Food as Medicine: Deep Dive into Nutritional Neuroscience with Sidney Murray

If you’ve followed the blog for a while now or tune into the topics I discuss on my Instagram, you’re well aware that I’m a firm believer in the power of food and nutrition to feed and heal our bodies. I’m fascinated by how what we eat can make us feel our best or our worst — a reality that greatly influenced my desire to pursue holistic health coaching in the first place.

Q: Tell us a bit about your background, what you’re studying & why you chose this path?

Q: What do you hope to do with your degree?

“So many things! This early in my career, I’m very open to whatever adventure comes my way. One thing I’ve had in mind for a while is being a principal investigator of a lab for the National Institute of Health or the National Science Foundation.

Q: What is “nutritional neuroscience”?

Q: What is some of the most shocking or interesting research you’ve come across on this topic?

“The most shocking research is definitely among the animal studies of aspartame intake and MSG intake (e.g., Olney & Sharpe, 1968; Olney et al., 1972). Aspartame and MSG are food additives that cause brain lesions in experimental animals in forms of neuronal death and tumor growth. These additives are called excitotoxins, because they literally excite our glutamate receptor neurons, our most prevalent type of excitatory neurotransmitters in the brain, to death.

Q: What are the most common nutrient deficiencies people suffer from & what are the repercussions?

Magnesium deficiency is a huge problem in our country. Magnesium is a natural neuroprotectant, which, simply put, means even in the face of excitotoxins, magnesium makes your brain cells harder to kill.

Q: What is your perspective on the use of pharmaceuticals versus diet & lifestyle changes in order to improve certain disorders as well as overall health?

“I’m a firm believer that pharmaceuticals should be a last resort. Therefore, probably a pretty small percentage of people should be on them. I think the first area we need to address to protect our health is what we’re eating and drinking. Everything we put into our body is some kind of drug, really.

Q: How can the average person “hack” their health through nutrition?

“Knowledge is power. So, educate yourself through science. A lot of food companies will produce ‘research’ that may be rigged to make their product look safe or even claim that it is ‘healthy.’ These studies are to be treated with caution. Typically, studies done by academic scientists — meaning those not being paid by a food/drink company — are trustworthy.

Georgia is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, health and wellness blogger and Yoga Sculpt instructor. Read more at & @goodness_with_g.