Loneliness may play an outsize role in gut health

Feeling that no one wants to hang out with you can feel like a kick to the gut, and a recent study suggests there’s biological truth to your mood.
— Read on www.inverse.com/mind-body/emotion-alters-gut-health

People with the most diverse microbiomes tended to rate themselves high on the scale for compassion, social support, social engagement, and wisdom. In fact, the degree to which participants’ rated their compassion and wisdom was the greatest predictor of the degree of their microbial diversity

Western diets have a pernicious side-effect on the gut microbiome…

In a recent study, scientists found that certain foods in the Western diet are more likely to promote harmful gut bacterial species.
— Read on www.inverse.com/mind-body/western-diet-gut-bacteria

Interesting – the studies that this article references show that diets high in processed foods increase a type of microbiome bacteria (Firmicutes) that lead to inflammation and weight gain – while diets higher in fruits, veggies, and prebiotic fiber (like my Mental Fitness Diet) increase another type of bacteria (Akkermansia) that lead to improved metabolism and weight loss.

Our studies at Amare have shown that appropriately nourishing your microbiome and Gut-Brain-Axis can BOTH reduce Firmicutes and increase Akkermansia – so you improve your mental wellness at your waistline simultaneously. But wait until you see what we have launching in January to take microbiome-mediated weight loss (and mental wellness) to the next level!

Selena Gomez launching mental wellness platform – will she make the same mistake as all the others?

As the author of 14 books about different aspects of #MentalWellness (stress, vigor, etc), including my latest (Mental Fitness) that was published about 2 months ago, I am encouraged that mental health is becoming a “thing” among celebrities and increasingly with the general public.

Here is a short story from CNN about Selena Gomez’s latest venture, Wondermind, that will be focused on “ending the stigma” around mental illness. 

This is a nice first step – hopefully to get people talking – but I hope she doesn’t make the SAME mistake that so many people do in thinking that “mental” issues are only “brain” issues.

As I write in Mental Fitness, how you feel is NOT just in your head (brain), but also in your gut (2nd brain) and heart (3rd brain) – and by optimizing your entire Gut-Heart-Brain-Axis, we can maximize our Mental Fitness.

This is why talk therapy, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, breath work, and the zillions of stress management apps are only “somewhat” helpful for most people. These typical approaches are merely the tip of the iceberg and maximizing mental fitness requires attention to optimizing the entire Gut-Heart-Brain-Axis.

If you want to feel your best and perform at your peak, then you need to be thinking about your gut first

Here is the article on CNN (and a text version pasted below) = https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/22/health/selena-gomez-wondermind-mental-health-wellness/index.html

Selena Gomez launches new media platform with a focus on mental health

By Megan Marples, CNN

November 22, 2021

(CNN) Talking about mental health is good for you, according to pop star, actor and producer Selena Gomez, and she’s determined to be the catalyst for positive change.

The “Ice Cream” singer announced the launch of her latest venture, Wondermind, a mental health platform focused on connecting people with educational resources and ending the stigma around mental illnesses.

She teamed up with her mother, Mandy Teefey, and The Newsette founder and CEO Daniella Pierson to create the media company, which is set to launch in February 2022.

Gomez hasn’t been shy when it comes to discussing her mental health publicly. She previously wrote for CNN about how she’s a “big advocate for social media detoxes” and therapy.

And she announced on Miley Cyrus’ Instagram show “Bright Minded” in April that she has bipolar disorder.

“I went to one of the best mental hospitals in America, McLean Hospital, and I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar,” Gomez said. “And so when I got to know more information, it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me once I know it.”

Her mother revealed being misdiagnosed for over 20 years with bipolar disorder that later turned out to be attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with trauma, according to the Wondermind website’s welcome video.

Pierson opened up in the video as well, saying she has dealt with obsessive compulsive disorder since she was a child. The three said they struggled to find a safe space online where they could engage with uplifting content about mental health on a daily basis. Enter Wondermind.

Daily commitment to mental health

The platform’s strategy centers around mental fitness, providing daily exercises people can do to strengthen their mental health.

They will be launching physical products as a part of that plan, beginning with a physical journal that will feature creative prompts, according to Wondermind spokesperson Meredith Sidman.

“Your mind is truly like a muscle, and to work on it every single day, it does require content and tools, and we’re so happy to deliver that to you all,” Pierson said in the video.

The site also hinted at the launch of a podcast that would be a platform for others to share their mental health challenges. Teefey will host the podcast and interview notable psychiatrists, athletes and celebrities, Sidman said.

