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What Does “Energy” Mean To You?

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 6 – Feel Your Best

What Does “Energy” Mean To You?

Even if you don’t think of yourself as someone who would ever be troubled by anxiety or depression, chances are, if you’re like most other people living in any industrialized country anywhere in the world, your daily routine is hectic and stressful. You may suffer from constant fatigue, have trouble focusing, and you’re at least occasionally tense, irritable, or moody. In fact, you may be experiencing what we often refer to in lifestyle research as a uniquely modern type of fatigue that we call “burnout.”

When we ask people about the source of their fatigue – what makes them feel “tired” – we find a great many factors that lead people to feel a lack of energy. Many of the factors that lead to feelings of low energy are the same factors that lead to poor health, including lack of sleep, inadequate diet, sedentary lifestyle, and excessive stress. As a scientist and lifestyle researcher, I find it interesting that people will often label their lack of mental focus as “tiredness” – and their high stress levels as “fatigue” – and their suppressed mood as “exhaustion” – no wonder we’re all so tired!

But what if things were different? What if you could reverse burnout—or avoid it altogether? Suppose, instead of feeling fatigued, you felt physically energized and mentally alert? What if you enjoyed feeling “relaxed alertness” instead of feeling tense, anxious, and irritable? Imagine feeling “in the zone” – compared to the millions of people who constantly feel tired, stressed, and depressed? If you achieved such a level of physical energy and mental acuity, your condition could only be described as being the opposite of “burnout” – and you would have people lined up around the block to get it for themselves.

This state of overall well-being—the opposite of burnout—has also received a name from lifestyle researchers – we refer to it as “vigor” – and I’ve spent the last decade of my career studying and educating about it.

Outside the research community, however, very few people have heard of the term “vigor” used as a measure of health. And in your own vocabulary, the word may only turn up when you’re talking about vigorous exercise or reading cookbook instructions that tell you to shake liquids vigorously.

But “vigor” actually has an official definition in scientific circles: “a three-tiered sustained mood state characterized by physical energy, mental acuity, and emotional well-being.”

This chart may help you see this definition a little more clearly—and it also underscores the differences between vigor and burnout.

Vigor vs. Burnout

Vigor Burnout
Physical Energy (energy) Physical Fatigue (fatigue)
Mental Acuity (focus) Mental Exhaustion (brain fog)
Cognitive Liveliness (Happy & Resilient) Cognitive Weariness (Exhausted & Worn Out)

Vigor is a true measure of wellness, because it encompasses much more than simply feeling “energetic,” being in a “good mood,” or having a “sharp” mind. People with high levels of vigor are those “can-do” individuals who feel like getting things done—whether they are running a marathon or just cleaning out the garage. They’re uniquely motivated and have the capacity to accomplish what they set out to do, because they’re not weighed down by feeling exhausted or unfocused.

Unfortunately, for a lot of people, “vigor” is a state that they have not experienced in many years, but that does not mean they cannot reclaim it.

Vigor in Ancient Medicine

The term “vigor,” as used in today’s modern lifestyle research, actually has very old roots in traditional systems of ancient medicine. The modern scientific concept of vigor is somewhat comparable to the ancient descriptions of vitality and wellness from traditional medicine systems around the world. Nearly every ancient culture has typically held a common belief that true health stems from a strong “life force” in the body. I mentioned a few of them earlier, some additional names for this life force, or vigor, include:

* Qi (traditional Chinese medicine; pronounced “chee”)

* Prana (Ayurvedic/Indian medicine)

* Ki (Kampo/Japanese medicine)

* Ka (Egyptian medicine)

* Mana (Polynesian medicine)

* Pneuma (ancient Greek medicine)

Practitioners of traditional medicine might have restored “life force” in their patients by improving their nutrition or administering herbal medicines. These natural therapies often “worked,” and patients felt better as a result. What these ancient healers did not fully appreciate was “how” their therapies were working to actually alter biochemical processes in the body and modulate internal biochemistry such as oxidative stress and physiological functions such as neurotransmitter balance and blood flow.

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment about, “the Energy Drink Market.

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)

 

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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
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)
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Your Brain on Stress

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 6 – Feel Your Best

Your Brain on Stress

Chronic stress not only emotionally and functionally affects the brain, but it can also lead to direct physical changes in this most important organ. Research has shown that chronic stress not only increases the incidence of such simple effects as “moodiness,” “brain fog,” or irritability but can also eventually progress to the development of such physical impairments as full-blown memory loss and dementia. Each of these conditions involves a degree of mental deterioration characterized by damage to and death of nerve cells in the brain. And it has been estimated that as many as 30 to 50 percent of adults in industrialized countries suffer from these degenerative brain conditions. That’s a very high percent of the 65 to 90 percent of adults in industrialized countries who suffer from enough chronic stress to result in any detrimental health condition—not just “psychological” or “brain-related” conditions.

