Restoring Vigor—The Four Pillars of Health

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.

Want to feel better than you’ve ever felt?

Here’s another excerpt from my 10th book, The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions every year are:
*Lose Weight
*Get in Shape
*Reduce Stress
*Get Healthier
*Win the Lottery

The Secret of Vigor can help you with 4 out of 5 of the most popular resolution goals, so I’ll be posting excerpts from the book for the next several weeks – so please stay tuned for each installment.

If you simply can’t wait, then you can certainly get a copy at or at your favorite library or bookstore.

Part II: Restoring Vigor—The Four Pillars of Health

As you may recall from the Introduction, the Four Pillars of Health are:
1. manage oxidation
2. control inflammation
3. stabilize glucose
4. balance stress hormones

These Four Pillars offer a multipronged approach to simultaneously addressing multiple causes of biochemical imbalance. These internal processes can, in many ways, be thought of as a “Unified Theory” for promoting vigor.

By contrast, some health programs and products focus on controlling only inflammation, only oxidation, only blood sugar, and so forth. Although these approaches have some value, single-focus programs are automatically limited in their overall effects. Limited programs with limited focuses lead to limited benefits for you. Many of these solitary approaches offer some hope and some help. But the Four-Pillars approach enables you to balance each of the major biochemical aspects of health and vigor at the same time.

For example, scientists and doctors agree that excessive inflammation can lead to accelerated tissue damage and breakdown, so it makes a lot of sense to control inflammation to promote overall health. But, if you look deeper to find the causes of inflammation, you quickly see other factors that you can control. Because oxidation (which is caused by free radicals) leads to inflammation at the cellular level, why not also control oxidation? Great idea—but why not look even farther up the metabolic chain of events to see if you can control or modulate the causes of oxidation? Doing this shows that glycation (cellular damage caused by overexposure to certain sugars) can lead to oxidation (which can, in turn, lead to inflammation). That means you have another factor that you can address (as you do with Health Pillar 3—stabilize glucose). Should you stop there? Of course not, because when you look even higher up the metabolic stream, you see that an imbalance in stress hormones can lead to glycation, which can lead to oxidation, which in turn leads to inflammation. Unfortunately, existing scientific or medical research doesn’t go any farther “upstream” with regard to the biochemistry of cellular aging and health promotion. Balancing stress hormones is about as far “upstream” as you can go at this time—but that’s still pretty good.

Obviously, each of these four aspects of your body’s biochemistry is intimately intertwined and interdependent on the others. Having an imbalance in any of the individual pillars (inflammation, for example) can set off a biochemical cascade leading to imbalances in another pillar (such as oxidation). The pillars act almost like a set of dominoes—when you touch one, you set off movement and changes in all the others. The good news is that when you restore balance in any of the pillars, you can also get the benefit of restored balance in the rest of them, with the end result being optimal levels of health. This section of the book tells you more about these pillars and how you can reach those higher levels of health to develop vigor.

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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