by Walter Last

Schizophrenia - Mania - Depression - Paranoia - Neurosis

Serious mental diseases are much more common than generally suspected. Up to 3% of the population may develop schizophrenia and another 1% manic depressive psychosis. In addition, there is a widespread incidence of serious depression, anxiety neuroses, paranoia and dementias. It has been estimated that about 10% of Australians require institutionalised psychiatric treatment at some time during their lives.

In conventional medicine and psychiatry there is no real understanding about the causes of mental diseases, and the commonly used treatments with sedatives, stimulants, electro-shock and psychotherapy are purely symptomatic and of limited value.

In contrast, natural medicine offers important insights into these conditions, and is usually able to offer genuine help. As a general rule, the two main influences on the development of mental diseases are nutrition and stress, in particular emotional stress. In most cases there are combinations of different nutritional factors and varying amounts of stress.

However, in general the nutritional factor has the more decisive influence. On a high-quality diet and without any allergies or vitamin, mineral and enzyme deficiencies, we are able to regard even serious problems in our lives as challenges, which help us to grow mentally and emotionally. On a poor diet, on the other hand, even minor problems can become insurmountable obstacles and cause extraordinary stress. With correct nutrition it will be so much easier to overcome the remaining non-nutritional factors.


The two most basic requirements for the normal operation of our brain are a sufficient energy supply and an optimal presence of biochemicals involved in transmitting messages.

The most common brain fuel is glucose, but in addition also the amino acid glutamine can be used. Furthermore, the brain uses a massive 20% of the total oxygen supply of the body. This demonstrates the importance of having a good blood circulation to the brain as well as efficient free-radical protection, both of which which may be severely impaired in many cases of dementia and depression. Energy production inside the brain cells, as in other cells, can be disrupted in two fundamental ways: either the breakdown of glucose is too fast as in 'fast oxidisers' or hypoglycemics, or it is too slow as in 'slow oxidisers'.

If hypoglycemics eat fast digesting food, such as sweet food and fruit, their blood glucose level rises too high initially, but then too much insulin is released and excessive amounts of glucose rush into cells. Cells cannot store glucose and must try to process it. Usually a deficiency of oxygen and oxygenating enzymes develops and much of the glucose is only partially metabolised in an anaerobic way (without the use of oxygen) to form lactic acid.

High lactic acid levels have been shown to trigger anxiety attacks and all kinds of phobias in susceptible individuals. In addition, an excessive amount of otherwise normal metabolic acids, such as citric acid may be formed and contributes to make the body overacid.

Nevertheless, during the period of elevated blood glucose a surplus of energy may be generated in the brain and this can lead to mental agitation and irritation. In children hyperactivity is likely to result, and in adolescents the outcome may be violence. In mentally unstable individuals it may trigger a manic episode that is a period of great, uncontrollable excitement. When the burst of energy has past, there is a lack of energy and this may lead to a lethargic, listless or depressed condition. This may be the case with fast-cycling manic-depressive or bipolar disease.

With slow oxidisers, glucose enters the cells too slowly; also energy production inside the cells may be obstructed. Brain cells do not need insulin as muscle cells do for glucose to enter. Therefore, an insufficient supply of glucose to the brain is mainly due to a heavy diet high in meat and fat and low in carbohydrates. With elderly individuals this may be in addition to an impaired blood circulation to the brain.

A variety of B vitamins and minerals are required to convert glucose and glutamine into brain energy. These are mainly the vitamins B1, B2, B6, nicotinamide, pantothenic acid and the minerals magnesium, manganese and zinc. If any of these are deficient, the brain cannot produce sufficient energy and periods of lethargy, stupor and depression may result.

The state of excitement following sweet food intake by fast oxidisers is usually short lived and within hours may swing to depression and back to excitement after another intake of sweet food. On the other hand the energy deprivation caused when slow oxidisers eat predominantly heavy food may last for months and years.

However, both conditions, in combination with hidden allergies and vitamin, mineral and enzyme deficiencies may produce a wide range of abnormal or exaggerated mental conditions, such as paranoia, delusions and phobias. In such cases it is not always apparent if the metabolism is fast, slow or normal. Therefore, an important step in healing mental disorders is to determine the state of the metabolism.

Histamine Levels

The most prominent distinguishing feature is usually the level of histamine in the blood. Fast oxidisers are overacid. This liberates histamine, which may be bound to proteins, and histamine levels rise. The result is a very sensitive skin, which reacts strongly to insect bites and irritants such as wool, chemicals, nylon and some other synthetics. The blood pressure is usually low, less than 120/80, and hands and feet are cold in cool weather. Inflammations and sunburns from sunbathing are common, and pain generally is felt strongly.

Slow oxidisers, on the other hand, usually are too alkaline due to their deficiency in metabolic acids, and this causes histamine levels to be too low. Therefore, the blood pressure is elevated, usually above 120/80, and the skin is rather insensitive to cold, insect bites and irritants. Inflammations are uncommon and not much pain is felt.

If conditions, mainly sensitivity to cold, skin irritants and pain, are normal then the metabolism is probably balanced. With this, we have the first important step in healing mental illness: select a diet according to metabolic requirements. Fast oxidisers must use slow-digesting food; slow oxidisers use fast digesting food, and balanced oxidisers select normally digesting food. Slow-digesting foods are mainly protein and fat or oil rich foods while fruits are the main fast-digesting food.


Allergies, mostly in the form of food allergies, are most obvious in fast oxidisers, but may be present in all types. Hidden allergies may lead to prolonged periods of brain irritation and, with this, to periods of uncontrollable excitement, anger, thought dissociation and all kinds of mental abnormalities.

Manic periods may last for months at a time or even become chronic. Sometimes, after weeks or months the body adapts to this continuing allergic irritation through hormonal changes and the inflammation response, which caused the irritation, disappears, sometimes permanently, at other times only temporarily.

In one case of mental illness the skull had been opened and an inflammatory swelling of the brain tissue after ingesting wheat could be observed. Wheat products and gluten grains in general are most frequently linked to the development of schizophrenia. Allergies in mental diseases are also common to cows' milk products as well as to unbiological chemicals in our foods, such as artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, pesticide residues and so forth.

Many of these food additives are classed as Excitotoxins. These are taste or flavor enhancers that release glutamic acid or glutamate. Also aspartic acid and cysteine are brain-active amino acids. The best-known example of an excitotoxin is MSG or mono-sodium glutamate, a salt of glutamic acid. High blood levels can cross the normally protective blood-brain barrier. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that is present in the extra-cellular fluid only in very low concentration. If levels are inappropriately raised then neurons fire abnormally, and at higher levels brain cells begin to die. Oxygen deficiency and lack of fuel (hypoglycemia) both interfere with the energy production of brain cells to make them susceptible to damage by these excitotoxins. This may be an important factor in the development of neurological diseases and especially in overactive or manic conditions.

Excitory amino acids cause problems mainly when they are used either in high concentrations or in free form while bound, as in most natural foods, they are slowly released and therefore harmless. Most processed foods contain excitotoxins, especially if any kind of commercial taste or flavor enhancers has been added, such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy protein extract, yeast extract, beef stock and caseinate; commercial soups, sauces and gravies are usually most affected. On the label any of these products may just be called 'natural flavoring'. Aged proteins, processed meat, cheeses and tomato puree have higher levels of free glutamate as well but fresh tomatoes are fine. All of these should be avoided by sensitive individuals who are prone to overactive mental conditions.