The changes in mood that accompany periods of heightened stress also bring reduced energy levels, feelings of fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate, and feelings of depression—all of which are related to the same class of brain chemicals, the neurotransmitters. Most notable (and scary), perhaps, are the findings that chronic stress can lead to actual physical changes in the arrangement of the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain. In other words, we’re talking now about stress being able to exert changes not just in the biochemistry and function or the brain, but directly on the physical structure of your brain.

People suffering from depression are a classic example of elevated cellular stress, with disrupted biochemical balance in hormones, such as cortisol/testosterone, and in brain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. The people who are under the highest levels of cellular stress also tend to be the ones who succumb to periods of moderate depression.

So, if cellular stress can change the function and structure of your brain, wouldn’t it be cool if brain function could “push” the other way to influence cellular stress? Well, it can. Sports psychologists have known for decades that athletes can use “mental imagery” (basically, thinking about their events) to improve mental and physical performance. Elite-level athletes routinely train their bodies for strength, speed, and agility—and the very best of the best also train their minds and their emotions for optimal performance. The average person has little understanding or appreciation for the fact that it is possible to train and to sculpt mental circuits just as biceps or buttocks can be shaped. The process is a little more complex than the simplistic “think and grow rich” platitudes that you hear from some self-help gurus, but the general idea is similar. Like sand on a beach or snow on a ski slope, the brain bears the footprints or ski tracks of the decisions that you make, the experiences that you have, and the thoughts that you think. In response to the experiences and actions that you undergo, your brain strengthens the neural connections involved in these experiences and weakens those that are less frequently used. This poses important possibilities for those individuals who are troubled by depression or anxiety, making it possible to “rewire” those areas of the brain (those “pathological” connections) and establish new, better, and healthier connections that lead them away from burnout and toward vigor. Think of “problems”—such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, or burnout—as issues that involve biochemical balance and cellular stress. Rebalancing your internal biochemistry and relieving cellular stress, helps restore mood, energy, and mental focus to help us feel, look, and perform at our best.

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment about, “What Does Energy Mean To You?

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

Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

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
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Low Vigor and High Cellular Stress? You’re Not Alone

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 6 – Feel Your Best

Low Vigor and High Cellular Stress? You’re Not Alone

Do you ever feel that you’re working harder and harder but still getting further and further behind? If so, you have a lot of company. The average American workweek, research shows, has mushroomed from forty hours to fifty hours in the past twenty-five years. That level is higher than in any European country and equal to that of Japan. Those extra ten hours of work, however, have not gained workers much. In fact, U.S. workers today are behind in their ability to maintain the same overall standard of living enjoyed a generation ago. At the same time, our expectations have not changed. Even during tough economic times, people still feel pressure to be—or have—the best, whether they strive to own the best car or house or to be the best worker or parent. Talk about stress! And all those expectations are driving many to an early burnout. It is even becoming evident in kids, who run from school or day care to the babysitter to soccer to homework at the same frantic pace. Is it any wonder that the use of Ritalin and Prozac among North American children has increased, as has the diagnosis of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)?

Consider this too: When the American Psychological Association (APA) released its annual 2010 survey, Stress in America, it showed that the picture of an “overstressed nation” is as bad as it has ever been. One of the most striking conclusions from the APA survey was that “stress is not only taking a toll on our personal and physical health, but it is also affecting the emotional and physical well-being of children and our families.” The survey highlighted the fact that children today are more stressed than in years past and also found that kids easily recognize and identify their parents’ stress levels as a key source of their own stress.

As you might imagine, the most common sources of stress identified in the APA survey were money (76 percent), work (70 percent), and the economy (65 percent). But “family responsibilities” also emerged as a significant source of stress (73 percent).

Health experts identify a “healthy stress level” at about a 3 to 4 on a 10-point scale, with 1 representing low stress and 10 indicating extreme stress. Healthy intermittent exposure to stress can actually be a good thing. Some stress researchers, including myself, refer to this intermittent or “temporary” stress as “eustress”—that is, the type of stress that helps motivate you to meet a deadline or to achieve a goal. But chronic stress (or “distress”) leads to problems with biochemical balance, cellular stress, tissue breakdown, and a wide range of physical and psychological health problems that clearly keep us from feeling, looking, or performing at our best.

The average stress level reported in the APA survey was 5.5, with 24 percent reporting stress levels at 8 to 10 (on the 10-point scale). Those with “more stress” (average of 6.2) tended to have poor overall health, while those with “lower stress” (average of 4.9) tended to have excellent health. Individuals with even higher stress exposure (in the 8 to 10 range) tended to have significant problems with their weight or even obesity—very likely due to problems with biochemical balance and cellular stress and especially to an overexposure to cortisol and its associated increase in appetite for “comfort foods” and consequent storage of belly fat.

