The 2017 Integrative Medicine for Mental Health Conference


With each passing year full of conferences and seminars I gain new perspectives and solutions to the challenges we face in the field of medicine.  I also note trends from conference to conference on current concerns and emerging treatments.  As with most new concepts, it is good to approach some of these treatments with skepticism, but once I see the same treatment or concept mentioned several times in a row by different authorities in different realms of the health industry I sit up and take more notice.

My final conference of the year, the 2017 Integrative Medicine for Mental Health Conference further reinforced topics that were discussed in detail at the Ancestral Health Symposium earlier this year and at the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine Conference at the end of last year.

Here are a handful of common takeaways I’ve gleaned throughout the year.    

1.    We live in a toxic world
2.    The uses of heat stress
3.    Mold and mycotoxins
4.    Too much bacteria, too many antibiotics
5.    Are your salads hurting you?  The role of oxalates

  1. Life in a toxic world
    Toxicants are everywhere. No wonder they keep showing up in conference presentations as well! The effects of pollution were highly stressed at AIHM last year, popped up during AHS and were hammered home at IMMH. This is a concern that we cannot afford to ignore, for the sake of both our planet and our personal health.

  2. The uses of heat stress
    Sitting through all these lectures on our current bombardment with toxicants would be a little depressing if we didn’t also have some form of solution. If Billy Mitchell’s (The Robust Human) presentation at AHS piqued your curiosity about the use of sauna for detoxification, you would have also loved listening to Dr Genuis speak on the same topic at IMMH this year. Stay tuned for Billy’s ebook on the use of sauna therapy!

  3. Mold and mycotoxins
    Most people are aware that mold in the house is not conducive to wellbeing. The relationship between a moldy environment and poor health has been described in detail at multiple conferences this year. But take a moment to consider how much mold you are eating! This includes the blue-green fuzz on leftover bread but it also includes less obvious sources of mycotoxins such as nuts and cereal grains. Related health concerns include memory loss, depression, anxiety and insomnia. If that sounds like you, it may be time to give your diet a tune-up!

  4. Too much bacteria, too many antibiotics
    Just like houseguests, bacteria are great in the right amounts and the right places. But the party is officially over when the guests accumulate beyond the capacity of your guest rooms and start taxing your resources. This is a tricky situation. Our poor lifestyles and overuse of antibiotics have led to a common situation in which people develop an intestinal overgrowth of bacteria or fungi. To correct this, we then turn again to antibiotics. Botanical medicines may provide an alternative route to conventional antibiotics, but these too must be used carefully. To learn more about botanical medicine research, follow my research partner Guillermo Ruiz (3030 Strong) and I for our latest publications.

  5. Are your salads hurting you? The role of oxalates
    Your body can take in oxalates, make oxalates and excrete oxalates. What happens if you eat too many high oxalate foods (such as spinach, almonds, chocolate) or can’t process the oxalates appropriately? A low oxalate diet was mentioned at both AHS and IMMH as a beneficial therapeutic intervention for unresponsive pain conditions, autism spectrum disorders, kidney disease and several others. While oxalates may not be your specific problem, diet is an important consideration in achieving a state of wellbeing.

Next up is a series of posts on the trifecta of mental health supplements: vitamin D, fish oil and probiotics!  All are very popular, but are all of them effective?  Stay tuned to find out, the results may surprise you!

Content and images in this post are copyright of Beyond20Questions.

The 2017 Ancestral Health Symposium


What I really love about PaleoF(x) and the Ancestral Health Symposium is the tremendous sense of community.  I have always encouraged my peers to attend these conferences for the fantastic networking opportunities in addition to the quality of the presentations. 

It was a huge privilege to be granted a chance to present on schizophrenia and evolution at AHS this year.  For those of you who have been asking me for the presentation recording, please check back here for it.  I will upload the presentation recording and associated article once they are available.  

If you couldn’t attend this year, here is a little taste of what you missed!  You can find these and other talks, including those by Robb Wolf, Chris Masterjohn, and other leaders of the paleo movement in addition to researchers such as Rand Akasheh on the Ancestral Health YouTube channel once they have been posted.  I hope I will see you there at AHS 2018!

  1. Phyto-biological warfare: An evolutionary approach to botanical medicine

  2. Heat stress as a tool in detoxification

  3. Hunter-gatherer sleep: What can we learn?

  4. How the ‘New Man’ inadvertently sabotages the first ancestral food

  5. Innovative approach to health education

  6. N of 1 experimentation

  7. Primal Play!

  1. Phyto-biological warfare: An evolutionary approach to botanical medicine
    Listen to a favourite and familiar story by my research partner Dr. Guillermo Ruiz of 30/30 Strong as he explores the good, the bad, and the ugly of the beautiful plants we use for making medicine. These plants aren’t producing medicinal compounds just for us, so why are they producing them? How do we benefit and what happens when we mess up?

  2. Heat stress as a tool in detoxification
    You may not spend a million hours (okay, maybe it isn’t quite a million hours) in a lab like I do, but chances are you are exposed to environmental toxicants in some way, shape or form throughout your daily life. Billy Mitchell of The Robust Human presented a solution to this in the form of saunas and you will definitely want to keep an eye out for his upcoming ebook on how to implement heat stress in your detox routine!

  3. Hunter-gatherer sleep: What can we learn?
    This presentation by our friend Dan Pardi may challenge your assumptions on how much sleep we get in comparison to our ancestors. Perhaps those of you who are still students and subscribing to ridiculous study hours aren’t too far off from your great-great-greats as far as sleep is concerned. Listen in to learn more about ancestral sleeping habits and factors affecting optimal sleep. You’ll also want to check out the newly launched!

  4. How the ‘New Man’ inadvertently sabotages the first ancestral food
    Nick Mailer really has a gift for “mansplaining” in the most entertaining way possible the role of the modern male and the quest for gender equality in interfering with breastfeeding. Easily one of the most humorous and refreshing talks at this year’s conference, you will definitely want to dig up the recording for this one.

  5. Innovative approach to health education
    I’m sure we’ve all made a fuss at some point in our school careers about how we felt we were being left out of what we actually wanted to be learning. Well our friend Dr. Rob Abbott is doing something about it! This year he presented an ebook he created for those who are interested in learning more about functional medicine, and the resources that are available on this topic. If this sounds like the perfect resource for you, download the book here!

  6. N of 1 experimentation
    Aaron Blaisdell actually presented on a totally different topic, but I want to share with you another really cool project he’s involved in. This is a website called Health Crowds, a place dedicated to gathering the results of N of 1 experiments. Consider the huge potential here for both patients and physicians in discovering what works, what doesn’t and maybe some new ideas you would have never thought of trying!

  7. Primal Play
    If you haven’t met Darryl Edwards I must say you are missing out. This is not your typical talk. This is an everybody-get-up-and-move around-roll-on-the-floor-don’t-lose-your-balance-if-you’re-not-participating-I’m-going-to-notice kind of talk. And a word of advice: don’t wear a dress and heels to these events. That would be stupid. I agree with Darryl Edwards on this one, being in a dress and heels was a poor excuse for not being able to participate.

Content and images in this post are copyright of Beyond20Questions.