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Young & Restless in Women’s Health

Attached are two files – the first is an article in the October issue of Women’s Health Magazine (it’s on the newsstands now – go out and get yourself a copy – it’s written by a terrific author – Krissy Brady – you should check out her other stuff). The article is about “young and restless” women with chronic stress and sleep issues – and who have trouble “turning off” and relaxing. This is a major problem, not just from the perspective of quality-of-life, but from a health perspective.

Chronic stress and sleeplessness are significant risk factors for a wide range of chronic diseases – everything from obesity and diabetes to depression and chronic fatigue – and the incidence of chronic stress and insomnia are at epidemic proportions (the second file shows some of the alarming statistics).

Although the “problems” of chronic stress and sleep problems are large and growing, the “solutions” are easier than you might think. Instead of simply telling people to “avoid stress” or “get more sleep” – I take a much more practical approach of using natural therapies to help people relax and de-stress. These approaches involve  diet, exercise, mindfulness, and traditional herbals to help the body remain resilience in the face of our modern stressful world.

Please take a look at the attached article and statistics and let me know your comments.

Thanks for reading,

Shawn

Womens Health Stress Oct2013

stress sleep stats

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

=============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

 

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  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

▪    The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

▪    The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

▪    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

▪    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books) – http://painfreelivingbook.com/

▪    The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

▪    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

▪    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

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Energizing Eleuthero (“Siberian Ginseng”)

A few days ago, I posted an article about Panax Ginseng for energy/endurance. That article was from a previous edition of Competitor magazine and you can read the full version on their website HERE.

 

The article I’ve posted below is also from an earlier publication in Competitor that can be read online HERE

 

In the recent CEO Endurance World Championships (where I placed 2nd), I used a number of “adaptogen” herbs before, during, and after, each event including eleuthero, ashwagandha, cordyceps, rhodiola, tongkat ali, and a few others. These adaptogens helped me to prepare for and recover from the stresses of the events (physical and mental stressors).

 

Please take a look at the article below and let me know your comments.

 

Thanks for reading…

 

Shawn

 

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

 =============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

 

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  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

▪    The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

▪    The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

▪    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

▪    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books) – http://painfreelivingbook.com/

▪    The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

▪    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

▪    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

 

Runners: Get Energized With Eleuthero

 

By Shawn Talbott, Ph.D

 

Eleuthero is the commonly used nickname for Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Other names include Siberian Ginseng and Ciwujia. Medicinal preparations are made from the roots of the plants.

 

 

Siberian “ginseng” (actually not a “true” ginseng because it is a member of a different plant family) was found by Soviet researchers to be an excellent tonic to enhance athletic performance as well as to strengthen the body during times of stress. Modern herbalists consider Siberian ginseng to be a “stimulating” adaptogen. Several other “ginsengs” are used as adaptogenic tonics throughout the world; among them are Panax quinquefolium (also known as American ginseng), Ashwagandha, sometimes called Indian ginseng (although also not a true ginseng), and Eurycoma longifolia (also called Malaysian ginseng). Like other adaptogenic herbs, eleuthero is used to combat the effect of physical and mental stress and to boost physical and mental energy levels.

 

Scientific Support

Over a period of several decades, German and Soviet researchers have studied the effects of various ginseng and eleuthero extracts on the performance of athletes. One study found that highly trained male athletes showed an increase in their maximum oxygen uptake (compared to the placebo group) as well as a statistically significant improvement in recovery time and lower serum lactate values.

 

Other studies in various groups of young athletes have shown similar extracts to provide statistically significant improvements in performance measures such as forced vital capacity (lung capacity) and maximum breathing capacity as compared to the placebo groups.

 

Unfortunately, there are also a number of “no effect” studies on ginseng and eleuthero extracts. For every study showing a positive benefit in terms of energy levels and/or physical or mental performance, there is another study showing no benefits. Part of the discrepancy in results from well-controlled studies may have to do with differences between the ginseng/eleuthero extracts used in various studies (non-standardized and low-potency extracts with unknown quantities of active components tend to show no effect, while standardized high-potency extracts containing known amounts of eleutherosides tend to have greater effects).