Americans across all age groups and geographic areas generally recognized that their stress levels are “too high” (69 percent) and that stress is not good for their health. But a majority of respondents also reported facing significant challenges in actually practicing healthy behaviors, such as reducing stress, eating better, exercising, getting enough sleep, and losing weight. Primary obstacles to those healthy behaviors included “being too busy” (22 percent) and a “lack of motivation or willpower” (29 percent). In fact, one of the most interesting aspects of the APA survey was the clear indication that Americans know what they should be doing—but that they are not doing a good job of achieving their health goals. For example, if you look at the “gap” between knowing something is important and actually doing it (achievement), we see the following pattern:

Aspects of Well-Being: Importance vs. Achievement

Behavior Important? Achievement? Gap
Getting enough sleep 67% 29% 38%
Managing stress 64% 32% 32%
Eating healthy foods 58% 31% 27%
Getting enough exercise 54% 27% 27%
Having good relationships 79% 60% 19%

 Source: American Psychological Association—Stress in America Report, 2010

How can you close this gap? How can you break out of the negative spiral that pulls you down into cellular stress and psychological burnout and instead turn it around toward building cellular balance and physical and mental vigor? To answer these questions, let’s look at the example of reducing cellular stress and building stress resilience in one of our most important tissues, our brain. Consider the brain as the “central computer” that integrates all the environmental, internal, and biochemical cellular signals that, in turn, direct your behavior.

Thanks for reading – please tune into the next installment about, “Your Brain on Stress.”

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

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
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Biochemistry Drives Behaviors

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 6 – Feel Your Best

Biochemistry Drives Behaviors

In seeking to build our “best future you” with the energetic feel, youthful look, and peak performance that we all desire, it’s important to remember that this state of health is characterized not only by physical aspects of cellular stress, but that state of balance is also transmitted to emotional and mental aspects of health.

When speaking before thousands of people around the country, one of the most important concepts that I try to convey to my audiences is that “biochemistry drives behaviors” and vice-versa. The reason that you “feel” a certain way is because of your underlying biochemistry. The degree to which you’re exposed to free radicals, cytokines, cortisol, dopamine, serotonin, insulin, or hundreds of other cellular stress “signals” in the body will influence your feelings of energy, happiness, mental clarity, creativity, appetite, and motivation—in short, your vigor.

Think about how you feel when you’re under stress: You often eat more (and eat more junk) and exercise less. You tend to be constantly tired during the day and yet can’t relax enough to get a good night’s sleep. Stressed-out people also have more heart attacks, more depression, more colds, and less sex. And stress-induced disruptions in their internal cellular biochemistry are at the root of it all. I cannot think of a more dismal picture – and it all links back to the ability of our trillions of individual cells to protect themselves from stress and to repair the damage caused by stress.

Brains, Biochemistry, and Behavior

As I have continued my research in this area over the past several years, I have discovered that the influence of cellular biochemistry goes far deeper than ever imagined. In fact, cellular biochemistry not only drives emotions but motivates actions as well.

Breakthroughs in brain research are giving amazing new insights about these connections between biochemistry, the brain, and behavior. And frankly, it is a complex issue that may be hard to understand. It can be mind-boggling—literally—to realize that your thinking can change not only your moods but also the actual shape and function of your brain. Those changes affect your biochemistry, your level of cellular stress, and, of course, how you feel, look, and perform.

As you read this chapter, these complex concepts will become clearer. For now, let me give you a brief explanation and illustration to show you how these connections between mind-body-biochemistry actually work. First, you have to conceptualize the biochemical processes of your body as a circular loop, not a straight, linear progression. What happens internally is that your cellular biochemistry affects your brain circuitry, which affects your behavior, with each influencing and feeding back on each other. This loop has no “start” and no “end,” and each process constantly modifies the others.

What all this means is that the reason that we “feel” a particular way, or the reason that we “behave” a certain way, or the reason our brain “perceives” a certain thing, comes back to how effective and efficient our cells are at managing cellular stress.

The good news is that if you positively change one aspect of this picture, you’ll inevitably exert a positive change the others as well. For example, if you change your behavior—say you begin to take short walks every day or go to sleep fifteen minutes earlier each night—you will, in turn, change your cellular biochemistry and your brain function and performance. Those brain alterations will put you into a mental and emotional state where you will want to continue the behaviors that are creating the positive mood and mental clarity—and the changes in your cellular biochemistry will, in turn, reinforce this “virtuous circle.”

Unfortunately, the “circle” can spin in the opposite direction as well. Suppose that instead of walking every day, you act like a “couch potato,” sitting on the sofa watching TV for long stretches and eating greasy, sugary foods? That behavior will lead toward fatigue, mental sluggishness, and negative emotions. As your behavior begins having detrimental effects on your brain function and biochemistry, a downward spiral toward burnout is set in motion. If you feel caught in that downward spiral, you are not the only one. Keep reading.

