DiscoverHuberman LabDr. Chris Palmer: Diet & Nutrition for Mental Health
Dr. Chris Palmer: Diet & Nutrition for Mental Health

Dr. Chris Palmer: Diet & Nutrition for Mental Health

Update: 2022-11-2128


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.

For the full show notes, visit

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(00:00:00 ) Dr. Chris Palmer, Mental Health & Metabolic Disorders

(00:03:42 ) Sponsors: LMNT, Thesis, Momentous

(00:07:18 ) Nutrition & Mental Health

(00:20:43 ) Low-Carb Diets & Anti-Depression, Fasting, Ketosis

(00:27:52 ) Schizophrenia, Depression & Ketogenic Diet

(00:33:58 ) Sponsor: AG1

(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

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


Comments (2)


I just spent 3 hours listening, enjoying, and learning only to find out that none of this information is directed at my female body. That should have been a disclaimer! Thanks for nothing, or really thanks for continuing the solely white male lens everything medical is viewed through. I really was fascinated by this.

Jan 27th

Kathryn Marie Bateman

I would love a podcast on food additives. An education on how to read food lables such as what can be hiding in "spices" or "natural flavors", what should we care about avoiding, which lables are meaningful and which ones are not much more than advertising (natural, free range, organic, USDA certified), etc. This question comes after reading some controversial takes on the research behind MSG in Excitotoxins: the Tase that Kills, by Russell L. Blaylock and George R. Schwartz. A whole episode on MSG would be cool too! Especially after major groups like Whole30 added it to the allowed list. Obviously, this can't all fit in one show. Take it as inspiration or not at all. Thanks for your commitment to accessible education!

Jan 3rd
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Dr. Chris Palmer: Diet & Nutrition for Mental Health

Dr. Chris Palmer: Diet & Nutrition for Mental Health

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