026: Can THIS Controversial Scan Reveal The Truth About Brain Health?
“If I can see it, I can change it”
When he began studying psychiatry, Dr. Daniel Amen’s dad asked him why he didn’t want to become a “real doctor”. And that was just the beginning of a career full of profession-related misconceptions, including the stigma-loaded narrative that psychiatry is only for “crazy” people.
But instead of accepting the prevailing narrative, Dr. Amen worked to revolutionize the psychiatric field from within. Having been trained as an x-ray technician, Dr. Amen was one of extremely few psychiatric doctors who was actually interested in studying the brain itself. Using controversial brain-imaging SPECT scans has allowed him to catch problems in the brain before they develop into more serious conditions (such as Alzheimer’s), and also to identify the physical causes of trauma (i.e. alcohol, physical trauma, nutrition).
Dr. Amen has overcome huge social and institutional pressures in his career, to become America’s “most famous psychiatrist”. He has also published multiple best-selling books (including a #1 New York Times bestseller called Memory Rescue).
In this episode of the podcast….
Dr. Daniel Amen, talks to Dr. Gundry about why he hates the term “mental illness”, why getting less sleep hinders your ability to make good decisions (gulp!), how you can actively change your mood by killing ANTs (automatic negative thoughts), and why he believes that psychiatric problems are actually brain problems.
Dr. Gundry: 00:00 Hey there. Welcome to another exciting episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where I give you the tools you need to support your gut, boost your health, and live your youngest, healthiest life.
Speaker 2: 00:19 Each week, Dr. Steven Gundry, a cardiologist, medical innovator, and author of New York Times bestsellers The Plant Paradox and The Plant Paradox Cookbook shares the latest in cutting-edge health information. He’s excited to be a part of your unique health journey, so let’s get started.
Dr. Gundry: 00:37 So before we get into this week’s episode, let’s take a look at our review of the week.
Dr. Gundry: 00:42 [Sonsun 00:00:42] at TKF writes, “Such an amazing, educational podcast. Loved the Plant Paradox book, and the foods have helped to heal my damaged gut. The podcast is like a continuation of the books and cookbooks, as I can learn a little more each week. Dr. Gundry really, truly cares about his p-p-peeps.” You know, that … Believe it or not, it’s not a saying. I do this for you. I’ve been doing this for 19 years because of people like you who write me and tell me what a difference I make in your life, so thank you for telling me. So if you want me to read your review, make sure to rate and review The Dr. Gundry Podcast on iTunes.
Dr. Gundry: 01:27 Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. On today’s show, I’m gonna be talking to America’s most popular psychiatrist. That’s quite an honor. And he’s a 10 time bestselling author. Most of you know him, or at least have heard of him: Dr. Daniel Amen. Dr. Amen has spent decades researching the brain, and he’s pioneered the use of a special kind of brain imaging called a spec scan, and it’s both incredibly important and, quite frankly, incredibly controversial. And he’s been using spec scans to really help people change their brains their lives. His most recent book is Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, but he’s got so many books that I’m trying to catch up with him. So welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. It’s great to see you in person. I’ve known you for years, but welcome. Thanks for coming.
Dr. Amen: 02:31 Well, thank you so much. It’s a joy to be with you, and it’s always funny when people introduce me and say it’s controversial to look at the brain. You have to ask yourself, well, isn’t it controversial not to look at the brain and people who have complex psychiatric or neurological problems? So it continues to blow me away that they think I’m controversial when psychiatrists are virtually the only medical doctors who never look at the organ they treat. So I just remain confused, but feel incredibly blessed to have done this work.
Dr. Gundry: 03:18 You know, that’s a great place to start. As a psychiatrist, what drove you to say there’s got to be a way of looking at the brain rather than talking to people or seeing what a drug is gonna do? What was the impetus?
