The Mind Full Medic Podcast

Performance Nutrition and applications in Medicine with Dr Maryam Makowski

July 30, 2022 Dr Cheryl Martin Season 3 Episode 7
The Mind Full Medic Podcast
Performance Nutrition and applications in Medicine with Dr Maryam Makowski
Show Notes

"Nutrition in medicine is a human factors issue" Dr Maryam Makowski
In S3 E 7 I am delighted to welcome Dr Maryam S. Makowski, Ph.D., FACN, NBC-HWC to the podcast. Dr Makowski is a clinical assistant professor in the Stanford University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the Associate Director of Scholarship and Health Promotion of the Stanford Medicine WellMD & WellPhD Center, and a nutrition and physician well-being coach at Stanford University. 
          Prior to joining Stanford, she served as a scientific associate at Toronto General Hospital-University Health Network in Toronto, and as an advisor to Air Canada rouge pilots and cabin crew on optimal nutrition for fatigue mitigation. Over the course of her career, she has authored many highly cited scientific papers on nutrition and well-being.
    In this conversation we discuss her career and research trajectory particularly looking at how  nutrition, hydration and other lifestyle factors including how sleep  might influence cognitive performance initially in pilots and most recently applying this to doctors and in healthcare. We discuss in more details what Maryam refers to as the four pillars:  hydration, meal composition and timing and strategic use of caffeine and how we might optimise these and mitigate shift work related fatigue, We discuss the specific challenges and barriers to these that doctors encounter in their practice.  Maryam describes the complex interplay of nutrition and hydration with stress, sleep and mood/cognitive performance.
      Whilst acknowledging the growing research evidence is increasingly substantive in this area it is not conclusive and no one size fits all.   Knowledge of circadian rhythms and individual thresholds is essential in tailoring interventions and strategies discussed. 
       I find Maryam's work fascinating, highly relevant and am impressed by the organisational change her team have been able to advocate for on the back of research.  I encourage you to think about you own approaches and how you might optimise these and also advocate for you colleagues in your own place of work.
References / Links:
Dr Maryam Makowski - research links

  •  Makowski MS, Trockel MT, Menon NK, Wang H, Katznelson L, Shanafelt TD. Performance Nutrition for Physician Trainees Working Overnight Shifts: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Acad Med. 2022 Mar 1;97(3):426-435. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004509. PMID: 34753859.
  •  Makowski MS, Shanafelt TD, Hausel A, Bohman BD, Roberts R, Trockel MT. Associations Between Dietary Patterns and Sleep-Related Impairment in a Cohort of Community Physicians: A Cross-sectional Study. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2019 Sep 10;15(6):644-652. doi: 10.1177/1559827619871923. PMID: 34916885; PMCID: PMC866989

Recommended Reads:
Feeling Great David D Burns MD
Brain Changer Felice Jacka

The Mind Full Medic Podcast is proudly sponsored by the MBA NSW-ACT Find out more about their service or donate today at

Disclaimer: The content in this podcast is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Moreover views expressed here are our own and do not necessarily reflect those of our employers or other official organisations.