What happens when the connection between the brain and the rest of the nervous system becomes disrupted? People can have a variety of bizarre neurological symptoms including dysautonomia, neuropathy, paralysis, chronic dizziness imbalance and vertigo, and more. They may get diagnoses such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, myasthenia gravis, or others, or maybe are left after doctor’s appointments with more questions than answers.

From a holistic perspective, what is going on here, and how can we intervene? I talk about neurological symptoms a lot, despite my specialization in mast cell disorders, which most people think are focused in the immune system and digestive tract only. However, because of the nature of the Gut-Brain-Liver Axis, it is unusual if people with immune related conditions do not in fact have co occuring neurological symptoms.

Many people believe that severe neurological symptoms cannot be reversed, and that most of the conditions under this umbrella are “incurable”. A quick search on google will show that this is clearly not true, as we have many anecdotal stories as well as trials with nutrition and high dose vitamin therapies (albeit generally small sample sizes) that show improvement or even full reversal in symptoms. The primary factor to whether or not we can see improvement is whether or not there has been damage in the central nervous system. For now, it seems that damage in the central nervous system cannot be reversed, only halted or circumvented. If there is already severe damage in the central nervous system, we can generally only halt further progression of symptoms. Sometimes, we may be able to support the nervous system and brain enough that it can “work around” the damage, so that symptoms improve even if the damage does not go away.

The important thing is that the sooner you intervene in these types of conditions, the more likely you are to make a full recovery, but regardless of the progression, it is worth trying, to halt a continuing decline in health if nothing else.

What are the primary interventions for these types of neurological symptoms?

If neurological symptoms are a primary concern, a therapeutic ketogenic diet is a helpful intervention. Ketosis is a metabolic state which has been used medically to support neurological conditions such as epilepsy and traumatic brain injuries for decades. In this state, the cells learn to use fat for their primary fuel source, rather than carbohydrates. A therapeutic ketogenic state allows brain and nerve tissue to heal at a faster rate. Part of this is due to the medicinal properties of the metabolism being shifted in this way. Part of this is due to the way the microbiome changes in this dietary part. Part of this as well is due to the high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet, especially if the diet is done in an ancestral manner and the fats are primarily from animal based sources. The brain and the myelin sheaths around our nerves are made primarily from fatty acids, a large amount of which is saturated, and our bodies need that raw material to help heal.

I want to emphasize that I am talking about a truly therapeutic type of ketogenic diet. This is not your run of the mill “fad keto” diet where you are eating so called “keto friendly” snacks and desserts from the grocery store. Most of the recipes that are supposedly “keto” you find on blogs or pinterest are not, in fact, ketogenic, and are full of problematic additives and sweetners that could be detrimental to your healing. Additionally, going “low carb” is not the same as a ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet for medicinal purposes must be done very specifically with careful mind to macronutrient amounts (low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat). The more severe your symptoms are, the harder it will be for you to get into deep therapeutic ketosis, and the more strict you will have to be. If you need help with these ratios, my Chronic Fatigue Reboot is designed specifically to be in ketogenic ratios with recipes that provide exact amounts. It also has a detailed guide to testing your ketones and balancing your electrolytes. You can find it under “Pre Recorded Courses” above.

Key nutrients may be dosed at higher amounts in order to help support the nervous system to heal. The first to address is magnesium! There have been cases of even severe neurological symptoms that have been corrected simply by increasing mineral intake through both food and supplementation. Magnesium at high doses is particularly indicated. I recommend magnesium threonate, glycinate, and chloride for these neurological symptoms- all three can be taken at once. For amino acids, choline is going to be most important to improve vagal tone and therefore the brain-nervous system connection. Choline is found in high amount in liver and egg yolks but can also be supplemented as Alpha GPC and also with the herb Bacopa Monneri. Lastly, the most important B vitamin for nervous system health is the first one! B1 or Thiamine is necessary for energy production on a cellular level and for vagal tone as well. I generally use both the fat soluble form (Benfotiamine) and the sulphur bound form (Allithiamine or TTFD) for neurological symptoms, sometimes together at very high doses. Again, I have supplement protocols in my mini courses and subscription program.

Heavy metal toxicity is a major factor in neurological conditions because most heavy metals (as well as pesticides) are fat soluble and bind to our nerve and brain tissue when we are not detoxifying efficiently enough. The problem is that most crash “heavy metal detoxes” or “chelation protocols” are much too harsh for people with neurological symptoms and can actually dangerously move metals around in the body, causing symptoms to worsen. My approach is to do a slower, gentler approach, with more natural detox pathway support done in tandem with what I call a “ReMineralizing” protocol to help replenish all the major and trace mineral depletions that may cause you to be more prone to heavy metal toxicity in the first place. These practices include sauna, coffee enema, detox baths (with epsom salt, iodine, bentonite clay, and ascorbic acid), and trying to drink spring mineral water as much as possible. There is a lot more detail to my ReMineralizing Protocol but I teach this in my coaching groups when people are ready.

The last thing I will mention is the psychological and emotional component of these conditions. Dr. Gabor Mate has a powerful perspective in his book When the Body Says No, and I definitely recommend this. In his perspective, there is a personality type that goes along with developing a condition that causes paralysis or otherwise motor dysfunction. He argues that the body says no when you have not been able- in other words, your body is forcing you to stop saying yes to things you do not want to do. Unsurprisingly, I find that most of my clients with these symptoms have heavy histories of trauma and family dysfunction. If you find that you are someone who gets “frozen” easily, tends to be passive in relationships, and is a “people pleaser”, but at the same time becomes resentful of being constantly “walked on” and “victimized”- you may want to look more closely at this pattern and how it has developed in your life. This is why trauma release, nervous system support tools, and even relationship skills are emphasized heavily in all of our coaching programs.

About the Author
Jen Donovan completely rebuilt her life and career as a result of her experience with severe chronic illness. After finding no answers from conventional medical approaches, she took matters into her own hands and with the help of key mentors, found a path to healing.
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