ATHE_Transcript_Ep 493_Dr. Mike Dow
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, this is JJ Virgin. Welcome and thanks so much for joining me. This is Ask the Health Expert here. I put the Power of Health in your hands and give you access to the top people in health and wellness. In each episode, I share safe ways to get healthy, lose weight, heal your gut detox and lots more. So if you wanna get healthy and get off the dieting for life merry-go-round, I'll give you strategies that will help you look and feel better fast.
Welcome to the podcast. Oh. I have my co-star from TLC's Freaky Eaters with us today. Super excited to have Dr. Mike Dow, a New York Times bestselling author, psychotherapist, neuro therapist, brain health expert and bestselling author of the Brain Fog Fix, Healing the Broken [00:01:00] Brain and Diet Rehab coming out with Heal Your Drained brain naturally relieve anxiety, combat insomnia, and balance your brain in just 14 days.
Gosh, we've been getting a lot. Both of us were talking offline. We've both been getting a lot of pings around. TLCs Freaky Eaters. Turns out they have that show back out, I guess, on Netflix. So it's got its own audience, of people. I've been getting Instagram. Little messages going, Am I a freaky eater? And I'm like, Oh man.
Oh no. What happened here? ? Anyway, you may recognize him if you did ever watch any of our episodes. He was my co-star. He also is regularly on Dr. Oz, the doctors, Rachel Ray, Wendy Williams, and The Today Show. And he's been on public television, but he's super fun guy. We had so much fun together. We kind of talked about maybe doing a little reunion show.
We'll see. It could be in. But today we're talking about a very important subject around how to know if you've got a [00:02:00] drained brain. I was having trouble saying this. How do you know if you have a drained brain? By the way, we've got a quiz for you to figure this out at jjvirgin.com/drainedbrain drained brain.
He's gonna talk about the four different types of drain brains and some things you can start doing right. To turn that around, and he gave me a little pointer about something you better never do if you're going into exercise, because it can make things so much worse. I'm not gonna tell you what it is though, You'll just have to listen to the interview.
All right, before we dive into that, here is a word about one of my favorites.
All righty. Welcome back to the show, Dr. Mike Dow. How are you?
Dr. Mike Dow: Oh, my friend, how are you? Thanks for having me.
JJ Virgin: It's super pathetic that the only way I ever get to talk to you is to invite you onto my podcast. Just saying, ,
Dr. Mike Dow: I'm gonna come visit you very soon, .
JJ Virgin: I'm gonna hold you [00:03:00] to it, or I'm gonna. Start a smear campaign on social media.
There you have it . I'm gonna like take all of our like really wacky stuff. I actually found some pictures from. From taping freaky eaters, and I might just start putting those out there maybe,
Dr. Mike Dow: you know. Oh, my, could happen. .
JJ Virgin: So careful, careful, careful. All right, let's dive into this this place. You have, you've been very prolific with your writing, and I'm super excited about this latest endeavor that you're into with healing your drained brain.
First of all, I love the whole name. That's so awesome, . Oh, thanks. Good job. Good job. But what, okay, let's, let's go first with like, why this book? What made you start looking at, first of all, terming it Drained Brain? How, what happened? How'd you get into this? Yeah.
Dr. Mike Dow: Well, you know, I think people know what it is.
You know, when I was doing the segment on Rachel Ray, she said, I don't know exactly what a drained brain is, but I'm pretty sure I have it. [00:04:00] And, you know, that's what I was finding. People are just feeling so stressed out and when you. Anything going on in our world, you know, all of the stats are that we are more stressed out than we ever have been.
People are freaking out whether, you know, they're survivors of abuse, whether you're just turning on the news and you can't stand what's going on in our world. And, and we know that. Untreated drained brain isn't just something that makes you feel uncomfortable. We now know that if you don't treat it, you're four times likely to, to develop high blood pressure, untreated panic attacks in women, increase your heart, heart attack, and stroke risk.
So I just really. Felt called to do something because I feel like it's almost universal that you know, over half of our country people are walking around with these drained brains, stressed out, frazzled. They don't have the energy, they're not sleeping well. So here you have it. Heal your drain brain.
Here it is.
