May 23, 2010
It has been a while since I've posted on the blog. Most of my work is on my web sites. www.terrywahls.com and www.mindingmymitochondria.com I have brought some of the information here to share with you.
Great Grandma's Liver and Onions
Liver, heart, tongue, gizzards, sweetbreads (thymus) and kidneys were eaten regularly by my grandmother and my great grandmother's generation. They knew that liver was packed with nutrition and that one should eat organ meat once a week. We have forgotten that ancient wisdom.
Liver is packed with B vitamins, coenzyme Q and choline, all of which support healthy function of mitochondria. So are all of the organ meats. We get more of the nutrition from those organ meats the rarer the meat is. Thus when I cook the liver, or any of the organ meats, I use low temperature and leave the meat medium rare.
I went to my great grandmother's cook book: A Compendium of Cooker and Book of Knowledge with an 1890 copyright to look for a recipe using liver. I made the liver according to their instructions and it was fabulous. Here is it translated into modern time.
A pound of Liver
One half pound of Bacon
Sliced onions (one or two)
Sliced mushrooms (optional but very nice)
½ teaspoon powdered kelp (optional)
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
Slice the onions and mushrooms and place in the bottom of an iron Dutch oven (or any covered casserole will do). Slice the liver and place a slice of bacon between the liver strips. Add one tablespoon of water. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of powdered kelp (good for minerals). Cover the casserole and place in an oven at 180 degrees and bake for 60 minutes and check. The liver is best when it is still slightly pink. If not done enough, continue baking and check every fifteen minutes. If you cook liver until it is completely done, it is more likely to be tough and much less tasty. If you take it out when it is still slightly pink, it will be tender, and at least according to my family, quite delicious.
Check out Nourishing Traditions for a great cookbook which builds on the wisdom of generations on how to use food to maximize your nutrition and therefore your health. A link to that book is provided here.
May 4, 2010
We have an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency afflicting Americans. The reasons are that we are spending more time indoors year round because of air conditioning, television, computers and other indoor entertainment options. Furthermore, when we go outside, the public has been advised to wear sunscreen to block the 'damaging effects from ultraviolet radiation' contained within the sun light. The consequence is that our skin does not receive the ultraviolet radiation which allows our skin to manufacture vitamin D. Because we live so far north, even if we do go outside at high noon between September and March, the sun is too low in the sky for use to receive sufficient ultraviolet light to manufacture vitamin D. As a result study after study has documented that Americans have a low Vitamin D level, ranging from25 to 75% of Caucasians to 85% or more for those with darker complexions such as an African American or persons of Middle Eastern descent.
The health consequences of low vitamin D are huge. More and more studies are documenting the many adverse health impacts of low vitamin D levels. Many labs set the normal values at 20 to 70. I prefer to use a definition of what level of vitamin D is associated with the best health. To do this, one looks at the many studies looking at the epidemiology of illness risk associated with the levels of vitamin D in the blood. Then it is apparent that the best health outcomes are achieved when the vitamin D levels are between 50 and 100. If the level is less than 20, the likelihood of a bone fracture is dramatically increased. If the levels are between 20 and 30 the risk of schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, high blood pressure, premature birth, infertility, heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disease is increased. At levels between 30 and 40 there is still an increased risk in high blood pressure, aortic stenosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm, cancer and 4 times the risk of multiple sclerosis. At 40 to 50 there is still an increased risk of multiple sclerosis. But between 50 and 100 there is a lower risk of cancer, heart attack, high blood pressure and autoimmune disease. At levels over 150 there is an increased risk of excessive calcium in the blood, hallucinations, psychosis, and kidney damage. Next month I will discuss steps you can take to improve your vitamin D status.
April 20, 2010
Many with MS have an excessive amount of mercury, lead or other toxins. Eating seaweed daily provides iodine and many trace minerals that are important to brain health and support the liver's ability to excrete toxins. I highly recommend the book SEAWEED. The Seaweed Man has been an excellent source of organic, sustainably farmed seaweed. A link to his web site is provided below. A link to more information about the book is also provided.
April 12, 2010
Chronic Venous Blockages and MS
There is a 90 minute webcast on chronic venous blockages and MS on April 14th sponsored by the MS society. More information on how to register is at the following link.
This is an interesting news report about individuals who underwent procedures to open up blocked vessels in an effort to improve MS related symptoms (based on Zamboni's finding that chronic low level blockages of veins draining the brain occur more frequently in MS patients than in normal controls.
April 8, 2010
IODINE, TOXIC LOAD and MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
I spent the last three weeks teaching another Food as Medicine series. Tonight the topic was Poisons in Our Food. The quick message I'd like to reinforce to all of you is that toxic load is the amount of toxins you absorb minus the toxins you excrete each day.
Unrecognized toxic load is a driver for many chronic diseases, including multiple sclerosis. If you have been doing a great job at eating a diet that is low allergen and still having gradually worsening MS -- excessive toxic load may be a factor.
