The Huberman Labs podcasts are terrific. This one ought to be required study for every mental health profession, internist, endocrinologist, pulmonologist, etc—any medical area where diet is an input. Which means pretty much everything except perhaps trauma. Wait—healing and recovery require lowering inflammation and nutrients—huh, that’s diet too.
This particular episode caught my interest right away in having a physician (Dr Palmer) suffering from metabolic syndrome being told by another physician* how he was “screwed” by genetics and would have to take meds the rest of his life to treat it**.
Dr Palmer goes on to say how, in his youth and suffering from mental illness, the medical profession pushed an endless series of drugs on him and caused him harm, never helping him (listen for yourself, I am paraphrasing).
Mitochondria are the primary regulators of epigenetics... doing much more sophisticated things than that in terms of gene expression... mitochondria play a role in all aspects of the human stress response... once you understand the science of mitochondria, you can actuallly connect all of the dots of the mental illness puzzle.
I believe that mitochondria are the key to the obesity epidemic, that there is something in our environment, so that is either our food, environmental toxins, stress levels, poor sleep, not getting adequate sunlight, whatever you want to speculate on, all of those things are known to impair mitochondrial function.
Any medical doctor speaking that frankly about his own medical issues and how the profession failed him has my full attention. Refreshing. But that is not what really makes this interview valuable; it is the demonstrated desire to create real health for his patients. We need another 1000 doctors like Dr Palmer to push hard on the health front, via diet.
* Too often, expert = pill pusher intent on destroying quality of life by gross ignorance of how the body actually works by having no training or insight or interest in diet and lifestyle factors.
** My reaction: imagine the recklessly callous mindset of a doctor dooming a patient to a life of medication and suffering and early death, OMG if that is not malpractice on both physical and mental health, I do not know what is.
My guest this episode is Chris Palmer, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He explains the important connection between nutrition, metabolism and mental health and his pioneering work using the ketogenic diet to successfully treat patients with various mental illnesses, including depression and schizophrenia. Dr. Palmer explains how the ketogenic diet is an evidenced-based treatment for epilepsy, mimics the fasted state and can offset the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s. He describes the key roles of mitochondria in mental health, how certain conditions likely arise from mitochondrial dysfunction, and how low-carbohydrate diets increase mitochondrial turnover to improve mental health. He also explains how low-carbohydrate diets positively impact the gut microbiome and weight loss, important risk factors for mitochondrial health such as marijuana and alcohol, and the best way to increase circulating ketones depending on individual needs. We also cover how a ketogenic diet impacts mood, sleep, and fertility. Dr. Palmer’s work stands as a revolutionary approach to mental health and disease that, given the prevalence of mental health challenges, should be of interest to people of all backgrounds and ages.
WIND: to play my broken record here: eat whole unprocesssed foods (no ingredient list), eliminate all added sugars, cut out all grains and seed oils, exercise daily and get skin-tone appropriate level of sunlight on a substantial portion of your body at least 3X a week.
Makes me wonder how many psychiatrist/psychologist types attend to nutrition vs how many are pill pushers. Maybe 1%?
Let me be explicitly offensive to those in the mental health profession: IMO, most mental health professionals are professionally negligent (incompetent?), because they do nothing with regards to diet. Worse, I’d bet that most mental health professionals dismiss diet as quackery, a horrifying manifestation of anti-scientific thinking.
Taking another innocuous medical field, dermatology: IMO, doctors in that area have done huge health damage to the populace by discouraging all sun exposure. Only recently have I had a dermatologist grudgingly admit that some sun exposure might be a good thing. IMO, sun exposure risks really stem from poor diet, and sunlight is mandatory for good health.
Nothing cures everything, but IMO diet can cure or at least improve a huge number of mental and physical health issues to a degree far beyond chemical treatments (meds). Can most types of cancer can be prevented by diet? Cancer surely stems from poor physiological status resulting from poor dietary inputs. I’d even bet that most types of skin cancer, allegedly caused by sun exposure, actually stem from bad dietary inputs.
Where are the studies to support Dr Palmer’s claims? There are many if you go looking. But in this case, an N=1 study (yourself!) is the very best study of all. You do not need some poorly controlled or outright corrupt study that averages thousands of other people to tell you if your own health is better or not*. Because what works for you works. For you.
One thing you can count on is for the powerful forces Big Pharma and Big Food, and their wholly owned lackeys CDC and FD to bitterly resist treatments that do not create profits. If this diet thing gains momentum, they will spend billions to create fake studies, studies designed to undermine results of promising studies, commit outright fraud, harrass and intimidate doctors seeking dietary solutiohns, etc. After all, follow the money, there are trillions of dollars at stake. It’s will be an all-out psyops war to preserve their profits.
IMO, any physician (in most medical fields) that fails to at least suggest a rigorous diet as a first-step treatment is a doctor you should run screaming in terror from.