“I’m so excited about Wondermind because I want there to be a place of people coming together and understanding that they’re not alone,” Gomez said in the video.

A slew of mental health advocates will share their expertise on the website, beginning with Minaa B., a licensed therapist in New York City, and John Kim, a licensed therapist and host of “The Angry Therapist” podcast.

Aside from Wondermind, Gomez’s cosmetics company, Rare Beauty, launched the Rare Impact Fund in July 2020 with a goal to raise $100 million over 10 years to fund mental health education. “With the Rare Impact Fund, we want to reduce the stigma associated with mental health, address the epidemic of chronic loneliness, and help give people access to the resources and services they need to support their mental well-being,” Gomez wrote for CNN.

Gut-Brain-Axis (GBX) and Your Mood

The Dr. Nandi Show is airing a shortened version of the original episode I was a guest on called The Gut Brain Connection – Could Your Stomach Be the Cause of Your Depression.

Please check your local listings for time and channel.  You can also look for stations on Dr. Nandi’s website:

The clip is also here on Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=262067121624870

How Stress Impacts Your Waistline

Here is a piece from todays Runner’s World (in honor of Stress Awareness Day), where I provide a few of my tips to balance stress (particularly as they relate to weight gain) – but one area that the writer neglected to include is proper Supplementation. 

We know that properly supplementing the Gut-Brain-Axis can reduce stress, lower cortisol, improve weight loss efforts, and enhance overall mental wellness (which I write about a lot on this blog and in my new book on Mental Fitness).

Read the text of the article below – or the original on the RW website at = https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/a38135318/how-stress-impacts-your-running/

How Stress Impacts Your Waistline

It’s National Stress Awareness Day (November 3). Here’s why runners need to be more aware than most of the ‘S’ word’s impact on physical and mental wellbeing



Modern life is stressful. A 2021 study found that one in 5 UK workers feel stressed more than 50 per cent of the time, while seven per cent feel stressed every day. Such levels of tension are particularly bad news if you’re also looking to improve as a runner.

From a physiological perspective, stress can not only affect how many calories you consume, but also hinder your ability to burn them. Stress can affect sleep, cause fatigue, compromise your form and endurance, and even put you at risk of injury.

Stress can dampen the immune system, too. In a study published in the journal Neuroimmunomodulation, the higher marathon trainees scored for factors such as anxiety and worry a month before their races, the worse off their immune systems were.

Your body under stress

When we’re stressed, our bodies perceive an imminent threat. In response, our glands release adrenaline and cortisol so we can fight or flee (hence the so-called fight-or-flight response). Cortisol tells the body to stockpile calories to contend with that threat and to store those calories where they’re most likely to stick: deep within the belly.

That’s why stress can rev up your appetite for sugary, fatty comfort foods – which deliver the biggest calorie punch per gram.

What’s more, overexposure to cortisol can cause your muscles to break down at a faster rate than they do when you’re not feeling stressed, according to Shawn Talbott, a nutritional biochemist who has completed more than 100 marathons and triathlons. When muscle breakdown is added to increased appetite and greater deposits of visceral belly fat, stress creates a ‘triple whammy’ for anyone looking to lose weight through running, Talbott says.

Recent research suggests that stress seems to worsen the effects of junk food. In a study published in 2014 in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, researchers found that highly stressed people who eat a lot of fatty, sugary foods were more prone to health risks than unstressed people who ate the same food. Another study indicates – according to the lead author Kirstin Aschbacher from the department of psychiatry at UCSF – that when people are stressed, fat cells might grow faster in response to junk food than when they’re not.

Here are some proven strategies you can use to stress less and protect your body from its most harmful effects.

Eat your fruit and vegetables

‘The more stress you’re under, the more varied your phytonutrient intake should be,’ says Talbott. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are known to have huge health benefits, but there’s also emerging evidence that they can help shield your body from stress-related damage, he adds. ‘The more you get, the more you’re going to protect yourself.’


It’s been proven to lower cortisol levels. Lack of sleep is ‘probably one of the most underappreciated stress triggers out there’, says Talbott. If you’re working out hard, trying to lose weight and hitting a plateau, one of the problems may be that you’re only getting six hours of sleep every night.

Be mindful

Research is now proving that mindfulness-based interventions for stress eating reduce both cortisol and visceral fat. A study published in Journal of Obesity found that increasing mindfulness and responsiveness to bodily sensations reduced anxiety, eating in response to external food cues and emotional eating. In the study, those who had the greatest reduction in stress lost the most fat.