You can look into having an assessment - but you would need to have some kind of provocation test. Most of our toxins are stored in our fat and our brain. Unless you have some kind of challenge test, you will not be aware of the total load of toxins resting in your brain.
Iodine deficiency is a common problem when you have excess toxic load and may be a factor in underlying worsening MS. I suggest visiting the following site for more information on toxic load, iodine and multiple sclerosis.
March 4, 3009
This is a TED Talks Lecture that I recommend highly.
It is the best 18 minutes you'll spend thinking about the links between what we eat and the epidemic of food related illness that is disabling and killing us and our children .
NIH Grant submitted
February 1, 2010
I have spent the last 6 weeks writing grants, making budgets and making multiple revisions. We have now submitted a grant to the NIH asking for funding to test my interventions in a population of secondary progressive MS, primary progressive Ms and advanced Parkinson's disease patients. It was a huge effort, especially since it was my first major grant. As a result I've not written anything for the web pages.
Once the grant was submitted, I went off to study with the Institute of Functional Medicine, once again reviewing biochemistry, physiology and hormones and more. I am more and more impressed that Functional Medicine physician and practitioners are best equipped to help those suffering from refractory and progressive MS and identify what are the key nutritional deficiencies, infections, toxins and genetic vulnerabilities that are driving the disease.
While the intensive nutrition - that is eating greens, sulfur rich foods, colors and high quality protein ( and omitting grains, dairy and eggs) is a huge step, a functional medicine doctor may help you focus your interventions.
If you are copying my protocols --- PLEASE -- consider participating in the longitudinal survey EACH MONTH so that we can follow your progress. I have a handful of people thus far -- and this data helps our grant writing very much. It is a huge benefit to have some early data on what people are doing, how they are responding so that we can project how large the study will need to be to detect the benefits.
Nutrition and MS Survey
Electrical therapy and MS survey
January 3, 2010
This is an excellent on line entry by Dr. Mark Hyman on the dangers of gluten sensitivity. More physicians are recognizing that gluten sensitivity is driving many diseases - cancers, heart disease, autoimmune disease and irritable bowel.
Dr. Mark Hyman and Gluten
December 15, 2009
Voices of MS
Voices of Multiple Sclerosis
Today's post is about a book, titled Voices of Multiple Sclerosis. I am one of the featured authors, in which I recall 'Telling the World'. It was about acquiring a tilt-recline wheelchair due to progressively severe fatigue. In it I recall the challenges of encountering friends and colleagues who were stunned to see me sitting in a wheelchair. My greatest healing came when I learned to laugh at my clumsiness at driving via a joy stick. It was my laughter that signaled to my staff, my family and myself that I was not defeated by my illness.
The book has 33 other wonderful essays about the losses, the gifts, the tragedies and the triumphs which are embedded in having a progressive chronic disease. I recommend the book highly to those have been recently diagnosed as well as those who have known about their disease for years.
The link http://lpbooks.myshopify.com/ will take you to the LaChance publishing page where you can purchase the book.
November 24, 2009
Chronic venous blockages
I've been asked by many individuals to comment upon the issue of the chronic venous blockages found in the brains of MS patients and whether it is worthwhile to investigate one's venous status.
I have chosen not to do so. I do note that numerous studies have demonstrated than an increased consumption of brassica (cabbage family) or allicin (garlic and onion family) vegetables make blood more fluid and our white blood cells less sticky. The result is that the problems of sluggish blood flow are greatly reduced. This lowers significantly the risk of heart disease and stroke.
In theory one could have significant improvement in blood flow to the brain by consuming 300 to 600 grams of sulfur rich vegetables (cabbage, onion and mushroom family) vegetables. That is the route that I advocate in my clinical practice. Each person must make their own decision regarding what is in their best interest. In general the long term effect from intensive nutrition is often superior to procedures -- because traumatizing blood vessels with stents and other instrument is not without risk. The other benefit to aggressively using intensive nutrition is it under the individual's control.
November 8, 2009
The Poisons in Our Foods
I recently completed a toxicology profile on myself. Keep in mind that I have been eating 6 plus cups of kale / collards/ onion family vegetables every day for nearly two years. Along with that I have been eating bright colors to maximize my antioxidant intake too. In short I have been following a reasonable detoxification diet.
However I did expect that I'd have some evidence of heavy metals, just because I have come to recognize that heavy metals in the body are often drivers of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis. I've been taking additional iodine for three months, again to help support my iodine intake.
I took the test through the FFP laboratory (J. D. Flechas, MD) because I wanted to get a status on my iodine and heavy metals. I just go my results and I was surprised.
Here they are
Flouride: normal range
Iodine: provocation 78% when the goal is 90% so iodine stores are low - I probably need another 3 to 6 months of replacement iodine to get my iodine levels in the fully replaced range)
Bromide spot low - but provocation was 38 (3X normal) - which means I have bromide in my body. Bromide competes with iodine, driving up the amount of iodine I need. Bromine will be excreted via urine. But I need a lot of iodine to do so.