 

A study in the Chinese Journal of Physiology (2010) found Eleuthero extract (800mg/day for 8 weeks) to improve cycling performance, including a 3 percent improvement in both VO2 max and fat-burning capacity. Interestingly, subjects were able to maintain an increased workload (as measured by heart rate) at a lower perceived exertion during supplementation with Eleuthero — suggesting an improvement in your ability to “go hard” during prolonged exercise.

 

Safety/Dosage

Plants in the ginseng/eleuthero families are generally considered quite safe (that’s part of the definition they must fulfill to be termed an adaptogen). There are no known drug interactions, contraindications, common allergic reactions or toxicity to Siberian ginseng. A word of caution is recommended, however, for individuals with hypertension, as the stimulatory nature of some ginseng preparations, including eleuthero, have been reported to increase blood pressure.

 

While the scientific evidence for the benefits of eleuthero and its mechanisms of action can be considered supported only for the standardized extracts, the general adaptogenic role of the entire family of “ginsengs” have proven beneficial for many thousands of years and may, therefore, prove valuable as normalizing substances during stressful conditions. Eleuthero is best supplemented as a standardized extract (100-300mg/day with 0.5-1.0 percent eleutherosides) to ensure that you are getting an effective product.

 

****

About the Author:

Shawn Talbott is an avid endurance athlete (multiple-Ironman and ultramarathon finisher) and scientist (PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry and MS in Exercise Science) in Salt Lake City. He can be reached at http://www.ShawnTalbott.com

CEO Endurance World Championships 2013

CEO Endurance World Championships 2013

Running hard for 4th place in the XC run (2nd place Overall after 6 events)

CEO Endurance World Championships 2013

This past weekend, September 7-9, I competed in the 3-day CEO World Endurance Championships held at the exquisite BlackBerry Farm near Knoxville Tennessee and the Great Smokey Mountains.

 

The competition spanned three days of swimming, biking, running, and obstacle course events against a global selection of “CXO” executives (Chief Executives, Chief Finance, Chief Operations, Chief Legal, and Chief Science such as myself). Each of these competitors had an extensive athletic resume including Ironman triathletes and National Champion runners. Each of us was representing a worthy charity – with me racing for The MORE Project.

 

I posted a short video recap of the weekend HERE. Sadly, I was not able to WIN and bring home the big check to support the kids at The MORE Project.

 

I finished 2nd overall – not bad – but one place lower than I had hoped. I guess that makes me the “2nd-Fittest CEO in the World” behind a great guy (who is now a good friend), Frank Karbe, who holds the title of “World’s Fittest CEO” (and well-deserved).

 

The 6-events looked like this:

 

Day 1 (morning) – Elimination Bike Race – after a warm-up of several 1-mile laps, the group sprints for the finish line and the last rider across the line is eliminated. Continue on each lap until the group is down to two riders who sprint for the win. I finished 2nd.

 

Day 1 (afternoon) – Obstacle Course – split into 3 teams, we tackled a range of mental challenges (solving riddles), strength challenges (sawing logs, climbing ropes, rolling hay bales), and endurance challenges (cross-country running, leaping barriers, paddling, swimming). My team finished 2nd.

 

Day 2 (morning) – Elimination Run – after a warm-up of several 600-metter laps, the group sprints for the finish line and the last runner across the line is eliminated. Continue each lap until the group is down to two runners who sprint for the win. I finished 4th.

 

Day 2 (afternoon) – Bike Hill Climb – after a warm-up ride of about 5 miles, the group reaches the bottom of the hilly section with alternating steep/rolling/steep hills (and the real racing begins). First rider to the top wins, with points awarded to riders in descending order of finish. After scoring two 2nd-places and one 4th-place, I knew that I needed to win this event if I hoped to have enough points to win the check for The More Project. Do or Die!

