Eat Yourself Happy?

Good overview of a new scientific discipline (that many of us have been practicing for 20+ years) – nutritional psychology/psychiatry. Read the original article here and see my highlights below…

Nutritional psychiatry: can you eat yourself happier?

What we stick in our mouths matters to our mental health,’ says a leading light in this new field. So what should we be eating?

Diet can have a significant effect on mood, say researchers.

Felice Jacka’s work showing that junk food shrinks the brain was motivated by personal experience. Growing up in Melbourne, Australia, Jacka struggled with anxiety and panic disorders; by the time she enrolled at art school, she was accustomed to regular bouts of depression, too, leaving her “devoid of happy feelings and unable to experience pleasure”.

But in her late 20s Jacka managed to recover and stay well by focusing on her diet, exercise and sleep. The effect was so marked that it inspired her to put her life as an artist on hold in order to dedicate herself to studying the effects of diet on mental health.

She is now head of the Food and Mood Centre at Deakin University in Australia, and president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry– a relatively new field of research, applying a rare scientific rigour to the link between diet and mental health. For her PhD study in 2010, Jacka found that women whose diets were higher in vegetables, fruit, fish and wholegrains, with moderate amounts of red meat, were less likely to have depression or anxiety disorders than those who consumed a typical western diet of processed foods, pizza, chips, burgers, white bread and sweet drinks.

Her study made the cover of the American Journal of Psychiatry; shortly afterwards, studies in Spain and the UK identified similar trends. Today Jacka is at the forefront of nutritional psychiatry, studying large samples of populations for indications of the impact of entire diets (not individual ingredients) on mental health. Correlations cannot prove causality outright, but by replicating results repeatedly, risk factors can be identified and studied further. Her new book, Brain Changer, is a straight-talking, evidence-based antidote (complete with recipe ideas for good mental health) to the bloggers and self-styled dietary experts who, she says, have “brought nutrition research into disrepute”.

“When I first started, people were terribly sceptical – they thought it was just rubbish,” says Jacka. “In psychiatry, people are trained to think about particular molecules in the brain that can be targeted by certain drugs and they’ve lost sight of the bigger picture – the body as a whole complex system.”

More than 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers later, Jacka has amassed evidence from all over the world showing that “what we stick in our mouths matters to our mental health”.

For her so-called Smiles trial, published in 2017, Jacka recruited 67 moderate to severely depressed people with unhealthy diets. Half received seven sessions with a clinical dietician while the others received “social support”, involving friendly conversation. After 12 weeks, one-third of those who had received nutritional support were in remission, compared with 8% of those who had had the social support. Scientifically speaking, says Jacka, “it was a pretty big difference”.

She is keen to snuff out fanciful ideas about quick fixes, and food trends dressed up as panaceas – the success resulted not from “clean eating” or coconut oil, but from following standard advice for a healthy, balanced diet. As an added bonus, the participants spent a little less on food than they did on their original diets – and probably ended up with bigger brains, too. In a 2015 study of 250 older Australians, Jacka found that the less healthy their diets, the smaller their left hippocampuses (the brain region linked with emotional regulation and mental health); the finding was more recently replicated in the Netherlands with 4,000 older adults.

Overall, Jacka has found that simply following a healthier diet– without other lifestyle modifications such as exercise, but taking into account things such as education, income, bodyweight and other health behaviours – results in a 30% reduced risk of depression.

That healthier diet may vary from country to country, but research has shown that, regardless of where you live, eating closer to a traditional, pre-industrial diet rich in plant foods, fish, unrefined grains and fermented foods, with less meat and highly palatable processed and snack foods, reduces your risk of depression. It could be the Mediterranean diet or Japanese cuisine rich in fish, seaweed, green tea and tofu, Jacka writes: “There’s not just one healthy way to eat.”

One unexpected finding of her PhD study, for example, was that cutting out red meat led to poorer mental health among the 1,000 participants. “We saw in our data a very clear pattern around too little or too much being problematic,” she says. “A tiny amount – three or four palm-sized servings [65-100g] a week – was associated with about half the probability of having a depressive or anxiety disorder. I suspect there’s probably individual variation in how much people need.” The need is probably greater in young women who are menstruating, adds Jacka (who does not eat red meat “for ethical reasons”).

Grain-fed beef (common in the US) is also less healthy than grass-fed beef, which is higher in the fatty acids that have been linked to improved mental health.

As for fish, eating it about three times a week is a component of many healthy diets – but there are unlikely to be extra benefits from eating more, Jacka writes. Fish-oil supplements can be helpful for some people with severe clinical depression, “but it’s definitely not a panacea for the wider population,” she says. “Have sardines on your toast, or some mackerel, mussels, or – if you can afford it – oysters.”

Jacka is the first to admit that we may never understand how individual ingredients of our diet combine to influence the brain: “The complexity of the human body is mind-boggling.” And because even the most beige western diet comprises countless individual chemicals invisibly interacting with each other, “we can’t even begin to measure all their effects”.

Cottage cheese, for example, is often trotted out as a mood-boosting food because it is rich in tryptophan, which is essential for creating serotonin, the “happy hormone”. If only nutrition were that simple. Scientists have failed to find any evidence that eating foods (or supplements) rich in tryptophan affects mental health, with other amino acids in foods restricting its journey from stomach to brain.

It is the trillions of micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeasts that live in our guts that help convert tryptophan into serotonin, and they can be encouraged by consuming fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir, and fibre from many different plant sources. But, crucially, it is not enough just to eat well: you need to consume all the nutrients and fibre your body needs – and avoid significant consumption of refined and heavily processed foods. “People are eating all this stuff that’s toxic and detrimental to their brain health,” says Jacka. One reason to avoid high-sugar diets, for example, is that they lead to an increase in the same inflammation markers that are raised in people with depression.

The gut microbiome is also key to regulating inflammation. Recent animal studies have shown that depression can be transmitted through fecal microbial transplants (“It’s poo in a pill, or ‘crapsules’”); Jacka is currently investigating whether good mental health can be transmitted the same way.

However it might be achieved, she is convinced of the need to address what she sees as the current mental health “disaster”. Unlike most risk factors for depression (including genes, poverty, trauma and abuse), diet is something we can modify– yet only about 10% of the population eat an adequately healthy diet, says Jacka. “The fact that we’ve got something under our nose that could potentially address a good proportion of the burden of depression is really important.”