Other heavy metals that were toxic
aluminum 2X normal
Barium 20X normal
cadmium slight elevation
cesium 2 X normla
Gadolinium 100 X normal
rubidium slight elevation
thalium 10X normal
tungsten slight elevation
Uraniaum 2 X normal
mercury slight elevation
The big questions --
Where did I get these compounds? \
Am I still taking more into my body?
How do I increase my ability to get rid of them?
Notably, I probably had much higher levels two years ago.
Since cruciferous, onions and sulfur amino acids induce more enzymes that are used in detoxification -- I have been following a good detox protocol.
But now I want to do even more..
I went out looking for more information on detoxification and came across this site.
I found the following web site helpful.
Other sources of information include Dr. Mark Hyman who has several books. Going to his website would provide some information as well.
More information can be found about iodine at
Sources for my heavy metals were probably related to growing up on an Iowa farm, living in communities that used treated river water and living in a home with a shallow well.
Now I have a reverse osmosis water filter. I take a sauna most days, and a clay foot soak. And I take chlorella, spirulina and green tea each day in my morning smoothie.
For those of you with an autoimmune disease, consider the possibility that heavy metals in your fat and brain are adding to your disease.
October 22, 2009
Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet
Michael S Donaldson email
Director of Research, Hallelujah Acres Foundation, 13553 Vantage Hwy, Ellensburg, WA 98926, USA
author email corresponding author email
Nutrition Journal 2004, 3:19doi:10.1186/1475-2891-3-19
The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/3/1/19
Received: 28 September 2004
Accepted: 20 October 2004
Published: 20 October 2004
© 2004 Donaldson; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
It has been estimated that 30—40 percent of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone. Obesity, nutrient sparse foods such as concentrated sugars and refined flour products that contribute to impaired glucose metabolism (which leads to diabetes), low fiber intake, consumption of red meat, and imbalance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats all contribute to excess cancer risk. Intake of flax seed, especially its lignan fraction, and abundant portions of fruits and vegetables will lower cancer risk. Allium and cruciferous vegetables are especially beneficial, with broccoli sprouts being the densest source of sulforophane. Protective elements in a cancer prevention diet include selenium, folic acid, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, chlorophyll, and antioxidants such as the carotenoids (α-carotene, β-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin). Ascorbic acid has limited benefits orally, but could be very beneficial intravenously. Supplementary use of oral digestive enzymes and probiotics also has merit as anticancer dietary measures. When a diet is compiled according to the guidelines here it is likely that there would be at least a 60—70 percent decrease in breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers, and even a 40—50 percent decrease in lung cancer, along with similar reductions in cancers at other sites. Such a diet would be conducive to preventing cancer and would favor recovery from cancer as well.
from the article --
What is the result when all of these things are put
together? What if all of these factors reviewed here were
taken into account and put into practice? This anticancer
diet would have:
• adequate, but not excessive calories,
• 10 or more servings of vegetables a day, including cruciferous
and allium vegetables; vegetable juice could meet
part of this goal,
• 4 or more servings of fruits a day,
• high in fiber,
• no refined sugar,
• no refined flour,
• low in total fat, but containing necessary essential fatty
• no red meat,
• a balanced ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fats and would
• flax seed as a source of phytoestrogens,
• supplemented with ~200 μg/day selenium,
• supplemented with 1,000 μg/day methylcobalamin (B-
• very rich in folic acid (from dark green vegetables),
• adequate sunshine to get vitamin D, or use 1,000 IU/day
• very rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals from fruits
and vegetables, including α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin,
vitamin C (from foods), vitamin E (from
• very rich in chlorophyll,
• supplemented with beneficial probiotics,
• supplemented with oral enzymes
As reviewed above, reductions of 60 percent in breast cancer
rates have already been seen in human diet studies,
and a 71 percent reduction in colon cancer for men without
the known modifiable risk factors. These reductions
are without taking into account many of the other factors
considered in this review, such as markedly increased fruit
and vegetable intake, balanced omega 3 and 6 fats, vitamin
D, reduced sugar intake, probiotics, and enzymes —
factors which all are likely to have an impact on cancer.
Certainly cancer prevention would be possible, and cancer
reversal in some cases is quite likely.
Oral sulforaphane increases Phase II antioxidant enzymes in the human upper airway.
Clinical Immunology, 2009 Mar;130(3):244-51.
Riedl MA, Saxon A, Diaz-Sanchez D.
PubMed ID: 19028145
A study from UCLA shows that sulforaphane triggers an increase of antioxidant enzymes in the human airway that offers protection against free radicals that we breathe in every day in polluted air and pollen. Free radicals can cause oxidative tissue damage, which leads to inflammation and respiratory conditions like asthma. The team fed 65 individuals varying amounts of broccoli sprouts or alfalfa sprouts (which acted as a placebo) for three days. Rinses of nasal passages were collected at the beginning and end of the study to evaluate the gene expression of antioxidant enzymes in cells of the upper airways. "Researchers found significant increases of antioxidant enzymes at broccoli sprout doses of 100 grams and higher, compared with the placebo group."