CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the Mind/Microbiome

Great to see Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, highlighting two of the important pillars of health that Amare is focused on improving – the MIND and the MICROBIOME.

Amare Global (The Mental Wellness Company) is the first and only company focusing on the important intersection of the mind/body – helping people to improve their Mental Wellness (mood, motivation, energy, focus, etc) by naturally balancing the microbiome and Gut-Brain-Axis.

In his “Resolutions for making 2022 a better, healthier year” ( Dr. Gupta highlights two important areas: “Pandemic-proof your Body” and “Pandemic-proof your Mind” – here are some excerpts…

Under “Pandemic-proof your Body” – he writes…

Instead of dieting to lose weight, resolve to eat right to boost your immune system. What does that mean? Scientists have learned that about 80% of your immunity lies with your gut microbiome — the trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other organisms that reside inside your intestines and play a key role in digestion, nutrition and immunity (among other vital activities.) Food is one of the clearest and quickest messages you send your body on a daily basis, a signal to those trillions of micro-organisms that stand at the ready.

While developing and maintaining a healthy microbiome is not going to inoculate you from Covid-19, it’ll lower your risk of getting severe disease. 

You might also notice other health benefits, too, like I did. A scientist friend I speak with regularly recommended I keep a detailed food journal along with a few items that I wanted to measure, like mood, creativity, willingness to work and exercise.

Under “Pandemic-proof your Mind” he writes…

It will come as no surprise to learn that mental health problems went up during the last couple of years, including among kids. Take the time to address any issues you might be experiencing, to avoid adding insult to an already difficult time.

One important way to do that is by maintaining our bonds to one another. We humans are social by nature and we thrive when we are connected. Ironically, it took the pandemic to remind us it’s not just a luxury to be social, it’s a necessity — even as it stole from us the very contact we need to flourish. So take time to reach out to family, friends and colleagues to cultivate and nurture relationships. Even a brief but positive exchange with a random stranger, like a smile on the street, can have lasting effects and ripple outward.

Surgeon General Warns of Youth Mental Health Crisis

Earlier this week, the Surgeon General issued a report on the Youth Mental Health Crisis.

This is an important step to get people talking even more about the many effective approaches for improving Mental Wellness. Unfortunately, the report fails to highlight some of the safe, effective, and readily-available steps that we can all take RIGHT NOW to improve our Mental Wellness – such as eating better and supplementing appropriately. 

Eating fewer ultra-processed chemical bombs (what I call “food-like substances”) is one approach. These foods destroy our gut microbiome, impair gut integrity, and lead to metabolic problems (weight gain), cognitive problems (dementia), and psychological problems (low mental wellness).

Eating more whole “less processed” foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other plants is another approach. These foods provide fibers and phytonutrients that nourish our gut microbiome, improve gut health and signaling across the Gut-Brain-Axis, and ultimately improve our Mental Wellness.

Yet another approach is to supplement your diet with targeted probiotic bacteria, prebiotic fiber, and phytobiotic nutrients to optimize your Mental Wellness. At Amare Global (, we have been helping thousands of customers to eat better, move more, improve sleep, and restore their gut health with targeted nutrition products that help kids, teens, and adults to improve their Mental Wellness.

Highlighted version below with my NOTES…

Original article (Dec 7, 2021 by Matt Richtel) here =

The coronavirus pandemic intensified a rise in adolescent depression, anxiety and mental health distress that was underway before the spring of 2020.

Mental health issues were rising in the United States even before the pandemic began, with emergency room visits related to depression, anxiety and similar conditions up 28 percent between 2011 and 2015.

The United States surgeon general on Tuesday warned that young people are facing “devastating” mental health effects as a result of the challenges experienced by their generation, including the coronavirus pandemic.

The message came as part of a rare public advisory from the nation’s top physician, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, in a 53-page report noting that the pandemic intensified mental health issues that were already widespread by the spring of 2020.

The report cited significant increases in self-reports of depression and anxiety along with more emergency room visits for mental health issues. In the United States, emergency room visits for suicide attempts rose 51 percent for adolescent girls in early 2021 as compared to the same period in 2019. The figure rose 4 percent for boys.