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment about, “Low Vigor and High Cellular Stress.”

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

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
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Allostation (Chronic Stress)

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 5 – Pillars of Health

Allostation

Human beings were simply not meant to “carry around” constant disturbances in their stress response to the point that this response reaches the state called “chronic stress.” Humans were built to respond to stress quickly and then to have stress hormones dissipate immediately. That is the “acute-stress” response or “temporary” stress, and our bodies do perfectly well when stress comes in periodic bursts, but also goes away or subsides periodically giving us time to recover and adapt. When the body is exposed to wave after wave of chronic stress from the modern lifestyle, it begins to break down.

Animals don’t normally harbor chronic stress the way humans do, but when they do (during stress experiments, starvation, injury, etc.), they get sick just like humans do. In study after study, it quickly becomes obvious that the stress response, although helpful in certain situations, turns negative when the body begins to perceive everyday events as “stressful” events. Over time, stress-related diseases result from either an over-exaggerated stress response (too much response to what should have been a small stressor) or an under-exaggerated ability to shut down the stress response (which causes levels of the stress hormone cortisol to remain elevated and biochemical balance to fall apart).

Because the modern world rarely requires the evolutionary fight-or-flight response to stress, people deny their bodies their natural physical reaction to stress. Unfortunately, the brain still registers stress in the same way as it always has. But because people no longer react to that stress with vigorous physical activity (fighting or running away), the body “stores” the stress response and continues to churn out high levels of stress hormones. Before you know it, you find yourself suffering from “burnout” or simply “tired/stressed/depressed” and feeling as if you have no control over the many stressors in your life. In one of the more ironic twists visited upon humans as “higher” animals, the brain is so “well developed” that the body has learned to respond to psychological stress with the same hormonal cascade that occurs with exposure to a physical stressor. This means that just by thinking about a stressful event, even if that event is highly unlikely to actually occur, you cause your endocrine system to get into an uproar that interferes with your biochemical balance—leading you toward elevated levels of cellular stress and tissue dysfunction.

Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormones – produced by the adrenal glands. Its main “acute” functions are to increase blood-sugar levels (via insulin antagonism), reduce inflammation, and stimulate immune function. Its main “chronic” effects are to increase blood-sugar levels (via appetite stimulation, so you eat more), increase inflammation, and suppress immune function. When you encounter anything that causes you to feel stress, your cortisol levels go up. If you experience stressful events on a regular basis and are unable to effectively rid yourself of the stressor, then your cortisol levels stay constantly elevated above normal levels. The elevation of cortisol leads to further problems with biochemical balance, such as reduced testosterone and interference with other hormones (such as insulin and thyroid hormones).

This process can be compared to what happens with a line of dominoes, where tipping one hormone off balance (cortisol) leads to a disruption in the next (testosterone) and the next (insulin) and the next (serotonin) and the next (thyroid) and so on, until eventually the balance of your entire system is upset and you feel terrible. Also lined up like dominoes are the other four pillars of health, where cortisol excess increases levels of inflammatory cytokines, oxidative free radicals, and glycating sugars. This increase in stress-induced oxidation/inflammation is due, in part, to the fact that excess cortisol stimulates a chronic immune response that is accompanied by a “respiratory burst” of free radicals from macrophages and related immune cells. And this response is also partly due to the increased creation of AGEs (advanced glycation end-products) that is triggered by the cortisol-induced elevations in blood sugar.

Elevated cortisol levels are also associated with reduced levels of testosterone and IGF-1 in subjects exposed to high stress (IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor 1, is related to growth hormone). Because testosterone and IGF-1 are anabolic or muscle-building hormones, the subjects exposed to high stress also tend to have reduced muscle mass and higher body-fat levels. And they also tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI), a higher waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and abdominal obesity (an “apple” shape). Researchers at the Neurological Institute at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) have linked excessive cortisol levels to depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease as well as to direct changes in brain structure (atrophy) leading to cognitive defects—meaning that cortisol can shrink and kill brain cells. All this research points to a consistent reproducible finding—that chronic stress leads to a cascade of biochemical, hormonal, and metabolic disruptions that result in a heightened state of cellular stress and an accelerated “breakdown” in tissues throughout the body, including the brain, heart, blood vessels, muscles, bones, skin, immune-system cells, etc. At the same time, these disruptions also suppress the “buildup” of healthy tissues, because chronic stress retards tissue growth and adaptation—except for one tissue – abdominal fat (which accumulates in response to disruption in any of the four pillars of health). The major problem with abdominal fat, aside from the fact that nobody wants a pot belly, is that this type of fat is also highly associated with increased cellular damage from glycating sugars, oxidative free radicals, and inflammatory cytokines, all of which increase the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Stress researchers, including myself, frequently study competitive athletes. For obvious reasons, athletes are extremely interested in balancing the “dose” of stress they deliver to their bodies with the amount of recovery necessary for optimal performance. Keep in mind that we need to consider all sources of stress that an athlete is exposed to including emotional stress such as relationships and finances; environmental stress such as the sunlight they’re exposed to and the air they’re breathing; cellular stress from exposure to free radicals, cytokines, glucose, and cortisol; and of course the physical stress of their training regimen. Counteracting the muscle-wasting and fat-gaining effects of prolonged cellular stress becomes a large part of maximizing performance gains while minimizing the risk for illness and injury. For many athletes, the delicate balance between training stress and recovery poses a significant dilemma: To become faster and more competitive, they have to train hard, but training too hard without adequate recovery will just make them slow, because they’ll be tired or get sick or hurt.

Athletes who excel at the highest levels are those who are most adept at balancing the three primary components of their programs: training, diet, and recovery. A phenomenon known as “overtraining syndrome” has been linked to chronic cortisol exposure and heightened cellular stress, exactly the same situation that the average non-athletic person faces in their battle with daily stressors and the struggle to maintain biochemical balance. Although chronic overtraining is easy to recognize by its common symptoms of constant fatigue, mood fluctuations, and reduced mental and physical performance (sounds a lot like the burnout and lack of vigor suffered by many non-athletes), it may be difficult to detect in its earlier stages, just like the early stages of stress. Therefore, competitive athletes, like everyone, need to become adept at balancing exposure to cellular stressors with protection and recovery to approach the optimal physical and mental performance they are looking for.

Numerous studies convincingly show that reducing cellular stress—including restoring balance between various measures, such as cortisol, testosterone, glucose, cytokines, CRP, free radicals, and many others—also reduces the risk of dying and increases lifespan. Positive changes in psychological measures of stress, such as a greater sense of “meaningfulness in life,” have also been associated with improvements in cellular stress markers. But this “psycho-biochemical” effect appears to cut both ways, because individuals with “downward” financial mobility (such as job loss) tend to have higher indices of cortisol/cytokines, and those individuals with the highest financial stress (poverty) have been shown to have a striking six-year-shorter life expectancy attributable to increased disease risk from excessive cellular stress. In similar fashion, the risk of developing burnout, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has recently been shown to be approximately three times higher in subjects with elevated psychological stress and dysregulations across the four pillars of health.

I hope that this chapter has given you an appreciation of the importance of restoring biochemical balance within each—and between each—of the four pillars of health. In some ways, it may seem that balancing stress hormones is the most important task in reducing cellular stress, because these hormones are so intimately linked with our biochemistry.

But, as stated throughout this section, the pillars are interdependent and intertwined with each other, so it makes sense to strengthen all of them simultaneously to create a truly comprehensive approach to optimal health. This is precisely what efficient activation of the CDR pathways offers us – a “master regulator” of the cellular response to stress, no matter the source of the stress. As with the example of the dominoes, if you make a positive change regarding one of the pillars, you will set off positive reactions in all the rest. This is what we will discuss in the chapters to come.

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment, where we’ll dive into Chapter 6, “Feel Your Best.”

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

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
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Glycation – Sugar Coated Cellular Dysfunction

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 5 – Pillars of Health

Glycation – Sugar Coated Cellular Dysfunction

Glycation is a process by which a sugar molecule (typically glucose or fructose) becomes bonded to a protein or lipid (fat). Most often, glycation occurs in the body when glucose or fructose in the blood remains too high for too long and becomes bonded to cell-surface proteins. A glycated protein—referred to as an “AGE” (advanced glycation end-product)—can be highly reactive and set off a chain reaction of oxidative and inflammatory damage in whatever tissues they occur. AGEs also tend to be “cleared” from the body very slowly, so once they’re formed, they have the potential to stimulate these damaging chain reactions for prolonged periods of time.

Some of the main dietary offenders that lead to AGE accumulation and upset biochemical balance are high-sugar foods (such as soda, ice cream, donuts, cookies, or sweetened breakfast cereals) and other foods that quickly convert to sugar or glucose in the bloodstream (including highly processed grains, such as white bread, rolls, or instant rice). Sugar can be toxic to many tissues by permanently attaching to proteins through the glycation process. Wherever sugar attaches, it triggers cellular microdamage that creates inflammation. The inflammation, in turn, accelerates protein breakdown, thus resulting in damage to surrounding tissues. To make matters worse, glycation also leads to cross-linking of proteins, changing healthy tissues from soft, supple, and flexible to stiff, brittle, and painful. These stiffened sugar-protein bonds form in every type of tissue, including joint cartilage, muscle tendons, brain neurons, blood vessels, skin, and even immune-system cells, which is why scientists are finding links between glycation and chronic diseases of “aging,” such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis.