Dr. Amen: 03:39 So, before I went to medical school, I was an infantry medic, and that’s where my love of medicine was born. But then I was trained as an X-ray technician and developed a passion for medical imaging. And our professors used to say, “How do you know unless you look?” And then when I fell in love with psychiatry, I went, “Well, of course we should look. The brain is our organ.” I mean, Freud knew that. Freud was actually a neurologist. The brain is our organ, and how do I know if your depression is due to head trauma or toxic exposure or inflammation, or your brain works too hard or not hard enough? And so early on, even in medical school, I was agitating, “We should look at these patients. To assume you know what’s going on based on symptom clusters, while as a cardiothoracic surgeon, you wouldn’t operate on people unless you knew the map. So why am I gonna throw darts in the dark, medications, at you if I don’t have a map?”
Dr. Amen: 04:48 And so in 1987, I started doing a study called quantitative EEG, and I really liked that, but in 1991 I went to a lecture on brain spectrum imaging. Brain spec is a nuclear medicine study. Cardiologists use it all the time to look at the heart. And when we started looking at the brain, it just revolutionized everything in my life. So unlike an MRI or a CT scan … Those are anatomy scans. They show what the brain actually physically looks like … spec looks at function. And the most exciting lesson we learned is I can see what’s going on, and if I can see it, I can change it.
Dr. Amen: 05:34 And that has really become the mission of my life. You’re not stuck with the brain you have. You can make it better. And I discovered that many of the medications I was taught to prescribe actually made the brain look worse, where things like diet and exercise and simple supplements made it better. And I remember in medical school, first do no harm, use the least toxi, most effective treatments, and it’s just made me a warrior for the health of your brain.
Dr. Gundry: 06:14 So there’s an epidemic of dementia going on. That’s rather obvious. Most of us know a family member or a friend, certainly I take care of a number of patients. Can you spot with a spec scan things that are going to, number one, predispose to a developing dementia? And number two, can you see something coming and then change that course?
Dr. Amen: 06:47 Well, so I have a book called Memory Rescue, and I’m so excited about it. And the idea behind it is if you wanna keep your brain healthy or rescue it if it’s going to the dark place, we can tell on scans years, often decades, before you have any symptoms if your brain is headed to the dark place. And how you reverse that is you prevent or treat the 11 major risk factors that steal your mind. And we know what they are.
Dr. Amen: 07:23 And just speaking of the science, there are over a thousand references in memory rescue, and spec can tell … And this has been published. There’s over 1,200 scientific studies on spec and dementia of one form or another. And you might know in the scientific literature, they’re talking a lot about amyloid imaging. And amyloid imaging will tell you Alzheimer’s or not, whereas spec will actually give you a differential diagnosis of nine different things. So spec can say, “Well, is it head trauma dementia or lewy body dementia?” the dementia that goes with Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Gundry: 08:06 Parkinson’s.
Dr. Amen: 08:06 Or is it normal pressure hydrocephalus, where your ventricles are too big because your brain’s under pressure? Is it a toxic, alcoholic dementia, or infectious disease?” which we’re talking about now more than ever before. And so it’s one of the reasons why I’ve always loved spec. People go, “Oh, there’s no science behind what Dr. Amen does,” and I just go, “Do you read?” I mean, today on pubmed.com, if you type in “brain spec,” you’ll get 14,000 scientific abstracts. It’s just people don’t know, because psychiatrists aren’t used to looking at the brain, so they’ve not been following the science like I have, because quite frankly, I’ve been obsessed with it for nearly 30 years.
Dr. Gundry: 08:59 A psychiatrist who’s obsessive. Hm. How do you feel about that?
Dr. Amen: 09:06 I feel awesome.
Dr. Gundry: 09:08 All right. All right. So help me … How does a psychiatrist interact with a neurologist? Like you said, Freud was actually a neurologist to start with. Are you talking the same language to each other? I mean, for instance, we were talking off-camera about Dale Bredeson, and I had on the podcast a couple weeks ago “Grain Brain,” Dr. Perlmutter. I think there’s a lot of commonality between psychiatrist and neurology. Do your colleagues in neurology feel the same way, or is that where the controversy is with using spec to look at this?
