Suzanne Somers: “Breaking Through” – Dr. Rick Sponaugle Sheds Light On Surprising Reason For Addiction (VIDEO)

Suzanne Somers interviews Dr. Rick Sponaugle - "Do you Have an Addictive Brain?"

“Did you know that rates of depression, anxiety, and insomnia have TRIPLED since 1980? What the heck is going on with us in this country? Are we all just addictive personalities, is it a matter of overdiagnosing, or is there something else? Suzanne Somers explored those questions and more on this week’s episode of her CafeMom Studios YouTube show, Suzanne Somers Breaking Through.

Somers sat down with addiction specialist Dr. Rick Sponaugle to talk about why it seems like some people have “addictive brains.” As we all know, being addicted to gambling, drugs, shopping, or even “good” things like working hard can be linked to brain chemistry. But there’s something else going on here that you may not have guessed.

Dr. Sponaugle talks about how we’ve seen a major change in brain chemistry in the last 30 years due to antibiotic use in poultry and cows, as well as city water. Sucking out bacteria sounds like a good thing, but what happens when we ingest so many antibiotics that the good bacteria in our guts is eliminated? Gut toxicity. Which can lead to all of those awful mental health challenges that so many Americans are taking prescription meds for. Craaazy!

This isn’t to belittle real mental illness at all — which Suzanne and Dr. Sponaugle note can certainly be an inherited imbalance — but it does seem important for us as a population to realize that our food and our drugs could be seriously affecting our stomachs and our brains. And a few diet tweaks (eating organic meats, drinking highly filtered water, etc.) might make all the difference.

Parkinson’s Disease

Howard – Maryland
Dr. Sponaugle reversed Howard’s Parkinson’s Disease.

Lad – Michigan
Dr. Sponaugle reversed Lad’s Parkinson’s Disease.

Watch Lad’s First Video Testimonial

At Florida Detox & Wellness Institute, we use our Brain Wellness Program to diagnose and treat medical disorders that cause Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson's Disease - Muhammad Ali - Michael J. FoxParkinson’s Disease is the most common serious movement disorder in the world. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, the first being Alzheimer’s.

The disease involves loss of neurons in the specific area of the brain that controls motor movement, the Substantia Nigra.

The Substantia Nigra brain region is the brain’s motor region, it is modulated by or “runs on” the neurotransmitter, Dopamine.

Parkinson’s Disease is caused by the gradual death of dopaminergic neurons in the Substantia Nigra. These nerves are rich in the neurotransmitter dopamine, loss of these nerves and means loss of Dopamine.

Cause of Parkinson’s Disease

There has been a long standing debate as to whether Parkinsonian symptoms are simply caused by dopamine deficiency, a loss of dopamine receptors, or a reduction in dopamine receptivity.

Dopamine receptivity is the ability of dopamine molecules to “fit” on and activate nerve receptors. When dopamine receptors undergo a change in their geometric shape, because of toxic insult, dopamine can no longer activate the receptor, the key no longer fits the lock.

Dr. Sponaugle’s clinical research has proven that most Parkinson’s patients suffer from both, dopamine deficiencies and reduced dopamine receptivity.

Dr. Sponaugle’s Parkinson’s patients


The Parkinson’s patients treated by Dr. Sponaugle have all had genetics for the COMT Val 158 Met enzyme polymorphism. The COMT gene is derived from a Valine – Methionine substitution at the 158 position on the chromosome.

This gene produces an overactive COMT enzyme, the enzyme that metabolizes or “breaks down” dopamine in the nerve synapse, the region between two brain neurons.

Patients with the “super” COMT enzyme, metabolize Dopamine too quickly with a resultant reduction of Dopamine activation throughout the brain. The prefrontal cortex and motor regions are particularly sensitive to dopamine deficiency.

Amino Acid Deficiencies

Patients with both, genetics for a “super” COMT enzyme and concomitant Intestinal Dysbiosis can suffer severe Dopamine deficiencies.

Intestinal Dysbiosis, the overgrowth of pathogenic Candida Yeast and Bacteria is becoming more common in American because our food, especially milk and poultry, has been heavily laden with antibiotics since World War II.

Gut Dysbiosis with associated inflammation of the intestinal lining of elderly Americans causes subsequent deficiencies of the amino acids, Phenylalanine and Tyrosine, which are precursors to the manufacturing of dopamine. Amino acid testing in all of Dr. Sponaugle’s Parkinson’s patients has demonstrated severe deficiencies of phenylalanine and tyrosine that rarely can be corrected with oral supplementation.

Reduced Dopamine Receptivity

Tyrosine is also a necessary precursor for the manufacture of thyroid hormone, thyroid hormone must be at optimal levels to ensure dopamine receptivity

While Dr. Sponaugle has diagnosed COMT genetics and phenylalanine/tyrosine deficiencies in every Parkinson’s patients he has treated, the majority of these patients were already taking L-Dopa medication when they came to Florida Detox & Wellness Institute.

