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Can I Protect Myself or My Loved One from Inheriting Mental Illness?

Updated: Apr 5

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

Welcome to Part Two of this series of articles on preventing, controlling, and improving mental illness! If you missed Part One, How to Improve Mental Illness — So Much Is Already Within Your Power … no worries you can always go back to my profile and read it later.

Does mental illness run in families? And if it does, and you see it in yours…is there anything you can do to stop it?

There is plenty of data to show that it does run through familial bloodlines or family groups. So that means the root cause lies in their genes, right? Well, according to Dr. Christopher Palmer and his ground-breaking book, Brain Energy, it’s not that simple!

However, there is good news! In recent years, knowledge has multiplied exponentially, putting a new spin on old platitudes. No two people are exactly alike, not even identical twins! Everyone has their unique DNA, sets of genetic mutations, as well as experiences and exposures beginning at conception. Add to this the variety of ways that our genes can express themselves. No wonder every creature is so unique!

These varied expressions come about in response to the experiences and exposures the organism has undergone. This is known as epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of the modification of gene expression as it is influenced by many factors such as contact with, or access to the environment, nutrients, oxygen, hormones, temperature, light, stress, and many others. The genetic code may be fairly constant, but the body’s expression of those genes is always responding to other outside factors. They are wonderfully elastic, stretching this way and that, as needed, to better serve the organism as a whole.

These outside influences often come from one’s family background such as diet, habits, environment (seasons, temperatures, dangers, toxins, etc.), cultural practices, and more. Influence is also brought about by an individual’s family dynamics and close relationships, whether they are positive or negative. Was the individual raised with loving acceptance, a peaceful home life, healthy food, support, and respect? Or did they suffer abuse, angry siblings, a raging parent, a parental breakup, poverty, lack, or poor nutrition, just to name a few?

But now, with a new point of view — namely, epigenetics — comes the possibility of altering the influencing factors for a healthier genetic expression — and for some, even full remission of mental symptoms!
More and more, we are learning about the fascinating ways that the body controls the expression of its genes. Some of these factors include methylation, histones, micro-RNAs, hormones, neuropeptides, and more…But! All of them revolve around metabolism and mitochondria!

And the amazing news is that we can influence our own metabolism and mitochondria by using epigenetic protocols! Some of these include diet, exercise, removing drug and alcohol use, hormonal balance, flowing with circadian rhythm (sunrise and sunset), and proper sleep, for example.

Even if you have genes that tend toward cancer, mental illness, or other conditions that you see repeating in your ancestors or siblings, you can use epigenetics to tweak things in your favor, and move toward healing if that disease condition is already present!

As a side note let me remind you that Dr. Palmer has pointed out that metabolic disease often occurs simultaneously along with the symptoms of mental illness. Remember this is no coincidence as it was once considered. Rather it’s a red flag that the metabolism and the mitochondria throughout the body need help.

Here I will jump to the finish line and tell you the best way to create healthier mitochondria is simply, yet profoundly, your diet. And this diet should be an organic, ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting and longer periodic fasting as soon as you are fat-adapted and in ketosis. A complete primer was written by Dr. Annette Bosworth on exactly how to live the keto lifestyle called Keto Continuum. A ketogenic diet is one that keeps your carbohydrate intake at or below 20 grams of carbs per day. So this would include the Carnivore diet as well. If you would like a beginner’s introduction to the Keto Diet please take a look at my article Why Does Keto Make You Feel So Good?

If you see mental health problems, or other kinds of health problems such as cancer or heart disease in your family line, the best thing you can do — and what I already do — is adapt your body to the ketogenic lifestyle. Dr.Boz does a great teaching here in this linked video on how to heal and protect the mitochondria all over the body.

It is the unhealthy mitochondria in the brain¹ and body that show the first signs of disease before actual symptoms appear. I strongly urge everyone to make their body a nurturing environment for healthy mitochondria. This, again, is accomplished by living in a ketogenic state. I hope you will make this your lifestyle. By taking this protective and proactive stand, you will change your epigenetics for the best possible outcome!

This lifestyle will also help you to improve or completely avoid many other health problems that you thought were inevitable such as high blood pressure, cataracts, dental cavities, candida, acne, arthritis, viruses, dementia, painful joints, and so much more — the list is almost endless. So many conditions have a root cause stemming from our diets…a metabolic root cause!
If this sounds too good to be true, I would have said the same 10 years ago when I began my ketogenic journey. Now I would never consider going back to the old processed food, carbohydrate-based life I used to live. I look and feel younger now at the age of 69 than I did when I started at 59! Praise God, I take zero medications, and I have no medical problems at all. You can do this too!

