of my system. I created this Cilantro Detox Juice that I drink almost daily to detoxify and remove the heavy metals that are now regularly found in our environment.

A good functional medicine doctor will do a thorough interview and design the best plan for your body. Remember, we are all biochemical individuals and need different doses of various supplements in this type of situation. Customization is key, there is no one size fits all treatment plan.

3. Rebuild Your Gut Microbiome

Many of you mentioned one of my favorite books, Brain Maker, written by my colleague Dr. David Perlmutter. In this book he explains the interaction of intestinal microbes and the brain. Dr. Perlmutter describes how the microbiome develops from birth, then evolves, and how it can become debilitated. I have been following the work of Dr. Perlmutter, since 2004 and we share the same mentor. He is a wonderful advocate for nurturing gut health to heal your brain. If you have any gut or neurological issues whatsoever, my post called, How I Healed my Gut, is a must-read for you!

4. Terry Wahls

I’m grateful that so many of you have discovered this amazing functional medicine neurologist who I featured here in 2012. Her Ted Talk on using the paleo diet to heal MS is very inspiring. If you haven’t seen it already I hope you’ll watch it!

5. Hypyerbaric Oxygen Therapy

I’ve written about hyperbaric oxygen therapy extensively here. Since I’ve seen such good results from it, I thought it was important to mention. I have received over 100 HBOT treatments and it has been incredibly helpful for me in ameliorating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Because HBOT increases brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) it may also benefit other neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and LBD.1

6. Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet reduces inflammation in the brain.2 It is a very low-carb diet (VLCD), high in fat, that has been used for decades to treat epilepsy, a neurological disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures.

The macro-nutrient ratio of this diet is extreme. The classic ketogenic diet consists of a 4:1 ratio in grams of fat to non-fat (protein and carbohydrates). A modified ketogenic diet consists of ratios of 2:1 or 1:1. To be clear, the 4:1 ratio means the patient consumes 4 grams of fat for every 1 gram of protein and carbohydrates combined. If you do go on a traditional ketogenic diet it is very important to do so under the supervision of a doctor. For more information, as well as an assortment of keto recipes, see my Ketogenic Diet Recipes page.

7. Prayer

It is common knowledge that prayer helps heal, and there are studies to prove it.3 More than anything else, I am thankful to all of you for your prayers and good wishes!

Lately, I have enjoyed hearing about the healing power of prayer from Dr. Joe Dispenza. In some of his videos he elaborates on how positive thinking and prayer can set off a series of epigenetic changes on a cellular level that lead to healing. Prayer is free, and available to us all. A simple thank you said to oneself repeatedly is a wonderful prayer of gratitude that can release endorphins and lead to a sense of well being, among other positive changes.

I want to thank you all again for your overwhelming support and love. I think of your incredible comments every night at bedtime when I say my prayers of gratitude.

Finally, if I missed anything that you think is important for people with neurological issues or brain disease to have on their radar, please let us know about it and leave your suggestions below!


146 responses to “New Approaches to Neurological Conditions”

  1. Thank you so much sharing what you have been through and the remedies you have been using. What I have seems like nothing compared to what you and others have been through, but since childhood I have had restless leg syndrome, although it wasn’t diagnosed or taken seriously then. Now they know it can be a precursor to Parkinson’s. For 20 years I had to stand up during the night until 4:00 a.m. until RLS subsided. You cannot lie down or sit. Eventually I did get Ropinerole that will calm it after an hour and I can sleep. But as I age it is getting worse and now after reading your suggestions about the gut effecting the brain I am so impressed and have always known this comes from the brain, but the connection with the gut is truly enlightening.
    Bless you and thank you for sharing your journey.

    Bless you for what you do and share

    • Virginia, thank you for being so brave and sharing your story here, I’m grateful to be on this healing path with you :-)

  2. Years of living with persistent tick-borne illness and autoimmune issues have led me to some wonderful health care practitioners, intuitive healers, and a host of non-traditional and very effective interventions. I’ve learned that low-dose Naltrexone can be a powerful tool to boost immune function, reduce inflammation, ease the symptoms of autoimmune issues, IBS, and more—and when paired with Ketotifen, it can be like jet fuel for healing. Of course, like all interventions, these don’t work for everyone, but if you live with chronic pain and inflammation, it’s certainly an intervention to discuss with trusted practitioners.

    Quantum Body Talk is another healing modality that can be of particular benefit, especially the work of Laura Stuve, Ph.D., and the practitioners she’s trained. I’d add to that EMDR, a trauma treatment technique that can help one cope with PTSD from health crises as well as any traumatic history, clinical hypnosis to ameliorate chronic pain and calm one’s nervous system, EFT as mentioned above, the work of Non Dual healers at ASOS (a healing modality created by Jason Shulman) and other intuitive healers.

    Thank you, Elana, for offering such delicious recipes for so many dietary routes to healing—and for sharing your journey. You have been incredibly helpful to me for so many years. Although our connection is only through this social media world, you’ve made a significant contribution to my life and my health. I am very grateful to you.

    • Jane, I love that you’re using alternative and conventional treatments to heal! I am so grateful for your comment and for you :-)

  3. Hi Elana,
    I read that you were going to write about what supplements you take and that was in an older message. Where would I find the message you wrote on that?
    Thanks for all you do and allowing us into what you have experienced, which brings others forward with their experiences. I’m finding it all so helpful. You are a blessing.
    Thank you.

    • Shirley, thanks for your comment! Yes, I posted a shot on Instagram this summer of my supplement box and I do plan on writing about what I take –thanks so much for the reminder!

  4. Love your recipes Elana. In addition to your recipes thank you for sharing your story and for continuing to educate us.

  5. Like everyone here I love your work and think it was thoughtful to share what you have discovered.
    I wanted to pitch in with thoughts about emotions. Our emotions are deeply tied to our health. Even if they aren’t “causing” the problem they are ever present and enable health issues to linger. There simply is no way to separate mind and body, and working with emotional components and one’s beliefs can have an amazingly powerful impact and for some, like myself, heal issues. Look into it. Particularly Emotional Freedom Technique it is a great way to understand this basic onnection. Be open, curious to this we all hsve felt what emotions can do how string they are. Hugs.

  6. Elana,

    I’m happy to have found this page. I have Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia with Tremor and Cervical Torticollis; both neurological conditions. The “gold standard” treatment is Botox injections for both. Unfortunately, I have not responded well with the injections for my voice. I am highly curious and interested if you have come across others with these same disorders and your take on beneficial testing (you mentioned high levels of mercury in one of the above articles) and nutrition. Thank you.

    • Mary, the most important thing for me in dealing with a neurological condition has been sleeping a minimum of 8 hours per night. That is more important than diet and exercise :-)

    • Mary – my husband has cervical torticollis and didn’t respond at all to the first round of Botox injections that he was given. Come to find out the doctor didn’t have a clue about what he was doing. He now goes to the best doctor at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles to get injections that are guided via EMG (versus just poke and see what happens). They have been a true blessing. If you haven’t already, go to a doctor who injects using an EMG (electromyography) machine. Best wishes in your treatment.

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