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The Wahls Protocol was developed by Dr Terry Wahls M.D after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2000. Before being diagnosed with MS, Dr Wahls had been very physically fit and active, running marathons, climbing mountains, cross country skiing and earning a black belt in Taekwondo.
She had described herself as feeling invincible so like many of us, when she started to experience symptoms, she ignored them until they could no longer be ignored.
By the time she was diagnosed, MS had really taken hold of her body and nervous system with her health declining very rapidly over those next couple of years. This meant being unable to play sports with her children, being absolutely exhausted just walking the hospital halls doing her normal rounds and ultimately leading to her back and stomach muscles becoming so weakened she ended up in a tilt/recline wheelchair by 2003.
So within those three years from initial diagnosis she had transitioned from having relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis into secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. By 2007 Dr Wahls had found herself lying, most of the time, in a zero-gravity chair and she was only 52 years old at this point.
Initially, like most patients, Dr Wahls was taking all of her advice from her treating physicians. She took the medication she was told to, again like most of us, she put her entire faith into the specialists, as even though she was a doctor herself, her specialty wasn’t MS so she trusted in the physicians who did specialise in this area.
Ultimately, Dr Wahls found a website that took her interest which discussed the links between diet and MS. Given this was never discussed with her by ANY of her specialist physicians she decided to take notice and look further.
On this website she found lots of scientific references and peer reviewed journals written from highly respected medical schools and was definitely something with legitimate research behind it.
It started with some reading around The Paleo Diet, then moved to leaky gut, lectins and immune modulation (just to name a few things) and for her the concept that our diet has more of a major influence in our health not a minor influence was almost mind blowing.
So fast forward a few years and what happened:
The interesting thing was that initially just following a Paleo Diet didn’t seem to be enough. It was further research into nutrients, supplements and other therapies that became very important as well as dosages of the things she was taking and eating.
Over time Dr Wahls no longer needs a wheelchair and has developed the Wahls Protocol, which for practitioners like myself is an all encompassing way of supporting our patients both physically and mentally as they go through these difficult times.
So for those of you that don’t know, what exactly is “The Wahls Protocol”:
Most people know the Wahls Protocol as a diet that requires you to eat 9 cups of vegetables per day (3 leafy greens, 3 cruciferous vegetables, 3 coloured fruits and vegetables).. for me, as a practitioner it is much more.
When we’re faced with difficulties in life we need to make choices in how we handle it.. are we going to be the victim of our circumstances or are we going to take charge? That’s the first thing. When we decide what we’re going to do we then need a plan to get it done.
This protocol is about taking charge and making the changes you need to make to get the best result you can.
When starting the journey with you we go through:
For me, the most important part of this protocol is working with you to make it something you can achieve in the long term…. in other words this new way of doing things has to become a lifelong commitment to lifestyle changes. As a result it’s often something we need to work on at a pace you’re comfortable with so the changes are sustainable.
There are different levels of The Wahls Protocol, we need to make sure we get the right one for you.
There’s supplements and foods that need to be considered, we need to make sure they’re all appropriate for you.
The vegetable intake is important.. leafy greens give us Vitamin K1 which is metabolised to K2-mk7, K2 is important in the production of myelin and calcium influx into the bones and teeth (along with other co factors).
Lots of deeply coloured fruits and vegetables such as blackberries, blueberries and beetroot are associated with improved cognitive performance and neuro protection.
Brassica and Allium improve detoxification in the body, increase glutathione and GABA production and enhance neuroprotection.
Mushrooms are great for improving immune function and increasing nerve growth factors as well as increasing remyelination.
These are just a few simple facts that make us realise just how important our diet is and how simple it can be to get multiple nutrients from our food.
Many patients may say, “I don’t have MS so why would I do The Wahls Protocol”..
The answer for me is simple.. maybe you don’t have MS but do you:
My point is simple, being unwell is not something any of us enjoy and being chronically unwell is difficult emotionally, physically, mentally and in some cases financially.
If you are struggling or have gotten to the point where it’s time to do things differently then the Wahls Protocol (or a version suitable for you) could be just the answer you’re looking for.
So what are you waiting for?