Dr. Ben Lynch & Dr. Sexton

Are you looking for a natural solution for anxiety or depression? Many people suffer with anxiety and depression and the underlying causes can be numerous and overlapping…it can get complicated.

I attended the IMMH; Integrative Medicine Mental Health conference last week in Dallas and listened to experts in the field discuss what they thought caused anxiety, depression and other mental and emotional disorders. Most of the speakers were discussing a functional medicine approach to mental health. Some of the top speakers were Dr. Ben Lynch, Dr. Terry Wahls and Dr. Dale Bredesen. Below, are some of the main topics that were covered at the conference:

  • Thyroid health and mental health
  • Gut health and mental health
  • Hormonal balance and mental health
  • Gut infections and mental health
  • Lyme disease / Lyme co-infections and mental health
  • Diet and mental health
  • Nutrient deficiencies and mental health
  • Genetics; genetic expression and mental health

As you can see, there are many possible causes for compromised mental health; and in most cases there is more than one contributing cause. Taking an integrative medicine approach is essential when attempting to identify the underlying causes of anxiety and depression.

In my Naperville office I have worked with many patients who suffer with anxiety and depression. Working with these conditions can be challenging, but the key is to look at the whole person…take a functional medicine approach. If you are suffering with anxiety or depression then you may have a leaky gut, food sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, gut infections from bacteria or yeast, chronic inflammation, hormonal imbalances (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and thyroid)…

The brain is a very complex and sensitive organ and it depends on whole-body health. Any of the health conditions listed above can contribute to anxiety and depression.


Another major area to consider is nutrient levels. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids. You require adequate amounts of these major nutrient groups for your brain to function properly. The tricky thing with nutrients is that we don’t all need the same amount of each nutrient. We all have unique nutrient requirements! You might even need different amounts of certain nutrients at different times…if you are not eating as well as you normally do or not getting enough sleep or under more stress than usual or if you were sick recently. Any of these could alter your nutrient needs.   It would be much easier if everyone on the planet always needed 20mg of B6, 15mg of zinc and 2,000mg of tyrosine…it just doesn’t work this way! Below are some of the most common nutrients to consider that will impact your mental health:

  • B6
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Tryptophan
  • Tyrosine
  • Lithium
  • B12
  • Folate
  • Cysteine

There are other nutrients that help maintain proper brain function, but those listed above are some of the most common nutrients that functional medicine doctors will consider. Just because these are important for brain function does not mean that everyone should take these as a supplement. In fact, taking certain supplements can make you feel worse! I had a nice chat with Dr. Ben Lynch about this at the IMMH conference…supplements must be taken in the proper amount, if taken at all. He just wrote a book called Dirty Genes where he talks about genetics and how our lifestyle and nutrients impact out health and mental health.

I wanted to write this article today so that I could give you some of the latest information available today regarding mental health and natural solutions.

1st you need to try to identify underlying health issues that could be causing the problem…gut, diet, hormones, infections, etc.

2nd you need to identify nutrient imbalances that are making if difficult for your brain to function properly.

This is not an easy task! Anyone that claims this is easy and simple to do has either NOT worked with more than a handful of patients or they ARE selling something. I know it is not easy… I know this from my 18 years of clinical experience and I just spent 4 days with over 500 medical professionals and leaders in the field.

Is it always easy?

Is it always possible to eradicate anxiety and depression? No.

But do we also have a lot of success? YES! Again, my intention is to give you facts on this subject. I HAVE worked with many patients and I’m NOT here to sell you anything. I only want you to be informed.

If you suffer with anxiety or depression and if you are looking for natural solutions, seeking the help of a functional or integrative medicine doctor is a great place to start. The brain does not function in isolation; it depends on good health of the other systems of the body. This is the whole-person, functional medicine approach.

I wish you success on your quest for better health!

If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com

Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.

This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.