In addition, if the intestinal wall has been damaged by a high gluten intake, by local inflammations due to Candida, food allergy, and also by the frequent use of aspirin and similar drugs, then bacterial and fungal breakdown products from the normal intestinal flora may be absorbed. It has been shown that specific protein fragments (peptides) from wheat, cows' milk and bacterial decomposition products have a special effect on the chemistry of the brain and cause a so-called cerebral allergy. This may then express itself in a wide range of mental and emotional disorders.

Some environmental allergists claim that over 90% of schizophrenics treated by them have allergies on average to about ten different foods each. However, the most frequent type of schizophrenics with low histamine levels is rather insensitive to conventional allergy testing, and only a strict elimination diet will bring results. Actually, there are reports from varying sources claiming that most schizophrenics became symptom-free during a water fast of about one week. Therefore, rule number two: test for sensitivities and allergies to foods and chemicals, see Allergy Testing.

Specific Nutrients

There is an up to ten-fold variation in individual requirements for certain nutrients, such as vitamins, in apparently healthy people and animals. Unhealthy or stressed individuals require still higher levels to maintain a normal metabolism. Greatly increased requirements may be inherited or they may be acquired as in prisoner of war camps or on highly refined diets Most vitamins affect brain chemistry to some degree and if chronically increased requirements are not met, then abnormal brain chemistry may develop.

The classical brain vitamins are vitamin B1 and nicotinamide. Severe long-term deficiencies of these cause the well-known diseases of Beriberi and pellagra. Symptoms include digestive, muscle and skin problems, nervous system and thought disorders. With chronic vitamin B1 deficiency often a weakness in the legs develops, starting upwards from the feet.

With nicotinamide deficiency changes in sensory perception have the best diagnostic value. This means one may see objects differently than one used to see them or how others see them. One may see something where there is nothing, one may hear voices where there are none, one may feel like walking without the feet touching the ground, and many similar symptoms. In contrast to vitamin B1 deficiency, there is usually a noticeable loss of humour with nicotinamide deficiency.

Nicotinamide or niacin is most important with low-histamine schizophrenics. Sometimes daily doses of up to 9 g were needed to normalise metabolism and behaviour. However, when wheat and cows' milk products were avoided, the requirement dropped to 4 - 6 g and it dropped still further with the addition of other vitamins, especially folic acid and ascorbic acid. Finally, after proper fasting periods and on a high-quality low allergy diet, a multivitamin tablet may be all that is still needed.

Vitamin B6 together with zinc and manganese are most helpful with depression and schizophrenia when histamine levels are normal. With vitamin B6 deficiency there is often an inability to remember dreams. In order to overcome mental problems it is often necessary to increase the vitamin B6 intake until there is a normal dream recall, which may involve several hundred milligrams daily. However, if there is a zinc deficiency at the same time, vitamin B6 may not work and instead cause neurological problems. Therefore, zinc and manganese should be taken in higher doses as well. Zinc deficiency may show as white spots or bands on fingernails.

Another antidepressant vitamin is vitamin B12. There may be either higher requirements or poor absorption. In any case it is best to use injections initially and continue with tablets to be absorbed under the tongue (sublingual). Vitamin B12 blood levels do not correlate with levels in the cerebrospinal fluid, that means there may be brain deficiencies despite normal serum B12 levels. Also folic acid is usually deficient and supplements helpful except in patients with high histamine levels.

With mental disorders serum vanadium, a rare heavy metal, has sometimes been suspected of causing depression. It can apparently be removed from the body with large intakes of vitamin C. While healthy individuals may lose 50% of a test dose of 100 mg of vitamin C in the urine, some schizophrenics may lose hardly any even at intakes of several grams. This indicates a greatly increased requirement.

With mentally retarded children vitamin B6, nicotinamide, ascorbic acid and zinc are usually the most important supplements, in addition to a balanced supplementation of all other vitamins and trace minerals.

Besides vanadium there are various other metals harmful for our brain activity. Aluminium as from antacids, aerosol sprays, baking powder or cooking utensils is implicated in the dementia of Alzheimer's disease, lead from paints and car exhaust fumes and mercury from contaminated seafood and especially from amalgam tooth fillings are strong nerve and brain toxins. While copper is an essential trace mineral, it is usually too high in schizophrenics and may overstimulate the brain. Increased amounts of zinc help to counteract this tendency.

There are indications that schizophrenics, especially the low-histamine type, improve when using so-called omega-3 fatty acids mainly from linseed and fish oils. The polyunsaturated oils, on the other hand, and especially the arachidonic acid in meat have a negative influence. Also manic-depressives and sufferers of other mental diseases seem to benefit. With additional omega-3 fatty acids low-histamine schizophrenics require less niacin while with other disorders less vitamin B6 may be needed.


G. Watson in his pioneering book 'Nutrition and our Mind' gives many case examples of patients with schizophrenia and other mental diseases becoming 'normal' by using a fast-digesting diet with slow oxidisers but slow-digesting food with fast oxidisers.

In recent years C. Pfeiffer continued the differential approach but distinguished between 3 different types. His high-histamine type corresponds to Watson's fast oxidisers and his low-histamine type to the slow oxidisers. Between both types is the normal oxidiser with normal histamine levels but greatly increased vitamin B6 and zinc requirements.

R. Mackarness (e.g. 'Not All in the Mind') provides additional case reports on the value of food allergy testing in mental disease, while the Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry demonstrates in countless reports the beneficial effects of high doses of specific nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals in the treatment of mental diseases.

Studies of whole diets in the treatment of mental diseases are rare and studies are usually confined to allergies and specific foods or nutrients. Some publications report a high incidence of allergies and others a low one. The difference is usually found in the methodology: the low-allergy reports are not based on strict elimination diets for foods and chemicals.

The link between wheat or gluten and schizophrenia first became obvious as a side effect of the Second World War. Dohan, an American psychiatrist, noticed that the incidence of schizophrenia had dropped in occupied countries but rose again to the average rate soon afterwards. Dohan suspected cereals as the cause for this fluctuation and tested his theory by dividing a schizophrenic ward into a group fed the normal diet and the other group with a cereal-free diet. Soon the cereal-free group started improving.

Another link between gluten and mental disease is the observation that adult schizophrenics have a high incidence of coeliac disease during childhood while coeliacs on the other hand, have several times the normal chance of developing schizophrenia as adults. Coeliacs have a severe gluten allergy.

Further supporting evidence comes from a study of tens of thousands of natives in New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Micronesia. There was hardly any schizophrenia in inland populations living mainly on root crops without cereals, beer or milk. However, there was a much higher incidence of schizophrenia in Westernised coastal regions where wheat and beer were consumed but not milk.

In a recent study of 14 schizophrenics the substitution of soy products for cereal grains and milk resulted in the improvement of 10 patients who deteriorated again when given wheat gluten. In laboratory studies it has been found that wheat gluten and casein of cows' milk yield protein fragments or peptides during digestion, which have a strong neurochemical effect on the brain with changes in the ERG as well as mood alterations. A published double-blind test shows a young female becoming psychotic after ingesting milk products.

Furthermore, gluten has been shown to erase or blunt the absorption villi in the small intestines, leading to malabsorption problems. Individuals with malabsorption usually have difficulty gaining weight. Therefore, gluten-sensitive individuals with suspected malabsorption problems must make special efforts to assimilate key nutrients. Vitamins and trace minerals need to be taken in high doses and easily absorbed form. Vitamin A, for instance as emulsion, natural vitamin E in tablet form, essential fatty acids emulsified with lecithin and also used as skin rubs.

