Brain Energy: A Theory To Improve Mental Health and Metabolism - Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC

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Brain Energy: A Theory To Improve Mental Health and Metabolism

New treatments for anxiety, depression, and more with Dr. Chris Palmer

Developed by Harvard psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. Chris Palmer, the brain energy theory of mental illness highlights the connection between mental health and metabolism. Its basis is that mental disorders are actually metabolic disorders of the brain. This new understanding opens the door to new, safer treatments for depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Hear how Dr. Palmer has put his theory into action for his psychiatric patients and what dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to improve your mood, energy, and quality of life.

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➕ Dr. Ruscio’s, DC Notes

Dr. Palmer’s Discovery About The Connection Between Low Carb Diets And Mental Health


  • His experimentations on himself
    • In his 20s, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome.
    • A low-fat diet and exercise weren’t helping with either condition.
    • He tried out a low-carb diet.
      • Within 3 months, his metabolic syndrome was reversed and his mood, sleep, and confidence improved.


  • His experimentation with others
    • His friends found a low-carb diet helpful.
    • He tried it with his patients with treatment-resistant depression – in some cases, it worked.
    • He recalls an experience in 2016 where he prescribed a ketogenic diet to his patient with schizoaffective disorder.
      • In 2 weeks, the patient was beginning to lose weight and see an improvement in depression symptoms.
      • In 6-8 weeks, the patient began to report auditory hallucinations, and paranoid delusions were going away.
      • The patient ended up losing 160 pounds and improving socially to the point he could go out in public and perform improv comfortably in front of a large group of people. 



Dr. Palmer’s Brain Energy Theory Explained


  • What is the brain energy theory?
    • Mental disorders like depression and schizophrenia are actually metabolic disorders of the brain.


  • What are the causes of metabolic disorders of the brain?
    • Poor diet and/or sleep
    • Leaky gut syndrome
    • Hormone imbalances
    • Trauma
    • Inflammation
    • Overuse of marijuana and/or alcohol
    • Mitochondria impairment


5 Strategies To Improve Mitochondrial Health And Metabolism

  • Eat a whole-foods diet. 
  • Perform stress reduction exercises. 
  • Try intermittent fasting and/or a ketogenic diet. 
  • Wean off supplements and medications that impair mitochondrial health.
    • This should be done alongside your current healthcare practitioner.  
  • Do zone 2 training.  


Cautionary Tales On Healing Mental Disorders, Metabolism, and Mitochondrial Health

  • Before intervening, it’s important to identify what’s impairing the mitochondria and causing inflammation in the first place. 
  • Metformin–an anti-diabetic medication–has been shown to impair exercise benefits, lower blood sugar, and inhibit mTOR–which can negatively impact metabolism. 
  • If intermittent fasting consistently results in insomnia, it may be worth chatting with your healthcare practitioner about other interventions that don’t affect sleep quality.

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