Highlights from Jonathan Otto's interview with Dr. Elena Villanueva, for the Depression & Anxiety Series.
Dr. Elena Villanueva:
Effects of Brain Chemistry
[00:01:30] We're not trying to force a change. We are working on optimizing the body's systemic engines so that the body can function normally. If the body's engines are functioning optimally, then your brain chemistry is going to function optimally, and then you can experience everything that life has to offer.
[00:03:00] What happens is that when the brain chemistry's off, because of whatever the underlying cause is, when the brain chemistry is off, the perception of the world around them is skewed to the point where, when they have something bad that happens, it completely derails them, or maybe something that would be bad or derail anybody else suddenly derails the person and it's because the brain chemistry is off because the person has systemic engines that are not working properly.
[00:03:30] Jonathan: Beautiful, and that's a really, really empathetic piece for those of you that are "strong people," people that are always on top of things. And maybe you have been for a lot of life and now you can't work out why things are just falling apart and why things you normally used to be able to deal with, you're just not coping with them right now, and don't beat yourself up. Don't feel like you just need to muscle it up. Ask for help. Get help. Find the answers.
[00:04:30] Dr. Villanueva: Yes. This is his first test, so this is, we're calling him Jeff and he's 46 years old and he came in, let's take a look at this. He came in in October of last year, and he was really, really struggling with a lot of anxiety. He was having sleep issues, he was having gut issues, and he was definitely having some depression. He had developed, also, some increased food sensitivities and such, and very, very well educated, works in the corporate world. The guy's got it together, or at least everyone thinks he's got it together.
[00:05:00] But on the inside, the guy is feeling horrible. He comes to us, and we ordered labs on him so that we could start looking for what's out of balance and what's not working. The test that I wanted to share with you today, I didn't bring every lab that we did on him, but I brought the brain chemistry one, because so many people don't know that there is even such a thing as brain chemistry testing, so I think this is really valuable for people to get to see this.
[00:05:30] And by the way, he had been on SSRIs, so he had been on prescription medication to help increase his serotonin levels, but as we could see here, his serotonin levels were still very low.
[00:06:30] So this is what he told me. Even with the medications, he never really got relief and we can look here at the tests, and we can see why. Even if the medication had brought up his serotonin levels, almost all of his other neurotransmitters, with the exception of this one and this one, they were all way too low. He didn't have enough of his other neurotransmitters that also help him to not feel anxious and depressed and tired.
[00:07:00] As you can see here, he had, for example, he had low dopamine. We can see that all of these are low, but we'll just touch on the low dopamine here. With low dopamine, he's also going to have anxiety, and he's going to depression, and he's going to have anxiety to the point of having impulsivity, even.
[00:07:30] Which is like he may feel so anxious sometimes that he just wants to put a backpack on and run because he's not feeling well. Everyone will exhibit impulsivity differently, so there are some patients who get angry, like I had a teenage boy whose neurotransmitters were off.
[00:08:00] He was having this excessive impulsivity that was combined with a fight or flight response because of the combination of his neurotransmitters, so he was in fight or flight all the time, and when he was on the football team and the kids would tackle him during practice, he would have a very impulsive fight or flight response, and he would go off on these other kids and just start tackling the hell out of them.
He was hurting the other kids and then he would feel so bad about his response that he would run off to the sidelines, and he would start vomiting because he was just feeling horrible, but he couldn't help himself. So he was beating up on these other kids when he would get tackled because it was an impulsive response because the brain chemistry was off.
[00:08:30] This is a really good kid, like we've worked with him, so this particular kid that I'm talking about, he no longer has this issue. He's back on the football team, he's not hurting the other kids, and he's not vomiting out on the sidelines anymore, but this is an example.
But this guy, he's 46, so he's able to control his impulsive, the impulsivity that he has, he's able to control that better.
[00:09:00] [00:09:30] So with this 46-year-old that we're calling Jeff, he was feeling a lot of anxiety. He was feeling depressed. He was having issues sleeping. He was having increased food sensitivities. And this is what we saw. We went forth, and we addressed all of the imbalances that we found in his body. We worked on anti-parasitic protocols. We worked on putting him on an anti-inflammatory, vegan-based diet, and we did gut repair with him. We addressed it all from a very foundational, nutritional level to remove the interferences that were not allowing his own body to make his own brain chemistry.