For a good compilation of scientific literature in relationship to mental diseases see

Vitamin Studies

The most important vitamins in the treatment of mental diseases are niacin or nicotinamide, folic acid and the vitamins B1, B6. B12 and C.

Nicotinamide is used in orthomolecular psychiatry on a large scale in the treatment of schizophrenia. However, nicotinamide itself can cause some problems in very high doses in susceptible individuals, such as depression and liver disturbances. Therefore, the acid form, niacin or nicotinic acid, is commonly used despite the initial flushing it may cause.

The beneficial effects of niacin were discovered in 1952 by Osmond and Hoffer who were intrigued by the similarity of the psychosis seen in pellagra with that in schizophrenia. Since then they published two double blind studies and numerous papers and case reports confirming their original positive results.

However, there are also some studies with negative outcomes and orthodox psychiatry generally still rejects the use of vitamins and especially niacin in the treatment of mental disease. There are several reasons why some results may be negative. In some studies nicotinamide has been used instead of niacin; Hoffer and Osmond used additional large doses of ascorbic acid and later also folic acid and vitamin B12, which were not used in negative studies. Finally, only the approximately 50% of schizophrenics with low histamine blood levels benefit from niacin therapy and there was no differentiation of high and low-histamine schizophrenics in most studies.

Of equal importance in the treatment of mental diseases is vitamin B6. Together with zinc, vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is essential for the metabolism and synthesis of proteins, including the neurotransmitters for brain and nerve functions.

Clinical studies show vitamin B6 to be most effective in cases of behavioural problems, depression and schizophrenics with normal histamine blood levels. Pfeiffer in various publications provided research data to show that one group of schizophrenics is characterised by an abnormal loss of vitamin B6 and zinc in the urine and that such patients could be quickly restored to normal with high dosage vitamin B6 and zinc supplements.

Improvement according to Pfeiffer is noticeable within one week and recovery can be expected in 3 - 4 months. The first patient was treated in this way in 1971. New patients coming to the Brain Bio Centre who did not use supplements were vitamin B6 deficient in 51% of cases, while those who took vitamin B6 supplements were still deficient at a rate of 21%.

Other investigators found that 75% of their depressed patients had insufficient vitamin B6 intake, while another report found vitamin B6 deficiency in 57% of depressed patients and 25% of obsessive-compulsive patients. Frequent vitamin B6 deficiencies were also reported in dementias, such as Alzheimer patients as well as in autistic children. The brain responses in the autistic children could be improved to approximate those of normal children and half of the children in one study showed marked clinical improvement as well.

A group of agoraphobic patients was found to be deficient in multiple B vitamins, including B1, B6, B12, niacin and folic acid. They received dietary counselling and vitamin therapy. After 3 months 19 of the 23 patients showed dramatic improvement with most of them free of panic attacks.

When normal subjects were placed on a vitamin B1 deficient diet in an experimental study, 5 out of 9 developed marked depression and irritability. Also vitamin B2 deficiency is linked to depression.

Folic acid is sometimes called the most frequently deficient vitamin. It works closely together with vitamin B12 in the synthesis of blood, nucleic acids and in various nerve and brain functions. Folic acid deficiency is associated with confusion, depression, dementia, apathy and psychosis. Symptoms are similar with vitamin B12 deficiency: confusion, depression, hallucinations, paranoia, psychoses and impaired memory and ability to learn and concentrate.

One investigator reported a 58% incidence of vitamin B12 deficiency in 135 cases of psychoses and organic brain syndrome. Reports of folic acid deficiency in psychiatric patients range from 25 - 50%.

Both vitamins are especially required in the low-histamine group of schizophrenics. Such patients had only half the folate blood levels than another group of schizophrenics with normal histamine levels. Folic acid and vitamin B12 work together with niacin to normalise blood histamine levels and this, in turn results in the improvement of schizophrenic symptoms within 5 - 6 months.

Vitamin B12 and folic acid are also deficient in a high percentage of dementia patients and many show improvement with supplementation. Folic acid deficiency has also been observed in mentally retarded children.

Folic acid and the vitamins B12 and C have been reported to be the most important vitamins with the bipolar disorder of manic-depressives. One case of mania has been reported, which was cured just by correcting a vitamin B12 deficiency that was present even without signs of pernicious anaemia.

In several studies psychiatric patients have been found to be severely deficient in vitamin C. Stressed individuals require more vitamin C than those not under stress, the vitamin C content of the adrenal glands decreases when individuals are stressed.

Apparently, psychiatric conditions are experienced as a stress on the body. Low vitamin C levels were present in psychiatric patients even when they were on the same diet as controls with normal vitamin C blood levels.

In vitamin C loading tests normal controls only need I - 2 days to become saturated with vitamin C but psychiatric patients usually require 6 days and even more, similar to scorbutic individuals who require 7 - 10 days. Patients with dementia and depression were as deficient as those with schizophrenia. After vitamin C saturation, there was a significant improvement in depressed, manic and paranoid conditions. Patients generally expressed a feeling of wellbeing and became noticeably more sociable. In a double-blind study with manic-depressives a significant improvement was noticeable between 3 - 5 hours after ingesting a single dose of 3 g of ascorbic acid.

Mineral Studies

The main mineral deficiencies; associated with psychiatric diseases are zinc and manganese with schizophrenia, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc with organic mental disorder and calcium iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc with depression. Excesses of harmful metals are copper with some forms of schizophrenia; copper, lead and mercury with organic mental disorder, aluminium with dementia and vanadium with depression.

Zinc is probably the most important mineral with psychiatric disorders in general. Over 90 metallo-enzymes require zinc and the functioning of the brain is dependent on adequate levels of zinc. Deficiency can cause amnesia, apathy, depression, irritability, lethargy, mental retardation arid paranoia.

A study found a 30% reduction of brain zinc content in early onset schizophrenics as compared to normals. In another study autopsies were performed on schizophrenics and their brains had only half the zinc content of control brains. A part of the brain, called hippocampus, next to the pineal gland has the highest zinc content in the brain. The hippocampus is involved with the integration of thoughts, memories and emotions

Other important effects of zinc deficiency are an increase in copper levels, which can cause over-stimulation of the brain, and also an inhibition of the essential fatty acid metabolism, which generally is disturbed with psychiatric disorders.

Pfeiffer and co-workers provide case histories of the essential role of zinc in the treatment of a subgroup of schizophrenic, called pyrolurics. One case of minimal brain dysfunction and learning disability with severe behavioural problems is described in which zinc alone was responsible for normalising the condition. Generally, however, zinc is required together with vitamin B6 and other supplements for effective treatment.

The most common time of onset of schizophrenia and various emotional disturbances is during adolescence, a period which is also characterised by unusually high zinc requirements. This is partly due to the greatly increased stresses and metabolic activity in this time, but mainly to the sexual development and functioning.

There is a high zinc requirement during the development of the sex organs, especially the male organs and also for the production of semen. In females zinc levels drop when oestrogen levels rise and also one week before the menstrual period when women are more liable to depression. A frequent sign of zinc deficiency are white spots or bands on the fingernails or opaquely white nails.

Manganese is a key element in various important aspects of our metabolism and for the utilisation of the vitamins C, B1, biotin as well as choline. There are early reports of a beneficial effect of manganese supplementation on schizophrenia. 38 patients with psychosis were treated with manganese and 22 showed mental and physical improvement. In another report 37% of hospitalised patients with schizophrenia were discharged in 1 year with manganese treatment as compared to 18% of controls.

