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Dr. Chris Palmer: Diet & Nutrition for Mental Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #99 .com/watch?v=xjEFo3a1AnI

My guest this episode is Chris Palmer, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He explains the important connection between nutrition, metabolism and mental health and his pioneering work using the ketogenic diet to successfully treat patients with various mental illnesses, including depression and schizophrenia. Dr. Palmer explains how the ketogenic diet is an evidenced-based treatment for epilepsy, mimics the fasted state and can offset the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s. He describes the key roles of mitochondria in mental health, how certain conditions likely arise from mitochondrial dysfunction, and how low-carbohydrate diets increase mitochondrial turnover to improve mental health. He also explains how low-carbohydrate diets positively impact the gut microbiome and weight loss, important risk factors for mitochondrial health such as marijuana and alcohol, and the best way to increase circulating ketones depending on individual needs. We also cover how a ketogenic diet impacts mood, sleep, and fertility. Dr. Palmer’s work stands as a revolutionary approach to mental health and disease that, given the prevalence of mental health challenges, should be of interest to people of all backgrounds and ages. Thank you to our sponsors AG1 (Athletic Greens): Thesis: Eight Sleep: ROKA: InsideTracker: Supplements from Momentous Social & Website Instagram: Twitter: Facebook: TikTok: LinkedIn: Website: Newsletter: Dr. Chris Palmer Dr. Palmer’s website: Brain Energy: A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Understanding Mental Health–and Improving Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD, and More: Medical profile: Academic profile & publications: Twitter: Instagram: Timestamps 00:00:00 Dr. Chris Palmer, Mental Health & Metabolic Disorders 00:03:25 Thesis, Eight Sleep, ROKA 00:07:18 Nutrition & Mental Health 00:20:43 Low-Carb Diets & Anti-Depression, Fasting, Ketosis 00:27:52 Schizophrenia, Depression & Ketogenic Diet 00:34:32 AG1 (Athletic Greens) 00:35:38 Psychiatric Mediations, Diet Adherence 00:42:35 Highly Processed Foods, Ketones & Mental Health Benefits 00:46:51 Ketogenic Diet & Epilepsy Treatment 00:56:10 Ketogenic Diet & Mitochondria Health 00:57:05 Nutrition & Benefits for Neurologic/Psychiatric Disorders 01:05:44 Mitochondrial Function & Mental Health 01:15:12 InsideTracker 01:16:23 Mitophagy, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Aging & Diet 01:25:09 Neurons, Mitochondria & Blood Glucose 01:31:54 Obesity, Ketogenic Diet & Mitochondria 01:40:00 Mitochondrial Function: Inheritance, Risk Factors, Marijuana 01:46:34 Alcohol & Ketogenic Diet 01:55:21 Brain Imaging, Alzheimer’s Disease & Ketones 02:01:05 Exogenous (Liquid) Ketones vs. Ketogenic Diet 02:06:27 Neuronal Damage, Ketones & Glucose 02:10:16 Alzheimer’s Disease, Age-Related Cognitive Decline & Ketogenic Diet 02:23:45 Ketogenic Diet & Weight Loss 02:35:47 Ketogenic Diet & Fasting, Hypomania, Sleep 02:46:37 Low Carbohydrate Diets, Menstrual Cycles, Fertility 02:52:23 Obesity Epidemic, Semaglutide & GLP-1 Medications 03:01:01 Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Momentous Supplements, Neural Network Newsletter, Social Media Huberman Lab is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast or materials linked from this podcast is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions. Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac –

16 Replies to “Dr. Chris Palmer: Diet & Nutrition for Mental Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #99”

  1. Very interesting interview. I travel to Colombia and I usually stay for a month and the only thing I do differently in my diet is that I eat much more, I eat pizza, pastas and anything I want, and I always lose at least 15 pounds. Three days after I get back to the US I get acid reflux and in 2 weeks I gain the weight back. Weird.

  2. I think it’s awesome and hilarious that “mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell” is such a widespread meme, and now we’re realizing it’s even more important to the function of healthy cells/bodies than we thought.

  3. I was diagnosed bipolar in 2017, all through 2018 to 2020 I went keto and then with an IF regime. I lost 80 lbs but my mental health went in decline, not med combo helped.

    Took a break, weaned off the meds and I was better but still miserable and I was also “rapid cycling”.

    It took eating normally again but cutting off refined sugars to slowly stabilize.
    Keto did not help, but cutting candy and soda an that crap did.

    1. So much more to this subject than we’d imagined. Conceptually game-changing information here. Deeply grateful for this and more. Your work is changing lives every day.

  4. I listened twice already. He is most definitely one of your most influential guests, IMO. I went keto myself for about 6 months paired with intermittent fasting due to my increasing weight and anxiety. In short, I lost in excess of 80 lbs in that time. Paired with cessation of smoking and drinking alcohol (of which I did both heavily for decades), It really helped curb my run away anxiety.

    Unfortunately for me, the keto was very difficult to sustain, especially since I gave up my other vises of drinking and smoking.

    All of my weight returned after getting off keto and returning to drinking alcohol. Thankfully, I did start weight training when I got off the diet, so a good portion of the weight should be muscle.

    I did not return to smoking in case anyone was wondering (just over 3 years now). It’s been a week since I drank alcohol and my 2nd day carb free. I will try to keto for a month this time around so I don’t rebound so hard. My problem is, I wake in the middle of the night (something short of sleepwalking) and raid the pantry for junk food and eat beacuse I hardly have any self control in that state and I boot myself out of keto!

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