Choosing the Right Probiotic

Probiotics are one of the hottest health trends – but choosing the right probiotic can be a confusing undertaking.

On Tuesday, September 26, I had the pleasure of joining the hosts of Fresh Living on KUTV Channel 2 (CBS) in Salt Lake City to help clear up some of the confusion. You can view the clip at:

Probiotics are healthy or beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and deliver a range of health benefits including improved immune system activity, better gastrointestinal function such as preventing diarrhea or constipation, reduced inflammation, and even better mood and mental wellness.

However, to get the right benefits, you need to follow a few simple tips:

  1. Eat Fermented Foods (yogurt, kombucha, kefir, etc). These foods are a rich storehouse of beneficial bacteria (“pro-biotics”) and healthy nutrients such as fibers and oligosaccharides (“pre-biotics”) that the bacteria can use as nourishment (you can think of prebiotics as the “fertilizer” that helps the healthy probiotics to grow and thrive).
  2. Health Benefits are Strain-Specific – so while one strain might help with constipation, another strain might help with depression. This is probably the MOST important consideration if you want to supplement with probiotics/prebiotics for specific health benefits. There are certain strains that help with gastrointestinal function – others that help with immune health or reduce inflammation – and still others that can help you feel better (mood, energy, focus, stress, etc).
  3. Consider CFUs – or “colony forming units” – which is a measure of the “strength” or potency of the probiotic (typical ranges are 3-10 billion CFUs) – and ensure that the CFUs are guaranteed at the end of the product shelf life (because probiotic bacteria are living things, they can “die” off over the course of the product shelf-life).
  4. Follow the Research – reputable companies will highlight the research supporting the health benefits of the specific probiotics in their products – so avoid products without documented evidence for effectiveness or without disclosing the specific strains of probiotics used in their products. For example, the probiotic bacteria known as “Lactobacillus helveticus R0052” is associated with improved mood (less depression/anxiety) – where lactobacillus is the genus, helveticus is the species, and R0052 is the strain. A different strain of bacteria, “Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14” is more of a “general wellness” probiotic that converts (ferments) carbohydrates in the gut into lactic acid, which competes with “bad” bacteria for adhesion spaces on the intestinal mucosa. La-14 also increases the absorption and bioavailability of minerals (including copper, magnesium, calcium, and manganese) and is very resistant to damage by stomach acid, bile salts, and antibiotics. So both are healthy “probiotics” – but associated with very different sets of benefits.

In the near future, it’s very likely that we will see specific probiotic formulas that help with everything from weight loss to sports performance to treatments for everything from Autism to Alzheimer’s – it’s an exciting time!

Amare Product Science Training

I’m still reeling from the overwhelming success of our 2-day Amare Pre-Launch Summit!

Several hundred Wellness Partners and guests joined us for 2 days of networking, socializing, and education at our headquarters in Irvine CA.

To continue the education portion, I’m sharing a series of zoom/webinars that Pat Hintze and I conducted together. Please see the note from Pat below. Enjoy!

You asked for it…So here it is!!

ALL 4 Dr. Shawn Talbott’s Zoom calls that discuss ALL of our amazing products in great detail. (Probably “information overload” for most… BUT some of you just can’t get enough so I put them all in one convenient place for you!)

Keep this email so you can come back to it a few times.

Make yourself an Energy Plus drink and enjoy!

IN-DEPTH discussion of Amare Products and Science

Intermittent Fasting and the Microbiome

Very interesting new study (in mice) showing how intermittent fasting (not eating every other day) stimulates production of short-chain-fatty acids (SCFAs) from the microbiome that lead to metabolic shifts in adipose tissue (fat cells turn from “white” to “beige” and shift from fat “storage” to fat “burning”) that ultimately may reduce risk for diabetes and obesity (in humans).

Intermittent Fasting Promotes White Adipose Browning and Decreases Obesity by Shaping the Gut Microbiota

Cell Metabolism

Available online 14 September 2017

Key Points

  • Every-Other-Day-Fasting (EODF) is a novel strategy for beige adipose development
  • EODF selectively induces white adipose tissue (WAT) beiging by reshaping gut microbiota
  • EODF reverses high-fat-diet-induced obesity and associated metabolic disorders
  • The microbiota-fat axis orchestrates EODF-induced metabolic improvement



While activation of beige thermogenesis is a promising approach for treatment of obesity-associated diseases, there are currently no known pharmacological means of inducing beiging in humans. Intermittent fasting is an effective and natural strategy for weight control, but the mechanism for its efficacy is poorly understood. Here, we show that an every-other-day fasting (EODF) regimen selectively stimulates beige fat development within white adipose tissue and dramatically ameliorates obesity, insulin resistance, and hepatic steatosis. EODF treatment results in a shift in the gut microbiota composition leading to elevation of the fermentation products acetate and lactate and to the selective upregulation of monocarboxylate transporter 1 expression in beige cells. Microbiota-depleted mice are resistance to EODF-induced beiging, while transplantation of the microbiota from EODF-treated mice to microbiota-depleted mice activates beiging and improves metabolic homeostasis. These findings provide a new gut-microbiota-driven mechanism for activating adipose tissue browning and treating metabolic diseases.



