Terrific Gluten-Free Cookbook coming out soon!How to Glow Gluten-Free

My friend Meg has a new gluten-free cookbook launching this weekend – check it out for some amazing recipes!

How to Glow Gluten-Free: Going Beyond the (GF) Food to Embrace a Journey of Abundance in a Diagnosis of Restriction eBook : Gerber, Megan: Kindle Store
— Read on http://www.amazon.com/How-Glow-Gluten-Free-Abundance-Restriction-ebook/dp/B0BJH51YGY/ref=kwrp_li_stl_nodl

Your Skin Has It’s Own Microbiome?!?!

Your skin has its own microbiome that needs to be nourished with the right nutrients.

Your skin also needs to maintain its network of connective tissue (collagen) and its immune system.

This video on Youtube covers several natural approaches to reducing glycation (which damages collagen), maintaining the diversity and resilience of your skin microbiome, and actively stimulating natural collagen production to support the Gut-Skin-Axis.

Here is the presentation on Facebook

Here are the slides that I used =

Celebrities Using Diabetes Drugs for Weight Loss?

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had a great article last week (Oct 12) that asked the question, “How a Diabetes Drug Became the Talk of Hollywood, Tech and the Hamptons” – and covered the issue of how Ozempic and other injections meant to treat chronic medical conditions are in high demand among elites looking to lose a little weight.

The original article is HERE

 Some people are calling it the “Hollywood Drug” – but I think they should call it the “Lazy Dipshit Drug” because you can actually get the same benefits (and avoid the long list of scary side effects) from a natural approach that balances the entire gut microbiome (so you lose fat while also maintaining muscle and improving your mood and motivation at the same time).

Here are some edited notes from the article:

  • Ozempic, which is taken by injection in the thigh, stomach or arm, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2017 to help lower blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes. 
  • One Ozempic injection pen typically lasts about a month and costs about $900 before insurance, though coverage can be hard to come by. 
  • The brand is not approved by the FDA for weight loss. 
  • But recently, Ozempic and other drugs of its kind have become the subject of conversations about weight loss, thinness and so-called biohacking in Hollywood, the tech industry and beyond.
  • Ozempic, made by Novo Nordisk A/S, is one of several brand-name drugs on the market containing an antidiabetic ingredient called semaglutide. 
  • Semaglutide stimulates insulin production and also targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite.
  • The FDA has approved semaglutide for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy, which Novo Nordisk sells at a higher price than its cousin Ozempic.
  • Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO who has more than 100 million followers on Twitter, tweeted this month that he was taking Wegovy in combination with fasting to lose weight.
  • In late September, Andy Cohen, the Bravo host and “Real Housewives” executive producer, tweeted: “Everyone is suddenly showing up 25 pounds lighter. What happens when they stop taking #Ozempic ?????” 
  • Ozempic and Wegovy belong to a new class of drugs, called GLP-1s, that some studies indicate may significantly reduce weight when combined with other lifestyle changes—at least in certain people.
  • Ozempic’s embrace among relatively healthy people isn’t supported by scientific evidence. 
  • Wegovy itself isn’t approved to treat all those seeking weight loss. The drug’s 2021 weight-loss approval was for people who are obese or overweight with a coexisting condition related to weight, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol. It is priced at $1,350 for a month’s supply, which includes four injection pens. (Novo Nordisk has also introduced a once-a-day semaglutide pill called Rybelsus. A 30-day supply, without insurance coverage, costs $850.) 
  • Cost might be one reason people seeking to lose weight are flocking to Ozempic, rather than Wegovy. Supplies might be another. Wegovy was on the market for barely six months before Novo Nordisk announced it was in short supply, in December 2021. 
  • Under the terms of their approvals, neither drug should be taken for casual weight loss.
  • Though Ozempic and Wegovy contain the same active ingredient, Novo Nordisk says they are not interchangeable due to differences in dosage amounts and escalation schedules for the drugs. Because the drugs are intended for people with chronic conditions, they are not meant to be used as short-term treatments and Novo Nordisk has specifically stated that they “don’t promote or suggest or encourage any off-label usage at all,” further noting that “we’re not looking at weight loss for cosmetic purposes or episodic weight loss for people who don’t fit those criteria from the FDA-approved label indications.” 
  • Doctors are generally able to prescribe medications off-label as they see fit, but it is important to note that the FDA approval (or clearance) of a medical product for one intended use does not assure its safety and effectiveness for other uses.
  • Ozempic and Wegovy are not the only new GLP-1s used off-label—some doctors say Mounjaro (from Eli Lilly), a different formula approved by the FDA in May for diabetes treatment, is also being prescribed for weight loss.
  • Some patients have developed pancreatitis while taking Wegovy or Mounjaro and had to come off the medications. Other side effects which are also listed on the labels for these drugs, include gastrointestinal issues such as gallbladder disease and nausea. Those with a family history of thyroid cancer are advised against taking the drug. 
  • While Ozempic’s website clearly states that it is “not a weight-loss drug” but may help those who take it lose weight, third-party companies are using its name to advertise virtual-weight loss programs and discounted prescriptions. People are turning to social media for tips about how to get the drug.
  • Some comments from people interviewed for the article:
    • “After she stopped taking Ozempic, she regained much of the weight she had lost”
    • “When you stop taking it, you lose that feeling of fullness, that benefit of not being as hungry” 
    • “And now your hunger signals and cues can become a lot stronger”

