Dr. Albert Mensah, M.D. received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois) and his medical degree from Finch University of Health Sciences-Chicago Medical School.
Dr. Mensah's residency was in family medicine at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago. Following residency, he completed additional fellowship training in academic development at JHS Cook County Hospital (Chicago). He then practiced as a staff physician at Melrose Park Clinic (Illinois) before joining the original Pfeiffer Treatment Center (now closed) in 2005.
In 2008, Dr. Mensah co-founded Mensah Medical with Judith Bowman, M.D., specializing in the treatment of biochemical imbalances including autism, behavior/learning disorders, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety syndromes, childhood and adult schizophrenia, Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease.
Connect with Dr. Mensah at Mensahmedical.com
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Today we discuss
- Why MTHFR genetic testing doesn't mean that much
- How you should really handle methylation issues
- What over and under methylation issues look like
- Why vegetables might not be your best choice, especially if you're dealing with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
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Evan Brand: Hello and welcome back to Not Just Paleo! I’m your host, Evan Brand, and I got a lot of big news and man, I am busy in doing “What I Told You Not To Do in my Book Stress Solutions which is “Bite off more than you can chew”. I don’t think that I have necessarily but it definitely feels that way sometimes when you look at the To-Do list.
But anyway, welcome to the show and today’s guest is Dr. Albert Mensah, a medical doctor who will blow your mind today on the reason why vegetables may not be your best food choice especially if your suffering from anxiety, depression, or bipolar, any type of mood disorder. It’s really amazing and it has really opened new pathway of thought and research for me and is part of my new testing protocols.
So if you haven’t heard from the last episodes, I’m offering some very accurate urinary, adrenal and hormone testing that also looks at melatonin. So if you have been told by your functional medicine guy before that you need to get the ASI test done, the SPIT test, I urge you not to and to get this test instead because it’s a lot more accurate and the clients who have already ordered this test through me have discovered they’re not in Stage 3 burnout like they said they were from the ASI test, they were in Stage 1, and so now we just have some basic nutrient protocols and some supplements to really help them. It makes me smile because it’s just funny how once people get these diagnoses from a functional guy, “Oh crap! This must be the real deal.” It may not be. You have to get the right type of testing, not just “THE” testing. So, contact me through my website, notjustpaleo.com, up at the top. You can read more about how the testing works and how your hormones are actually supposed to work. I made a pretty thorough write-up there for you.
I also just got my first book, the all-through publisher. I’m gonna be publishing a book on Nootropics. So my experience working out on it and working behind the scenes of supplement formulation, and research and all of my years of use of different things – whether it was herbs or vitamins or nutrients, so what you would call smart drugs. It’s finally come to help me out so I’m gonna be writing this first book. I do have some podcast in the bank luckily so there shouldn’t be a delay in the show but if you see that I missed a day or something like that, just know that I’m working deep in the trenches and that I’m thinking about you. Thanks for your encouragement and your support that helped me get to this level and I’m really thankful.
Evan Brand: Alright. Welcome back to Not Just Paleo. I’m here with an awesome guest today and I found him on Youtube, of all places. You wouldn’t think that Youtube is the hub for health information but the guy I’m about to bring on, Dr. Albert Mensah, is a guy who has an incredible talk on Youtube about mood disorders and how so many people are struggling in treating mood disorders. Different things like autism to ADD, and bipolar, and anxiety, and depression, and you know this is a topic that we talk about a lot but I never get sick of hearing the ways that we can actually treat this naturally because this is such an epidemic issue.
So Dr. Mensah, welcome!
Dr. Albert Mensah: Thank you very much, Evan.
Brand: Yes. I watch this video and I love your sense of humour because it’s really hard to. It’s really hard to talk about some of these subjects for people because they are so deeply rooted in negative emotions. So I guess, maybe before we talk about you, talk about adding humor to your health practice and how you have to make people laugh when you’re talking about stuffs as serious as, you know, bipolar disorder.
Dr. Mensah: Absolutely. And it sound so cliché, Evan, but truly, laughter is really key to medicine. Uhm, when we’re talking especially about depression and it’s a very difficult subject, you know, at some point in time there has to be a little bit of levity trying to be introduced into the phenomenon, otherwise, it just to get being very, very difficult and trying to help people move to a level that’s uplifting is simply one of the things that you got to just consider where humor can be interjected. You know, I often tell our patients when they come into our clinic, they’ll see that there is more of a light-hearted phenomena here at Mensah Medical because that if we don’t introduce some levity, we can seldom become more depressed of ourselves and we want to have as much humor as possible to help elevate the mood and that makes people feel comfortable. And the more comfortable they feel, the more they’re gonna open up to understanding and internalizing what it is we are trying to show to them.
Mr Brand: Definitely. Tell me, what’s your favorite form of humor? Do you put, play videos of cats jumping out of windows or what do you, what’s your secret?
Dr. Mensah: (Laughs) Well for us, it really is a little bit more improvisational.