Globally, symptoms of anxiety and depression doubled during the pandemic, the report noted. But mental health issues were already on the rise in the United States, with emergency room visits related to depression, anxiety and similar conditions up 28 percent between 2011 and 2015.

The reasons are complex and not yet definitive. Adolescent brain chemistry and relationships with friends and family play a role, the report noted, as does a fast-paced media culture, which can leave some young minds feeling helpless.

“Young people are bombarded with messages through the media and popular culture that erode their sense of self-worth — telling them they are not good-looking enough, popular enough, smart enough or rich enough,” Dr. Murthy wrote in the report. “That comes as progress on legitimate, and distressing, issues like climate change, income inequality, racial injustice, the opioid epidemic and gun violence feels too slow.”

The surgeon general’s advisory adds to a growing number of calls for attention and action around adolescent mental health. In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association joined to declare “a national emergency” in youth mental health.

Although blame for adolescent distress is often pinned on social media, screen time alone does not account for the crisis, many researchers say. Rather, social media and other online activities act more to amplify an adolescent’s existing mental state, causing some young people to feel more distress and others to experience enhanced feelings of connection.

Bonnie Nagel, a pediatric neuropsychologist at Oregon Health & Science University who treats and studies adolescents, said that online interactions appear not to satisfy core needs for connection. And recent research by her and her colleagues found that the feeling of loneliness is a key predictor for depression and suicidal ideation.

“I don’t think it is genuine human connection when talking to somebody with a fake facade online,” Dr. Nagel said.

Moreover, screen time may be displacing activities known to be vital to physical and mental health, including sleep, exercise and in-person activity, research shows. The current generation of adolescents express heightened levels of loneliness — more than any other age group — despite spending countless hours connected over media.

Authorities and scientists widely acknowledge that there has been insufficient research into the underlying causes. “There’s a real dearth of scientists in this area just as there is a real dearth of clinicians,” said Dr. Joshua Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, in a recent interview. “Parents can’t get care for their kids.”

Across the country in a variety of settings — rural and urban, richer and poorer — there is a shortage of specialists who can assess conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression and eating disorders. In May, Children’s Hospital Colorado declared its first ever state of emergency for pediatric mental health, citing emergency rooms “flooded” with young people struggling with suicidal ideation and other issues.

Researchers have hypothesized that the pandemic intensified stress on young people, in part by isolating them during a period of their lives when social connection is vital for healthy development. But the pandemic does not tell the full story. In 2019, a group of U.S. lawmakers issued a report, “Ring the Alarm,” focusing on a suicide crisis among Black adolescents, a group that historically has seen relatively low rates of suicide.

Some statistics, like the increase in suicides and emergency room visits, are stark and undeniable. But accurately measuring the scale of the mental health threat faced by young people and adults, scientists say, is made difficult by the fact that such issues are more openly discussed and assessed than in the past. An increase in self-reports of depression and anxiety may be a reliable indicator of the crisis, or it may be that earlier generations also felt distressed but lacked the popular language to describe their emotions.

“The question is whether it’s new or we’re medicalizing it,” Dr. Gordon said. “Those are the kinds of answers it’s really, really hard to get.”

Dr. Murthy’s advisory calls for more resources to be devoted to understanding and addressing mental health challenges, and it urges a greater appreciation of mental health as a key factor in overall health.

“This is a moment to demand change,” the report concludes.

Are you concerned for your teen? If you worry that your teen might be experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, there are a few things you can do to help. Dr. Christine Moutier, the chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suggests these steps:

  • Look for changes. Notice shifts in sleeping and eating habits in your teen, as well as any issues he or she might be having at school, such as slipping grades.
  • Watch for angry outbursts, mood swings and a loss of interest in activities they used to love.
  • Stay attuned to their social media posts as well.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. If you notice something unusual, start a conversation. But your child might not want to talk. In that case, offer him or her help in finding a trusted person to share their struggles with instead.
  • Seek out professional support. A child who expresses suicidal thoughts may benefit from a mental health evaluation and treatment. You can start by speaking with your child’s pediatrician or a mental health professional.
  • In an emergency: If you have immediate concern for your child’s safety, do not leave him or her alone. Call a suicide prevention lifeline. Lock up any potentially lethal objects. Children who are actively trying to harm themselves should be taken to the closest emergency room.

