Ketogenic Psychiatrist Dr. Chris Palmer is our special interview guest on Episode 1503 of The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show.   Dr. Palmer is a Harvard psychiatrist working at the interface of metabolic and mental disorders in order to better understand the overlap between disorders like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease with mental illness.  He is also pioneering the use of the ketogenic diet in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. For over 20 years, he has been the director of the Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education at McLean Hospital and he is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.   Listen in today as Jimmy and Dr. Palmer talk about: – How he uses the ketogenic diet in treating patients with serious, treatment-resistant, psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and chronic depression. – How he has used low carb/keto himself for over 20 years – How he started it to stave off blood pressure and cholesterol medications – How he used a keto approach to turn around his own fahter's out-of-control diabetes – and much more  

"I don't vilify regular doctors, but I do want to change their minds."

– Dr. Chris Palmer

United States


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00:01:58La Vida low-carb Show with Jimmy Moore end today. I'm very privileged to Welcome to the podcast a gentleman by the name of dr. Chris Palmer. He is a Harvard psychiatrist working at the interface of metabolic and mental disorders in order to better understand the overlap between various disorders and diseases like diabetes obesity and heart disease and their connection to mental illness. He's the pioneer of the use of the ketogenic diet in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, and for over two decades. He's been the director of the Department of post graduate and continuing education at McLean Hospital as well as an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Chris Palmer. Md.com is his website Chris. What's up?
00:02:50Jimmy thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be here and I'm happy to talk with you and all of your listeners. Yeah, man. I found you on Instagram. I started seeing all of these like studies like you take a screenshot of a study and post it and then you give your commentary and I'm like, why don't I know who Chris Palmer is? Well, that's one of the reasons I'm delighted to be here to is. I want more people to know who I am but much less about who I am and more about the work that I'm doing because I think that thinking about mental illness in a very different way than most people think about might actually help a lot of people. Oh my goodness and we have so many people in this world of Keto that have talked about and have been very brave and sharing their personal stories of Triumph using a ketogenic approach along with some other lifestyle things that go beyond what any medication ever gave them so def.
00:03:50Look forward to getting into that with you much deeper here in just a moment. But tell us a little more of your history. How did you become and want to become a psychiatrist who also is a medical doctor is that normal for medical doctor Psychiatry or what it is. So so that's that's kind of confusion. Number one like the most confusing topic to a lot of people what's the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist a therapist all of those different terms. Yes, and it's a psychiatrist is a medical doctor. So in order to be a psychiatrist, you have to go to medical school and when you do that, you actually have to study all of the different fields of medicine. So when I was in medical school, I was doing surgery. I was delivering babies on my OB-GYN rotation. I was on cardiac floor as I worked in intensive care unit side. I did all of the basic medical training that any.
00:04:50There has to do and then after medical school for the next four years, I did an internship and residency in Psychiatry psychologists on the other hand usually get a PhD in Psychology. So so they study usually Psychotherapy and psychological aspects of mental illness. Yep, but they usually don't have medical training. So I do have medical training. I do know some psychologists. I'm thinking very prominently of another ketogenic Advocate and Dr. Ann Childers out there in Portland, Oregon area. She is a medical doctor who is a psychologist. So I guess it does happen.
00:05:34Yes, it does and it's interesting because some people actually end up becoming both a psychiatrist and a psychologist in they they have an MD and a Ph.D behind their name because they they like school a lot and then they want to confuse their their patients last clients exactly exactly as a research topic and then you got all the way to Harvard which ain't no chump change, dude.