[00:10:00] This is a process that this particular patient… this particular client has been with me for many, many months, and he was one who actually took it. It was a little slower process with him because he had developed so many food and chemical sensitivities that when we went to put him on a protocol to add supplements, we could only add one at a time, one month at a time. It took him a much longer time to see the results.
[00:10:30] He had developed so much chemical sensitivity and had so many toxins in his body that any time that we would put any kind of nutrition in his body, he would have a response to that.
[00:11:00] Natural supplements like vitamin B12, folate, vitamin D. Just natural things that are going to allow his body to heal, but he was a case that it took longer than average, but look at his results now. And he's feeling amazing, and he's able to do a full protocol. He has been able to reintroduce foods back into his diet now that we have done his gut repair. Foods that he previously couldn't eat, now he can eat them, and he doesn't have a problem anymore.
[00:11:30] Interviewer: Great, so let's have a look at that. Here I see a big difference, so here's my layman's look at this. Clearly red is when it's either too low or too high, so just remember when you're looking at something here, you're not looking for everything to be up. It's not like you're looking at a scorecard when you're in grade school, and you're looking for everything to be up in the high range. You don't actually want that. What you want to do is you want to have everything in the normal range, and if it goes in the normal range, in this particular graph they've just illustrated that by this blue outlining and the gray. That's what illustrates that something being normal. So his GABA was actually right. It was on the lower end of normal.
[00:12:00] Yeah, but it was within a range that wouldn't necessarily, in my layman's perspective, be the most symptomatic. These are where he's going to be feeling symptoms, and even in these high ones, because as you've described to me, Dr. Elena, that these two that are high, he's still going to be feeling the effects of these because they're in excess, and they need to be regulated.
[00:12:30] Dr. Villanueva: Oh, absolutely. This just makes it really easy for you, here. If this brain chemical is too high or too low, it also contributes to anxiousness. It's not always just a serotonin issue. If your epinephrine levels go up, you go into fight or flight, and again, you're going to have anxiousness as well and sleep difficulties.
He had many neurotransmitters here all contributing. They were all like piling up on each other just contributing to the way he was feeling.
[00:13:30] Everything in the body needs to be in balance. Whether it's your blood pressure or your blood sugar or the levels of oxygen in your body or your brain chemistry, everything needs to be inside of a certain balance. Even hormones, right? You don't want them too high, and you don't want them too low, and brain chemistry is no exception. You don't want them too high, but you don't want them too low, either.
[00:14:00] So the first test was done in October, beginning of October, and this was done in May, and we typically don't go this long without retesting. I like to retest after three to four months because we make very significant changes within three to four months, however, he took such a long time to get up and running on his protocols that we just extended the length of time.
[00:15:00] And anything within the green, technically, is going to be within normal range. Optimally, we would like to stay somewhere between here and here, optimally, right?
[00:15:30] If we go too far to the left, and we're in the blue, then we're low. If we go too far to the right, then there's too much of the neurotransmitter. So you can see that he went from almost everything being low with two of them being too high to everything is in normal range.
I was on the phone with him the other day and he told me that, he said, "I haven't felt this good in a long, long time and when I do have a little bit of anxiety, it's a fraction of what it was. I'm handling it like a normal person would handle it." He's feeling much, much, much better.
He's feeling amazing. He really was very, very committed to the process, and he saw the end result with, again, removing the interferences and changing his lifestyle and his foods and understanding how to use food as medicine and what supplements to take, in what dose, for what, and for how long that we need to do it, and we were able to see huge changes.
[00:18:00] He had parasitic infections. He had systemic inflammation. He had what we call leaky gut or gut dysbiosis, so he was having a lot of gut issues, and the gut issues were a huge cause of his brain chemistry imbalances. The foods that he was eating were also altering his brain chemistry, and that was a huge suspect for us, as well as the parasitic pattern that he was showing. And as we addressed all of these issues, the brain fog started to lift, and the memory issues started to go away, and the anxiety started to go away, and the depression started to go away.
[00:19:00] Parasites or any type of pathogen or bug that's living in the body, they throw off endotoxins, so I don't know how to describe this. When you have pathogens that are in your body, which are basically bugs that don't belong, and that can be in the category of parasites, bacteria, virus, protozoa, fungus, whatever it is, they throw off toxins in the body, and those toxins can, in turn, cause huge neurotransmitter imbalances. For example, toxoplasma is a well-known toxin in the body that has actually caused people to commit suicide. And there are studies on that, so you can look up toxoplasma and suicide, and you can see that.