JJ Virgin: Yikes. Okay, so for everybody listening is going, That's me. That's me. Don't worry. We are going to give you some ideas on how to fix [00:05:00] it. Let's talk about the, the neural chemicals, the brain chemicals involved in this. Why they're so awful and scary.
Dr. Mike Dow: Yeah, so it's really fascinating. So I have four different subtypes of drained brains.
And we've seen this in research in children and adults. So in the first three subtypes all three of your brain drainers, these are stress hormones are going too high. So adrenaline, norepinephrine. That primary wave and in that secondary wave of cortisol. Now we know that the, in the third, in my third subtype, we have what's called a blunted response.
So I call that drop drain. So the stress hormones start to go up, but then it's like a wave hitting a cliff. So then you don't have the energy to get through the stressor. And then the fourth subtype of Dr, of drain brain we actually have low levels of cortisol. And high levels of adrenaline. And you know what's interesting?
Research has, has shown that if you're a survivor of trauma or abuse, that you actually have are likely to have this subtype of a drained [00:06:00] brain. And of course when, so generally speaking when stress hormone levels are too high, you're going to feel frazzled. You know, in terms of the stress response.
Remember, it's sort of like Goldilocks, right? It's, it's a little bit of stress. Response is good. But too much is bad. So we're, we're trying to get to that sweet spot. Because when those stress hormones rise and fall, like a wave as they should, you know, then we're able to rise to the occasion, get through the stressor, and then they fall.
But if you have a drained brain, what happens is those stress hormones go high and stay high in, in most cases. And, and when that happens, you don't have the energy you're feeling like you're in a constant straight of dread. Panic, anxiety, stress, insomnia, all of that stuff, that yucky stuff that we don't want.
And then of course, you're probably gonna crave sugar or alcohol or, you know, too much wine on a, on a Tuesday night by yourself because you just can't handle everything, right? So we know it affects the way you think, the way you feel, and it can affect your [00:07:00] health in some very profound and real.
JJ Virgin: love that you've created this quiz. Everyone's gonna get this drained, brain drained quiz, . This is one you can't say fast. And just so you're listening, cause you're probably going and, and I, I've seen this in my own practice, is that when people probably. Probably the, in the first one, the light drain, they probably are thinking I'm doing pretty well.
Mm-hmm. , you know, it says chemicals start to come up. They're like, Ooh. Which is not good. It's going to take you down over time, but you'll be able to figure out where you are in this, which of those types you are. Because if you're listening, I'm betting you probably are one of these types. The light drain, and I have it here, Light drain, skyrocket drain, drop, drain, and extreme drain.
Those four you just described. Yep. You'll be able to take the quiz at jj virgin.com/brain drained and that's drained with an ed. Let's dig into this cuz they're gonna figure out if they have one through the quiz. Right. And you just kind of described the different [00:08:00] feelings you would have in the different parts of the quiz, different parts of those.
But someone finds out they have a drained brain. Maybe I'll call it brain. Brain drained. Drained brain. Someone finds out they have a drained brain and I'm gonna put it, call it drained brain. It makes more sense I think so. Jjvirgin.com/drainedbrain. Someone figures out they have one and I'm willing to bet that most people have are fall somewhere on and on the scale.
Right? Yeah. I mean, it's absolutely right. You know, , I, I will tell you that I've been working a lot on this. I finally think maybe I'm just in the light drain. Finally. Maybe I've gotten out of extreme drain . Hey, better than I'll take it. Right? I know when we were working on. Freaky eaters. I was definitely an extreme drain.
My goodness. You did too. That was crazy. Yeah. Plus we lived at Starbucks that was
Dr. Mike Dow: like, Sure did. I know we hang out. So
JJ Virgin: we did not, we did not help ourselves. We're sitting there working out of Starbucks all day in between the, the little calls. So let's kind of starting, Cause I [00:09:00] wanna give people, they're gonna be able to figure out where they are.
But let's talk about a couple things you can start doing right now that can start turning this around. So how about Food? I know that you're really. Food
Dr. Mike Dow: and how it can impact your brain. Yeah, absolutely. So we have these omega-3 super foods and you know, in this book, you know, because the subtitle is naturally relieved, anxiety, combat, insomnia and balance your brain in just 14 days we have these two main problems, right?