An important effect of manganese supplementation may be the lowering of elevated copper levels. Pfeiffer showed that manganese caused a 3-fold increase in copper excretion in patients with copper overload and low histamine levels. Copper reduction is even more pronounced if manganese is given together with increased zinc. Hair manganese levels in schizophrenics were low as compared to healthy individuals.

Calcium has been found to be helpful with post-menopausal and post-natal depression, also in the elderly, while iron is mainly associated with women before menopause. Low calcium levels can also cause an anxiety syndrome, mainly in post-menopausal females.

The magnesium content in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with schizophrenia or major depression who had made a suicide attempt was significantly lower than in neurological controls. Low magnesium levels also increase anxiety and irritability.

Depressed individuals were found to have decreased n potassium levels inside the cells and those who suicided also had low potassium levels in the brain. These effects are present despite usually normal potassium and sodium levels in the blood. However, avoiding salt and using a high-potassium diet will be beneficial.

Harmful Metals

Copper is essential in trace amounts of about 2 mg per day. However, there is much copper pollution in our environment and intakes are often too high, causing insufficiency of zinc. High levels of copper overstimulate the brain. A study in the United States found that every home with high copper levels in drinking water had at least one family member with psychiatric problems. Copper pipes and hot water boilers are the main sources of excess copper in drinking water.

Mental diseases and symptoms linked to high copper levels are low-histamine schizophrenia, postpartum psychosis, depression, senility, autism and hyperactivity. Paranoia and hallucinations are prevalent in younger schizophrenics and depression in older ones.

However, excess of copper does not necessarily show up in the blood. In an evaluation of 30 patients with normal serum and urine levels but unusually high hair copper levels the following symptoms were present: apprehension, poor concentration, severe depression, insomnia, irritability, memory lack and profound mental fatigue, in addition also somatic (bodily) problems. Removal of the excess copper by chelation usually led to rapid improvement.

Copper levels in the blood rise when zinc levels drop as for instance with raising oestrogen levels in females the week before period time and when on contraceptive pills and in both sexes when consuming sugar. However, copper blood levels are also high with inflammatory condition and degenerative diseases with an underlying inflammatory basis, even if tissue copper levels are low. Therefore, with all inflammatory conditions copper is beneficial.

Vanadium is a heavy metal, which in trace amounts seems to be essential for us. However, in manic-depressives it is frequently elevated in blood and hair. Also blood vanadium levels have been found to be higher during active states of the disease than during inactive phases or remissions.

A double blind study of 23 patients had manic as well as depressed individuals improved on a low vanadium diet with an additional heavy metal chelating agent (EDTA). Generally, however, studies show that depressed patients respond better to lower vanadium levels than manic conditions.

Two case reports may demonstrate this point. A patient with a regular 10-week cycle of mania and depression skipped her depressive phase on a low vanadium diet and supplements of ascorbic acid and EDTA. Another patient with the same treatment changed from a severe bipolar condition to a mild hypomanic state with no depressive phase. However, five days after the supplements were withdrawn she became severely depressed and returned to the hypomanic condition only after resumption of supplementation.

The beneficial effect of ascorbic acid supplementation appears to be due to a reduction of the vanadium ion to a more inactive form (from vanadate to vanadyl). In addition there may be an increased excretion of vanadium. Methylene blue has been used as an effective alternative reducing agent (200 - 400 mg per day) while EDTA (1 g per meal) chelates vanadium from dietary sources in the gut but will also prevent the absorption of beneficial minerals. Vanadium is relatively high in milk, egg white, gelatine and shellfish.

The adverse effect of vanadium results from its inhibition of the active transport of sodium across cell membranes. This means the sodium content inside the cells becomes too high and cells cannot build up the full electric potential for proper functioning. Lithium, on the other hand, which is a mineral often used with mental disorders, improves this sodium transport.

Aluminium is mainly implicated with dementia and in particular with Alzheimer’s disease. The aluminium content in the brain of such patients is greatly elevated as compared to normal controls. Aluminium exposure in animal experiments causes nerve fibres to become tangled up (neurofibrilar tangles).

Aluminium is known to inhibit and reduce an important co-factor in the synthesis of many neurotransmitters and it is also reduced in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's dementia. In one controlled experiment Alzheimer patients received injections of aluminium-chelating agents for 4 - 24 months. While controls continued to deteriorate at the normal rate, the treated patients had either slower deterioration or even improved in some cases. Aluminium also promotes acute psychotic conditions by making the blood-brain barrier more permeable to ingested neurotoxins.

Our aluminium intake comes mainly from aluminium cooking utensils, antacids based on aluminium, public drinking water; some types of baking powder and especially aerosol sprays. It has been shown that the aluminium silicates from such sprays can be directly transported through nerve connections from the nose into the brain and deposited in the most sensitive areas.

In a psychiatric study on 31 patients with elevated lead levels 17 had one or more of the following symptoms: depression, fatigue, headache and irritability. The main complaint was severe depression. We absorb lead from tinned food (lead soldering), car exhaust fumes, old paints and lead water pipes.

Symptoms reported from exposure to mercury include anxiety, apathy, drowsiness, depression, fatigue, irritability, poor concentration and memory loss. The main sources of mercury pollution are dental amalgam fillings and in some areas coastal seafood.

Cadmium from refined foods, plated containers and leached from plastics causes problems mainly as a zinc antagonist. While salt normally causes problems with degenerative diseases, if blood pressure is very low a salt-free diet can produce apathy, memory impairment, social withdrawal and even illusions and hallucinations.

Essential Fatty Acid Studies

Recent studies have found a strong connection between mental disorders and an abnormal metabolism of essential fatty acids. There are two groups of essential fatty acids, the omega-6 series based on linoleic acid common in oil seeds, and the omega-3 series based on alpha linolenic acid from linseed. The most prominent higher omega-6 fatty acid is arachidonic acid, which is abundant in meat, while the longer-chain omega-3 fatty acids are the fish oils (EPA and DHA).

Both groups form different kinds of tissue hormones or prostaglandins. Linoleic acid may form either series 1 or 2 prostaglandins or PGE1 or PGE2, while omega-3 fatty acids lead to the 3 series or PGE3. Generally, there is an overproduction of the PGE2 series and a lack of PGE1.

This situation can be improved by restricting the intake of arachidonic acid and greatly increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha linolenic acid. An excess of linolenic acid restricts the formation of PGE2 while the additionally formed PGL3 have similar effects to the PGE1 series.

Further nutrients, which are required for PGE1 production are the vitamins C, B6 and niacin as well as manganese, zinc and insulin. Increased PGE1 and PGE3 production is especially beneficial with low-histamine schizophrenics as well as depressed and agoraphobic individuals. Schizophrenic patients then have a greatly lowered flush threshold with niacin but more easily develop neurotoxic symptoms with high doses of vitamin B6 in the absence of sufficient zinc.

In manic conditions, however, there is an overproduction of PGE1. This may possibly be improved by greatly restricting all omega-6 fatty acids and use predominantly ornega-3 fatty acids.

Lithium, a mineral related to sodium and potassium, is often used as a drug with mental diseases, especially in manic-depressive conditions. Lithium seems to have a normalising influence on PGE1 production, which is most effective with manic conditions, but with depression PGE1 levels may fall to a very low level, and this causes toxic side effects. These can usually be overcome by providing evening primrose oil together with the lithium to stimulate PGE1 production.