The elephant in the room is the global food industry. “Big Food has completely altered the food environment so that unhealthy foods are the cheapest, most ubiquitous, heavily marketed, [most] difficult to resist and socially acceptable – as a result, the [world’s] health has gone down the toilet.”

The lack of political will to address this reflects the size of the corporations involved. “It’s just so powerful and influential, bigger than the tobacco industry,” she says.

Is Jacka gearing up to be the Erin Brockovich figure who takes them on? “That would be my life’s dream.”

With half of all mental-health disorders setting in by age 14, the importance of diet is especially relevant to young people – but as in the UK and US, Australian teenagers are eating multiple servings of junk foods every day, says Jacka: “This is not an occasional biccie with your tea.”

Messages about obesity and health problems in a distant, abstract future do not seem to be influencing people’s eating behaviours, but they might act on the knowledge that these same foods could be making them unhappy, says Jacka. “It’s much more in your face: ‘It’s going to affect me now.’”

Gut Health and Sleep?

Here is a terrific article (as always) from Scott Anderson – author of one of my favorite books about the microbiome and mood (The Psychobiotic Revolution: Mood, Food, and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection) – see the original article here and my highlights below…

Problems Sleeping? Look to Your Gut 

How the bacteria in your gut manipulate your sleep patterns.

Your gut is linked to your brain in surprising ways, and you may be losing sleep over it. Research into the gut-brain axis reveals that, amazingly, microbes in your gut can affect your mood—and along with that, your sleep patterns. Sleep disorders and depression are common among people with gut problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. This association goes both ways: your gut can affect—or be affected by—your mood and sleep patterns.

The idea that your brain can affect your gut seems to imply that you could treat gut problems with psychiatry, which is nutty. Except that it seems to work. Research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy, which is aimed at the mind, can ease symptoms of IBS—including sleeplessness.[1] What an unexpected way to treat gut problems! Problems with sleep, mood and gut turn out to be inextricably bound together.

Microbes can secrete dozens of human neuroactive chemicals, which gives them a disturbing amount of power over our brain. They can send messages slowly through the endocrine system, somewhat faster through the immune system, and at lightning speed through the vagus nerve. A well-balanced microbiota is a wonderfully silent partner, but a poorly balanced one will end up with a few dominant “bully” species that can make a lot of fuss.

These top dogs, without counterbalancing microbes, tend to act as disease-causing pathogens. When they don’t get what they want, they can release neurotoxins like ammonia that affect sleep, stress, and brain function in general.[2]

The Cycles of Life

All living things have chemical reactions that cycle over and over again. Some, like the Krebs cycle you vaguely remember from high school, are fast, converting glucose to energy at a madcap pace. Others, like the circadian cycle, take 24 hours. The name circadian means “about a day,” and even bacteria display these leisurely daily oscillations.

It affects us from early on. Without circadian rhythms, we might just be blobs. Dr. Ann Kiessling of the Bedford Research Institute, which investigates stem cell therapies, says:

“Stem cells may especially need circadian signals to differentiate into specific cell types, such as neurons or bone marrow. The first evidence of circadian oscillator proteins is at the late 2-cell stage in mice, when at least 10% of stem cells are expressing circadian oscillator proteins, but not synchronized. Then as the cells differentiate, they start to synchronize. We don’t know what triggers that, but differentiation and synchronization seem to be coupled.”

Each cell in your body runs a tiny version of the circadian clock and needs to cooperate with all its neighbors, so it’s important for them to continuously synch up. In animals, the brain controls this daily cycle with a sleepy-time chemical called melatonin, which builds up when it gets dark at night to make you sleepy and drops in the morning to wake you up.

This internal clock wants to synchronize with daylight, explaining why traveling across time zones, artificial lights, and cloudy climates all mess with your rhythms. When your body’s rhythm is disrupted, your microbiota also gets disrupted, which can boost the numbers of poor team players like Candida at the expense of beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.[3] That helps to explain why shift workers have higher rates of gut issues, sleep problems and depression.

You can mess up your daily rhythm by simply keeping your lights on in the evening. It’s not a small effect: Evening light can delay the release of melatonin by up to two hours.

Rodent Studies

A study by Rob Knight and colleagues in 2017 looked at what stress does to sleep and gut health in rats. Rats that were stressed by tail shocks had disruptions in their sleep patterns. Their gut microbiota also changed: it lost diversity. A few species dominated their gut microbes, and that loss of balance was unhealthy. When they gave the rats a prebiotic, their gut microbiota became more diverse and contained more probiotic and psychobiotic species like Lactobacillus rhamnosus. They also slept better. They had better REM and non-REM sleep.[4]

A healthy microbiota produces butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that is the preferred fuel for the cells lining the gut. That maintains the proper permeability to absorb nutrients and yet keep out microbes. Studies with both mice and rats show that butyrate improves sleep.[5]

You may not be getting tail shocks, but your boss may be kicking your butt all day. That, too, can mess up your sleep.

What Can You Do?

  • Don’t eat late at night. It screws up your microbial circadian clocks, which are trying to wind down for the night. It can also encourage gastric reflux.
  • Eat more fiber. Fast foods are delicious, but most of them have sacrificed the fiber for the flavor. Fiber supports beneficial bacteria that produce healing and nurturing chemicals. Fibrous foods include artichokes, asparagus, onions, beans, leafy greens and most non-starchy veggies.
  • Try a prebiotic supplement. Although the supplement industry is poorly regulated, many prebiotics have been shown to work in human subjects. They have tongue-tangling names like fructo-oligosaccharide and galacto-oligosaccharide. Mercifully, these are typically shortened to acronyms like FOS and GOS.
  • Eat a wide variety of foods. A repetitive diet with just a few food groups will not help you maintain a diverse—ergo healthy—microbiota.
  • For dessert, try strawberries or cherries, which contain melatonin and may encourage drowsiness.
  • Adjust your lights. We keep them on until late at night, and it tricks your body into thinking it’s still daylight. Blue light is especially potent for keeping you alert when you should be settling down for the night. In the morning, try to get as much sunshine as possible. That ensures your circadian clock gets started for the day and makes bedtime come earlier.
  • Stay young. As you age, your melatonin levels fall. Fortunately, you can buy melatonin supplements, which have been shown to help people over 55 to fall asleep faster and sleep longer. Take it about an hour before sleep. Melatonin also increases healthy diversity in your gut microbes.[6] It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if you are considering melatonin for long-term use.

