Dr. Gundry's private practice: (760) 323-5553

Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.

Dr. Gundry (00:14):
Hey everybody, it’s Dr. Gundry here, and I’ve got some very exciting news. Right now, you can sign up for Dr. Gundry’s newsletter. As a subscriber, you’ll get updates about new episodes of The Dr. Gundry Podcast where we talk about all things health. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out. I’ll also keep you in the loop of all the things I’m up to, from news to events to special appearances. Visit www.drgundry.com to sign up. So welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. We’ve probably all been touched by mental illness. Maybe it’s a friend or family member or maybe you struggled with it yourself. Well, my guest today says that the way we think about mental illness and mental health is all wrong.

Dr. Gundry (01:04):
He’s Dr. Daniel Amen, and one of America’s leading psychiatrist and the author of a brand new book, The End of Mental Illness. I can’t think of a more important book that we should have in our hands right now. In the new book, Dr. Amen exposes the most common misconceptions about mental illness and explains why there is something you can do to help yourself or your loved ones. So in today’s episode, Dr. Amen and I will discuss the difference between mental health and brain health, why mental illness is not your fault and the biggest problems with modern psychiatry. Dr. Amen, it’s so good to have you back on The Dr. Gundry Podcast.

Dr. Daniel Amen (01:52):
Thank you, Dr. Gundry. What a pleasure to be with you again.

Dr. Gundry (01:56):
Okay, so what’s the difference between mental health and brain health and why is that so important?

Dr. Daniel Amen (02:06):
We started looking at the brain just about 30 years ago with a couple of different studies, quantitative EEG and then brain SPECT imaging, and it became very clear that these are not mental health issues at all, that they’re brain health issues, and that one distinction changes everything because people begin to see their problems as medical and not moral. It decreases shame and guilt, it increases compliance because people want better brains, and it increases compassion and forgiveness from families. Most psychiatrists actually never talk about brain health, that the things you talk about, for example, the impact of diet on your microbiome, but that completely affects your brain health.

Dr. Daniel Amen (03:08):
How avoiding toxic chemicals and the products we put on our body or the issue with concussions, having an undiagnosed brain injuries, a major cause of suicide, anxiety, depression, ADHD, learning problems and homelessness. But nobody’s talking about it because most psychiatrists never look at the brain. So think about that, what other medical specialty never looks at the organ it treats, and that’s insane, because how do you know if this depression is because your brain works too hard or not hard enough? Giving everybody SSRS, which calm down the brain, can really help some people and be a disaster for others.

Dr. Gundry (04:03):
Okay, I see this actually in my patients all the time. They’ve come to see their medical problems as personal failings rather than being caused by their environment or the foods they … or even the drugs they’ve been prescribed. So how do you propose we reframe this issue between “mental” health and physical health of our brain?

Dr. Daniel Amen (04:39):
Well, I think the first thing we need to do is actually start looking at the organ we treat, the making diagnoses based on symptom clusters with no biological data. I mean, somebody should be upset about this and I’ve been upset about this for a long time. But cardiologists don’t make diagnoses with no biological data. Gastroenterologists don’t, orthopedic doctors don’t, nobody I know does that. I think imaging just needs to become part of what we do because the brain is an organ you can look at, both structurally and functionally. My colleagues will say, “Well, there’s not enough science,” and I’m like, “Seriously? If you go to pubmed.com today and type in brain SPECT, you’ll get 14,600 abstracts.”

Dr. Daniel Amen (05:38):
It’s like, “Let’s not say there’s no science,” and it’s like, “Well, it’s not part of our training, and it’s not part of our tradition,” except the outcomes in psychiatry are no better than they were in the 1950s. In fact, disability for mental health reasons has quadrupled since the 1980s. So obviously we’re doing something wrong, and so we need a new paradigm. Plus what I get excited about, I don’t know if you and I ever talked about the Daniel Plan. It’s a program I did with Pastor Rick Warren and Mark Hyman. The first week, 15,000 people signed up. The first year they lost a quarter of a million pounds, and then literally thousands of churches around the world have done the Daniel Plan. Part of the testimonials are not just weight loss.”