Mr. Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Mensah: Whatever the circumstance happens to be which I could manage of it, if it’s one of our colleagues, one of our co-workers, somebody who might be doing something that just seems fairly neutral but we see there’s an opportunity to inject some humor, that’s what we do. Uhm, my Operations Manager, for example, one day was standing in the middle of the room, talking to one of our patients and I just kinda ------- and hinted to the fact that she actually didn’t work here and that she, herself, was depressed. And everyone knew, of course, that it was a joke and nonetheless, the patients really feel uplifted by that kind of relaxed humor. And of course, I probably apologized after that, letting them know what the true situation was but even she, started laughing. So whatever, the key is maybe, whatever the situation, you try to just take advantage of it.
Mr. Brand: That’s great. Well, tell people a lit bit about yourself. I loved that you specialized your practice seems to show that your specialized in individuality, for one, the biochemical individuality that everyone has is opposed to a blanket approach or a cookie-cutter approach but more specifically, it seems that you’re focusing on some of my favorite topics of recently that are, people are overmethylating and undermethylating, and a lot of people are having issues with that and that’s probably close to half the population that looks like, so how did you get into this specific field?
Dr. Mensah: Well, Evan, before I even go there, what I want to say is Thank you! First of all, in your sentence with overmethylation, it has been so much of a buzz, so much height about undermethylation and the diagnosis and the treatment thereof with regards to genetic testing that many people don’t realize that overmethylation actually exist. And that’s why you kept go by genetic testing, quite so blanketly because it doesn’t actually test for overmethylation or the bounce between under and overmethylation. So, first of all, thank you there.
(07:14-10:19) Quite honestly, Evan, I’m a skeptic. I wasn’t even interested in this field. I didn’t even know about this field when I began. It all really began with my partner, Dr. Judith Bowman, bringing me into this field where there was a job opportunity at the now closed original Pfeiffer Treatment Center. And there she told me that there were treating people and helping people with schizophrenia, depression and anxiety and autism. And I said “Oh, that’s great. That’s great! Wonderful! How are they doing that?” And well she said, “Well, with nutrients.” And I said, “Oh, come on! Vitamins? You’ve got to be kidding me.” Now, Evan, this was a serious deal at that time because I was just about to sign a very lucrative contract with another company, Western town of Illinois, Western part of Illinois, and I saw retirement in my near future very comfortable and not that I was of age but that’s how well they’re gonna be paying me. So when I came to this place and I saw the amazing things they were doing, I thought either this was the greatest sham on the planet or this is the biggest, most cunning edge that all man have ever seen. Well, let’s just say, almost a decade later, I’m still here doing this. So what was going on was real, was important and people got better without actually having to use pharmaceutical agents. But even better, when people are unpharmaceutical agents, we could still help them in the parallel fashion with nutrient therapy.
So, number one, what they do and what we did owes to medication but at the same time, but if you aren’t in medication when you started, you sorted to didn’t have to be. So we had to understand, first of all, who the individual person is. And that is, we don’t simply use, I tell people all the time, “Listen. Depression is not a diagnosis. Depression is a symptom. It is the expression of sometimes multiple chemical imbalances going on within an individual.” Let me give you an example. Somebody who is deficient in Zinc can become depressed. Somebody who is deficient in Vitamin D can become depressed. Somebody who’s got excessive levels of Copper, can be depressed. Somebody with either under or overmethylation can be depressed.
Now, I’m not gonna go through all the different elements that can cause depression but right there, we see five different chemical imbalances can cause the symptoms of depression. So if you’re gonna treat depression as a diagnosis and not figure out what the actual cause is, neither are they trying to creep the same protocol to help the people in the world with depression. And that’s why some people don’t get better. And some people, they actually get better using traditional modalities but the key to really helping the mass public do better is to test individually to find out where their imbalances lie and to target those imbalances or correction and treatment.
Mr. Brand: That’s great. You mentioned Pfeiffer Institute, I just got done reading the Dr. Walsch’s book, “Nutrient Power” and I’m happy to hear that you’re part of that because thatbook blew me away. For people that haven’t read that book, Nutrient Power is the best ones that I’ve ever read on the subject of mood disorders. It outlines, basically, what you’re doing on a daily basis. So I guess, where do you think should we start in explaining these stuffs to people? And when you’re trying to identify what’s actually going wrong, do you put someone through a certain testing protocol or if someone’s depressed, where do they start, in your practice?
Dr. Mensah: We start with a very thorough history. That’s the most important thing. History tells us so much. When we look at, first of all, a very thorough conversation with our nursing staff before anything else happens, we gather historical tidbits, historical elements when things began, what individual patient has gone through in their whole journey with depression and anxiety or any kind of mood disorder. And they take roughly about 45 minutes with our nursing staff alone. Then, they see us, the practitioners, the doctors. And when we speak to them, we also spend about an hour to an hour and a half with each patient. One of the things that we’re all taught at medical school level is that the first thing you would do in any patient is to “Listen”. So the goal for the doctor is to really shut up and let the patient speak. The patient, most of the time, will tell you what is wrong with them if you listen.
(11:55- 13:02) Now, when you move to family history, which is another piece that we incorporate into our diagnostic paradigm, we’re getting bits and pieces of evidence of, if somebody else have depression or anxiety or different disorder, we know that, the difference is that many of these phenomenal or what we call, epigenetics. That’s what Dr. Walsch mentioned in his book. People with (inaudible sound) epigenetics, genetic phenomenal evolves when the environment affects the DNA and therefore, changes, what is called, the expression or the mass station of the problem. For example, somebody who is undermethylated may have depression but their relative who’s undermethylated may actually have anxiety. Or one of the other relatives may have ADHD. Each one is considered to be related to undermethylation but how it shows up in the family is actually very different. Okay. So knowing family history, and that’s what we do, we do a genetic history, so to speak, on both sides of the family. Both mother and father, cousins, and aunts and uncles, and etc. And all of these things gives us clues before we ever run a single test.