There are many reasons to keep a tight control of glucose levels. Glucose, which you may often hear called “blood sugar,” is the preferred source of energy for the brain, and glucose helps you fully metabolize calories from fat. Blood sugar levels that drop too low may stimulate hunger and cravings, while glucose levels that rise too high will slow your ability to burn fat.

A key intermediary in the interrelationships between blood glucose (glycation), free radicals (oxidation), cytokines (inflammation), and stress hormones (allostation) is the hormone insulin. Most people associate insulin problems with diabetes because of its primary role in regulating blood-sugar levels, but insulin has many additional functions in the body. Not only does insulin regulate blood-sugar levels within an extremely narrow range, but it is also responsible for getting fat stored in the fat cells (adipose tissue), getting sugar stored in the liver and muscle cells (as glycogen), and getting amino acids directed toward protein synthesis (to build muscle). Due to these varied actions, insulin is sometimes thought of as a “storage hormone,” because it helps the body put all these sources of energy away in their respective “storage depots” for use later.

The abnormal insulin metabolism described above—known as insulin resistance—leads to a reduction in the body’s cellular response to insulin. That reaction, in turn, interferes with regulation of blood sugar, increases appetite, and blocks the body’s ability to burn fat due primarily to direct “blocking” of insulin function by cortisol as well as indirect interference with insulin activity by oxidative free radicals and inflammatory cytokines. When insulin resistance is combined with a poor diet (high in fat and/or refined carbohydrates), the result is the metabolic condition known as Syndrome X, a disorder that can have an impact on virtually every disease process in the body.

We know that inflammation in any tissue can be caused by excessive exposure to free radicals and lead to accelerated “aging” and generalized tissue breakdown. AGEs demonstrate a “direct” problem with cell-to-cell signaling that is compromised by sugar-coated proteins. “Indirect” damage is also caused by an AGE-stimulated increase in oxidation and inflammation. Stress hormones, which we’ll discuss in the next section, stimulate the creation of AGEs through an increase in blood-sugar levels.

People with diabetes are obviously at high risk for developing AGEs in a wide range of tissues because of their problems regulating blood-sugar levels. The extreme development of AGEs in diabetics is a key reason for their high rates of oxidative and inflammatory diseases, including nephropathy (kidney damage) and circulatory problems (due to blood-vessel damage).

There are numerous ways to stabilize glucose and reduce your development of AGEs—some of which might seem quite obvious, as you’ll see in the short list below, but are also quite effective.

Tips for Stabilizing Glucose

* Consume fewer high-sugar foods (soda, baked goods, refined carbs).

* Consume more low-sugar foods (vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats).

* Consume fewer fried foods (high-temperature cooking creates AGEs in the foods).

* Maintain healthy blood-sugar levels (80–100mg/dL) by:

– getting regular (intense) exercise

– getting eight hours of sleep each night

– incorporating stress-reduction practices into your daily life

  • supplementing with specific glucose-controlling and CDR-activating dietary supplements

The next section, about “allostation” and stress hormones such as cortisol, describes how cortisol exposure stimulates a rapid increase in blood-glucose levels via several mechanisms, including stimulating the release of glucose stored in the liver, interfering with insulin’s action to stimulate cells to absorb glucose from the blood, and stimulating overall appetite with specific cravings for sweets. Adding to the connection between cortisol and insulin resistance are an interesting series of studies showing that inadequate sleep causes insulin resistance. This is particularly important because of the well-known link between sleep deprivation as a unique type of cellular stress and elevated cortisol levels. Sleep researchers from the University of Chicago and several other universities have shown that inadequate sleep leads to a cascade of biochemical events, starting with increased cortisol levels, which induces insulin resistance, leading to higher blood-sugar (glucose) levels, causing increased measures of oxidative and inflammatory damage, stimulating appetite, and eventually leading to abdominal fat (belly fat) gain. The research team compared “normal” sleepers (averaging eight hours of sleep per night) to “short” sleepers (averaging six hours or less of sleep per night). They found that the “short” sleepers secreted 50 percent more cortisol and insulin and were 40 percent less sensitive to the effects of insulin than the “normal” sleepers. Missing a couple hours of sleep can basically put you into a pre-diabetic state with all the associated cellular stress and eventual health problems.

Thanks for reading – please tune in for the next installment about “Allostation” (chronic stress).

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

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
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Inflammation – The World on Fire

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 5 – Pillars of Health

Inflammation – The World on Fire

The word “inflammation” is derived from the Latin “inflammare”—meaning to “set on fire”—because an injury or infection is typically red, warm, and painful. Think of pain and inflammation as different sides of the same coin – they are driven by different—but related—biochemical factors. Pain and inflammation are normal body processes. Without them, you would literally not be able to survive for very long. Pain is a signal to your body that damage is occurring, and you need to stop doing whatever is causing that damage. Inflammation is a process controlled by the immune system that protects your body from invading bacteria and viruses, but this process also helps regulate heart function, blood flow, and many vital functions. Maintaining a normal balance of pain signals and inflammation is critical to good health and balancing cellular stress.