  • intermittent fasting
  • every-other-day fasting (EODF)
  • browning
  • beige adipocytes
  • gut microbiota
  • short-chain fatty acid
  • metabolic syndrome
  • obesity

Amare Pre-Launch Summit – SOLD OUT!

We’ve officially SOLD OUT both days of our Pre-Launch Summit!

Friday night (tonight) sold out a few days ago – and Saturday (tomorrow) sold out early today – BUT, we’ve been able to open a few more seats to enable people to hear presentations from Dr. Emeran Mayer (author of the ground-breaking book, The Mind-Gut Connection), receive FREE Amare product, and much much more.

If you’ve been “on the fence” about attending, then NOW is the time to get yourself to Irvine CA for a day that you do not want to miss. Here is the EventBrite link for more info (these last few seats will sell out quickly, so grab them while you can):




Amare Summit SOLD OUT!

I’m very pleased to announce that our Amare Pre-Launch Summit is SOLD OUT for Friday night (Sept 22) – BUT, we still have a limited number of seats available for our Saturday education event where you can hear presentations from Dr. Emeran Mayer (author of the ground-breaking book, The Mind-Gut Connection), receive FREE Amare product, and much much more.

If you’ve been “on the fence” about attending, then NOW is the time to get yourself to Irvine CA for a day that you do not want to miss. Here is the EventBrite link for more info:


Power Foods for Healthy Aging (and Healthy Running)…

Next week will mark “Week 4” of the Running program – so it’s time to switch up the workouts. For the last 3 weeks, we have focused on 3 key workouts each week – intervals for speed, hills for strength, and long-slow-distance (LSD) for endurance.

This week (week 4) will be all about TEMPO. You’ll recall that I have made a big deal in previous posts about NOT doing a lot of tempo (because it trains you to run at “medium” speed – not good). But this week we need to take a break from our interval/hill/LSD rhythm and just run. Try to get in 4 runs of 45-60 minutes at a perceived exertion of about 7-8 on a 10-point scale – I suggest Saturday (23rd), Monday (25th), Wednesday (27th), and Friday (29th). 

I also want to introduce everyone to my list of “Power Foods” for both healthy aging and healthy running. Below, you’ll see an article outline the what/why or specific foods to include more of in your training diet – as well as an audio file and slides from a recent presentation.

Slides (PDF) = Power Foods for Healthy Aging Slides


Audio =


You’ve heard it before – “we are what we eat” – and nowhere is this more true than in the relationship between our food choices and our rate of aging.

Too many refined carbohydrates, too few brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and too much of the wrong types of fats can all accelerate the cellular aging process.

The flip side of the message that “bad food ages us faster” is that the “right” foods can actually slow the aging process through improved control of blood sugar, inflammation, and other biochemical processes that lead to cellular damage when unchecked.

Perhaps the best news of all is that adding “anti-aging” power foods is both easy and delicious – see below for some suggestions.

Black Beans – beans are the cornerstone food for the longest-lived populations on the planet. All types of beans are extremely healthy because they provide special support for the digestive tract with high levels of protein and both soluble and insoluble fiber (which reduces colon cancer risk and increases production of butyric acid by beneficial bacteria). Black beans in particular are also extremely high in flavonoids, anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, and other metabolism-enhancing phytonutrients with benefits for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Black beans also have a “magical” protein/fiber ratio = One cup of black beans has 15g of fiber and 15g of protein.

Fatty Fish – like mackerel, bluefish, wild salmon, and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, fish sticks, fried fish, and many low-fat white fish (including many types of farmed salmon) do not contain appreciable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids – so choose the fattier more flavorful options.

Whole Grains – are an excellent source of B-complex vitamins, especially thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin which are essential for optimal energy metabolism and are needed at higher levels during periods of elevated stress. Eating more whole grains (whole wheat bread) in preference to refined grains (white bread) not only gives you more B-complex vitamins, but the added fiber slows carbohydrate digestion and absorption and helps to control blood sugar (which is good for mental and physical energy levels).

Dairy – is the richest dietary source of two anti-aging nutrients, Calcium and Vitamin D. You already know that calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health, but calcium also helps to boost metabolic rate (increasing the number of calories you burn each day) and Vitamin D delivers potent anti-cancer activity and mood support. Dairy foods such as chocolate milk and fruit yogurt are also rich sources of protein (“fast” absorbing whey and “slow” absorbing casein) and carbohydrates (“fast” absorbing sucrose/fructose and “slow” absorbing lactose).