Your microbiota responds to your own biological clock, and your own biological clock responds to your microbiota. Feedback loops like this are found throughout all of biology and they can be nasty. However, by improving your microbiota and synching it to normal cycles, you can start to sleep better. That, in turn, will further balance your microbiota, turning a vicious cycle into a virtuous one. Before you know it, you could be snoozing like a baby.

References

[1] Kinsinger, Sarah W. “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Current Insights.” Psychology Research and Behavior Management 10 (July 19, 2017): 231–37.

[2] Galland, Leo. “The Gut Microbiome and the Brain.” Journal of Medicinal Food 17, no. 12 (December 1, 2014): 1261–72.

[3] Li, Yuanyuan, Yanli Hao, Fang Fan, and Bin Zhang. “The Role of Microbiome in Insomnia, Circadian Disturbance and Depression.” Frontiers in Psychiatry 9 (December 5, 2018).

[4] Thompson, Robert S., Rachel Roller, Agnieszka Mika, Benjamin N. Greenwood, Rob Knight, Maciej Chichlowski, Brian M. Berg, and Monika Fleshner. “Dietary Prebiotics and Bioactive Milk Fractions Improve NREM Sleep, Enhance REM Sleep Rebound and Attenuate the Stress-Induced Decrease in Diurnal Temperature and Gut Microbial Alpha Diversity.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 10 (January 10, 2017).

[5] Szentirmai, Éva, Nicklaus S. Millican, Ashley R. Massie, and Levente Kapás. “Butyrate, a Metabolite of Intestinal Bacteria, Enhances Sleep.” Scientific Reports 9, no. 1 (May 7, 2019): 7035.

[6] Yin, Jie, Yuying Li, Hui Han, Shuai Chen, Jing Gao, Gang Liu, Xin Wu, et al. “Melatonin Reprogramming of Gut Microbiota Improves Lipid Dysmetabolism in High-Fat Diet-Fed Mice.” Journal of Pineal Research 65, no. 4 (November 2018): e12524.

Vaccine for Mental Wellness?

Great article in Vice on July 15, 2019 by Shayla Love – see the original here and my highlights below…

The Vaccine That Could Prevent Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

As mental health disorders run rampant, scientists are trying to make an immunization from bacteria that could help.

In 1989, University of Cambridge psychiatrist Ed Bullmore, then a physician-in-training, examined a woman unable to walk from destroyed collagen and bone in her knees. That, plus painfully swollen joints in her hands, indicated rheumatoid arthritis—an inflammatory disease. After Bullmore asked the usual questions to reach the diagnosis, he inquired about something else: how she was feeling emotionally.

“Over the course of the next 10 minutes or so, she quietly but clearly told me that she had very low levels of energy, nothing gave her pleasure anymore, her sleep was disturbed, and she was preoccupied by pessimistic and guilty thoughts,” he wrote in a 2018 Medium essay.

When he told his supervisor, the senior doctor didn’t find it very exciting. Having a chronic inflammatory disease would likely make anyone depressed, he said. “It did not occur to either of us that it might originate in the body,” Bullmore wrote. “That Mrs. P might be depressed, not because she knew she was inflamed, but simply because she was inflamed.”

Inflammation is a natural and necessary function of the immune system. It’s what happens when your body activates an army of different molecules to protect itself from an outside threat—say, to fend off a virus or heal a wound. But when inflammation persists, it can wreak havoc. Autoimmune and inflammatory disorders like arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, Type 1 diabetes, and allergies happen when the body’s immune system doesn’t know when to call back the troops.

These disorders of chronic inflammation are steadily increasing. This is troubling not only because they are a leading cause of death, but because, as in the case of Mrs. P, there’s an association between these disorders and mental health issues, which are also on the rise.

In the past two decades, scientists have begun to realize that the link isn’t merely a byproduct of living with a difficult disease. Researchers—like Bullmore, who wrote a book called The Inflamed Mind—have been uncovering a more meaningful and sinister connection between inflammation and mental health. Inflammation seems to directly cause mental health issues, while at the same time, stress and mental health issues themselves provoke inflammation—creating a dangerous feedback loop.

One single risk factor will never explain the entirety of psychiatric problems, wrote Chuck Raison, a psychiatrist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in a special report on the topic in Psychiatric Times. But “inflammation turned out to be a common denominator and likely risk factor for every manner of psychiatric disturbance, from schizophrenia to obsessive compulsive disorder, from mania to depression,” he wrote.

Christopher Lowry, a behavioral neuro-endocrinologist at University of Colorado Boulder, envisions a future where an immunization could be given to protect against inflammation-caused mental health disturbances. In a series of studies over the past decade, Lowry and his collaborators have shown in animal models that a particular soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae (or M. vaccae), can reduce inflammation and the troubling behavioral symptoms that come with it.

Inflammation seems to cause mental health issues, and mental health issues themselves provoke inflammation, creating a dangerous feedback loop.

One reason runaway inflammation happens is that the immune system has lost its way. A surprising potential explanation for why this can happen is emerging: Our immune systems could be missing exposure to some crucial things that aid in its healthy development: bacteria and viruses, and parasitic worms—the very things it is designed to ward off. The loss of exposure to these microbial organisms due to our modern diets, medications, and lifestyles could be producing naive and untrained immune systems that have a tendency to go haywire.

The immune system can’t fire off like a loose cannon at every foreign cell, it has to decide when something is a threat and when it’s not. That’s why humans and other mammals have both an innate and an adaptive immune system, said Graham Rook, a professor of medical microbiology and immunology at University College London. The latter learns what to target and when, but to do so, it needs data.

“It’s is like a computer,” Rook said. “The question is, where does the data come from? It comes in part from the microbiota, or the organisms in the gut. It also comes from outside infection and other microbes we are exposed to, especially in early life.”

As humans moved to live in urban environments, they’ve lost exposure to a wide variety of microorganism that Rook calls “old friends.” Our diminishing interaction with certain bacteria could be creating an immune system that’s a bit trigger-happy.