When this balance becomes disrupted, you experience more inflammation and increased pain along with less flexibility and reduced mobility. When you have too much inflammation, this process—which is supposed to be protecting you—actually causes more and more damage. For example, an overactive inflammatory response is known to stimulate bone breakdown (leading to osteoporosis), interfere with cartilage repair (leading to a worsening of arthritis), and accelerate muscle breakdown (leading to flare-ups in fibromyalgia). Inflammation is also involved in emotional balance and brain function (depression and anxiety). So when your body experiences too much inflammation, you simply don’t feel happy. Instead you feel mentally exhausted and burned out—obviously, the opposite of vigor.

Your doctor may also give your unbalanced inflammation another kind of label—one that ends in “-itis.” In medical terminology, “-itis” is used to denote inflammation. Therefore, you may have arthritis (inflammation of the joint—“arthros” is Latin for joint), tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon), or fasciitis (inflammation of the fascia—the tough layer of connective tissue over muscles, tendons, and ligaments that can become inflamed following excessive exercise or with lower-back pain and fibromyalgia).

Normal Versus Chronic Inflammation

The normal process of inflammation helps dismantle and recycle older tissues that have become damaged or worn out or that simply need repair. This process of normal healthy inflammation is called “turnover,” and it occurs when older tissue is replaced with newer tissue. Before the age of thirty or so, this normal turnover process tends to be perfectly balanced—for every bit of tissue that is damaged and removed, another similar (or greater) bit is put in its place. This means that, under ordinary circumstances, you’re always making your tissue stronger and more resilient. After about age thirty, however, the turnover process becomes somewhat less efficient year after year – partly due to a progressive age-related reduction in our body’s ability to activate CDR pathways. This causes a very slight loss of healthy tissue—you continue to break down and to remove some tissue, but the amount of healthy tissue added back is just a little bit less than it should be. As you age, the turnover process becomes less and less efficient, and your body’s ability to heal itself from injury is reduced. This imbalance in tissue turnover and the “normal inflammation” process is the primary cause of the loss of flexibility, vigor, and the various “-itis” diseases that people tend to encounter as they get older.

Let’s keep in mind that not all inflammation is bad. As you’ve just learned, inflammation is part of the normal healing and turnover process for any tissue. But when you experience too much inflammation, things go awry – and this state of “too much” inflammation is referred to as “chronic inflammation.” With chronic inflammation, healing is suppressed, and tissue destruction is accelerated. Your body simply cannot heal itself or stop the damage when inflammation gets out of control. To illustrate this point, think about the ocean crashing against a protective seawall. The seawall represents your tissues, and the ocean is your inflammatory process. Over time, that wall will become broken and weakened by the crashing waves and will need to be repaired to return to optimal functioning. If the pace of repair fails to keep up with the pace of destruction, then the seawall fails, and the ocean comes rushing in (leading to tissue destruction and dysfunction). You need to maintain the integrity of the seawall (your tissue) by keeping up with repair and maintenance—but you can’t do that if the ocean is continually crashing down on you.

Another way to think of chronic inflammation as you would a fire in an apartment building. Let’s say you live in a twenty-story apartment building, which represents your body. Then, a fire (inflammation) breaks out on the fifteenth floor, causing destruction (tissue damage) to the entire floor. But your penthouse apartment on the twentieth floor is fine. To put out the fire, you call in the firefighters (immune cells), which may cause a bit more damage by tearing down some walls and spraying water (cytokines, hormone-like signaling molecules secreted by immune system cells), all in an effort to solve the bigger problem of putting out the fire. Let’s now say that the fifteenth floor is a complete loss, while other floors suffer some repairable damage (water damage on the fourteenth floor and smoke damage on the sixteenth floor). The repair process begins on all three floors, with carpenters, painters, and other “builders” brought in to repair the damage. On floors fourteen and sixteen, where the damage is less severe, the repair process might be complete within a few weeks, but on the fifteenth floor, where the fire was concentrated and the damage was most severe, the repair process may take a year.

Your body also has an entire team of “builder” cells in each and every tissue. In cartilage these “builders” are called chondrocytes, in bone they are called osteoblasts, in muscles they are myocytes, in skin they are keratinocytes, and in some other tissues they are fibroblasts—the list goes on and on – and they all respond to cellular stress through the CDR pathway. In your own tissues, you can have the equivalent of a raging fire and firefighting (tissue damage and inflammation). But if you’re not able to shut off this process—that is, if your level of inflammation is thrown off by something—then your body is in a continual state of destruction and pain. You’ll never be able to get to the rebuilding and repair stages unless you can shut off this process of chronic inflammation. A number of mechanisms are in place to shut down the process of inflammation, including the naturally short half-life of cytokines and other inflammatory molecules and the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines (with such names as TGF-beta and IL-10). Unfortunately, immune-system cells can remain in a state of chronic inflammation if the “cell-damage” signals keep coming from free-radical damage (leading to oxidation) and from cortisol-induced tissue breakdown (leading to allocation – covered later in this chapter); or if signals to “shut down” the inflammatory process are not “heard” by target cells (as in the case of cells damaged by glycation, a subject covered in next section).

