Daniel Amen: Building a Happy, Healthy Brain

Mark speaks with Daniel Amen, a double board-certified psychiatrist and twelve-time New York Times best-selling author. The founder of Amen Clinics, Dr. Amen’s goal is to “end mental illness by creating a revolution in brain health.” Dr. Amen has helped millions of people improve their brain health and their lives.

Today, Commander Divine speaks with Daniel Amen, a double board-certified psychiatrist and twelve-time New York Times best-selling author. The founder of Amen Clinics, Dr. Amen’s goal is to “end mental illness by creating a revolution in brain health.” In this episode, Dr. Amen discusses the link between brain type and personality, the ideal supplementation for brain health, how obesity affects your brain, and more.


Key Takeaways:

  • Obesity is literally dumbing us down. Studies have shown that as your weight increases, the actual physical size and function of your brain goes down. Being overweight decreases blood flow, ages your brain, increases inflammation, stores toxins, and changes your hormones. And with 72% of Americans overweight and 42% of them obese, it's the biggest source of brain drain we’re currently facing.

  • Brain scans allow us to diagnose more accurately. Most psychiatrists will talk to you, look for symptom clusters, and then diagnose and treat you - but this process could be much more effective with biological data. Dr. Amen believes that psychiatrists don’t have to fly blind, and that new technology like SPECT brain scans can help us diagnose and treat mental conditions more effectively.

  • The 3 pillars of brain health. Dr. Amen says that boosting your brain health comes down to three specific strategies: 1) brain envy – you must passionately care about your brain and pay attention to it, 2) avoid anything that hurts your brain, and 3) regularly engage in habits that boost your brain’s health.

  • The lowest-hanging fruit for brain health. Dr. Amen says that if he could get all his patients to eat better, 30% of them would be better in a month. In terms of brain health interventions, nutrition definitely comes first.

  • The best happiness supplement. Dr. Amen’s favorite happiness supplement is saffron. He makes a product called Happy Saffron, which includes saffron, zinc and curcumin – and 24 randomized controlled trials showed it to be equally effective to antidepressants to boost mood, with virtually no side effects.

  • What NOT to do for brain health. Dr. Amen says to avoid processed foods, artificial dyes, artificial sweeteners, and high-glycemic, low-fiber foods. We should also limit bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, and sugar. And don’t skimp on fat. Diets high in healthy fats have been shown to decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, because 60% of the solid weight of your brain is fat,...

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