Can the food we eat truly influence our mental health and mood? In this podcast, DC’s Jane Winter sits down with Dr Wolfgang Marx from The Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University to find out! In the episode, Wolfgang explores the latest on the influence of diet on the gut and brain. He touches on different buzz words in the world of gut health, like pre- and probiotics, polyphenols and fermented foods, and explains how these impact mental health. He also highlights the importance of a healthy eating pattern for our gut, brain and overall health.


Dr Wolfgang Marx is a joint Alfred Deakin and Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia postdoctoral research fellow and Head of the Nutraceutical Research stream at the Food & Mood Centre. Wolfgang is also a dietitian and an honorary research fellow at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, La Trobe University, and Bond University. Wolfgang’s current research program covers a broad range of projects involving the use nutraceuticals for mental health, fatigue, and cognition. Of particular interest is the role of polyphenols – compounds found abundantly in spices, fruits, and vegetables – in brain health and the gut microbiome.



In this episode, we discuss:

  • The scientific link between food and mental health, including results from the SMILES trial
  • The potential mechanisms of dietary intake on mental health
  • An explanation of prebiotics and probiotics, and their function within the gut
  • The nutrients and eating patterns that may improve mood and mental health
  • The benefits of fermented foods and what to look for when choosing a good quality fermented product

Additional resources

Marx W, Lane M, Hockey M, Aslam H, Berk M, Walder K, Borsini A, Firth J, Pariante CM, Berding K, Cryan JF. Diet and depression: Exploring the biological mechanisms of action. Molecular psychiatry. 2021 Jan;26(1):134-50.

Aslam H, Green J, Jacka FN, Collier F, Berk M, Pasco J, Dawson SL. Fermented foods, the gut and mental health: a mechanistic overview with implications for depression and anxiety. Nutritional neuroscience. 2020 Sep 1;23(9):659-71.

Liu RT, Walsh RF, Sheehan AE. Prebiotics and probiotics for depression and anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2019 Jul 1;102:13-23.

International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics

This podcast is not, and is not intended to be, medical advice, which should be tailored to your individual circumstances. This podcast is for your information only, and we advise that you exercise your own judgment before deciding to use the information provided. Professional medical advice should be obtained before taking action.  Please see here for terms and conditions.


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