Unfortunately, chronic inflammation is not confined to the tissue in which it starts. Cytokines—such as those labeled IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-alpha—are able to leave the original site of inflammation. They can then travel in the blood to spread inflammatory signals through the blood vessels and into every tissue in the body (leading to metabolic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and depression, and structural/damage diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and arthritis). Because most of the cytokine molecules are produced by immune-system cells (specifically by macrophages, neutrophils, and NK cells of the innate immune system), numerous drug companies attempt to control chronic inflammation by suppressing immune function. The problem, of course, is that wholesale suppression of immune function also limits your body’s ability to protect you from actual pathogens—so you’re “protected” from chronic inflammation but become more susceptible to infections and certain cancers. Not a great trade-off!

Keep in mind that the biochemical processes of oxidation and inflammation are inextricably linked—they go hand-in-hand through common immune system pathways. The immune system responds to and creates oxidative “free radicals” and responds to and creates inflammatory cytokines. “Normal” inflammation exists to protect us from invading pathogens (viruses, bacteria, and even uncontrolled cell growth that could lead to cancerous tumors). Sometimes, however, the walling-off and destroying process of the immune system’s inflammatory response doesn’t shut off the way it is supposed to. Immune-system cells, such as macrophages (which fight bacteria), neutrophils (which fight viruses), and natural killer cells (which fight tumors), respond to free radicals as if they were toxins. A small amount of free radical signaling is a “good thing” for immune cells, keeping them vigilant to defend us against “real” pathogens. But when free radical exposure becomes excessive, immune cells release a wide array of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukins (IL-1, IL-6, TNF-alpha), to “wall off” tissues from further free radical damage. Unfortunately, the typical Western lifestyle is a perfect recipe for increasing chronic inflammation, with its high intake of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats. That diet, combined with low levels of fiber, infrequent exercise, and sleep deprivation, make it more likely that inflammation becomes too high—and stays that way.

To sum up: The walling-off aspect of the inflammatory process is an ideal response to keep viruses or bacteria from moving into other parts of your body, but free radical–generated inflammation encourages immune cells to fight “yourself” in a vicious cycle of oxidation/inflammation, which ends up creating more problems and eventually leading to a higher state of cellular stress.

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment about “Glycation – Sugar Coated Cellular Dysfunction

====================================
Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)

 

Follow me on YouTube 
Follow me on Amazon 
Follow me on Twitter  
Follow me on LinkedIn 
Follow me on ShareCare 
Follow me on Facebook 
Follow me on  Facebook (Author page)

 

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
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)

Sleep drugs = dangerous but only margina

Sleep drugs = dangerous but only marginally effective
Fall asleep 7min faster
Sleep 8min longer
Function worse the next day
Good trade off?

Americans spent $41B on sleep aids in 20

Americans spent $41B on sleep aids in 2015 (~$52B by 2020) – my natural FOOD solution for stress & sleep quality launches next week

Dear Facebook Friends, Thanks for all th

Dear Facebook Friends,

Thanks for all the recent messages asking about what I’m up to these few months!

Turns out, I’ve been “up to” a lot!

As a result, I’ve been very delinquent in responding to FB messages and new friend requests.

Since I have several thousand of each, I really need to just hit the “reset” button.

This means deleting all the backed-up messages that I’ll never be able to catch up on (please resend anything urgent) and accepting as many friend requests as I can (but I’m already at 5,000 “friends” on my main FB page).

Please see some other options below if you’d like to keep tabs on my projects and continue getting updates and health/fitness/nutrition tips:

My main FB page (already at 5k friends limit) = https://www.facebook.com/doctalbott

My personal FB page for family and close friends = https://www.facebook.com/shawnmichael.talbott

My “author” FB page where I post book-related stuff = https://www.facebook.com/Shawn-Talbott-260570213961041/

The FB page for my product research/development company, EQQIL = https://www.facebook.com/EQQIL/

My blog = http://bestfutureyou.com

I’m doing a lot of product research and development projects for several different nutrition and skincare companies – and I’ll be releasing a really interesting new nutrition product later this month.

The new “functional food” reduces stress, increases energy, sharpens focus, and improves sleep quality – all in the same product – very unusual and I think it will be interesting to a lot of people – so please stay tuned.

Thanks for your interest – and looking forward to being better at staying connected and engaged with everyone.

Shawn

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