Wow! Yesterday, the release of Grain Brain Revised, was an incredibly exciting day. From visiting with the folks at MindBodyGreen to taking your questions live in numerous live chats on Facebook and Instagram, I was privileged to get to spend the day speaking with you all and spreading our message on optimal health.
But it goes without saying that the most provocative part of my day was how it started — my conversation with CBS This Morning. Let me start by saying it was an honor to get to sit with such a storied team of reporters. It was humbling to have Gayle, John, and the entire team present for this dialogue.
Five years ago today, we embarked on an incredible journey. Together, we sought to understand the roots of brain health, and how we can help fend off ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s, diseases for which there are no known cures. This journey began with the release of Grain Brain.
In the five years since, science has continued to investigate the roles carbs and gluten play in our health, and our message has moved to the mainstream. As a result, the information in Grain Brain is now accompanied by ongoing changes and revelations in the world of medicine. Today, I want to share with you the five most interesting things I’ve learned/seen since Grain Brain hit shelves. Continue reading
The story of Lizzie and her family, though long, is a must-read. – Dr. Perlmutter
I have lived the past decade of my life in terrible fear of developing early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. I am 26 this year, and I am the 4th child in a family of five girls. When I was 12, my mom started to get what I now know as the classic signs of Alzheimer’s. She was only in her 40s. Unfortunately, she ate the low-fat, whole-grain diet that was and, still is, so popular. Within a year of noticing symptoms, my mom had to go live in an assisted living home. No doctors knew what was wrong with her and many said she had Huntington’s Disease, although she tested negative for it. Three years after her first symptoms, she passed away. About five years later her sister also passed away from the same thing. My grandmother also had the same symptoms and died very young. They all had very stressful marriages.
My sisters and I have always been terrified of getting sick like our mother. In recent years we learned that her illness was early on-set Alzheimers. It was helpful to know the cause, but inside we all felt full of despair, as if a death sentence had been placed on us. It has affected all of our life choices, even the choice to have children and pass on this gene. Continue reading
It’s been fifteen months since I made a forever change to my diet and lifestyle by converting to a low-carb, gluten-free, high-fat diet. From a starting point of a soft 225 lbs., I am now down to 198 lbs. and loving it!
I started small, but eliminating all sugars, carbohydrates, and gluten for 30 days. I lost 3 lbs. per week, even with no change to my gym schedule, which was sporadic at best. My jeans that were once tight were falling off my butt and I had to wash them in hot water, and shrink them. For the first time in a long time, I was happy to look at myself in the mirror after a shower – heck at 48 years young I look better than I did when went to the gym 2 hours a day when I was 20!
What my work, in Brain Maker and Grain Brain, boils down to, is giving you a lifestyle plan that you can follow to cause optimal health. Why do these factors matter? Why are these the choices you should make? Simple: because this is the best way to fight and reduce inflammation, the cornerstone player in diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.
While I don’t have the exact statistic, it probably isn’t far off-base to state that many, if not most, Americans start their day with a cup of coffee in their hand. For many years, the science on coffee has moved in competing directions, from studies that call it dangerous for long-term health, to those that endorse daily mass consumption.
In Grain Brain, I briefly explored the health benefits of coffee, notably as an activator of our Nrf2 pathway, and it’s a topic I return to in Brain Maker. Now, learn how coffee plays a roll in influencing the composition of our gut bacteria, and how that daily cup of joe might be fighting a leaky gut. Drink up!
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a central role in brain health. As I have discussed before, one of the key factors that correlates levels of DHA to brain health and disease resistance is DHA’s ability to turn on the brains “growth hormone” called BDNF.
In this report, from the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, researchers evaluated the level of DHA in red blood cells in a group of over 1500 men and women aged 67 ± 9 years who were dementia free . The study then measured the size of their brains, and evaluated their brains by doing MRI scans to look for small strokes. In addition, the subjects underwent a variety of cognitive assessments. Continue reading
Last month I had the great honor to serve as program chairman for an integrative brain symposium held in Hollywood, Florida. What was so exciting for me was the fact that I was given the opportunity to invite some of our most well-respected thought leaders in the field of brain science to lecture on their research.
One of our esteemed presenters was Dale E. Bredesen, M.D., an Alzheimer’s researcher at the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA. Dr. Bredesen provided a unique assessment of the current approaches to dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. It was very clear from his presentation that the idea of focusing on a single drug or single intervention was simply not going to be appropriate if we are ever going to be able to offer up any meaningful therapy for the more than 5.4 million Americans who are afflicted with this devastating condition.
Dr. Bredesen described a “systems approach” to dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, looking at a variety of factors that seem to conspire, ultimately leading to brain degeneration that we know recognize as representing this disease. Using his approach which he termed, “systems therapeutics,” which integrates a variety of parameters, he has actually been able to reverse cognitive decline in this devastating condition. Continue reading
Years ago, if someone would have suggested that I would someday write a cookbook, I would have scoffed at the notion. After all, my training in neurology focused on identifying diseases and utilizing pharmaceutical interventions in hopes of improving a patient’s health.
In fact, in my early years of practicing neurology, this is pretty much what I did. Nevertheless, I always found myself to be a little bit out of step with my peers in terms of how we approached patient care. Ultimately, I became extremely frustrated by this somewhat myopic approach, focusing almost exclusively on treating symptoms, while the cause of various diseases we were trying to treat remained off-limits to discussion, and even exploration.
The brain remained the last bastion of the dogma that lifestyle issues don’t matter when it comes to health. Over the past several decades the idea of a “heart smart diet” became very mainstream. Women were told to eat calcium rich foods as a way to stave off osteoporosis. But until very recently, brain health and brain diseases were not included in the lifestyle conversation. Continue reading
As I’m sure many of you are aware, we are getting ready for launch next week of the Grain Brain Cookbook. The mission of the new cookbook is to demonstrate how incredibly wonderful it is to eat low-carb higher fat food in terms of flavor, diversity, and health effects.
Over the past year since the launch of Grain Brain I have done my very best to bring to the public awareness the science that supports our recommendation for a lower carbohydrate, higher fat diet. This is the diet that research has demonstrated to be the most effective not only in terms of various health parameters like markers of inflammation, but weight-loss as well.
So it is certainly highly validating that with just one more week to go until the launch of the Grain Brain Cookbook, the highly respected medical journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, has published a new research study entitled Effects of Low Carbohydrate and Low-Fat diets: A randomized Trial. This study, supported by The National Institutes of Health, looked at a group of 148 men and women, without cardiovascular disease or diabetes, and placed them either on a low-fat diet or low carbohydrate diet. Those consuming the low-carb diet ate considerably more fat than those who were on the low-fat diet who consumed a lot more carbohydrate. Continue reading