Prescription for happiness: how understanding your body can help improve your mental health

In this podcast episode #585) and blog, I talk to internist, bestselling author and speaker Dr. Robin Berzin about the relationship between GI health and the mind, why so many people feel gaslit by traditional medicine, the power of functional medicine, what is wrong with women’s health, why we need to change the way we manage our mental and physical health, and so much more! 

Dr. Berzin is the Founder and CEO of Parsley Health, the nation’s leading holistic medical practice designed to help people overcome chronic conditions. Dr. Berzin attended medical school at Columbia University and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She has been named as one of the 100 most innovative women in business by Inc. Magazine and praised by Fast Company for founding one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.  

She founded Parsley Health to address the rising tide of chronic disease in America through personalized holistic medicine that puts food, lifestyle, and proactive diagnostic testing on the prescription pad next to medications. Since founding Parsley in 2016, Dr. Berzin has seen 80% of patients improve or resolve their chronic conditions within their first year of care, demonstrating the life-changing value of making modern holistic medicine accessible to everyone, anywhere.  

Dr. Berzin is incredibly passionate about educating people and teaching them how to advocate for their own mental and physical health. Many people feel gaslit by our current medical system, whose focus is often on specific symptoms or issues they are having in the moment rather than their whole person or life story.  

But 99% of our health is happening in our lives, not at the doctor’s office! How we live has incredible power over how healthy or sick we are, which is actually great news. It means that we can be proactive when it comes to our own wellbeing. Indeed, contrary to what many people believe, we don’t have to wait till we are sick or for the “wheels to come off” to start improving our health. We can learn how to create and generate health and wellbeing in our minds, regardless of our genetics and environment, which is both empowering and liberating.  

This is why Dr. Berzin wrote her amazing new book, State Change: End Anxiety, Beat Burnout, And Ignite A New Baseline Of Energy And Flow. A state change is a metamorphosis of your emotional and mental health triggered by a change in your physical health. All too often, our mental and physical health are seen as separate—the former treated by a psychiatrist, the latter by your regular doctor. In this book, Dr. Berzin presents a different approach, one that acknowledges the intricate relationship between our bodies and our minds and how our physical health impacts our mental health. She shows us how taking care of our bodies and understanding our physical triggers can help us rejuvenate and energize our minds.  

Dr. Berzin’s book is based off her own research and work at Parsley Health, where they do not just treat people’s issues as a one-off thing. Rather, they focus on the whole person, teaching patients how to understand their own bodies, how their environment impacts their wellbeing, and how to advocate for their own health on a day-to-day basis.   

She is especially passionate about helping women find their voice when it comes to their mental and physical health needs. Even though women play such a large role in our healthcare system, both as professionals and patients, it is estimated that 8 in 10 women delay care until their symptoms worsen or affect their daily lives. Many women find they do not have time to seek medical care for their needs as they are so busy taking care of others, and, when they do seek care, they often feel gaslit by medical professionals, who overlook what they say, are told that it is “all in their heads”, or just offer them another pill for their issues rather than truly listening to what they are experiencing and what they need.  

This is why taking a functional, rather than just reductive, approach to medicine is so important. We need to focus on the whole person: what they are experiencing, who they are, their environment and so on, because the mind, brain and body are intricately connected. When medical professionals are trained to look at root causes and the whole person, and when they take the time to listen to what their patients are really telling them (which is what Dr. Berzin’s team does at Parsley Health), they are able to connect the dots between different parts of a patient’s brain and body as well as their life, get to the root cause, and give them a roadmap to better mental and physical health.  

A big part of this process is looking at the gut-brain connection. Our mouth is an opening to the outside world, and our gut has to break down everything we consume for energy and information. The gut also has its own nervous system: the enteric nervous system, which is why the gut is often called our “second brain”. This is why what we eat, what medications we take, what we drink and other environmental factors can have a tremendous impact on both our mental and physical wellbeing. 

For more on the relationship between your physical and mental health, listen to my podcast with Dr. Berzin (episode #585) and check out her incredible work. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).   

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Podcast Highlights 

1:50 Dr. Berzin’s amazing work 

3:20 The power of advocating for your own wellbeing 

4:30 The importance of looking at the whole person when it comes to health & wellness 

5:45 What is wrong with women’s healthcare 

10:45 How our current medical system fails us 

14:53, 22:50 Why Dr. Berzin wrote her book State Change 

16:00 The relationship between our body & mental health 

17:42 How medicine is changing for the better 

27:32 The relationship between our gut health & mind 

32:13 Metabolism, blood sugar & mental health 

Switch On Your Brain LLC. is providing this podcast as a public service. Reference to any specific viewpoint or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by our organization. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact    

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional. 


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