[00:19:30] What's unfortunate is that many people who have struggled with depression for many years were never tested for underlying infections to see if the infections could be the underlying cause of the neurotransmitter imbalances. Toxoplasma is a wonderful example because there are numerous studies showing the correlation between toxoplasma and the changes to the brain chemistry that lead to suicide.
[00:21:00] This test runs around $211-220. It probably depends on the company that you're doing it through. A neurotransmitter test. It's a urinary test.
[00:21:30] Norepinephrine. Epinephrine, glutamate, glycine, histamine, PEA, and then a couple of others in ratio form.
Yes, the creatine.
[00:22:00] There are other tests, some that may test fewer neurotransmitters, some that may test more neurotransmitters, but this is just the one that I've been doing and seeing really great results.
[00:22:30] This is a really interesting case here. This patient, he is a war veteran. He is 55 years old, and when he came to see me, he was on, oh my gosh, he was on a handful of medications. He was on Prozac, lithium, Zanax, and Ambien, and I think he might have been on one other.
[00:23:30] But he was on really, really high doses and his doctor had diagnosed him with bipolar, severe bipolar, and he came into see me, and we started working with him, and we did his neurotransmitter testing, and even with all of the medications that he was on, when he came in to see us … You can take a look here. When he came in to see us in November of last year, his serotonin was super, super low, and you can see that some of his neurotransmitters, some of the other ones that were also contributing to his symptoms were very, very low as well.
We also took a look at his genetics, and we were able to see how the environment is influencing some of his genetic expression with the genes that are helping to drive the production and the breakdown of his neurotransmitters. We also were able to see that he also needed some gut work.
[00:24:00] There were, again, numerous causes. It's never one thing. There's usually multiple things that are going on in the body that are interfering with the body's ability to work properly. In his case, to make his neurotransmitters. With all the medications that he was on, he was still in really, really bad shape.
[00:24:30] We started him on a protocol, and we had to do a lot of work with him. It wasn't as easy as with the other case that we were talking about a minute ago. This guy had some pretty bad eating habits, so I really, really had to work with him on that. That was the biggest thing for me-
[00:25:00] He ate a lot of processed foods. As we started getting him eating cleaner—more whole, fresh foods, vegan, anti-inflammatory type foods—he started coming out of the brain fog very, very quickly, and so I sent him back to his practitioner, and he was able to start coming down on his medications. This was an incredible case because of the mega high doses that he was taking of so many different psychotropic drugs. But, he was able to come down and come down and come down, and by the time that we tested him in January, this was actually like a three month, from November to January, we saw a huge change. Let me just flip this around so you can see. On the left is before, and on the right is after.
[00:25:30] [00:26:00] And we actually got his serotonin up pretty high. You can see everything else is within range. So, everything here was either too low or too high. Here, everything is within range. His serotonin, he had a great response with his foods. We actually used a very low protein diet to help raise his serotonin levels, and we also worked on balancing out his carbohydrate and sugar metabolism, so getting his insulin more balanced. And he had a huge response, but also, remember, he was still taking some medications while we were doing this. That probably is what contributed to such a rapid rise in his serotonin.
And this is a process. This takes work. You can't fix it in one shot. This is a process.
That's why we do follow up testing, so that we can see what's going on and what is going to be the next step after that.
[00:28:00] We can actually make big changes to serotonin levels by putting the person on a low protein diet and balancing out their insulin, and then, yes, we can give supplements to help the body. So, if the body has the ingredients that it needs, and there's no interference for the body's systemic engines to work properly, the body will make exactly what it needs.
So, it just needed a little bit of fine tuning, but by the time that we did this test to follow up and see his progress, he was feeling great. He was down to only one medication, which was, I believe, is Lithium, and he was down to half the dose or a third of the dose, and he was off of everything else that he had been on for probably over 20 years.
[00:30:30] I wanted to add here, too, that in his case, it was so important for him to have follow up with his practitioner who had put him on all of these medications because he was on so many very, very powerful psychotropic drugs, and we were very, very fortunate in that the doctor was supportive, and we were able to do this as a team.
