In the first of 4 series, Coach Britt interviews the brilliant Dr. Brant Cortright Ph.D professor and author of Functional Psychology for Anxiety, Depression and Congnitive Decline.
This cutting edge perspective on the brain, mental health and psychology will BLOW YOUR MIND! (pun intented)
We've been going about psychology and mental health all wrong.
You won't want to miss all four episodes with Dr. Cortright. For more on his work, books and interviews, you can find him at https://www.brantcortright.com/
What if every experience, every hardship, every obstacle was given to you not to break you, but to mold you and strengthen you. What if the center of your suffering was actually the key to ultimate health? And what if your own pain was meant to be the catalyst for your greatest purpose? Welcome to bud belly life. Empowering purpose, mind to microbiome. Welcome to the bud belly life podcast. Uh , this month we are going to be featuring author psychologists, speaker and professor I S EmeritisSpeaker 2:
Emeritus. I literally practiced that a hundred times. This is Dr . Brant Courtright PhD . He's gonna be here discussing the topic of functional psychology and its impact on the brain in all of the brain's functions and disorders. Dr . Courtright brings an impressive level of knowledge. It's gonna help us all better understand the brain and really powerful hope for mental health and brain related dysfunction. Welcome Dr . Bra ,Speaker 2:
Thank you for having me.Speaker 1:
Absolutely. So I, I, I want you to be able to give so much what , when I'm excited you guys about , um, Dr. Brat here, you know, to talk indirectly. Um, I have been reading his book , uh , functional psychology, and I will say it has been a long time since I've been able to delve into something that has sparked my brain, ironically, that has gotten those wheels turned that has fed at something , um, more complex, newer given better. I'm obsessed with the brain, get connection. Everyone knows that's my, my specialty area. Um, and you've done, he's done a brilliant job in this book. It's just full, you can nerd out on it all day long, and it's very, very empowering in the same. So Dr . Brant , will you share with us a little bit about your journey, how you got into , um, this area study instead of just, you know, typical psychology and then maybe you can under explain to us a little bit about what functional psychology actually is.Speaker 2:
OK . Sure. So I've been trained as a psychologist and taught psychology at graduate school for over 30 years , um, have, have a practice and, you know, there's a, there's a split in psychiatry and psychology. So take depression, for example , um, psychiatrists and medical people think that depression is a brain disease, which require lifelong medication , antidepressants psychologists, where I've been trained and spent my most of my life , um , believe that actually depression is a result of UN behavior and that UNS skillful behavior leads us in certain directions, which makes us feel depressed. And that depression then creates the brain changes. We see. So which comes first, the brain changes or the UNS skillful behavior, it's a chicken or egg sort of thing. And for most of my, I was on the psychology side. I thought, well, 90% of it is UN skillful behavior. Maybe 10% is brain stuff . Well, the past oh eight or 10 years, as I've delved more into the brain, I've begun to see it's actually a chicken and egg thing. It's both right. We are psychophysical beings or better psychospiritual physical beings, or even better body, heart, mind, spirit, right? We exist on these different vibrational levels, but we have a psyche and we a body , we have a brain, a physical dimension, and I began to see that neither one can really be reduced to the other. So what I found a number of things sort of led me in this direction. Um, for one thing, I , I began to see that some of my most fragile clients and most fragile students were vegans that made me start noticing what's this thing around diet. And as I started to explore diet more and more, I began to see that actually the brain has some common underlying neural mechanisms behind anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. There are very different psychological processes involved. However, but what I found is that as the brain began to heal mostly through diet, exercise, sleep, other things, but mostly diet as the brain began to heal and to get stronger people's symptoms begin to go away. Sometimes this happens with just therapy. Sometimes this happens with just ideally we can work on both levels together, but I was surprised at the number of people, for whom just changing their diet and strengthening their brain and healing their brain, all their symptoms disappeared. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So that got me really interested in the brain. The first thing that got me interested in the first thing caught my attention was something called neurogenesis, right? So we've known about neuroplasticity for many decades. Neuroplasticity is the brain making new connections among existing , uh, neurons also called synaptogenesis. But in the last 15, 20 years, they've discovered that neurogenesis also occurs, which is the brain making new brain cells, right? So up until again, 15, 20 years of they thought that the brain stopped growing in our early twenties. And then it was just a slow die off after that. And then they realized actually, no, the brain makes new brain cells threat our entire lifetime. Something called neurogenesis, the Genesis or the birth of new neurons. Well , it turns out a lot of things in our environment that slow down neurogenesis and synaptogenesis slow down. What's called our neurogenic rate. And it turns out our neurogenic rate is the most important biomarker for brain health that most people have never heard of. So they did one experiment with mice. What they did was they increased their neurogenic rate by five times. And when they did that, they created not quite super mice, but almost they created mice that were cognitively enhanced. They were smarter, they learned faster, they figured things out faster, and they were very emotionally robust. They were protected against stress, anxiety, and depression. So this has now been taken into , um, <affirmative> work with humans. And what's been discovered is that antidepressants, for example, SSRIs, right? There's this whole theory, which is a great marketing theory , um, that people who are depressed have low serotonin levels. And what SSRIs like Prozac and other things do is they boost the serotonin levels. Well , it turns out most of the research shows that people who are depressed have normal serotonin levels, some research shows they actually have higher than normal serotonin levels, some show lower, but most average . And when you start taking Prozac or another SSRI, your serotonin levels go up immediately, but it takes four to six weeks for the antidepressant effect to kick in. Well, it turns out there are many things that increase the rate , and one of them is you increase certain neurotransmitters like serotonin mm-hmm <affirmative> . So serotonin boosts your neurogenic rate, and it takes four to six weeks for these new brain cells to mature and get integrated into the existing circuitry. And that's when the antidepressant effect kicks in.Speaker 1:
So it's a myth. The serotonin deficiency theory is a complete myth. It's a brilliant marketing mm-hmm <affirmative> strategy, cuz it's so simple to under, but it's simply not true . The pharmaceutical companies also know that it's not true. They're looking to find drugs that will boost the neurogenic rate. And when they find them , we'll hear nonstop advertisements about them . Mm-hmm <affirmative> well, it turns out there are about 30 or 40 different foods and nutrients that also powerfully boost our neurogenic rate and have a profound , both antidepressant, but also an anti-anxiety effect as well as a cognitive enhancing effect . So the , that that really got me into all of this and I've then been really applying this to psychology. Um , because again, there are different psychological mechanisms behind anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. So functional medicine is the use of diet and nutrition rather than just drugs to heal people mm-hmm <affirmative> . And so functional psychology is bringing the principles of functional psychology of diet and nutrition into psychology and bring and uniting it together. Psychology.Speaker 1:
Do you have a desire for fulfillment? That's helping people tap into their own health mentally, emotionally, and physically fire you up. Do you believe in the impact of the gut microbiome on overall wellness, you may be an H WCA coach for more info on our cutting edge health coach trainings visit H w a coach.com obviously in the holistic health arena. We, I talk all the time about functional medicine. So when we're dealing with people and their gut issues, anything, right? I mean us health coaches are our scope of practices is small, but mighty is how I like to say, because we have all these restrictions. We're not, you know, doctors, we're not, you know, RDS. We're not all these things, but sometimes I'd argue that we have some of the highest impact with people , um, because of our education and our connections to things like you're talking about because we're seeking and talking to people, professionals like yourself who are getting this information because our goal is to seek root causation. We support functional medicine. And so I talk about functional medicine a lot because it's hate root cause medicine you're going through health issues or things or maintenance or whatever , um, to see a functional medicine practitioner because they are somebody who's going to say, Hey, what's the deepest level we can get to if they're good and they have integrity and they have the time that's gonna be what they do with you. Um, and that is where we see the best efficacy. So what you're saying is it's a very similar, you've taken that functional understanding of the human and you've utilized it and combined it with psychology to get to the root cause or synergy, I guess you could say of the brain and how we function.Speaker 2:
Exactly. Right, exactly. Right. And in the book, functional psychology for anxiety, depression, and decline . I talk about the four pillars of the healthy brain diet , which is neurogenic ketogenic or low carb anti-inflammatory and gut friendly. Those four pillars, I think make for a healthy brain . And it's amazing the kind of brain weakness or the unhealthy brain that almost everybody in the society has because there are so many neurotoxins in the environment. If you look up Wikipedia, you look up the word neurotoxins, you'll come to 200 pages of lists. Mm-hmm <affirmative> with 30 neurotoxins on each page. Each with its own page, that's 6,000 neurotoxins that are in the environment that have never been there before. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, some of these we know about and have known about for some time , um, that they are toxic to the brain such as mercury lead arsenic, but some of these things are really quite new and we're only now really discovering how powerful effect they have on the brain. Things like plastics, microplastics, everybody has tons of microplastics that they are inhaling that are, that are everywhere. They're in the north pole. Mm-hmm <affirmative> , mm-hmm <affirmative> these are powerful endocrine disruptors. There are forever chemicals, which like Teflon, which virtually everybody has. There is glyphosate, right? Which is the active radi in Roundup. Mm-hmm <affirmative> the most widely used herbicide in the world, 300 million pounds of it every year, just in the United States, heavily used in China, India, Brazil. What glyphosate is, is it's an antibiotic mm-hmm <affirmative> . And so it wipes out the micro and you know that your listeners know that's a disaster in itself, but it also opens up the tight junctions of the gut and the tight junctions are what keeps out the bad stuff and lets in the good stuff. And so when those tight junctions open up all sorts of toxins, come flooding into the gut. We get leaky gut, which creates inflammation, which we know is behind most major chronic illnesses, cancer, Alzheimer's heart disease, you name it. It turns out that the tight junction of the blood brain barrier also operate according to the same molecular signals. And so when the tight junctions of the gut open up the tight junctions of the blood brain barrier also open up letting toxins into the brain, creating inflammation, oxidation, which drastically slows down the nerve and rate . Um , one more, a smog. Most people live 90% of the world lives in unhealthy air. The really tiny 2.5 micron particles and smaller enter into the lungs, enter into the bloodstream and also cross the blood brain barrier where they act like little re in the brain, creating inflammation again, oxidation and also slowing down the neurogenic rate. So there are all of these, you know , U C S F did a study a few years ago and found out that 92% of Americans have measurable levels of glyphosate in their system . Mm-hmm <affirmative> that means virtually everybody in America has some degree of leaky gut and leaky brain mm-hmm <affirmative> , which means a slowed down neurogenic rate and greater susceptibility to anxiety, depression, brain fog, cognitive decline , um, as well as other things.Speaker 1:
So well, and I just not to interrupt you there , but I wanna reiterate what you just said for everybody. So they've done studies that have shown that people are walking around with a measurable degree of glyphosate in their system, which like you said before is an antibiotic, which just to specify, I know sometimes people need to hear this a couple times. Antibiotic basically means against life. So against what are the, what is the life going on in our bodies? It's the bacteria, it's the, you know, the microbes that we need for all of our functions. We are literally, we know the consequences of taking antibiotics, but now we are consuming antibiotics and they are found in our system on a measurable level almost consistently.Speaker 2:
Yeah, that's right. Some , some parts of the country like the Midwest and the south, they use so much of it. It's in the air, it's in the dust. It's, it's in the rainfall . You can't get away from it. If people ate purely organic food, they would reduce 80 to 85 to 90% of the glyphosate and the pesticides. So if there's one take from today , it should be eat organically whenever possible. But again, glyphosate is everywhere. They use it even just to desiccate wheat. And when they harvest wheat it's inSpeaker 1:
Which that flies under the radar too, cuz people, they like to leave that one out because that's used at the end of the wheat growing cycle. So they think, oh, we don't use it on wheat much. Now they use it at the end of the cycle.Speaker 2:
Yeah. Right. Um, conventional meat, the cattle are just filled with glyphosate feed. Um, you're getting huge amounts of antibiotics. If you don't eat grass fed or pasted, you know, beef, chicken, wild caught fish , um, it's, it's a , it's a neurotoxic field out there. And to avoid it, to avoid stepping into some of these big minefield and to really walk safely takes a certain amount of just understanding of, of some of the dangers out there. And so that's what this book tries to do is try to illuminate some of those and to find ways in which we can actually then be begin to heal and strengthen the brain.Speaker 1:
That's amazing. Thank you for giving us that understanding. Um , I know that was brief for you because I did read that each chapter could be a book in itself. And I, after getting into the details of what you put in there, there's no , um, drawn out verbiage as a , as a writer myself, you, you used no space fillers, every single word in that book is meaty. And I can tell that you are condensing your vast area of knowledge. Thank you. Thank you for joining us for another empowering episode of Buda belly life. For more information on gut health and mindset says, visit Budda belly life.com and remember heal yourself and then empower others to do the same.