We are able to move any part of our bodies, do things and think thoughts because of the information carried to and from our brains via electrical impulses traveling through our Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems.

These nerves are covered and by a thick, fatty substance called the myelin sheathing; rather like the way that the wire in an electric cable is covered by plastic insulation. The myelin performs two vitally important tasks. The first is that it protects nerves from bacteria and viruses, such as those which cause bells palsy and shingles. The second is that it helps those impulses travel easily between different sections of nerve.

The myelin is thus an essential part of the anatomy; and, according to one US Naturopath, when it is not in 100% good health, can sometimes be the cause of mental health problems.

Dr Mary Reed has devised a protocol based on some simple and well-known facts. The myelin sheathing helps impulses travel from one section of nerve to another by releasing neurotransmitters. The thicker and more healthy the myelin, the greater the amount of neurotransmitter released. The more neurotransmitter present, the more accurately the information-filled impulse will be passed.

Moreover, one of these neurotransmitters is serotonin; a chemical that sufferers of OCD and Depression are known to lack.

Another function of the myelin is to act like the tuner of radio: to tune out the unwanted noise and stuff and enable the brain to focus on one thing at a time.

Obsessiveness; a lack of concentration; the inability to be certain that one has carried out a specific activity: one or more of these characteristics can be found in a whole range of mental illnesses; and they can all be caused by a thin myelin sheathing.

“OCD is the most common problem I treat,” she tells me. “But anorexia, tourette’s syndrome, tricotillomania, dysmorphia, self-injury and bi-polarity are, in my opinion, all caused by a thin myelin.”

As well as treating patients one-on-one in her home state of Pennsylvania, Dr Reed offers consultations by phone, online or via email. A typical consultation involves filling out an extensive questionnaire, which looks at many areas of the client’s physical and mental health; and answering questions to help determine the cause. After this, the patient is given a personalised programme which has been tailored to address all their weaknesses and deficiencies. The most common nutrients suggested for someone with a thin myelin are flaxseed oil, spirulina (a blue-green algae rich in protein, essential amino-acids and vitamin B12) and a nervine combination (a mixture of herbs known to nutritionally support the nervous system.)

“Most people do not report improvement for at least 2 months after they have gotten to the optimum level of nutrients (increasing the nervine combo until they are dreaming nightly). And it seems you need anther 4 months after that before the difference is significant.”

However, the programme should ideally involve more than taking nutrients. Changes in diet are also crucial. Tea, coffee and caffeine can actually stop the progress of the treatment; with those who continue to consume them often being unable to enjoy any progress at all. . Commercially raised livestock contains antibiotics that upset the balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut, which in turn affects its ability to turn yeast into B-Vitamins, the latter being an essential nutrient for the nervous system.

“The average person is on this program for 1 to 2 years before they can back off the nutrients.” And there is usually no need to return to return to the nutrients. “It appears the average person can maintain the level of health of their myelin sheathing with a good diet. However those who drink coffee, tea or caffeine, seem to lose ground and often have to return to taking the herbs.”

She can be so certain because in 13 years, she has treated several hundred people with great success. “Out of approximately 350 people, only 6 have not noticed dramatic results. And the majority become symptom free.”

One of these success stories is herself. In fact, Dr Reed devised this protocol to combat her own mental health problems.

“I used to have OCD. I took the protocol and I no longer have it. I have been symptom free for 9 years without the need to stay on the programme.”

And you cannot get a better reference than that.

For more information, visit Dr Reed’s website at www.marysherbs.com or email her at marysherbs@aol.com.