[00:31:00] Sometimes, the doctors are not supportive, and that's where the person will maybe need to have a talk with their doctor or maybe find another doctor who will be supportive of them making healthy lifestyle changes so that we can see if their body will normalize. Because that should be the first option. Drugs should be the last option. And if drugs are a first option, then it should only be temporary. Drugs are not designed for long term use. And so, a good doctor like this doctor, who was taking care of this patient, will be supportive if the person is wanting to make healthy lifestyle choices to see if their own body will be able to heal itself, and this was a perfect example of that.
[00:34:00] So, optimally, you want to get testing done so that you can find what the root causes are. Optimally, we don't want to guess about what's going on with you, or what are the multiple different engines that may not be working properly. So, if you can find a practitioner who can do variable tests such as the Functional Blood Chemistry panel, the neurotransmitter testing, if we can look at the genetics that are effecting the production and breakdown of your neurotransmitters and that are also effecting your gut health, that would be great, too. Sometimes we also want to look at hormones, so if we can afford to do the testing, that's the optimal route that we wanna go.
[00:34:30] Once we get the tests, then we can verify what imbalances that we have; what nutritional deficiencies we have; what support that we need to give as far as, you know, food changes; lifestyle changes; what supplements that we need to take so that we can address things in a particular order, so that we can address the issues in a particular order so that we can get the end result.
Foods for Healing
[00:35:30] So, what we wanna do is, first and foremost, we need to change our foods. We can use food to heal us and we can also eat foods that will literally kill us and make us sick. And then, I like to have a third category of foods that I call neutral. And so, whenever we're sick, we need to eat the healing foods. So if we're gonna talk about healing foods, that's where we go into plant-based diets.
[00:36:00] So, we eliminate gluten, dairy, sugars, meats, and we stick to organic or the best that we can do, with our vegetables, our fruits, and doing healthy non-glutinous grains that we can add in there as well. And a lot people will say, "I don't know, then, what am I supposed to eat? If I can't eat those things, then there's nothing left for me to eat." That's absolutely not true.
[00:36:30] There are amazing cookbooks out there. You can go even to YouTube, and you can find amazing recipes. I always will tell patients, I always will tell clients here in Austin, we're very, very lucky. We have a lot of farm-to-table, vegan type restaurants. We have Flower Child. We have True Food Kitchen, so we have a lot of places where the clients can go to try vegan dishes and then get inspired from there and go home and try to make those dishes themselves. So the first thing is to get rid of everything that you have in your house. Throw away all the junk. Don't finish it because you feel like you gotta finish your food. It's probably killing you. It's making you sick, so throw it away and go to the store and buy all vegetables, fruits, everything from the outside of the grocery store minus meats and dairies.
[00:38:00] And remember, this doesn't have to be forever, but you should do it at least 90 days. At least 90 days going vegan, and you're going to see the health benefits from that because those are very, very healing foods. They provide you the nutrients that your body's engines need in order to heal and restore themselves back to optimal health. The next thing that I would do is work on gut. We need to address gut health. We can make the assumption that over 90 percent of the population has what we call "leaky gut" or gut dysbiosis. So while you are going to the vegan plant-based diet, we need to take advantage of that, and we need to add a couple of things in that can help heal the gut. Now bone broth, even though if we're going to go vegan, we can use bone broth medicinally. Okay? So we can use bone broth to help heal the gut. We can use things like celery juice to help heal the gut. You could do a bone broth with celery to help heal the gut. This is actually just food based. This is not any supplements at all.
[00:38:30] If we were to add supplements, we can do L-glutamine based products. In some cases, with certain genetic mutations, if you try an L-glutamine based product to help heal the gut, and you start noticing a big increase in anxiety, typically two to three days you'll notice it, then it's probably a mutation in one of your genes, and so you don't wanna take that. And that's where the lab testing helps us because we can look at that, and I'll know exactly what supplement do we wanna put you on? An L-glutamine based supplement to help heal your gut, or do we want to go with an alternative?
[00:39:00] [00:39:30] But if you're doing this on your own: bone broth, celery juice are amazing to help heal the gut. You wanna add a probiotic in there, too. Taking a probiotic by itself, without addressing the ecosystem of the gut, isn't gonna help heal your gut. That would be like trying to put tropical fish in a dead coral reef. They don't have an ecosystem in which to live. So you've gotta rebuild the coral reef so that the tropical fish and all of the life that belongs in the coral reef will have a place to live. And it's much the same with the gut. So, when you're doing the bone broth and the celery juices or the L-glutamine products, that is going to help heal the gut, and then when you re-inoculate with the healthy bacteria, they actually have a place to live, and you'll actually start to actually feel the benefits.
