Ep 105 – Sleep, Stress, and Brain Health with Dr. Nate Bergman

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I mean stress is like an illness.  It’s like this black box, we don’t have a lot of names for it, we should probably instead of saying stress we should… like Eskimos have 20 words for snow, we should probably have like financial stress and relationship stress, and within relationships, there’s parent and partner, and child, all the different qualities of stress.  Because everybody has some, and as you know, some is good.  But stress, like persistently elevated cortisol with a lack of reciprocal or protective hormones like testosterone, estrogen, things like that literally shreds the brain, like literally just atrophies parts of the brain. – Dr. Nate Bergman

Nate Bergman, DO, MBA, is trained in internal medicine, geriatrics, and functional medicine and is passionate about using a multidimensional approach to prevent and reverse cognitive decline that emphasizes root causes including sleep, exercise, nutrition, and stress management.

Dr. Bergman’s knowledge and experience with treating cognitive decline comes not only from his research and his time on staff at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine; he also has first-hand experience.

While completing his medical training, Dr. Bergman struggled with severe memory loss.  With the support of his family and a functional medicine approach that addressed the root causes of his symptoms, he was able to overcome this challenge, and today believes his brain is functioning the best it ever has in his adult life.   His personal experience served to further cement his drive to study and treat patients who suffer from cognitive decline.

Today, Dr. Bergman continues to focus on brain health and the early prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease as the Chief Scientific Wellness Officer at the Kemper Center for Cognitive Health and Wellness.  We recently sat down to talk about how he made the decision to pursue osteopathic and functional medicine, the impact of sleep and stress on brain health, and his hopes for the future of Alzheimer’s research.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Dr. Bergman’s interests and background growing up, and how he became interested in medicine
  • Why he chose to become a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine over a Medical Doctor, and the difference between the two
  • What led Dr. Bergman to pursue residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Geriatrics
  • His own experience with memory issues during his residency training
  • How he transitioned to Functional Medicine
  • The meaning of cognitive health, and how Dr. Bergman approaches treatment
  • The relationship between sleep apnea and brain health
  • The different types of stress, and how they impact brain health
  • Bergman’s view on the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s
  • His role as Chief Scientific Wellness Officer at the Kemper Center for Cognitive Health and Wellness
  • His hope for the future of Alzheimer’s and brain health research and care
  • Three things Dr. Bergman 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 him

You can follow Dr. Bergman via his website, Facebook, and his podcast, Evolving Past Alzheimer’s.


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This episode is brought to you by Thrive Market. By cutting out the middle man, Thrive Market delivers your favorite healthy food and lifestyle products to your doorstep at 25-50% lower cost than you would spend in the grocery store. Visit http://www.thrivemarket.com/ph to receive an exclusive offer from Thrive Market for being a listener of Pursuing Health: 25% off your first order + a free 30 day trial!

This episode is also brought to you by Siete Foods. When Veronica Garza was facing a series of major health challenges as a teenager, her entire family of seven jumped on board to help. Together, they adopted a low-inflammation, grain free diet. As a Mexican-American family living in south Texas, they couldn’t imagine life without tortillas and it wasn’t long before Veronica came up with a delicious solution and Siete Foods was born. Visit www.sietefoods.com to try some of their delicious grain-free, dairy-free and paleo-friendly tortillas, tortilla chips, quesos, and hot sauces yourself and use code Julie19 for 10% off your order.

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.

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