I often sing the praises of Functional Medicine, and I’m thrilled to see other doctors implement this way of thinking. I’ve personally seen it transform the bodies and yes, brains, of thousands of patients.
Unlike conventional medicine, Functional Medicine personalizes treatment based on a patient’s unique needs. Its premise is that we are all different. We have a different genetic makeup. As a result, our bodies react to our environment in different ways. Understanding this allows us to develop unique methods to treat people, not diseases.
All medicine can be simplified into a few basic principles and concepts, or natural laws, that explain all disease and suffering. These concepts affect our mood, behavior, attention, memory, and overall brain function.
When it comes to our brains, broken brains can manifest in many different ways, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, ADHD, autism, depression, anxiety, and traumatic brain injury.
In my new Broken Brain docuseries, we interviewed over 50 experts—some of the top leaders in our field—including Dr. Terry Wahls, Dr. David Perlmutter, Dr. Frank Lipman, and Dr. Jeffrey Bland. I’ve compiled that life-transforming information into a powerful new 8-part docuseries.
To celebrate my Broken Brain docuseries and show you how truly groundbreaking it is, I want to give away a FREE interview from one of those experts, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. You probably know him from the UK-based series Doctor in the House, where he takes a Functional Medicine approach to help patients reverse chronic disease.
When Dr. Chatterjee visits these people, he watches their patterns and determines factors that contribute to how someone feels. He starts seeing things in their houses—what they eat, how they move, and how they live—that we don’t often get to see in our clinics.
I recently sat down with Dr. Chatterjee to talk about some simple, powerful steps you can take to fix your body and brain. I don’t want you to miss this empowering interview, so be sure to watch the whole thing above. Here are 10 takeaways I learned talking with Dr. Chatterjee:
- You have the power to reverse disease. Dr. Chatterjee discusses how he helps patients with chronic illness reverse these conditions—things like Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and depression—without pharmaceutical drugs or other invasive procedures. Through Functional Medicine, he provides patients all the tools they need to transform their health.
- He’s found the big culprit for most disease. While other factors certainly play into diabesity (a term I coined that ranges from mild insulin resistance to full-blown Type 2 diabetes), too many refined and processed carbohydrates are a huge culprit. Those include the usual suspects like candy and soda, but also things like diet drinks, bread, and cereal. These foods create toxic bodies and toxic brains
- Stress dramatically affects brain health. Dr. Chatterjee mentions 4 common factors that dramatically impact brain health. Diet is one. Another one is stress. If your stress hormone cortisol stays active when it should simmer down, it adversely impacts your body but also can damage your brain, ramping up inflammation and creating what I call leaky brain. Dr. Chatterjee provides some simple strategies to alleviate that stress. Even 2 minutes of meditation can have serious impacts. “You have 4 minutes to brush your teeth every day,” he told one patient. “You can do meditation for 2 minutes twice a day.”
- You can change your body and brain in days. Many patients think healthy changes require months or years, but implementing simple diet and lifestyle hacks can transform your health in days. Pharmaceutical drugs can’t act that quickly! Even 2 minutes of meditation can have a profoundly healing impact on your body and brain.
- Yes, sleep is that important. Dr. Chatterjee discusses the many temptations that we all sometimes use to bypass good sleep. But to have a healthy brain, we must get sufficient sleep. Among sleep’s benefits, it helps our brains detoxify and cleans out the junk-like excess beta-amyloid plaques that can contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s. Dr. Chatterjee discusses a simple sleep hack in our interview that can leave you feeling better and more focused in just 7 days. When you get good sleep, your days become easier and more efficient.
- Everything is interconnected. This is the underlying principle of Functional Medicine. Your brain is not a separate entity. It interacts with every other system in your body. Imbalances or disturbances in any one of these interconnected systems can influence the way our brain functions and lead to everything from depression to dementia, from anxiety to ADHD, and, diabesity.
- Gut health impacts everything. Our gut health impacts our bodies, but also our brains. Gut diversity becomes a powerful component to heal your brain. You can increase that diversity by changing what you eat, which impacts your gut but also your brain. Dr. Chatterjee recommends increasing your healthy fats and eating from the rainbow. After all, your gut bugs feed on fiber from plant foods, and the phytonutrients impact your gut and also your brain.
- Good health doesn’t need to be expensive. We tend to think eating and living healthy costs more, but Dr. Chatterjee says about 80 percent of what positively impact your brain and overall health is free. He provides some powerfully effective free ways to impact your brain and health, including what I call “Miracle Grow for the brain.” Eating healthy can cost less than processed foods, especially when you look at how many nutrients you’re getting.
- People want to feel good. It’s really that simple: People want better bodies and better brains. To do that, we need to cultivate a positive mindset that prioritizes health and wellness over medications. I truly believe my Broken Brain docuseries provides powerful tools to create those benefits.
- Always be prepared. Dr. Chatterjee and I are both incredibly busy and travel a lot, and we’ve learned one thing: Don’t let yourself get into a food emergency. Keep healthy foods nearby like raw almonds and canned wild-caught salmon. Prioritize exercise—you don’t need an hour-long workout to get its benefits. Make time for sufficient sleep no matter how crazy your schedule is. Managing stress with even 5 minutes of meditation can make a big difference. Those little things might feel challenging in the beginning, but over time that change becomes automatic and nearly effortless.
From these 10 takeaways, I hope you can see how much information is packed into Dr. Chatterjee’s interview and in the other interviews I did for the Broken Brain docuseries.
Dr. Chatterjee dives deep into his philosophy in his new book, The Four Pillar Plan available now in the UK, India, and Australia.
To watch the entire Broken Brain docuseries which launches on January 17th, visit www.brokenbrain.com.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD