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Can Cats Increase Your Happiness?

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen discuss some of the cutting edge, brain-centric news items and studies. Some of the topics explored in this episode are the brain effects that come with being a cat owner, what exercise can do to proteins in the brain, and the harmful effects of certain fungi in your gut and what to do to eradicate them.

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Daniel Amen, MD:

Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel. Amen.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.

Daniel Amen, MD:

The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.

Welcome back. We are talking about brain in the news in this episode, but before we get into brain in the news, we have some winners to announce and also make sure you go to BrainWarriorsWaypodcast.com. Leave us a comment, review, questions, and make sure you go to social media. Tag us and share this episode. Tell us what you’ve learned.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So the first winner is [Meryl64 [00:01:12] and if you did the review on iTunes, we actually don’t have your contact information, so make sure to go to BrainWarriorsWaypodcast.com and give us your contact information in the contact section.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

So if you are Meryl64, go to BrainWarriorsWaypodcast.com and let us know.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Yeah. And she writes in, “Wow, my mama, 83, has dementia. I’m so concerned about developing this myself. I’m learning so much about brain health through this podcast. I can’t put into words how much I’ve learned. Thank you, Cheryl.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Awesome.

Daniel Amen, MD:

The other winner is Becca_Sok. “I’ve loved listening to this podcast and learning so much about brain health and how to help your body heal naturally. Highly recommend this podcast if you’re wanting to change.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Love that.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Thank you so much.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

So what have we got? We have-

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well, I have to talk about a study that came out this morning.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Oh, what? Did you tell me?

Daniel Amen, MD:

And so, first thing… I did. It’s what I woke you up with. First thing-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

This is what you know what I get woken up with.

Daniel Amen, MD:

I’m like, did you know that…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It’s what happens when you’re nerds.

Daniel Amen, MD:

… cats…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Oh yeah, that’s right.

Daniel Amen, MD:

… increase happiness. And [crosstalk [00:02:38]

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Except when he barfs up hairballs on my new furniture.

Daniel Amen, MD:

They increase happiness. So petting your cat, training your cat, even feeding your cat, probably not so much doing the kitty litter box, has been shown to increase blood flow to the front of the brain, especially the underside of your prefrontal cortex in the middle, medial inferior prefrontal cortex. Guess what? That’s the happy part of the brain. And so I know I sent a note out to my team, and one of my doctors went, “No, they don’t make you happy. They’re planning your death.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah. No, that’s true, too. So all of the above is true. So what did I tell you? I said, so here’s the thing. My cat is, the reason he’s still here and healthy is because… I mean, they can annoy. I swear, he plans on where to cough up a hairball where it will be the most damaging and irritating. He plans it. He also plans on how to kill me. When he’s hungry, he darts right in front of my feet, jumps on my legs like he’s crazy. But then I get so irritated with him. But then in the morning when I wake up, he’s so cute. He’s got this little voice, and he calls to me and he’s so sweet. And I’m like, it just erases all [crosstalk [00:00:04]:01].

Daniel Amen, MD:

But you notice how he takes his paws, and wraps them around [crosstalk [00:03:58].

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yes. He wraps them around you and he nuzzles you.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Nuzzles you…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah. And then it just erases all of the annoying things he does.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Makes you happy.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It’s like kids.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Cats are really important.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

They really are. Anyone else, write in, tell us if your cat tries to kill you, because I don’t know if it’s just my cat or if it’s your cat, too. Okay. What have we got? Oh. Boy, is this true. Exercise fights off stress by increasing levels of the brain protein galanin, according to research in mice recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience. This is so true. I mean, exercise, I never understood why. It is the number one thing that boosts my mood. So I know it actually helps with dopamine and serotonin. Apparently it helps with galanin. It helps with BDNF: brain derived neurotrophic factor, which helps with anti-aging. So, talk about this.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well, exercise helps so many things. Boosts blood flow, boosts dopamine, boosts serotonin. Head to head against antidepressants, it’s been shown to be equally effective. The most important exercise you can do, however, is coordination exercises where you’re activating your cerebellum, that back bottom part of the brain, that when you activate that, it actually turns on the rest of your brain. So exercise is really important. One more study, quickly. Specific fungi in the gut are associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease…

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Wow.

Daniel Amen, MD:

… and found in people with mild cognitive impairment. And it can be altered, lessened, by eating a modified Mediterranean diet. This is research out of Wake Forest School of Medicine, your diet really [crosstalk [00:05:56]

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

So are they talking more keto oriented, like low sugar, is what I’m guessing?

Daniel Amen, MD:

No, it’s healthy, lots of plants and vegetables. Lots of plants and vegetables, so you have the good… Because all fungi, think mushrooms, are not bad. Candida, bad, can overgrow, so [crosstalk [00:06:14] of them.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

But sugar feeds it.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And sugar feeds it, but eating colorful fruits and vegetables can really help. Now BrainMD has a brand new product called [Neuro Greens [00:00:06]:25].

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

It’s actually great in my smoothie. Yeah.

Daniel Amen, MD:

It’s so good. But it’s loaded with antioxidants, and we’re actually going to change the name over time to Happy Greens. And we have a new mushroom product [crosstalk [00:00:06]:37].

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, don’t name it Happy Shrooms.

Daniel Amen, MD:

I wanted to name it Happy Shrooms, but I couldn’t. So we’re going to come up with Smart Mushrooms or something. No, smart mushrooms is what they are, because they’ve been found to not only help your mood, to not only help your immune system, but also to help with cognitive function. So whenever you read the paper, we just love for you to go, okay, what are brain articles in the news and send them to us. And whenever you leave us a comment, question, or review, we will enter you into a drawing, as we talked about earlier, to win either the Brain Warrior’s Way cookbook, Tana’s book, or The End of Mental Illness. So whatever you learn today, write it down, post it on any of your social media sites. Leave us a review. We always love that, either on iTunes or Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. Take care.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Thank you.

If you’re enjoying The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, so you’ll always know when there’s a new episode. And while you’re at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating, as that helps others find the podcast.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you’re considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com or a 10% discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.