What If Mental Health Was Really Brain Health?

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

In his new book, Feel Better Fast and Make It Last, Daniel G. Amen, M.D., stresses the importance brain health has on your overall well-being. In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Amen and his wife Tana continue with their tips on maximizing your brain to feel better fast, tackling such topics as immunity, infections, mental health issues, and toxins.


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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warriors Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here, we teach you how to win the fight for your brain to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD, and addictions.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warriors Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain SPECT imaging to better target treatment and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information, visit AmenClinics.com.
Tana Amen: The Brain Warriors Way podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit BrainMDHealth.com. Welcome to the Brain Warriors Way podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We are so happy you're staying with us. This is our series on feel better fast and make it last, based on my brand new book, Feel Better Fast and Make it Last. You can pre-order it at FeelBetterFast.com. When you do, there's four free gifts for you, your new cookbook, The Ten Day Brain Boost, the introduction in chapter one, which you can download immediately. Also, we have a quick start guide, so I think of it as the Cliff Notes for Feel Better Fast and Make it Last. In addition, we'll give Feel Better Fast audios, which are hypnosis audios I actually do for you.
We're in the middle of the B on the Brain Excel formula. B is brain. You've got to get your brain right in order to feel better fast. We're talking about what's the tiny habit for brain health. That you ask yourself every day, "Is this good for my brain or bad for it?" We've been going through bright minds. Bright minds is if you want to healthy or rescue it if it's headed to the dark place, you have to prevent or treat the 11 major risk factors that steal your mind. We've talked about blood flow, retirement and aging, inflammation, genetics, head trauma. Well, the T is bright minds is toxins. One of the big lessons from the imaging work that we've done is that if you're exposed to toxins, that it can clearly damage your brain.
You were a volunteer for the city of Newport Beach, where we live.
Tana Amen: Volunteer means an emergency like response volunteer for the city.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And you just spent time with some of the firefighters.
Tana Amen: Right, and they were describing when they go out to ... I always thought it was house fires that were the big problem. It's the wild fires. What these guys were exposed to is crazy. They do 24 on, 24 off. They are in the middle of this horrible environment, inhaling these fumes for 24 hours at a time. They're like, "Yeah, then they have to give us 24 hours off, so we can go get some fresh air in our lungs." I'm like, "24 hours is insane." It's insane.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Almost all the firefighters that we've seen have toxic looking brains. It's overall bumpy and low blood flow. Initially, I saw clearly that drugs and alcohol cause toxicity in the brain, but then with firefighters-
Tana Amen: Inhalants, sure.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's clearly inhalants. Air pollution can do it. Mold. Heavy metal exposure. 60% of the lipsticks sold in the United States has lead in it.
Tana Amen: We need to talk for a minute.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I call it the kiss of death.
Tana Amen: Hold on, because now there are some cosmetics ... Cosmetic companies are getting smart, and there's some cosmetic companies that make all natural cosmetics. A lot of them don't work quite as well as the regular cosmetics. I know for me, for filming, I sadly a lot of times will have to wear regular cosmetics, but I try to limit how much I wear, how often. Now, of the less natural stuff. But you asked me a question the other day, and this is where it gets harder because the older we get, we're in this lotions and potions stage, and I know a lot of people listening to me are thinking the same thing, the women. We get in this lotions and potions stage, just in order to maintain ourselves. I'm gonna be 50 in December.
I'm like, you asked me this question and I almost fell out of my chair. You're like, "Well, how gray would you be if you didn't color your hair?" I'm not finding out because I think I'm finally probably the platinum color that I used to think I wanted to be, but not the platinum I want to be. Not the platinum I used to dream about. That's not happening. I'm not gonna not color my hair. It makes you wonder, how much can you get away with.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, it's always a trade-off between what you want and what you're willing to do to have the best brain because with your best brain comes your best life.
Tana Amen: Right, but you're the one who put me out in the public eye. So, it's your fault.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It doesn't matter.
Tana Amen: It's completely-
Dr. Daniel Amen: If I didn't put you in the public eye, you'd still have that, the public life, you would still-
Tana Amen: But it's worse now because it's frequently ...
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, I'll take it. It's all my fault. Always, if you can just say-
Tana Amen: It's always easier.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's my fault.
Tana Amen: Yeah, it's easier.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, how do you deal with toxins?
Tana Amen: You never answered my question.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You support the four organs of detox vacation.
Tana Amen: Women are more exposed to that stuff though.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Women are more exposed.
Tana Amen: Yeah, so we have to be careful.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And women also have a higher incidence of Alzheimer's disease.
Tana Amen: Oh, ouch.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, I want you to be serious. You can actually download an app, I talk about it in the book. It's called Think Dirty.
Tana Amen: Yeah, I've got that app.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's not what you think it is. It allows you to scan all of your personal products, and it'll tell you-
