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Five Biotypes of Depression

The Five Biotypes of & Advanced Nutrient Therapies with William Walsh, PhD

Second Opinion Physician, David Epstein, D.O., is trained in the Walsh Protocol, developed by Dr. William J. Walsh, PhD, and committed to the natural treatment of depression, as well as other mood and behavioral disorders, thru the use of Nutrient Therapy.  It is estimated that 13.1 to 14.2 million American adults suffer from depression currently and that at least 32 million will similarly face this disease at some point in their lives.  However, the disease can be tricky to tackle for a number of reasons, not least of which are the grave misconceptions regarding depression which are upheld by mainstream psychiatry.  

Mainstream psychiatry typically regards depression as a “single entity with variations along a central theme”, according to Dr. Walsh.  It is also mostly assumed that those suffering from depression have low activity in the receptors in their brains responsible for the handling of serotonin, a monoamine neurotransmitter associated with feelings of “happiness and well-being”.  It is this central belief which informs most decisions as far as the majority of medications being used to treat depressive patients.  Most are prescribed SSRI medications which inhibit the reabsorption of serotonin into its originating receptor, thereby leaving more of the serotonin free to bind to postsynaptic receptors and to have positive effects, allegedly, on the entire organism.  However, after having evaluated 2,800 patients diagnosed with clinical depression, thru the lens of nutrient therapy, Dr. William Walsh is turning both of these centrally held misconceptions about depression and its treatment on their heads.  

By way of his evaluation and ongoing database studies, Dr. Walsh and his colleagues have identified five high-incidence depression biotypes.  These biotypes reference distinct and unique neurotransmitter & nutrient imbalances and symptoms, and therefore, according to Walsh, should be approached as 5 different disorders.  Additionally, he has made links between certain biotypes and the ineffectiveness of SSRI medications, even identifying some subgroups for whom SSRIs are actually dangerous.  

The biotype studies have given us great insight into these different depressive disorders, as well as a more workable look into what causes depression. Using this new revolutionary approach, Second Opinion Physician is able to direct patients towards lab tests which can identify the very nutrient & neurotransmitter imbalances triggering their particular depression, and can then provide recommendations for natural, highly effective, and individualized treatments.  This treatment will most often fall within the spectrum of about 6-8 different natural , along with dosage recommendations specific to the individual’s other biochemical status. 

A brief breakdown of each of the 5 Biotypes of Depression can be found below.

A note from our physician: Any one person will have variable combinations so the treatment must be individualized. I don’t recommend anyone trying to treat themselves based on this information unless a lab test is performed and a trained practitioner is coaching the individual. Follow link to learn more:

BIOTYPE 1 – Undermethylators – 38% of depression population

BIOTYPE 2 – Overmethylators  – or “Low-Folate Depressives” – 20% of depression population

BIOTYPE 3 – Pyrroluria or Pyrrole Depression – 15% of depression population

BIOTYPE 4 – Copper Overload or “High-Copper Depression” – 17% of depression population

95% of the patients in this subgroup are female.  Overly high copper levels can result in elevated norepinephrine and reduced dopamine in patients, high-anxiety and a tendency for panic, a high incidence of postpartum depression, estrogen intolerance, tinnitus, and extremely sensitive skin.  These persons are typically experiencing oxidative stress throughout their body as they have a limited ability to manage free radicals, such as heavy metals. Working to lower copper levels would be the nutrient therapy approach, but caution must be taken to not lower levels too quickly as it will temporarily worsen effects (due to copper leaving tissue and dumping into the blood or digestive tract).  Recommended supplements may include zinc, molybdenum, manganese and chromium (trace elements) and metalothionine producing amino acids. SSRIs are generally reported as ineffective for those suffering from High-Copper Depression.

BIOTYPE 5 – Toxic Metal Depression (5%)

These individuals have an excessive metal burden, such as lead toxicity.  They often exhibit severe oxidative stress, unrelenting depression, abdominal stress, a metallic taste in the mouth and bad breath, high levels of irritability or anger, and food sensitivities.  A gradual detox regimen might include supplements such as ALA, trace elements, metalothionine amino acids and antioxidants.  SSRIs are generally reported as ineffective for the Toxic Metal subgroup of patients struggling with depression.

Thanks to the dedicated work of Dr. William J. Walsh and other pioneers in the fields of nutrient therapy and , we now have more insight into some of the actual causes of depression, and can apply more targeted, individualized, effective, and safe treatments for patients.  Thru the recommendation of lab tests and subsequently the application of the various possibilities for nutrient and supplement based therapy, Second Opinion Physician can help patients finally break free from the painful and often debilitating struggle with depression, and other mood or behavioral disorders, to find relief and reclaim balance and health.d

Watch Video for more details:  Dr. William J. Walsh speaking to the American Nutrition Association about the 5 Biotypes of Depression and Advanced Nutrient Therapies

This is a simple summary followed by video of Dr Walsh explaining this in detail at the American Nutrition Association in 2014.

