Stress Cookies & Stress Tea

Got Stress?

Of course you do!

I have a new project launching in June (with my daughter, Courtney) that will help to control stress and help you feel better with “focused alertness” during the day and “relaxed calmness” at night.

Lots of details to follow, (including how to order some!) – but here are the early details about what we’re cooking (and brewing) up:

Drink Tea…(Focused Alertness)

Eat Cookies…(Relaxed Calmness)

Feel Great!!!   (Balanced Well-Being)

stresscookie logo

Herb-Infused Stress Cookie

  • Boosts Mood
  • Enhances Relaxation
  • Improves Sleep Quality

 

  • All-Natural, Hand-Made, Organic, Healthy & Delicious
  • 10-grams of Protein, Healthy Fats, and Healthy Carbs
  • Slightly Sweet & Slightly Salty (just right when you’re stressed)

Proprietary blend of 4 research-proven herbs that each address a different aspect of stress:

Theanine (psychological stress) – a unique amino acid naturally found in green tea leaves. Theanine reduces the beta brain waves associated with tension/anxiety – and increases the alpha brain waves associated with relaxed alertness and calm focus.

New Zealand Pine Bark Extract (physiological stress) – contains OPCs (oligomeric proanthycyanins), that protect the body and brain from inflammatory and oxidative stress – improving both mental performance (of the brain) and physical performance (of the body).

Japanese Asparagus Extract (cellular/environmental stress) – a novel amino acid profile stimulates the production of anti-stress compounds called heat-shock proteins (HSPs) that improve the body’s stress resilience at the cellular level.

Corn Grass Extract (sleep deprivation stress) – contains high levels of MBOA, a non-drowsy melatonin-like phytonutrient that improves mood during the day and dramatically enhances sleep quality at night.

stresstea logo

Herb-Infused Stress Tea

  • Enhances Physical Energy
  • Sharpens Mental Acuity
  • Improves Well-Being

Research presented at the American College of Nutrition (Nov 2015) and the American College of Sports Medicine (June 2016) have shown Stress Tea to deliver highly significant benefits including:

41% Lower Negative Mood State  (Stress, Tension, Irritability, Anxiety)

100% Higher Positive Mood State    (Mood, Focus, Energy, Well-Being)

Patent-Pending Formula Includes:

  • American Ephedra – contains specialized amino acids with known neuroactivity
  • New Zealand Pine Bark – provides proanthocyanins (PACs) shown to increase cerebral (brain) blood flow, improve mental focus, and promote brain function
  • Green Tea – provides catechin polyphenols known to increase metabolism
  • Caffeine (100mg) – the world’s most popular (and most studied) compound for increasing both mental alertness and release of stored fat
  • Octopamine – highly selective beta-3 agonist (specific “releaser” of stored fat)
  • Quercetin – a water-soluble flavonoid found in apples & onions. Potentiates (increases & extends) the activity of caffeine & octopamine to release stored fat
  • Trimethylglycine – a specialized amino acid that supports neurotransmitter metabolism (mood support)
  • Yohimbine – the main bioactive compound in the bark of the African Yohimbe tree, has numerous benefits including improvement in neurotransmitter balance (mood support), enhanced blood flow, appetite control, and fat-burning
  • Niacin (vitamin B3) – helps balance both lipid (fat) and carbohydrate (sugar) metabolism, while also enhancing blood flow

Thanks for reading! If you want more information about Stress Tea and Stress Cookies, post a comment below or shoot us an email at smtalbott@eqqil.com

====================================
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)

Cellular Stress & Body Fat (especially belly fat)

Best Future YouHarnessing Your Body’s Biochemistry to Achieve Balance in Body, Mind, and Spirit

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 8 – Perform Your Best

Phase 3 – Body Fat (especially belly fat)

That last section touched on a vitally important aspect of stress – that it can make you fat. Overexposure to any source of stress sets off a biochemical cascade throughout all parts of the body – right down to the cellular level. Neurological (brain) and endocrine (hormone) pathways are altered in response to stress, with that stress transmitted right down to the cellular and genetic level. Those alterations in nerve/hormone/genes lead to changes in our appetite (we crave more junk food) and in our ability to gain body fat (we burn less and store more, especially in the abdominal/belly region). Many people reading this book have experienced these changes in biochemistry firsthand – as our stress goes up, so does our waistline.

