Ep 78 – Lifestyle and Brain Health with Dr. David Perlmutter

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“And I became, as a neurologist those first few years, very disenchanted with the notion of pretty much, ‘Diagnose and Adios.’  Meaning, we make these wonderful diagnoses, but we had such little to offer our patients, and I was very frustrated because I’m a do-er, I’m a fixer.  I wanted to be doing things.  So, I began looking at alternatives, and more importantly, I think, began to look at the notion of preventative medicine as it relates to brain health.  Which, I will say, even in those days, was very underrepresented, and even today as we have this conversation, is still very much underrepresented.  The notion that our lifestyle choices have a role to play in the destiny of our brain in terms of its health and functionality still doesn’t gain huge traction amongst professionals, more so perhaps amongst the general population, as they are learning that, matter of fact, our day to day choices are, in fact, important.” – Dr. David Perlmutter

Dr. Perlmutter is a Board-Certified Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition.  He received his M.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine where he was awarded the Leonard G. Rowntree Research Award.  He has published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is a frequent lecturer at symposia sponsored by such medical institutions as Columbia University, Scripps Institute, New York University, and Harvard University.  He also serves as an Associate Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Dr. Perlmutter is the author of four New York Times bestselling books showing the connection between gut health and brain health, including Grain Brain, Brain Maker, The Grain Brain Cookbook, and his most recent book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan.  Dr. Perlmutter has also been interviewed on many nationally syndicated television programs including 20/20, Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, Fox and Friends, The Today Show, Oprah, The Dr. Oz Show, and The CBS Early Show.

He is also the recipient of numerous awards, including: the Linus Pauling Award for his innovative approaches to neurological disorders; the National Nutritional Foods Association Clinician of the Year award; the Humanitarian of the Year award from the American College of Nutrition; the Media Award from the American College of Nutrition; and the Healthy Living Award from The Invisible Disabilities Association.

Dr. Perlmutter and I sat down at his Naples, Florida home to discuss his background, the link between lifestyle choices, gut health and the brain, and what we can do to protect and improve our brain health.

Dr. Perlmutter’s bio was adapted from drperlmutter.com

In this episode we discuss:

  • The progression of Dr. Perlmutter’s medical career: when he first decided to pursue medicine, then specialize in neurology, and how that morphed into preventative medicine as it relates to brain health
  • The notion that our lifestyle choices are relevant to brain health, and that gut health ties into this equation
  • How the ultimate mechanism for brain degeneration is inflammation, and the need to focus on what causes the inflammation
  • How aerobic exercise may dramatically reduce dementia and other degenerative disorders
  • How changing gut bacteria can affect other body systems
  • The compelling phenomena that our lifestyle choices can impact our inherited genome and change gene expression
  • The importance of challenging prevailing beliefs and providing individuals with knowledge to make informed choices
  • The impact of gluten on the brain, and how individuals might not experience intestinal symptoms, while they still experience neurological symptoms
  • The relationship between damaging the gut bacteria and body weight
  • The danger of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and the impact of glyphosate on gut bacteria and inflammation, and how that relates to the skyrocketing number of Alzheimer patients.
  • The importance of focusing on prevention rather than a cure
  • The dichotomy of nature vs. nurture and how both play a role in health
  • How watching his father die from Alzheimer’s motivates Dr. Perlmutter to take measures to ensure that is not his destiny
  • The need for a doctor’s help and support for blood testing, and which tests should be monitored for optimal brain health
  • What simple strategies we can implement ourselves for optimal brain health, including exercise, a high fat, low carb diet and restorative sleep
  • Which supplements can improve brain health
  • Additional measures and supplements individuals can take to protect their brain health such as a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting
  • Three things Dr. Perlmutter does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on his health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Dr. Perlmutter

You can follow Dr. Perlmutter on his websiteFacebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

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Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.