Our world today has certainly become far more chaotic than we had anticipated. As such, it becomes challenging to avoid toxic threatening thoughts and downstream manifestations like depression or anxiety. As our guest today makes clear, we don’t have to settle into this mental mess as if it is just our “new normal.” There is hope and there is help available to us, and the road to healthier thoughts and more happiness may actually be shorter than we think. Continue reading
Category: Mental Health
Your brain is always listening and responding to an incredibly large number of hidden influences, and unless you recognize and deal with them, they can steal your happiness, spoil your relationships, and sabotage your health. My good friend Dr. Daniel Amen calls these influences “dragons” in his new book Your Brain Is Always Listening, and with good reason as he explains. Importantly, this book will teach you to tame the dragons and regain what, for many, has been so elusive, especially these days. Continue reading
It’s not news to anyone: exercise is good for our health. What is more interesting is the recent research showing how physical activity may activate certain pathways within our immune systems, our endocrine systems, and even change our brain function. One fascinating area where all of this intersects is the link between exercise and mental health.
Mental health issues are a growing problem in the United States and worldwide. Depression alone affects around 350 million people and is one of the leading causes of disability across the planet. Despite the best efforts of providers and scientists, strategies for treating and preventing depression have been lacking. Many people continue to struggle with the condition even after receiving therapy. This is why it is so important that we continue to look for additional strategies in depression prevention and management. Of these, exercise is among the most promising. Continue reading
Connection is a vital piece of what enables us to flourish in life. We need connection—to our food, to nature, and to those around us. Researchers have even shown that social activities are associated with better cognitive function in older age. But while the simple act of spending time with others is a great way to connect, there’s another powerful tool we should all be making use of: empathy.
Empathy is the ability to connect with the internal state of another person. Specifically, it’s about sharing in the feelings and thoughts of other people—getting on their wavelength, so to speak. Our ability to use empathy is a key determinant in the quality of our relationships because empathy forms a bridge that allows us to bond more deeply. In support of this idea, more interpersonal empathy predicts greater satisfaction in romantic relationships, and it’s also linked to more supportive friendships. Continue reading
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
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.
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
What an exciting and important presentation we have for you today. For many years we have been providing information focused on the pivotal role of nutritional choices as they relate to the brain, mostly in the context of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Today, we’re going to explore how our nutritional choices actually impact us from a mood perspective with our very special guest, Dr. Uma Naidoo. Let me tell you a bit more about her.
Michelin-starred chef David Bouley described Dr. Uma Naidoo as the world’s first “triple threat” in the food as medicine space: She is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, professional chef who graduated with her culinary schools’ most coveted award, and a nutrition specialist. Her niche work is in Nutritional Psychiatry and she is regarded both nationally and internationally as a medical pioneer in this field.
In her role as a Clinical Scientist, Dr. Naidoo founded and directs the first hospital-based clinical service in Nutritional Psychiatry in the USA. She is the Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) & Director of Nutritional Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital Academy while serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School.
One of the most pervasive recommendations these days centers on the benefits related to socially distancing ourselves from others. And while this may be a meaningful recommendation, an unfortunate consequence seems to be increasing social isolation.
Social isolation begets loneliness, and loneliness is pervasive in modern society. Research reveals profound relationships between levels of loneliness and risk for various health conditions. Important for our current experience with COVID-19 is the relationship between social isolation and immune dysfunction. Continue reading
By Dr. Austin Perlmutter
In the wake of the global spread of the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us have started to think more carefully about our health. How can we reduce our risk of infection and of infecting others? How can we improve our immune function? What might the virus do to our lungs, heart and blood vessels? But while these questions are very important, it’s also critical to consider how a pandemic affects our brains and how to guard them against this damage. Specifically, we need to be considering strategies to protect our mental and cognitive health.
We’ve long known that mental health suffers in periods of high stress. So it’s no surprise that the current pandemic has been linked to a spike in feelings of anxiety and depression. A troubling May 2020 survey reported that over 34% of Americans are now experiencing these symptoms. This comes at a time when the world is already experiencing an epidemic of mental illness. Continue reading