Metabolic Psychiatry: Understanding How Modifying Metabolism Can Create Mental Health
The fact that following a ketogenic diet can improve and sometimes completely reverse epilepsy has been known for more than 100 years. Indeed, in recent decades, this has been validated via a multitude of randomized trials, and the science behind how it actually works has been extensively studied and elucidated. Still more recently, these insights have led to the clinical use of metabolic therapies to treat an ever-growing number of neuropsychiatric conditions--and the early results of these studies are remarkably positive. (This includes interventions such as following a ketogenic diet, practicing intermittent fasting and/or monitoring exercise, stress reduction and circadian rhythms to improve mental health.) This leads us to one all-important question: Given their dramatically positive effects on mental and physical health, and the relatively low risks of such metabolic interventions, why shouldn't we start employing them now? In this two-day conference, the first of its kind in North America, participants will learn about the science behind (and practice of) metabolic psychiatry from some of the leading experts in this emerging field.
At the conclusion of this educational activity, participants should be able to:
- Describe the brain-energy theory of mental illness.
- Outline some of the research that supports the brain-energy theory. Describe treatment options for people with chronic mental illnesses. Identify how eating rhythms impact the brain and the crucial role meal timing plays as a circadian signal giver for brain and mental health. Recognize how a TRE protocol can work as both an assessment tool and a therapeutic approach in a psychiatry setting.
- Discuss clinical implications of the use of TRE in clinical practice.
- Discuss the importance of dimensional thinking in psychiatric fields and thinking patterns of behavior, i.e., sleep, rest, meal, activities.
- Recognize different chronotypes and their relevance in clinical practice. Describe how chronic sleep deprivation increases hunger, energy consumption, weight gain and the risk of chronic diseases.
- Develop an understanding of the gut-brain axis, the bidirectional
- interaction between the central nervous system and the digestive system. Come to appreciate how the microbiome mediates the effects that food has on metabolism and mental health.
- Enhance their understanding of the ways in which clinicians and
- individuals can use this knowledge to inform behaviors that can improve mental health.
- Discuss the role of brain neurobiology in eating disorders and how anxiety and neurotransmitters interact to drive fear of eating.
- Describe how brain metabolism may be altered in anorexia nervosa.
- Identify the ways in which a ketogenic diet may normalize altered brain function in anorexia nervosa.
- Summarize the Scientific Basis of Metabolic Psychiatry.
- Analyze Clinical Applications of Metabolic Therapies.
- Formulate Integrative Approaches for Improved Mental Health.
- Identify at least three neurophysiological derangements common to major mental illnesses that can be addressed with a ketogenic diet.
- Explain where the clinical trial evidence currently stands with respect to ketogenic diets for psychiatric disorders.
- Summarize the key findings of the study conducted by Danan et al., in which 31 inpatients with refractory mental illness were placed on a ketogenic diet.
- Evaluate cardiovascular risk in a comprehensive framework.
- Explain how ketogenic diet impacts cardiovascular risk markers for the majority of people based on published studies.
- Identify and evaluate those who are outside the common response, i.e.,
- the so-called “lean mass hyper responders.”
- Cite the percentage of calories from fat, protein and carbohydrate that comprise a liberal ketogenic diet.
- Describe a preketogenic diet plan that will safely transition a patient from a high-carbohydrate diet to a lower-carbohydrate diet prior to initiating (very low-carb) ketogenic therapy.
- Identify three prevention steps to avoid or minimize “keto flu.”
- Describe how a ketogenic diet can address cognition, mood, alertness and energy levels.
Metabolic Mind provides resources and education in the emerging field of metabolic psychiatry, including the use of ketogenic therapy for mental disorders. Inspired and informed by firsthand experience, Metabolic Mind’s mission is to transform outcomes in psychiatry by raising awareness about the foundational connection between metabolic and mental health. Our website, YouTube channel and podcast—hosted by Dr. Bret Scher—offer videos, articles, research, personal stories and interviews with pioneering clinicians and scientists working at the intersection of metabolism and mental health. A non-profit initiative of Baszucki Group, Metabolic Mind is a trusted resource for families seeking better approaches to treating mental illness and other disorders of the brain. Join the Metabolic Mind movement by subscribing to our newsletter (via our website) and Youtube channel (@metabolicmind) and following us on X (@Metabolic_Mind).