In this webinar, Harvard psychiatrist and researcher Christopher M. Palmer, M.D., joins Mike Giardina for a discussion about the Brain Energy Theory. The Brain Energy Theory states that mental disorders are metabolic disorders. This is in conflict with some of the common theories of mental illness, such as the biopsychosocial model, the genetic model, and the chemical-imbalance theory. These current theories have some validity and offer some clues into the treatment of mental illness, but they do not paint the full picture.
Dr. Palmer’s Brain Energy Theory was born out of an experience helping a patient with schizophrenia lose weight. While following a ketogenic diet, not only did the patient lose weight, but his hallucinations and delusions also disappeared. Healthy mitochondria, Dr. Palmer concluded, are critical to both physical and mental health.
Mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell. But these organelles, Dr. Palmer explains, are way more than just human batteries. They are critical in the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Mitochondria assist in the production and regulation of cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone and are the primary regulators of gene expression. They also turn on and off inflammation and play a key role in metabolism and neurodevelopment. With this understanding, the relationship between physical and mental disorders becomes clearer.
Tune in as Dr. Palmer explains the Brain Energy Theory, the shortcomings of current psychiatric treatments for mental illness, and how CrossFit affiliates and coaches can get involved.