Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

September 30, 2011

Bacteria and Behavior

Recent research in the realm of gut bacteria has revealed amazing connections between your gut and your behavior.  Practitioners in functional medicine have long known about the gut-brain axis, as has really anyone dealing with irritable bowel syndrome. We have approximately 3 pounds of bacteria in our GI system which function synergistically to help us regulate digestion, absorption, and protection (from infection).  Bacteria also have a role in vitamin synthesis and regulation, like vitamin B6 (which is also an essential component in our body’s synthesis of neurotransmitters, like serotonin).    It appears that the bacteria in your GI system (your microbiome) might also have influence over your  biochemistry and brain development. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Nutrition

September 6, 2011

You are what you eat

In the documentary “Super Size Me,” Morgan Spurlock explores the ramifications of a 100% fast food, super-sized diet on his physiology and psychology over the period of one month.  Although it is not a new movie, his message is still worth reiterating.

In one telling scene, he visits an “alternative” school in Wisconsin for kids with behavior problems who couldn’t function in a traditional school setting.  The school was alternative in another major way as well.  It provided a healthy lunch program and removed the school’s vending machines.  The school noted improvements in focus, behaviors and mood.  The changes were astounding.  And, at least for the movie, the supposed troublemakers and delinquents walking the halls were calm, polite, and in control.   The change was likely not entirely attributable to diet, but certainly worth a consideration, especially when you consider the amount of trouble our nation’s youth face in terms of obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and the whole cadre of other mental and medical ailments that, in all seriousness, might just have a root in the standard American diet- or SAD diet as Dr. Mark Hyman calls it. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Nutrition

September 6, 2011

The Triage Theory

There are many theories of developmental psychopathology and much has been written on the meaning of mental illness, spanning religion, science, philosophy, economics- essentially almost all disciplines have looked into this.  Where there is any type of philosophy, there is also psychology; the same goes for great literature.  For a particularly thorough- and disturbing- history of psychiatry and mental illness, one should delve into Madness and Civilization by Michel Foucault, or his Birth of the Clinic, which traces a more general development of hospital systems and health-care.

But rather than lose myself in the debate on the question of “Is there mental illness?”- I want to talk about a triage theory of aging and illness that might be particularly apropos in our graying society, as indeed, aging, mental decline, and mental illness are in fact all related. Certainly in the case of dementia, they are practically inseparable. Given enough time, we will all lose are minds. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Nutrition