Green Leafy Vegetables – like spinach and kale are a terrific source of Fiber, Calcium, and Carotenoids such as beta-carotene, which is an important antioxidant that is especially effective in protecting skin from damaging ultraviolet radiation.

Berries – including blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are rich in antioxidant nutrients called Flavonoids. Thousands of research studies has associated higher flavonoid intakes with reduced risks for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Green Tea – is a rich source of two health-protecting nutrients, Catechins and Theanine. The anti-cancer effects of catechins (a type of flavonoid) are almost unmatched in the natural world (turmeric comes close – see below) – with dozens of human studies showing a reduced risk of a variety of cancers in those who drink the most tea (4-10 cups daily). Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves that provides an anti-stress relaxation benefit to tea drinkers. The presence of theanine in green tea is thought to be responsible for the observation that caffeine intake in coffee drinkers (without theanine) is more apt to result in tension as opposed to the “relaxed alertness” more common to tea drinkers (despite similar caffeine intake).

Turmeric, Curcumin, and Ginger – can indeed be considered the “spices of life” because of their profound anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activities. So famously used in spicy Indian and Thai dishes each of these spices and their active compounds, Turmerones, Curcuminods, and Gingerols, have been associated with generalized anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body and with specific prevention and accelerated healing of cancers of the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract.

Citrus Fruit – you already know citrus as a rich source of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), but you might not know that oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and lemons are a superior source of Vitamin C compared to isolated supplements because that C is balanced with Flavonoids (see Berries above) which add to the antioxidant benefits of vitamin C and actually help vitamin C protect cells better and for longer. In addition, the underside of citrus peels (the “white stuff” on the inside of an orange) is a source of specialized flavonoids known as PMFs (Poly-Methoxylated-Flavones) that have been shown to reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) and cholesterol levels – thus providing protection from both stress and heart disease.

Red Grapes / Red Wine – are good sources of Resveratrol, yet another type of flavonoid, found in the skins of red grapes. Animal studies have shown that diets containing small amounts of resveratrol on a daily basis (a little bit, everyday, over a long period of time) are associated with a unique set of anti-aging benefits including improved heart health, better blood sugar control, and longer lifespan. However, studies of resveratrol supplements (high doses delivered over short periods of time) have shown the opposite effects – with increased levels of cellular stress and faster rates of metabolic aging (suggesting that lower “dietary” intakes of certain phytonutrients are actually superior for health compared to higher “pharmacological” levels).

About the Author: Shawn Talbott holds an MS in exercise science (UMass Amherst) and a PhD in nutritional biochemistry (Rutgers). Dr. Talbott is the author of 13 books, including the recent “Best Future You” about the effects of cellular stress on aging and well-being (and how to reduce cellular stress to look, feel, and perform your best).

Probiotics and Depression

In an outstanding scientific review from Caroline Wallace and Roumen Milev at Queen’s University in Ontario Canada, the effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans is reviewed =

Some highlights from the publication:

  • link between psychiatric disorders and changes in the microbiome
  • majority of the studies found positive results on all measures of depressive symptoms (depending on the specific strain or probiotic, dosing and duration)
  • evidence for probiotics alleviating depressive symptoms is compelling
  • probiotics may reduce depression and improve mood via a variety of complementary mechanisms, including:
    • modulation of stress response
    • increased neurotransmitter production and improved activity
    • reduction in permeability of gastrointestinal lining
    • increased production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth factor crucial for brain plasticity, memory, and neuronal health
    • Reduction in both gastrointestinal inflammation  and neuro-inflammation


Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2017; 16: 14.

The effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans: a systematic review




Patients suffering from depression experience significant mood, anxiety, and cognitive symptoms. Currently, most antidepressants work by altering neurotransmitter activity in the brain to improve these symptoms. However, in the last decade, research has revealed an extensive bidirectional communication network between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system, referred to as the “gut–brain axis.” Advances in this field have linked psychiatric disorders to changes in the microbiome, making it a potential target for novel antidepressant treatments. The aim of this review is to analyze the current body of research assessing the effects of probiotics, on symptoms of depression in humans.


A systematic search of five databases was performed and study selection was completed using the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses process.


Ten studies met criteria and were analyzed for effects on mood, anxiety, and cognition. Five studies assessed mood symptoms, seven studies assessed anxiety symptoms, and three studies assessed cognition. The majority of the studies found positive results on all measures of depressive symptoms; however, the strain of probiotic, the dosing, and duration of treatment varied widely and no studies assessed sleep.


The evidence for probiotics alleviating depressive symptoms is compelling but additional double-blind randomized control trials in clinical populations are warranted to further assess efficacy.