(13:03 – 13:09) The next piece that comes is one’s we got them through history and genetic history done, we now look at what we believe are the...
Mr. Brand: You froze just a little bit there, Dr. Mensah. So if we could back it up, I’m gonna leave my video off to make sure that we do not have any interruptions again but you’re talking about the next step after you get the genetic, or sort of, the family history.
Dr. Mensah: Yes. After the family history, then we’re ready to sit down and put together nutrient program. So what we do is, we then start the testing process, the actual biochemical testing. So we look at different elements that we believe are contributing to the disorder based upon what we heard from the personal history and the family history. So we will test for different elements in either to confirm or deny what are suspicions are. For example, we think that a person has a genetic history of overmethylation and their symptoms may involve elements that seem to look at overmethylation, we will test for overmethylation. In addition, we want to make sure that some of the basic elements are also within balance. So elements like Zinc and Copper, and different other pieces that we want to incorporate. So it’s really very simple, Evan. In general construct, the idea is first to take a very thorough history. We do the patient history, the individual history, that is, when we do the family history, genetic history. Then we test.
Now, once we get the test results back, we know which chemistry is correlate with symptoms. And so we put those constructs together, and that’s how we create the nutrient protocol for each individual person.
So this is how what we do – is very targeted to come up with a very therapeutic regimen for everyone.
Mr. Brand: Yeah. That makes sense. So, I mean, when someone says, “Oh, my mom was depressed” or “My mom had anxiety issues, I’m gonna have that, too”, I mean, is some of that in your head, I mean, obviously there are certain things that could be passed down, whether its copper toxicity or things like that but, I mean, how big of a role does the mind play in this whole picture of, basically, diagnosing yourself with an illness just because you’re family member had it.
Dr. Mensah: That is a great question, Evan. And one of the things that people don’t realize, and I have to say this, the brain and the mind are not one and the same. The brain is the structure which the mind functions. So, there are multiple sides in which things could go wrong. The actual structure of the brain may now work properly, that’s going to create cognitive dysfunction.
But if the mind begins to tell itself that there is a problem, ultimately, it will have an effect on the structure of the brain in processing and it will actually create a problem. We have to be careful. We always say that words are powerful and they have creative force, okay? And what we see is that, if indeed, you’re telling yourself something long enough, you may develop that very problem. Or if it’s a positive message you’re giving, you can elevate yourself in the appropriate directions. So, we do know that, yes, you can indeed talk yourself into a depressive situation, into illness, into a variety of things. As some people would say, let your mantra be your guide in terms of your life. And speaking negative thoughts will produce negative manifestations.
Speaking positive thoughts can extremely be helpful in terms of moving you into the right direction. So mind over matter, well, impart, and then there’s the relationship between mind and matter. And both of them, excuse the term, matter.
Mr. Brand: That’s great. Yeah. I mean, I had to ask that question because I see that sometimes people, they almost want something, they like to have a name for their personality. “I’m like this because I have blank.” And I feel like you hold yourself back from the healing process because you’re so attached to a label that you’ve been given, even its twenty years ago by a physician that is not as awesome as yourself, that doesn’t really know the deep meaning behind something and you just get a blanket diagnosis, or a pseudo diagnosis like IBS, for example, and now you think that you’re destined to have digestive problems your whole life.
Dr. Mensah: That’s a great point, Evan. Labels are real problem and I try to tell as many of our patients, as many people I consult with, that labels are really questionable these days. Because if you got, a chemical imbalance and that imbalance is corrected, you no longer have the symptoms, did you actually ever have a diagnosis? And therefore, a label to begin with. Where did you get that information?
Mr. Brand: Yeah. That makes great sense. Let’s talk a little bit about, I guess, Methylation, in general, just so we could get people up the speed on how this process happens in the body and why is it so important and maybe we could talk about some of the dysfunctions that many people seem to have.
Dr. Mensah: Well, methylation is a process, as you kind of indicated here. And it is the process by which a simple carbon molecule, one carbon molecule, with three or four hydrogens attached. This molecule, I would say, is kind of like a lego. It attaches on to other molecules.