This concept is more widely known as the “hygiene hypothesis,” which suggests that the sterility of modern life is leading to health issues. Rook doesn’t like this term. He thinks it’s not expansive enough to include all the ways we’re missing microbial interactions. (And that it glosses over how we need hygiene to prevent spreading pathogenic diseases, especially in tightly packed urban environments.) The actual problem is on a larger societal scale, Rook said. It does stem from cleaner living conditions and food, but also an overuse of antibiotics, cesarean sections, the radical changes in the foods we eat, the loss of old infections (like TB, hepatitis A, helicobacter pylori, and parasitic worms), and from not coming into contact with organisms that live off dead and decaying matter found in the mud and soil.

A surprising potential explanation for runaway inflammation: Our immune systems could be missing exposure to enough bacteria, viruses, and parasitic worms.

Soil bacteria’s effects on inflammation are easily seen in a phenomenon called the “farm effect.” Studies show that interacting with the land and being around farm animals is protective against inflammatory conditions like asthma and allergies. For children who don’t live on farms, simply having pets or coming into contact with cats and dogs can similarly lower the risk of allergies. Rook thinks the farm effect can be explained by the animals bringing in microbial life on dirty paws and bodies, which then helps to train the immune system.

A recent study led by Stefan Reber at the University of Ulm in Germany revealed a connection between good emotional health and growing up around dirt. Forty men were brought to the lab and put through a stress test, where they had to give a speech in front of steely-faced scientists in white coats. The ones from rural environments reported feeling stressed, but it was the ones who grew up in cities who had a massively exaggerated inflammatory response. Their inflammation lasted for the whole length of the study.

“There’s something out there, something that we need to meet in the earth,” Rook said.

In the 1970s, Rook and an immunologist, John Stanford, pulled M. vaccae out from the mud near Lake Kyoga in Uganda. They were trying to figure out why vaccinations for leprosy were more effective in certain countries when they came across M. vaccae—a bacteria closely related to leprosy that was possibly boosting the effect of the vaccine.

“Later, because John was a good immunologist, he realized that this bacterium had the ability to induce something that we call immuno-regulation,” Lowry said.

Other researchers tried to see if M. vaccae’s effects on the immune system could be harnessed. In 2004, an oncologist in the U.K. tried giving patients with inoperable lung cancer M. vaccae alongside chemotherapy to see if it would improve survival rates. The bacteria didn’t help people live longer, but intriguingly, it improved their quality of life. They had increased levels of emotional health, cognitive functions, and decreased pain.

People who had higher levels of inflammation were more likely to be depressed about 12 years later.

Lowry first injected mice with M. vaccae shortly after, in 2007. He saw increases in serotonin metabolism in the prefrontal cortex, a neurotransmitter and part of the brain linked with mood and personality. Another study in mice found that when the animals were put with a large aggressive male, the ones injected with M. vaccae behaved less anxiously, and were less likely to develop inflammatory issues like colitis. In a more recent study in rats, Lowry and his colleagues found that animals that had been given M. vaccae had faster fear extinction—they were able to get over something they had been conditioned to be afraid of more quickly.

“That’s what individuals with anxiety or PTSD can’t do, is extinguish fear,” Lowry said. “Even in safe environments.”

With more research, Lowry could see M. vaccae being put to use in early life, along with the other routine immunizations, as an injection. It could teach the immune systems to regulate itself, or reduce inflammation in those at high risk for depression or PTSD. It could even be given as a booster shortly after someone experiences a trauma—after going through something disturbing or violent, someone could be treated with M. vaccae to prevent PTSD.

Lowry had been cautious about his lab’s findings, especially since the team had mostly done experiments in animals. But simultaneously, evidence continued to mount in humans that matched their findings—that inflammation wasn’t just associated with mental health disorders, but was causing them.

By measuring levels of inflammatory molecules in blood, researchers were finding they could predict mental health issues later. In 2010, people working in U.K. government offices who had higher levels of inflammation were more likely to be depressed about 12 years later. In 2014, another U.K. study looked at 15,000 children around 9 years old and found that those who were not depressed but showed raised inflammation were more likely to be depressed a decade later. And a study from 2014 done by the U.S. Marines found the percentage of soldiers who got PTSD was greater in those who had raised levels of inflammatory molecules in their blood before they went to combat.

“In other words, if you have a propensity for high inflammatory function, then that in fact is the deciding factor on whether or not the individual goes on to develop these anxiety and depressive-like syndromes,” Lowry said.

Chronic inflammation affects our whole bodies, including the brain. Inflammation can interfere with the way the brain functions, altering neurotransmitters to the behavior of synapses, the connections between neurons. The brain also has its own immune system which, when overly active, can lead to persistent neuro-inflammation. M. vaccae could stop the neuro-inflammatory response of the brain’s immune cells in rats, and the associated negative behavioral changes that came along with it.

In May of this year, Lowry, Rook and others found a single molecule from M. vaccae that has anti-inflammatory effects in human and mouse cells. It’s a lipid—a fat molecule—with a very specific chemical shape. Mammals can’t make it.

In mice, the molecule binds to a receptor that triggers a shutting off of various inflammatory processes. This likely evolved so that a disease-causing bacteria could turn off a host’s immune system and take over. But in non-threatening bacteria, it’s actually a form of ecological service, Lowry said, helping our immune systems cool off instead of running on overdrive all the time.

Currently, Lowry is doing a clinical trial in humans, but not with M. vaccae, because he hasn’t yet gotten FDA permission to do that. He’s using another commercially available probiotic that has been shown to have immuno-regulatory effects. His team is also working towards a trial with M. vaccae, but in the meantime, they’re seeing if any other bacteria could work just as well.

John Cryan, a neuroscientist at the University College Cork in Ireland, said that this is just one way our futures will likely involve microbes as medicine for mental health. Bacteria help regulate our immune system, but also produce important molecules that have more direct interactions with our brain. A study of more than 1,000 people from February found that people with depression had reductions in specific bacteria that were producing key chemicals. Knowing who has what microbial deficit—like a vitamin deficiency—could help people for whom other drugs aren’t working.

Not every case of depression is caused by inflammation. But figuring out the cases where inflammation is playing an overwhelming role can bring us closer to understanding the best treatment options, said Jane Foster, a neuroscientist at McMaster University who studies the immune system.