00:06:04Well, yeah, I know it it it sounds really fancy doesn't at Harvard Medical School psychiatrist. And when you when you read off all of my titles, they all sound fancy in reality. I'm I'm like a pretty simple person from the Midwest I grew up in a big Catholic Family. We had eight kids. I was kind of in the middle and you know, we were a lower-middle-class family pretty solid Midwestern roots, and I don't think too much of myself and and and and I've been through my fair share of adversity in life a lot of times when you say you're you're at Harvard everybody thinks you had a silver spoon in your mouth and I wish that were the case I would I would sign up again to do it all over with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I didn't get I didn't get so lucky. And so, you know, it's interesting so
00:07:04In a part of what I was just saying I didn't get so lucky. I'm actually quite serious about that and a nut that probably informed my decision to go into into Psychiatry. I have a lot of family members who have had mental illness all the way from drug and alcohol addiction to depression to anxiety disorders and all the way to schizophrenia and I've seen what mental illness can do to people it can destroy people's lives and and it can also sometimes destroy a family my parents got divorced over a mental illness well and all of the kids suffered as a result and certainly both of them suffered as a result and
00:07:56And so I'm kind of you know, I know all too well to the yeah, the devastation of a chronic serious mental illness and and how how devastating they can be such a stigma with it still. I mean after all the education of people like yourself and others trying to show that this is an illness that needs to be treated in society. It's kinda like obesity. Well, they need to get their act together and cut their calories and cut their fat and they'll lose weight. It is kind of the same mentality with mental illness. They just need to shake out of it. Yeah. No, it's that is it is a huge problem and you know for some of the disorders Society
00:08:43You know, it's interesting because for the milder Disorder so things like mild depression or even moderate depression anxiety. Most people are kind of like pull yourself up by the bootstraps like get a grip like it just get ahold of yourself. What's wrong with you? Why are you acting that way? You're doing it on purpose. I'm stop being so whiny and you know, whiny and drama queen. Those are two terms that go around a lot for people with serious struggle end and then when you get into more serious disorders, like schizophrenia, most people understand. Oh that's like a serious thing like those people are really messed up. Right but then there's also this tremendous stigma in fear of like we got to stay away from those people cuz those are the ones who go postal and like shoot everybody or are they
00:09:43It's crazy. They're scary. Like you don't know what they're going to do. They're out of touch with reality and and then you talk about addiction and and then add the dirt just losers. They need to get a grip that you know that they need to get a life, you know be more responsible. And so pretty much across-the-board mental illnesses get stigmatized in those slightly different ways and and some of those aren't the light at all. They're very profoundly different ways. So some people with a mental illness get looked at is being whiny other people with a mental illness they get credit for having a real disorder, but they're like scary and terrifying to be around and then other people with mental illnesses or kind of sleaze bags and you know, just discussing reprehensible human beings. So that's who I work with.
00:10:43Work with only playlist on purpose I chose to do it because I don't see those people in those ways whatsoever in the more that I do this work the more I recognize that they they really have serious problems that are profoundly affecting the way their brain works and their brain isn't working the same way that other people's brains are working. So it's not their fault. I was going to get into that Chris and I want to get back to how you found keto cuz that was my question and never get answered. I'm sorry. I didn't know that's all right, you told a great story of kind of setting up mental disease. Why do you think people fall into this? It doesn't have a and I'm going to set you up with a softball question. Does it have a nutritional component Chris?
00:11:34So that is a great question and I'll be asleep. Yeah, I'm here because I think that I think that nutrition can impact the illness in a couple of different ways. And so the one area of research that we we actually have a lot of evidence for this is that people who eat a lot of junk food people who consume large amounts of sugar in particular are at much higher risk of developing.
00:12:10Depression anxiety Then other people so we know that from some long-term studies where they kind of people and measured how much sugar they were eating and then they followed them for 10 years and then they looked and saw I like how many of them became depressed and the people who hate the most sugar at much higher rates of depression than the people who didn't eat that much sugar. I want to be clear though sugar and eating junk food and your diet overall. It's only one factor that can lead to mental illness. There are so many other factors genetic Tendencies probably play a big role. They do we know that mental disorders run in families stress bullying and teasing if it if a kid in school is like
00:13:10Relentlessly bullied and teased has zero friends, even the teachers make fun of them not shocking that that kid might develop depression or have some anxiety if somebody's horrifically traumatized if somebody's getting physically beaten up in a week after week by their parents not shocking that that person might develop depression or anxiety or even something more serious. And so
00:13:41When when we think about like what causes mental disorders it it ends up being a really complicated answer and you know, most commonly people talk about a biopsychosocial model which basically means their biological things like a genetic predisposition. There are psychological things like, you know, maybe your parents were really ridiculously
00:14:07Tough on you and put you down all the time and there are social thing. So like abuse like poverty like malnutrition things that are affected by social environment. All of those things can come together to produce Mental Illness. But so we think that you know diet and certainly people's weight can affect them put people at higher risk for developing a mental disorder, but the other way that I look at diet and mental illness and this is what I'm really kind of studying and you know in many ways pioneering the use of is that once a mental disorder develops, even if it wasn't from a bad diet, so even if somebody
00:15:02Was eating a reasonably good diet and they were a normal weight.