 

After having just run with these guys earlier in the morning, I knew that many were FAST runners with tremendous aerobic engines – so I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about leaving it to battle out on the final climb. Having also raced bikes with these guys the day before, I knew that I might be able to use my cycling power to my advantage – but that would mean trying to break away early in the race and get a few minutes advantage before the start of the final climb. My plan was to breakaway on the very first climb and see how much time I could gain before the final climb. Lucky for me, the other riders thought I was crazy for attacking so early. They thought there was too far to go alone to the finish, and figured they could reel me in before the last climb. Every pedal stroke of my breakaway, I was thinking about the kids at The More Project and how a significant donation would be able to help them with school supplies and nutritious meals.

 

At the bottom of the final climb (1.5 miles to the finish), I was still alone with no other riders in sight. As the climb twisted up the mountain, I was able to catch glimpses of the road behind me – and after about halfway up, I saw another rider slowly gaining on me. I went as hard as I could up that final climb – and was able to hold on to first place – mission accomplished!

 

Going into Day 3, I was solidly in 2nd place overall, with the swim and cross country run left.

 

Day 3 (early morning) – Open Water Swim – nice cool water for the 1.1-mile swim, where I was able to hang on for 2nd-place.

 

Day 3 (later morning) – Cross Country Run – another hot and humid Tennessee day where we finished in the same order as the Elimination Run on day 2 – with me in 4th place.

 

Overall, my points total put me in 2nd Place (one win, three 2nd places, and two 4th places). Because the charity check only went to the winner, I was not able to achieve the big payday for The MORE Project – but better luck next year! I did, however, get a lot of exposure for MonaVie and The MORE Project and we’re working with CEO Challenges to coordinate a larger field of competitors and a deeper charity payout for the next CEO Endurance World Championships event in 2014.

 

Thanks to everyone who “tuned in” on Facebook and Twitter to watch the events unfold over the weekend – your good vibes were definitely motivational and much appreciated!

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Shawn

 

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

 =============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

 

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  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

▪    The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

▪    The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

▪    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

▪    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books) – http://painfreelivingbook.com/

▪    The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

▪    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

▪    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

Ginseng for Performance?

This weekend, I’ll be competing in the 2013 CEO Endurance World Championship for a chance to win a significant donation to The MORE Project.

 

I’ve been training hard, but I’m up against some really stellar athletes – lots of fast and motivated CXOs who are also racing hard to support their own favorite charities.

 

Send good vibes and look on the blog and Facebook for updates after each of the day’s events (2 events on each of 3 days – 6 events total).

 

I’ll certainly be taking my “adaptogens” to help me adapt to the physical and psychological stresses of the events. Some of my favorite adaptogenic herbs are eurycoma (tongkat ali), cordyceps, rhodiola, ashwagandha, eleuthero, and several others. Perhaps the quintessential adaptogen is ginseng, especially good for the “stresses of aging” – so here is an article that I wrote for Competitor Group (Triathlete magazine, VeloNews, etc) about “Ginseng for Performance.”

 

You can read the full text below or visit their website HERE

 

Thanks for reading…

 

Shawn

 

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

 =============================================

Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

Follow me at:

YouTube

Amazon

Twitter

LinkedIn 

Facebook 

ShareCare 

 

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  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

▪    The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

▪    The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

▪    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

▪    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books) – http://painfreelivingbook.com/

▪    The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

▪    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

▪    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

 

 

Ginseng: The Root Of Improving Athletic Performance?

By Shawn Talbott, PhD

Published Aug. 9, 2013

 

 

 

Ginseng offers many benefits for runners and other endurance athletes, which includes boosting energy levels. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

 

Table of Contents

◦   What Is Ginseng?