Dr. Daniel Amen (06:32):
It’s they lost their antidepressants, they lost their antianxiety drugs, they felt better, their memories were better, and it just highlights that when you get your brain right, your mind follows. But unfortunately, most people suffer with mental health issues see psychologists and psychiatrists that virtually never talk to them about diet, about exercise, about supplementation, about looking at do you have an infection in your brain? I’m in a new docuseries with Justin Bieber. I’ve been Justin’s doctor for a long time, and he came out publicly that he had Lyme disease and that was part of what was driving his mental health challenges. So is that a mental illness or is it a brain illness? In my mind, it’s clearly a brain health issue. Get your brain right, your mind will follow.

Dr. Gundry (07:37):
One of the most interesting things in the book, there’s a section where you take a patient of yours and describe how he would or she would have been diagnosed throughout history. Can you give us an example of that to bring this home?

Dr. Daniel Amen (07:54):
Jared was eight years old when I first met him, and he was a hellion. He had been diagnosed with ADHD when he was three, he had been on five different stimulant medications for ADHD. They all made him worse. Violent, rages. He did terrible in school. The third grade teacher said, “Don’t have any expectations for him because he’s never going to do well in school.” When they wanted to put him on an anti-psychotic, his mother called the clinic, and when we scanned him, he didn’t have ADHD. That’s usually goes with sleepy activity in the front part of the brain. He had a pattern we call the ring of fire, which is, there’s too much activity in his brain.

Dr. Daniel Amen (08:44):
So we had to calm it down. When we did, his behavior normalized, he’s been on the honor roll or the Dean’s list for the last 10 years straight, he has friends. I mean it’s just stunning. How would they have treated him 6,000 years ago? Well, they would have drilled a hole in his skull to let out the evil spirits, and in the time of Hippocrates, which was actually the most forward thinking time, they would have changed his diet, got him to exercise, listen to soothing music and got them into a job that fit his restless nature, and then unfortunately they would’ve also bled him.

Dr. Daniel Amen (09:27):
In the middle ages, they would have chained him in an asylum, and in the 18th, 19th century, they probably would have sterilized him, and placed his family under suspicion in the eugenics program, which actually started in the United States, but was the precursor for Nazi Germany. In the 20th century, Freud would’ve put him on his couch, which wouldn’t have worked, and then of course we could have blamed his mother. Now, what we’re doing is the 15 minute med Jack. It’s like, “Well, let’s try this and let’s try that, and if this doesn’t work, we’ll go with that,” without any biological data, which I would argue we need a new paradigm.

Dr. Gundry (10:12):
I have so many of my patients who will walk in with a report or the actual film of their brain MRI or CT scan or their brain with a note from their caring neurologist and or psychiatrist and say, “See? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with my brain.” Why are people using this, an anatomical map of the brain, as the basis to make a decision?

Dr. Daniel Amen (10:50):
There’s a difference between structure and function, and most psychiatric problems, not all, but most of them are not structural problems. They’re functional problems. The brain works too hard in certain areas or not hard enough. I published a study on traumatic brain injury that showed how SPECT was remarkably more sensitive than an MRI or CT. Just think of it this way, if I had a computer in front of me and I dropped the computer, well, the computer might look just fine but you might not be able to turn it on, or when you turn it on it would go into these loop patterns. MRI and CT are lagging indicators of trouble where SPECT is a leading indicator of trouble. So with SPECT, we can tell 20 years before you get Alzheimer’s disease, if your brain is headed to the dark where you won’t see that on an MRI or a CT scan at all.

