Why isn’t your brain working? The devastating effects of neuroinflammation and how to fix them with functional neurology

Audio only version

March 29th, 2023
Dr. Datis Kharrazian

Show Description

Dr. Datis Kharrazian is an award winning clinical research scientist, Harvard trained academic professor and world renowned Functional Medicine expert. He is at the forefront of developing evidence-based treatments for mood disorders as well as autoimmune and chronic neurological diseases, which are used by academic institutions as well as by thousands of health care providers. A Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, Diplomate of the Board of Nutrition Specialists, member of the American Association of Immunologists, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, he is also the bestselling author of Why do I Still have Thyroid Problems?, and Why Isn’t My Brain Working?

In this very complex and captivating interview, Dr. Datis Kharrazian explains why conventional medical approaches to brain health are ineffective, and why neuroinflammation – rather than neurochemical imbalance such as low serotonin – is the true cause of poor mental health. With a focus on psychoimmunology, he sheds light on cutting edge research into glial cells (which are responsible for ‘cleaning’ the brain), and explains how they dictate all aspects of health. Revealing the concrete link between primed glial cells and chronic neuroinflammation, he outlines why immune activation is the most common cause of poor mental health (anxiety, depression, insomnia, OCD, etc), neurodegeneration (autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s, etc) and autoimmune diseases (MS, diabetes, IBD, etc). He explains that our brains, thoughts and emotions can all cause neuroinflammation and in turn poor mental health, and shows how anxiety, depression, autoimmunity, and other chronic health symptoms can be treated successfully through functional neurology models that address and treat neuroinflammation. He also offers real hope that although identifying the causes of glial cell activation and neuroinflammation can seem complex and overwhelming (and can include a vast array of biochemical, environmental and psychological stressors, mould, toxins, viruses, leaky gut, trauma, injury, stress, etc), wellness can be achieved through relatively simple lifestyle and dietary treatments.

Learn about:

  • Why chronic neuroinflammation is at the root of poor mental health (anxiety, depression, insomnia, OCD, etc), neurodegeneration (cognitive decline, memory loss, Parkinson’s), autoimmune diseases (MS, diabetes, IBD) as well as impacting neurodevelopment (ADHD autism)
  • Why the conventional medical understanding of poor mental health as a neurochemical imbalance (eg: low serotonin) is incorrect, and why antidepressants are ineffective
  • Why conventional medicine treats generalised populations and fails individuals, and why personalised treatments for poor mental health, autoimmune diseases and neurological diseases are vital to successful healing
  • What psychoimmunology is, and why brain function has such a big impact on the immune system and vice versa 
  • How to diagnose, treat and prevent early symptoms of neurological diseases, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, MS etc (which can start 15-20 years before the disease manifests), and why mainstream medicine is failing us
  • Why biochemical stressors (genetics, exposure to mould, toxins, environmental pollution, leaky gut, infections, viruses etc) and our psychology (emotions, mood, poor sleep etc) can keep us locked in a vicious cycle of neurological inflammation, and why both need treating in order heal 
  • Why glial cells–which take up 2/3 of the mass of the brain–are crucial to brain health and why they are the common denominator of poor mental health, autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative diseases
  • How ‘primed’ glial cells in the brain cause chronic neuroinflammation and why they are so hard to turn off 
  • The major causes of glial cell activation and neuroinflammation (including psychological and biochemical stressors; traumatic brain injury, toxins, pollutions, food intolerances, infections, diseases, age, etc), and how to restore glial function
  • Ways to successfully reduce and prevent neurological inflammation – including quality sleep, exercise, diet and blood sugar stability – and the three keys to a healthy brain: good blood circulation, steady glucose and oxygen  
  • Why gut issues usually start in the brain, and how gut issues can be an early warning sign of neurodegeneration 
  • Which diets and supplements can help reduce neuroinflammation and restore brain health (Ginkgo biloba, turmeric, resveratrol, omega 3s, ketogenic diets, fasting)

About Dr. Datis Kharrazian

Podcast guest photo

Datis Kharrazian, PhD, DHSc, DC, MS, MMSc, FACN is a Harvard Medical School trained and award-winning clinical research scientist, academic professor, and world-renowned functional medicine health care provider. He develops evidence-based models to treat autoimmune, neurological, and unidentified chronic diseases with non-pharmaceutical applications. His clinical models of evidence-based medicine are used by several academic institutions and thousands of health care providers throughout the world. Dr. Kharrazian is an Associate Clinical Professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine.

