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Pooler Magazine



By Kerri Dodson, MNT, MCHWC, Master Nutrition Therapist


Let me start by saying that depression and anxiety are very serious. This topic is complex, and I am not writing this article lightly.

Depression is now called Major Depressive Disorder. 21 million adults have had at least one major depressive episode. 19.1% of adults had major anxiety in 2021.

Life over the last several years has been incredibly stressful. Does that mean as humans we are inherently broken and can’t recover? I truly do not think so. Can life events severely impact us? Absolutely.

But humans are resilient! Our bodies have an incredible ability to heal. Sometimes we just need to understand that being unhealthy can cause and/or exacerbate numerous issues.

How Can Food Contribute to Anxiety and Depression?

Everything we eat becomes part of our cells. Everything. I always tell my clients that there is no neutral bite of food. Each forkful either promotes health or promotes disease. Our food also dictates the health of our gut microbiome (the trillions of cells in our gastrointestinal tract). We know the microbiome affects the brain and thinking patterns.

95% of serotonin (feel good hormone) comes from the gut. 70% of our immune system is found in our gut. GABA production, neurotransmitter production, nutrient production, saccharolytic and proteolytic fermentation happens in the gut (how you break down carbohydrates and proteins and why you may get bloated after eating them).

This means, having the proper bacteria, in the proper ratios with a healthy gut lining is key for proper brain function. The microbial species have a lot of control over neurotransmitter production and neuroinflammation and the integrity of the gut lining will contribute to anxiety and depression.

Microbiome researchers now know that low butyrate production (short chain fatty acids production in the gut) contribute to depression. Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are a bacterial toxin that can cause inflammation and health issues if they reach the bloodstream. LPS is normally housed in the gut but can damage the epithelial lining of the gut and leak out causing “leaky gut.” High fatty foods also increase LPS production. An overgrowth of opportunistic (bad) bacteria increases LPS production. Leaky gut and LPS cause inflammation that will transfer to the brain contributing to anxiety and depression. Butyrate production can be positively affected by supporting the bacteria that produce butyrate and being sure the colon cells are healthy. Leaky gut can be rectified through proper protocols, removal of food sensitivities and lifestyle changes. 

As a Nutrition Therapist, I provide testing that will show exactly what is happening in the gut along with testing for food sensitivity that can contribute to leaky gut and inflammation.

Working on your gut microbiome through testing, proper protocols, proper nutrition, and lifestyle changes can significantly increase proper neurotransmitter production, reduce neuroinflammation, increase butyrate production and ensure proper absorption of nutrients.

This will go a long way on improving mood and reducing anxiety and depression. |  770-722-9580 |  [email protected]