Dr. Daniel Amen (11:59):
People listening, think of it is like a car engine. If you pop the hood you can see what the engine actually physically looks like, but what you really want is to turn it on and see how it works, and that’s what functional imaging does, which should be part of every psychiatric evaluation I believe, because I’m just no good at guessing. I often think of my colleagues, like Johnny Carson from Carnac the Magnificent. He’d get the envelope, hold it up to his head and then wonder, well, what’s the question? I’m like, “I’m just not good at that, and to expect me to guess on your physiology without knowing.” I mean, would cardiothoracic surgeons really ever do that? Would they develop a treatment plan without any biology?

Dr. Gundry (13:01):
No, although in the past, we used to joke that half the people that we operated on for chest pain with a coronary bypass actually had reflux esophagitis, and half the people we operated on for hiatal hernia reflux esophagitis had coronary artery disease, and we didn’t have the tools to tell the difference, and obviously now we do. Can [inaudible 00:13:34] our listener or our viewer walk into their neighborhood, a hospital clinic imaging center and say, “Hi, I want a SPECT scan of my brain?”

Dr. Daniel Amen (13:46):
Well, they have SPECT cameras virtually in every major hospital in the world for SPECT heart studies, SPECT bone studies. Now, the doctor generally, he’s probably not going to have any experience doing it, and what we see, because we read scans from all over the world, is what people call normal generally is not normal because nuclear medicine doctors never were taught to read increases in the brain and a lot of psychiatric conditions the brain works too hard, and so basically they’re just looking for symmetry and holes. So experience matters, which is why we have eight, soon to be nine, clinics around the United States to provide this service for people.

Dr. Gundry (14:34):
When you say brains work too hard, you talk about in the book about brain types and is … Explain what that means. I mean, doesn’t everybody have the same brain?

Dr. Daniel Amen (14:49):
No. As a matter of fact, one the big early lessons is that everybody’s different. I mean we have healthy balanced brains, we have spontaneous brains that really have sleepy frontal lobes, then they’re creative and restless and spontaneous but they’re also impulsive and they can’t concentrate and they’re [inaudible 00:15:09] and disorganized. There’s persistent brains where the front part works too hard. Often, in many cardiothoracic surgeons or neurosurgeons, they want things a certain way and if things don’t go a certain way, it gets them upset, and you want your cardiothoracic surgeon to be that way. They’re not our ADD group at all. They’re a little bit of OCD. Then are sensitive. There are people whose limbic or emotional brains work too hard, and are cautious brains, people who tend to be anxious.

Dr. Daniel Amen (15:47):
What I learned is, if we just took obesity, for example, putting everybody on the same program is silly when you realize they’re impulsive over-eaters, they’re compulsive over-eaters, they’re sad over-eaters, they’re anxious over-eaters. Putting everybody on the same program is silly. When a high protein, low carbohydrate diet works really well for the spontaneous group, the ADD group, and it is a fricking nightmare for the persistent group because it’s a focus diet, and if you have OCD tendencies, you will focus more on the things that upset you. I was on the Rachael Ray Show, and we were talking about this and she has that persistent brain type, and she said, “I went on the Atkins diet, and I was so mean I wondered why my husband didn’t leave me.” So get on the wrong diet, and you actually ended up divorced.

Dr. Gundry (16:50):
No. You can actually, with a SPECT scan, tell a brain type or what other evaluation processes do you go through to make that determination?

Dr. Daniel Amen (17:06):
We have a free online assessment people can take, brainhealthassessment.com. Brainhealthassessment.com, and it’ll tell you which of the 16 brain types you have because they’re combinations of types as well. It’s good for your husband to take it, your children to take it, someone you’re dating to take it to see what vulnerabilities there may be in relationships. I talk about this in the book. When I first met my wife, I really liked her but I didn’t want to like her until I saw her brain. About two weeks later, I’m like, “Yeah, I haven’t been to the clinic. Don’t you want to come to the clinic?” I scanned her. She was a good sport. But she worked at Loma Linda on the neurosurgery ICU unit, and we bonded over the brain. It’s just I think we should be putting the brain more central in our relationships because it’s your brain that makes every decision you make, and when your brain is healthy, you make better decisions, which means you’re healthier, you’re wealthier, you’re more successful at whatever you do.