Dr. Villanueva: So, if you have tried in the past to just take a probiotic, and you weren't addressing the house in which the probiotic needs to live, and you weren't noticing results, this is why.
[00:41:00] Then I would recommend that you do an anti-parasitic. So, you want to do some sort of a cleanse that will incorporate an anti-parasitic. Most people are going to have some sort of parasite in their body. I mean that's just, you can get them from eating at a salad bar, you don't have to travel to India or some foreign, you know, country to pick up a parasite. You don't have to go to a tropical place to get a parasite. Like, you can catch them. You can actually, you know, acquire a parasitic pattern from the salad bar, from eating sushi, or from your pets. And so, I would just recommend that you go out and you find a good, anti-parasitic protocol, and you do that for a minimum of 90 days.
[00:42:00] And then also I would recommend that you go to a filtered, purified water. Our water system is fortified with fluoride, and there are a lot of other chemicals in our water. So I have a client, and I don't remember the title of his job, but his job is to test the water and see what's in it. And he told me he will not touch tap water because he knows what's in it. There are remnants of medications in there, all kinds of toxins in there, and this guy knows.
[00:42:30] So, you wanna get a purified water that is eliminating all of the toxins out, including fluoride, and we wanna make sure that you're using some sort of, like, a reverse osmosis system, or that you're buying your water from a purified source and not in plastic bottles.
[00:43:00] And I also recommend that you change out your fluoride based toothpaste, and you go with a non-fluoride based toothpaste. So, this is my opinion and the opinions of a lot of holistic health coaches around the world that fluoride is a neurotoxin. And, we do know that fluoride blocks selenium receptor sites. So I know that sounds fancy or complicated, but fluoride actually interrupts some of the chemical reactions that happen in our body that are necessary for thyroid hormone conversion, that are necessary for brain hormone conversion, and so we want to eliminate environmental toxins. And that's why I recommend that we go to a purified water.
[00:44:30] Just make the commitment to make all of those changes. If you can make the changes that I just discussed with you, and you can be consistent with it, then give yourself a 1000 percent commitment to it, you should see some changes.
And that's even without doing labs, and without being able to get super, super specific and detailed and using my data driven approach. If you can do the things that we just outlined, you should be able to see some really big changes.
[00:46:00] The last thing I wanted to say is that we have to take the mind, body spirit approach, okay? So, in the holistic realm of what we do, we really understand that you can have spiritual components that can really, really affect your genetic expression. We know this, scientifically, that traumas can affect your genetic expression, which is then gonna change your biochemistry. So, it's gonna change your body's ability for its engines to actually work properly and so, if you've had... And most of us have, who hasn't? It's hard to escape, you know, this life without having some sort of traumatic events that have happened in your life, but you want to address those, and there are practitioners out there who focus on that. But you have to address it from a whole mind, body, spirit perspective.
[00:46:30] And then the last thing, too, is get yourself out there and try to get a little bit of physical activity in. Maybe in the beginning it's almost impossible because you feel severe fatigue, you know, chronic fatigue, and you're just feeling really, really bad. But as you start changing your diet; what you're putting into your body; what you're drinking, like with the purified water; and you make these changes that start to affect your body chemistry, you'll have a little bit more energy so that you can then start focusing on taking a yoga class; going out for a walk. You know, we're very, very sedentary, and that also affects our health in a really negative way.
[00:48:00] [00:48:30] So, let's say that we also looked at your blood work and maybe even your genetics as well. I would definitely put you on a methylation supplement so that we could give you a special form of B-12 and a special form of folate because, taking into consideration that about 90 percent of Caucasians in the United States have particular gene mutations that are affecting their ability to uptake B-12 and folate, that actually causes issues with serotonin and dopamine levels. So if this were you, and you're showing me low serotonin levels, and you're Caucasian, I'm definitely going to put you on the B supplements.
[00:49:00] Now, this is the thing, we all need B supplements anyway.
[00:49:30] And we, most of us in the United States, live pretty stressful unbalanced lives. So we're going through our B vitamins and all of our other vitamins and minerals much faster than we normally would. Most of us are depleted in our B vitamins, so it's not gonna hurt you to take one. The difference is that I'm going to give you a stronger dose, and I'm gonna give it to you in a more broken down form to make sure that your cells can uptake it. And so that your body can make its brain chemistry and open the detox pathways and do the different things that your body needs to do. So the B vitamins are critical for, like over 250 different engines in your body. They actually require that. So, we'll just make sure that we give it to you in a special form. So that's the first thing that I would do.
