A little bit about me:
Dr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa where she teaches internal medicine residents in their primary care continuity of care clinics, sees patients in a traumatic brain injury clinic and conducts clinical trials. She is also a patient with a chronic progressive neurological disorder, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, which confined her to a tilt-recline wheelchair for four years. But thanks to the power of the nutrient dense Wahls Paleo Diet™, Dr. Wahls restored her health and now pedals her bike five miles to work each day.
Dr. Terry Wahls links micronutrient starvation to the epidemics of chronic diseases that are overtaking modern society. She explains the key roles mitochondria play in maintaining a healthy brain and body. Americans are eating so poorly, something we all know to be true, that the majority of Americans are missing key building blocks that are needed for brain cells to be healthy. The result is an epidemic of depression, aggression, multiple sclerosis and early dementia. She then teaches you how to eat for healthy mitochondria, a healthy brain and a healthy body in language that is clear and concise, even for those without a science background. Dr. Wahls explains basic brain biology in simple terms. She tells us what vitamin, mineral and essential fat building blocks are needed by the mitochondria and other key structures in the brain. Then she explains what foods are good sources for those key nutrients in the Wahls Paleo Diet™. She is the author of Minding My Mitochondria: How I Overcame Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and Got Out of My Wheelchair and teaches the public and medical community about the healing power of intensive nutrition.
In addition to being a doctor, I am also a patient, having been diagnosed relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in 2000. By 2003 I had transitioned to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. I underwent chemotherapy in an attempt to slow the disease and began using a tilt-recline wheelchair because of weakness in my back muscles. It was clear: eventually I would become bedridden by my disease. I wanted to forestall that fate as long as possible.
Because of my academic medical training, I knew that research in animal models of disease is often 20 or 30 years ahead of clinical practice. Hoping to find something to arrest my descent into becoming bedridden, I used PubMed.gov to search scientific articles about the latest multiple sclerosis research. Night after night, I relearned biochemistry, cellular physiology, and neuroimmunology to understand the articles. Unfortunately, most of the studies were testing drugs that were years away from FDA approval. Then it occurred to me to search for vitamins and supplements that helped any kind of progressive brain disorder. Slowly I created a list of nutrients important to brain health and began taking them as supplements. The steepness of my decline slowed, for which I was grateful, but I still was declining.
In the summer of 2007, I discovered Functional Medicine, an organization devoted to helping clinicians use the latest scientific discoveries to take better care of those with complex chronic diseases. As a result I developed a longer list of vitamins and supplements that were good for my brain. Then I had an important epiphany. What if I redesigned my diet so that I was getting those important brain nutrients not from supplements but from the foods I ate? I used what I had learned from the medical literature, Functional Medicine, and my knowledge of the Hunter-Gatherer diet—the most nutritious of any diet—to create my new food plan, the Wahls Paleo Diet™. It is through the combination of Functional Medicine and the application of Hunter-Gatherer principles to create the Wahls Paleo Diet™ the provided a nutrient dense diet that provided what my cells needed to begin repairing my brain. The results stunned my physician, my family, and me: within a year, I was able to walk through the hospital without a cane and even complete an 18-mile bicycle tour. I saw the world of health and disease through new eyes, and began stressing nutrition more and more in my clinical practice. Two years later I began conducting clinical trials testing these interventions in others with progressive multiple sclerosis with promising early data.
Terry Wahls, MD
Telephone: (319) 338-0581 ext 6080
601 Highway 6 West
Iowa City, IA 52246