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How Eliminating Gluten May Improve Anxiety & Depression


When it comes to diet and health, we most often think about physical health. But what we eat affects more than our bodies; it also affects our brains. And recent studies have shown that diet can have a profound impact on mental health conditions ranging from ADHD to depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, OCD, dementia, and beyond.

In this minisode, Dr. Hyman speaks with nutritional psychiatrist, Dr. Uma Naidoo about how one of the most common food offenders she sees with her patients is gluten. They discuss the correlation between anxiety and consuming gluten, even in those without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. He also speaks with Maggie Ward to discuss why gluten sensitivity and intolerance has been on the rise in recent decades, and how to determine if it is a problem for you. Michelin-starred chef David Bouley described Dr. Uma Naidoo as the world’s first “triple threat” in the food as medicine space. She is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, Professional Chef, and Nutrition Specialist.

Her niche work is in Nutritional Psychiatry and she is regarded both nationally and internationally as a medical pioneer in this more newly recognized field. In her role as a Clinical Scientist, Dr. Naidoo founded and directs the first hospital-based clinical service in Nutritional Psychiatry in the US. She is the Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Director of Nutritional Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital Academy while serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Naidoo is the author of, This is Your Brain on Food, released August 4, 2020. In her book, she shows the cutting-edge science explaining the ways in which food contributes to our mental health and how a sound diet can help treat and prevent a wide range of psychological and cognitive health issues, from ADHD to anxiety, depression, OCD, and others. Maggie Ward, MS, RD, LDN, is the Nutrition Director at The UltraWellness Center. Maggie holds a master’s degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University which focuses on using whole foods for holistic Nutrition Therapy.

In addition, she completed her requirements to become a registered dietitian at Westchester Medical Center in NY. Prior to joining The UltraWellness Center team in 2008, Maggie worked at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York providing nutrition counseling to children and families dealing with HIV. She also taught at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan and other sites throughout New York City, teaching nutritionally focused cooking classes for children and adults. Much of her focus is on food allergies, digestive disorders, inflammatory conditions, Pediatrics and Sports Nutrition.

Maggie has been counseling individuals, families, and business groups on therapeutic diets to address various health concerns for more than 15 years. Her ongoing clinical training through the Institute for Functional Medicine uses a systems biology approach when working with those who suffer from chronic and acute conditions to help them find their path to healing. She has a passion for cooking and reconnecting people with their potential to heal using whole, organic and local foods.

Find Dr. Hyman’s full-length conversation with Dr. Uma Naid, “The Science Of Mood And Your Microbiome” here.

Find Dr. Hyman’s full-length conversation with Maggie Ward, “Is Gluten-Free A Fad Or Is Gluten A Real Threat To Our Health?” here.


This episode is brought to you by and Kettle & Fire. The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast works with a select group of sponsors to allow for ongoing production and allow it to be zero-cost to anyone who wishes to listen to and watch the podcast.

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Ep. - How Eliminating Gluten May Improve Anxiety & Depression