As a researcher, Dr. Kharrazian earned a PhD degree in Health Science with concentrations in immunology and toxicology and a Doctor of Health Science (DHSc) degree from the Department of Health Care Sciences at Nova Southeastern University. He completed his post-doctoral research training as a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and worked as a researcher at the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where his research focus was in autoimmunity and neuroimmunology. Dr. Kharrazian also earned a Master of Medical Science degree (MMSc) in Clinical Investigation from Harvard Medical School.

As a health care provider, Dr. Kharrazian earned a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. He has completed board certifications in nutrition and neurological rehabilitation. Dr. Kharrazian’s clinical expertise is in developing personalized lifestyle medicine approaches to autoimmunity and neurological disorders.

Dr. Kharrazian is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a Diplomate of the Board of Nutrition Specialists, a member of the American Society for Nutrition, a member of the American Association of Immunologists, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (United Kingdom).

Dr. Kharrazian has received many awards for his work as a researcher, clinician, and educator. The American College of Nutrition honored Dr. Kharrazian with the Alexander and Mildred Seelig Award, which recognizes highly esteemed scientists for their outstanding contributions to the scientific field of nutrition. He has been a two-time recipient of the Researcher of the Year award by the International Association of Functional Neurology for his breakthrough research on neurological autoimmunity. He received an Award of Recognition by the Institute for Clinical Ergonomics and Applied Neuroscience for his outstanding contributions as an educator in the field of neurological therapeutics. He was also the recipient of the Clinical Trailblazer Award by the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation for his contributions in evolving clinical therapeutic strategies used to treat patients suffering from neurological diseases.

Dr. Kharrazian was an adjunct professor at Bastyr University, where he taught neuroscience and human brain dissection for several years. He also serves as an adjunct professor at National University of Health Sciences, where he has developed several post-graduate programs in neurological disease diagnosis and clinical management. He has developed a Neuroendocrine-Immune Series and a Mastering Brain Chemistry course that has been that has been approved for postgraduate education by the University of Bridgeport.

As a medical educator, Dr. Kharrazian has developed many post-graduate courses in blood chemistry analysis, hormone and endocrine management, complex immunology testing, gastrointestinal management, and various topics in functional medicine. 

Due to the growing demand from healthcare professionals to learn Dr. Kharrazian’s clinical models to manage chronic diseases directly from him, he developed the Kharrazian Institute. The courses at the Kharrazian Institute are attended by a worldwide audience of more than a 3,000 physicians and healthcare providers.

Dr. Kharrazian’s book, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests are Normal?, completely changed the paradigm of how thyroid disorders are managed. He was the first author to describe how thyroid dysfunction treatment needs to emphasize an autoimmune approach. His work went on to inspire an entire world of blogs, influencers, sites, protocols, recipe books, health coaches, and practitioners who manage Hashimoto’s.  His book became an international bestseller and led to the development of the largest Facebook Hashimoto’s community (Hashimoto’s 411), which supports thyroid patients from around the world.

Dr. Kharrazian is the author of the best-selling book, Why Isn’t My Brain Working? a well-reviewed and an exhaustively referenced book that illustrates Dr. Kharrazian’s model for supporting the brain. His book has dramatically impacted the specialty of functional neurology and the functional medicine approach to brain disorders.

Dr. Kharrazian has been a consultant to the nutrition industry and has formulated more than 100 products that are used by thousands of healthcare professionals. He also serves as a consultant to immunological laboratories, providing expert clinical opinions in the development of complex immunology profiles.

Dr. Kharrazian has a private practice in San Diego, California. He consults with patients from all over the world who are seeking non-pharmaceutical applications. His practice is focused on developing a personalized medical approach using diet, nutrition, and lifestyle approaches.  Most of Dr. Kharrazian’s patients are referrals from other health care providers who require his unique skills in dissecting the patient’s case and implementing personalized strategic approaches.

Show Notes