Dr. Greenblatt shared a fascinating case study during our podcast interview. The case study was not included in our First Things First, Mental Health Episode #2 podcast.
I had heard Dr. Greenblatt lecture on a patient named Larry. Larry had adopted exceptionally clean nutrition and lifestyle changes. He was eating all the right things, absolutely removed all the high allergen foods plus he was on two pages of supplements. The patient could not get off his antidepressants. I asked Dr. Greenblatt if it was Larry’s folate level associated with the MTHFR variant that eventually helped Larry get off his SSRIs.
“No, not Larry. Larry was even simpler. As you described, this individual who had a rough childhood, but changed his life in terms of lifestyle and supplements. Part of the case history is he just went to more nutrition or integrative doctors and people kept adding supplements. Literally two pages, 30 or 40 supplements that he took every day. He still was not feeling well. He was eating all the organic foods on his paleo diet, organic free-range foods flown in from all over the world. But he was still miserable, and he could not get off his antidepressants.
The testing that we did and what was incredibly helpful was the amino acid, that he was not digesting his protein. He was eating adequate protein on his paleo diet, but he had exceptionally low levels of these essential amino acids, which means he could not make any of the neurotransmitters. He could not support any of his genetic vulnerabilities. All we did is give Larry amino acids, free form amino acids and hydrochloric acid. The healthy food that he was eating and spending a fortune on, they were not being digested. They were not being absorbed.
Part of that story has to do with stress and trauma and another variable that we need to consider because stress and trauma affects the digestive system. We have seen people that had trauma years before they come to the clinic, but they are still not producing enough hydrochloric acid. That stress which we are all under now, can affect the digestive system for years to come. He was an example of poor digestion, poor absorption of amino acids with the supplements. My job was to taper him off the antidepressants, which we did.”
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