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250. Mitochondria & Mental Illness: Finding Hope & Healing in Our Cells with Dr. Chris Palmer #WellnessWednesdays
Episode 25010th May 2023 • Be Well by Kelly Leveque • Kelly Leveque
00:00:00 01:10:04

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Dr. Chris Palmer is taking the internet by storm and for good reason. He's a Harvard psychiatrist and researcher, and his new book, Brain Energy, proposes a comprehensive theory of what causes mental illness, integrating existing theories and research into one unifying theory, the brain energy theory of mental illness, in which he argues that mental disorders are really metabolic disorders of the brain. 

In today’s conversation, Dr. Palmer shares the science behind how the mitochondria functions in the body, and ultimately affects brain health. He shares how we can support healthy mitochondria and what the recent research in the last 20 years tells us about healing mental illness with metabolic interventions, like the ketogenic diet, and lifestyle strategies like exercise, a good sleep routine, reducing inflammation, and more.

It is really amazing to think about the healing and regeneration that can happen for your mitochondria when you use these metabolic interventions, and hearing the life-changing impacts of implementing these practices with amazing stories like he shares in this episode brings so much hope for the future. 

I can’t thank Dr. Palmer enough for concisely putting this theory into a book that anyone can read. It is such an important message, affirming our ability to really have control over our life and live the best version of it.

We also cover…

00:02:00 — An Introduction to How Mitochondria Functions in the Body

  • Why Dr. Palmer became a psychiatrist and his mother’s struggle
  • How the mitochondria can influence mental illness 
  • The role of mitochondria in the body: Neurotransmitters and hormones
  • Why women are more susceptible to mental illness
  • The new research backing up his theory

00:22:00 — How Metabolic Interventions like the Ketogenic Diet Impact Brain Health

  • What we can do proactively support mental health
  • Metabolic strategies for improving mitochondrial health
  • How COVID can cause mental health challenges
  • Case study: Recovering from chronic schizophrenia using metabolic treatments
  • Why the ketogenic diet is so effective at treating seizures and other brain illnesses
  • How the brain can use ketones as a fuel source to support and regenerate mitochondria

00:46:00 — Lifestyle Strategies That Support Mental Health

  • Dangers of prescription medications that harm metabolism
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis through exercise
  • The importance of a good sleep routine
  • Dr. Palmer’s perspective on supplements 
  • Effects of the ketogenic diet on women’s hormones
  • Dr. Palmer and Kelly’s experiences with the ketogenic diet


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Be Well By Kelly is produced by Crate Media.

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