And when it does so, it actually changes the structure and therefore the function of the given molecule that it attaches to. So for example, you know, all the enzymes and pro genes, hormones, and neurotransmitters that we have in our system, they’re not just there always active. Most of time, these elements are produced in an inactive form and they have to be activated. So they got to be turned on. And at the same time, what is turned on must be turned off. That’s what methyl does. Methyl both activates and inactivates different enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. So, in traditional medicine, we look at, for example, levels of neurotransmitters in the system. What we don’t typically look at, whether those things are active or inactive. We kind of pretty much assumed that they’re active because they’re present. And that’s incorrect assumption. Therefore, the process of methylation is really key because it sort of dries and regulates so many processes in our bodies and in our minds, all the way down to the level of your DNA. DNA is, impart, going to be read by machinery that translates that blue print into action. Aeneid methyl as a key part to that process. Now, in order to do anything, you got to have methyl, so to speak, which means that you got to have a certain amount or certain concentration of methyl to get the job done. Now, some people don’t have enough methyl to get that job done and that’s what we call “undermethylation”. Some people have too much methyl in their systems and that’s what we call “overmethylation.” And each one of those two constructs has its own ramifications. So the key piece here I want you to understand is that methylation is not simply a presence, it’s an activity. It is a process in which actual molecules are attaching and detaching from other enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters (Inaudible sound). And from doing so, it changes the regulatory capacity. It changes the movement. It changes the action. It changes the expression of enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. And we know that’s how so much of our system functions or operates. So if you take away the car key, your car doesn’t go anywhere. On the other hand, if your car is on the “on” position and for some
reason the key got stuck and you can’t turn it off, you burn gas and the car peters out. So
having the right amount of methyl is extremely key.
I just want to say that’s one of the challenges of genetic testing. Genetic testing doesn’t tell you
how much methyl you actually have. It hints that one enzyme in the process of developing
methyl may or may not be problematic. It doesn’t actually test methyl. We have very simple
testing. One test that can actually tell you how much methyl is present and we’ve been doing
that for 40 and 50 years. So we have specific ways of determining actual concentration methyl
because that’s what lets you, therefore, target a treatment protocol with accuracy, and
Mr. Brand: That’s great. Tell me, what you’re alluding to is guessing the MTHFR, you know, sort
of hysteria that’s going on now? And everyone is saying, “Oh I have the one gene or the two
snips or whatever” and then eventually everyone just throws themselves on methyl folate which
I’ve seen you have pretty bad issues, sometimes pretty bad side effects by throwing that in just
because you assumed that you have that defect. I mean, what is I guess the proper way to do
it? You test for methyl? Is there a certain type of test that’s called?
Dr. Mensah: Actually, it’s a histamine test.
Mr. Brand: Oh, okay.
Dr. Mensah: Evan, it’s a simple blood test. The whole blood histamine gives you a great
representation of how much methyl is actually in the system. And the reason is that, the two
constructs are diametrically opposed. Methyl actually suppresses histamine and histamine
actually suppresses methyl. So we know that if your histamine levels are high, your methyl is
actually low in concentration. We’re not worried about enzymes or hormones because what
we’re looking out here is the net effect of all methylation enzymes – whether its overmethylation
or undermethylation. They worked either together or in diametric opposition to produce methyl.
So when we look at it, a construct like histamine and we know that it works diametrically
opposed to methyl, we can actually used that as a marker for true under or overmethylation
based upon that test result.
So here, we’re not dealing with the possibility of genetic (inaudible sound) is not quantitative. It
is at best qualitative. It says that maybe this enzyme is working properly, maybe it’s not, maybe
it’s partially not functioning, you don’t really know. And that’s why so many practitioners, Evan,
simply got questionable results and so many patients and people are getting better with that
form of testing because it doesn’t test everything. You don’t have to test all the enzymes
evolves undermethylation and all the enzymes evolves in overmethylation, and then you’re still
gonna be guessing as to how much methyl you’ve actually produced.
Evan, we keep it simple. Find out how much methyl is there, to begin with. Played it simple. And
then, you can treat a correlate.
Mr. Brand: It is so mind blowing that, being specific, the specifity of health everyone likes to
pinpoint the one silver bullet. You get tested for this, this gene mutation and all of a sudden
everything is going to be fixed. And of course, there are some marketing and things behind that
for people to convince you that that’s the only thing that matters but it’s blowing my mind right
now that you’re saying that we’re over complicating everything.
Once again, (laughs) we just need to zoom out and look at these levels here, is there an optimal
range that you could share us with about what should that number actually be if you go get
histamine levels tested?
Dr. Mensah: If we’re looking what we could consider to be a normal functional range, that range
tends to be between the numbers 40 and 70 and the closely you move to either extreme, the
more you’re looking at either overmethylation or undermethylation, respectively.
Mr. Brand: Okay. So where would you like to start next? Should we start talking about
overmethylation a little bit since that sort of excluded, I guess, from the, sort of, alternative
Dr. Mensah: We can certainly begin there. What I would like to share is that, when it comes to
genetics and these SNPs that I am already concerned with, a snip is simply a genetic mutation.
And I want to share with everyone listening; every single one of us walking this planet has over
a thousand SNPs and almost all of them, they’re little relevance to our actual day to day
functioning. We’re all here. This has been going out since the dawn of time. It’s genetic mutation
which allows us to evolve. Okay. Because your genes say you may have a SNP here or SNP
there, there’s no reason to panic. Quite earnestly, most people outside the realm of autism,
most individual would SNPs in the empty ridge afar, really is not very relevant to their particular
situation. It’s a huge, huge molecule and to assess that one possible aberration is going (audio
cuts) to the functionality of one enzyme, is not really what the science and the evidence is really
proving or showing up to be.
