Mental Illness, Perimenopause, & Mitochondrial Dysfunction with Dr. Chris Palmer


Dr. Christopher Palmer is today’s guest on the Better show. Today we talk about the metabolic underpinning of mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bi polar disorder etc. Chris received his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine, interning and doing his psychiatry residency at McLean Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School. He’s currently the Director of Dept. of Post Graduate and Continuing Education at McLean Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. We begin by explaining the role of the mitochondria in our metabolism and it’s impact on the body and brain. We discuss new hypothesis in regards to mental illness maybe not being simply a chemical imbalance, and how exercise can aid in the remission of certain symptoms for a time. Chris educates us on the Over Active Brain, as well as the Under Active Brain, touching on the hormonal impact of menstruation and menopause on depression and anxiety. We polish off today’s incredibly insightful episode with the origin of the Ketogenic diet, and how it’s use can benefit certain people. Dr. Palmer describes the multitude of other benefits of tuning in your mitochondrial efficiency, including sleep regulation and sunlight exposure. A big thank you to Chris for coming on the show, be sure to be on the lookout for his upcoming book “Brain Energy”. If it was as educational as this episode you may want to pre order it at the link below.

Episode Overview:

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 2:00 Metabolic Disorders of the Brain
  • 6:00 Mitochondrial Health & Functions
  • 16:00 Old vs New Hypothesis in Mental Illness
  • 22:00 Exercise Efficacy on Symptoms of Depression
  • 26:30 Over Active Brains
  • 35:10 Perimenopausal Hormone Impact on Brain Function
  • 38:30 Under Active Brains
  • 49:00 Chris’s Take on the Ketogenic Diet
  • 1:04:30 Other Benefits of Mitochondrial Efficiency
  • 1:14:00 Conclusion


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Dr. Chris Palmer’s Links: Pre-Order “Brain Energy”

I’m Dr. Stephanie

Part geek, part magic, and all the way passionate about being a well-lived woman.

I want to throw my grandkids in the air in my 70’s. I want to be squatting even more weight than I am now, and putting my OWN luggage in the overhead bin. Sound like weird goals? For me these are just some of the little things that represent a life well-lived.

My health is MY job – I’ll be damned if I rely on luck, ‘good genes’ or a cocktail of drugs that over promise and under deliver.

The Betty Body is my first book-baby, and a collection of what I’ve learned after thousands of clinical hours, hundreds of conversations with the world’s top experts, and most importantly…

This book is an outline of what took ME from “rock-bottom health” at 38, to being my own version of a Betty in my perimenopausal mid 40’s. A woman who is physically strong, full of energy, enjoys mental clarity, great sex and a joyful family life. Is it all roses? Of course not. But I have the stamina and tools to deal with the push and pull of life so that it doesn’t turn into chronic stress.

I want this for you too. Let’s go Bettys!