Dr. Amen: 09:59 Well, I think Dr. Perlmutter and Dr. Bredeson are friends in forward thinking. Grain Brain actually talks a lot about psychiatric issues. And I think the sad thing was psychiatry and neurology got divorced a long time ago, and that was a mistake, because most psychiatric problems are, in fact, brain problems. In fact, I’m working on a new project called The End of Mental Illness, because quite frankly, I hate the term “mental illness.” It’s stigmatizing. It stains people. And it’s basically the wrong paradigm.
Dr. Amen: 10:45 When I told my dad in 1979 I wanted to be a psychiatrist, he asked me why I didn’t wanna be a real doctor, why I wanted to be a nut doctor and hang out with nuts all day long. And there’s that stigma among psychiatrists. My wife, who we talked about, neurosurgical ICU nurse, she trained at Loma Linda where you were at, and she said she almost canceled her first date with me when she found out I was a psychiatrist, because she thought they were all crazy. So there’s this noise about it. So no one wants to see a psychiatrist. No one wants to be labeled as defective or crazy or abnormal, but everybody wants a better brain. So what if mental health was really brain health, and if we re-imagined it, we wouldn’t be engaging in brain-healthy habits …
Dr. Amen: 11:41 So get this. Brand new study out of Australia. Two remote islands. One has fast food on it, one does not have fast food on it. The island with fast food had lower Omega 3 levels in their blood, so their Omega 3 index was significantly lower, and the level of depression was four times. So food matters. But we weren’t taught, as psychiatrist, anything about food. It was only when I started looking at, “Well, how do I make brains better?” that I came to the idea of, “Well, you gotta get your food right, because if your food’s not right, the physical organ, your brain, is not going to be right.” So it literally began to transform all of my thinking.
Dr. Gundry: 12:34 Yeah, I think that’s a great point. When I had Dr. Perlmutter on, his point, which is well-taken, is, “There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, period. There is no treatment for Alzheimer’s. But it is a completely, almost completely preventable disease.” As I agree with you, a huge amount of mental health is probably preventable with diet and lifestyle. So take me through how do you take someone who wants to have the best brain possible … Give me some action steps so people listening to us or watching us say, “Okay, I’m gonna take this away and I’m going to … My brain’s gonna feel better fast.” What can I do?
Dr. Amen: 13:26 So in Feel Better Fast, I have this pneumonic I like, BRAINXL, and it is basically the program we use here at Amen Clinic. So the first thing you do is you get your brain right, because when your brain works right, you work right, and when it doesn’t, you don’t. And there are actually nearly a hundred tiny habits, so it’s the smallest thing you can do today that will make the biggest difference. And the tiny habit for brain health is before you go and do something, you just ask yourself this question, “Is this good for my brain or bad for it?”
Dr. Amen: 14:03 And then you just have to know the list. Alcohol, it’s not a health food. It drops brain food, and people who drink every day have a smaller brain. There’s a study out of Johns Hopkins. When it comes to the brain, it’s the only organ where size matters. Exercise is good. Vegetables, especially colorful vegetables, are good. Omega 3 fatty acids are good. Oranges are great. Orange juice, it’s bad, because it’s unwrapped fructose, and it’s way too much sugar, which turns out to be pro-inflammatory for you. So if you know the list, that becomes really important. So we talk about how to get your brain right.
Dr. Amen: 14:52 How to get your mind right. So the R in BRAINXL is your rational mind, and you can train that to help you. For most people, it hurts them. And so the tiny habit whenever you feel mad or sad or nervous or out of control, write down what you’re thinking. Ask yourself if it’s true. So I teach people how to kill the ANTS, the automatic negative thoughts that steal your happiness. And another tiny habit I love is start every day with, “Today is going to be a great day.” Because if you do that, you begin to train your mind to look for what’s right rather than what’s wrong, and then you end the day with, “What went well today?” And research has shown, in three weeks, that will just increase your level of happiness. Those two very tiny habits will increase your level of happiness. Yes, you could take Prozac, but it’s got all sorts of side effects, and once you start it, you can’t stop it. Once you start, “Today is going to be a great day,” you’re not going to want to stop it.