Let’s talk about overmethylation. What’s really interesting about overmethylation is that
individuals here have so much methyl that all their systems have, sort of a, hyper drive. They
are the people who tend to be very creative. Their minds have constantly going. They have a
hard time settling down or sort of, shutting things off. And I tell you that, they ruminate. They
tend to be very creative people. We often find them in the artistic world – our artists, our
philosophers, our poets. I call them the “easy, slow, jazz listening kind of folks.” They look very
calm and relax on the outside but unfortunately, Evan, they tend to have a great deal of inner
tension. And it eats them extremely. They may never really show it externally but their internal
structure is literally just dying. They’re very passionate people. On the positive side, these are
folks whom, if you’re ever sick and you’re in a hospital, you would want an overmethylated
nurse. She will be in your bedside, holding your hand until the wee hours in the morning and
caring for your every need. They often give well above and beyond themselves even to the
exclusion of themselves. They tend to be extremists, in that way. And that’s really one of the
hard parts for them. For them, depression and anxiety are tremendously powerful elements
because they feel it deeply within their bosom, within their system. And that’s why even though
their chemistry may suggest a challenge, the actual manifestation, symptomatically, is much
much greater. These are also the same people, who by the way, when they’re started an anti-
histaminic medications; many of the SSRIs as a category, many of the typical antipsychotics,
they very important or well popularized anti-histaminic medications. Many of these people will
become more and more depressed and they impose a very high risk, a very high risk, to suicide
or homicidal behaviour. In generally, these responses occur within about three weeks of the
time that they have started therapy with any of these medications.
Now, unlike the undermethylators, undermethylators tend to do very well with those self same
categories of medications. And that has to with the neurotransmitter capacity on both sides.
Overmethylators tend to have high levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. So when
you give them an SSRI, their serotonin levels arise, further worsening their condition. Whereas
when to be given an undermethylator an SSRI, they tend to have low levels of seratonin,
dopamine, and norepinephrine. So it actually benefits them by raising their serotonin levels. So
we can see here that with both over and undermethylation, they are two diametrically opposed
biochemical constructs with pharmacological ramifications. This is why we talk so heavily about
the accuracy of finding out whether you’re undermethylator, normal methylating, or
overmethylating because it can literally mean the difference between life and death. And that’s
based upon which kind of drug you might be treated with or might be benefited by. Or might be
causing harm to you. And we’ve seen it already in this country. When you are harmed because
of a wrong medication, you turn around and you shoot someone. It’s not just your life that has
been affected; it’s now the lives of literally thousands of other people throughout history.
One person makes a big difference. One person spun an entire lineage of family members
throughout the decades and the centuries. So we got to be careful. It’s not just one person. One
person, every person, is important. And we got to treat people that way. It’s not good enough to
guess about someone’s chemistry if you’re going to treat that person. You’ve got to be accurate
and you got to be certain. You got to know what to do with those situations – whether maybe a
questionable balance or imbalance between.
Mr. Brand: Yeah, that’s definitely profound and I think your alluding to, I believe, that was a
column (inaudible). I can’t remember when that was now but I believe, fill me in if I am wrong,
but I believe both of the kids had just started or were currently on SSRIs at that time
Dr. Mensah: Correct.
Mr. Brand: So they must have been overmethylators?
Dr. Mensah: Precisely. And quite honestly, Evan, Dr. Walsch has evaluated a good number of
the shootings over the course of the past several years. And he believes that most of these
individuals were overmethylators and were just given the wrong medication because we were
not aware as a whole group that by testing histamine first, we could have made better selections
with regard to the medication choices. We were gone by what we do know as a medical society
which is that this mess help these conditions. And this is why I say there is a fallacy in medicine
about diagnosis. These are symptoms, these are clues, but you’ve got to find the underlying
chemistry which can actually help you guide your therapy – whether it’s pharmacological or not.
It’s not the medications themselves that are bad, no one is saying that. What we’re saying
though is that, just like anything else, you’ve got to have the right treatment for the right person.
And if you don’t know who that person is biochemically, you’re not going to be successful ith
regard to their treatment protocols.
Mr. Brand: Yea. That makes perfect sense. I want to zoom out, just a little bit, because I’m just
so impressed by your grasp at the big picture of this and how it’s affecting society as a whole. A
lot of people, even myself looking at the world, it looks a lot different even when I was a kid
which wasn’t that long ago, and a lot of people are fearful because they think everyone’s going
crazy. And I’m curious about what are some of the day-to-day actionable things outside of
testing and nutrient therapy that people may be able to do to, at least, save their own sanity in a
way. I guess what I’m trying to ask specifically here is, if diet and lifestyle can make a big
enough impact on methylation or, just in general, to get yourself out of the whole.
Dr. Mensah: That’s a great question, Evan, and the answer is Yes and No. First of all, diet and
exercise are always important and everyone knows that. No one is ever gonna question that.
Okay. But here’s the deal. How do you know which diet is best for you? Everyone talks about
this diet, that diet, or I’m a vegetarian, I’m a carnivore, I’m this, I’m that. But here’s the question.
