How to Better Your Nutrition for Mental Wellness, and Welcoming Dr. Todd Born, ND, CNS

You are what you eat. We don’t mean you’ll become a french fry if you eat one. But daily diet changes can impact the way you feel. That’s why we include dietary recommendations and consultations along with medications and therapy for mental wellness treatment. Recently, we’ve welcomed an expert in nutritional well-being to our team; Dr. Todd Born, ND, CNS. Read on to learn more about Dr. Born’s philosophies and nutrition for mental wellness. 


Do you ever feel like certain foods make you feel different than others? Maybe you feel energetic after a mixed salad or tired after a turkey dinner. Maybe you avoid a specific fast food chain because you know you’ll be in the bathroom later. The things we eat, especially foods that we consume habitually, can have physical effects on our bodies. And it turns out they can have mental effects, too. 


Nutrition impacts the way we feel, so it’s essential we pay attention to it. That’s why KarmaDocs and KarmaTMS have brought on Dr. Todd Born, a naturopathic physician and certified nutrition specialist. We’re excited to offer our patients an even more comprehensive integrative experience — one that combines established psychiatric treatments with innovative naturopathic medicines. 


Dr. Born comes to us with a wealth of experience. He graduated from Bastyr University in Seattle in 2010, and finished his residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health and its thirteen teaching clinics. He also completed rotations in Emergency Medicine, Physical Medicine, and Spinal Rehabilitation. Along with his impressive background, he’ll also soon be sitting for the Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Endocrinologists (FABNE) board exam. 


Today, Dr. Born has his own clinic, Born Integrative Medicine Specialists, PLLC. He is also a medical wellness advisor for the International Medical Wellness Association and a key opinion leader for Augurex Life Sciences Corp. Based out of Washington, he treats patients within the US and internationally via telehealth consultation. 


Dr. Born has appeared on several news channels, national radio shows, and medical lectures throughout the US and globally. When seeing patients, he uses integrative treatments to help with complex chronic illnesses. He’s especially passionate about helping patients with treatment-resistant illnesses who haven’t been helped by traditional treatment methods.


In November of 2022, Dr. Born joined our team at KarmaDocs to help serve patients who are struggling with mental illness. He believes that every person has the power to facilitate their own well-being, but sometimes we stray from the healthy path and need help to get back. Dr. Born is committed to helping you achieve your mental and nutritional wellness goals. 


You might have some questions about the link between nutrition and your mental health. If you haven’t heard much about integrative psychiatry, it may seem strange to treat mental illness with dietary changes. Let’s first answer some FAQs so that you can get the most out of your integrative treatment plan. 

Does Nutrition Affect Mental Health?

Absolutely. Mood and food share an important connection, and research studies are still exploring this link. 


Nutritional psychiatry is a newer field of study that links the things we eat with the way we feel emotionally and cognitively. The roots of mental illness are complex, but evidence has shown that poor diet is associated with worsening mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Neuropsychiatric conditions like schizophrenia may also get worse with poor nutrition. 

On the flip side, the latest research has shown that the risk of depression decreases when people eat a diet high in leafy greens and lean protein. This diet helps reduce inflammation in the body, which can be the root of depression and other mental illnesses. 


Of course, food isn’t just physically nurturing. We also bring our own emotional associations to our meals. Some foods are “comfort foods,” some we associate with family events, and others we might think of as special treats. The way that foods affect mood could stem from a combination of physiological effects and emotional associations. Some of the latest research into the relationship between nutrition and mental health investigate this complex link. 


Foods affect our brains, both physiologically and emotionally. But what are some specific ways that our nutrition could be affecting our mental wellness?

How Is Nutrition Linked to Mental Wellness? 

A “Western diet” is typically high in trans and saturated fats, high in sugars and refined or simple carbohydrates, and low in vitamins and minerals. This type of diet contributes to specific body processes that are associated with mental illness. 


Check out some of the mechanistic pathways that link nutrition with mental illness:


  • Inflammation caused by processed foods and stress contributes to depression, anxiety, and physical complications. Observational research has shown that severe mental illness is associated with dietary inflammation. 


  • Oxidative stress is when there’s an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body. This is typically associated with Western-style diets. This stress can lead to injuries inside cells and has been associated with depression and other mental health disorders. 


  • Gut microbiota also contribute to mental illness via the gut-brain axis. Our stomach helps with initial food processing, so it’s directly impacted by what we eat. And it’s also largely responsible for serotonin production, which is thought to be linked to depression and other mental illnesses. 

  • The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA) is a system that helps our bodies regulate stress using hormones like cortisol. More than 60% of people with depression show dysfunction in the HPA axis. Yet certain supplements and dietary changes have been shown to help the HPA axis return to normal. 


Interested in learning more about the ways that diet impacts your mood? Read more on our blog


These are just a few of the ways that the choices we make around foods can affect our mood. But what kind of changes help solve these problems? Let’s go over some dietary recommendations for better mental wellness. 

Nutritional Psychiatry: The Basics 

Everyone’s health journey is unique, and we pride ourselves on giving each patient tailored suggestions. But there are some basic recommendations that you should be aware of if you’re trying to eat better for your mental health:


  • The Mediterranean diet is the most evidence-supported dietary pattern today. Not only is it better for your mental health, but it also helps prevent heart disease and could even help you live longer. To learn more about the Mediterranean diet, here’s a guide from Harvard. 


  • Cutting down on highly processed foods can also help bring down your risk for mental health problems. People who eat more ultra-processed foods are at higher risk for depression and anxiety. 


If you’re interested in trying diet changes for your mental health, these tips are a great way to get started. The team at KarmaDocs works to create personalized treatment plans for every patient. If you’re interested in a holistic naturopathic consult, Dr. Born can make specific recommendations depending on your history and goals. 

KarmaTMS: Your Holistic Mental Health Treatment Center 

Our patients don’t just get psychiatric care, they get a partnership in the journey to integrative wellness. Our different backgrounds let us bring fresh insight to your care. Our interdisciplinary team includes:


  • Psychiatrists 
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners 
  • Ayurvedic practitioners 
  • Physician’s associates
  • Naturopathic doctors


The team at KarmaTMS and KarmaDocs are committed to your mental and physical well-being. Whether you’re interested in getting help with anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar, ADHD, or another mental health condition, we’re here to help. 


When you’re ready to get started learning about personalized nutrition for mental wellness, call our office at (951) 297- 8375, or check out our homepages for KarmaDocs and KarmaTMS.  




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