Dr. Gundry (18:27):
I can see it now that you’re going to open a series of online dating services where you’re going to match brain scans with the appropriate person. Am I going too far here? Or I don’t want to give you a great idea because my goodness.

Dr. Daniel Amen (18:43):
Now, many years ago I thought about brainmatch.com, but when my daughter … she fell in love really for the first time, and then the rule in my house is if you guys date for more than four months, I want to see his brain. I particularly wanted to see Michael’s brain because his mother, when he was 12 years old, killed herself and he found her, and he had struggled with a fair amount of anxiety. But just by falling in love with his brain, taking the right supplements, he has done dramatically better.

Dr. Gundry (19:26):
Wow. Boy, I can just see this, “I want you to meet my father, but he needs to scan your brain first.” Well, that’s a lot of pressure. That’s a lot of pressure.

Dr. Daniel Amen (19:39):
It’s like meet the parents but worse.

Dr. Gundry (19:45):
So the bar pickup line, “I want you to come up and see my etchings.” I want you to come up and I want a scan your brain is your pickup line?

Dr. Daniel Amen (19:55):
That’s what Tana says. She said, “No one had ever asked me to see my naked brain, that that was the most important part of me.”

Dr. Gundry (20:10):
What can you tell our listeners about the link between their gut bacteria and their mental health?

Dr. Daniel Amen (20:16):
They’re intimately connected, more so than we ever thought. When I was a resident, nobody said boo about this, but if your gut bacteria is unhealthy as a child, it actually sets you up for lifelong anxiety disorders. So think of all the kids who had tubes in their ears because they had multiple ear infections often because they’re sensitive to dairy, that it damaged their microbiome. Think of all the kids who are born by C-section and their microbiome wasn’t properly populated or were not breastfed. I don’t want to make anybody feel guilty. It’s like, “Okay, you know that may be a risk factor, and so you then go and take care of that risk by repopulating the gut in a healthy way with fermented foods and probiotics.”

Dr. Daniel Amen (21:17):
But this idea of leaky gut syndrome increases inflammation, which is a major cause of both depression and dementia. In The End of Mental Illness, I really take a functional medicine approach to brain health and mental health, and I have this mnemonic called bright minds that help you remember the 11 major risk factors that steal your mind, and the first eye is inflammation often caused by an unhealthy gut.

Dr. Gundry (21:52):
Yeah. You mentioned the times of Hippocrates, which was, I think we’d both agree probably the most, he was so enlightened. It’s scary, but he said all disease begins in the gut, and how he knew that back then is shocking. But you’re right. In the last even five years, we’ve learned things that you and I never were taught in medical school. Even our friend, David Perlmutter, when he did his five year anniversary of Grain Brain, he didn’t know nor did any of us about the microbiome brain connection back then. To his credit, he changed a lot of his advice as I’ve changed a lot of my advice as we’ve relearned things. But some of the things that frustrate me is that there are well known nutritionist who haven’t changed their dietary advice in 20 or 30 years, even though we have totally new information that’s available to all of us. Can that apply to psychiatry? I assume you would say, “Absolutely, why haven’t we done that?”

Dr. Daniel Amen (23:07):
Yeah, no question. There’s this great study from Australia where they looked at two outer islands. One of the outer islands had fast food restaurants, the other one didn’t, and what they did is they measured their omega-3 fatty acid levels and the level of depression, and as you might think, the island with fast food restaurants had significantly lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids and five, five times the level of depression. It’s the food. The food is so important to the health of brains. But what happened? I published this study and I was actually looking at the data this morning on 22,000 patients, looking at their BMI or their body mass index and function and 127 different parts of the brain, and all 127 parts of the brain, it’s almost a linear correlation between healthy, overweight, obese, and morbidly obese.