So some people are more. Stress and anxiety. Some people are more insomnia. So we have these two forms of omega3s. We have epa, which in this book I call your stress less omega 3. Because studies have shown high doses of epa can reduce anxiety by 20% while decreasing inflammation. And I call dha your sleep soundly omega3 because it's been recently shown.
To promote restful sleep. So if you're shifting away from all that yucky stuff that I know you and I both hate, like soybean oil that raise, you know, increases [00:10:00] the amount of pro-inflammatory omega sixes in your brain and body, and you shift to these omega-3 super foods, you're gonna be getting more of that stress, less omega3, more of the sleep soundly, omega3.
And then we also know that all of. Incredible vegetables and whole fruits. Of course, we don't want to spike our blood sugar with fruit juice. Yuck. But we do want to find those whole fruits, those vegetables you know, we know that sugar shrinks your brain. We know that stress shrink sugar shrinking the hippocampus chronic stress if you don't know how to handle it, shrinking the prefrontal cortex.
But we also know that. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables work in different ways, right? So I talked about the brain drainers. In this book I also have a short list of brain balancers. So acetylcholine, gaba, serotonin, endorphins, melatonin, oxytocin, all of these other chemicals that we want more of that help us deal with stress.
So, you know, generally [00:11:00] speaking, as brain drainers. Cortisol adrenaline as they go down. Hopefully you're going to be increasing one or more of those brain balancers. So there are a lot fantastic vitamin and mineral co-factors in those veggies and fruits. We know some of them work directly on cortisol.
We know that high levels of vitamin C can help to help. Deal with cortisol spikes. We know that other B vitamins act as co-factors so that your body can take the amino acids in your healthy diet convert them into gaba, convert them into serotonin. Yes, those are the same. Two stress relieving.
Chemicals, gaba that's released by Xanax and Klonopin. And then serotonin, the same chemical that SSRI antidepressants that are often prescribed for anxiety are meant to boost in the brain. Can I
JJ Virgin: interrupt you? Doesn't it make you nuts as a psychologist watching, knowing that people are given all these prescription meds without trying, [00:12:00] To do some of this dietary intervention first that will naturally produce and raise, like, come on, this's craziness,
Dr. Mike Dow: isn't it?
It's crazy. And we have those placebo double blind studies now, you know, there was, there was a study that compared a, an omega-3 supplement, high levels of epa, a lower ratio of dha and compared it to. Prescription antidepressants and it was just as effective. But how many patients, JJ, are even told that or given the option?
Probably almost none of them, which is why they need to read our work so they can find, find the natural answer. Well,
JJ Virgin: it, it just, it just always is amazing to me that this is considered alternative, when it should be first line. And the first thing that you wanna do is start all of. Dietary shifting that you detail out in your book and you've detailed out in your books before, you know, get the omega 3s and my gosh, I th like, if people just started doing more omega 3s and got some of the toxic food out, like it's amazing how much would shift.
That's right. Right. Absolutely. Okay, I'm
Dr. Mike Dow: gonna stop my [00:13:00] reach into the choir so
JJ Virgin: I know. Well, I know you talk a lot about this and I'm watching the time I wanna shift cuz you've, Food obviously is a key thing here and I love that you've really dialed into food and how food can affect your brain and all your brain chemistry once you've figured out what your type is, how you should eat.
So this is in the book and you'll get info on this book and how to grab it in the show notes. So you'll wanna get those. Drained brain, so jjvirgin.com/drainedbrain. But there's some other things that you can do as well, and I love the approach that you're taking where it's this integrated approach of things that you can do.
So what about. You know, beyond food, what are some of the other things that you can do that can start to, you know, lower the stress hormone response, get you out of this big fight and fight
Dr. Mike Dow: action? People are, Yeah, there are so many clinically effective tools. So, you know, I have a lot of, sort of, at first glance, some of them.
Seem a little woo woo to some of, to some of you, but let me [00:14:00] re let me tell you that there's a lot of research behind them. You know, so for example paniyama or breath control practices, you know, so I have all of these breath you know, ways to shift your breath into diaphragmatic breathing. We know that the breath tends to move upwards towards your chest when you're in that fight or flight mode, we know.
