The Science Of Mood And Your Microbiome

Episode 129 1h 3m


We often hear about food in the context of physical health—eating for a strong heart, healthy weight, and glowing skin. But what about the other impacts of food, like how it makes us feel emotionally and mentally?

The growing field of nutritional psychiatry is shedding light on this profound connection, and it’s something I’m personally really excited about.

On this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I was so happy to talk to Dr. Uma Naidoo about the connection between food and mood, looking at how what we eat impacts everything from anxiety and depression to ADHD and more.

Dr. Naidoo used food as medicine to support herself after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She shares her personal story and how that led her to realize that she was lacking a deeper education in nutrition. She also noticed improvements in her own anxiety after using functional ingredients like turmeric and black pepper. Dr. Naidoo now recommends diet and lifestyle changes, like mindfulness practices, along with all her psychiatric prescriptions for optimal results.

One of the most common food offenders she sees with her patients is gluten. We discuss the correlation between anxiety and consuming gluten, even in those without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Studies have shown gluten leads to dysbiosis in the microbiome which is linked to mood imbalances.

That is just one of many food-mood connections. We also talk about the research behind omega-3’s for neuroinflammatory conditions, how poor food choices affect us from childhood, and so much more.

Get Dr. Naidoo’s book, This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More, at

This episode is brought to you by Thrive Market and Joovv.

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Topics Covered

  • Dr. Naidoo’s cancer diagnosis and how she used food to help her anxiety while undergoing treatment

    (4:24 - 7:49)

  • How Dr. Naidoo came to think about nutritional psychiatry

    (7:06 /10:31)

  • America’s mental health crisis and reliance on medications to treat anxiety, depression, etc.

    (10:58 - 14:23)

  • Creating a personalized nutritional plan to treat mental illness

    (14:22 - 17:47)

  • The relationship between gut health, diet, anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, etc.

    (18:06 - 20:15)

  • The correlation between anxiety, depression, gluten, omega-3 fats, and folate

    (19:33 - 21:41)

  • How the food we eat can drive neuroinflammation

    (23:11 - 25:20)

  • Is food driving divisiveness in our society?

    (36:51 - 39:00)

  • Mental health issues in children

    (41:52 - 44:01)

  • The benefits of eating a diversity of vegetables and fruits

    (50:33 - 52:42)

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Resources Mentioned

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Ep. 129 - The Science Of Mood And Your Microbiome