A primary focal point of this book is the close (and increasingly understood and acknowledged) relationship between cellular stress, the CDR pathways, and our overall metabolism. When we encounter stress and cortisol rises, it interferes with our cells ability to activate the CDR pathway – so we accumulate cellular damage and its associated problems. A key intermediary in the relationship between cellular stress, cortisol and weight gain is another hormone called insulin. Most people associate insulin problems with diabetes because of its primary role in regulating blood-sugar levels (although insulin has many additional functions in the body). Not only does insulin regulate blood-sugar levels within an extremely narrow range; it is also responsible for getting fat stored in our fat cells (adipose tissue), getting sugar stored in our liver and muscle cells (as glycogen), and getting amino acids directed toward protein synthesis (muscle building). Due to these varied actions, insulin is sometimes thought of as a “storage” hormone because it helps the body put all these great sources of energy “away” in their respective places for use later. That’s great, but it is exactly the opposite of what the body experiences during the stress response, when the heart and muscles need lots of energy and need it fast.

One of the first signals the body must send out during periods of stress is a message that screams, “No more energy storage!”—and that means shutting off the responsiveness of cells to the storage effects of insulin. When cells stop responding to insulin, they are able to switch from a storage (anabolic/building) mode to a secretion (catabolic/breakdown) mode—so fat cells dump more fat into the system, liver cells crank out more glucose, and muscle cells allow their protein to be broken down to supply amino acids (for conversion into even more sugar by the liver). This is all fine—assuming it occurs infrequently and for only a short period of time. Telling the body’s cells to ignore insulin on a regular basis, as happens with chronic cellular stress, can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance and predispose a person to the development of full-blown diabetes.

Stress makes a person fat primarily because of an excessive secretion of the key stress hormone, cortisol, along with a reduced secretion of key anabolic hormones, such as DHEA, testosterone, and growth hormone. This combination of highly catabolic cortisol and reduced anabolic hormones causes the body to store fat, lose muscle, slow metabolic rate, and increase appetite—all of which have the ultimate effect of making a person fatter. Overall, stress makes you burn fewer calories and consume more food (especially carbohydrates), which increases your stress levels even more! Even the thought of food and the concern about eating can increase stress levels—and therefore cortisol—in people who have restrained their eating habits and are either dieting or are concerned about their weight.

From a vanity standpoint, nobody wants to carry around more body fat than they need to. From a health and longevity standpoint, elevated cortisol levels and related cellular stress also tend to promote fat accumulation in the abdominal area, a condition that is closely associated with heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Researchers are not completely sure why this “stress fat” accumulates specifically around the midsection. Its location here may have something to do with its being available for rapid access when the body needs additional fuel (because fat stored in the abdominal region can be delivered to the bloodstream and tissues faster then fat stored in peripheral regions such as the thighs and buttocks). But even though the reason for abdominal fat accumulation is still unclear, its consequences are well known. This combination of conditions, known as metabolic syndrome or syndrome X, has been identified by many experts as the most important health danger that we’ll face as a worldwide population in the early twenty-first century.

Most of us have grown fatter as we’ve grown older. It is interesting to note that several recent studies have demonstrated quite clearly that cortisol exposure and cellular damage increase with age, reducing our sensitivity to insulin, and elevating our risk for obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome X. Stressed-out subjects with an altered pattern of cortisol secretion are characterized by a low concentration of cortisol in the morning, the absence of a circadian rhythm, and a huge meal-related surge in cortisol levels—all of which are consistently associated with obesity and related measurements.

People with disrupted cortisol-secretion patterns have higher body fat (particularly in the abdomen), lower muscle mass (particularly in the arms and legs), and reduced basal metabolic rate (BMR, the number of calories burned at rest). On the other hand, lower levels of cellular stress are associated with a more “normal” pattern of cortisol metabolism (high in the morning, with a normal circadian rhythm) and with more favorable measures of body composition (more lean and less fat) as well as a healthier cardiovascular profile (lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and blood sugar, and better insulin sensitivity).

All in all, the above scenario makes for very discouraging news: Stress makes us fat. Even worse, however, may be the findings from researchers that have determined that the stress of dieting can make us fat. Why is this especially bad news? Primarily because at any given moment in our Western society, as much as 50 to 60 percent of the population is actively dieting—and many millions more are at least concerned about what they eat. This makes dieting one of the most common cellular stress triggers, for both men and women—but why are so many people dieting? Aside from the obvious fact that few of us eat right or exercise enough, we also have to contend with mass-media messages equating thinness with beauty, success, and intelligence (and the implication that we can’t achieve those things unless we are thin).