Tends to be more belly based when you're in rest and digest. So you can use a breathing technique to sort of shift you away from that stress response. Also, progressive muscle relaxation is another tool in my book. Self-hypnosis, autogenic training, mindfulness meditation, all of these little tools.
And what I have people do in the program is every day you try a different tool so that you figure out which tool. Really works for you. You know, and there's scripts in the book. And, and, and when you find that tool, maybe for you it's progressive muscle relaxation. I prefer self-hypnosis over mindfulness meditation.
Sometimes I get a little bored with meditation, but if I use self-hypnosis on myself, I can take myself to a [00:15:00] really calm, relaxed place. If that's a little too strange for, for you, you can use a these, you can use a diaphragmatic breathing, which. Placing one hand on your belly, one hand on your chest and moving the breath into your belly.
And then there's some other practices, you know, they've been, they've been shown in research to work. You know, it's incredible that you put a enough of these breath practices together and they helped people who were survivors of the Asian tsunami to overcome their trauma. You know, so we're helping the nervous system.
To shift up and down like a wave, because that's what we want. We don't want it to get stuck, right? Cause most people, it's stuck in the high position. We wanna teach your, your body. So, you know, I use this sequence where you use bellows, br bellows breath, where you know you're. You're sort of activating your nervous system, but then you use other breath practices to bring it down.
It's, it's sort of like interval training for your breath. So much like somebody would be on a treadmill and they'd go to 12 miles per hour, and then two and 12 and two and 12 and two. That's what I do. You can do the [00:16:00] same thing with your breath, and that helps your nervous system to recover, which is kind of.
JJ Virgin: This stuff. I will tell you, my son, Grant's been completely, and this was a very typical teenage boy before his severe traumatic brain injury, you know, he was basically played computer games and hung out with his girlfriend, , you know, I mean, he was like a total normal 16 year old. Yep. Now he does hit he.
Now he does meditation and breathwork. And has this has been a huge part factor in helping him heal. Oh,
Dr. Mike Dow: that's so cool. Jj. I love, I loved
JJ Virgin: it. I did a very odd thing. I must tell you though, I was at Summit at Sea mm-hmm. Two years ago and Wym Hoff was there, .
Dr. Mike Dow: Oh yeah. I've heard, I've heard like the breath wizard.
JJ Virgin: Right? He's the breath wizard. It was a very. Very strange experience with a bunch of people jammed into a little area sitting in a pool. Like, like literally there are probably like 500 people, thousand people jammed into an area for 300 doing breath work together. It was quite, quite
Dr. Mike Dow: interesting. Oh, [00:17:00] you can, it's, you can start to feel high.
I mean, I've done a whole, Oh, it was, it was like,
JJ Virgin: honestly, It was crazy. It was really something. What about exercise? Cuz I, I, you know, I went to IFMs big brain conference last year and, and Perlmutter, who's just so awesome, Dr. David Perlmutter, he's been on the podcast too. He was talking about. How you, you know, exercise increases, brain drive, neurotrophic factor.
What does it
Dr. Mike Dow: do here? Yeah. So it's really fascinating. And, you know, I love, I saw one of your newest programs, which is, you know, based on one of them, which is this sprint interval training, which we know is really effective. Right? So, you know, I've broken down different forms of exercise to help people understand what it is doing to your brain chemicals.
So for example we know that if you are physically fit, you are going to produce about, 2% less cortisol throughout the day compared to somebody who's out of shape. And one of the best ways to do that if you [00:18:00] don't have extreme drain is interval training. And pushing yourself really hard into sprint interval training.
It only takes 10 minutes. It's been clinically proven. It gets you really in shape really fast. But for people who have that extreme drain, Type or skyrocket drain, sometimes that's not the best place to start because, you know, obviously revving your nervous system can actually cause panic attacks for some people if they're, if they haven't started in a different place.
So for other people we know that listen, if you've if. Hopefully you've read all of JJ'S books. You're no longer eating sugar all day. But if you have in your past, we know that eating a lot of sugar and flour shrinks your hippocampus. Well guess what? We know that sustained aerobic exercise like that jog, like that bike ride, like sitting on that rowing machine for 40 minutes, you know, on in sort of a.
