Ketogenic Diets for Mental Health: A Guide to Resources

Scientific presentations

Metabolic Health Summit

The single best resource of in-depth, cutting edge scientific information and inspiration about ketogenic diets, nutrition, lifestyle and brain health is the video content produced by the Metabolic Health Summit.

I was honored to have participated in the sold-out (850 attendees) 2019 conference in Los Angeles, which dedicated an entire morning to ketogenic diets and brain health featuring presentations and a panel discussion by Stephen Cunnane PhD, Jong Rho MD, David Perlmutter MD, Dale Bredesen MD, and me.

My presentation "Understanding Food: Nutritional Psychiatry Offers New Treatment Options for Mental Health Disorders" explored root causes of mental illness, including the neurotransmitter theory (the cornerstone of pharmaceutical treatment) and explained how ketogenic diets affect the activity levels of serotonin, dopamine, GABA and glutamate in the brain, reduce inflammation and oxidation, and stabilize brain chemistry.

Also included are professionally-recorded talks by keynote speaker Harvard nutrition and metabolism researcher David Ludwig MD PhD, Boston College cancer metabolism researcher Thomas Seyfried PhD, Angela Poff PhD, Loren Nations DVM, David Diamond PhD, Sarah Hallberg DO, Mark Sisson, Dominic D'Agostino PhD, Jeff Volek PhD RD, Eric Westman MD, Robb Wolf, and many others.

2020 MHS videos

At the 2020 conference, speakers addressed Alzheimer's disease, mental health, epilepsy, migraines, cancer, athletic performance, and optimizing cardiac and metabolic health. The package features 25 hours of presentations and panel discussions with such experts as Eric Kossoff, MD, Elena Gross, PhD, Thomas Seyfried, PhD, Benjamin Bikman, PhD, Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD, Aseem Malhotra, MBChB, MRCP, and Bret Scher, MD.

Low Carb Breckenridge 2018: "Our Descent into Madness: Modern Diets and the Global Mental Health Crisis"

This 2018 Low Carb Breckenridge presentation (200K+ views) summarizes the science behind my nutrition philosophy and explores the potential mental health risks of processed foods and plant-based diets. In this talk I explain why I think a whole foods pre-agricultural diet is the best starting place for most people and why a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic version of this diet is worth considering for those with insulin resistance.

Carnivore Conference 2019: "The Brain Needs Meat: Mental Health Benefits of the Carnivore Diet"

This 2019 presentation from the Boulder Carnivore Conference (135K+ views) scours the science in support of theoretical brain health benefits of plant-free diets.

New guide to low-carbohydrate diets for mental health

I wrote a new fully-referenced guide to the science and practice of low-carbohydrate diets for mental health in collaboration with the team at DietDoctor.com that is free for everyone, no membership required, courtesy of Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt. To the best of my knowledge, it is the only resource of its kind available anywhere. It is intended for patients and clinicians alike, and includes a review of the research, scientific explanations and case examples, information about safety concerns, and practical guidance about medications, ketone measurements, and more. It was released in four installments:

Clinical consultation services

If you are a patient or fellow clinician who would like to consult with me privately about nutrition, mental health, and more, please see my consultations page for all the details, including a self-scheduling button. I am available to work with people worldwide to discuss special diets including therapeutic ketogenic diets, medication issues, nutrition coaching, individualized food plans, food sensitivities, management of complex cases, personalized literature research, and more.

Podcasts

DietDoctor podcast hosted by Dr. Bret Scher: Episode 22 Dr. Scher and I discussed medications, eating disorders, and how diet affects our mental processes. Since this podcast was recorded just after my LowCarb Denver presentation about the recently published, controversial EAT-Lancet report, we also shared our concerns about its misleading science and the damaging nutritional implications that could arise from its dietary recommendations.

Human Performers Outliers hosted by Shawn Baker and Zach Bitter: Episode 21 This focused, information-rich conversation covered a lot of important ground. You may know that the hosts are both elite athletes with a special interest in carnivorous diets (Dr. Baker has been eating an all-meat diet for over a year now, I believe), so we talked in some detail about red meat science (carnitine and heart disease, meat and cancer, etc) and the lack of science in support of eating plant foods (the antioxidant myth, the presence of planti-nutrients and toxins), in addition to going into depth about nutrition and mental health. If you are interested in the debate of plants vs. animals, this is unquestionably the best podcast interview I've done on this topic.

The Adventures of Keto Woman podcast hosted by Daisy Brackenhall: Episode 41 Daisy Brackenhall invited me onto her KetoWoman podcastfor a truly unique conversation covering topics I've never discussed anywhere else, including the metabolic effects of dairy products, hormonal changes of perimenopause, why it's harder for women to lose weight, the differences between ketogenic and carnivorous diets, and the politics of fat-shaming.Not only does Daisy have her own illuminating story to tell, but her interview style created an unusually comfortable space in which to discuss sensitive topics.

Books

Alzheimer's AntidoteIf your family is coping with Alzheimer’s disease and you’re interested in learning more about how ketogenic diets may help, I highly recommend Amy Berger’s excellent book The Alzheimer’s Antidote. Berger expertly explains the fascinating connection between diet and dementia, in plain English and from every conceivable angle, arming you with the scientific understanding and practical strategies you need to change the course of your future. The Alzheimer's Antidote will completely change the way you think and feel about Alzheimer's disease.

Ketogenic Diet and Metabolic Therapies: Expanded Roles in Health and Disease edited by Susan A. Masino is an incredible resource for understanding the intricate science that governs how ketogenic diets impact various health conditions. This tome devotes approximately 1/3 of its chapters to neurological disorders. There is not much information about psychiatric disorders specifically, but much of the additional content is relavant to general brain health. Because it is a textbook, it is a little more expensive, however this is the most comprehensive and informative book that I have come across for ketogenic diets and the brain.

Gadgets

The ketone meter I use is the Keto-Mojo meterKeto-Mojo meter, which tests both glucose and ketones enabling you to (if you wish) calculate your glucose-ketone index (GKI). I recommend it because it’s reliable, accurate, and the cost of the strips makes checking ketones (relatively) affordable. At 99 cents each, their ketone strips cost less than half of the next lowest-priced competitor. The meters come equipped with a bluetooth feature that allows you to sync your data to fitness/medical phone apps. And unlike big pharma manufacturers that make the other meters, Dorian Greenow and Gemma Kochis (Mister and Missus Mojo) are wonderful people who contribute quality time, energy and support to the keto community. They recently founded The Ketogenic Foundation to fund research on the benefits of the ketogenic lifestyle with the intent of influencing health and medical policies for the greater good. Because I like their meter and their message, I've partnered with them to offer my readers 15% off of the purchase of a new meter. Just click the link here; no coupon code necessary.

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