Regardless of what happens next, the causal role of inflammation and mental health issues forces us to rethink the underlying cause of mental health disorders. The changing environments in which we live could be altering the ways our bodies function and dramatically affecting the way we feel. This brings us a long way from what used to be a prevailing dogma: that the mind and body are separate, and so are their illnesses.

To Cryan, these kinds of microbial approaches are reason for optimism. “Unlike our genomes, which we can’t do much about except blame our parents and grandparents, our microbiomes are potentially modifiable,” he said. “That gives us a little bit more, and also gives the individual more agency over their own health.”

Art of Persuasion

Terrific article about effective communication from Harvard Business Review (HBR) – read the original hereand see my highlighted version below…

The Art of Persuasion Hasn’t Changed in 2,000 Years

Carmine Gallo – JULY 15, 2019

Ideas are the currency of the twenty-first century. The ability to persuade, to change hearts and minds, is perhaps the single greatest skill that will give you a competitive edge in the knowledge economy — an age where ideas matter more than ever.

Some economists believe that persuasion is responsible for generating one-quarter or more of America’s total national income. As our economy has evolved from an agrarian to an industrial to a knowledge-based one, successful people in nearly every profession have become those capable of convincing others to take action on their ideas. Think about the role of persuasion in our daily lives:

  • Entrepreneurs persuade investors to back their startups.
  • Job candidates persuade recruiters to hire them.
  • Politicians persuade people to vote for them.
  • Leaders persuade employees to take specific plans of action.
  • CEOs persuade analysts to write favorable reports about their companies.
  • Salespeople persuade customers to choose their product over a competitor’s offering.

In short, persuasion is no longer a “soft skill”— it is a fundamental skill that can help you attract investors, sell products, build brands, inspire teams, and trigger movements. Persuasion is so important to billionaire Warren Buffett that the only diploma he proudly displays in his office is a public-speaking certificate from a Dale Carnegie course. He once told business students that improving their communication skills would boost their professional value by 50% — instantly.

Words and ideas created the modern world, and words and ideas have the potential to make you a star in your field, as long as you can persuade someone else to act on them. Following the tactics of one ancient Greek philosopher can help.

More than 2,000 years ago Aristotle outlined a formula on how to master the art of persuasion in his work Rhetoric. Many great communicators have used it throughout the ages to deliver some of the most influential speeches, presentations, and share their ideas with the world.

To become a master of persuasion yourself and successfully sell your own ideas, try using these five rhetorical devices that Aristotle identified in your next speech or presentation:

1) Ethos or “Character”

To me, ethos represents the part of a speech or presentation when your audience gains some insight into your credibility. Aristotle believed that if a speaker’s actions didn’t back their words, they would lose credibility, and ultimately, weaken their argument.

For example, in a now famous TED Talk on reforming the criminal justice system, Human Rights Attorney Bryan Stevenson begins, “I spend most of my time in jails, in prisons, on death row. I spend most of my time in very low-income communities in the projects and places where there’s a great deal of hopelessness.” You’ll notice that Stevenson does not list his degrees, accomplishments, and awards like he might on a résumé. Instead, he establishes his character for those in the audience who don’t know him. By doing so, he is building a sense of trust between himself and his listeners.

As humans, we are hardwired to search for reasons to trust another person, and we do so quickly. After all, our ancestors had an instant to determine whether a stranger was friend or foe. A simple reminder that you are committed to the welfare of others will build your credibility before you lay out your argument.

2) Logos or “Reason”

Once ethos is established, it’s time to make a logical appeal to reason. Why should your audience care about your idea? If it will save your audience money, for example, they’ll want to know how much it will save them and how the savings will be accomplished. The same reasoning applies to making money. How will your idea help your listeners earn a profit? What steps do they have to take next?  These are all logical appeals that will help you gain support. Use data, evidence, and facts to form a rational argument.

3) Pathos or “Emotion”

According to Aristotle, persuasion cannot occur in the absence of emotion.People are moved to action by how a speaker makes them feel. Aristotle believed the best way to transfer emotion from one person to another is through the rhetorical device of storytelling. More than 2,000 years later, neuroscientists have found his thesis accurate. Studies have found that narratives trigger a rush of neurochemicals in the brain, notably oxytocin, the “moral molecule” that connects people on a deeper, emotional level.

In my analysis of 500 of the most popular TED Talks of all time, I found that stories made up 65% of the average speaker’s talk, wheres 25% went to logos, and 10% went to ethos. In other words, the winning formula for a popular TED talk is to wrap the big idea in a story.

What kind of story? TED curator, Chris Anderson, explains, “The stories that can generate the best connection are stories about you personally or about people close to you. Tales of failure, awkwardness, misfortune, danger or disaster, told authentically, hastens deep engagement.” The most personal content is the most relatable.

4) Metaphor

Aristotle believed that metaphor gives language its verbal beauty. “To be a master of metaphor is the greatest thing by far,” he wrote. When you use a metaphor or analogy to compare a new idea to something that is familiar to your audience, it clarifies your idea by turning the abstract into something concrete.

Let’s return to the example of Warren Buffett, one of the savviest practitioners of persuasion. Buffett rarely gives an interview without using metaphor to make his point. When you hear investors say they look for companies surrounded by a moat, for example, it’s a reference to a popular metaphor he established. Buffett has said repeatedly that he looks for companies that are “economic castles” surrounded by moats that make it hard for competitors to enter the industry.

More recently, Buffett gave a speech at the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, stating that the growth in healthcare spending is the “tapeworm” of the American economy. Through this visceral metaphor, Warren accurately described a serious problem eating away at the foundation of our economic system. Buffett didn’t have to explain what happens when the tapeworm grows bigger. Newspapers and blogs covering the event used “tapeworm” in their headlines.

Those who master the metaphor have the ability to turn words into images that help others gain a clearer understanding of their ideas — but more importantly, remember and share them. It is a powerful tool to have.

5) Brevity

Here again, Aristotle was ahead of his time. “Aristotle had discovered that there are fairly universal limits to the amount of information which any human can absorb and retain,” writes Kings College professor Edith Hall in Aristotle’s Way. “When it comes to persuasion, less is always more.”

Brevity is a crucial element in making a persuasive speech. An argument, Aristotle said, should be expressed “as compactly and in as few words as possible.” He also observed that the opening of a person’s speech is the most important since “attention slackens everywhere else rather than at the beginning.” The lesson here is: start with your strongest point.