Unfortunately, we also have to contend with the very real physiological changes that are occurring within each of us. As we age, cellular damage accumulates, our metabolic rate drops, and most of us begin to pack on the pounds. Adding fat in the abdominal area (in response to cellular stress) changes the body shape from that of an hourglass to more of a shot glass—and repeated diets only compound the problem.

Most of us will experience a drop in metabolism of about 0.5 percent per year after the age of twenty. Now, that may not seem like a large drop, but when you look at it over ten or twenty years, it means that we’re burning 5 percent fewer calories at age thirty and 10 percent fewer calories at age forty—and so it goes, with about 5 percent fewer calories burned for every ten years of age. Just imagine: By the time we turn fifty, we’re burning 15 percent fewer calories than we did when we were twenty. If you consume two thousand calories per day at age twenty (which is about average), this means you will need only seventeen hundred calories (three hundred fewer calories) at age fifty to maintain your body weight. It also means that if you don’t make some serious changes in your diet and exercise patterns, or at least get your cortisol levels under control, then your fifty-year-old body will be carrying around over thirty extra pounds of fat than when you were twenty!

Exercise and proper nutrition can certainly minimize our age-related drop in metabolism and increased tendency toward weight gain, but they can also help us control our response to cellular stress. The “right” program of diet and exercise will burn calories, shed fat, and relieve stress—but most people have enough experience with these “right” programs to know that diet and exercise have their own limitations. In fact, researchers at the University of Colorado have shown that athletes performing too much exercise (overtrained cross-country skiers) experience the very same adverse effects of elevated cortisol and cellular stress levels, such as mood disturbances, immune-system suppression, and increased levels of body fat. Of particular interest in this study was the finding that the athletes who were working out the most—those putting in the highest mileage and the longest training times—were also the ones with the highest cellular stress levels, the highest body fat levels, and the poorest scores on measures of emotional outlook (more depression). Basically, they were exercising their brains out to get in better shape, but their elevated cortisol levels were hampering, and indeed outright preventing, their progress.

So where does this leave us? In terms of “metabolic performance” for fat loss, we know quite clearly that cellular stress, dieting, and stress hormones such as cortisol are all detrimental to our overall goals of shedding excess body fat. We also know from decades of research that both exercise and good nutrition can be helpful in controlling stress, cortisol, body weight, and a whole host of related health parameters. Scientists at the University of Goteborg, in Sweden, have shown that high cortisol levels are associated with a high waist-to-hip ratio, excess abdominal fat, elevated insulin levels, and a reduced secretion of growth hormone and testosterone—but they have also shown that a 13–14 percent reduction in cortisol levels is associated with a weight loss of more than twelve pounds. This means that despite the gloom and doom caused by the link between stress, cortisol, and obesity, we have some hope that by controlling cortisol and cellular stress levels, we can make a positive impact on our body weight and level of body fat.

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment about “Phase 4 – Fitness (especially lean body mass)

====================================
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)

Gut Health and Immune System Performance

Best Future YouHarnessing Your Body’s Biochemistry to Achieve Balance in Body, Mind, and Spirit

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 8 – Perform Your Best

Phase 2 – Gut Health (including immune system function)

Gut Health and Immune System Performance

The image of stress-induced ulcers has been with us for decades. You’ve probably seen, on a TV sitcom or other such venue, the stereotypical portrayal of the stressed-out executive. Deadlines loom, stress builds, and the businessman gulps down antacids to quell the burning ulcer in his stomach. Far from being one of the many Hollywood over-exaggerations, the phenomenon of stress-induced ulcers and other digestive problems has been documented in the medical literature for more than fifty years. From a physiological point of view, we know quite clearly that any stressful event will cause digestion to cease. Blood flow is diverted from the digestive organs to the heart and muscles, secretion of saliva and digestive enzymes is slowed, and intestinal contractions and absorption of nutrients stop. This rapid shutdown of the digestive process makes perfect sense, because from the standpoint of long-term survival it is more important to get away from the dangerous stressor (the lion) than to fully digest all your food. There will be plenty of time for digestion later; right now you need to save your life. It is interesting to note, however, that even while a variety of cellular stress signals shutting down digestion, these same signals, when kept elevated for more than a few minutes, are telling us to eat—and eat a lot!