Tana Amen: So, two products I found that were the worst, sunscreen and hairspray. There's almost nothing healthy in those two. There are some sunscreens that you can find that are okay, but hairspray is not gonna happen. It's bad.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're going to engage in toxic behaviors, you want to super support the four organs of detoxification. I mean, obviously the big thing about toxins is avoid them. Avoid pesticide latent foods. Avoid things like parabens and phthalates because they're hormone disruptors. We'll talk about that. Then support the four organs of detoxification. Your kidneys, drink more water. Your gut, eat more fiber to keep things moving. Your liver, stop the alcohol and eat foods like brassicas. We go to this restaurant in Newport Beach we like a lot called Babette's and they actually have a dish on their menu called brassicas. They're amazing.
Tana Amen: I always find restaurants-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts.
Tana Amen: I love finding restaurants that just have green juices. It's just a good way to get a little boost to have green juices.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But without the apple juice.
Tana Amen: Yeah, I usually ask for it without apple or with minimal, like a quarter of an apple, just to take the bite away if you don't like it. I like it green. Some people don't. Or a little beet in it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And support your skin because your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it's a detoxifying organ. So, sweat with exercise, or take saunas. A study from Finland, people who took zero to one sauna a week compared to those who took two to three saunas a week, so the two to three saunas a week had 30% less risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Tana Amen: Interesting.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Those who had five to seven sauna sessions a week had 60% lower risk of Alzheimer's disease. We already talked about saunas and exercise are two techniques to help you feel better fast. The Amen bright minds to keep your brain healthy is mental health challenges. If you want to feel better fast, clearly anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, they age your brain. So, getting treatment is really important, but treatment doesn't necessarily mean medication because head-to-head against antidepressants, exercise, omega 3 fatty acids and learning not to believe every stupid thing you think, which we're gonna talk about soon, has been found to be equally effective.
The I in bright minds, the second I, is immunity and infections. I'm a psychiatrist. Why do I care about infections and your immune system? Because we found that things like Lyme disease and infection or even strep can be a major cause of psychiatric problems. If you're struggling with anxiety or depression and it's not getting better, it's critical to work with your doctor to get tested for infections.
Tana Amen: People don't think about this. If you've been on chronic antibiotics when you were growing up for those infections, I mean the infections themselves can be problematic, but if you've been on chronic antibiotics to treat those infections, you've damaged your gut. They've found that even antibiotics from when you were a child affect you later in life as an adult. They damage your gut and it's very hard for your gut to recover and repair itself, unless you are actively really working on it. So, when your gut isn't healthy, it affects your brain. So, it's really important to know this stuff and be consciously working on it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And then animals who got antibiotics when they were young, it actually changed serotonin production for the rest of their lives.
Tana Amen: Their lives, right. People don't know that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I know you had a lot of infections when you were a child.
Tana Amen: I was a very sick child.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That changed your gut. But fixing gut health and using the principles-
Tana Amen: Now I consciously work on it all the time.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And using the principles in Feel Better Fast can totally make a big difference for you. So, with immunity and infections, test your Vitamin D level, optimize it. Normal is between 30 and 100, but there's a fascinating study, people who had a Vitamin D level under 20 had twice the risk of cancer to those whose Vitamin D was over 40. So, I try to keep mine at about 80, which means I take about 7000 units of Vitamin D a day.
Tana Amen: I take about nine. Seven to nine.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That way I maintain a healthy level. I hardly ever get sick. We've just gone through this bought of sickness.
Tana Amen: Yeah, he never gets sick. It's almost irritation. I mean, I love him to death. For his sake I'm glad, but it's so irritating that I get sick whenever people are sick around me. I have to really be careful and always fight that because that's something that effected me. But what a lot of people don't realize is if your thyroid is not right, you may need more Vitamin D. If your gut is not right, if you have a damaged gut, you will probably need more Vitamin D until it's healed. People don't realize this. They're like, "Why is my Vitamin D not raising?" For a long time, I had to take 10000 units just to get it up to where it was like 50. Then all of a sudden, it started to repair, and now I take about seven just to maintain it. It's not about, oh is that too much or not too much. You need to get your numbers checked and just go by that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right. People go, "Oh that's way too much."
Tana Amen: It's up to you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: But if you check your numbers and your numbers are within the, I like it to middle or high normal range-
Tana Amen: Right. My doctor wants me at least 80. I have one of those doctors who's like, he's really progressive. He likes the 80 to 100 range.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I know if I kick off, you're gonna marry him.
Tana Amen: I am. He's probably late 70s, maybe close to 80, but he's ... I'm telling you, he's like a magician. He made me feel so much better fast. See, this is what it's all about. He made me feel better fast when I thought my other doctor was trying to kill me. He was amazing. I'm terrified he's gonna retire.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you stay with us, we're gonna talk about the last three letters in bright minds, to help you feel better fast. To pre-order the book, go to FeelBetterFast.com and download the free gifts we have for you.
Thank you for listening to the Brain Warriors Way podcast. Go to iTunes and leave a review and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing to get a free signed copy of The Brain Warriors Way and The Brain Warriors Way Cookbook we give away every month.