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This week, Dr. Erika Downs, D.C. of The Wellness Way – Granville spoke to The Wellness Way student club about “Anxious, Depressed, and a Mess.”

Dr. Erika Downs, D.C. on “Anxious, Depressed, and a Mess”

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter primarily synthesized from tryptophan in the gut, can play a pivotal role in regulating mood. While traditional treatments like SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) aim to enhance serotonin availability, patients often seek alternative approaches when medication fails to yield desired results.

Gut-Brain Connection

  • The gut-brain axis, facilitated by the vagus nerve, underscores the significance of gastrointestinal health in mental well-being.
  • Inflammation of the gut can trigger systemic inflammation, contributing to anxiety and depression.
  • Stool tests can provide insights into protein breakdown, microbiome balance, and the presence of pathogenic bacteria, such as Klebsiella and yeast, which may indicate mold co-infection.
  • Patients experiencing symptoms like “crazy, hazy, and lazy” could signal mold-related issues.
  • Food allergy testing may identify histamine intolerance and leaky gut. In this case, supplements like L-glutamine, probiotics, and chamomile may support gut healing.

Hormone Testing

  • Hormone imbalance, particularly involving progesterone and estrogen, is pivotal in mood regulation.
  • Assessment of the CYP3A4 pathway through the DUTCH test aids in identifying anxiety or depression stemming from hormone imbalances.
  • Adrenal fatigue and high cortisol levels can further contribute to mood disturbances. High homocysteine levels may indicate the need for B12 to help with proper methylation and detoxification of hormones.
  • Imbalances in thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) can also exacerbate depressive symptoms.
  • Low cholesterol (<160) has detrimental effects on brain health and can lead to symptoms like depression.


  • Supplements can play a crucial role in augmenting mood regulation and neuroprotection.
  • St. John’s wort, known for its anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties, alongside zinc for DNA repair and GABA modulation, may be helpful.
  • Ashwagandha enhances GABA receptors.
  • Probiotics support gut-brain connections and microbiome balance.
  • California poppy promotes relaxation and sleep.
  • Mucuna seed supports dopamine and serotonin levels, offering holistic support for mood disorders.

Quick Tips and Strategies

  • Eliminating food dyes can prove beneficial, particularly for children with ADHD, emphasizing the link between diet and mental health.
  • Addressing “the three T’s” – thoughts, traumas, and toxins – is imperative for comprehensive mental health management.
  • Collaborating with other mental health professionals facilitates holistic care delivery and enhances patient outcomes.



Submitted by Maddie Eager


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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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