◦   Scientific Support

◦   Safety And Dosage

Learn how this supplement can benefit you as an endurance athlete.

Ginseng refers to a group of adaptogenic herbs from the plant family Araliacae. Commonly, ginseng refers to “true” ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer), as well as a related plant called Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), or Eleuthero for short.

Panax ginseng root extracts have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years as a tonic indicated for its beneficial effects on the central nervous system, protection from stress, anti-fatigue action, enhancement of sexual function, and acceleration of metabolism.

Siberian ginseng did not really come into the picture as a botanical remedy until the 20th century. Found in the northern regions of the former Soviet Union, the roots of Eleutherococcus senticosus were sought out as a cheaper substitute for the expensive Oriental ginsengs. Soviet researchers found Siberian ginseng to be an excellent tonic to enhance athletic performance as well as to strengthen the body during times of stress.

Several other “ginsengs” are used as adaptogenic tonics throughout the world; among them are Panax quinquefolium (also known as American ginseng and with a rich history of use by Native Americans) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), sometimes called “Indian ginseng” (although not a true ginseng, but with a long history of medicinal use by Ayurvedic healers in India). American ginseng is the most similar to “true” (Panax) ginseng and is highly prized in the Orient, where it is thought to provide a “cooler” invigoration than the native Panax ginseng (considered “warming” by traditional Chinese healers).

In general, the various ginseng supplements available in the U.S. market are claimed to increase energy levels, relieve stress, enhance athletic performance, enhance immune system function, control blood sugar, improve mental function, and promote general well-being. In most of these functions, ginseng, whether Siberian, Panax, or one of the other varieties, is often termed an “adaptogen.”

An adaptogen is defined as a therapeutic and restorative tonic generally considered to produce a “balancing” effect on the body. The properties generally attributed to adaptogens are a non-specific increase in resistance to a wide range of stressors, including physical, chemical, and biological factors, as well as a “normalizing” action irrespective of the direction of the pathological changes. In general, an adaptogen can be thought of as a substance that helps the body deal with stress.

Some studies of ginseng extracts have shown benefits in increasing energy levels in fatigued subjects, while the majority of studies on ginseng as an athletic performance aid have shown no effect. The differences between study results may have been due, in part, to the fact that many commercially available ginseng supplements actually contain little or no ginseng at all — and many researchers often take it for granted that a given product selected off the shelf for study will actually contain what it claims. That’s not always a good assumption.

The clearest indication that a supplement contains something other than real ginseng is the price — ginseng root is a very expensive ingredient and “bargain” ginseng products may either not contain real or enough ginseng, or the active saponin compounds that are thought to deliver ginseng’s anti-fatigue and adaptogenic effects.

Siberian ginseng (Eleuthero), is not truly ginseng (it’s a shrub rather than a root) but it’s a close enough cousin to deliver some of the same energetic benefits. Eleuthero is also known as Ciwujia in popular sports products. The Siberian form of ginseng is generally a less expensive alternative to “true” Asian or Panax ginseng, though it may have more of a stimulatory effect rather than an adaptogenic effect (not necessarily a bad thing if you just need a boost). Often promoted as an athletic performance enhancer, eleuthero may also possess mild to moderate benefits in promoting recovery following intense exercise — perhaps due in part to an enhanced delivery of oxygen to recovering muscles.

Ashwagandha is an herb from India that is sometimes called “Indian ginseng” — not because it is part of the ginseng family, but to suggest similar energy-promoting and anti-stress benefits that are attributed to the more well-known Asian and Siberian ginsengs. Herbalists and natural medicine practitioners often recommend ashwagandha to combat stress and fatigue — and it does appear to be particularly suited to relaxation uses following stressful events.

 

Scientific Support

The active components in Panax and American ginseng are thought to be a family of triterpenoid saponins that are collectively referred to as “ginsenosides.” In general, most of the top-quality ginseng products, whether whole root or extract, are standardized for ginsenoside content. The active components in Siberian ginseng are considered to be a group of related compounds called “eleutherosides.”

