Dr. Ben Weitz interviews Dr. Hyla Cass on how to improve psychological health and help patients with psychiatric disorders with a Functional Medicine approach. Dr. Cass said it was natural for her to look at natural causes of psychiatric disorders, including diet, lifestyle, and genetics, rather than the pharmaceutical approach. She feels that it is shameful that even very young children are placed on medications, when we don’t even know what effects these meds might have on developing brains.
I asked Dr. Cass why it appears as though we have a rising epidemic of depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD among young people today. Dr. Cass said that this is due to poor diet–too many refined carbs and sugar, a lack of vegetables, not getting a solid protein–and not running around outside and exercising and they spend most of their time inside playing video games and on their computers. Dr. Cass mentioned the problems with breakfast cereals and milk in the morning, which spike their blood sugar and so many kids have food sensitivities to dairy. And the milk has bovine growth hormone. And the wheat is genetically modified and high in gluten.
We were meant to be eating healthy, natural foods with lots of fiber to support the microbiome. And so many things damage the microbiome, including the antibiotics in the food supply and the chlorine and flouride in the water supply. To help patients we have to feed the brain and the gut with natural, healthy food. Kids need to eat more veggies. We were meant to eat and live a certain way and to interact with our tribe a certain way. And that is gone today, esp. in the cities. We have to recreate that type of lifestyle, starting with the diet. And parents need to have more meaningful interactions with their children and not just be on their phones.
Dr. Cass likes to look at the root causes of psychiatric conditions, such as blood sugar imbalances, stress and adrenal health, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid, hormonal balance, MTHFR and genetic factors that may affect our ability to make neurotransmitters.
We discussed the recent Institute of Functional Medicine conference on brain health and how Dr. Bredesen has demonstrated reversal of Alzheimer’s disease with a Functional Medicine approach that he refers to as a systems approach. Dr. Bredesen started with rats and found that it is not just removing plaquing in the brain, because if you remove too much plaque, they get worse. Then he went to studying humans and found that if you look at and treat heavy metals, chemical toxicity, hormone imbalances, etc. You can’t just use these medications, like Namenda and Aricept, which do nothing to reverse the course of the disorder.
Here is Dr. Hyla Cass’s website where you can get her free ebook Reclaim Your Brain: https://cassmd.com/