Medical evidence shows quite clearly that ulcers of the stomach (gastric ulcers) and intestine (duodenal ulcers) are much more common in people who are anxious, depressed, or under chronic or repeated stress. In these situations, which are all also examples of chronic cellular stress, many of the digestive actions are curtailed, so the body also backs off from its production of other protective measures—such as the mucus that lines the stomach, and the bicarbonate that counteracts the highly acidic gastric juices. Sounds logical, right? And it is. Why should the body take a lot of protective measures against acid that will never be secreted (because you’re under stress)? The problems start to occur when a person experiences the repeated cycles of high stress followed by low/normal stress that have become commonplace in our modern society. This sets up the digestive system for total confusion. Most of the time the body won’t be able to secrete enough digestive enzymes to properly digest food (producing nausea, constipation, gas, and bloating). During the “lucky” times when a body can secrete enough digestive enzymes to properly break down food, the protective mechanisms are far from fully operational—which puts a person at risk for damage to her gastrointestinal tract (because the enzymes digest the gut’s lining in addition to digesting the food). This scenario says a lot about why several bouts of repeated back-to-back chronic stress are so detrimental to gastrointestinal function – and to the overall function of our immune system, much of which resides in the GI tract.

To compound our “gut” problems, other factors, such as immune-system function and the body’s control of inflammation and wound healing, come into play. It is well described in the medical literature that both repeated periods of acute stress and continuous periods of chronic stress are associated with suppressed immune-system activity. This has a direct bearing on ulcer development, because less immune-system activity means more growth and higher activity of a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, which infects the stomach and causes ulcers in 80 percent of the people infected with it.

Compounding the tissue damage caused by the accelerated growth of H. pylori is a suppression of the body’s ability to heal that tissue damage because of an inhibition in prostaglandin synthesis. Prostaglandins are typically produced in response to tissue damage, where they help reduce inflammation and accelerate healing. During times of stress, however, the synthesis of prostaglandins is curtailed, which suggests that stress not only increases the rate at which ulcers may form, but also slows the rate at which they are repaired.

Aside from ulcers, the most common stress-related gut disease may be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Most of us will experience some degree of IBS during our lifetime. The name “IBS” is really a catchall for a variety of intestinal disorders, including colitis (inflammation of the lining of the large intestine, also known as the colon), in which abdominal pain is accompanied by diarrhea and/or constipation, bloating, gas, and, occasionally, passing of mucus or blood. The majority of the gastrointestinal conditions falling under the IBS umbrella are either caused by or exacerbated by periods of heightened stress.

Stress leads to poor digestion, ulcerated stomachs, and inflamed intestines—not a pretty picture. Heightened stress levels have also been linked to adverse effects on the balance of intestinal microflora, which are known to respond to changes in both diet and stress levels. These beneficial bacteria live in our intestinal tract, and while they are intimately involved with optimal gastrointestinal function, they also play a vital role in helping to support immune function. In a study of fighter pilots preparing for simulated battle (a fairly stressful event), distinct reductions were noted in the numbers of “good” bacteria (lactobacilli and bifidobacteria), along with a corresponding increase in the numbers of “bad” bacteria (E. coli, enterobacteria, and clostridia). The outcome for these pilots was, predictably, a sharp increase in their reported incidence of sore throats, headaches, colds, diarrhea, and upset stomachs.

Let’s take a moment to think about the most predominant sources of stress that could be at the root of these health problems. In many stress-management clinics, the primary determinants of whether or not a given person will get sick include:

  • the number of “major life events” in the past year (divorce, death in the family, change in job or location, etc.)
  • a psychological perception that daily demands exceed coping resources and/or your support system
  • Financial stress – which we can define simply as “worry about money”

Of this short list of three “sickness determinants,” researchers have found that the overall degree of psychological stress is strongly related, in a dose-response fashion, to URTIs (upper-respiratory-tract infections) and other breakdowns in immune-system integrity (such as gastrointestinal health). This means the more stressed out you are, the more likely you are to get sick. Numerous studies in animals and humans have shown that both acute and chronic stress increases susceptibility to infectious diseases. In particular, the risk of URTIs is sharply increased, so that people who are under the greatest stress (or who deal with it poorly) are the ones who most often get these types of sicknesses. Students catch colds during exam week, and accountants get sore throats in April, when they’re filing dozens of last-minute tax returns.