How do you know that’s the best diet for you? Well, some people say, “My blood type is, my
blood type that, and I go with the blood type diet or I go with this.” Trial and error. One of the
things that we do at Mensah Medical is that we look at a person’s chemistry. From that
chemistry, we can actually determine what is the better lifestyle, dietry, or regimen for you. I’ll
just make it big, clean, and simple. For example, undermethylators really should not be
vegetarians. On the other hand, they can graze all day long. They’re great with dark green leafy
vegetables. The problem here is the folate concentration. Undermethylators should not be
exposed to high levels of folate. It’ll actually dive into the nucleus of the cell where DNA sits and
it will steal methyl. Okay? That’s like saying to somebody who’s por. Okay? Listen. I’m gonna
give you a crispy $1 bill, a shot, a brand new $1 bill. Now, I’d like you give me ten old crumpled
up dollar bills. That doesn’t sound like much of a deal, does it? But that’s what folic acid does on
undermethylator. When you even take, for example, methylated folate, that methylated folate
will give you one methyl but it’ll steal ten. So, for undermethylators, diets which are rich in folic
acid which happens to be the dark green leafy vegetables – soy protein, lutine – all these things
that we think are generally healthy for the body are actually very detrimental for someone
cognitively, for the mind. On the other hand, if somebody is an overmethylator, they need to
have that access of methyl molecules removed and the greater concentration of dark green
leafy vegetables in their system, the better off they are dietarily.
So let’s look at the big picture here. Somebody who’s got depression and really, Evan,
discussed this discussion is focused here with people with cognitive health imbalances; other
people call it mental health issues. There’s somebody who’s anxious and depressed, you really
should find out what your chemical status is first before embarking on any dietary regimen. We
have seen people who are depressed and undermethylators move further and further direction
of vegetarianism to the point where they almost died, and their publicly telling their story. Now,
on the other hand, overmethylators who moved in that direction begin to lead wonderful lives.
So, in reality, there probably should be ore protein, more animal protein, believe it or not, for
individuals who are undermethylated. Those are going to be the best sources methyl for them.
Okay? On the other hand, people who are overmethylated really should gravitate towards diet
and should have more of the dark green leafy vegetables.
Now, Evan, here’s the real irony. Based upon clinical evidence, I found a fascinating interious
trend in people who tend to be undermethylators, tend to gravitate towards more vegetable-type
diets. People who are overmethylators (audio cuts).. and for the life of me, I still haven’t
understood why. It’s almost a cosmic joke if you will, that the certain chemistries are attracted to
the diametrically opposed dietary regimens when there is extremism.
Now, most people tend to sit in a balanced lifestyle. So what we’re seeing, Evan, is that really
our ancestors, our great, great, great, great grandparents were correct when they would say,
“Eat a correct balanced diet.” Because when you eat a correct balanced diet, you’re not going to
get too much of the methyl, you’re not going to get too much of the folate, you’re not going to
get too much of the vegetables or too much of the meats, and you’re going to stay in a non-
detrimental, neutral position as far as the diet affecting the mind and the processing of the mind.
Now, I know a lot of people out there who will say, “Wait a minute. That is not what we’re
hearing from whatever medical association about our bodies and cancer and all those things.”
We could tell you now. Some of the latest studies with cancer are actually showing that people
who are having lots of folates in their system can actually be worsening their condition. Well, to
the cancer. And people who are taking lots of methyl can actually be benefitting because methyl
tends to be very protective against cancer-gene activation. And this is coming from the latest
news in the Humanthology, Oncology journals. Some of the most respected in this entire
country. And so, there’s a shifting paradigm around nutrition and diet.
Once again, for everyone, I want to really mention that this is about cognitive health. We’re
talking about mental health. I’m not talking about just the physical person. Physically and
mentally, I think we would all do better if we ate certainly: fewer processed foods like everyone
is saying and then more of a balanced regimen. Now, if you happen to know your chemistry,
then by all means – if you’re an overmethylator, go become a bunny rabbit, graze all day long if
you wish, eat your dark green leafies. If an undermethylator, yes indeed, eat your carnivorous
creature and so forth. But remember, even though we’re talking about what should be
predominantly in the diet, it doesn’t mean that you exclude those other things. Everyone should
have vegetables in their diet. Plain and simple, without a question. It’s good mechanically for the
system. It’s good in terms of everything else that it does relative to your GI tract. Okay? So
we’re not saying, be exclusive or an extremist. We’re saying even you’re going to move in that
direction, know first what your chemistry is saying, that your system needs before you make
those extreme decisions.
Now, we know those people who are philosophically inclined to not move to one direction or
another but we can’t guard against that. We can’t do much about that. Your personal choice is
your personal choice. All we do is we interpret, so to speak, the chemistry of the situation. And
then we inform. And then everyone makes the choice accordingly. So once we’re informed
though, you are now responsible for your information. And what you choose – if it’s diametrically
opposed of who you are, then really you got to take some of the onus for how you’re going to be
living whether it’s depressed, anxious, happy or sad, ought for yourself. Okay? We can only
Mr. Brand: Great explanation! And I have been looking for somebody like you to really
breakdown the diet picture for at least probably five years or so. I’m really thankful for you to
give that information because there’s a lot of vitum explosures out there that want people to
shovel, you know, twenty scoops of kale into their blender every morning.
Dr. Mensah: Oh, yes.
Mr. Brand: And I’ve, of course, get concerned about oxalates and things like that as well, but to
actually hear another viewpoint of why you may not want to do that is awesome. Thank you so
much for that.
