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Chris Palmer, MD — Brain Energy for Mental Health, The Potential of Metabolic Psychiatry, and More

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Dr. Christopher M. Palmer (@chrispalmermd) is a Harvard psychiatrist and researcher working at the interface of metabolism and mental health.Dr. Palmer is the director of the Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education at McLean Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. For over 25 years, he has held administrative, educational, research, and clinical roles in psychiatry at Harvard. He has been pioneering the use of the medical ketogenic diet in the treatment of psychiatric disorders—conducting research in this area, treating patients, writing, and speaking around the world on this topic.

He has developed the first comprehensive theory of what causes mental illness, integrating existing theories and research into one unifying theory—the brain energy theory of mental illness. You can learn more in his new book Brain Energy: A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Understanding Mental Health—and Improving Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD, and More.

Please enjoy!

00:00 Start
01:41 How a woman overcame her 53-year streak of chronic paranoid schizophrenia.
05:30 The backstory of Brain Energy‘s dedication.
11:13 Chris’ thoughts on DSM-5 diagnostic categories.
18:00 Chris’ first exposure to the ketogenic diet.
24:57 Metabolic psychiatry.
27:01 How ketosis affects the human body (e.g., sleep, mood, weight).
35:12 Examining the mood elevation of ketosis on a bio-cellular level.
40:13 When ketosis can be dangerous.
42:37 How mitochondrial dysfunction can trigger a host of ailments.
54:27 Dietary methods for sustaining ketosis over the long term.
1:01:52 Common ketosis mistakes.
1:04:56 Psychiatric medications, metabolism, and controversy.
1:12:54 Indications that a medication impairs more than improves a patient’s condition.
1:15:40 Resources to share with doctors open to conversation about these issues.
1:18:24 Why quitting psychiatric medication cold turkey is a bad idea.
1:21:10 Thoughts on the efficacy of exogenous ketones.
1:28:33 Ketogenic diet as treatment for schizophrenia.
1:36:49 Why you need to take radical ownership of your own health advocacy.
1:38:50 Physical exercise for optimizing mitochondrial health.
1:43:24 A cautionary note for people using medication for off-label results.
1:47:24 Parting thoughts.

Resources from the episode:

About Tim Ferriss:
Tim Ferriss is one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and an early-stage tech investor/advisor in Uber, Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba, and 50+ other companies. He is also the author of five #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers: The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Chef, Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors. The Observer and other media have named him “the Oprah of audio” due to the influence of his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, which has exceeded 800 million downloads and been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three years running.

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