Vitamins and Vigor

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 VigorHow 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.

Vitamins and Vigor

It almost goes without saying that taking a general multivitamin and mineral supplement is a good idea for anybody who is under stress, maintains a hectic lifestyle, or needs more vigor. Every energy-related reaction that takes place in the body, especially those involved in the stress response, relies in one way or another on vitamins and minerals as “cofactors” to make the reactions go. For example, B-complex vitamins are needed for metabolism of protein and carbohydrate, chromium is involved in handling carbohydrates, magnesium and calcium are needed for proper muscle contraction, zinc and copper are required as enzyme cofactors in nearly three hundred separate reactions, iron is needed to help shuttle oxygen in the blood—the list goes on and on.

It is fairly well accepted in the medical community that subclinical or marginal deficiencies of essential micronutrients, especially the B vitamins and magnesium, can lead to psychological and physiological symptoms that are related to stress. Many studies show that various combinations of vitamins and minerals reduce oxidation and inflammation, help control blood sugar, improve immune-system function, and generally improve overall health and well-being. Surveys show that “most” health professionals take daily multivitamins, and scientific evidence generally supports the rationale behind using a general nutritional supplement as a foundation on which to build a solid regimen of biochemical balance.

Dietary Supplements and the Four Pillars of Health

Rather than write another encyclopedia about dietary supplements, I want to use this chapter to give you a somewhat brief, but hopefully practical, overview of some of the vitamins and nutritional supplements that I have found over the years to be most beneficial for restoring biochemical balance in the Four Pillars of Health. If you want more details for each supplement, I invite you to see the Resources section of this book for some recommended textbooks specializing in dietary supplement science, including the traditional use, scientific evidence, safety, and dosing recommendations for a wide range of potentially beneficial dietary supplements.

Even though a great deal of the biochemistry presented in earlier sections may appear to be a bit complicated and overwhelming, the overall picture is really quite simple. You basically want to stop excessive levels of oxidation, inflammation, glycation, and stress-hormone exposure. By reining in these destructive biochemical forces, you can slow the breakdown of your tissues and enhance their restoration. At the same time, you want to enhance the process of repair and rebuilding of those damaged tissues—and restoring biochemical balance allows the body to do its job of repair much faster and more completely. Finally, you also want to protect the new healthy tissue from future damage by maintaining your biochemical balance and keeping it from becoming unbalanced again. If your biochemistry is balanced and your tissues are functioning optimally, then you’ll “feel” that balance in terms of a high perception of vigor. Remember, as stated in the beginning of this book: “Balance your biochemistry to beat burnout!”

You’ve already been introduced to the idea that it is important to eat a variety of brightly-colored fruits & vegetables and whole grains to provide adequate levels of B-complex vitamins, phytonutrients such as carotenoids/flavonoids, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. The forthcoming sections discuss what roles specific vitamins can play in strengthening the Four Pillars of Health. I also provide you with information on a targeted blend of herbs for restoring biochemical balance, such as eurycoma, citrus PMFs (polymethoxylated flavones), green-tea catechins, theanine, and others.

To make it easier for you to see the link between dietary supplements and specific pathways to greater vigor, I have broken down the rest of the chapter into sections that address each of the Four Pillars of Health.

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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