The good news for communicators is that Aristotle believed that persuasion can be learned. In fact, according to Hall, he was viewed as “quite threatening” to the political class in ancient Greece when he made the tools of rhetoric available to the masses. They wanted to keep the formula a closely held secret. But Aristotle wanted everyone to have access to it. He championed the idea that a person’s ability to speak and write well, and to use rhetorical devices to change another’s perspective, could unleash human potential and maximize happiness. While the tools we use to communicate ideas have changed in the past two thousand years, the human brain has not. The same formula that worked then will work now.

Carmine Gallo is the author of Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great (St. Martin’s Press). He is a Harvard University instructor in the department of Executive Education at the Graduate School of Design. Sign up for Carmine’s newsletter at carminegallo.com and follow him on Twitter @carminegallo.

Gut Microbes Influence Mental Health Disorders

Here is an excellent article by science writer Ashley Yeager in The Scientist (July 5, 2019)

I’ve included a highlighted version below and you can read the original version here = https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/gut-microbes-may-play-a-role-in-mental-health-disorders-66039

The gut microbiome has been linked to depression, schizophrenia, and other neurological conditions, but it’s not yet clear whether the relationship is causal.

Years ago, when a family member was diagnosed with schizophrenia, University of Florida physiologist Bruce Stevens began scouring mental health research for effective treatments. One study in particular caught his attention and ultimately changed the trajectory of his own research.

In the study, schizophrenia patients had been treated for an infection with the antibiotic minocycline, and their psychosis had cleared up. The study authors suggested that the patients’ improved mental state was thanks to minocycline tamping down inflammation in the brain. But Stevens had a different idea. He wondered whether the antibiotic was “somehow knocking down bad bacteria” in the gut that might influence the patients’ psychosis. If so, gut bacteria might not only play a role in schizophrenia, Stevens supposed, but also in other mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.

“If you would have asked a neuroscientist 10 years ago whether they thought the gut microbiota could be linked to depression, many of them would have said you were crazy,” says Jeroen Raes, a systems biologist and microbiologist at KU Leuven in Belgium. Yet evidence from small studies of humans and decades of animal model research have begun to show a link between the gut microbiome and mental health, making Stevens’s idea seem less so far-fetched, and opening the floodgates for researchers to attempt to identify the specific microbes that may influence the brain.

In a study published in February, for example, Raes and colleagues found that, compared with healthy controls, patients with depression had lower levels of Coprococcus and Dialister bacteria—even after taking into account patients’ use of antidepressants. Later that month, a separate team reported that the abundance of several types of bacteria, including Veillonellaceae and Lachnospiraceae, correlated with schizophrenia severity, and that the presence of a panel of specific microbes enabled the researchers to differentiate individuals with schizophrenia from healthy subjects more often than not.

With these kinds of studies, “what we want to get to is a place where we actually have biomarkers that are informative to treatment or prognosis,” Jane Foster, a neuroscientist at McMaster University in Ontario, tells The Scientist. Unlike in cancer or other conditions, for which doctors can do blood tests or test tissues to develop a plan of care for patients, “we don’t have those abilities in mental health,” she notes. “So these proxies for individual differences [in the gut microbiota] are actually where this area of research is going to have the biggest impact.”

If you would have asked a neuroscientist 10 years ago whether they thought the gut microbiota could be linked to depression, many of them would have said you were crazy.—Jeroen Raes, KU Leuven

Researchers are also interested in understanding the mechanisms by which the microbiome might be driving the mental health disorders it appears to be associated with. In the schizophrenia study, for example, researchers transplanted stool samples from some of the 130 or so people who took part into germ-free mice and then monitored the mice’s behavior and brain levels of neurotransmitters. Mice receiving transplants from schizophrenia patients were more hyperactive in open spaces and exerted more effort during a swim test than the mice receiving stool transplants from the healthy subjects. The two groups of mice also had different levels of glutamate, glutamine, and GABA in their hippocampi. All of these amino acids are neurotransmitters essential for brain function, and their levels in the brains of the mice receiving transplants from people with schizophrenia reflect the chemical patterns observed in the patients, says study coauthor Julio Licinio, a psychiatrist at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. The results suggest that the microbiome could drive changes in the brain that lead to changes in behavior, he adds.

“But mice aren’t men,” Raes says, and there are various other factors, such as stress, that could prompt mice to behave in similar ways to humans with mental health disorders without the need for similar brain chemistry. Raes and his colleagues’ recent study took a different approach to the problem by using a large human dataset to look for microbiome differences between healthy and depressed individuals. In the analysis, the team first compared the gut microbiota of 1,054 individuals and identified depletion of Coprococcus and Dialister as possible drivers of depression. The team then used a separate cohort of 1,070 individuals to validate the results and found a “strong associative signal” between the abundance of these gut microbes and quality of life based on patient surveys.

Raes and colleagues also used a computational framework to analyze whether certain gut bacteria could produce or break down neuroactive compounds in the gut. The genomes of Coprococcus species, for example, contain DNA sequences capable of generating DOPAC, a metabolite of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is associated with depression when depleted. The results still don’t demonstrate that lower levels of Coprococcus and Dialister cause depression, and have yet be validated in mice, Raes concedes. But the findings offer some direction in terms of where to look for possible mechanistic pathways and, in the process, potential therapeutic targets for mental health disorders.

Challenges remain, however. Foster notes that there’s currently a problem with standardization of the tools researchers use to analyze their data and pinpoint specific bacteria underlying health issues. One tool, for instance, might show that one specific bacterium could drive anxiety or depression, while another tool might indicate a totally different set of species. And when it comes to actually capitalizing on this knowledge for therapeutic purposes, Stevens raises another caveat.

“Microbiology is not simple, because it involves ecologies,” says Stevens, who recently finished running a human clinical trial to identify gut bacteria species that may affect mental health. “You can’t take down one bacterium without taking down the whole nest, so translation to treatment is going to be tough. A single species won’t do it.”

Hydration Tips to Beat the Heat

Dr Shawn Talbott is a nutritional biochemist who studies how to help people feel and perform their best. He joins the show to talk about summer hydration tips to beat the heat! He says water is important, but there are foods we can eat and ways that we can make our water ‘more hydrating’ to help keep us cool when the temperature rises. Even small amounts of dehydration can lead to problems with heat tolerance, mental focus, and energy levels, so it’s important to stay optimally hydrated.