In an interesting study 12 patients were taking 2 - 6 tablespoons of linseed oil in divided doses with meals. 8 patients showed impressive improvements within 2 - 12 weeks, 2 of these were schizophrenic, 3 manic-depressive and 3 agoraphobic. 3 schizophrenics and 1 agoraphobic patient failed to improve. It is possible that linseed oil has less effect on high-histamine schizophrenics and none on pyrolurics (vitamin B6 and zinc deficient).

In the manic-depressives the amount of linseed oil had to be carefully balanced as too high a dose induced hypomanic episodes or rapid oscillations between the manic and the depressed condition. The name bipolar disorder has been given because of this, normally slow, alternation between the two opposite conditions. However, fish oils now appear to be the functional form of omega-3 fatty acids, and it is generally better to use several grams of fish oils instead of linseed oil.

It is conceivable that a hidden allergy or chemical sensitivity causes an over-stimulation of the PGE1 production resulting in a manic phase until the hormone and enzyme systems responsible for this overproduction become temporarily exhausted. This leads to a rest period with little PGE1 production and depression. When enzymes and hormones have recovered, another manic phase with overproduction of PGE1 begins.

Deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids may result not only from inadequate intake but more often from fat malabsorption. Main causes of this are gluten allergy, obstruction of the bile duct, and lipase deficiency. To remedy this, avoid gluten, use lipase supplements, and emulsify cod liver oil or linseed oil by shaken it with lecithin in juice.

Further Studies

Several amino acids have an influence on brain functions. L-glutamine acts as an alternative brain fuel to glucose. In high doses as a supplement it can cause manic periods. There are two case reports of individuals with no previous manic episodes who became manic after 1 week on either 4 g or 2 g of daily glutamine supplement. These symptoms ceased within a week after stopping glutamine supplementation.

Other amino acids are used to produce neurotransmitters, the messenger chemicals between nerve endings. Too much or too little of these can disturb brain functions as well. Such neurotransmitter amino acids are 1-phenylalanine, tryptophan and tyrosine. The neurotransmitter dopamine is formed from tyrosine and phenylalanine and is already too high in manics and schizophrenics except in depressed conditions. Therefore, do not take these amino acids in overactive conditions.

Taurine, a sulphur amino acid, has the opposite effect. It is a sedating neurotransmitter and, therefore, useful in overactive or manic conditions. Try 1-2 g before meals 3 times daily.

L or D,L -phenylalanine is very effective with depression, especially with bipolar depression. It can be used to form the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine (also called noradrenalin) and with the help of vitamin B6 it can be formed into phenylethylamine, which is an amphetamine-like stimulating neurotransmitter to be found in high concentrations in chocolate. This explains why depressed individuals easily become addicted to chocolate.

In an experiment with 40 severely depressed patients 31 improved almost immediately on supplementation of phenylalanine and vitamin B6.and 10 of these were completely free of depression. The urinary output of a phenylethylamine breakdown product was below normal before the trial but rose during treatment in tandem with the spirits of the patients.

Tryptophan forms the neurotransmitter serotonin. The metabolism of tryptophan is disturbed and blood levels often low in bipolar disease, depression and schizophrenia. In a group of female schizophrenics the tryptophan blood level was low while the disease was active but increased with remission. It was similar with a group of depressed female patients. Also in a group with postnatal depression those with the most severe depression had the lowest tryptophan levels.

Supplementation of generally 6 g daily resulted in improvement in some groups of schizophrenics, manics and depressives. For 90 minutes before and after a tryptophan dose ingestion of proteins was avoided to improve the uptake of tryptophan into the brain. As an example of a good response a 65% improvement was reported in a group of depressed patients after 4 weeks of supplementation. Anxiety, too, improved with tryptophan and vitamin B6.

However, some depressives do not respond to tryptophan but to tyrosine instead. Tyrosine is used to produce the important hormones and neurotransmitters adrenalin, noradrenalin and dopamine. A case report describes a young woman with chronic depression who recovered while on 6 g per day of tyrosine but relapsed on placebo. Tryptophan and tyrosine have opposite effects on depressives and should be used separately; if one does not work then the other may be tried.

The main ingredient of lecithin is phosphatidyl choline, which in turn is used to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Supplementation with lecithin is reported to be beneficial with stress related bipolar disease that did not respond to any other therapy but patients recovered after 6 weeks on 15 g of lecithin daily. Also other groups of bipolar patients improved with signs of mania disappearing in 5 patients of a group of 6. Trials with Alzheimer patients indicate that the disease process may be halted with long-term high lecithin intake.

Several studies recommend avoiding caffeine with schizophrenia as it interferes with several neurotransmitters in the brain. In individuals prone to anxiety it increases lactic acid formation and the amount of caffeine ingested paralleled the degree of panic or anxiety created. Anxiety also results from caffeine withdrawal. Alcohol has a similar harmful effect.

Tetraethyl-lead is a neurotoxin in fumes from leaded petrol. In sensitive individuals it reportedly can produce symptoms of anxiety, aggression, mania, schizophrenia and suicidal tendencies.


An episode of severe stress is often the trigger of a mental breakdown. This is because during stress we require much higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals than normally. If this additional requirement comes on top of a generally poor vitamin-mineral status and combined with an inadequate diet, the brain just does not receive the necessary nutrients to function in a normal way.

In this way the stress of extreme grief for a lost companion, the stress of severe financial difficulties, a work-related emergency and similar stressful situations may all incapacitate the brain. The stress of childbirth combined with the vitamin and mineral loss during pregnancy and breastfeeding often trigger the well-known post-natal depression.

Another possibility is the inability to decide between two equally unacceptable alternatives but experiencing strong pressure to make such a choice. Depending on past conditioning, the individual may subconsciously choose a psychosomatic disease or a mental disease or even commit suicide.

It has been shown that psychoses can result from bacterial toxins absorbed from the intestines. This happens, for instance, if an infection develops after abdominal surgery and also from an abdominal abscess. Disorientation, confusion and sometimes psychosis commonly precede an abdominal infection by one or two days. Acute delirium from infections and delirium tremens from alcohol withdrawal show the same symptoms: anxiety, confusion, suspiciousness, hallucinations, illusions and delusions. These symptoms can in both instances be cleared up with antibiotics.

Such mental symptoms, in addition to other neurological and physical changes have also been observed when a blind loop has been surgically formed in the small intestine. The common link in all of these different conditions is an overgrowth of the gastro-intestinal tract with undesirable microbes. These microbes can be reduced with antibiotics, with garlic and temporarily even with alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of a hangover.

Cases of patients in psychiatric wards have been reported with circulating antibodies in the blood against the toxins from intestinal bacteria. These originated from colibacillary infections that cleared up, together with the psychotic symptoms, during antibiotic therapy.

Such bacterial chemicals are generally called endotoxins and if they affect the central nervous system, they also belong to the group of neurotoxins. Conditions which favour the infiltration of neurotoxins into the bloodstream are chronic inflammations of the intestinal wall as caused by Candida, food allergy or high gluten diets, high sugar consumption, low gastric acidity, and also a rebound overgrowth with undesirable microbes following repeated use of alcohol or antibiotics.

Candida overgrowth in the gastro-intestinal tract is a common event after antibiotic therapy. Chemicals released by the fungus are themselves potent neurotoxins. They may be absorbed from the intestines but if the condition persists, Candida sooner or later invades the blood and then problems usually become much worse, often causing chronic fatigue in addition to severe mental problems. Schizophrenia as well as depression and other mental problems, especially hyperactivity or ADD, have been cured by eliminating Candida. For further information see Candida and the Antibiotic Syndrome.