Resources If you’re worried about someone in your life and don’t know how to help, these resources can offer guidance:

1. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

2. The Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741 

3. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Heart-Brain-Axis and Mental Fitness

I’ve written a lot about the fascinating relationship between our heart (3rd brain) and how we feel and perform mentally (typically thought of as exclusively “head brain” issues).

Our group has shown how specific nutrients can improve both heart health (physical performance), brain health (cognitive performance), and mental health (psychological performance) – you can read some of the details here and here.

The HeartMath Institute has a very nice video here that illustrates the link between our heart brain and our head brain across the Heart-Brain-Axis.

Bifidobacterium breve CCFM1025 Attenuates Major Depression Disorder via Regulating Gut Microbiome and Tryptophan Metabolism: A Randomized Clinical Trial – ScienceDirect

Bifidobacterium breve CCFM1025 Attenuates Major Depression Disorder via Regulating Gut Microbiome and Tryptophan Metabolism: A Randomized Clinical Trial


CCFM1025 attenuates psychiatric and gastrointestinal abnormalities of MDD patients.

CCFM1025 can regulate the host’s serotonergic system.

CCFM1025 caused slight perturbation on the patients’ gut microbial composition.

CCFM1025 significantly changed the gut microbiome’s tryptophan metabolism.

Psychobiotics, as a novel class of probiotics mainly acting on the gut-brain axis, have shown promising prospects in treating psychiatric disorders. Bifidobacterium breve CCFM1025 was validated to have an antidepressant-like effect in mice. This study aims to assess its psychotropic potential in managing major depression disorder (MDD) and unravel the underlying mechanisms.

Clinical Trial Registration: (identifier: NO. ChiCTR2100046321). Patients (n=45) diagnosed with MDD were randomly assigned to the Placebo (n=25) and CCFM1025 (n=20) groups. The freeze-dried CCFM1025 in a dose of viable bacteria of 1010 CFU was given to MDD patients daily for four weeks, while the placebo group was given maltodextrin. Changes from baseline in psychometric and gastrointestinal symptoms were evaluated using Hamilton Depression Rating scale-24 Items (HDRS-24), Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), and Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS). Serum measures were also determined, i.e., cortisol, TNF-α, and IL-β. Serotonin turnover in the circulation, gut microbiome composition, and tryptophan metabolites were further investigated for clarifying the probiotics’ mechanisms of action.

CCFM1025 showed a better antidepressant-like effect than placebo, based on the HDRS-24 (placebo: M=6.44, SD=5.44; CCFM1025: M=10.40, SD=6.85; t(43)=2.163, P=0.036, d=0.640) and MADRS (placebo: M=4.92, SD=7.15; CCFM1025: M=9.60, SD=7.37; t(43)=2.152, P=0.037, d=0.645) evaluation. The factor analysis of BPRS and GSRS suggested that patients’ emotional and gastrointestinal problems may be affected by the serotonergic system. Specifically, CCFM1025 could significantly and to a larger extend reduce the serum serotonin turnover compared with the placebo (placebo: M=-0.01, SD=0.41; CCFM1025: M=0.27, SD=0.40; t(43)=2.267, P=0.029, d=0.681). It may be due to changes in gut microbiome and gut tryptophan metabolism under the probiotic treatment, such as changes in alpha diversity, tryptophan, and indoles derivatives.

B. breve CCFM1025 is a promising candidate psychobiotic strain that attenuates depression and associated gastrointestinal disorders. The mechanisms may be relevant to the changes in the gut microbiome and tryptophan metabolism. These findings support the future clinical applications of psychobiotics in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Graphical abstract
A previously isolated psychobiotic strain, Bifidobacterium breve CCFM1025, is tested for psychotropic potential in major depression disorder patients. A four-week CCFM1025 intervention significantly attenuates the psychiatric and gastrointestinal abnormalities, and the mechanisms may involve the regulations on the serotonergic system and gut microbiome’s tryptophan metabolism.

— Read on