In this section you will find everything pertaining to the release of my newest book Grain Brain. Whether you are wondering how to prevent Alzheimer’s or what to eat when pregnant, Grain Brain explores the connection between proper nutrition and brain preservation and development.
Category: Grain Brain
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!
Today’s post is from a close friend of Grain Brain, Max Lugavere. – Dr. Perlmutter
My name is Max Lugavere and I’m a filmmaker, currently in production on a feature-length, millennial-focused documentary exploring the impact of diet and lifestyle on brain health. I also write when so inspired, and was happy to have interviewed Dr. Perlmutter for Psychology Today last year just after Grain Brain came out. As of today our interview has almost 400,000 views.
I became very interested in the topic of diet and lifestyle as it pertains to brain health when, three years ago, my mom, at age 59, began showing signs of cognitive decline. Because her symptoms were somewhat atypical, at the time, it sent us around the country to top hospitals in order to find out “what she had”. It was at that time that I put Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia which currently affects 45 million people worldwide, in my crosshairs.
Over the course of my journey, I stumbled upon an unsettling adage commonly used to describe the treatment of patients with neurodegenerative diseases: diagnose and adios. This off-color remark is commonly used within the walls of medical schools to convey the lack of effective treatment options (short of surgery) for patients who present to neurologists.
Just last week, I had the pleasure of joining Kelly Ripa and guest host Anderson Cooper on LIVE with Kelly & Michael to talk about Grain Brain. While my segment was short, I like to think it was packed with actionable information that you can use to help eat your way to a better brain. Remember, go gluten-free, and low-carb, and load up on healthy fats, and you’ll be well on your road to a healthier tomorrow.
I always love hearing from all of you with your stories of Grain Brain success. That’s why I’ve devoted an entire section of this website to those of you who have taken back control of your health with lifestyle and dietary changes!
Just last week, a colleague emailed me this success story, which I hadn’t heard about until I watched the video included here. The story of this reporter’s, Taslin Alfonzo, fight to fight back against rampant weight gain and inflammation is a true testament to what going low-carb and gluten-free can do for your body!
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
A few years ago, the science became too significant to ignore, and I decided to drastically cut back on my dietary carbohydrates. I believed in my good baseline health, and didn’t foresee any complications with this decision. A day in, I faced mood swings, crashing energy levels and intense cravings, and I started questioning my choice. Several days later, my mind cleared and my energy levels stabilized. I then realized how important my choice had been, and why I would never go back.
Years later, I counsel my patients and friends to venture down the same path, as the health benefits of a low carbohydrate diet cannot be denied. So often, I hear the same sentiment: it’s too hard to stop eating carbs! Ladies and gentlemen, I hear you loud and clear. Without help, cutting back your carbs is no easy task, especially if they’re a large part of your diet. But it doesn’t have to be that challenging! With the following tips and tricks, you’ll put your mind and stomach at ease. You’ll coast past this roadblock and come out feeling better than ever.
- Fight fire with fire: Data shows that sugar cravings work like drugs cravings, acting on the same neurochemical pathways. This helps to explain the withdrawal effect seen on stopping carbohydrates. Understand that the discomfort you face is your body withdrawing from an addictive substance, and use this as fuel to push yourself forward. Don’t allow a food to control you like a drug, and realize how much better you’ll feel when you purge this addictive substance from your body. Continue reading
Tomorrow (Thursday, May 8th) on the Dr. Oz Show, I’ll be discussing the very real threat that gluten poses to brain health and function. I’m actually going to bring along a patient whose life was pretty much destroyed by a devastating movement disorder that involved her face. Tune in to watch what happened to her when she went gluten-free!
Gluten induces inflammation, and this may well be happening in all humans! Inflammation is a pivotal mechanism involved in all brain degenerative disorders. I’ll demonstrate exactly how this happens, so tune in. Should be very instructive.
I recently had the great honor to lecture in California along side Dr. Alessio Fasano. Dr. Fasano is a practicing gastroenterologist and research scientist at Harvard whose interest is in gluten-related disorders like gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy and celiac disease. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Bloomberg News and many other high profile media resources.
My lecture focused on the role of inflammation in brain related disorders and how gluten serves to initiate and perpetuate this process. Dr. Fasano focused on the specifics of the biochemistry related to gluten’s detrimental effects and he discussed how gluten in the diet increases the permeability of the bowel wall (leaky gut). And it is this permeability that allows a variety of normally excluded products access to the bloodstream. So things like bacteria, proteins, and viruses that normally would have been prevented from entering the bloodstream gain access when the gut becomes leaky as a consequence of gluten exposure.