Dr. Daniel Amen (24:19):
As your weight goes up, the actual physical size and function of the brain goes down, which would just scare the fat off of everybody. It’s the biggest brain drain in the history of the United States, and now it’s actually a national security crisis because 70% of the people who tried to apply for the military are rejected because they’re not healthy enough. We were going the wrong way as a society, and we need to do better if we’re going to stem the tide. This is not going to happen in Congress, it’s going to happen through a ground swell of education and information from doctors, like you and Dr. Perlmutter and Dr. Hyman and Dr. Bredesen. I mean, it’s really all of us trying to capture the attention of the American population to change the way they eat so they don’t have to suffer with chronic illnesses.

Dr. Gundry (25:32):
So you got any thoughts on why this will never happen from a government incentive? Why Congress isn’t scared to death about all of this?

Dr. Daniel Amen (25:48):
Yeah, I think too many of the food companies, the alcohol companies donate to their political campaigns that I think it’s about money, and it should be horrify us that we allow … I think we ban 11 chemicals where in Europe they ban 2,500 chemicals, and in Canada, they ban 500 chemicals. Clearly, what I can see on SPECT scans is toxicity in your brain from, yes, drugs and alcohol, but also environmental toxins as well. Just for example, the products you put on your body, the T in bright minds is for toxins. There’s just great app I like called Think Dirty. It’s not what you think it is, but you can actually scan your personal products and it’ll tell you on a scale of one to 10 how quickly they’re killing you.

Dr. Daniel Amen (26:53):
Aluminum is probably not a good thing to put on your body, or 60% of the lipsticks sold in the United States has lead in it. I call it kiss of death. So we just need to be a little bit more thoughtful, and you’re not doing any of this because you should. You do it because you love yourself. You love your life, your mission, your spouse, your children. It’s never that I should eat right. It’s I want to eat right because I love myself. In the book, there’s a whole chapter called Food Made Insanely Simple, and it’s really about finding food you love that love you back, and that’s the trick. Because I want you to eat in a healthy way and I know you have recipes and they’re delicious. It’s getting well is never about suffering, that when you’re not well, that’s about suffering.

Dr. Gundry (27:58):
Yeah, I know. I always try to explain to my patients as far as you and I know, this is the only house that we’re ever going to live in, and this is the only brain you get, and if you would pay as much attention to the care and upkeep of the only house you ever get, that you do to your car or your home, your lawn, this problem would stop virtually overnight.

Dr. Daniel Amen (28:27):
No question. You’re absolutely right. Nobody cares about their brain. Why? Because you can’t see it. You can see the wrinkles in your skin or the fat around your belly, and you can do something when you’re unhappy with that. But when I first scanned myself in 1991, it was right after my mother … My mother had a perfect brain, a beautiful brain, and mine, she was 60, I was 37 and it looked like crap. I’m like, “Why does my brain look so bad?” But I played football in high school. I had meningitis as a young soldier and I had bad habits. I wasn’t sleeping more than four hours at night, I ate a lot of fast food. I’m a double board certified psychiatrist and I don’t care one bit about my own brain until I saw it, and then I was horrified and I developed a concept I call brain envy. Freud was wrong. Penis envy is not the cause of anybody’s problem. I’ve not seen one case in 40 years. But people need to start caring about their brain, because if your brain is not right, your life is not right.

Dr. Gundry (29:37):
No, you’re right. I was a world famous heart surgeon, and I would look at people I operated on and at that time they looked a lot like me. They were fat, they had little skin tags on them, and I’m going, “Gee, this 45 year old guy, 50 year old, looks a lot like me, but that can’t happen to me because I’m a really smart heart surgeon.” One day, when I met Big Ed, it clicked [inaudible 00:30:09] son of a gun, I was operating on myself, and it never made the connection. Yeah. If we could see our brain, that would be very useful. Yeah, I’m glad you’re opening up another clinic [inaudible 00:30:24] everybody go look at their brain. So summarize the book. When you find out about your brain, there are steps you can take at any age to make a difference?

