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Guest Post: Dr Terry Wahls – The Science Behind Eating for Your Cellular Health

Dr Terry Wahls

Dr Terry Wahls

Dr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa where she conducts clinical trials. She is also a patient with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, which confined her to a tilt-recline wheelchair for four years. Terry restored her health using a diet and lifestyle program she designed specifically for her brain and now pedals her bike to work each day. She is the author of The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles, and the cookbook The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life: The Revolutionary Modern Paleo Plan to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions.

Terry is one of my personal health heroes. She featured on our Healing Protocols podcast last year (and remains one of my favourite guests!) I’m excited to share that she will be presenting at two events here in Australia – one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. Check out the bottom of this post for details AND the chance to be into win one of FOUR live stream passes!

You can learn more about her work at her website, She conducts clinical trials that test the effect of nutrition and lifestyle interventions to treat MS and other progressive health problems. She also teaches the public and medical community about the healing power of the Paleo diet and therapeutic lifestyle changes that restore health and vitality to our citizens. She hosts an annual Wahls Protocol Seminar where anyone can learn how to implement the her protocol with ease and success.

Follow Terry on Facebook (Terry Wahls MD), on Instagram at DrTerryWahls and on Twitter at @TerryWahls.

I’m pleased to hand this post over to Terry…

The Science Behind Eating for Your Cellular Health by Dr Terry Wahls

Diet is where it all begins. It is the one most influential elements about your environment that you can control and it is therefore your most powerful tool in preventing or healing chronic disease.

You are made of cells. A cell is the unit that makes up a living organism. Some organisms consist of only one cell, like an amoeba. Some, like human bodies, consist of trillions of cells. Cells come in different sizes and shapes, and they all do different things, but they are, essentially, the building blocks that make up our bodies.

Cells, however, don’t work under just any conditions. They need certain nutrients in order to do the work of keeping you alive and healthy. What your cells use to fuel the chemistry of life comes directly from what you feed yourself. Without those nutrients, the cells begin to malfunction, even die. Your genetics may determine what goes wrong, but when the cells aren’t getting what they needs, the body doesn’t work right, and something (usually many somethings) will go wrong somewhere.

So, what does eating for cellular health look like?

It all starts with your mitochondria.

If you want to be healthy, strong and sharp, then your cells have to be healthy, and your cells won’t be healthy unless their (that is, your) mitochondria are healthy.

Most cells in your body contain mitochondria – the ‘engines’ that power the cell. Some cells contain many more mitochondria than others. The more energy that a particular cell needs, the more mitochondria it requires to churn out that energy. For example, your brain, retina, heart and liver cells contain a lot more mitochondria than most other cells in other parts of your body because thinking, seeing, pumping blood, and processing toxins are all high-energy activities.

How do mitochondria work?

Mitochondria produce a compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which stores energy in the bonds between its molecules. It is the fuel used to power the chemistry that is used by our cells for all that they do.

sulphur-rich vegetables

Recipe link: SUPERFOOD ‘Hauskraut’ Slaw

What does your mitochondria need to produce ATP?

To produce ATP efficiently, the mitochondria need particular things: glucose or ketone bodies from fat and oxygen are primary. Your mitochondria can limp along, producing a few ATP on only those things, but to really do the job right, your mitochondria need:

  • Thiamine (vitamin B1)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin b5)
  • Minerals (especially sulphur, zinc, magnesium, iron and manganese)
  • Antioxidants

And ideally, they also need plenty of L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, creatine and coenzyme Q10. They also need to be protected from toxins like lead, mercury and arsenic or solvents, plastics and other organic pollutants.

Liver Recipe Round-Up

Recipe link: The GREAT Liver Recipe Round-Up

So, how do you eat to support your cells?

More green leaves, for sure, for their B vitamins and magnesium. More sulphur-rich vegetables from the cabbage family, onion family and mushroom family. In addition, foods like liver and heart are excellent sources of coenzyme Q, lipoic acid, creatine and carnitine and easily absorbed minerals. To make sure that our cells get the antioxidants that they need, eat deeply coloured vegetables and berries. And, as a general rule, where there is pigment, there is most likely a lot of antioxidants as well.

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As mentioned, Terry is presenting at two live events in Melbourne and Sydney:
  • Saturday, April 21 – Melbourne Plenary, Melbourne Convention Center
  • Saturday, May 5 – Sydney, Cockle Bay Room, ICC Sydney
If you are unable to make the Melbourne or Sydney events in person,  they are still available to purchase via live stream.
You can find full event details by heading to the Dr. Terry Wahls Live website. And, if you’re heading to the Sydney event, I look forward to seeing you! Please come and say hi.
Terry and her team have generously provided me with live stream passes for either the Sydney or Melbourne session for four of my readers – so, even if you are unable to make the event in person, you can still get all the benefits of attending from the comfort of your own living room! This is especially great if you live accross the ditch in New Zealand, or are up in Darwin or accross in Perth…
To be in to win one of the 4 passes, just leave a message below with your name and country of residence. That’s it! No subscription necessary…
A Couple of Small Things to Note:
  • This giveaway is open to Australian and New Zealand residents only. I know that’s frustrating if you’re further north! So often down here, giveaways are limited to US residents – so, I’m giving the Aussies and Kiwis a turn
  • Feel free to forward this to any friends or family who may be interested
The winners will be chosen at random on Thursday 29 March at 9am Australian Eastern Time and notified by email.

The Giveaway has ended.
Congratulations to Renata, Patricia, Kathy and Andrea!

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Comments (12)

Nancy Bidwell-brown

As someone new to AIP, I’d love to be able to stream 🙂 I’m in Sydney Australia! Thanks in advance

Living with RA and would really love to hear Terry talk but I live in Christchurch, New Zealand …

Have fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis. Live four hours by car from Brisbane, then need to fly to Sydney plus accommodation. Would love to be there.

Hi Joanna, I live in Adelaide, South Australia. I would love a free pass for one of the Live Stream session. Diagnosed with Systemic Sclerosis plus…
Thank you for the opportunity!
Kind regards, Andrea.

Thank you for this awesome give away, it will be a life changing to the lucky winners ☘️
I live in Australia ??

Hi Joanna, thanks for sharing this great offer. I’d love to win a live stream to Melbourne. I’m currently studying to be an NTP thru NTA & FX Med Coach with FMCA. Terry’s work is fantastic. I’m in Auckland, NZ 🙂

Sharon Beck! Sydney Australia

Well this would be very interesting to help family and friends

Tracey – where are you based?

I live with a rare autoimmune disease and appreciate advice from Dr Wahls on Facebook and in her book.
I would value a pass to the live stream sessions.

Are you based in Australia or NZ, Alison?

Renata Navasaityte

Hello Joanna,
I am new to AIP. I have listen to all podcast stories. Very inspiring!I would love to win a life stream, get more educated and start my journey with AIP.
I live in New Zealand.
Best regards,

Comments are closed.