00:15:07That person can still develop pretty much any mental illness that is in our blocks that person could develop depression that person could develop bipolar disorder schizophrenia. And the interesting thing is that what I found with a ketogenic diet in particular is that the ketogenic diet is really what I would call a metabolic intervention at least in the way that I'm using it right there. Yeah, you know, it is a trendy popular weight-loss method right now and it's you know, it's been around for a long long time and maybe we can talk about that in a bit your viewers probably are your listeners probably know some of that story somewhere before you but
00:16:00Peter certainly keto has been around for a long time it's gone. It's you know been talked about under different names but the the authentic ketogenic diet using that phrase was developed about a hundred years ago right to treat to treat epilepsy 1821. Yep, and interesting ly people people with epilepsy the doctors that treat them used like this whole assortment of medications to treat epilepsy and interesting laid those exact same medications are almost across the board used for every psychiatric disorder that we have and so psychiatrist and epilepsy doctors pretty much use similar and often times identical medications to treat very different symptoms in people. So if any of your listeners,
00:17:01How to mental illness or know anybody with a mental illness some of the common names are things like Depakote Lamictal Tegretol Topamax Ativan Xanax Klonopin Valium, all of those are antiepileptic medications, but with any mental health knowledge at all, you know, those are actually used much more commonly for psychiatric disorders than they are for epilepsy more prescriptions on Topamax for headaches at one point in her life. And so that's a perfect example two things that affect the brain we we only have a certain number of treatments and we end up using those treatments for lots of different brain disorders, including, you know, headaches including seizures, but also including
00:18:01Most of the mental disorders things that we call quote-unquote mental and that suggests that Nate, you know that either the term mental illness or mental disorder. It implies that it's not real. It implies that it's just like a figment of your imagination in your head. And you know, I do think it is in your head. It's in your brain and your brain is in your head, but I think it's simply just like, you know, people just being wrong about something or having an anxious thought about something and all they need to do is snap out of it and it'll stop mental disorders aren't that simple?
00:18:48Tell Chris I want to get into cuz you mentioned earlier how there's people that have obesity and there's people that don't have obesity and they equally have some of these mental issues going on has anybody ever done any research including yourself looking at the connection between a condition like insulin resistance or some other similar metabolic disorder and its relationship to this?
00:19:12yes, we have there is a lot of research on that actually, and so it actually
00:19:24Kind of is a is one of the strongest Arguments for thinking about the ketogenic diet and mental disorders. So we know that.
00:19:37People who have mental illnesses are much more likely to develop diabetes and that's like the extreme form of insulin resistance. So people who get diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder three times more likely to develop diabetes than people who don't have it people who have depression are 60% more likely to develop diabetes and people who don't have depression and interesting ly the relationship goes both ways. And so if you have diabetes people who have diabetes are two times more likely to develop clinical depression than people who don't have it when they do get diabetes or when they do get depression it last four times longer and diabetics then it doesn't people who don't have diabetes. And so so that meant about
00:20:37Disorder of diabetes regardless of how you look at it whether you look at people who have diabetes or whether you look at people have mental illnesses both of them feed each other and we know that people with mental disorders are much more likely to have heart attacks. We ate there twice as likely to have a heart attack as people who don't have a mental disorder and we know that people who have mental disorders, especially chronic mental disorders, they die in a much younger age than the rest of us to people with schizophrenia die anywhere from ten to twenty-five years younger than they should people with major depression who have it for a long time die anywhere from 10 to 20 years younger than they should and the interesting thing when I say that statistic
00:21:37Most people think other all killing themselves there. There's whiny people who go and kill themselves will know actually what they're dying of our heart attacks. That's first and foremost. They are dying of heart attacks are also dying of cancer and their dying of dementia. So all of these things are related to your body's metabolism and it turns out that there have been some really good studies done in people who have schizophrenia Who develops schizophrenia for the very first time and some researchers studied a group of patients who came into the hospital with new onset schizophrenia. Dad never been on any medication at all for schizophrenia and still they were newly diagnosed and what they found is it those people even though they didn't have diabetes yet.
00:22:36Chewing the measured their blood glucose it was okay, but what they found is when they give them more sophisticated test you for insulin resistance. Yep, they pretty much across-the-board all had signs of insulin resistance. And so the way that were thinking about that disorder in particular now, there's a lot of a lot of researchers followed that up with brain scans and studies of kind of brain metabolism. And what we've found is that people who are diagnosed with a serious psychiatric disorder and this includes schizophrenia bipolar disorder and chronic depression that all of them have high levels of higher levels of insulin resistance in their brains than people who don't have those disorders.
00:23:38Say it's so it's complicated and the right now people can't get that kind of a test. It's not available in clinical use it's only available. As a rate for is a research study right now, but they they test it by doing a brain scan and and kind of measuring how much glucose is actually getting into the brain cell a while and then how much energy is produced from that glucose and what we find across-the-board is it people with chronic mental disorders, their brain cells aren't producing enough energy while their brain cells are actually energy deprived and and it's because glucose seems to have trouble getting into the cell and glucose is the primary fuel that most people's bodies work off of
00:24:33And that sets the stage for you and your listeners. You probably already know. Well if glucose doesn't work, what about ketones maybe if glucose can't get into those brain cells, maybe we could get some ketones in there and their brain cells might start producing enough energy and functioning better. Yep. And lo and behold that is what we're finding. There are a couple of mouse studies demonstrating this affect. There is some research going on even with Alzheimer's disease and I'm certainly using this with a lot of patients typically patients with chronic mental illness. So people who have schizophrenia bipolar disorder or chronic depression and all of these people have gotten treatment and they're taking medications they're doing there.
