The Wahls Protocol: What is it, and is it right for you?

 In Functional Medicine
wahls-protocol

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If you’re looking for MS or autoimmune treatment, our Springfield clinic recommends the Dr. Terry Wahls Protocol. If you or a family member is one of the million Americans living with multiple sclerosis (MS), you may have come across the Wahls Protocol – also called the Wahls diet – in your research.

The Wahls Protocol is an integrative system of easing the symptoms and treating the root cause of chronic autoimmune conditions like MS. Created by Terry Wahls, MD, following her own diagnosis, the approach became well-known internationally after Dr. Wahls’ 2011 TED talk, Minding Your Mitochondria. The video has since attracted over 3.6 million views, but it’s Dr. Wahls’ best-selling book, The Wahls Protocol, that has changed lives across the globe. So, what is the Wahls Protocol? Does it actually work? And is it right for you?

What is the Wahls Protocol?

The Wahls Protocol is a functional medicine-based system of treating MS and other chronic autoimmune conditions. Founded on research and backed by evidence, the approach recognizes the crucial role nutrition plays in our overall health by using food to help manage MS symptoms and treat the root cause of disease. You might have heard the adage commonly attributed to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, ‘Let food be thy medicine.’ The Wahls Protocol puts this phrase into action with results that boost quality of life.

The Wahls Protocol promotes a diet very similar to the paleo diet. It’s high in vitamins and minerals, teeming with antioxidants, and rich in essential fatty acids, supporting heart health and cognitive function. The most significant difference between the paleo diet and Wahls Protocol is the latter calls you to eat even more fruits and vegetables.

If you give the Wahls Protocol a try, you’ll enjoy the following foods in abundance:

  • Bright-colored fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries.
  • Fat from both animal and plant sources, especially omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon, walnuts, seeds, and other foods.
  • Unprocessed meat, wild-caught fish, and other seafood.
  • Vegetables, such as spinach, kale, carrots, mushrooms, onions, and beets.
  • Following the Wahls Protocol also means cutting out some foods, including:

If you give the Wahls Protocol a try, you’ll enjoy the following foods in abundance:

  • Bright-colored fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries.
  • Fat from both animal and plant sources, especially omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon, walnuts, seeds, and other foods.
  • Unprocessed meat, wild-caught fish, and other seafood.
  • Vegetables, such as spinach, kale, carrots, mushrooms, onions, and beets.

Following the Wahls Protocol also means cutting out some foods, including:

  • All sugar.
  • Dairy products and eggs.
  • Grains, like wheat, oats, and rice.
  • Legumes, like beans and lentils.
  • Nightshade vegetables, like potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and aubergine.

Because the Wahls Protocol diet requires you to eliminate certain foods, it’s a good idea to speak with your healthcare team before trying it on your own. You may develop nutrient deficiencies or fail to consume enough calories to meet your lifestyle needs.

In addition to diet, Dr. Wahls’ book explores the role of exercise, electronic stimulation, toxin avoidance, supplements, and stress management in the treatment of autoimmune conditions.

Does the Wahls Protocol actually work?

By following the Wahls Protocol, Dr. Wahls went from using a wheelchair to biking upwards of 20 miles. Does that mean it will do the same for you? There’s no guarantee, but if preliminary studies are anything to go by, the effectiveness of the Wahls Protocol may be universal. One found that people with MS who followed a Wahls-style diet for one year experienced far less fatigue.

Is the Wahls Protocol right for me?

Autoimmune conditions can limit your ability to live life to the fullest. You might not be able to do the things you love anymore, and following your diagnosis, your quality of life may have taken a heart-wrenching dive. Being told there’s nothing you can do to reclaim your health and vitality can be frustrating and disappointing. But our MS and autoimmune treatment experts in Springfield feel that when you start looking outside the realm of conventional medicine and into the ground-breaking world of functional medicine, you might find hope.

But is the functional medicine journey – which includes things like the Wahls Protocol – right for you? Here are three critical questions to ask yourself before jumping in.

Am I sick and tired of being told, ‘no’?

If you can relate to the above questions, you may be the perfect person for the Dr. Terry Wahls Protocol. Our Springfield neurology team are advocates for the Wahls Protocol as it offers a natural pathway to hope and happiness, one that you maintain full control of.

Am I prepared to make big changes to long-held habits?

There’s no denying it. In the beginning, the Wahls Protocol isn’t going to be easy. Your willpower will be tested repeatedly, and you may have to relearn how to cook and eat entirely.

If you are not prepared to work hard, the Wahls Protocol is not for you. However, if you’re ready to fight for your well-being and adopt a brand-new lifestyle focused on health, give the Wahls Protocol a try.

Do I believe in my ability to regain control of my health?

Our MS and autoimmune treatment specialists here in Springfield believe that you have what it takes to change your life for the better through a functional medicine-based approach to treatment. But if you want to achieve real results, you have to commit. Doubt can sabotage even the best-laid plans, so if you choose to explore the Wahls Protocol, believe in yourself and your power.

Work with the world’s only Wahls Protocol-certified MD

Dr. Wahls and I share a friendship. We are both advocates for functional medicine and the central role food and nutrition play in treating autoimmune conditions. I am also the world’s first and only Wahls Protocol-certified MD, which means patients at my clinic have access to 100 percent Wahls-compliant support and experience.

My holistic Brain Tune Up! The program gives you the opportunity to embrace functional medicine in a supportive, deeply personalized environment. My team and I combine leading-edge therapeutic technology, laboratory testing, and outcome tracking to transform people’s lives. We work with those living with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and more. Get in touch today to kick-start your journey to health and happiness.

If you are interested in learning more about the Dr. Terry Wahls Protocol, our Sprigfield clinic would be more than happy to assist you! Call us to learn more!

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