Dr. Daniel Amen (30:40):
You bet. I mean, that’s what’s exciting. I mean, I really think that’s a foundational message of my life. You’re not stuck with the brain you have, you could make it better. In fact, if you sleep better tonight, your brain will actually work better tomorrow. If you eat better today, your brain will actually be better today. If you eat badly today, your brain is going to be worse today. I have a new show that goes along with the book on public television, and I have Leeza Gibbons who’s a friend of mine. She’s a news personality. She’s beautiful, she’s smart. Her mother and her grandmother died with Alzheimer’s disease, and as I got to know her, I’m like, “You want to come see me because we can tell years.”

Dr. Daniel Amen (31:32):
She goes, “Well, why would I want to know?” I said, “Well, if you knew a train was going to hit you, wouldn’t you want to at least try to get out of the way?” So I have her brain at 51, and then I did it … and it look terrible. Then I have her brain at 62, and it looks stunningly beautiful. Why? Because she does all of the right things. So genes aren’t really a death sentence. They should be a wake up call for you to do the right things to prevent what you’re vulnerable to.

Dr. Gundry (32:03):
Yeah. No, you’re right. In fact, I just recently joined you on public television with The Longevity Paradox, and you’re right. Genes actually have so little to do with our destiny and our longterm health and our longterm brain health. 30% of us carry the APOE-4 [inaudible 00:32:25] which is a predictor of increased risk of Alzheimer’s. So many of my patients come to me carrying that gene. But the fascinating thing is, and I’ll tell anyone who will listen, I have a number of people now in their late 80s carrying the 44 [inaudible 00:32:45] not a good thing to have, but they’re doing great.

Dr. Gundry (32:49):
But I have a 97 year old gentleman who is a 34 and he still runs his company, and his three daughters will not let him retire because he’s so good at what he does. Any of my APOE-4 folks, I’ll say, “Hey, 97 and you’re running your company?” Of course, they’re going to say, “Why doesn’t he retire?” I’ll tell anyone who listens, “Don’t retire if you’re smart,” because particularly men, and now increasingly women, in the workforce being engaged in everyday activities work is, back me up on this, as important in your life.

Dr. Daniel Amen (33:33):
In the mnemonic bright minds, where I talk about the risk factors are, is retirement and aging. When you stop learning, your brain starts dying, and so being engaged … You only want to be engaged as long as you want to be able to think. I had one woman said, who is 60 and she’s like, “I dieted and I exercise. I don’t really want to do that anymore.” I said, “As long as you’re okay with the consequences of aging, which is depression and dementia, then why worry about it?” But I’m not okay with it, and I need to keep my brain actively engaged in order for it to work at an optimal level. Quite frankly, I have four children and I love them, but I never want to have to live with them.

Dr. Daniel Amen (34:26):
I never want to be a burden and I don’t want them taking my keys from me. I don’t want them telling me what to eat or what to wear. I want to be independent, but that means I need to be making good decisions for my health so my brain doesn’t do what it often does with aging. It deteriorates. I’ve seen way too many 80, 90, 100 year old brains and most of them, except for a select few who loved their brains throughout their life, look terrible, and I’m not okay with that.

Dr. Gundry (35:01):
Yeah. This has been great. I think that’s so important, and I tell anyone who will listen that it is never too late. The number of stories I have of people on the way out in their mid 80s suffering from diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, you name it, who are now in their mid 90s and they’re thriving individuals. I wouldn’t have believed this was possible, in most of my career. But I think your message that your brain is malleable, I think the sooner you get to work on it, the better. I think we could both agree on that. But it’s never too late, Leeza Gibbons is a great example, to turn things around.

Dr. Daniel Amen (35:52):
Yeah. It’s never too late to have a better brain and a better life. It starts with love, love of yourself, love of your brain, love of your family. So doing the right thing, and the scans just always give me hope that I can tell how much better people can be. I always tell people whatever we see is good news because you have what you have, and if it’s great, we celebrate and if it’s bad, we go to work and rehabilitate it. I did the big NFL study when the NFL was lying they had a problem, and high levels of damage, it’s like, “Stop lying about it.” But 80% of my players get better when I put them on a rehabilitation program. You are not stuck with … If you’ve been bad to your brain, well now is the time to make a decision to be better to your brain and it can be better for you.

