In this special episode of Bulletproof Radio, I asked holistic psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Vora what she thought was the single most important element that supports vitality at any age. She answered “community.”
“Not only do I believe that, but the evidence supports that actually having good social connections, feeling held in community, that’s really our most potent anti-aging medicine,” she says.
When people are part of a community, they are happier and able to see things with different perspectives, Dr. Vora continued. “They can have a little bit more of a resilient mindset on things. People are just a little more cognitively nimble when they’re surrounded by good people and happiness.”
And that’s important when it comes to depression, anxiety and sleep. Three things Dr. Vora sees a lot of in her medical practice. We talk about why so many people struggle with those issues.
She takes a functional medicine approach to mental health, considering the whole person and addressing imbalance at the root cause. Dr. Vora received an undergraduate degree from Yale University, graduated from Columbia University medical school and went on to become a board-certified psychiatrist, medical acupuncturist, and yoga teacher. She specializes in depression, anxiety, insomnia, women’s mental health, adult ADHD, bipolar, autoimmunity and digestive issues.
Our conversation goes into sympathetic and parasympathetic stress, meditation, flossing (!) and psychedelics.
“What we know is substances like psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, ketamine, they do cause a release of BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor. So, you have an increase in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis and you start to see a brain that can grow and change.”
Another biggie that affects your mental health? Adverse childhood experience. “[The ACE] research renders everything else you’ve ever studied and paid attention to in healthcare totally irrelevant because what we’re really seeing is that every marker that matters–health span, lifespan risk of dementia, cardiovascular disease, certainly risk of digestive issues and autoimmunity, cancer–adverse childhood events play a significant role in determining your risk of these issues later on.”
Listen on to find out how Dr. Vora is leading a new approach to mental health.
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Follow Along with the Transcript
Dave Asprey Blog ft. Dr. Ellen Vora: New Research Links Mental Illness and Inflammation. Here’s What You Need to Know, Natural Anxiety Relief: 7 Ways to Treat Anxiety Without Medication, What Is EMDR and How Does It Work?, Clutter Makes You Stressed and Depressed. Here’s How to Get Rid of It, Emotional Eating: Why It Happens and How to Overcome It
- Stressed people don’t live a long time and they don’t even like the time they’re alive. That’s where you specialize. – 1:24
- What’d you see in your patients when it comes to anxiety and depression and sleep. – 1:43
- If you’re young, get some old friends. If you’re old, get some young friends. – 3:32
- As people are getting older, we have chronic disease, but we really have isolation and those two things affect each other. – 5:38
- It seems like quite a lot of anxiety and depression can be tied to just your hormones are jacked and you’re getting old. – 7:03
- Health span, lifespan risk of dementia, cardiovascular disease, certainly risk of digestive issues and autoimmunity, cancer, adverse childhood events play a significant role in determining your risk of these issues later on. – 8:48
- So isn’t some stress good? Shouldn’t you just be tough? – 10:19
- I think Kundalini is a wonderful tool, but any kind of meditation, I think it’s more of a matchmaking process, like what’s the right one for you? – 12:40
- So psychedelics, hot topic, controversial and require some caveats. I think they’re not for everyone. They’re not safe in all settings or for all brains. – 14:20
- What we know is substances like psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, ketamine, they do cause a release of BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor. – 14:52
- There may be a role in using psychedelics for anti-aging in part, because of the anxiety and stress reduction and in part, because of making the neuroplasticity of the brain younger. – 18:44
- I love working with fear. Fear is this thing to honor and to respect and basically say like, yeah, I know our fear is not an inherently bad thing. – 24:11
- With anti-aging and doing things perfectly, it’s sort of trite, but I think the way you really nail perfection is by being just perfectly imperfect. – 28:34
- Your website is Ellen Vora, E-L-L-E-N-V-O-R-A.com, and you’ve got some cool stuff up there. So if you listened to this, you enjoyed it, you connected with what Ellen was saying, check her out. – 31:18
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