The most effective way to overcome these problems is the normalisation of the intestinal flora with cultures of acidophilus and bifido-bacteria, in addition to a high quality diet. If the Candida has invaded the blood, then a course of Lugol's solution in addition to a herbal parasite cure and an electronic zapper may be required.

Dead teeth are another related problem; they slowly decay with inflammation (osteitis) of the surrounding jawbone. This is a toxin factory, which can cause much mental distress. The positions of the wisdom teeth are specifically linked to the central nervous system.

In recent years also some evidence has emerged that a virus, specifically the Borna virus, may be involved in the causation of some mental diseases, especially depressive phases of schizophrenia and bipolar disease. This virus is more common in horses and some other animal species but may also infect humans. Another frequent infection in schizophrenics is as toxoplasmosis acquired from cats. Children from mothers with herpes simplex 2 infections during pregnancy were six times more likely to develop schizophrenia later in life.

The stress of persistent sexual tension frequently is a contributing or causative factor in mental problems. Schizophrenia and other conditions have sometimes been quickly cured by changing unsatisfactory sexual habits, see The solution is generally skin or sexual contact between individuals of the opposite sex lasting for at least 30 minutes.     

The possibility of occult influences is not officially contemplated. Many sensitive individuals have psychic abilities which expose them to such influences. This does not normally cause a problem for those who understand what is happening. However, there are others who may become open to occult interference unprepared because of deteriorating health or a stressful situation. They may become frightened and seek psychiatric advice only to be labelled as being schizophrenic.

Another possibility is the experience of different states of consciousness and rearrangement of internal energy patterns due to meditation and yoga practices. Normally individuals will have an understanding of these happenings and not be alarmed. However, sometimes profound or even frightening mystical experiences may occur spontaneously and unprepared individuals have been reported to seek psychiatric help with unfortunate consequences.

Orthodox psychiatry has no room for altered states of consciousness and divine or higher guidance. This has led to Christian mystics and historical figures such as Joan D'Arc being labelled schizophrenic because they heard inner voices or had visions.


From a biochemical point of view we may distinguish between three different types of schizophrenics: slow oxidisers with low histamine levels also called histapenics; fast oxidisers with high histamine levels called histadelics, and balanced oxidisers with normal histamine levels. In addition, each of these may at times display symptoms of either overactivity or underactivity.

Histapenics are the 'typical' schizophrenics, insensitive to cold and pain and comprise about 50% of all schizophrenics, 20% are histadelics and. the rest have normal histamine blood levels (40 - 70 ng histamine/ml).

The following descriptions show that it is usually easy to distinguish between high and low histamine types. If in doubt about the histamine status, take (or give) 50 mg of niacin with water on an empty stomach. If a strong facial flush develops, histamine levels are high. If there is no or only a weak flush, levels are probably normal or low. Then try 200 mg of niacin in the same way. If there is still no or only a weak flush, histamine levels are low.

Dr Hoffer, who pioneered the niacin therapy for schizophrenia, stated:
"For schizophrenics, the natural recovery rate is 50%. With orthomolecular medicine, the recovery rate is 90%. With (additional) drugs, it is 10%. If you use just drugs, you won't get well. "

By far the best diet for all mental problems is a raw food diet that is appropriate for your metabolic type, for details see Healing Foods, and especially The Raw Food Diet. Combine this with an intensive anti-microbial therapy. including adequate selenium and high antioxidant intake.

The Low-Histamine Type

As slow oxidisers, histapenics are usually too alkaline and this may be a cause or contributing factor for their low histamine levels, which tend to raise the blood pressure and make the skin insensitive to cold, pain and irritants.

The predominant psychiatric symptoms are thought disorders, over-arousal, hallucinations, mania or overexcitement and paranoia or delusions of grandiosity or persecutions. In young histapenics usually the paranoid behaviour dominates while the elderly may lean towards depressions. However, such depressions are rarely as severe as those experienced by the high-histamine type.

While there are usually no physical signs of allergy, a cerebral or brain allergy frequently is present to wheat and sometimes also other gluten grains and cows milk protein. Copper levels are usually too high while zinc and folic acid are too low.

If possible, start the treatment with a 4-day fast on unsweetened herb teas or plain water. The water should not be chlorinated or fluoridated. Then proceed with several more days on acid or tart fruit, best green apples. Make an effort to obtain unsprayed fruit, otherwise remove the skins.

Then gradually, while testing for allergies, introduce different foods as explained in the High-Quality Diet or The Raw Food Diet. If any of these foods makes the condition worse, then avoid them. At the same time start with the recommended supplements. Use small amounts only if on this diet the condition appears to be normal, but build up to high levels if symptoms persist. Use acid and tart fruit between meals.

Continue with a strict diet as long as there are abnormal and emotional reactions. If conditions are normal, proceed to add other food, one at a time only. Avoid any food that causes abnormal reactions.

Avoid indefinitely exitotoxins (food additives and aged proteins), wheat products, sweetened food, convenience food and processed food with added chemicals, polyunsaturated oils, margarine, salt, alcohol, tobacco, drugs.

In mentally unstable conditions take a high potency multivitamin tablet and up to 5 mg of folic acid with each teal, half a teaspoon of ascorbic acid 3 - 5 times daily with meals or snacks, possibly weekly vitamin B12 injections (1000 mg) or daily 250 mcg tablets lightly chewed to be absorbed under the tongue. Total daily vitamin E at least 100 mg and better more.

Gradually increase the amount of niacin to be taken with or after meals and snacks until maximum improvement or up to a maximal daily dose of about 6 g. If niacin is not well tolerated, up to 3 g may be replaced with niacinamide which may have a sedating effect. This can be useful during overstimulated periods but may exaggerate depressed conditions; you may experiment with it according to mood.

Initially take about 50 mg of zinc, 20 mg of manganese, 500 mg or more of magnesium and chromium supplements. High doses of inositol can be helpful but are not required if sprouted seeds are used. Take glutamine and tryptophane in depressed conditions. Initially take 1 tbsp. of food-grade linseed oil with meals, also cod liver oil and fish oil concentrates, evening primrose oil and bioflavonoids with rutin.

If symptom-free gradually reduce all high-level supplements to the minimum effective dosage. Increase levels of niacin and ascorbic acid temporarily during periods of stress. Continue taking with meals 1 tbsp. of ground linseed (grind in blender or coffee grinder, refrigerate) and 1 tsp. of lecithin granules.

The High-Histamine Type

This histadelic type shows basically the symptoms of the low blood sugar or hypoglycaemic personality and is susceptible to strong allergic reactions and inflammations. Blood pressure is low, body fluids overacid and the skin very sensitive to cold, pain and irritants. Frequently there are headaches and dizziness. The main mental symptoms are suicidal depression, obsessive rumination, blank-mindedness alternating with periods of over-arousal, thought disorders, compulsive behaviour and phobias.

The diet is basically a hypoglycaemic low allergy diet with slow-digesting food. Lentils or other legumes, best sprouted, with most meals, liver, also fish or seafood. Other staple foods are brown rice, extra-virgin olive oil, ground linseed, cooked and raw vegetables. Use fruit and cooked sweet vegetables, such as carrots and pumpkin only sparingly.

