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The Better Behavior Show with Dr. Nicole Beurkens

Jul 24, 2019

My guest this week is Dr. James Greenblatt, chief medical officer and vice president of medical services at Walden Behavioral Care where he provides medical management, leadership, and oversight of eating disorder and psychiatric programs in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Georgia. Dr. Greenblatt also provides eating disorder training for psychiatric residents and child fellows throughout all major universities in New England including Tufts, Dartmouth, Harvard, University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Greenblatt has educated professionals throughout the United States and Canada on the scientific evidence for integrative medicine in mental health and is the author of six books including two books on eating disorders, “Answers to Anorexia’ and “Answers to Binge Eating Disorder”.

In this episode, Dr. Greenblatt and I discuss how important an integrative treatment approach is for kids and teens struggling with mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, rage, irritability, and bipolar. Dr. Greenblatt shares with us vital information on the types of common vitamin deficiencies that many of these patients have, as well as, what types of tests can be run to ensure they are properly evaluated. Kids and teens lacking Vitamin D, B12, magnesium, zinc, and nutritional Lithium often have a variety of mood disorder symptoms present. Learn more about Dr. Greenblatt here.


Episode Highlights

Traditional vs. Integrative Psychiatry

  • In traditional medicine, for example, the diagnosis of depression is based on a list of symptoms
  • In integrative medicine, questioning as to why these symptoms are occurring works to uncover the root cause of the issue versus immediately prescribing an anti-depressant


Common Causes for Mood Issues

  • Elevation levels in heavy metals like lead and copper
  • Deficiencies in Vitamin D, B12, and gut issues


Testing and Evaluating Lab Reports

  • Testings to consider:
    • A blood test to evaluate vitamin levels, essential fats, amino acids
    • Gut bacteria assessment through urine and stool tests
    • Evaluating levels of heavy metals through hair analysis
  • Evaluating lab reports
    • The ranges present that many clinicians may deem as “normal” may need further interpretation as many clinical symptoms can also be found within these ranges from an integrative approach


Helpful Nutrients for Mood Issues

  • Magnesium, zinc, Vitamins D and B12
  • Lithium, a natural element, is often shown as a deficiency in kids with mood disorders, particularly those with anger and irritability symptoms


Prescription Lithium vs. Nutritional Lithium

  • Prescription Lithium, or lithium carbonate
    • Lithium has been used as a medication since the 1970s 
    • It is commonly used and very effective for bipolar patients
  • Nutritional Lithium, known as lithium citrate or lithium orotate
    • The actual nutrient lithium, which can be purchased in vitamin form, has been shown to affect mood when given through micro-doses


Nutritional Link to Mood and Behavior

  • Limiting refined sugar 
  • Vegan/vegetarian diets should be closely monitored to ensure they are not causing any nutrient deficiencies


Where to learn more about Dr. James Greenblatt...


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