Dr. Mensah: Oh, absolutely. We had several of those conversations, not just patients, but entire
nutritional educators, physicians and actually cancer-treatment specialists. And many of them
were in shock in terms of what is happening even in their own specialty. They are changing their
regimens. The concept of the green smoothie for every cancer patient is no longer being
observed by all the oncologists out there. They started the changes as well based pon the
information that were provided.
Mr. Brand: That is great. So I feel like I’m probably missing out on one specific topic or one
piece of this puzzle. I know we don’t have too much time together left but, you know, specifically
regarding the depression and anxiety issue, it’s such a huge epidemic. And if people get the
methylation picture figured out and they start tuning their diet or twisting their diet a little bit,
tweaking it to optimize for their own biochemistry. Is the next step, to bring in some of the
Dr. Mensah: Absolutely. Absolutely. In fact, what we say in terms of treatment is actually to start
the nutrients first because that’s where the power is coming in. Diet. it’s very hard to actually
treat disorders like that with diet. In fact, most people couldn’t possibly eat their way into that
kind of health, we’re talking about - major depression, major anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar,
ADHD – those sorts of things. Diet is a help but because this tends to be epigenetic phenomena
or genetically-stimulated issues, you’ve got to over (audio cuts) by concentrations of nutrients.
Now, this is not willy nilly, these are hand calculated by the physician. So we’re not talking about
giving toxic levels of any nutrients and, by the way, nutrients can be toxic so people should not
try this on their own. Take into account all the testing, symptoms, everything that we’re
exploring. We have to actually hand calculate every nutrient. We have to make sure in terms of
concentration, that is. We then have to make sure that the nutrients don’t conflict with one
another. In other words, even the multivitamins, they contain elements that simply are counter
intuitive. Zinc and calcium bind each other. You can’t take the two the same time. You look into
a multivitamin and you’ll see both present in the same capsule. So they negate each other. So,
when we’re doing these programs or protocols for patients, we take into account what elements
they need, when they can take them, how much to take in order to even try to do this in a
dietary perspective. Evan, I always say it’s like that, commercial where they would say, “You’d
have to eat thirteen bowls of total cereal, three times a day to equal the amount of zinc that’s
present in one capsule. It’s typically just not going to happen from a dietary perspective in terms
of treating cognitive pathology. Now, diet is an ancillary phenomenon that can actually be more
harmful than helpful if we’re doing this in an extreme form. But it is certainly important to eat
right, without question that can help the situation tremendously but people with major cognitive
challenges, there’s usually a chemical reason why and that has to be addressed by equally
more powerful, in fact, more powerful nutrient protocol.
Mr. Brand: Makes sense. So, are there any blanket supplements that most people end up on?
Like I’m gonna assume that zinc is pretty popular just because I’ve seen so much copper toxic
people and you know the soil is not containing the minerals used to, and rainwater can eve rinse
the zinc off your vegetables and things like that. Is zinc one of those blanket supplements?
Dr. Mensah: Well, the way I look at it, Evan, is that it’s just not zinc. There are so many
elements that are necessary. The body and the brain multi-task, they use the same elements to
work in different capacities everywhere. So really, that’s where eating a diet comes in very
handy because this is where you’re finding all the different minerals and all the different vitamins
that are necessary. In terms of extra supplementation, I’m not gonna comment on
concentrations, but I would say that zinc certainly, Vitamin B6 certainly are two of the most
important elements that anyone could take. In addition, yes, Calcium and Vitamin D, they are
plethora of certain elements that are key in our system but what we find so much in the stressful
world is that people tend up to be very depleted in at least these two elements. And I’m not
saying, and please everyone don’t go run out buying 50,000 units of anything but from an
educational perspective, we know that diets that are low in zinc or individuals that are low in zinc
and Vitamin B6 certainly tend to have more depression and that’s because they’re very
important in making neurotransmitters especially serotonins, and dopamine, and norepinephrine
and our coming neurotransmitter we call it “gaba”. That’s gamma-aminobutyric acid. These are
elements that are very key but, one more time, these things have to be calculated for age, for
concentration and for variety of other elements that come in to play. It is not a simple process.
And no one should try to do this on their own. You can become very toxic very easily and that is
not what you want to have happen. You’ve got to work with a skill practitioner on this constructs
but what you find in a multivitamin; a little bit of zinc, a little bit of B6, a little bit of B12, a little bit
of calcium, not necessarily a bad thing but you cannot put them all in the same construct, not in
the same multivitamin.
Mr. Brand: Right. Yeah. Thanks for making that distinction a quick story that I did, you know, I
got a hair test and they said “Oh, you’re a copper toxic so I started taking a 50 mg of zinc just to
sort of blanket zinc supplementation. I started taking that and I felt worse, probably, and I’m
guessing you’re gonna agree but I’m guessing I just started dumping too much into the system
and I was either fleshing out or something was going on with copper where I felt worse. So then
I eventually backed down and realized that 50 mg of zinc was way too much for me.
Dr. Mensah: Well, you know, there are few pieces of that. One of the things is that, once again,
you really have to have it adjusted to your particular system and all aspects. You wouldn’t
believe how many things are examine in order to come up with a nutrient protocol for a person.