Keywords: Depression, Anxiety, Probiotics, Gut–brain axis, Microbiome, Systematic review

Microbiome and Stress/Anxiety Regulation

Very interesting new paper from the APC Microbiome Institute at University College in Cork Ireland =

This paper made some important strides in identifying the undying mechanisms for the microbiome in our gut (our 2nd brain) to “talk” to the areas of the 1st brain in our heads involved in anxiety, stress, and fear (amygdala and pre-frontal cortex) –  via microRNAs (miRNAa) that act through translational repression to control gene translation and have also been implicated in anxiety-like behaviors.

Highlights from the paper:

  • growing evidence for a role of the gut microbiome in shaping behavior relevant to many psychiatric and neurological disorders
  • it’s been repeatedly demonstrated that manipulation of the gut microbiome modulates anxiety-like behaviors
  • certain probiotics and prebiotics have anxiolytic-like activity (anti-anxiety)
  • potential of microbiota-mediated therapeutic approaches for treating anxiety-related disorders

Here is the Abstract from the publication:

Microbial regulation of microRNA expression in the amygdala and prefrontal cortex

Microbiome 2017 5:102

Published: 25 August 2017



There is growing evidence for a role of the gut microbiome in shaping behaviour relevant to many psychiatric and neurological disorders. Preclinical studies using germ-free (GF) animals have been essential in contributing to our current understanding of the potential importance of the host microbiome for neurodevelopment and behaviour. In particular, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that manipulation of the gut microbiome modulates anxiety-like behaviours. The neural circuits that underlie anxiety- and fear-related behaviours are complex and heavily depend on functional communication between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex (PFC). Previously, we have shown that the transcriptional networks within the amygdala and PFC of GF mice are altered. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) act through translational repression to control gene translation and have also been implicated in anxiety-like behaviours. However, it is unknown whether these features of host post-transcriptional machinery are also recruited by the gut microbiome to exert control over CNS transcriptional networks.


We conducted Illumina® next-generation sequencing (NGS) in the amygdala and PFC of conventional, GF and germ-free colonized mice (exGF). We found a large proportion of miRNAs to be dysregulated in GF animals in both brain regions (103 in the amygdala and 31 in the PFC). Additionally, colonization of GF mice normalized some of the noted alterations. Next, we used a complementary approach to GF by manipulating the adult rat microbiome with an antibiotic cocktail to deplete the gut microbiota and found that this strategy also impacted the expression of relevant miRNAs.


These results suggest that the microbiome is necessary for appropriate regulation of miRNA expression in brain regions implicated in anxiety-like behaviours.


Amygdala Prefrontal cortex Microbiome-gut-brain axis MicroRNAs Germ-free Antibiotics miR-206-3p

Amare Product Training

On Sept 14, 2017 – I had the great pleasure to join Amare Global’s Founding Wellness Partner, Pat Hintze to present an overview of the Amare product lineup.

Just entering our second week of pre-launch (we went “live” on Sept 1), we had almost 100 attendees to hear about how Amare is changing the way the world approaches Mental Wellness (by rebalancing the microbiome and gut-brain-axis). We expect close to 500 people at our Pre-Launch Summit in Irvine CA this coming Saturday (Sept 23) – and if you’re anywhere near Orange County, then you NEED to get yourself there!

If you’re interested, you can use the links below to view the slides and listen to the audio of my presentation in Wisconsin:

Slides (PDF version) = Amare Wisconsin 091417

Audio file (mp4 format – will play in iTunes) =

Please let me know any questions or comments?

Mind-Gut Connection in Irvine Sept 23!

I’m thrilled to announce that Emeran Mayer, MD, PhD will be speaking at our Amare Pre-Launch Summit this coming Saturday (Sept 23) in Irvine CA.

Please see attached flyer below for all the details.

If you’re in the Orange County area and you care about your mental wellness and overall health, then you HAVE to make a it a priority to be at this meeting.

Emeran Mayer, Amare Scientific Advisory Board Member – pioneer of gut-brain axis research and author ofThe Mind-Gut Connection will be a featured speaker at the event!  Dr. Mayer is a Gastroenterologist, Neuroscientist and Professor in the
Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine
at UCLA.  As one of the pioneers and leading researchers in the role of mind-brain-gut interactions in health and chronic disease, Dr. Mayer has been interviewed on National Public Radio, PBS and by many national and international media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, Atlantic magazine, Time and Newsweek Magazine and National Geographic Explorer.  He has spoken at UCLA TEDx on the Mysterious Origins of Gut Feelings in 2015, and his book The Mind Gut Connection has been published by HarperCollins in July of 2016 and has been translated into 14 languages.

The first 300 guests to arrive to the event on Saturday at the Irvine Marriott receive a FREE product!