So after all this discussion about the suppression of immune-system function due to stress, who do you think gets sick most often? What demographic group, among all others, suffers from the highest incidence of stress-related disease?

Wealthy investment bankers? No.

Stressed-out college students? No.

Single mothers working two jobs and driving beat-up 1985 Ford Escorts? Yes!

The most direct example of the chronically elevated human stress response can be observed every day in the lives of a large part of the American (and worldwide) population who are battling chronic financial stress. These are the folks who are driving a junker car (and hoping it makes it) to their second job. They are hoping the money from that second paycheck will last until the end of the month when the bills are due. They are not the people whom you see commiserating with each other about their unfulfilling jobs and their “first world problems” such as how they wish they could upgrade their iPhone 5 to a 6. The constant unrelenting stress of making ends meet, job instability, sleep deprivation, poor diet, lack of outlets for stress, and overall lack of control combine to increase the risk of disease by a factor of five to ten.

Many of you reading this book are probably suffering from some degree of financial stress. This is the type of chronic emotional/psychological stress that is always with us. It’s often the first thing that we think of when we wake up in the morning (going to our jobs to make money) – and the last thing that we think of before we go to bed at night (the rent/mortgage, tuition, car payment, groceries, and other bills that we need to pay). It’s the kind of low-grade chronic stress that is with us every time we go to the mailbox (which is filled with credit card bills) or the gas pump. It’s unrelenting for many people.

One interesting study looked at people of varying socioeconomic grades (some were rich and some were poor). Those on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder (poorer) were significantly more likely to be overweight (with more abdominal obesity – covered in the next section) and to have higher cortisol values in relation to perceived stress. The researchers noted that the “duration of low socioeconomic conditions” (scientific lingo for “being financially-stressed for a long time”) seemed to worsen the effects of cellular stress and strengthen the relationship between cortisol and obesity (meaning that financial stress is bad for health and for your waistline). Overall, the researchers concluded that the stress of a low socioeconomic status is associated with elevated cortisol secretion, cellular stress, and a significant, strong, and consistent relationship with obesity. Closely related to pure socioeconomic studies of stress are the growing arguments that people eat more Big Macs, drink more Coke, and scarf more Oreos not because these companies tell us to eat them (via advertising), but because of stress. Lower socioeconomic populations may eat more junk food because they are more stressed out, not necessarily because Ronald McDonald invites them to “drive thru.” Biology trumps advertising.

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment about, “Phase 3 – Body Fat (especially belly fat).”

====================================
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)

Mental Performance (Brain Ergogenics)

Best Future YouHarnessing Your Body’s Biochemistry to Achieve Balance in Body, Mind, and Spirit

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 8 – Perform Your Best

Phase 1 – Mental Performance (brain ergogenics)

In some of the work I’ve done over the years with elite-level athletes in a variety of sports – including many professional athletes and participants in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games – a common theme is that the athletes standing on the podium not only are the athletes with the highest states of physical performance but also are the athletes with the highest states of mental performance. Their physical and mental performances can in turn be traced down to the biochemical or cellular level – where we see that the athletes on the podium were effective in reducing cellular stress, while those off the podium typically succumb to one or more problems associated with excessive cellular stress (injury, illness, fatigue, inattention, etc), ultimately leading to poor performance.

The athletes who miss the podium (or even miss qualifying for big events, such as the Olympic Games) are often those whose cellular biochemistry is “unbalanced” and whose cellular stress spiked at the wrong time—leaving them fatigued, unfocused, injured, or sick and allowing a “balanced” athlete to surpass them.

Brain Ergogenics – the Emerging Science of Mental Performance

Exercise makes us tired – that’s not exactly a newsflash – but methods to “reduce fatigue” or “prolong endurance” have become the Holy Grail of sports nutrition. Undoubtedly, you’ve seen numerous “improve endurance” products in the form of energy bars, carb beverages, and related that provide calories to help maintain glucose, reduce lactic acid accumulation, and restore glycogen levels and thus help to delay “peripheral” fatigue (caused when your muscles fatigue).

However, a new category of endurance nutrition products are entering the market intended to improve “mental energy” and help to delay “central fatigue” (which occurs when the brain basically says, “No more, we’re done”). These new types of products can be broadly grouped into a category that we refer to as “Brain Ergogenics” – to suggest an overall effect of enhancing the brain’s capacity for high-performance work output.

Brain Ergogenics has the potential to be the “next big thing” in endurance performance. We have already gotten pretty close to optimizing the approach to extending endurance through “peripheral” mechanisms, which includes factors occurring outside the brain, in the muscles, blood vessels, etc – such as glycogen levels, oxygen delivery, maintenance of blood glucose, electrolytes for hydration and cramping, etc. However, we have only scratched the surface in terms of extending endurance through “central” mechanisms (brain-centered).

One way to think about obstacles to endurance performance is that you “stop” (or slow down) moving forward due to either peripheral fatigue (you bonk or hit the wall or succumb to the “burn” of lactate accumulation) or due to central fatigue (your brain says “enough”) – and both factors can be “pushed back” in various ways to enable us to keep going.

Certainly, dangerous and addictive stimulant drugs such as Adderall (for ADHD) or Provigil (for daytime sleepiness) can stimulate the brain to “wake up” or “keep going” and are effective enough for Americans to spend several billion dollars annually. Although abuse of ADHD drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are a big trend on college campuses (as “study drugs”) and in high-pressure jobs (such as Wall Street), nobody is saying that endurance athletes should turn to pharmacological agents to gain any performance edge in our recreational pursuits, but there is undoubtedly a market for these types of products as subset of the general endurance/sports nutrition category. People will always be looking for that “extra gear” and targeting the central nervous system is likely to be the next frontier.

Luckily, we have a wide range of non-drug, safe and natural nutrients that can delay central fatigue, such as:

  • Caffeine (the most commonly used brain ergogenic)
  • Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs including valine, leucine, isoleucine)
  • Other amino acids (like taurine/tyrosine/theanine)
  • Flavonoids like quercetin/catechins/OPCs (which have both peripheral effects on blood flow and also central effects on brain neurotransmitters
  • American ephedra, which contains unique neuro-active amino acids that significantly increase positive mood state while reducing negative mood state (meaning that you feel great and have high stress resilience)
  • Adaptogens such as:
    • Eurycoma (which balances cortisol/testosterone);
    • Cordyceps (which improves oxygen efficiency);
    • Ginseng (which controls blood glucose)
    • – all may also have central brain effects encouraging an endurance athlete to keep going for awhile longer.

Some of my own research studies for a range of dietary supplement companies, have looked at the effects of BCAAs, theanine, catechins, cordyceps, eurycoma, etc. on psychological parameters such as “Vigor” (mental/physical energy levels) in endurance athletes. We’ve been able to show that athletes “feel better” (using mood state surveys) – and often that feeling better translates into a direct advantage for athletic performance outcomes (power output, time to exhaustion, perceived exertion, etc).

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment about “Phase 2 – Gut Health (including immune system function)”

====================================
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)

Five-Phase Performance Continuum

Best Future YouHarnessing Your Body’s Biochemistry to Achieve Balance in Body, Mind, and Spirit

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 8 – Perform Your Best

When many people hear the word “performance” they often think about athletes and athletic performance. This connotation is just one of the many ways to properly think about performance. Another definition of performance is simply, “the execution of an action” – while another is “the fulfillment of a promise” – and it is each of these that I think more accurately captures my meaning when I educate people about how reducing cellular stress can improve their performance.

While it’s true that athletes can certainly be among the group of people who want to achieve their highest level of mental and physical performance through optimized cellular stress balance, I also think that everyone should want to achieve their own highest level of performance, no matter what level that may be. For example, you might consider a high level of performance to be one in which you get through a stressful day with enough energy to play with your kids. Another level of performance might be having enough “get up and go” to get up and walk the dog. Yet another level of performance might include starting your own business, or taking up a new hobby, or volunteering in your church or community. These are all examples of how reduced cellular stress can improve performance – and lives – in so many ways that are far outside of the limited thinking around “just” athletic performance (which still might be important for many readers).

I like to think about performance in five stepwise phases that move along a continuum from performance of the mind (mental); to the gut and immune system (which need to perform well in tandem to keep us healthy); to improved metabolic performance (which enhances fat loss, especially belly fat); to improved general fitness (especially the improvement of muscle mass or lean body mass); and finally to the stereotypical “athletic” performance where you’re striving for personal achievement toward a specific goal (competing against yourself or others). The sections that follow will delve into each of these five phases of the performance continuum.