It has been theorized that ginseng’s action in the body is due to its interaction within the hypothalamic-pituitary axis to balance secretion of adrenal corticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH has the ability to bind directly to brain cells and can affect a variety of stress-related processes in the body. These behaviors might include motivation, vitality, performance, and arousal.

In a widely cited study of student nurses on night duty, 1200mg of Panax ginseng appeared to improve general indices of stress and mood disturbances. Levels of free fatty acids, testosterone, and blood sugar, which were all elevated by night work, were significantly reduced to those levels observed under day work. In another study, 2,700mg/day of Panax ginseng was able to reduce blood sugar levels and insulin requirements in a group of diabetic subjects following three months of supplementation.

One study on the effects of 200mg/day of Panax ginseng extract for 12 weeks showed improvements over baseline values of mental performance — attention, mental processing, logical deduction, motor function, and reaction time.

Over a period of several decades, German and Soviet researchers have studied the effects of Panax ginseng extract, typically standardized to 4 percent ginsenosides, on the performance of athletes. One study compared 200mg/day of Panax ginseng extract in 14 highly trained male athletes versus a placebo. The ginseng group showed an increase in its maximum oxygen uptake when compared to the placebo group, as well as a statistically significant improvement in recovery time and lower serum lactate values.

Other studies in various groups of young athletes have shown Panax ginseng extract to provide statistically significant improvements in performance measures such as forced vital capacity and maximum breathing capacity as compared to the placebo groups.

Unfortunately, the scientific evidence for ginseng is far from proven. For every study showing a positive benefit in terms of energy levels and/or physical or mental performance, there is at least one other study showing no benefits. Part of the discrepancy in results from well-controlled studies may have to do with differences between the ginseng extracts used in various studies (non-standardized extracts with unknown quantities of active components).

 

Safety And Dosage

Generally, plants in the ginseng family are considered to be quite safe. There are no known drug interactions, contraindications, common allergic reactions, or toxicity to Siberian ginseng, Panax ginseng, or American ginseng. A word of caution is recommended, however, for individuals with hypertension, as the stimulatory nature of some ginseng preparations have been reported to increase blood pressure. Additionally, those individuals prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should use ginseng with caution due to the reported effects of ginseng to reduce blood sugar levels.

Ginseng is one of the many herbal supplements that can be purchased readily as a whole root, a dried powder or a standardized extract. The most precise approach would be to use a standardized extract to ensure that you are getting an effective product. Products should be standardized to contain 4-5 percent ginsenosides for Panax and American ginseng, and 0.5-1.0 percent eleutherosides for Siberian ginseng. A daily intake of 100-300mg for 3-6 weeks is recommended to produce adaptogenic and energetic benefits.

****

About The Author:

Shawn Talbott is an avid endurance athlete (multiple-Ironman and ultramarathon finisher) and scientist (PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry and MS in Exercise Science) in Salt Lake City. He can be reached at www.ShawnTalbott.com

 

 

Twin Epidemics – Chronic Stress and Insomnia

This past weekend in Salt Lake City, MonaVie launched into the massive categories of sleep and stress. With upwards of 70-80% of the North American population experiencing “enough” chronic stress to result in stress-related physical ailments and sleeplessness, the potential market for natural stress/sleep solutions is gigantic.

 

As a Nutritional Biochemist and Exercise Physiologist, I’ve studied both the “mood state” effects of stress (depression, fatigue, mental confusion) as well as the biochemical/hormonal changes (testosterone/cortisol/glucose) and the weight effects (increased abdominal fat accumulation). The bad news is that stress and sleep deprivation adversely influence so many aspects of our physical and mental wellness – but the good news is that there are some very effective natural solutions available.