00:25:33Be there going in and out of hospitals and they're still sick. They're still suffering and our treatments are failing them a day that they're not failing. Our treatment treatments are failing them and I am a big advocate for those people cuz a lot of times they get blamed for having a treatment-resistant disorder other not trying hard enough. Yep. That's such good treatment. They should work it would be like, you know is Topamax didn't work for your wife's migraine blaming her because the medication didn't want you to play out. She's not trying hard enough to make her migraines go away. They do that now with obesity. He's just just cut your calories some more if you're not losing weight. Come on, just get with it get with the program.
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00:27:07Obesity has a type of stigma unto itself and there's definitely some overlap between mental disorders and the type of Sigma that people with mental disorders get and the type of signal that people with obesity cat, you know, they're not trying hard enough is a big one and that's crazy with mental illness and and I would actually say it's crazy with obesity greed. I was that was a given cuz I talked about that all the time but the mental illness when it's like come on these people. They have a clinical diagnosis. Let's let's be a little compassionate.
00:27:48You would think but you know same thing can be said for obesity Rite Aid they have a clinical diagnosis. There's a problem with their body's metabolism people like, you know, and you know, when one way that I try to get people to understand this is sometimes than people that like, they really don't get it they say at all, you know, I stop eating when I'm done like why don't they stop eating at the table there eating more than I'm eating? No wonder they're fat and and I look at them and I say will you know, what date did you consciously make a decision to stop eating or did your brain tell you you're full?
00:28:36And you felt that you felt. Maybe even you felt stuffed until you stopped eating and they're usually like hell. Yeah, that's what it is. I felt stuff tonight. So I stopped eating like it was good food and all but I'm not going to like you. I'm not going to keep eating until I puke I'm like what if I told you like what it what if I turn that signal off in you in that thin person, what would have you didn't feel fall? What if you almost never felt like stuffed like what what if you could quite fill up your tank so to speak?
00:29:15You probably wouldn't stop eating you would probably always eat a little more or what if it's just more food to get you to feel full. What if what if it took more than what you eat to get you to feel full you would probably eat until you felt full and at the problem with people who are obese is that that signal. Signal of your foal is is kind of malfunctioning. It's not it's not working and the people are getting the clear unequivocal signal of your full when they should be sometimes it arrived that signal arrives but never arrives too late after they've eaten more than they probably should which will result in them gaining even more weight, but there's a reason for that.
00:30:15And you know that a lot of people are.
00:30:20Kind of researching this question and trying to figure it out. But the one thing that we can say for sure, I don't know if you've already talked about this with some other guests or not, but this hormone called leptin. Oh, yeah, you know people with obesity they have what's called leptin resistance and what that mean what that means is that their brain doesn't get that full signal there. They're fat cells are actually working just fine. There fat cells are sending out the signal. It's called leptin and it's a hormone that goes up to your brain and its supposed to tell your brain like stop eating. You're all set you had enough
00:31:02And they're fat cells are pumping out all of this leptin people who are obese actually have very high levels of leptin which which means that they're fat cells are actually desperately trying to get them to stop eating their fat cells are like going spastic like hey, yo, dude. Stop eating stop. Stop. Stop. You're sad what we're we're Beyond capacity here. We don't need any more.
00:31:32And get that person's brain is ignoring that signal for some reason. It's not coming through and when when that signal doesn't come through, what do you feel like you feel hungry you feel like eating and it's so it turns out that you know people who have chronic mental disorders, especially the big ones especially the two biggest ones which are schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Those are kind of the it the big kind of serious genetically-based mental disorders people with those disorders have ridiculously high rates of obesity.
00:32:21And the interesting thing is that when they first get diagnosed, they're not obese. They're actually use their across-the-board just like the rest of the American population. They might be obese but most of them are not most of them are normal weight. They usually get diagnosed in their late teens or early twenties and they come in a normal way.
00:32:48And yet if you follow them for 20 years more than I'd like the majority of them the majority of people with both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia become obese and you know, a lot of people think it's because of the medications we prescribed to them and there's no doubt that the medications we prescribe cause weight gain and and cause diabetes even it so there's no question about that but it turns out that even when we look at populations of people who don't get the medications that we prescribe if we even go back in time like a hundred years people with these mental disorders had very high rates of diabetes and obesity. Anyway, even without the treatments and increasingly
00:33:43It's all pointing to the possibility that there is an overlap between what we call a metabolic disorder and what we call a mental disorder and that is really kind of my current passion will and it seems to me that if we have this much evidence of the hormonal relationship to all of this that they would be more research being done into this and I know you're doing a lot of that research now, are there anybody else out there or is there anybody else out there this kind of looking into this whole metabolic relationship you mentioned earlier that there's a higher propensity for type 2 diabetes and heart disease and cancer and when I hear you rattle off all of those conditions chronic diseases of our day, all I hear is insulin connect connection insulin connection insulin connection. So if there's that big of a red flag being put up with all of these chronic diseases including mental disorders, why isn't it being looked at more?
00:34:44So it's a great question and you're preaching to the choir with me at least but it so it interesting ly it is being looked at. And so we already have this data we have this evidence. So the researchers have known that the challenge is that nobody knows what to do with it. Okay, so they they know these things exist from a scientific perspective bacon do brain scans. They can draw your blood and measure levels and into that is really pretty much proven. We have we have hundreds and hundreds of studies on this and put the studies.
00:35:31Again, that there simply identifying a problem. It's common across all of these disorders you but nobody has been able to figure out what to do with that information in a practical way. So, okay. So what so insulin resistance is there so what do we do about it? How do we get into it? Does that mean people need to take insulin interesting Lee?
00:36:02Psychiatry has gone through that wait, wait around the turn of the century a hundred years ago. We would give people insulin is a treatment for chronic psychotic disorders and including the end even chronic depression. What year was called insulin coma therapy is kind of barbaric that they give people massive doses of insulin.
00:36:30So that their blood sugar lowered like plummeted. Some of them would even have seizures. Most of them would go into a coma and that that was the goal is to put people into a coma while interesting lie with Akita research. It were also almost certainly in a ketogenic State and put that was like the treatment of the day because we didn't have anything else to do for people and so all of these patients in asylums, we're getting this insulin coma therapy treatment and lo and behold even though it kind of got debunked.
00:37:13You know in you know early mid nineteen hundreds and it fell out of favor that was around the time that we started developing other psychiatric medications. The medications were a lot easier than an insulin coma and and and and yeah less barbaric, but the interesting thing is that some researchers and some psychiatrists who are around in the day that I've spoken with actually swear that it really worked it like and they've lived to today. They've seen are treatment outcomes. They've seen what medications can do the same with what all the other treatments we have can do and they would stay like know the insulin coma therapy is barbaric is it was it actually really work for a lot of people people
00:38:13Get better and so there was so so the what's a conundrum is I don't think anybody wants to go back to that. And so they can understand nobody ever pass the medical review board on that one it is and so that the challenge today is what to do with this information. So one of one of the things that's a really big buzz word nowadays in in medical research and and even in pop culture is evidence-based inflammation inflammation is elevated in people who have obesity. We know that inflammation is elevated in people who have diabetes. We know the information is elevated in people have cardiovascular disease their connection here and chronic mental disorders have higher levels of inflammation to as measured by what and I
00:39:13CRP and well, that's the thing. So in all of these studies at the measures, we don't have one specific measure. It's reliably elevated in everyone with that disorder. That's not that's not elevated in people who don't have the disorder. Right? And so we can't really use it as a diagnostic test right now, but we know what we know across the board is that all of those disorders are associated with higher levels of inflammation and depending on what marker of inflammation you want to look at.
00:39:55But that's a perfect example of and yet nobody knows what to do with that information and it's not for lack of trying so, you know, there's there are still some really popular diets the anti-oxidant diet which is all about, you know, fruits and vegetables or take a lot of pills and supplements with antioxidants. And what's that supposed to do it supposed to lower your levels of inflammation and what why why would you want to do that? Well, because all those bad disorders have high levels of inflammation, so maybe if we lower the information that'll help and it turns out that
00:40:35We've done some pretty rigorous long-term studies of antioxidants for instance in terms of may be preventing Alzheimer's disease. There was a really large studies with thousands of people where they gave them for instance vitamin E, which is an antioxidant and they gave a group of them vitamin E and they gave the other group a placebo pill and they try to follow them for years and they looked at like we'll just getting people and antioxidants help prevent Alzheimer's disease and unfortunately what they found is that it doesn't it didn't make a difference and so we know that people have high levels of inflammation but antioxidants aren't the answer to that problem. And so
00:41:24So there's a connection between all of these metabolic disorders. There's a connection between insulin resistance and mental disorders. And I'm going to include Alzheimer's disease is a neurological or is a mental whatever you want to call it interesting. They even though I know some of your listeners might be a might be horrified that I just said all timers disease might Mike, have something to do with a mental disorder that ties into the stigma of mental disorders are crazy people and also me with Alzheimer's oh that poor person. They've got a brain disorder and I certainly don't mean any disrespect at all to the people with Alzheimer's disease but one statistic that I'll share with you. Is that among people who do have Alzheimer's disease.
