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COVID-19 Isn’t Random

One of the common statements often repeated in the media about COVID-19 is that it is seemingly random in terms of both getting the virus and having a poor outcome. But, upon further inspection, that’s not what the actual science is revealing. As we move deeper into our involvement with this virus some important patterns are emerging that make it quite clear that COVID-19 does indeed discriminate.

In a recent article, Dr. Austin Perlmutter explored how COVID-19 is actually an “opportunistic infection,” meaning that it takes advantage of patients whose immune systems are not functioning optimally. In the past we would have considered less than optimal immune function to be a characteristic of people who have had, for example, chemotherapy or radiation treatment, exposure to immune-suppressing medications after organ transplantation, or a diagnosed autoimmune disease. But as Dr. Austin Perlmutter has made clear, we now need to broaden our scope and embrace the notion that so many of our most common degenerative conditions, from diabetes to obesity, actually compromise immune function and allow the SARS-CoV-2 virus the opportunity to do its dirty work. Continue reading

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Choosing Your Cognitive Destiny

In 1998, Dr. Peter Eriksson published a groundbreaking report in the journal Nature Medicine in which he described, for the first time, that the process of growing new brain cells, neurogenesis, occurs in humans. That was only 22 years ago. Prior to his publication it was generally assumed that humans developed brain cells up until our late teen years and it was downhill after that.

We now know that a person retains the ability to grow new brain cells throughout his/her entire lifetime. Importantly, it is now clear that there are various things we can do that will directly enhance this process of neurogenesis. Among the most potent stimuli triggering the growth of new brain cells are physical exercise, a ketogenic diet, whole coffee fruit extract, and there is now some pretty compelling data supporting the role of a particular species of mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (more commonly known as lion’s mane), in causing neurogenesis. Continue reading

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Sleep Duration and Cognitive Decline

By the Dr. Perlmutter Team

When asked what supplements I recommend for optimal health, I occasionally reply, “sleep.” Sleep is powerful on so many levels in terms of health outcomes. We know that sleep duration and quality impact inflammation, what and how much we eat, hormone balance, decision-making, mood states, and much more.

An interesting study on sleep recently appeared in one of the publications of the American Medical Association called JAMA Network Open. The researchers behind the study sought to investigate the association between sleep duration and cognitive decline. They analyzed data from 20,065 total participants in two cohort studies, one in the United Kingdom, The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), and one in China, the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). The ELSA sample included people 50 years or older and the CHARLS sample included people 45 years or older. Continue reading

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Can A Ketogenic Diet Treat Mental Disorders?

By the Dr. Perlmutter Team

The ketogenic diet appears often in content I share as it offers a host of health benefits for conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and more. That list may now include mental disorders. As I recently discussed with Dr. Uma Naidoo, nutritional psychiatry is centered on how food affects mental health. While dietary interventions are known to serve multiple preventive and therapeutic roles in human health, it is exciting that there is a burgeoning field focusing specifically on how nutrition impacts mental disorders, especially in these challenging times.

Continue reading

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How A Keto Program Helps Parkinson’s Disease

These days so much is being written about the health benefits of lifestyle and nutrition strategies that produce ketosis. Indeed, actually treating certain conditions is now a fair-game discussion because of the robust scientific support being generated from institutions around the world.

I have previously presented information detailing the therapeutic benefit of a ketogenic lifestyle for issues like diabetes (both types 1 and 2), dementia, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. To be sure, there’s some outstanding work being done that demonstrates the effectiveness of a ketogenic program in Parkinson’s disease (PD). And one of the pioneers in studying the ketogenic diet in PD is Dr. Matthew Phillips, a neurologist in New Zealand who we’ve previously featured on The Empowering Neurologist. More recently, I had the opportunity to co-author, along with Dr. Phillips, a book chapter focused on the use of a ketogenic diet as an actual therapeutic intervention for Parkinson’s disease. Continue reading

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Diet and Depression: An Updated Perspective

By Dr. Austin Perlmutter

In conventional medical practice, the connection between diet and mood seems barely, if ever, mentioned. Depression is deemed a disease of the mind, or of the brain, treatable with psychotherapy or potent pharmaceuticals. In the latter, the focus seems primarily on modulating neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

Yet in the last several decades, there’s also been a push to revitalize dietary interventions for mood, especially for depression. Some have advocated strongly that food-based therapy is the solution to most health issues including mood disorders. But what does the current research in this field actually say, and are we interpreting it correctly? Continue reading

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Inflammation and Cellular Aging

One topic that’s certainly moved to center stage as of late is immunity. For obvious reasons there is great interest in exploring what we can do to enhance our immune functionality. The key idea, as it relates to functionality, is the notion of balance. While a robust immune system seems like it would be an ideal goal, we now know that excessive immune function may actually prove threatening. Such is the case with the so-called “cytokine storm.” Cytokines are chemical messengers that are involved in regulating immune function. When overproduced, as may occur in COVID-19 infection, cytokines can amplify inflammation with all its attendant destructive manifestations.

Regulation and balance of the immune system deteriorate with aging. So as we age we become more susceptible to inflammation, both acutely as with the cytokine storm, as well as chronically, in disease states like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and various other chronic degenerative conditions. Continue reading

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Can a Daily Fasting Period Reduce Risk for Metabolic Disease?

By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team

Time-restricted eating is likely a familiar concept to those of you who participated in our Summer Fasting Challenge. Time-restricted eating, often termed time-restricted feeding (TRF) in scientific literature, is a form of intermittent fasting that restricts consumption of foods and beverages—“energy intake”—to a specific window of time. For example, as we did together in the Summer Fasting Challenge, 18:6 TRF signifies a 6-hour eating window and 18 hours of fasting.

As we discussed during the Summer Fasting Challenge, and as I have written about in recent blogs, it’s clear that there are health benefits to time-restricting our food consumption. In the realm of scientific literature that supports this notion, a study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews is no exception. This study offered a summary of evidence on the effects of time-restricted feeding on both body weight and markers of metabolic disease risk. The authors of this review looked at 11 human studies and 12 animal studies. Both categories of studies included various TRF eating window durations, ranging from 3-4 hours to 12 hours. Continue reading

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