Five-Phase Performance Continuum

  • Phase 1 – Mental Performance (brain ergogenics)
  • Phase 2 – Gut Health (including immune system function)
  • Phase 3 – Body Fat (especially belly fat)
  • Phase 4 – Fitness (especially lean body mass)
  • Phase 5 – Personal Achievement (Best Future You)

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment about “Phase 1 – Mental Performance (brain ergogenics)”

====================================
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)

The Science Behind CDR’s Skin-Protecting Benefits

Best Future YouHarnessing Your Body’s Biochemistry to Achieve Balance in Body, Mind, and Spirit

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 7 – Look Your Best

CDR Offers Multi-Faceted Skin Solutions

Recall from above that we perceive as “aging” is actually a complicated and multifaceted phenomenon related to skin breakdown and repair—a cyclical process that we scientists refer to as “tissue turnover.” In the case of skin, we call it “collagen turnover.” The most effective solution to a multifaceted problem is a multifaceted solution, and that’s exactly what topical CDR activation is all about.

Today, the scientific community accepts the fact that chronic cellular stress leads to a rapid breakdown in a variety of tissues, including skin. Cellular stress in skin cells inevitably leads to skin problems, such as wrinkles, acne, and uneven skin tone. CDR pathways regulate our body’s response to cellular stress and numerous studies have shown that both topical and internal/systemic activation of the CDR pathway can have a wide range of beneficial effects on skin, including reduced rates of skin cancers, protection from ultraviolet radiation, reduced inflammation, enhanced barrier function, and improved wound healing.

The Science Behind CDR’s Skin-Protecting Benefits

In a series of human clinical studies and laboratory studies (isolated skin samples and DNA analysis) CDR-activating herbs such as turmeric, pine bark, quercetin, green tea, brassica, and plantain have been shown to improve skin tone, reduce wrinkles, and generally enhance youthful appearance. In one human clinical study, topical application of CDR-activating herbals showed a dramatic improvement in key beauty benefits, including an extremely high percentage of women who felt that their skin was improved in the following ways: looking smoother, younger, firmer, more even tone, and with fewer wrinkles. These studies indicate a profound ability of CDR-activating herbal blends to treat both intrinsic and extrinsic aging, thus truly delivering on the promise of improving skin on the outside and on the inside. In a series of laboratory studies, isolated skin samples (explants) were investigated to understand the biochemical and genetic mechanisms underlying such rapid and dramatic clinical benefits, American and French researchers treated isolated skin samples daily with CDR-activating herbs and plant extracts. Findings showed clear evidence of the herbs/extracts to :

  • Increase CDR pathway activation in skin (thus improving biochemical resistance to oxidative stress)
  • Boost skin protection from ultraviolet light exposure (by reducing genetic DNA damage)
  • Fight the signs of aging through all layers of the skin (6-7 cellular layers)

Summary

The future of science and medicine is targeting the CDR pathways to not only protect our health, but also to actively improve how we feel/look/perform. CDR activation, especially when optimally synergistic in nature, allows you to enjoy enhanced anti-aging benefits for a new level of wellness and vitality.

The last chapter covered how CDR activation can help us to Feel Your Best – and the next chapter covers how CDR activation can help us to Perform Your Best. I want to end this “Look Your Best” chapter with a short list of the primary benefits of CDR activation for skin health:

  • Minimizes inflammation, irritation and redness
  • Reduces wrinkles and improves skin tone
  • Safeguards against free radical/oxidative stress
  • Protects against UV radiation exposure
  • Maintains integrity of key skin structural components
  • Minimizes risk of skin cancers and other conditions

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment where we’ll move into Chapter 8 = Perform 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)

The FACE Program (for better skin)

Best Future YouHarnessing Your Body’s Biochemistry to Achieve Balance in Body, Mind, and Spirit

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 7 – Look Your Best

The FACE Program

FACE is an acronym that I’ve used for several years when educating people about the value of CDR activation (topically and internally) for reducing cellular stress and improving our ability to protect and repair cellular damage. CDR activation helps to coordinate myriad cellular signals for optimal tissue balance, including Free radicals (“F”), Advanced glycation end-products (“A”), Cortisol (“C”), and Eicosanoids (“E”). Free radicals have to do with oxidation, AGEs with blood-sugar levels, and eicosanoids (referred to as “cytokines” in other sections) with inflammation.

The premise of “FACE” is that the outward appearance of beautiful skin starts on the inside, and that wrinkled, blemished skin is not an inevitable result of aging. Nor is problem skin something that can only be dealt with by expensive, often abrasive outside-in means. This all-natural approach to beautiful skin and a youthful complexion is based on the latest scientific evidence and years of real-life experience with hundreds of participants.