 

I’ve been researching, formulating, writing, and speaking about these topics for more than a decade. I’ve written several books and articles on these topics and the lead researcher on several studies, including two recent scientific publications about Tongkat ali and Relora). All of these publications deal with how chronic stress can reduce a parameter that we call “Vigor” (a combination of physical energy, mental acuity, and emotional well-being).

 

Any type of stress, but especially the low-grade, chronic stress that we experience at work and in our stressful “too-busy” lives, leads to both behavioral changes (less exercise, eating more “comfort foods”, drinking, smoking, etc) and biochemical changes (higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol), which can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure and cholesterol, elevate appetite, increase fat gain – especially in the abdominal region (belly fat), reduce sex drive, lead to memory and emotional problems, etc).

 

For many years, I ran a community lifestyle program in Utah that taught people about the link between stress and health (especially fatigue, weight gain, and depression). Some of the “standard” recommendations to combat stress apply – such as being physically active, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, etc. But, we also educate people about the “top five” ways to resist the detrimental health effects of stress:

 

1. Have an “outlet” (a hobby or some diversion outside of work)…

 

2. Do whatever you can to make the sources of your stress more “predictable” or learn to develop more “control” over those stressors – this means to identify patterns related to when your stressors might appear…

 

3. Hang out with friends (avoid social isolation) – tough times are always easier when you’re around other people…

 

4. Learn to tell the difference between “big” issues and “little” issues…

 

5. Look on the bright side (really) – as simplistic as it sounds, the fact that you can look to “what is improving” in a given situation can help to psychologically buffer the stress in others areas…

 

We also looked at (and measured) a wide range of “natural therapies” for controlling stress and improving emotional well-being. Some of the most effective are natural herbal therapies that include magnolia bark, tongkat ali, ashwagandha, pine bark, chamomile, fennel, lemon balm, amla, and others.

 

Based on my experience and the research we’ve conducted, I feel that the “top-5” most effective “anti-stress” herbs include:

 

  • Tongkat ali (from Malaysia) – to help alleviate the exhaustion/fatigue that comes from chronic stress – it works by normalizing testosterone levels, which are typically suppressed by stress.

 

  • Magnolia bark (from China) – to help alleviate the tension/irritability that comes with stress – it works by normalizing cortisol levels, which are elevated by stress.

 

  • Ashwagandha (from Tibet) – to help our bodies to adapt and better handle stress – it works by normalizing levels of epinephrine/norepinephrine, which become unbalanced by stress.

 

  • Pine bark (from New Zealand) – to help our brains to recover faster from stressful events – it works by improving cranial blood flow and calming brain neuron excitability.

 

  • Indian Gooseberry (also called Amla – from India) – to help our bodies counteract the oxidizing effects of stress that lead to cellular damage – it works as both an antioxidant and blood flow enhancer.

 

If you’re interested, here are some video clips from recent appearances on The Dr. Oz Show, Good Day Utah, and Fox & Friends where I talk about natural options for alleviating stress, burnout, exhaustion, and insomnia:

 

Dr. Oz Show – Curing Exhaustion (Stress/Burnout) with Tongkat Ali

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dr-ozs-exhaustion-lab-pt-2

 

Dr. Oz Show – Flat Belly Plan – Control Stress & Cortisol with Magnolia/Phellodendron (Relora)

http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/dr-ozs-flat-belly-plan?video=16771

 

Good Day Utah – Natural Options for Sleep

http://fox13now.com/2013/08/18/dr-talbott-on-getting-better-sleep/

 

Fox & Friends – Eating for Sleep and Relaxation

http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-friends/index.html#http://video.foxnews.com/v/2633344561001/parents-using-pill-to-get-kids-to-sleep/?playlist_id=86912

 

 

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

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Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

www.shawntalbott.com

 

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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  http://www.KilleratLarge.com

▪    The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnection.com/

▪    The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/

▪    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at http://www.cortisolcontrol.com/

▪    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books) – http://painfreelivingbook.com/

▪    The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

▪    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

▪    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

 

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