Articles

Major Mental Illness Biochemical Subtypes

As described by Dr. Carl Pfeiffer and the Pfeiffer Treatment Center. These symptom lists are generalizations and are not suitable for diagnosis of most people due to the wide ranging influences of these variables.

*Pyroluria may overlap with methylation/histamine imbalances.

Subtypes

High Histamine (under-methylated) Low Histamine (over-methylated) Pyroluria High Copper (Hypercupremia)
Common nutritional imbalances Depressed calcium, methionine, B6 and excess folic acid Depressed folate, B3, B12 and excess copper and methionine Depressed zinc, B6, manganese and arachidonic acid (an omega-6 fat) Excess copper and depressed zinc
Common neurotransmitter imbalances High histamine and low serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine Low histamine and elevated serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine Low serotonin Elevated norepinephrine and epinephrine
Laboratory tests* Whole blood histamine over 70 ng/ml, elevated direct
absolute basophils and low ceruloplasmin
Whole blood histamine under 40 ng/ml, depressed direct
absolute basophils and high serum copper
Elevated urine kryptopyrroles Serum copper over 140 mcg/dL and low ceruloplasmin
Cause of imbalances Genetic tendency for under-methylation Genetic tendency for over-methylation Abnormal hemoglobin synthesis High copper
Beneficial supplements Calcium, methionine, magnesium, zinc, TMG, omega-3 oils, B6, SAMe, inositol, A, C and E B3, B12, DMAE, folate, choline, manganese, zinc, omega-3 oils, C and E B-6, zinc, and Primrose Oil Zinc, manganese, vitamin C and B6
Potentially harmful supplements Folate, choline, DMAE, copper and histidine Methionine, SAMe, inositol, tryptophan, phenylalanine, St. Johnís wort, tyrosine, copper, TMG and DMG. Histidine, copper and omega-3 fatty acids. Copper containing supplements and estrogen

*Reference ranges vary with laboratory techniques.

**TMG = tri-methyl-glycine (betaine), DMG = di-methyl-glycine, SAMe = s-adenosyl-methionine, DMAE = di-methyl-amino-ethanol (deanor/deanol)

Biochemical subtype incidence for different mental health conditions

High Histamine
(under-methylated)
Low Histamine
(over-methylated)
Pyroluria
Depression >50% ~20% ~20%
Bipolar Disorder 35% 25% ~18%
Schizophrenia 18% 45% 27%
OCD Nearly all
Anorexia/Bulimia Nearly all
Autism 45% 15% 20%
General population ~10%

* > = greater than, < = less than, ~ = approximately

Related books:

Nutrition and Mental Illness: An Orthomolecular Approach to Balancing Body Chemistry by Carl Pfeiffer, MD, PhD, 1988

Natural Healing for Schizophrenia & Other Common Mental Disorders by Eva Edelman, 1998

This excellent book embraces the approaches used by both Pfeiffer and Hoffer. A quote from William Walsh PhD, (co-founder and chief-scientist at the Pfeiffer Treatment Center), on the back cover states:

"This is the most useful volume on nutritional methods for mental illness written in the past 20 years. I believe that it will be a valuable resource for researchers, clinicians, and families alike. It is required reading for our research and medical staff."

For anyone looking for alternatives for mental conditions, this is a must read!

Related articles by William Walsh, PhD of the Pfeiffer Treatment Center:

Blake Graham, BSc (Honours), AACNEM
Clinical Nutritionist
Perth, Western Australia
Phone/Email: See Contact page
*Non-Perth residents may enquire about phone consultations.

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