Dr. Amen: 16:05 The A in BRAINXL is attachments. It’s just the thing. Our relationships, when they’re good, they make us super happy, and when they’re bad, sometimes they make you wanna kill yourself. And so I teach people, after 40 years of being a psychiatrist, what are the most important things? And I teach them to go, “Okay, what’s your goal in your relationships?” So mine with my wife is very clear. I wanna have a kind, caring, loving, supportive, passionate relationship with Tana. But I don’t always feel that way. So I always want it, but I don’t always feel that way, so if I’m gonna engage my frontal lobes, I ask myself, “Does my behavior get me what I want?” So if I have this rude thought that just popped into my head, well, does that help me or does it hurt me? So attachments are really important. I actually … There’s a scientific process of forgiveness that I include in the book that’s just so special.
Dr. Amen: 17:10 I is inspiration. We’re basically wearing out our pleasure centers in our country with our gadgets and social media. And I try to get people in touch with what’s passionate and purposeful for them, because it actually will push on your pleasure centers in a positive way.
Dr. Amen: 17:30 N is nutrition. X is the X-factor. One of the big lessons we’ve learned from imaging … We have a database now of 150,000 scans on people from 120 countries. So yes, my colleagues think it’s controversial, but literally people from all over the world seek out our help, especially if what they’ve done has failed. So that’s typically … We see treatment-resistant people. And we publish our outcomes. We have better outcomes than anybody in psychiatry, because we look at what we do before we do it.
Dr. Amen: 18:06 And then the last one is my favorite part of the book. It’s love. You do the right thing not because you should. I mean, nobody does that. God said, “You shouldn’t go to the tree.” The next scene, Adam and Eve are at the tree. It’s like, “No. You do the right thing because you get to stay in the garden. You do the right thing because you love yourself, your wife, your husband, your kids, your mission.” You never do it because you should. Doing the right thing is never hard. Being sick … You know this. Being sick is hard. Making good decisions to optimize your health is ultimately about love, and it’s not just about you. It’s literally about generations of you. Now we know it’s not really genetics, it’s epigenetics, that your habits turn on or off certain genes. They make illness more or less likely. Yes, in you, but also in your babies and your grandbabies.
Dr. Amen: 19:15 I have a new granddaughter who’s seven months old. Her name is Haven. She’s just so beautiful. And when Haven was born, think about this. Haven is a little girl. She was born with all of the eggs she’ll ever have in her ovaries. Little girls are born with all of the eggs she’ll ever have. So her habits, her diet, her level of stress, her infections, are turning on or off certain genes, making illness more or less likely, yes, in Haven, but also in Haven’s babies and Haven’s grandbabies. It really should give us all pause to say, “Look, it’s not about me. It’s about generations of me.”
Dr. Gundry: 20:03 Yeah, that’s true. You know the Dutch Famine Study really was one of the best studies to prove the impact of epigenetics. And just for people who don’t know that study, the Dutch, during World War II were blockaded by the Germans. And they literally were starving to death. And women who gave birth following that famine, the children were actually pre-disposed to obesity and diabetes because they reset their genes to seek out food because they … Basically, their genes didn’t want this to happen to them. Because what’s so interesting is those children’s children, and now the third generation is also being impacted by what happened in the 1940s, imprinting epigenetically on those children in the womb. It’s just … it’s scary, but it’s also, you’re right, I think empowering. Because if we understand, really from the get-go, what’s going to happen even as babies …
Dr. Gundry: 21:12 I have two young grandchildren, and thankfully, my daughter and her husband, they follow my program. And they actually raise their kids with the Plant Paradox method, because they get it. And they go, “Oh my gosh, what did my father do to me when I was a big fat guy?” But you’re right. It’s scary how much we now understand it’s not our genes. It really isn’t. Genes have very little to do about all this. It’s the imprint on those genes from epigenetic, from food, from lifestyle, that’s gonna make all the difference. Speaking of making the difference, what do you … Give me your thoughts about sleep. How important is it? How impactful is it on our mental health, and also on preventing dementia and memory loss?