The secret is to get into a ketogenic lifestyle before these diseases try to attack your system. Then they will not find a foothold, but rather a complete lack of the fuel they prefer, the pH they like, and the weak, deformed mitochondria they can overpower. Remember that the mitochondria (the mighty regulators of our cells) control gene expression. Healthy mitochondria equal healthy genetic expressions.

A strong and vital metabolism produces robust mitochondria. So to have a hardy metabolism, proper levels of insulin and blood sugar are key. Studies have shown that insulin resistance runs in families as well. Insulin resistance occurs in the whole organism — brain and body. Therefore the risks associated with it, including mental illness, also run in families.

As a reminder, insulin resistance is the condition where cells cannot hold any more glucose so they shut down the receptor sites for insulin (the hormone that allows sugar into the cell). The pancreas keeps making more and more insulin in an attempt to lower dangerous levels of blood sugar. Thus insulin rises along with blood sugar, and they have nowhere safe to go. In the brain, this is considered the cause of Alzheimer’s Disease, now known as Type 3 Diabetes. In the rest of the body, this leads to Type 2 Diabetes. This uncorralled blood sugar ends up in places all over the body where it does much harm such as eyes, joints, kidneys, brain, blood vessels, etc. So insulin resistance is not a good place to be.

On the flip side, the opposite is true. Here is an amazing example of what levels of brain health can be achieved with a well-managed metabolism: Annette Bosworth, MD shares a story on her YouTube channel about a group of children who were put on a ketogenic diet to control their seizures. This group grew up and eventually passed away. When their brains were autopsied, they presented a startling discovery! These people who had remained on a ketogenic diet all their lives since childhood had beautiful, healthy, pink brains!

She tells of some researchers involved in this study who, never having seen a brain like that in a deceased adult, called it Pink Brain Disease! ‘Nuff said!!


Take a look at this chart from The Therapeutic Role of Ketogenic Diet in Neurological Disorders published by the National Institutes of Health:

No matter what your age, you will be lightyears ahead of your peers who live on a carbohydrate diet — one that provides your energy through glucose.

The recommended diet which the CDC considers healthy for us is not. It offers no protection from, or healing of, disease. When the body is attacked by brain dysfunction, cancer, viruses, bacteria, and more — this grain, fructose, and the sugar-based plan continues to degrade the mitochondria and hold in check the activity of macrophage cells that would normally kill invaders. Alternatively, when the attackers encounter a body that is fueled by ketones — they stand a much lower chance of taking hold of that body. And if you do get sick you will fight off the pathogen more quickly and easily by far.

How’s the Traffic in Your City?

According to Dr. Palmer, your metabolism can be illustrated by the traffic pattern in a busy city. For example, “…if a car accident isn’t quickly removed, the traffic jam will become more widespread, affecting traffic in other parts of the city. If traffic problems are caused by poor road maintenance then it can result in long-term problems.

Metabolism is the same. A problem in one area of the body will often spread over time. Why? Because metabolism is highly interconnected. it relies on feedback loops all over the body…If the problem isn’t corrected, it will gradually take a toll and spread — sometimes over years or decades.”

I postulate that the reverse is also true. If you are seeing a symptom, it must have a primary cause. That cause is worth some detective work. Start with a good battery of tests. I like the tests recommended by Dr. Ken Berry in his book, Common Sense Labs. It’s a great place to start. This book is written for non-medical people so that we can speak intelligently with our doctors and ask for the tests we want. I like the chart of symptoms on pg. 35. It is easy to find your symptoms on the chart and then see which tests would be best.

Then there are wonderful tests you can do at home! Dr. Annette Bosworth teaches us how to measure blood sugar and more, at home, using affordable test kits and tools. The Dr. Boz Ratio is also a good number that will give you a window into the workings of your own body or a family member’s. Here’s a video about that! Dr. Boz explains Ketones + Glucose:Dr. Boz Ratio

If possible it is a good idea to find a doctor who is sympathetic to using the keto diet: . Some doctors are, but they won’t bring it up. You may have to initiate the conversation. I was pleasantly surprised to find that many are open to the idea. Keto has become more respected in the medical community in the last several years. More and more legitimate studies are being published proving the healing properties of ketosis.

There’s More to This Lifestyle Than Diet

Although I believe that a ketogenic diet is the most important bedrock of this mental health lifestyle, there are other things we can do to augment this program.

I want to do justice to these other protocols that can greatly affect the health of your mitochondria, brain, and body. So look for Part Three concerning eight more methods we can use to control our mental and physical health through epigenetics alongside the ketogenic diet. I believe in launching a complete attack on the enemy!

Never give up, never give in, never surrender!

Photo by Pexels

To talk call 484 206 5126 and please leave a message or email me at

Note: This article contains affiliate links for the book Brain Energy, and Keto Continuum. Thank you for your support!

  1. Palmer, Christopher. Brain Energy. Dallas, TX: BenBella, 2022, p204 Insulin causes mitochondrial dysfunction.




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