Here is the clip

Some of the topics we covered…

Water is important – but there are foods we can eat and ways that we can make our water ‘more hydrating’ to help keep us cool when the temperature rises.
Even small amounts of dehydration can lead to problems with heat tolerance, mental focus, and energy levels – so it’s important to stay optimally hydrated.
1. How much water do you need – do you really need 8 glasses per day?
2. Won’t all that water make me run to the bathroom all day? What can we add to our water to enhance hydration (electrolytes, small amounts of sugar)
3. How about juice? Sparkling water? Fruit infusions?
4. What foods are the most hydrating – or dehydrating?
5. Plan your water intake – it’s easy to become dehydrated!

 

Matcha Tea for Anxiety?

Research shows that drinking Matcha tea can reduce anxiety

Original article on EurekAlert

Many different countries have a tea culture, and Japanese Matcha tea is growing in popularity around the world. In Japan, Matcha has a long history of being used for various medicinal purposes. It has been suspected to have various beneficial effects to health, but relatively little scientific evidence supported that claim. Now, a group of Japanese researchers from Kumamoto University has shown that anxious behavior is reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract. Its calming effects appear to be due to mechanisms that activate dopamine D1 receptors and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, both of which are closely related to anxious behavior.

Matcha is the finely ground powder of new leaves from shade-grown (90% shade) Camellia sinensis green tea bushes. The tea (and food flavoring) is enjoyed around the world. In Japan, historical medicinal uses for Matcha included helping people relax, preventing obesity, and treatment of skin conditions. The researchers, therefore, sought to determine its various beneficial effects.

The “elevated plus maze” test is an elevated, plus-shaped, narrow platform with two walled arms that provide safety for the test subject, typically a mouse. It is used as an anxiety test for rodents with the idea that animals experiencing higher anxiety will spend more time in the safer walled-off areas. Using this test, researchers found that mouse anxiety was reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract. A behavioral pharmacological analysis further revealed that Matcha and Matcha extracts reduce anxiety by activating dopamine D1 and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors.

Kurauchi, Y. et al., 2019. Anxiolytic activities of Matcha tea powder, extracts, and fractions in mice: Contribution of dopamine D1 receptor- and serotonin 5-HT1A receptor-mediated mechanisms. Journal of Functional Foods, 59, pp.301-308.

Depressed Microbiome?

Here is an excellent article posted a few days ago by science journalist Scott Anderson – who is the author of a book that I recommend often = The Psychobiotic Revolution: Mood, Food, and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection

I have a highlighted version of the article below – but please read the original and check out Scott’s excellent book and website

Transferring the Blues
Can depression be transferred via microbes?
Posted Jul 15, 2019
The gut-brain axis–the fascinating connection between gut microbes and the brain–sounds like science fiction. How can such tiny creatures affect our mood and behavior? How much of this story is hype and how much is real, useful science?

In 2003, Nobuyuki Sudo and colleagues noticed that germ-free mice behaved differently than normal mice.[1] They had a heightened reaction to stress and preferred to play alone. Since mice are generally sociable, this was a notable difference, and it all came down to their lack of microbes: when Sudo gave them a blend of non-pathogenic microbes, their behavior recovered. A healthy microbiota seemed to confer resilience to stress and made the mice more gregarious. The results raised eyebrows in all the fields affected: gastroenterology, neurology, psychiatry, immunology, endocrinology and microbiology. How could brainless microbes possibly affect the sophisticated mind of an animal?

Given that humans aren’t in any way germ-free, the relevance of this study was lost on many researchers. Psychiatrists, in particular, were occupied with research into psychoactive drugs designed to address chemical imbalances in the brain. Although the early drugs weren’t perfect, once the kinks were worked out, there were some big wins–dramatically helping many people with depression and anxiety. How in the world did microbes fit into this picture? One clue: the first antidepressant, iproniazid, was an antibiotic intended to treat tuberculosis. Remarkably, microbes have been a part of this story from the beginning.

The gut-brain axis has a long history

Scientists have known since the time of Hippocrates that gut issues could cause medical troubles. His uplifting motto was that “death sits in the bowels”. Soon after bacteria were discovered, researchers realized that bacterial pathogens were behind many diseases, including some kinds of mental illness. The notion of beneficial bacteria seemed absurd. It would take many decades for Élie Metchnikoff to see the good side of microbes in the early 1900s when he noted the health and longevity of yogurt-consuming Bulgarians.

Sudo’s work showing behavioral changes inspired many others who went on to push the frontier, among them professor of neuroscience John Cryan and psychiatrist Ted Dinan of University College Cork in Ireland. In 2013, they proposed that certain bacteria could help resolve psychiatric illness. They dubbed them psychobiotics.[2] Their conviction sprang from the stunning observation that microbes could produce human neurotransmitters, including GABA, acetylcholine, serotonin and dopamine.

They also found a connection between microbes and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the body’s hormonal stress system. An interesting story was developing around stress. Stress in children is a well-known precursor to psychiatric ailments later in life. Studies showed that stress was affecting the gut microbes of these kids as well.[3] Could early gut problems be a factor in adult depression and anxiety?

Reasons to be skeptical

Since this formative work, hundreds of mouse and rat studies have explored the gut-brain axis and its contribution to depression and anxiety. Nevertheless, there are many critics, and they have some good points. These studies have mostly been done on mice, not humans. Still, researchers often use mice for pre-clinical antidepressant studies, so they can’t be totally discounted.

Perhaps the most damning criticism is that most of these studies are correlational, not causal. They show an association between microbes and mood, but that doesn’t prove that microbes can cause mood changes. It might be that depression causes changes in the microbes, not the other way around.

Another problem is the purported mechanism. Research has pinned down some relevant pathways, including stress hormones of the HPA axis, inflammatory cytokines of the immune system, and the wiring between the brain and the gut, especially the vagus nerve. These connections are tantalizing, but still somewhat vague. Just how, exactly, do microbes manipulate the brain?

Fecal transplants are revealing

Another study by the prolific partners Cryan and Dinan helped to address these issues. They called it “Transferring the Blues”.[4] Yes, I stole that wonderful title. In 2016, along with collaborators including John Kelly, Catherine Stanton, and Gerard Clarke, they performed a fecal transplant. The twist? They transplanted feces from depressed people into rats. When they did, the rats became anhedonic and anxious, the rat version of depression. The study showed that microbes could cause a change in behavior and induce depression – and it works across species.