Dr. Amen: 22:13 So in Feel Better Fast and Memory Rescue, I talk about this one idea. If you wanna keep your brain healthy or rescue it if it’s headed to the dark place, you have to prevent or treat the 11 major risk factors. And I have a pneumonic I love called BRIGHT MINDS. So B is for blood flow, and R is retirement and aging, and I is inflammation. And the S is sleep, because what I’ve seen is people who get less than seven hours at sleep at night have lower overall blood flow to their brain, which means more bad decisions. People who have sleep apnea … They snore loudly, the stop breathing at night … Their brain actually looks like they have early Alzheimer’s disease. It begins to kill the tissue in their parietal lobes, top back part of the brain, which is one of the first areas that dies in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Amen: 23:09 And then new research has shown that when you sleep, your brain cleans or washes itself. It’s basically cleaning up the amyloid plaques that are building in the brain. And so making it a priority is critical. And in 1900, on average, Americans got nine hours of sleep at night. Now in 2018, they got six and a half hours of sleep at night. You can’t go through that kind of radical change in such a short period of evolutionary history and it not have a negative impact on our wellbeing. Children who average one less hour of sleep at night have a higher incidence of suicide. So we need to be more thoughtful and make sleep a priority in our lives.
Dr. Gundry: 24:07 Okay. Give me one action step to get more sleep. Everyone who’s listening to us going, “Oh, that’s great for you to say, but I’m working two jobs, and I got three kids, and I’m stressed out at night, and I’m staring at my TV screen, and the last thing I wanna do is go to sleep.”
Dr. Amen: 24:23 So turn blue light blockers on every gadget that your eyes look at after dark. So you know, phones have them, computers have them, you can download simple apps for them. That way, you’re not going to be bombarded with the blue light that turns off melatonin. Also, don’t eat two hours before you go to bed, because people who eat right before they go to bed have a higher incidence of heart attack and strokes because their blood pressure doesn’t dip right before they go to sleep. So they’re called “non-dippers,” and they have a higher incidence of heart attack and stroke.
Dr. Amen: 25:09 And why I love talking to a cardiothoracic surgeon. Many years ago I realized … Because spec is a blood-flow study. It looks at blood flow and activity. And the number one brain imaging predictor of Alzheimer’s disease is low blood to your brain. So whatever’s good for your heart is good for your brain. And whatever’s bad for your heart is bad for your brain. So taking care of your blood vessels is actually one of the most important things you can do for your brain.
Dr. Gundry: 25:45 No, that’s very true. We have techniques to measure blood vessel flexibility in our clinic, and it’s fascinating. There’s a saying in longevity that you are only as young as your blood vessels are flexible, and that has to do with the brain as well. But we’ve found and published that certain substances, high polyphenol substances like grape seed extract, like coffee, like extra dark chocolate and olive oil has polyphenols that absolutely make your blood vessels more flexible. And when we add this to people’s diets, their blood vessels get flexible. And then we took them out of people’s diets, and we could actually prove that their blood vessels got stiff again. So yeah, you’ve gotta have blood flow to your heart, and you’ve gotta have the same thing to your brain. You’re absolutely right.
Dr. Gundry: 26:43 All right. I’ve gotta get you on the road to your next meeting. So on that same subject, what are people eating that’s unhealthy for their brain? And give me one action step to stop that habit and start a better habit for their brain.
Dr. Amen: 27:04 So I love this idea. I mean, you and I agree on the foods, right? Anything that’s pro-inflammatory. So Tana and I wrote a book called The Brain Warrior’s Way, and in it, we talk about the weapons of mass destruction, which are highly-processed, pesticide-sprayed, high-glycemic, low-fiber, food-like substances stored in plastic containers. With 70 percent of us overweight or obese, 50 percent of us are diabetic or pre-diabetic, this is the biggest brain drain in the history of the United States. I published two studies that show as your weight goes up the actual physical size and function of your brain goes down, which should scare the fat off anyone.