00:42:19Forty-two 50% of them so half of them have psychosis and that means they're hallucinating or they're delusional and those are the Hallmark symptoms of schizophrenia believe it or not. And and so it's
00:42:37I think there's a connection you just eat just saying this too sick like that. And yeah, I think there's a connection there all Odom quote crazy and and they're both disorder schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease have been associated with insulin resistance type 3 diabetes. So I'm a big fan of you know, I think the sum of the neurologists and certainly the keto Community has been pretty good about getting the word out on all timers disease and how low-carb ketogenic diets May. In fact play a role in you know, decreasing a person's chance of developing Alzheimer's disease, but as it relates the insulin resistance and stuff, but I'm I'm on a bandwagon about getting people to broaden that kind of
00:43:34You know the list of disorders so everybody in the keto Community already knows about weight loss. They know about diabetes they know about heart disease and a lot of them know about the Alzheimer's disease story and I want to include pretty much most of the mental disorders and with that but certainly the serious chronic mental disorders things like schizophrenia bipolar disorder and chronic treatment-resistant depression. They kind of belong in that same group of disorders. Yeah. We need to take away the stigma associated with it. Just like we need to take away the stigma associated with obese people are lazy. They need to get their act together. I love kind of that analogy Chris cuz far too many people they relate to that one cuz they've dealt with that but they may not necessarily relate to the schizophrenia bipolar and depression. But look at them you guys in the exact same way and I love what you have.
00:44:34Cher here today Chris has been really really fascinating. I definitely want you to tell your story about how you got into keto cuz it's a personal story from a couple of decades ago and then tell us about your dad from about a decade ago that story before we in the show sounds good. So I got into key. So I've been in a lot of people say you're a psychiatrist. This cracking psychiatrist is talking about keto for Psychiatry. He's jump and so either people call me a quack or people in the commute keto Community even if said, you know, this psychiatrist is jumping on our bandwagon and I'm like well hello people. I've been on your bandwagon for 20 years. And so if you haven't been on the bandwagon for 20 years, I got you and my bandwagon started with what was it that time called the Atkins diet.
00:45:30And you know, I was in my late 20s early 30s, I you know, I was finishing up medical school. I was starting a residency internship and I was you know, pretty disciplined about trying to follow a quote-unquote healthy lifestyle and it. Time the healthy lifestyle was definitely included exercise until I exercise pretty regularly and I was also on a super low fat diet because that's what everybody said I should be on that was a thing and I was on a low-fat diet and sure enough.
00:46:12Even though yeah by the book I wasn't even quote unquote overweight. My my I had a belly I definitely had a belly and put my blood pressure was going up. My cholesterol levels were going up. I had some signs and symptoms of prediabetes and I kept going into my doctor year after year and he kept saying oh it's getting worse. It's getting worse. You eat you better take care of that and I'm like, what do I need to do to take care of a sick diet and exercise cuz I'm like what diet what exercise I'm doing. I'm doing it. I'm doing exercise. I'm doing everything you're telling me.
00:46:52I'm finally at one point. He says you know it all so it must be genetic does your mom have diabetes or high blood pressure or high cholesterol? I'm like, yeah. She does does your dad have diabetes or high blood pressure icon? Yeah. He does sucks to be you. It's genetic an idiot, but you have no choice you got to go on medicine and I was really kind of pissed. I was pretty pissed off at this time, right you kind of understood a lot of this stuff and I had heard through the grapevine to various friends about this, you know, crazy quacky Atkins diet and I had heard about some people with diabetes doing it and their diabetes actually was getting better and you know up until then I was pretty skeptical of all of that. Like I heard these reports from friends and family, but I was like, I don't really believe that
00:47:52that's that they're just making shit off because there is no way eating the Atkins diet would make diabetes better and
00:48:00but kind of in one act of defiance against the medical community was just so pissed cuz I was working so hard in my low-fat diet and and and it was not working out for me it so I was just kind of like I was like, I'm going to try that fucking Atkins diet. I'm sorry, but I'm going to try that stupid Atkins diet because I'm really pissed off and and you know, it probably won't work. But and then I'll just have to go on medicine. And so so you did it out of spite. I did it out of spite. I really did because I was frustrated and pissed at the medical community for now have more now. I love you so much more or not having a better answer for me. I was really pissed and so I do it out of spite.
