Food and Mood


Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom

In between 1999 and 2012, the percentage of Americans on antidepressants doubled according to the journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The amount of people taking 5 or more drugs also doubled during the same time period. Why are Americans getting depressed and sicker?

Well, some would blame the doctors for over prescribing, but the real reason is what we are eating. In my training and what I have seen in my practice, what we eat can have a great effect on how we think and feel. The book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD explains that many common chronic illnesses can be reduced and even be eliminated by what we eat. She goes on to explain that diet can help depression, anxiety, autism, dyslexia, ADHD and schizophrenia.

How can what we eat effect our mental state? New research is pointing to our digestive tract being our second brain. Now if you think about that it makes sense. We say we have butterflies in our stomach when we are nervous. We have a gut feeling about things. It turns out the stomach has a direct line to the brain, so what happens down below affects our thinking.

In our digestive tract, we have millions of different bacteria (gut flora) that secret different chemicals and hormones depending on what we eat. The bacteria that make us feel bad like sugars. The more sugars we eat the worse we feel and the more bad organisms we grow. This results in us craving more things that aren’t good for us.

The good news is that we can change our gut flora over time. With incrementally changing what we eat, the gut flora will change and our mood will change. I have seen people in my office with life long depression have it disappear after changing their diet. I have seen hopeless Autism cases start communicating.

If you are interested in learning more, please come to one of our workshops.

Jeffrey Barkstrom has been helping people with health and weight loss issues for more than 12 years. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, non-profits, national conferences and on television about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He currently practices at Barkstrom Acupuncture PC, Natural Health Improvement Center in Jamestown, NY. Learn more at or at