Dr. Amen: 27:55 So the one little tiny habit is when you go to eat something, ask yourself, “Do I love something that loves me back?” So I don’t know how many of your listeners have been in bad relationships. I have been in bad relationships in the past, where I loved people that didn’t love me back or weren’t good for me. And I’m not doing that anymore. I have a wonderful woman that I adore and I’m damn sure not doing it with food that I have total control over. So when you’re looking at that brownie or the donut or the cupcake, it’s like that is pro-inflammatory, it’s addictive, it increases erratic brain-cell firing, it doesn’t love you back. So you might love it, but it doesn’t love you back.
Dr. Amen: 28:47 The only things I eat are things that serve my health rather than steal from my health. So you gotta get your mind right about this. It’s not, “Oh, I don’t miss the Rocky Road ice cream,” I actually see it as a weapon of mass destruction. So you know you’re getting well when you find … And we’re all creatures of habit. What are the 20 foods you typically eat? I mean, people it’s like, 15 or 20 foods. That’s it. You just have to … It’s not hard. Just find 15 that you love that love you back. And Tana has a great cookbook called The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook, and last night, she made me asparagus soup with chicken, and it was just phenomenal. There is no suffering in getting well.
Dr. Gundry: 29:40 Yeah, you know, I used to know Jack LaLanne before he passed on, and Jack LaLanne … one of his favorite expressions, which I think is going too far, but, “If it tastes good, spit it out.”
Dr. Amen: 29:53 Yeah, no, that’s not right. Because you can train your taste buds. I mean, I love everything that I eat. My snack is a cup of frozen blueberries, and I love that. So talk about polyphenols, they are just loaded with it. And os you just have to find things that you love that love you back.
Dr. Gundry: 30:16 Okay. So boy, we’ve hit all the things I wanted to hit. One last thing. As you know, I’m fascinated with the microbiome both in our gut and the oral microbiome. Tell us … Research is evolving very very rapidly about the gut brain connection, and even the microbiome connection. Thoughts on that? What have you learned that’s changed your practice in the last few years with the human microbiome project and the brain?
Dr. Amen: 30:50 You know, we talked about, “Whatever’s good for your heart is good for your brain.” Well, whatever’s good for your microbiome is good for your brain as well. There’s actually a direct connection between the brain and the gut through the vagal nerve, and when you keep the gut bugs healthy, you’re happier. You’re actually less anxious. You feel less stress. And it helps to modulate inflammation. And the I in BRIGHT MINDS is inflammation, and in that part of the book, I talk all about the microbiome and how critical it is. So you wanna avoid things that hurt it. I mean, this isn’t hard. So for the brain, do things that help it. Avoid things that help it.
Dr. Amen: 31:35 For the microbiome, it’s the same. Do things that help it, avoid things that hurt it. So don’t take antibiotics unless you have to. You need to lessen the alcohol. Why did my wife, who’s a nurse, put alcohol on your skin before she gave you a shot? Because it’s killing the bugs. And I’m jut not a fan of murdering those gut bugs that detoxify your system, help you digest your food, make neurotransmitters, make vitamins, and so on. And then lots of fiber, because fiber actually becomes the prebiotic or the food for the gut bugs or the probiotics.
Dr. Gundry: 32:20 Yeah. Absolutely right. Perfect. All right. I do one last thing on my segment. I take an audience question. But I’ll do that after I say goodbye to you. So I really appreciate you coming on. It’s great to get to know you better. We’ll see you again, I hope.
Dr. Amen: 32:38 Thank you, Steven. What a joy to spend time you.
Dr. Gundry: 32:41 All right. So everybody, get this book and find out how to save your brain before it’s too late, and keep you happy. That’s … If nothing else, make yourself happy. Okay. So we’ve got an audience question.