[00:51:00] They're affordable. And that's absolutely a beautiful point that you made. Our food sources are depleted because our soils have been stripped of all the nutrients. And so, that's very easy to find that in the research, you can find that. So, even if you're eating as many vegetables as you can possibly get into your body every day, it's not gonna be uncommon for you to be nutrient deficient. But to go to the store and figure out, "What vitamin do I need?" or think, "Well, let me just cover all the bases and grab a multi." Often times the doses, even in a multi, are not high enough to have a therapeutic effect on your body.
[00:52:00] The other thing that I would do, if we take a look here, you're epinephrine levels look really, really high. So this is gonna have you fight or flight. This is just going to increase the anxiety that you have. It's in turn going to affect your metabolism and your blood sugar, and it's gonna throw your blood sugar off.
[00:52:30] Then it's gonna cause a tertiary cascade effect and you're gonna be waking up at 3:00 o'clock every morning. So you're not gonna have good sleep. So what we're going to do here is we're going to give some adrenal support. And you can do that with ashwagandha, with licorice root. There are different things that you can use.
Adaptogenic herbs, exactly. To help support the adrenals and calm the cortisol response down, which will help bring epinephrine levels down.
[00:53:00] Jonathan: So, the adrenals will help to balance the epinephrine levels. Okay that's really helpful to know. And then adaptogenic herbs are really great for a lot of things with mental clarity, performance, sexual drive. Your ability to, you know, be intimate with your spouse sometimes can be adrenal levels. And so, you'll find that they'll all ... almost every adaptogenic herb is an aphrodisiac. There's a lot of side benefits to taking adaptogens.
Dr. Villanueva: Exactly. And then the other things that I would do here to address the low dopamine and the low neuro epinephrine and the low PEA would be supplementation.
[00:53:30] So right now I'm using a line by Neuroscience, and we're in the process of developing some of our own lines that we can be maybe more specific with some of the neurotransmitters. But I'm sure there are a lot of good brands out there. The one that I'm familiar with, that I've been able to see results with, so I've been very consistent with using it, is the Neuroscience products.
Jonathan: And they've got a supplement that helps to counter the low dopamine effect or the low neuro?
[00:54:00] [00:54:30] Dr. Villanueva: It's actually not countering it, or it's not treating the symptom of the low dopamine. What it's doing is it's giving the precursors, the different vitamins, minerals, supplements that are necessary for the body so that it can make its own. So there's a nutrient deficiency there. There's a nutrient deficiency for whatever reason. Either you're not getting it in your foods or you've been exposed to different toxins, environmental toxins like what we talked about, that are not allowing the different nutrients to do what they need to do.
And so, these supplements are giving the nutrients so that the body's engines can turn on and actually have gas to run.
[00:56:30] There's a supplement called Excito-Plus for low dopamine levels that will also help with low neuro epinephrine levels. You can do a Focus DL for the low PEA levels. You can do a Travocort for low serotonin and GABA levels, right?
And so there are different supplements that will specifically work on different categories. And they're not forcing a change. It's not a pharmaceutical. It's not forcing a change. It's just giving you the ingredients you need so that your own body's engines will have what they need to make the neuro chemistry on its own.
[00:58:00] [00:58:30] Theoretically, if there were no nutritional deficiencies, then yes, if you remove the interference than the body will be able to self correct. The body can self correct. Our bodies are incredibly designed. If the body has what it needs it will self correct. So yeah, if you remove the interferences, if you remove the heavy metals and you remove the parasite infections and you remove the environmental toxins, theoretically, the body should come back into normal. But what we see is that most people are nutrient deficient. So you really need to supplement with nutrients. And when you have specific issues going on in your body, we need to be specific with the type of nutrition that we recommend. Just going out and grabbing a multi vitamin isn't going to necessarily be the answer.
Vitamins B & D
[01:00:30] So, there are several different brands out there of the methyl B vitamins. So, the methylated B vitamins, that's gonna be the number one supplement that I would say that you need to get. You also want to get yourself on a vitamin D. 99% of us are deficient in our vitamin D in a huge, huge way. And it's been severely underestimated the secondary problems that happen in the body when you're deficient in vitamin D. So you want to make sure that you're taking a vitamin D also.