Dr. Gundry (36:53):
All right, take away. Is there one thing, today, that somebody can do to help their brain? Just one. I know there’s bunches of them. Give us one today.

Dr. Daniel Amen (37:05):
I worked with B.J. Fogg for six months, he’s a professor at Stanford, on creating tiny habits. It’s the smallest thing you can do today that will make the biggest difference. So the one thing, three seconds a day, whenever you go to make a decision, ask yourself, “Is this good for my brain or bad for it?” If you can answer that question with information and love, love of yourself, you’ll begin to change your brain in such a positive way.

Dr. Gundry (37:36):
All right, very good. So where can viewers and listeners find The End of Mental Illness and learn more about you?

Dr. Daniel Amen (37:46):
The book will be everywhere, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, wherever great books are sold. They can learn about us at amenclinics.com. So Amen like the last word in a prayer, clinics.com, and we’re in the middle of a six week challenge to get people’s brains healthy, because the end of mental illness begins with a revolution in brain health and we’re creating brain warriors to move this revolution forward just like you’re doing as well.

Dr. Gundry (38:22):
All right, thanks again and we’ll be talking soon, I’m sure.

Dr. Daniel Amen (38:27):
Thanks so much.

Dr. Gundry (38:29):
Okay, it’s time for the audience question. This question is from Bill Stanley on YouTube, “Dr. Gundry, I have been following The Plant Paradox for a year now, and the question I have is if the lectins are in the seeds and skins of vegetables, why can’t we eat things like pumpkin, squash, et cetera, if we skin and deseed them?” Boy, do I get this question a lot from my patients, and thanks for asking that, Bill. So here’s the deal. It’s true that the major lectins are in the peels and seeds of the squash family. My problem with my particular patient population is that these are fruits. Anything with a peel and a seed is a fruit. Certain fruits, like the squash family, do have lectins in the peels and seeds.

Dr. Gundry (39:24):
Yes, you can absolutely take the peels and seeds away and make them lectin-free. But that doesn’t change the fact that their flesh is primarily fructose and lots of carbohydrates. So when I’m dealing with patients with heart disease and or obesity or diabetes, the fact that we’re removing lectins from their diet is factor one. But equally as important is reducing these fructose-bearing carbohydrates out of their diet. You’re going to learn more about this in my next book, The Energy Paradox, but fructose is a major mitochondrial damaging sugar molecule, and if you want to kill off your mitochondria, then eat all the deseeded squash and pumpkin you want to. But otherwise I would stay away from these things.

Dr. Gundry (40:27):
We’ve shown in my clinic, in patients that we follow every three months for blood work, that when we take these fruits out of their diet, their triglycerides fall, their hemoglobin A1c falls, their fructosamine falls, and their kidney function improves. As much as I like pumpkin pie as the next person, and then much as I think butternut squash soup is delicious, I don’t eat those things anymore. There’s no human need for them. So great question. I get it all the time. So thanks for sending the questions like that in. So that’s it for The Dr. Gundry Podcast. We’ll see you next week. Hey, it’s time for a review of the week. Angela G. on YouTube shared this, “Dr. Gundry, all I can say is thank you for changing my life. I had a concussion three years ago that changed everything about the function of my brain. Following you and making changes in my diet have me feeling like a new person. I still have ways to go, but knowing I can help myself has me excited again about life. Thank you.”

Dr. Gundry (41:39):
Well, thank you Angela G.. It’s amazing the power of food and your microbiome to affect the basic fundamental processes that are happening inside your brain, and you’re not the only one who has noticed this. So thank you very much for letting me know that. Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and if you want to watch each episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast, you can always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/DrGundry, because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.