Ask Patrick on Mood and Immunity

  • 19 Nov 2018
  • Reading time 4 mins
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Every month I answer your questions on the topic of the month. November 2018 was Mood and Immunity.

Thank you to everyone who sent in questions. I hope these answers are helpful.

Q: I would like to know why is it that when you're sick you're more inclined to have depressive thoughts? Olesea

Good question. It’s kind of ‘cave’ behaviour. If you are suffering, and you’re energy is low, it probably easier to get stuck in negative thought patterns. There’s a link between inflammation and depression so any inflammatory disease might send you in that direction. Anti-inflammatories such as omega-3 fish oils have an anti-depressant effect.. Also, there’s a link between gut function and neurotransmitter production – most serotonin is produced in the gut.

Q: Some of my family members are prone to low moods especially in the winter & with a diagnosis of borderline depression, including my 18 year old daughter under pressure with final school year two daughters (16 & 18) are high achievers, but both suffer with on/ off anxiety/ depression/OCD traits. They are highly academic in competitive classes in school, very popular with friends but suffer nonetheless!!

They take after their Dad that way (!!) who is similar and an excessively high achiever also. At one of your workshops in Dublin, you spoke about Chromium being beneficial ( if I remember correctly?)..could you please tell me the therapeutic dose they should take as I feel this might help? Jane

A: Firstly, the sun has positive effects on mood in two known ways – one is it increases vitamin D production in the skin. The other is that it raises serotonin levels. Serotonin is made from 5-HTP (a form of tryptrophan). Chromium works in a different way and is more linked to ‘atypical’ depression, not seasonally affected depression. My Mood Food Formula contains all these nutrients. Maybe your family – or the father side- are high histamine types. I’ve written about this in my book ‘Optimum Nutrition for the Mind’. High histamine types need more vitamin C and zinc, but that wouldn’t explain the drop in mood in the winter. Also, excercise helps and maybe we do less in the winter.

Q: I'm very interested in setting up a small test project (something that could teach nutrition and work like the Daniel plan)to see what is possible as so many of my patients are not aware of how to help themselves via nutrition and most doctors unfortunately focus mainly on medication. It would be great to know what easily accessible and simple training material is out there that I could use with patients and colleagues. Forgot to say I am based up North in the UK where I work as a Consultant Psychiatrist. Shola

A: Hi Shola – that’s a great idea. I recommend you get in touch with Jenna Mosimann, CEO of the Food for the brain Foundation ( This kind of thing is very much in their remit.. I’ll be teaching a one-day workshop ‘Optimum Nutrition for the mind’ for them on march 16th. Maybe that could be filmed for that purpose? I’d be very happy to meet you there and explore further.

Q: Thank you for this opportunity to ask a question My daughter Ciara , aged 14 has special needs with a moderate learning disability and low muscle tone, limited speech, seizures, etc etc.  She is beautiful and a pleasure to be around! As she is in her teenage years now, she has quite depressing moods, low energy where is is hard to get her to walk, play or exercise, feel tired and sometimes won't get up for school. I would love to give her the best diet possible and supplement it also to change her life, yes that would be my wish and goal for her....Any help or suggestions from your previous experience of clients similar to Ciara would be great. Much appreciation. Angela

Hi Angela – have you ever thought of bringing her to our Brain Bio Centre where we specialise in helping those with such disabilities? Olga Preston is the nutritional therapist to see there. Also, have you read my book Optimum nutrituion for your Child or Optimum Nutrition for the Mind? The four key factors are: low GL diet (no sugar); check and lower homocysteine (B vitamins); ensure enough omega-3; rule out food intolerances. In my supplement range the best fit is Optimum Nutrition Pack with Brain Food, although I think it’s temporarily out of stock. Give Ciara two strips a day.