Dr. Gundry: 32:57 [Corinna 00:32:57] asked, “Having such a hard time getting started with the diet. Any suggestions on helping with cravings?” Well, first of all, cravings are completely normal, as you’ve seen in The Plant Paradox, and as you’ll see in the upcoming Longevity Paradox. Your bad gut bugs actually control your desire for these bad foods. They actually send text messages to your brain, just like we were hearing with Dr. Amen, that you should feed them the things they like. And quite frankly, they love junk food. So it takes a few days for you to starve these guys, and if they don’t have what they want to eat, they actually die off and leave, because they no longer have that.
Dr. Gundry: 33:53 What’s fascinating is if you give your gut bugs the things they like, and quite frankly, that’s lots of green stuff, lots of leaves, lots of resistant starches like yams or jicama or taro root, just to name a few, the good bugs … This is what they grow on, and they multiply and literally push out the bad bugs. The good bugs, in turn, send text messages to your brain to go get some more of this stuff.
Dr. Gundry: 34:29 And I write about a lot of my real dyed-in-the-wool meat-and-potato guys, or people who would say, “I would never eat a salad in my life,” about two weeks later, when they come back to my clinic and see me for a follow-up, they say, “This is the weirdest thing. I hate vegetables. I hate salads. But now I crave them. If I go a day and I can’t get a salad, I’m ready to kill somebody. And that’s so unlike me.” And it’s literally because your brain has been hijacked by bad bugs, and they want you to keep giving them the stuff they want, but you can drive them out.
Dr. Gundry: 35:16 So willpower is actually an important thing. What is really useful is to have your significant other, your spouse, your brother, your sister, your dog be the policeman. And you say, “I empower you to stop me, because I’m out of control, and I want you to clean out the refrigerator for me.” Those are easy steps to do. And just say, “I’m not gonna get mad at you. Just stop me. I need help.” And it’s okay to ask for help.
Dr. Gundry: 35:49 The other thing that I think is really easy to do is … Many people … We talked with Dr. Amen. About 80 percent of Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic, and that means 80 percent of us are what’s called insulin-resistant. And we could spend an hour on insulin-resistance, but I won’t. What it means is that when you start taking away all these sugars that you’re used to, you actually go through sugar withdrawal. Your cells can’t use fat properly. You can’t get into ketosis. This is what Adkins didn’t know.
Dr. Gundry: 36:31 And you go through what’s sometimes called the low-carb flu or the Adkins flu where you get a headache, you feel like you have absolutely no energy, you’re grouchy, the word “hangry,” I think, is a great term. I think one of the easy ways to get through this period of time is to get yourself some MCT oil, medium-chain triglycerides, sometimes called liquid coconut oil. It can be easily made into ketones in your liver, and it’s tasteless. It’s flavorless. Take about a tablespoon three times a day for the first few days, and you’ll get through those cravings.
Dr. Gundry: 37:12 The other option is get yourself a handful of nuts, and whenever a craving hits you, take some nuts. Here’s a little trick. Put some salt on the nuts. When we’re actually actively losing weight, we diurese. We pee a lot, and we pull salt out of our bodies. And there’s some very good research that shows that we actually should increase our salt intake when we first start these programs, and it will really help with cravings. So don’t be afraid of salt. Salt is not the enemy that everybody thinks it is.
Dr. Gundry: 37:47 So having said that, it’s normal to go through these cravings. You’re getting bad messages from the bad bugs and you gotta starve them. And empower yourself to starve those guys. They’ll leave, and the good guys will take over, and they’ll start controlling you in good ways.
Dr. Gundry: 38:06 All right. So that’s The Dr. Gundry Podcast for today. Thanks a lot for listening. The 30-Day Challenge is still ongoing. I’m posting just about every night on Instagram about what I’m doing. How are you doing? Why? Because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you. So for more information about this week’s episode, please take a look at my show notes below, and on drgundry.com. In the show notes, you’ll also find a survey, and I’d love to find out more about you. Please take a few minutes to fill it out so I can do my best to provide information you’re looking for.
Dr. Gundry: 38:47 Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Check back next week for another exciting episode, and make sure to subscribe, rate, and review to stay up-to-date with the latest episodes. Head to drgundry.com for show notes and more information. Until next time, I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.