A, a sort of a straight fashion in terms of that lines. It's sort of that straight line as opposed to up and down. We know that that is best at increasing neurogenesis. And that can undo some of the brain shrinkage [00:19:00] that has been the result of all the sugar that people have been eating. And then for people who are really drained or you know, we also wanna time it.
Right. Right. So it's really interesting that. Obviously get, getting on a treadmill or doing an intense workout is fantastic, but we also know that if you get on that treadmill and you have a lot of unresolved anger, so if you have had a really bad day, you can actually increase your risk of a heart attack by hopping on that treadmill.
So if you're, if you're having one of those, like I'm on the end of my wrist. Wow. Yeah. So you either need, That's something,
JJ Virgin: cuz I think people like there. Angry. They're like, Oh, this go work out
Dr. Mike Dow: rah. You know, . Yeah, exactly. So you either need a spiritual remedy first. So you either need to do a little loving kindness meditation, which is in my book to let go of anger because you don't wanna to rev your your body and your heart while you're angry.
So you either gonna use a spiritual remedy for that. Or you can use one of the easier forms of exercise and maybe that's a great day for yoga. Something a little bit, not something that's not going to rev you [00:20:00] quite as high just until you, until you've overcome that, right? And then once you've overcome the anger or you feel like you have a little bit more energy, then you move on interval training.
So, you know, I think it's all about the timing and some of these scientifically proven forms of exercise and sort of the timing of when you should do them and why, and how they affect different brain chemicals people. They, they, people are fascinated by it. And I come up at it from this brain, you know, how do you, how do we heal stress, anxiety, insomnia through these different practices and putting them together?
JJ Virgin: Well, let's talk about that since you just brought up the, the idea of what you were thinking, creating, creating different goals with exercise. Like don't walk into exercise mad, which I honestly, I had never heard that. I literally know that there's some days where I feel like I, I. irritated and I just have to go work out to get rid of it.
And you know, That's Huh? I have to rethink that. I'll send you a study . That's, Oh, that's one thing I totally dig here is I know everything you do is always science based, so I'm like, that is Oh yeah. [00:21:00] Awesome and fantastic. Oh yeah. So what about, you know, how you're thinking and these thought patterns that we have going on, You know what, what part do they play
Dr. Mike Dow: in all this?
Yeah. So we know. People who use one of what I call the seven pitfall thought patterns, they all begin with a letter P so you can memorize them and sort of watch them. So paralysis analysis, aka rumination pessimistic thinking, personalization all of these ways that people think. So if you are one of these people who you're always thinking in a pessimistic fashion or you personalize so something goes wrong and you think, Oh, why wasn't I smart enough to handle that?
You know, that that meeting today in, in a better way or. You're thinking to yourself, all of these, all of these negative thought patterns, they affect your brain. They spike these brain draining stress hormones. And you know what's really interesting is that I have a little I created a new protocol for this book called Energy Based Cognitive Therapy, and it was based off the research that we can actually begin to.
Our neurotransmitters[00:22:00] by using physical postures from the yoga tradition or, you know, a really simple one is this. If, if you notice one of these pitfall thought patterns, if you notice you're going to that worst case scenario, thinking, aka pessimistic thinking. If you are using paralysis analysis and it's getting you stuck and you just can't stop worrying about something, if you put a half smile on your face, that helps you to release neurotransmitters.
Feel good. It shifts the brain out of mood, congruent recall, where you're just gonna light up all your other anxious thoughts and memories, which you don't want. So then while you have your body in a pose, it could be star pose a half smile on your face. All of these physical poses I have in the book.
Then I have you go through and I help, I help you to elicit the contrary evidence, You know, list the three things. While the smiles on your face think about something that you went through in your life that seemed awful at the time. You know, jj, your, your son, and that hit and run you know, for other people listening their divorce something that at the time you thought, Oh my God, how am I ever going to [00:23:00] get over this?
And then look at the evidence from your own life that you have achieved, that you have gotten over, the things that you have been able to triumph over. As the contrary evidence, and that will help to turn off some of these pitfall thought patterns because again, they are bringing you down. They are draining your brain and draining your brain disrupts your gut.