[01:01:30] I see probably two percent of the people that I see actually have healthy levels of vitamin D. And depending on what part of the country or what part of the world that you live in. If you're up in the northwest or you're up in the northeast or even in the Midwest, where you have winter for nine months out of the year, and you're inside, you're gonna be deficient in your vitamin D.
[01:03:00] Those would be two very, very basics. Without seeing the results of the test, if you get into a supplement line like Neuroscience, where you're specifically trying to address, you know, neurotransmitters, where you're specifically trying to address dopamine or serotonin, that's where you really need the test. I mean, that's the safest way to go about it. Because if you get a supplement that's going to help with serotonin levels and it's a serotonin issue, maybe it's a dopamine issue, then you could potentially make the problem worse.
[01:03:30] So, I would say just those two basics, believe it or not. It sounds too simple to be true, but those are two basics that run a lot of engines in your body that have to do with your brain chemistry and your overall health. Oh, and a probiotic.
Definitely the probiotic. So, methyl vitamins. The methyl B vitamins, a probiotic, and the vitamin D.
[01:05:00] Gluten can definitely throw those numbers off. You know, I have actually seen clients who have had manic depressive episodes after eating gluten. Clients that we have worked with that we took them through the whole process, and their neurotransmitters balanced themselves out. They healed themselves with their diet and their lifestyle and their supplement choices. And then they would decide to go and try a sandwich one day, even though it was organic bread. But they would put gluten into their bodies, and it completely derailed them emotionally for three or four days. I can't tell you how important it is to just give it up. There are so many other choices out there now.
You can do almond flour for pancakes, for example. You can do almond flour to make your banana bread. There are gluten free crackers. There's gluten free bread out there. You can do anything that you want gluten free. Just stay away from it. It causes such a huge inflammatory response in the body that it can literally derail you emotionally for days. And if you're eating it all the time, and you don't even realize that's the trigger, imagine what a game changer that that would be for you if you'll just pull yourself off of it.
Costs of Tests
[01:07:00] [01:07:30] I don't know what the cost is gonna be around the country using other labs, necessarily, so everything varies a little bit. But in my office the brain chemistry test runs around $211. The functional blood chemistry panel, which is a very, very detailed amount of blood work that we look at, runs around $260. The genetic test runs around $800.
Interviewer: What's the name of the genetic test?
Dr. Villanueva: The Operon Genetics.
Interviewer: So, that's the most expensive one? 800 for the genetics test.
[01:08:00] Dr. Villanueva: Yes. It's 800 for the genetics test, and it's a game changer. If you can order the data, get the data. Because it's invaluable to actually be able to do a diagnostic on your own body and see what's going on. It's like doing the diagnostic on the car. You can find exactly what's going on. If we get enough data, we can find exactly what issues are going on in the body. We can correct them and then the body self corrects.
[01:08:30] So, that's about $800 for that test. Love that test. It gives you an invaluable amount of information on how the environment is reacting with your body, so that you know what to eat, what not to eat, what chemicals that you may tolerate better than others, how to exercise, what genetic engines may not be allowing you to adsorb for B12 and your folate, right? It's the genetics that tells us if we need to take that special form or not. But for general purposes, I would just put everybody on that just to make sure that they can uptake their B12 and their folate.
[01:09:00] And let's see. We did genetics, blood, neurotransmitter. And then in some cases, ordering the hormone panel. In some cases, looking at the hormone panel would be very important because if your hormones are really, really off, that can just cause a cascading effect. It can add to the problem. So you could get everything else, for the most part, balanced out in your body. But if we don't address the female hormones or the male hormones, that's going to not allow the body to fully heal, and you're gonna keep going backwards. So you'll make some progress, then you'll keep going backwards.
[01:09:30] And then the last one is the GI Stool Map test. If we need to run a very specific test to look at gut function and to look for parasites and things like that, we can do that. So all in, you're looking at around $1500 of testing.
[01:10:30] The GI test is called the GI Stool Map test, and the hormone test is by Diagnos-Techs. That's one of the labs that we use for that. We have a couple of different ones, but if you talk with your holistic practitioner about it, or if you ... Any holistic practitioner that you call will know what types of tests that we're talking about here, and they'll have access to those.