As I’ve written about in Mental Fitness, we can harness our microbiome to amplify the signals associated with better mood (neurotransmitters), weight loss (glucose/insulin, GLP-1, thyroid), and even beauty (the skin microbiome and the Gut-Skin-Axis).

Menopause and Mood?

Today is “World Menopause Day” (October 18) – which I mentioned to my 52-year-old wife this morning and she replied, “Oh Great!” (in her most sarcastic tone).

Not exactly the most dazzling of topics (many people are uncomfortable talking about this natural change of life), but a very important one to discuss – because there are so many effective natural options to help women not just “endure” menopause (hot flashes, night sweats, mood fluctuations, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, etc) – but to actually thrive thru menopause and into their later years. (and don’t forget about the men going through andropause – sometimes called “Man-o-Pause” – as their testosterone drops gradually from about age 30 to 60.

One of those natural options to help men and women to maintain their hormone balance and mood NATURALLY is Amare Ignite – one version for “HER” and another for “HIM”

World Menopause Day is held every year on the 18th October. The day was designated by the International Menopause Society (IMS) to raise awareness of the menopause and to support options to improve health and well-being for women in mid-life and beyond.

The theme for World Menopause Day 2022 is Cognition and Mood (including Brain Fog).

There is a nice White Paper published on some of the approaches to improving Quality of Life across the menopausal years – see the Figure below and the full paper HERE

Q’s & A’s from Amare Convention

We just wrapped two amazing days at the Amare Global Convention in Salt Lake City – where we launched 3 new products and heard from dozens of absolutely amazing speakers.

I got a bunch of questions from some of our leaders, so I thought I’d answer a few of them here…(and more to come…

Question: Sometimes you might “feel worse” before your “feel better” as you reset your microbiome and Gut-Brain-Axis – what’s up with that? You might even feel great at first – but then feel like maybe it’s “not working” any more – why is that? Answer

Question: Why does Amare have some organic ingredients in its products, but not “all” organic ingredients? Answer

Question: Synthetic versus Natural? Amare products are “all-natural” – or are they? Could there ever be any reason to use a synthetic ingredient? Is “natural” always better? Answer

Look Better + Feel Better with the Gut-Skin-Axis

Yesterday, Amare Global launched a innovative 2-step “inside/outside” approach to skin health – called DermaBiotics.

This is a very novel approach to supporting the skin microbiome (externally) and natural collagen production (internally) with a topical serum and an ingestible spray – an approach that helps you MAKE more of your own collagen – and PROTECT collagen from damage – and STRENGTHEN collagen by enhancing the natural collagen turnover process so your skin stays supple and resilient.

The topical serum helps to support the skin microbiome with 3 blends:

  • Bioactive Delivery Matrix – to help “deliver” the active ingredients to the deeper layers of the skin
  • Microbiome Nourishing Blend – to balance the environment (pH) of the skin and provide prebiotic nourishment to support the growth of “good” bacteria 
  • Collagen Support Blend – to protect collagen and improve skin smoothness, suppleness, and resilience.

Let me highlight the main ingredients in each of these new products…

Bioactive Delivery Matrix – some of these chemical names might sound scary and be difficult to pronounce, but each of them is actually extremely UN-scary and very safe. Each of them has scored among the SAFEST and LOWEST TOXICITY of all cosmetic ingredients by the Environmental Working Group (https://www.ewg.org) – a watchdog organization that rates the safety/toxicity of ingredients used in cosmetics and skincare products. EWG rates ingredients on a 1-10 scale, with 1-2 deemed “Low Hazard” (or “Best”); 3-6 deemed “Moderate Hazard”; and 7-10 deemed “High Hazard” (or “Worst”).

ALL of the ingredients in Amare’s Dermabiotics Serum fall into the BEST (safest) category. 