It disrupts your digestion. It spikes your risk of heart attack and stroke. So you wanna get rid of it. Awesome,
JJ Virgin: fantastic stuff. And I will tell you, it's I've really noticed when, when you have a brain injury, like Grant has, all this stuff is, is amplified. So, so many of the things, you know, I've had the chance to see 'em firsthand where you may not notice 'em in yourself as much so, I am super excited about this book.
I'm so glad you wrote it. I wanna remind everybody this book, Heal Your Drained Brain. You're gonna wanna pick this up and I'm gonna have a link to the quiz in the show notes. The show notes will be at jjvirgin.com/drainedbrain, and you'll be able to get the brained [00:24:00] drained quiz . I was like, Okay. That threw me.
That threw me. That threw me. Oh my gosh, . And thank you so much, Mike, for being here with me again today. Super appreciate and I want you to come hang out with me. Promise me you're gonna find
Dr. Mike Dow: a date. I will. Thank you so much for having me, jj.
JJ Virgin: All righty. Awesome. Now, after the break, I'll be answering a listener's question, so stay with me.
Welcome back. This is the time where I answer a listener's question, and today's question comes from Jody in Elgin, Texas, and believe it or not, Jody, I've been Elgin Texas. I actually did a Dr. Phil show. There when we tried to take over the town. So yes. Remember it well. So Jody says, jj, how much fish oil did you use with your son grant?
And for how long? All right. I get asked this a lot now. If you don't, if you haven't been around my podcast, my son Grant, who's now [00:25:00] 21 at age 16, was the victim of a hit and run and literally left for dead in the street. He has was in a coma for weeks in the hospital for four and a half months, severe traumatic brain injury, and I made a decision then that he was gonna be 110%.
I've detailed all of this in my book Warrior Mom and how I did it. And we'll put in the show notes too. Some of the information about him, the movie that I made, you are stronger than you think. That walks you through it. But here's a couple things that I will tell you about that, because one of the key things that we did to help bring him around quickly was fish oil.
He was on fish oil prior to the accident, and I credit that with him making it through, because one of the things that fish oil does is protect your. It is neuroprotective. He was on five grams official already because he has bipolar disorder and for anything, I mean, first of all, I think everybody should be on fish oil depending on your diet and your size.
Somewhere between two and five [00:26:00] grams a day, plus a diet rich antioxidants. So he was on five grams prior to the accident. When the accident happened, I got him on 20 grams of fish oil and I kept him on that for a good six months because it helps reduce, basically it puts the fire out in the brain, reduces the inflammation, helps the brain, gives the brain the building blocks to heal your brain.
We are fat brains. Our brain is over 50% fat. Majority of that omega3 fat. So that is why I did that. And then Kept him on 10 grams of fish oil for quite a long time after that and now he's on five to 10 grams now cuz he's still healing. It's five and a half years out. He is still healing and repairing and he is definitely on his way to being 110% in a lot of ways.
He already is better than before the accident and there's still a couple things we're working on, but no doubt in my mind that he will be so fish oil is amazing. Couple things to look for with fish oil. Look for the TG form. The triglyceride form of fish oil. Look [00:27:00] for it to be tested to make sure that it is pure.
Look for it to have some antioxidants in it to keep it from oxidizing and ideally have some lipase in it too to help you digest it. I have a couple different forms that I use and offer, and we'll put those in the show notes in case you want the capsules or the liquid, and. Thank you so much for that question.
You can ask a question. On one of my social media sites, the ones that are the easiest to access, JJ Virgin Official on Facebook and jj.virgin on Instagram, we always checking them out. We're always looking for the. Questions that fit well with the shows and using 'em there. So leave them on there. And the other place to go and leave something is, oh my gosh, I would so appreciate if you'll jump on over to iTunes and leave a review because it helps a bunch.
I know that the podcast world is a crowded world and people, when they're searching through going, What should I listen [00:28:00] to? When they see your review, they go, Huh, social proof is huge. So I hugely appreciate it in advance. If you leave a review on iTunes for the show and every week we say thank you to someone who has, and this week we're saying thank you to JJ POD and JJ POD five star review and says, What a great benefit with quick information on a healthy lifestyle.
Thanks so, Thank you so much for that, and thank you all for tuning in, and I will see you next week.