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.
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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.
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!
Donna Paige says
Hi Elana, I think it is wonderful that you have such a huge group of supporters and I love your suggestions for helping people with neurological disorders. I am especially fond of the Ketogenic Diet, because it is so anti-inflammatory. I am using it to reverse my Diabetes. I am trying to help my daughter see that it would be good for her daughter who we think might be on the autism spectrum. She is very difficult though because she has an eating disorder as well(food neophobia). I have sent my daughter some exogenous ketones to try. I am thinking that these might also be helpful for people with other neurological disorders. What do you think of exogenous ketones?
Donna, I use exogenous ketones now and then but mostly focus on sticking with real food. I think one of the most important treatment for neurological disorders is sleep! Here’s a link to a couple of my posts on that:
Wondering if you would consider adding Fibromyalgia to your list of neuro disorders? I have had numerous neuro challenges with fibro; your post would help this community as well. Thenk you for sharing!
Hi Lei, thanks for your input, I really appreciate it and have updated this post accordingly :-)
Naomi Ferros says
I just came across your website as I was looking for Ketogenic recipes. I’m trying the modified Keto diet for my chronic migraines. I thought I would share a website with you regarding light sensitivity. I have a lot of trouble with bright lights and fluorescent lights in particular. I found some wonderful glasses that deal with photophobia. They haven’t completely gotten rid of my migraines but that have allowed me to be under fluorescent lights for a longer time. At one point I couldn’t be under them for more that a few minutes without getting triggered. And yes I am very sensitive to cell phones, etc., so I really appreciate all your suggestions to reduce exposure.
Thanks for sharing! The website is axonoptics.com.
Do you have a Lyme specialist to recommend in the Boulder/Denver area? Thanks!! Love your banana cake!!!
Maxine, I would start at Helios in Boulder and see Dr. B. He would be able to steer you to the right person :-)
E Philipp says
After all the other comments, I just want to give you 2 names to look up, Dr Cicero Coimbra and his Coimbra Protocol and Dr Jack Kruse who is speaking at Shelbourne Farms in Vermont. Be well.
I am new to your site and am very interested in the information on how the ketogenic diet and EMF reduction is helping your MS symptoms my fiance has MS and since 2013 his symptoms have gotten worse and very visble. he is on MS treatment but it is progressing and treatment seems to no longer be working and anything I can learn or do to improve his ability of having a seemly normal life I am willing to try. Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated.
Hi Jodi, it’s so nice to meet you here. I’m so grateful to you for sharing what you and your fiance are going through, he is very lucky to have you! Here are a couple of resources that might help. First, I found it helpful to reduce my exposure to electromagnetic radiation and outline how I did that here:
Next, here’s a link to my Keto Diet Recipes page. Because low-carb high fat (LCHF) diets can reduce neurological inflammation it might be helpful:
Take good care and please keep me posted!
Hi Elana! What great website you created with such wonderful recipes & good advice for so many things! I need to mention something about MS that would be beneficial. A book called Know the Cause by Doug Kaufmann, talks about the fungus link to many diseases. Fungus overgrowth comes from a moldy home (even from a little leak in house); antibiotic use without replenishing the gut with probiotics; grains (can be contaminated with it) & sugars of any form. Documents show that removing the fungus removes the disease & yes some cancers! Cancer has 8 of the same properties of a fungal infection. I am so grateful for you & all that you share! Yes, it has changed my life in so many ways! Thank you! May you receive the love from your fans & from YAHWEH.
Donna, thanks for your wonderful comment and all of your support!
Caroline Schmidt says
I’m dealing with late-diagnosed rocky mountain spotted fever and found something interesting that might help you. There’s a book by Steven Buhner called Healing Lyme in which I found a bunch of information to deal with late-diagnosed rocky mountain spotted fever. According to the book, RMSF tries keeping a certain inflammatory cytokine in range, called TNF-a. I looked up herbs online to increase its production so as to kill it, and found that chocolate seems to be one of them. I’m now rolling in chocolate, but since it boosts inflammation, maybe it could be hurtful with multiple sclerosis. Turmeric on the other hand reduces TNF-a, as does a whole slew of other medicinals. Off-topic: I’ve heard alfalfa is contraindicated for anything autoimmune and that alfalfa sprouts will reactivate in-remission lupus.
Alfalfa really created a tremendous amount of pain in my kidney area and I have a diagnosed autoimmune of the thyroid. I have since followed medical medium’s protocols and my thyroid conditions are going away.
zooie t says
Thank you for your wonderful blog.
This is an interesting and informative article in the New York Times.
It talks about Dr Terry Wahls’ story amongst others.
The 102 reader comments are also informative.
Blessings – zooie
Hi Zooie, I wrote about Terry Wahls here in 2012:
Just wanted to suggest the Medical Medium books and blog, by Anthony Williams. Changed my life and those I have shared them with. Directly addresses all of the ‘Mystery Illnesses’ that are so hard to beat, with info that I’ve never seen anywhere else. Can’t tell you how improved my health is over the past 7 months eating this way…
I’m not affliated or selling anything :) I’ve been following your site for years and just thought I’d share after your last post. It sucks to struggle with health everyday.
Hi Emily, thanks for your comment. I got that book when it came out in November 2015. Here’s a link that sheds more light on my recent health struggles:
You took the words right out of my mouth! Medical Medium is the real deal. For Christmas I asked for his first book and it has been a game changer for me and my family! “Food is medicine” sounds like such a cliche, but it’s the truth! The fad diets are just that. Along with ridding my diet of gluten and dairy, I follow his recommendations of eating tons of fruit and vegetables and very little animal fat. I have come so far and just continue to improve my health. God bless doctors, but they are so wrong on so many levels.
Elana, I have enjoyed your blog, cook books, and recipes for many years. Please know that I’m not judging your path to health and wish you all the best with your journey to heal your body and experience good health.
I’m definitely rethinking charging my phone on my bedside end table. Starting tonight I’m moving it across the room.
God bless you, Elana!
Tammy, thanks for your incredible comment! I really appreciate it. We are all biochemical individuals, so what works well for one person may not work well for another. That said, we can probably all agree that organic food, adequate sleep and exercise, as well as eliminating EMF’s is good for all of us:
Louise Bakley says
First let me say thank for all your dedication to this informative website. I have enjoyed the knowledge I have gained and all the delicious recipes offered. My son and I made the delicious donuts last summer.
I have a child who was diagnosed with autism in 2004, and we were blessed to find homeopathic approaches to the root cause of the various chronic diseases. As a result, he is enjoying the life of a college student finding a nice path in visual arts. A path that would have otherwise been impossible to imagine. I was hoping to see homeopathy as one of the approaches mentioned. There are beautiful protocols for MS, Lyme, Rheumatoid Arthritis Thyroid Diseases. It is safe and natural approach, guided by natural law principles.
I have a chronic pain condition and it involves a lot of spasms and pain in different forms. I got so tense from all the pain that I was constricted. I could hardly walk .
– One of the things I tried that helped was to find ways to feel pleasure. Kind of like retraining my brain and body to feel good stuff thru my senses. So… long baths, soft sheets (high thread counts), massage, lotions (natural and scent free of course).
-Another thing was to drastically reduce the chemicals in my home, and on/in me. In food, hygiene and cleaning products. It made such a difference, I’ve been walking upright again :) Best of all, whether or not you think it can help, it won’t hurt! And sometimes that is just the ticket. Having a good thing you can control that nobody objects to. :) Good luck!