00:48:50If 3 months later I go into the doctor and lo and behold not only had I lost about like 10 lb but lo and behold my LDL cholesterol, which is the bad one had plummeted my HDL cholesterol, which is the good one had doubled and my blood pressure had plummeted to like a really low but healthy range and the doctor looks at me and he's like, oh my God, what did you do? And I just lookin Ave in Grand and I say I'm doing the Atkins diet, but whatever you're doing. It's clearly working. So keep it up and
00:49:31But I was a little upset that I had to come upon, you know, myself no medical doctor ever told me to do it. I I I felt like I was such a rebel for even trying it welcome to my world bro. That's that was almost the exact same story for me and medical professionals are putting out this scene kind of dietary advice. So just just cut your calories more that you're fat more and if it's not working, right, it must be genetic that's kind of the default position that a lot of medical professionals even still today with all that we know still are given out to patients it is and it's disgusting. It's disgusting it is disgusting and you know, I'm a medical professional and the one thing that I want to say is that I want to stand up and defend some of my medical professionals because I think that I do think that most people who become doctors
00:50:28Are actually good people I agree. They actually really want to help people that you don't you don't do this work. Some people think you have become a doctor to get rich will know if it is a specialized probably not really don't end and you have to work really really hard at it. And in order to get any kind of satisfaction out of this work you really have to like people and you have to want to help people tell that to some of the medical doctors people have been to because some of them obviously don't like people I know and and there are definitely some bad apples out there. But my thing is that you know, the medical doctors are only doing what they're taught and and and they're doing
00:51:17What everybody believes is true? And even though they're not looking around at all their patients and recognizing like well, we got an obesity epidemic on our hands what we got two diabetes epidemic on our hands are advice isn't working the quote-unquote experts. Keep telling them. Don't keep keep going out the same advice and I think by and large most doctors trust these quote-unquote medical experts experts. I do want to hold accountable because they're supposed to be smart and they're setting standards and when they see that their standards and guidelines are leading to detrimental epidemics of obesity and diabetes and cardiovascular disease and everything else in our society that they should be waking up and looking at the data, but
00:52:10But I don't vilify regular doctors, but what I do want to do is I want to change their minds yet. I want them to understand that the that the recommendations they have been giving our wrong. They're not based in science. They're not based in fact, and all you got to do is look around your practice test at the patient's you're treating to see they're not working. They're just not working and they're not working. It's not because your patients are all lazy Slackers. It's because your patients are actually God forbid listening to your stupid advice and it's it's leading them astray just like that. Same stupid advice lead me astray. My cholesterol was horrible. My blood pressure was horrible as a good person. I was a disciplined person. I was doing everything they told me and it was it was
00:53:10Farming my body and when I switched over to a low carb or ketogenic diet everything changed and so I want to continue to add to the science space. But I also want to spread the word and try to persuade all these Healthcare professionals that the low-fat kind of Mantra is it had its day it's time for it's time for a new order will and you had this become very personal for you when your own father about a decade ago was pretty much written off by the medical profession.
00:53:45Yeah, no, so my dad. I'll try to make it quick. It could become a long story and I can get long winded but I probably thinks Channel cuz this is this is your dad. This is my dad and my father had diabetes not his whole life. He developed diabetes probably when he was about fifty or so and on.
00:54:12So he had a had it at that point for about 25 years and it was just progressively getting worse, you know, I started with medication then quickly moved to insulin and Insulin doses kept going up.
00:54:27And he got to a point where he was on massive doses of insulin and his blood sugars were still anywhere from 300 to 600 which is just like ridiculously out of control and he was bedridden. He was also severely depressed. He was basically dying he was
00:54:50In bed he couldn't sit up on his own and he had been in an assisted living facility in and they were saying we can't take care of him anymore. He's got to go to a nursing home. And basically it was basically yours go to a nursing home to die and it wouldn't be a pleasant death because you knew he was bedridden and so it's go to a nursing home to stare at the ceiling until you die.
00:55:23we had tried a number of rehab hospitalizations. We had tried other Hospital. We've tried different doctors and other over the prior three years and that's where we landed and I talked to doctors and ask them like well, why can't he walk and they were they would just say well he'll never walk again and I'm like well why exactly can't he walk and they would either say we don't know for sure.
00:55:50To which I would reply well then how do you know he'll never walk or they would say diabetes? It's his diabetes, but they would say he's got diabetic neuropathy, which is irreversible and once diabetic neuropathy sets and there is no going back. It's irreversible and so he will never walk again. His nerves going to his legs are damaged Beyond repair and but I was now pretty much keto Rebel and I've been doing this for over 10 years now at that point you and I think what it could do for me and so I had a long talk with him and I said dad, you know, if you want to go to a nursing home to die. That's okay. I'm fine with that and I can help arrange that but if you want
00:56:50Try to maybe get better. You could come live with me. I didn't want to run a nursing home for him and I didn't want him just hanging out in my home waiting to die my father and I actually were never that close since so that's one of the reasons I didn't want to do that.
00:57:12But I wanted to try to help him if he wanted to get better and ultimately he agreed and I said, you know, they're there going to be a couple of conditions. One of them is that you're going to have to go on a diet and you got to have to do it and I don't want any lip service from you. You're just going to do it and and do as you're told you're not going to like it. I don't care and the second thing is that you're going to have to exercise and he like dropped his job and kind of laughed at me sarcastically like Chris. I can't I can't even sit up on my own. I can't walk. What the hell do you mean exercise? And I said, well, don't worry. I'm not going to ask you to do anything that you don't run a marathon. Yeah. I'm not going to ask you to do anything that you can't physically do but you're going to exercise.