It’s not usually just one test or one piece so there maybe something that wasn’t taken into
account in your protocol there, Evan, and maybe that’s why you felt so bad. So yes, you’re
system, by the way, may not have adiusted or been adjusted to taking higher concentrations of
that zinc, you may have super charged your system too hard, it didn’t have time to adapt. So, a
variety of things could have happened. It’s hard to say but certainly we see in your great
example of how just taking an element can be problematic without the proper guidance or
Mr. Brand: Alright. I mean, it’s funny because everyone wants to be their own health detective
now. And they know that they’re deficient in something but they don’t know what so they start
picking random things off the shelves because it’s in the energy section. And then they take it
and then they do not know why they’re not getting any better. So I guess at that point, that’s
where they need to come see you and get a hold of some of your people and yourself because
in my opinion, and this is even tooting your horn, you have the best protocol approach that I’ve
found and discovered, and I’ve been interviewing people and like yourself and coming up on
three years now, so I commend you for that.
Dr. Mensah: Oh thank you, Evan. We appreciate that. Thank you.
Mr. Brand: Cool. Well, tell people if you have any last words of wisdom or something you wnat
people to take away from this, you could tell us that. And then give us your information into
getting contact and keep up with all your work.
Dr. Mensah: First of all, I want to say, never give up. And most of the people searching and
listening to this program are in that category, they’re not giving up. Number two, what somebody
throws a label on you, because that label may not truly exist. Depression is a symptom. And I
know, I’m gonna hear a lot from my colleagues and so forth, I don’t believe that depression is an
actual diagnosis. It’s a disorder. Why? Because we’ve seen several different chemistries up to
seven or eight that can cause that symptom and when you treat those imbalances, patients get
better. And if you don’t have symptoms, you don’t have a diagnosis. So keep that in mind. But
the other key pieces that you can’t do guess work here; this is not just about nutrition. This is
actually how nutrient science fits in to all the other medical sciences. It is not a simple process.
We have to take into consideration things – like your thyroid, things like your diabetes, things
like your hypertension – all those typical medical constructs get and involved in the decision
making as to what to do and how to do it. So, don’t try this on your own. That’s a real danger.
Many people have done more harm. Some people end up in hospitals because they’ve tried
protocols or things that they didn’t have medical guidance with regard to. So those are to keep.
The hope is alive as many politicians might say and that’s what I want everyone to keep in mind.
There is hope up there for you. You just have keep looking. Keep looking. You’ll find it. Don’t let
traditional medicine tell you that there is no other way. That is not true.
Thanks to Dr. Pfeiffer. Thanks to Dr. Walsch, and people have come before us. We know for a
fact that that previous is incorrect. And a lot of people can testify to that sort of thing.
Mensah Medical is located in Warrenville, Illinois. We’re just outside Chicago. You can contact
us at +(630) 256-8308 or go to our website www.mensahmedical.com . We’ve got outreach
clinics in West Coast in Northern and Southern California; as well as Southwest Arizona. And on
East Coast, we have Baltimore, Maryland area, as well as in Southern United States, Fort
So feel free to give us a call or if you just want to ask a question, there is no charge for that.
We’ll be more than happy to talk to you. Certainly, gather as much as information you can and
continue to inform yourselves. So much is changing in the world, and we’ve got to try to keep
up. But the most important thing that’s changing is, hope. We’re seeing now that there’s so
much hope for every disorder – from autism to schizophrenia, to anxiety and depression. We no
longer live to the dark ages of medicine where all they said was there’s really no hope for you.
So if any of you hear that, listen, you call me and we’ll talk.
Mr. Brand: Awesome. I appreciate that. Thank you so much for your time.
Dr. Mensah: Evan, thank you for having us on your show.
Mr. Brand: Definitely. Alright! I hope you enjoyed that interview with Dr. Mensah. And it’s funny
that, testing accurately is one of the most important aspects of his health care business because
for me, I don’t know if you heard this from the last podcast but since I am offering a urinary,
adrenal, and hormone penal test, I have discovered that many people who previously had the
SPIT test on, the ASI, the adrenal stress index test, people that were supposedly in stage 3
adrenal fatigue; people that have ordered this test through me have now discovered that they
are only in Stage 1 adrenal fatigue and that they don’t need to be doing all the things that
they’re doing to recover. And so I’ve adjusted some supplement and nutrient protocols to help
people come out of the hole a lot easier because they’re not as deep in the hole as they thought
they were. So this just goes to show the importance of not just getting tested but getting the
right testing done.
So I’m happy to run this test on you. I have a new batch of test available. Currently, I have five
tests available. I can always order more but this will go quick so just put TEST in the subject line
of an email and send that to firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s the best way I can find it and we
can talk further about that, how it works. But it’s amazing to see what has happen so far, the
people who have had ASI test run and then I showed them the lab results from this and told
them that “Look! This is more accurate. You’re not as burnt out as you thought you were.” So it’s
a great sigh of relief for many people. If you want to read more about that testing, you can go to
my website notjustpaleo.com and look in the Menu bar and in the top, you’ll see adrenal and
hormone testing. I wrote a pretty big page there describing the proper circadian rhythm, how
melatonin and your stress hormone “cortisol” are supposed to work and then what happens
when those gets messed up.
So go back to the website and you can read that there. And you can also order that lab test
there and I can get that shipped out to you.
So, I’ll talk to you next week and take great care of yourself.