Wellness Beets Episode #14: Anxiety, Depression, and Brain Health with Nicholas Hundley

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Interview with Nicholas Hundley, MS, CNS

Here are some of the main questions we asked Nick and the links to the products he mentioned.  If you haven’t already, make sure you head on over to the Wellness Beets Podcast to listen to all the information he had to share!

  1. What is your background and how did you become interested in emotional health?


  1. How does diet play a role in emotional health? Do you recommend specific foods for this purpose?


  1. What supplements do you generally recommend for people working on their mental health?

Commonly helpful supplements for brain health

►Vitamin D status is correlated with better mood. If using higher dosage, blood should be tested and monitored.

►Omega 3 Fatty Acids improve cognition and help with most mood problems, including depression, ADHD, and autism. DHA tends to be calming and EPA tends to be stimulatory. Cod liver oil is a good source.

►Vitamins and Minerals are important for brain health. People with emotional or mental problems are often low in magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin C, B6, and others. A quality mutli-vitamin can be helpful, but is often inadequate. Selected vitamins and minerals are best used in a targeted fashion after evaluation and testing because there are so many different variables, and a few can have unwanted side effects if taken incorrectly or in excess.

►Herbs and other supplements are also effective, but again, are best taken after evaluation to determine which of the thousands of options are appropriate for you. Diet, supplementation, and gut health are essential for emotional wellness. On top of this foundation, there are various herbs and neurotransmitter precursors for specific uses, such as improving focus, mood, mental energy, sleep, and more. Are you looking for cures to relieve some anxiety and stress? Make sure to check out https://www.amazon.com/KOS-Organic-Ashwagandha-Capsules-Promotes/dp/B084RFJDRQ

►Digestive Health supplements
are important for emotional health as well. TruFlora and TheraLac from Master Supplements are a good probiotic option. Certain people will benefit from getting rid of candida and bad bacteria with products such as oregano oil and grapefruit seed extract.

*Nick uses professional grade products that aren’t directly accessible to the public. For more information, including supplements that are available to purchase at retail, read his free ebook, Tools for Emotional Transformation.

  1. How do exercise and natural movement play a role in brain health? And what types of exercise are best to include?
  2.  You mentioned that meaning human connections and socialization are crucial for mental health. How do you advise people who have anxiety and/or depression to start making some of these changes?
  1. How do you personally care for your emotional health?
  1. Where can people find you and how can they connect with you?

You can find more about the awesome stuff that Nick is doing by checking out his website, MindWhale.com.
And if you’re interested in learning even more about his work, download his FREE e-book,
Tools for Emotional Transformation.


Nick was so, so generous in offering our listeners a FREE consultation session with him! (Usually at $80 cost!)  Just tell him that Brittany and Alex sent you.


Extra reading: The Mood Cure: The 4-Step Program to Take Charge of Your Emotions


We love questions! Send us yours at [email protected]


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AND contact Nick for a FREE mental health consultation by going to mindwhale.com.


Fighting Anxiety with Food

How do you manage anxiety? Is it exercise, meditation, deep breathing? We all have tactics to reduce daily stress but for some people, anxiety can have crippling effects. For those, prescription medication is required and is a lifelong reality. Relief may have another component though. Food. Twenty percent of Americans suffer from debilitating anxiety and all fingers are pointing to processed foods. if you are looking for some anxiety relief, click the link.

Standard American Diet to Blame
The American diet is lacking in essential nutrients that literally feed the brain. In the past forty years, our diet has gone through radical changes resulting in high levels of inflammation throughout the body and particularly the brain. Subsidized farming is largely to blame. When soy and corn became America’s cash crops, body inflammation rose.  These ubiquitous foods are not only found in our food products but also the feed of the animals we eat. Corn and soy and other grains are high in omega 6 fatty acids, which are necessary components of a health diet but not at the levels we now consume them. Omega 6 fatty acids must be in balance with omega 3 fatty acids to mitigate inflammation. There are now findings that foods rich in omega 3s may act as antidepressants.