00:57:59And so sure enough I brought them to my home and I put them on a ketogenic diet and I I do have to kind of say for the record and even to warn some of your listeners. Like if you're not a medical professional, please don't try this on your own at home. And the reason that I stay that is that my dad was really sick. He was really dying. He was bedridden he had ridiculously out-of-control diabetes and then I put them on a low carbohydrate diet which made his blood sugars plummet, but he was still on massive doses of insulin. Yes, and so the insulin needed to be adjusted very quickly and
00:58:50His body wasn't at all used to that kind of so a lot of your listeners probably know the term keto.flu well for my dad this was the keto flu from how and it was really medically dangerous keto flu from hell. And and that's the main reason I say if you if you got a loved one with diabetes who is bedridden, please don't just Wingmaster if you're not a medical professional, but I did it and I got my dad threw it and slowly but surely he got dramatically better and within six months he was walking again. Wow on his own after being told he would never walk again. Yeah well and it was interesting one of his primary care doctor here in Boston.
00:59:42He saw the progression of what I had done for my father and he looked at me when when I brought him in when he could walk again. He looked at me and he said like what are you doing? What magic did you pull out of your bag? And I said I have pretty much a Skins diet.
01:00:06And he just looked at me and shook his head and he said I've never seen anything like this in my medical career. He's like you really need to go and set up like an Atkins clinic or something you eat, whatever you're doing you need to do this because there are so many more people who need this help.
01:00:30And I was complimented but that bitterness came back to me because I was like, you know, what damn you I either want to have to go do this yet for god sakes you should be doing this for all of your diabetic patients for all of your overweight patients for all of your patients with cardiovascular disease. Have you followed up with him at all over the past decade since that, I guess since he kind of had his eyes open to see if he's changed at all.
01:01:04That's a great suggestion. I have not. I thought you would now and then let me know cuz I think that would be fascinating and he's had to have heard about it with that was 2009 at that would like Primal and paleo and Whole30 and now keto kind of ruling the roost in the popular diet Trends all of those are basically the same kind of diet that you put yourself and your dad on you would think. Oh, wow, I'm saying so much good from this that he did shift his business model depending on his age. I guess if he's up there in age. She may not old dog can't teach him a new tricks freestyle, but that's that's that is a hope that I have certainly within the next 5 or 10 years is to see some medical clinics. Yeah that I really going to do these kind of interventions for the people who really need because they're just so sick right from years of insulin resistance that they need medical.
01:02:04Supervision to get better. Will the good news is we're seeing a lot more medical doctors step up and and kind of say hey look we do practice ketogenic therapy. Obviously, not for everyone. It's going to be very bile individual but it helps a whole lot of people with these metabolic orders. We've been talking about here a disorders. We've been talking about here today. I know my friend. Dr. Eric Westman who I co-wrote keto Clarity with he's opening up these heal clinics that he's trying to, you know, get all over the country that would do exactly that it would be a metabolic place for people with diabetes and other conditions and I'll definitely put a bug in his ear don't turn away people dealing with schizophrenia bipolar and depression as well cuz it's the same disease. So as well as interesting that you bring him out. So I actually know dr. Westman myself he and I just cook coauthored a paper on to patients with schizophrenia. Nice.
01:03:04AR-10 complete remission from their illness off of medications, Congratulations, by the way, thank you. So so, dr. Westman knows this population and knows the population. Well, I don't know if I don't know if the heel of the last I spoke with him that heal clinics didn't have a psychiatrist working with them at least it back on and on and I know that he appropriately had concerns because I think you do need a psychiatrist to work with patients who have serious psychiatric disorders. Just if nothing else to know how to manage the medications to know how to manage the symptoms to know what to look for and so it it it can be a complicated thing. But but I I do hope to see the day when we have treatment clinics that can do this work for all of these types of
01:04:04Disorders. Well, I think it's coming sooner than later and certainly since you first began this way back in the late 90s and even with your dad a decade ago, we are so far ahead of the curve of where I thought we would be at this point. I've been at this for 15 years Chris and never in my lifetime have I seen since I've been doing this such hope that this is finally penetrating into the culture and that maybe just maybe we can get people on the pathway to health again and unfortunately, it's it's been led by people like myself are just lay people patients trying to help other people figure this out and not the medical profession. So it's it's heartening that we were able to have you here today on the living will be the low carb show to articulate what you're doing to help trumpet this along.
01:04:50Thank you know I'd it's a pleasure to be here and I applaud your efforts and all the other people just like you because you know, a lot of times big changes don't happen without a Grassroots movement and a Grassroots movement means people who are living it are affected by it. They need to rise up and stand up and have their voices heard. So thank you for what you're doing. Thank you. Again his name. Dr. Chris Palmer. Check him out. Chris Palmer. Md.com c h r i s p a l m e r MD., Thanks so much for joining us here today on the living la Vida low-carb show.
01:05:33Livin la Vida low-carb show was changing lives in you talkin about your diet trying to get you the bill and bright avocado some eggs time to explore the longest gas hosted by Jimmy Moore for the kids up for credit card issue getting into ketosis skin everyday is a new septic. Just go to the get inspiration from the Livin La Vida Loca.
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