If not symptom-free on this diet and with the help of recommended supplements go on a 3 - 4 day water fast and follow this with another 3 - 4 days on brown rice flavoured only with olive oil, herbs and possibly lightly salted. Then add other recommended foods one by one with careful observation of the mental condition. If symptom-free test also other foods.

Avoid gluten and cows' milk products, margarine, polyunsaturated oils, sweet food including dried fruit and fruit juices, vinegar, chemical additives, alcohol, smoking, drugs.

With meals take half a teaspoon of calcium ascorbate, vitamin E and vitamin B6 up to several hundred milligrams each, 10 - 20 mg of zinc, manganese and chromium or trace mineral supplement, ground linseed, cod liver oil and possibly fish oil concentrates, kelp, the amino acid methionine to reduce histamine levels. Experiment with increasing amounts of nicotinamide, glutamine as brain fuel, with depression vitamin B12 (absorb under the tongue), freeze-dried thyroid, tryptophan or tyrosine - see also the section on depression. Do not take niacin, folic acid, ascorbic acid or lecithin, which may increase histamine levels. Initially avoid multivitamins or B-complex with these ingredients or try some with only very low levels of these. Usually depression disappears first, followed by blank-mindedness and obsessions, while compulsions and phobias may continue much longer.

The Normal-Histamine Type

Schizophrenics with normal histamine levels were found to excrete high amounts of kryptopyrrole in the urine. It results from an abnormality in the haemoglobin synthesis and strongly binds vitamin B6 and zinc, taking both out of the body and thereby creating severe deficiencies. This condition has been called pyroluria and because of colour changes in the urine it is also known as the mauve factor. High doses of niacinamide can prevent pyroluria, therefore 500 to 1000 mg of this should be taken in addition to zinc and vitamin B6.

Pyroluria often seems to be inherited. However, not all pyrolurics are or become schizophrenic, sometimes more somatic health problems develop instead, although mental disorders develop in a high percentage of afflicted individuals. High levels of vitamin B6 and zinc usually restore brain activity to normal within a few weeks. Pyroluria may also be present in the other schizophrenic types, especially with histadelics and both conditions then require treatment.

Common symptoms due to the combined zinc and vitamin B6 deficiency are white spots or bands on fingernails, poor dream recall, sweetish breath odour, stretch marks, inability to tan and sensitivity to sunlight, pain in the upper left abdomen (spleen), tremors or spasms, amnesia, impotence, menstrual irregularity, anaemia, constipation, sallow complexion, morning nausea. Of course, only some of these symptoms may be present.

The most serious mental symptom is a tendency to suicidal depressions. This is similar to the histadelic schizophrenic as, indeed, the histadelic and pyroluric condition frequently overlap. Treatment, therefore, is as for histadelics, basically more fruit and the same diet and supplements but possibly with higher vitamin B6, zinc and manganese intakes. Vitamin B6 has been used in amounts of 3 g daily but this should not be necessary on a low-allergy high quality diet and with sufficient zinc and manganese.

If dream recall cannot be achieved with high vitamin B6 intake of around 1 g per day, increase manganese temporarily to 100 mg per day. Use daily vitamin B6 intakes above 500 mg under professional supervision. Take about 20 mg of zinc with each meal. See also under DEPRESSION.


There are periods of either mania (overexcitement) or depression lasting for several months at a time and sometimes alternating, possibly interrupted by several years without symptoms. The disease is thought to be inherited. However, it is more likely that mainly a tendency to wheat, gluten or cows' milk allergy is inherited together with sensitivity to exitotoxins, and a much higher metabolic requirement for the vitamins B6 and B12 and an abnormal fat metabolism.

Follow the diet recommended for high-histamine schizophrenia, but avoid all exitotoxins (see above) and test all grains for allergy or better, avoid grains. Preferably start with weekly 1000 mcg vitamin B12 injections and continue after improvement with daily 250 mcg tablets to be absorbed under the tongue Take vitamin B6, zinc and manganese in increasing amounts until dream recall. Folic acid may help, except for those with high histamine levels.

If insensitive take half a teaspoon of ascorbic acid mixed with meals, if sensitive use calcium ascorbate instead. Up to 1 tbsp. of lecithin with meals or 15 - 30 g daily. During the manic phase use initially taurine (3 x 1-2 g before meals), the vitamins C, E, B6, B12, folic acid and the minerals zinc, manganese and magnesium. Other B vitamins can be too stimulating but you may experiment. Minimise fast-digesting food, including fruit, except apples and avocado. Take up to 1 tbsp. per meal of food quality linseed oil.

With mania go on a prolonged fast of only unpolluted water or herb tea, or diluted juice of cereal grasses and vegetable juices, or apples, or a low-allergy diet such as on brown rice and vegetables. During the depressive phase also experiment with the following recommendations.


Use a high-quality low-allergy diet. With sensitive skin and emotional lability use mainly slow-digesting food based on lentils and other legumes, brown rice and vegetables, with insensitive conditions use plenty of fruit. Avoid food to which you may be addicted or on which you may binge, such as chocolate, coffee, tea or alcohol. Give yourself a special treat from time to time without using sweet or junk food.

Often depression is simply due to specific or general B-vitamin deficiency as after antibiotic treatment, after childbirth or during breastfeeding. The most important vitamins are B6, B12, C, niacin or nicotinamide, folic acid and the minerals zinc, magnesium, calcium and manganese.

Initially take a high-potency multivitamin-mineral tablet with most meals and additional amounts of vitamin B6 and zinc up to dream recall or 500 mg of vitamin B6. Try equal parts of ascorbic acid and Milk of Magnesia in addition to calcium ascorbate. Alternatively, if available, use magnesium chloride or otherwise chelated magnesium in divided doses for a daily magnesium intake of close to 1 g.

The most effective general remedy for depression is fish oil, use several grams daily mixed with food. Also mixed with meals have 1 tsp. of lecithin and 1 tbsp. of ground linseed, also gamma linolenic acid may help, it is best obtained from spirulina. A suitable herb is Hypericum or St. John’s wort. Flower Remedies can be helpful as for instance the Bach Flower Remedies Aspen, Gentian, Gorse and Mustard.

Individual amino acids can be very effective. Try up to 2 g of L-(or D,L) phenylalanine and tyrosine each before meals or alternatively up to 2 g of tryptophan. You may also try taking phenylalanine and tyrosine only before breakfast and tryptophan only at bedtime. The amino acid glutamine may be used as an additional brain fuel.

Depression often results from low thyroid and adrenal functions. Check your temperature under the armpit before rising, women check in the first 10 days of the menses or before ovulation. If it is below 36.5 degrees C you may try thyroid extract (absorb under the tongue) and iodine from kelp. In addition, selenium is required to activate thyroid hormone, therefore take 200 mcg per day.

Use prayer, affirmations, meditation and guided imagery to uplift your feelings and solve your problems. Learn to trust in your inner or higher guidance and ask it to take care of your problems. Socialise and find a group with similar interests. Forgive yourself and others for any mistakes or misdeeds.

Correct any constipation as with increased amounts of raw vegetables, magnesium and ground linseed; take cultures of acidophilus and bifido-bacteria. Have any dead teeth removed and preferably amalgam fillings replaced. Avoid lead pollution. Kyolic (aged garlic), cooked garlic and some raw garlic assist in detoxification.

Candida albicans, an internal fungus infestation, is now quite common due to the overuse of antibiotics. You may suspect it if you have or formerly had thrush or a tender abdomen. With heavy infestation Candida can go into the bloodstream and cause depression and other psychiatric symptoms. For details on treatment see the article on Candida and the Antibiotic Syndrome and also Intestinal Sanitation in Healing Foods.