Less than forty years ago omega 3s were the most abundant fats in the world. Grazing animals would convert the plants they ate into omega 3s and then would be more absorbable for our bodies. Now when these same animals are fed grains, there is no source of omega 3s and the omega 6 in their feed dominates. The same goes for farm-raised fish fed similar grain.

Since the advent of subsidized farming, rates of anxiety and depression have continued to climb. Chris Kresser goes so far to say that depression is an inflammation problem. And in order to decrease that inflammation we must balance our omega 3 with our omega 6 intake. The imbalance is thought to be at the root of multiple health issues, including hormonal and neurological problems. Omega 3s help stabilize our neuronal cell membranes and may be helpful in treating attention deficit disorders, depression, bipolar disorders,and early dementia.

How Omega 3s Help the Brain
The brain is hyper-sensitive to inflammation and I’m not talking about the kind that results in a headache. But the kind that lies deeper in your cells. Omega 6s carry inflammatory hormones known as eicosanoids, which cause disrupted nerve signaling in the brain. Our brains are also composed of sixty percent fat, the most of any organ, and we need a steady supply of the right finds of fat from food to maintain it.

Omega 3 fatty acids are a family of naturally occurring fats and three of which are essential for human functioning, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Our bodies do not produce these in any form so they must be consumed through diet.  EPA and DHA are found in the brain. DHA is structural while EPA is anti-inflammatory. When EPA is low, inflammation increases and our bodies use up EPA quickly so it must be replenished often. Fatty fish is the best source of these omega 3s. The third type, ALA, is only found in plants and difficult to convert into the usable forms EPA and DHA.

Eat More Fish
Iceland has disproportionately low rates of seasonal affective disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and postpartum depression. Considering it’s cold climate and lack of sun this seems unlikely. The link is that Icelanders eat more fatty fish per capita than anywhere in the world. And for those that eat little fish these rates still apply. The omega 3s are abundant in dairy and in pastured animal meat too. Their grasses are quite rich in ALA which the animals are converting into EPA and DHA.

Omega 3-rich food sources are now being recommended by some psychiatrists for depression and anxiety. They are prescribe as a substitute or enhancer for antidepressant medications, 1 gram per day of EPA or EPA+DHA. The hope is that omega 3s will reduce prescription dosages since antidepressants can have uncomfortable side-effects like sexual dysfunction and diminished libido. An increased intake for EPA has been shown to improve abilities to handle stress and generate significant improvements in mood. Even “normal” individuals are shown to be happier and have a better capacity for stress when consuming higher levels of EPA.

To feed your brain and fight off neurological disease, consider adding more omega 3 sources to your meals.  Most successful research studies used two grams of EPA per day as their testing amount. That would be the equivalent to two pounds of salmon per day. That’s a lot of fish! And considering the environmental impact, our ocean supplies cannot account for that demand.  Instead of salmon, try fish eggs as an alternative bioavailable source of omega 3s. Just one teaspoon of caviar has the same nutritional benefit as 4 ounces of salmon.

Try these Yummy Omega 3 Rich Recipes!

Salmon Cakes 
Baked Salmon Cakes






Spicy Cajun Salmon DipSpicy Cajun Salmon Dip





Moroccan Spiced Sardines

Sardines in Spicy Moroccan Tomato Sauce






Allport, Susan. The Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3s Were Removed from the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them

Wolfe, Liz. Eat the Yolks: Discover Paleo, fight food lies and reclaim your health

Miller, Daphne. The Jungle Effect: Healthiest Diets from Around the World–Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You 

Is Depression a Disease or a Symptom of Inflammation? http://chriskresser.com/is-depression-a-disease-or-a-symptom-of-inflammation/

The Neuroscience Vitality Tip, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/vitality/201407/the-neuroscience-vitality-tip-5-omega-3-fatty-acids

Omega 3 and Brain Health, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-food/201106/omega-3-and-brain-health

Anxiety and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-zone/201201/anxiety-and-omega-3-fatty-acids

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/