Most of the Parkinson’s patients taking L-Dopa medication had excessive dopamine levels in the range of 2,000 where as the majority of Dr. Sponaugle’s non Parknson’s patients have dopamine levels less than 200.

If Parkinson’s patients continue to suffer symptoms in spite of excessive dopamine levels ranging @ 2,000, yet, Gastric By-Pass patients [severe malabsorption] with severe dopamine deficiency, dopamine levels as low as 49, suffer  no Parkinsonian symptoms, it would appear that the etiology of Parkinson’s is more likely reduced dopamine receptivity derived from damaged dopamine receptors.

Neurotoxins Damaging Dopamine Brain Receptors

Howard’s Story

Howard is a 72 year old retired Navy Physicist from Maryland who recently had total reversal of his Parkinson’s Disease within just 4 weeks of Dr. Sponaugle’s Brain Wellness Program.

Howard’s son, Steve, a high ranking intelligence officer in Washington, D.C. was the first non family, Lyme patient treated at Florida Detox & Wellness Institute in June of 2009 (see Steve’s story on our Lyme Treatment page).

When Howard first came to Florida Detox, he suffered classical Parkinsonian tremors, shuffling of his feet, dys-coordination, brain fog, depression and memory loss. Sadly, a man with a genius IQ was now suffering with severely diminished mental cognition.

After just 4 weeks of treatment, Howard had complete reversal of his Parkinson’s symptoms.

Dr. Sponaugle diagnosed Howard with severe neurotoxicity and several intracellular infections that also destroy dopamine receptors in the brain.

Howard’s testing revealed his brain was saturated with multiple industrial and environmental toxins. These toxins displace Omega 3 fatty acid chains from the structure of brain receptors, distorting their geometric shape, thus, reducing dopamine receptivity.

Parkinson’s Disease on the Brain/Body

PubMed Health says that the average age of developing Parkinson’s disease is most often after age 50. Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders of the elderly.

Florida Detox and Wellness Institute - Parkinson's DiseaseWith the onset of Parkinson’s disease nerve cells will begin to become damaged.  Nerve cells use a brain chemical called dopamine to help control muscle movement. Parkinson’s disease occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that make dopamine are slowly destroyed. Without dopamine, the nerve cells in that part of the brain cannot properly send messages. This leads to the loss of muscle function (3).

The damage will worsen with age, and a variety of medications can be prescribed to help cope with the disease.  All medications, however, only treat symptoms and fail to diagnose or treat the underlying cause of Parkinson’s disease or any other neurodegenerative disease for that matter.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may include:

  • Difficulty starting or finishing voluntary movements
  • Jerky, stiff movements
  • Drooling or difficulty swallowing
  • Impaired balance and walking
  • Muscle Atrophy
  • Parkinson’s tremors
  • Variation in heart rate
  • Anxiety, stress, and tension
  • Confusion and memory loss
  • Depression

Lyme Disease and Parkinson’s Disease

Florida Detox and Wellness Institute - Lyme Disease and Parkinson's Disease

Howard had Lyme disease, but there are many other factors that must be taken into account.  At Florida Detox and Wellness Institute we test for 250 biochemicals, hormones, vitamins, and amino acids, and in our experience there is always more that meets the eye.  However, the Lyme disease correlation between neurodegenerativediseases is hard to ignore.  In 2003 a study done by Virginia Commonwealth University, revealed that a 63 year old male patient had Parkinson’s disease and Lyme Disease.  An aggressive treatment of antibiotics done by the Mayo Clinic produced extremely negative results – only further exacerbating the patient’s symptoms.  He then died shortly thereafter, and a full autopsy report confirmed the presence of the Lyme spirochete.

Lyme Disease and ALS

In a study done on ALS patients by Martin Atkinson-Barr PhD, since April 1999, 150 ALS patients have tested positive on one or more of the diagnostic tests used to indicate Lyme Disease.  Is it ALS or Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease

At the Department of Neuropathology in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 14 autopsy cases of confirmed Alzheimer’s Disease, Lyme spirochetes were found in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid and, moreover, could be isolated from brain tissue. Thirteen age-matched control cases were without spirochetes. 
Works Cited

1)    CDC, The. “M.S., Parkinson’s, or Simply Lyme Disease?” Issues On Call. Image. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. <>.

2)    “Image.” Odec – Online Digital Education Connection. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. <>.

3)    “Parkinson’s Disease – PubMed Health.” PubMed Health. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. <>.

4)    “Parkinson’s Disease News.” Viartis. Image. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. <>.

5)    “Untitled Document.” Introducing Webpages at SCU | Webpages at SCU. Image. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. <>.

© Copyright (2012) Marvin Sponaugle, MD All Right Reserved