Nutrition, Mood, and Performance

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

I had the great pleasure of speaking today at the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) Annual Scientific Conference in Colorado Springs. My topic was, “Influence of Nutrition on Mood State, Vigor, and Mental/Physical Performance” and you can listen to the AUDIO HERE and follow along with my SLIDES HERE – it’s about 50 minutes.

I was invited to give this talk as part of a “speaker exchange” between the ISSN and the ACN (American College of Nutrition) where I am a Fellow. I love that the ISSN and the ACN are working so closely together to bring the highest-level nutrition education to health professionals – whether you’re more interested in “high performance” (like many of the ISSN members) or more interested in “optimal wellness” (like many of the ACN members), I expect great things from the ongoing partnership between ISSN/ACN (including support of certain initiatives from MonaVie – stay tuned)…

In my talk, I tried to emphasize the fact that chronic stress – whether it comes from “typical stress” such as bills or traffic or deadline or family issues – or whether it comes from “lifestyle stress” such as lack of sleep, poor diet, or in the case of these elite-level athletes, from their training stress – the biochemical and psychological effects are the same. Chronic stress in the form of disrupted glucose balance, elevated cortisol exposure, or cellular damage from free radicals (oxidation) or cytokines (inflammation), leads quickly to mood problems (burnout, depression, fatigue, and low vigor). That’s the bad news.

The good news is that by using “proper” lifestyle interventions (such as diet, exercise, sleep, and supplements) we can REBALANCE the body’s biochemistry and improve mental and physical performance. For an athlete, they would expect to feel better – and perform better in their training and competition. For someone trying to lose weight (especially belly fat), they would feel better – and have superior appetite control and belly fat loss. For someone who feels “burned out” by stress, they would feel better – and have a noticeable uptick in mood, energy, mental focus, and motivation.

What would you do if you felt better than you do right now?

What if your pain were less – or gone?

What if you had energy to spare – even at the end of the day?

What if your cravings for junky food were just no longer a concern?

What if your belly were flatter without really “dieting”?

What if your mood was upbeat and you just felt good as a normal part of your normal day.

All of that is what it’s like to be in what I call “biochemical balance” – it’s nerdy, I know – but once you experience the feeling of high vigor, you never want to go back to feeling the way you did before (with low vigor, or burnout).

Please give a listen to my presentation – and let me know what you think.

As always – thanks for reading…


About the Author: Shawn Talbott, MonaVie’s Chief Science Officer, holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultramarathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and with high vigor.

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My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

  • Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best
  • The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
  • Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at
About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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