They also provided some possible mechanisms.

In both the depressed humans and rats the ratio of kynurenine to tryptophan was high. An elevation of this ratio indicates a breakdown in the processing of tryptophan to serotonin, limiting this important neurotransmitter in the gut.
They found that a depressed microbiota was a less diverse microbiota. The bacteria that were diminished in the depressed microbiota might then be psychobiotic candidates, including Prevotella and Dialister genera.
They showed that nerve cells have receptors to directly detect bacteria, making them act like immune cells, closely involved with the initiation of central nervous system inflammation.

Scientists have since found that the nerve mesh that surrounds the gut, the enteric nervous system, makes contact with bacteria in the gut through enterochromaffin cells. That allows messages from the gut to reach the brain through spinal nerves and the vagus nerve. Underscoring that connection, if you cut the vagus, several psychobiotic actions are extinguished.

This study showed fecal microbial transplants can alter mood in a rat, but the case for humans is still contentious. Fecal transplants are typically only done for people with severe C. diff infections. All samples are routinely screened for pathogens, but Cryan suggests that donors should be screened for depression as well, just in case. Clinical trials using FMT capsules (popularly known as crapsules) to treat depression are underway.[5]

For such an unusual hypothesis, skepticism is warranted. There are still many questions unanswered. But it’s hard to believe that microbes can reliably affect behavior in a rat or a mouse but not a human. Fortunately, new human studies are buttressing the psychobiotic theory. Trials with healthy women show an increase in stress resilience in those consuming probiotic yogurt.[6] And a large-scale Flemish study this year indicated that specific microbes are associated with less depression and a significantly improved quality of life.[7] It’s probably time to bring the microbiota into the psychiatrist’s purview.

What to do?

Of course, there are many reasons people get depressed. Poor health, death of a loved one, and financial problems are just a sampling. It’s not all up to microbes! Genes are involved as well. But even here, most of the relevant genes are related to components of the immune system, reinforcing the role of microbes. Your gut may determine how well you can tolerate stress, and a balanced microbiota seems to moderate anxiety.

If you are a psychiatrist, you can take advantage of this research. Dr. Dinan has added these simple protocols to his psychiatric armamentarium:

  • Ask your patients about gut problems. Depression is strongly comorbid with IBS and IBD.
  • You might want to look at blood levels of inflammation.
  • Recommend better diets (see below).
  • Trial probiotics or prebiotics with patients who are averse or refractory to psychoactive drugs.
  • Psychobiotics are unlikely to replace antidepressants, but they can be excellent adjuvant therapies, helping to lower the dosage or the number of drugs used in treatment.

If you are a psychiatric patient, look to your gut:

  • Fiber and polyphenols are preferred foods of your beneficial bacteria, so eat foods like artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, leeks, and dark-colored leafy greens.
  • Exercise to improve the diversity of your gut microbiota.
  • Avoid unnecessary antibiotics. They can be lifesavers, but they are useless against viruses and not without the side effect of damaging your gut microbiota.
  • Get plenty of sleep and try to synchronize with normal day-night cycles. Your bacteria have circadian cycles too and it helps if you can coordinate with them.

For a lot of depression, microbes may be the main actors. Dealing with them may banish the blues, often without psychoactive drugs and their attendant side effects.

What are you waiting for?

References

[1] Sudo, Nobuyuki, Yoichi Chida, Yuji Aiba, Junko Sonoda, Naomi Oyama, Xiao-Nian Yu, Chiharu Kubo, and Yasuhiro Koga. “Postnatal Microbial Colonization Programs the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal System for Stress Response in Mice.” The Journal of Physiology 558, no. Pt 1 (July 1, 2004): 263–75.

[2] Dinan, Timothy G., Catherine Stanton, and John F. Cryan. “Psychobiotics: A Novel Class of Psychotropic.” Biological Psychiatry 74, no. 10 (November 15, 2013): 720–26.

[3] Karl, J. Philip, Lee M. Margolis, Elisabeth H. Madslien, Nancy E. Murphy, John W. Castellani, Yngvar Gundersen, Allison V. Hoke, et al. “Changes in Intestinal Microbiota Composition and Metabolism Coincide with Increased Intestinal Permeability in Young Adults under Prolonged Physiological Stress.” American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 312, no. 6 (March 23, 2017): G559–71.

[4] Kelly, John R., Yuliya Borre, Ciaran O’ Brien, Elaine Patterson, Sahar El Aidy, Jennifer Deane, Paul J. Kennedy, et al. “Transferring the Blues: Depression-Associated Gut Microbiota Induces Neurobehavioural Changes in the Rat.” Journal of Psychiatric Research 82 (2016): 109–18.

[5] “Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Depression – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.Gov.” Accessed July 12, 2019. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03281044.

[6] Tillisch, Kirsten, Jennifer Labus, Lisa Kilpatrick, Zhiguo Jiang, Jean Stains, Bahar Ebrat, Denis Guyonnet, et al. “Consumption of Fermented Milk Product With Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity.” Gastroenterology 144, no. 7 (June 1, 2013): 1394-1401.e4.

[7] Valles-Colomer, Mireia, Gwen Falony, Youssef Darzi, Ettje F. Tigchelaar, Jun Wang, Raul Y. Tito, Carmen Schiweck, et al. “The Neuroactive Potential of the Human Gut Microbiota in Quality of Life and Depression.” Nature Microbiology 4, no. 4 (April 2019): 623–32.

Amare Products Overview

Here is an overview of how the Amare products can help balance the microbiome, improve signaling across the gut-brain-axis and optimize our mental wellness and physical health.

I did this meeting with our amazing team in Hawaii and there are some good Q&A and product testimonials at the end.

Enjoy!

Direct link on Youtube = https://youtu.be/1s_A2n6XgfQ

Men and Mental Wellness

Here is a great podcast interview that I did with Riggs from 103.7 KISS FM in Milwaukee Wisconsin

He is doing some amazing education and important outreach to get people talking about mental wellness – check out our episode below and subscribe to his podcast for lots of other informative interviews!

https://1037kissfm.radio.com/media/audio-channel/mentalhealthmonday-you-and-your-two-brains-amare-globals-dr-shawn-talbott