Any one person will have variable combinations so the treatment must be individualized. I don’t recommend anyone trying to treat themselves based on this information unless a lab test is performed and a trained practitioner is coaching the individual. There is usually about 6-8 different supplements and dosages recommended for the five  biotypes of depression, but it works something like this. 

 

Copper and Emotions

The effect of elevated total or free copper on neurotransmitters is significant. As a cofactor in the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine, the effect of copper and emotions is profound. Dopamine is a mood enhancing, feel good neurotransmitter. And there is an important need for dopamine to convert to norepinephrine. But there needs to be a balance. When there’s too little dopamine and too much norepinephrine, which occurs in the presence of elevated copper, the effect of copper and emotions is important to address. 

Elevated copper is an indication that the body is having a difficult time managing free radicals and heavy metals. This often occurs when there is insufficient amino acid uptake to produce important metal binding metalothionine’s, such as ceruloplasmin, which binds free copper and neutralizes it. An excess of other heavy metals, which can be characterized as oxidative stress, also leads to a general inability to neutralize and mobilize metals such as copper. Lead, mercury, cadmium and aluminum are examples of the most reactive of free radicals. We are exposed to oxidative heavy metals from the air, water and soil. We are exposed through industrial pollutants, silver fillings, smoke, skin products, etc. Metals are a major reason for taking anti-oxidant free radical scavengers.

At Second Opinion Physician we will check your hair, plasma, serum and whole blood to get a good picture of your oxidative stres and the potential impact of copper and emotions. If you’ve already had these tests, let us know your results and we will prepare a supplements and lifestyle plan to get levels back on track.

Copper and Emotions

…the main thing that happens with metal retention is copper toxicity because everybody is getting copper constantly. Almost everything you eat has some copper in it. A lot of really popular foods like coffee, chocolate, avocado, soy, shellfish like shrimp and lobster, and certain beans and nuts like pecans are pretty high in copper.

This isn’t a problem with good liver, gall bladder and especially adrenal function. If adrenal function is strong, we just mobilize that copper and excrete it through the bile. Unfortunately, the way we live these days, that is not what is happening. Most people are not able to get rid of the excess copper. How many people have impaired liver function, congested gallbladder or adrenal fatigue? Probably the majority these days.

If adrenal function becomes impaired, the copper builds up in the liver, brain, joints and lungs. When this happens, you see very specific problems, including mental problems, liver problems and detoxification problems. Phase II liver impairment is often made worse by copper toxicity , if not actually caused by it.

You also see a lot of copper toxicity with asthma and breathing problems, including emphysema. Copper also tends to build up in the joints, leading to arthritis. Chronic skin problems are also an indication of copper toxicity .

Vegetarian diets are very high in copper because the vegetable foods are a great source of this mineral. Since vegetarians don’t eat meat, and possibly not even eggs, they are not getting enough zinc, which is the natural antagonist to copper. Zinc naturally balances copper and keeps it from building up in the tissues. If you are not eating much in the way of meat and eggs, you will develop copper problems.

Excess copper interferes with energy production at the cellular level. It impairs various energy pathways in the cell so it contributes to the very fatigue that tends to make you retain copper, leading to a vicious circle. Once this pattern gets going, it is totally self-reinforcing and very difficult to break, even by adding zinc-rich foods back into the diet.

Copper is an excitotoxin, and is stimulating to the brain. This is why you will see copper toxicity in manic states like paranoid and bi-polar disorder. The so-called copper head tends to be very emotional, very intense, often very creative. Such individuals are prone to crash and burn because their overactive mind is being supported by a very fatigued body.

Copper toxicity is a major factor in irritable bowel syndrome because copper is excreted through the bile and certain things will cause you to suddenly dump copper. If you have been building up copper, anything that causes an increase in your metabolic rate will cause a copper dump and it comes out through the bile. If you are copper toxic and suddenly under a lot of stress, this may bring on an irritable bowel episode because suddenly excess copper is moving through your bowels and irritating them.

The tendency of copper to build up in the body is similar to iron, which is another essential nutrient that is also a heavy metal. They’re both highly electrical, very conductive metals that produce a lot of free radical activity and have to be bound by special proteins, such as ceruloplasmin and metallothioine. The production of these proteins is controlled by the adrenal glands, and they are produced in the liver. If the adrenals are not functioning properly and the liver is impaired, possibly from copper buildup, you will not produce these binding proteins, so copper remains in free form. That makes it a toxic and reactive free-radical generator capable of causing a lot of damage.

The increase in copper is stimulating, it gets you going, which is just what you need in the short term. But chronic unremitting stress never gives you time to recover, you never get to address your biochemical imbalance, you never have that down time to excrete the excess copper now.

When your adrenal glands are in great shape, you can excrete excess copper whenever you need to. But when your adrenal glands are just hanging on by their fingernails, just barely able to mount a stress response, you have an excess of stimulating copper. It becomes very hard to go to sleep and the mind races. You think, think, think, worry, worry, worry, and all of that makes it worse. You are always worn out. In fact, people with chronic fatigue often wake up tired because they don’t really ever rest.