I never set out to write a book about beauty – or about skin health for that matter. Many years ago, when I was a young Ph.D. student at Rutgers University, my focus was on bone metabolism – specifically, on uncovering the complex interactions between nutrition, lifestyle, and osteoporosis. In our lab, we studied the interplay of diet and exercise on collagen. Through our studies and those of our scientific colleagues, we came to understand that collagen metabolism (and thus the health of our skin and bones and other connective tissues) can be influenced by the stressful world around us. Our lab was among the first in the world to show that the psychological and physical “stress” of dieting for weight loss increased cortisol levels and contributed to a faster breakdown of collagen-containing tissues, such as bone and skin.

Today, the scientific community accepts the fact that chronic cellular stress leads to rapid breakdown in other tissues, including brain neurons, blood vessels, muscles, immune cells, and many more. Because collagen is the chief protein in skin, this cortisol-induced acceleration of collagen breakdown inevitably leads to skin problems, including wrinkles, acne, and uneven skin tone. Collagen breakdown and skin damage can also be hastened by other factors, including metabolic processes, such as inflammation, oxidation, and glycation. Imbalances in each of these four processes is well documented in the scientific and medical literature as resulting in the rapid and dramatic effects that we view as premature aging – but each of these can be managed within healthful levels via proper activation of the CDR pathways.

However, until I conducted a particular weight-loss program, none of this had any direct meaning for me. I am not a dermatologist, but a nutritional biochemist, trained in sports medicine, health management, and exercise physiology. For the last decade or so, my career has been focused on using nutrition and other lifestyle strategies to help people lose weight and improve their health. To this end, I designed and conducted a series of popular and very successful weight-loss programs. They generally run three or four times each year, and we always have a waiting list. They take place near Salt Lake City, Utah, where I now live with my wife and two children.

These programs follow a regimen that I call the SENSE program, because it incorporates Stress/Sleep management, Exercise, Nutrition, Supplementation, and Evaluation. Participants invariably experience fat loss, muscle gain, increased energy, improved mood, reduced stress, elevated libido, and a host of related benefits. Best of all, our participants never feel deprived, hungry, or as though they are following a “diet.” In fact, in the early weeks of each session, there are always several participants who declare that the program will never work for them because it’s “too easy.” Our response is always the same: “Trust us,” we say. “Just stick with the program for a few weeks, and you’ll see the benefits.” They do-and they’re amazed.

My discovery of the “CDR/Beauty” connection was something of an accident. During the first few years that we were running the SENSE weight-loss programs, participants would comment that they “felt great” and thought they “looked better.” At first, my staff and I always interpreted those positive comments as a reflection of the participants’ excitement about finally being able to lose weight and keep it off. Eventually, however, it dawned on us that there might be something more at work here.

We got this “sense” when we recruited a group of participants, who were already fit and lean, to see whether our SENSE program could help them control their perception of stress relative to eating during a traditionally high-stress period of time (the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day). These mostly young, good-looking, successful men and women didn’t have very much weight to lose; they simply got stressed out during the holidays and gained weight as a result of stress eating.

After they finished the program, they also told us that they felt and looked better, which we found very interesting. We could understand the “feel better” part, because we discovered that their stress and cortisol levels were reduced by about 20 percent after they’d followed the SENSE program. But the “look better” part was a surprise (remember, these folks already looked pretty darn good). Our unexpected discovery was that the same SENSE program that made them feel less stressed out (and that had helped previous overweight participants lose weight) was also delivering some very noticeable beauty benefits. Our participants found that by controlling their overall “psychological” stress levels they were also controlling their underlying “cellular” stress levels. As a result, their wrinkles were reduced, their skin wasn’t breaking out, and their skin (especially facial skin) was clearer, smoother, and more youthful in appearance. Another interesting finding that went hand-in-hand with looking and feeling better was that their sex drive (libido) was improved. Needless to say, this freaked out the parents in the program whose teenagers were participating and grossed out the teens in the program whose parents were participating.

It turns out that all these effects-from weight loss to enhanced mood to healthy skin to improved libido-are the result of controlling cellular stress. However, even when we explained the connections in proper, scientifically sound, and rational terms, our participants insisted on referring to the program as the “fountain-of-youth class.”

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment about “The Science Behind CDR’s Skin-Protecting Benefits.

====================================
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)