Deep breathing exercises help. You may combine this with some slow jogging or other aerobic exercise. However, the main benefit is from the breathing, strenuous muscle activity could have the opposite effect. You may just run on the spot or dance to lively music but always with vigorous breathing. In addition try shaking the whole body for a minute during fast breathing.

Light Therapy

For many years it was already known that there is a seasonal form of depression that occurs due to the lack of sufficient sunlight, especially in higher latitudes. This can be overcome with light therapy. However, it now appears that light deficiency is a more general cause of depression. Bright light, and especially the blue part of the spectrum, strongly stimulates the release of the brain chemical serotonin, which is related to elevated mood. It is not necessary to use blue light for therapy, as the blue fraction is part of sunlight or daylight, and also of full-spectrum electric lights. For articles on the relationship between light and serotonin see

The best time for treatment is immediately after waking. If the sun is visible then look towards the sun without glasses or behind a window, but of course not directly into the sun. Otherwise look towards a strong full-spectrum white light for half an hour or longer. In addition, be outside as much as possible, especially in sunlight, and look at the blue sky. To avoid eye strain with light therapy it is preferable to use additional vitamin B2, say 3 x 25 to 50 mg with food.

While we need serotonin during the day, during the night we need to have a high level of melatonin, not only for a good night’s sleep, but also for our emotional health. Melatonin is blocked by light, including street lights. Therefore we need to sleep in the dark, although moonlight appears to be acceptable. Furthermore, red light does not seem to block melatonin production. Therefore, if you need a light in the night, especially in the early part, use red.

Not only light, but also electromagnetic fields, as emitted from electric appliances or live electric wires inside the walls, can block melatonin release. Therefore sanitize your bedroom, see Electromagnetic Pollution.


Individuals with a fast sugar metabolism, the hypoglycemics, and also those with damaged liver functions form excessively large amounts of lactic acid or lactate after ingestion of sweet food. The same may happen if one is allergic to some ingredients in a meal. High lactic acid levels give rise to anxiety neuroses.

Symptoms may include nervousness, irritability, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, breathlessness or air hunger, headaches, dizziness and feelings of extreme fear and impending doom. This may also lead to fear of special situations and places, giving rise to agoraphobia, fear of open spaces and crowds, and to claustrophobia, fear of being in a confined space. There is a great variety of such specific fears or phobias. In addition, regression therapy can be very helpful, for further information see the relevant chapter in Mind Therapy.

These phobic individuals usually have little tolerance for increased carbon dioxide levels in the air and need to do much deep breathing in fresh, unpolluted air. In one experiment it was found that 93% of patients with anxiety neurosis and 20% of apparently normal controls developed panic attacks during infusions with high levels of sodium lactate.

Lactic acid levels also rise after strenuous work or physical exercise. Lactic acid formation increases after consumption of caffeine or alcohol. Of special benefit are supplements of high levels of nicotinamide, which help to convert lactic acid into a biochemical important for energy production (pyruvate), and also vitamin B1 which favours the production of energy instead of lactic acid.

In regard to diet it is obvious that all sweeteners and sweetened foods must be avoided, in addition also fruit, fruit juices and dried fruit. Only avocadoes, apples and olives are suitable fruits. Meals should include legumes, especially lentils and fenugreek, or fish, seafood or meat. Wheat products and generally refined flour products are to be avoided, instead use mainly whole grains such as brown rice. If commercial bread is used, then use dark rye bread without the addition of wheat flour, otherwise rye crispbread. The addition of olive oil (preferable) or butter to meals also slows down the digestion and minimises lactate formation. Also test for allergy.


In therapy resistant cases you may try any of the following methods with the help of a suitable therapist: counselling by an experienced psychic, regression therapy, emotional release therapy, exorcism (e.g. by a priest). Highly recommended for all conditions is the Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT.

Something you may do yourself for a friend or relative with mental problems is using sleep suggestions with his or her consent. When the patient is asleep, talk quietly to him or her. First reassure the sleeper and say that you love him or her and want to help and then you give specific suggestions, use simple sentences and repeat these perhaps ten times. Try to phrase suggestions in a positive way. For instance you would say: ‘Tomorrow you are cheerful and filled with energy' and not 'Tomorrow you will not be depressed anymore'. For self-suggestions you may record messages on a tape and let the recorder play while you are asleep, using automatic switches.

Mentally retarded children should use a high-quality diet and a multivitamin-mineral supplement with most meals. Most needed are the vitamins B6, C, folic acid, nicotinamide and the minerals zinc, magnesium and manganese.

As a result of drug treatment for mental and neurological conditions a large number of patients develop tardive dyskinesia with involuntary movements and loss of muscle coordination, especially of arms and legs. This is partly due to the chelating action of these drugs, causing large losses of manganese. To overcome this, use high intakes of manganese, vitamin E, zinc, vitamin B6 as well as multivitamins and lecithin.

In all of these diseases decrease the intake of high-level supplements after sufficient improvement until you find a comfortable maintenance dose. If symptoms flare up, increase dosage again. A high intake of vitamin B6 in the evening may cause restless sleep, therefore take most of it earlier in the day. Be sure there are not two different kinds of metal in the mouth and consider replacing any amalgam fillings. Have any dead teeth and osteitis in the jawbone removed. For details see the article on Dental Problems.

Another factor applying to all conditions is possible overgrowth of the digestive tract with harmful bacteria or fungi. To normalise the intestinal flora see Intestinal Sanitation in Healing Foods. In addition, use the electronic zapper for extended periods to clean the blood of any microbial contamination. It may also help to clean the blood with a course of Lugol' solution and possibly colloidal silver, and have a course of herbal parasite remedies.

With dementia and Alzheimer's disease take half a teaspoon of ascorbic acid 5 times daily, a multivitamin-mineral tablet, folic acid, 500 mg of natural vitamin E, 1 tbsp. of lecithin, cod liver oil and extra magnesium with each meal. Have frequent long fasting periods mainly on apples and acid fruit, also lemon juice and cereal grass juice. Use a predominant raw food diet with plenty of unheated fats and oils, fresh vegetable juices and beetroot. Frequent deep breathing and inversion exercises with the head lower than the torso. Use additional high quality supplements such as Ginkgo biloba, Milk Thistle, Royal Jelly, spirulina ginseng and pollen.

A group of natural remedies specifically aimed at improving mental and emotional disturbances are the Flower Remedies. Best known of these are the Bach Flower Remedies.

Some of the most suitable remedies are as follows:

Aspen: vague fears of unknown origin, apprehension.

Cherry Plum: uncontrolled temper, (desperation, fears losing mind.

Chestnut Bud: slow to learn, repeats mistakes, lacks observation.

Clematis: indifference, dreaminess, lack of interest.

Gentian: depression, negative attitudes, self-doubt.

Gorse: hopelessness, despair, despondency.

Mustard: deep gloom or depression of unknown cause.

Rock Rose: terror, panic, extreme fear.

Several of these essences may be mixed and a few drops taken in a little water and kept in the mouth, take three or four times daily. These are available from some health food shops and natural therapists.

Following these recommendations and with the help of relatives, friends and a competent therapist most sufferers of mental illness should greatly improve and be able to lead a normal life. What sufferers of mental diseases need most is a high quality diet within a loving and caring social environment.

For a site with interesting articles and links on the natural treatment of mental problems see: