The Doctor's Farmacy with Mark Hyman, M.D.
How The Ketogenic Diet Supports Metabolism, Cancer Therapy, And Mental Health
This episode explores the benefits of the ketogenic diet, including metabolic flexibility, control of hunger and appetite, reversal of type 2 diabetes, and its impact on mental health. It also delves into the connection between functional medicine and psychiatry, the role of mitochondria in mental health, and the use of functional medicine in cancer treatment. The speaker shares their personal journey with cancer and emphasizes the importance of balance and seeking guidance from qualified practitioners.
The ketogenic diet can lead to metabolic flexibility and allow the body to derive energy from stored body fat.
By reducing or eliminating carbohydrates, the body can up-regulate certain gene systems and build the metabolic machinery to burn fat more efficiently. This can lead to weight loss and improved energy levels.
A low-carb diet can help control hunger, appetite, and cravings.
Many people find that they don't feel hungry or compelled to eat when they skip breakfast and have their first meal later in the day. Hunger dissipates on the keto diet, allowing for smaller meals and less overeating.
The ketogenic diet has shown effectiveness in treating mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
It rebalances neurotransmitter imbalances, decreases brain inflammation, and improves insulin signaling in most people. Functional medicine addresses the underlying biology of inflammation in the brain for various mental illnesses.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is linked to various diseases and mental health issues.
Improving mitochondrial function through lifestyle changes can have positive effects on conditions like autism, weight issues, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's.
Functional medicine offers a holistic approach to mental health and cancer treatment.
It considers the interconnectedness of diet, toxins, hormones, gut health, and stress. It looks at triggers, modifies lifestyle, focuses on nutrition, and addresses mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of healing.
- Introduction to the Ketogenic Diet
- Benefits and Process of a Keto Diet
- Metabolic Flexibility and Protein Intake
- Control of Hunger and Appetite on a Low-Carb Diet
- The Atkins Diet and Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
- The Ketogenic Diet and Mental Health
- Functional Medicine and Psychiatry
- Mitochondrial Function and Mental Health
- Treating Mental Disorders with Functional Medicine
- Personal Journey with Cancer and Functional Medicine
- Cancer Treatment and Functional Medicine Approach
- Recovery from Cancer and Embracing Balance
Introduction to the Ketogenic Diet
00:00 - 06:36
- The ketogenic diet recognizes that our bodies are not efficient at burning fats and relies heavily on carbohydrates as fuel.
- By reducing or eliminating carbohydrates, the body can up-regulate certain gene systems and build the metabolic machinery to burn fat more efficiently.
- Becoming fat adapted allows muscles to comfortably burn fat as the primary source of fuel during daily activities and exercise.
- The body has a larger store of energy in the form of body fat compared to stored carbohydrates.
- Developing metabolic flexibility enables the body to derive energy from stored body fat.
- Withholding refined, starchy carbs promotes a physiological response in the liver to produce glucose.
Benefits and Process of a Keto Diet
06:09 - 12:24
- Metabolic flexibility allows the body to derive energy from stored body fat.
- When carbohydrates are withheld, the liver converts them into glucose through the digestive process.
- Refined starchy carbs should be avoided, but green leafy vegetables can be consumed on a keto diet.
- The body becomes adept at burning ketones for energy instead of relying on regular carbohydrate intake.
- Contrary to popular belief, the brain does not require glucose to function; there is no essential dietary requirement for carbohydrates in human nutrition.
- The body has a mechanism to use stored body fat as fuel for survival during periods without food.
- Overeating leads to excess energy being stored as fat in convenient locations such as the belly, butt, hips, and thighs.
- Civilization has caused us to lose the ability to effectively use stored fat for energy and override our wired tendency to overeat.
- Adopting a ketogenic way of eating (cutting carbs back to 50 grams or less per day) can help override this tendency and shift metabolism towards greater efficiency.
- It takes approximately three weeks for the body to adapt to a keto diet, with proper hydration and electrolyte intake necessary during this transition period.
Metabolic Flexibility and Protein Intake
12:05 - 18:33
- The liver can produce up to 750 calories worth of ketones per day.
- During a fast, the body uses stored fat as fuel and converts some of it into glucose for the brain's energy needs.
- Ketones are derived from fat and are preferred by the brain over sugar.
- Ketogenic diets can help spare amino acids and protein in the body.
- Consuming excessive calories on a ketogenic diet will not tap into stored body fat.
- Insulin is required for weight gain, so cutting out starchy carbs and eating reasonable amounts of protein and fat can lower insulin levels.
- A good range for protein intake is around 75 grams to 120 grams per day for men.
- The body efficiently conserves amino acids, so it doesn't matter if protein intake varies meal to meal or day to day.
- Following a ketogenic diet can help control hunger, appetite, and cravings.
Control of Hunger and Appetite on a Low-Carb Diet
18:03 - 24:51
- The main benefit of the keto diet is getting control of hunger, appetite, and cravings.
- Many people find that they don't feel hungry or compelled to eat when they skip breakfast and have their first meal later in the day.
- Hunger dissipates on the keto diet, allowing for smaller meals and less overeating.
- Low-fat diets have no evidence to support them, while a low-carb approach has shown positive results.
- A low-carb diet can lead to weight loss and reversal of diabetes within a week.
- The focus of a low-carb diet is on whole foods and limiting total carbs, not just net carbs.
- Non-starchy vegetables are encouraged on a low-carb diet and can be eaten in abundance while still sticking to carb limits.
The Atkins Diet and Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
24:28 - 31:18
- The Atkins diet is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein whole foods intervention.
- The diet can be diverse and cater to different cultural backgrounds while still following the same premise of low carb, high fat, moderate protein.
- The goal of the diet is to achieve nutritional ketosis by measuring blood levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate.
- There is ongoing research to determine the optimal level of ketones for health benefits.
- Type 2 diabetes is considered a disease of carbohydrate and can be reversed with the low carb ketogenic diet.
- Overweight individuals without diabetes may also have insulin resistance and could benefit from dietary changes.
- Long-term studies suggest that being fit but overweight may eventually lead to metabolic health issues and diabetes.
- Early diagnosis of prediabetes is crucial for effective reversal through lifestyle changes.
- Nutritional ketosis may not be necessary for everyone in the early stages of reversing prediabetes.
- Reversing type 2 diabetes allows for some metabolic flexibility in terms of increasing carbohydrate intake, but caution should be exercised regarding quantity and quality of carbs consumed.
- Metabolic flexibility can vary among individuals based on their beta cell function in the pancreas, which produces insulin.
The Ketogenic Diet and Mental Health
30:49 - 38:05
- Type 2 diabetes can lead to beta cell burnout and insulinopenia.
- The amount of insulin your body is able to produce determines your metabolic flexibility.
- The ketogenic diet has been proven to be effective in stopping seizures when other treatments fail.
- The ketogenic diet can resolve type 2 diabetes in a matter of days or weeks.
- The ketogenic diet has shown dramatic effectiveness in treating mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, sometimes leading to complete remission.
- Functional medicine addresses the underlying biology of inflammation in the brain for various mental illnesses.
- Mental illness is the leading cause of disability and cost, surpassing other chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer.
- Understanding the biology of the brain allows for the creation of reproducible treatment plans.
- The ketogenic diet has also shown effectiveness in treating autism, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.
Functional Medicine and Psychiatry
37:38 - 44:59
- Depression is the leading cause of disability, but current treatments are not effective for many people.
- The ketogenic diet has been found to rebalance neurotransmitter imbalances, decrease brain inflammation, and improve insulin signaling in most people.
- The field of psychiatry is starting to recognize the connection between mental disorders and metabolism.
- Functional medicine protocols, which consider the interconnectedness of diet, toxins, hormones, gut health, and stress, are not widely used in psychiatric hospitals.
- There is a growing body of literature supporting the idea that psychiatric illnesses are systemic disorders that affect the brain.
- Trauma and stress can have epigenetic effects on gene expression patterns and cortisol levels, potentially contributing to psychiatric problems.
- The current approach to diagnosing and treating psychiatric problems often leads to misdiagnosis and mistreatment.
Mitochondrial Function and Mental Health
44:30 - 52:30
- Mitochondria play a crucial role in energy production and are responsible for more than just energy generation.
- Mitochondria are primary regulators of key hormones like cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.
- They also have a significant impact on neurotransmitter function, inflammation, and overall mental health.
- Mitochondrial dysfunction is linked to various diseases such as autism, weight issues, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's.
- Improving mitochondrial function involves multiple factors including diet, exercise, stress reduction, toxin avoidance, and hormonal balance.
- Different individuals may require different treatments based on the specific cause of their mitochondrial dysfunction.
- Mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to a wide range of symptoms including ADHD, depression, seizures, and schizophrenia.
- Environmental factors and genetics may contribute to the development of mitochondrial disorders.
Treating Mental Disorders with Functional Medicine
52:01 - 59:10
- Treating psychiatric problems may also improve other health issues such as autoimmune diseases, digestive problems, arthritis, and migraines.
- Cleaning up diet, providing vitamins, and improving gut health can have positive effects on conditions like ADD and dysgraphia.
- Functional medicine originated in psychiatry with Abraham Hoffer using high doses of nutrients to treat schizophrenia.
- Inflammation plays a role in mental and metabolic health, and serious infections during pregnancy or childhood can increase the risk of mental disorders later in life.
- Inflammation can impair mitochondrial function in the brain, leading to symptoms or mental disorders.
- Even mild inflammation from conditions like runny noses or hay fever can be linked to chronic depression.
- While some causes of inflammation are unavoidable, there are ways to improve metabolism and mitochondrial health.
Personal Journey with Cancer and Functional Medicine
58:43 - 1:05:48
- Pregnant women cannot completely avoid infection, but there are ways to improve the health of the baby after birth.
- Improving metabolism and mitochondrial health can be achieved through lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and prioritizing sleep.
- Removing bad things from the diet and adding in good nutrition is important, but it's not as simple as just removing fat or carbohydrates.
- The speaker shares their personal journey of being diagnosed with stage four cancer and how they applied functional medicine principles to their recovery.
- The speaker emphasizes the importance of receiving help from others during their cancer treatment and learning to embrace vulnerability.
- The functional medicine model looks at antecedents, triggers, and mediators, but the speaker does not have any major genetic or risk factors for their cancer.
Cancer Treatment and Functional Medicine Approach
1:05:24 - 1:13:01
- The speaker discusses their journey with cancer and the importance of revealing aspects of themselves to others.
- They mention that while they didn't have any major genetic risk factors for cancer, there were triggers such as stress in their life.
- The speaker reflects on how cancer can be seen as an invitation for transformation and a catalyst for living life differently.
- They sought advice from various doctors and decided to undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- The speaker also explored other approaches, including a ketogenic diet, which is beneficial for cancers treated with radiation therapy.
- They faced challenges in maintaining a high-fat diet through a feeding tube but managed to only lose three pounds during treatment.
- Another approach they used was fasting before chemotherapy based on the work of Dr. Walter Longo, which aims to make cancer cells more sensitive to treatment while protecting normal cells.
- Despite skepticism from others, the speaker found success with their chosen treatment plan and experienced minimal side effects.
- Their functional medicine approach involved looking at triggers, modifying lifestyle, focusing on nutrition, and addressing mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of healing.
- The speaker mentions the similarities between functional medicine and other holistic healing systems like Tibetan medicine in considering the whole person's well-being.
- After undergoing seven weeks of radiation therapy and weekly chemotherapy sessions, PET scans showed no signs of cancer at three months and 12 months. Further check-ups are scheduled.
Recovery from Cancer and Embracing Balance
1:12:33 - 1:16:21
- The speaker underwent seven weeks of radiation and chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
- Regular PET scans have shown negative results at three months and 12 months, with the next scan scheduled in a couple of weeks.
- The speaker receives regular scopes to check for any abnormalities, but recent examinations have shown no lymph nodes or other issues.
- The speaker acknowledges the assistance of Nalini Chilkoff as a guide in optimizing their nutrition and supporting their emotional well-being after cancer treatment.
- The experience of working with IFM and being involved in COVID-related efforts has caused the speaker to neglect self-care and feel out of balance.
- Finding balance in life, connecting with oneself, others, and the natural world is important, especially during uncertain times like COVID.
- Uncertainty is a constant in life, and it is impossible to know everything about everything. Resting into the mystery and seeking guidance from spirits along the way can be beneficial.
- Functional medicine is seen as a modern-day manifestation of Tibetan medicine that integrates various elements for holistic health.
- Listeners are encouraged to leave ratings and reviews for the podcast. However, it should be noted that the podcast does not substitute professional medical care or advice.
- Seeking help from qualified medical practitioners, especially functional medicine practitioners listed on ifm.org, is recommended for those looking to make health changes.