The Gut & Mental Health Connection with Functional Medicine Practitioner Evan Brand – EP069

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Anxiety and depression are the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide, yet traditional medicine doesn’t get at the root cause. If you visit a GP, you are likely to get a referral to a psychiatrist and a prescription for a mood stabilizer. A functional medicine practitioner, on the other hand, will investigate what’s going on underneath—and you may be surprised to learn that there is a connection between gut issues and mental health.




Evan Brand is a certified functional medicine practitioner, nutritional therapist and host of the Evan Brand Podcast. He uses at-home lab testing and customized supplement programs to find and fix the root cause of a wide range of health symptoms including chronic fatigue, obesity, depression and anxiety. Evan is also the author of Stress Solutions and The Everything Guide to Nootropics.

Today, Evan explains how his personal struggle with depression and IBS led to a career in functional medicine. He offers case studies to demonstrate the connection between gut and mental health, discussing how functional practitioners work to find the underlying cause rather than simply addressing the symptoms with pharmaceuticals or supplements. Evan speaks to the most common health problem he encounters in his practice and the process of working with his team. Listen in for Evan’s insight on nootropics and smart drugs and get his advice on baseline testing that will give you an overall picture of your current health!

Topics Covered

[1:01] How Evan became a functional medicine practitioner

  • Suffered from depression, anxiety and sleep issues in business school
  • Fostered interest in nutritional therapy, then functional medicine
  • Use of diagnostic tools to find underlying cause of issues
[4:49] The definition of anxiety

  • Feelings of worry, nervousness and gut tension
  • GP typically refers to psychiatrist to prescribe drugs
[7:02] How Evan resolved his own IBS and depression

  • Got rid of parasites, H. pilori with herbs
  • Leaky gut healing process
[10:51] Examples of the connection between gut and mental health

  • College student with multiple parasites unnecessarily prescribed mood stabilizers, resolved with herbal protocol
  • Five-year-old twin boys with behavioral issues significantly better once treated for bacterial overgrowth
[14:22] The difference between a functional medicine practitioner and a GP

  • GP can diagnose and treat disease
  • Functional practitioners investigate health issues to find root cause
  • Functional diagnostics offer more complete testing, tighter ranges
[21:20] The prerequisites for becoming a certified functional practitioner

  • Need pre-existing credential to be eligible for functional courses
  • Includes nutritionist, dietician, chiropractor, RN, osteopath, etc.
[22:29] Why gut issues are the most common

  • Antibiotics, hormones in food supply
  • Damage mitochondria, beneficial bacteria in gut
[23:30] The process of working with Evan

  • 15-minute free call to determine fit
  • One-hour consultation (extensive intake form)
  • Evaluate sleep, stress, environment, etc.
  • Determine necessary labs
  • Follow-up 3-4 weeks later with protocol
[26:19] The definition of nootropics

  • Substance to enhance cognitive function without ill side effects, addiction
  • Industry has diluted term, marketing smart drugs as nootropics
[28:44] Why Evan recommends L-Theanine

  • Amino acid found in green tea that works on GABA receptors
  • Helps people feeling overwhelmed, overworked or anxious
[31:32] Evan’s advice around baseline testing to assess health

Learn More About Evan

Evan’s Website

Evan’s Podcast


The Everything Guide to Nootropics: Boost Your Brain Function with Smart Drugs on Memory Supplements by Evan Brand

Stress Solutions: Hack Your Stress, Calm Your System and Take Charge of Your Life by Evan Brand

Great Plains Laboratory

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