In the list below, the EWG score in in parentheses after each ingredient.

Coco-Caprylate/Caprate (1) is a mixture of esters of Coconut Alcohol with Caprylic Acid and Capric Acid. It functions as a “penetration enhancer” to enhance skin absorption of the active ingredients (1).

Phenoxyethanol (2) is a mild preservative used in cosmetics and personal care products to inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold. Its safety is based on what is known as “as used concentration” – meaning that higher levels are less safe and lower levels are more safe. In addition, when it is used in products intended for use around the eyes or mouth, then the safety is considered lower is basis of safety (you don’t want to put it in your eye or eat it, but when used topically in skin, it is quite safe. We use a very small amount because we don’t want to disrupt the skin microbiome.

Lauroyl lysine (1) is a derivative of lauric acid and lysine, a naturally occurring amino acid, that improves skin softness and smoothness.

Sea Water (1) is a skin-soothing mineral blend high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium and functions as an exfoliant and supports pore integrity.

Lecithin (1) is a naturally occurring lipid (fat) derived from soybeans that functions as a gentle emulsifier (to help the water and oil components of the serum to mix together).

Glycerin (1) is a naturally occurring alcohol compound and a component of many plant lipids (soybeans) that acts as a humectant (drawing water from the air into the skin) and moisturizer.

Ethylhexylglycerin (2) is a version of glycerin called a “glyceryl ether” that is used as a weak preservative and “skin conditioning” agent. At higher levels, it can cause eye irritation. High concentrations can also be used as surfactant/emulsifier and antibacterial (deodorant), whereas the lower levels that we use in the Dermabiotics Serum serve as a “skin conditioner” (softening/smoothing/moisturizing/humectant).

Citric acid (1) is an alpha-hydroxy “fruit acid” used to adjust skin acidity (the skin microbiome likes a slightly acidic environment). At high levels alpha-hydroxy acids can promote skin peeling and re-growth (as used in some anti-aging products) – but the amount used in our serum is a low concentration to support skin pH.

As you can see – all of the “delivery matrix” ingredient fall into EWG’s “Best/Safest” category. 

For comparison sake, consider that some other ingredients, like essential oils, that many people use topically (but please don’t consume them internally), can often be considered to be far more “toxic” (but like anything, the “dose makes the poison”):

  • Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil (6)
  • Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil (4)
  • Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil (2)

Microbiome Nourishing Blend

Lactococcus Ferment Lysate is a lysate of the fermentation product of Lactococcus bacteria. The fermentation process creates a wonderous collection of amino acids, fatty acids, polysaccharides, vitamins, minerals, and other bioactive nutrients that help to support the skin microbiome and the skin’s barrier integrity.

Prebiotic Fiber Blend:

  • Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide/fiber, a sugar-based polymer produced by a wide range of bacteria
  • Sclerotium Gum is a polysaccharide/fiber produced by the bacterium Sclerotium rolfssii.
  • Pullulan is a polysaccharide/fiber produced from starch by cultivating a specific yeast, Aureo-basidium-pullulans.

Collagen Support Blend

Linoleic/Linolenic Acid – Fortifies the skin’s shield and helps with moisture and plumpness

Hydrolyzed Soy Fiber – Helps retain moisture and revitalize skin elasticity, while soothing skin and maintaining microflora balance

Hyaluronic Acid – Maintains skin hydration/moisture content, promoting softness/smoothness, while decreasing the appearance of wrinkles, dry skin, and aging (non-animal/vegan, Kosher/Halal)

Silica – promotes collagen strength

Tocotrienols – Vitamin E blend – antioxidant protects skin cells from external damage and increases skin sebum/oil for moisturization

Superoxide Dismutase – Powerful natural antioxidant enzyme that reduces cellular stress to help nourish and soothe skin

Oral Spray – imagine being able to pump a few sprays of a yummy plant-based formula into your mouth to naturally stimulate your body’s own ability to make more of its own collagen? This would enable you to MAKE collagen without having to TAKE collagen (which is kind of a yucky animal-derived protein extracted from cow bones/hides – typically slaughterhouse leftovers).

I developed the world’s first mainstream collagen-support product way back in 1998 (Knox NutraJoint) – so I’m not “anti-collagen” (and a substantial portion of my PhD thesis involved collagen metabolism) – but because collagen peptides are derived from cow bones/hides (and also pig bones, fish bones and chicken cartilage), there is a bit of a “yuck factor” for vegans/vegetarians and for anyone who cares about where their nutrition comes from.

If you want to avoid having to “take” collagen as a supplement, then our new Dermabiotics Oral Spray is an innovative way to help your microbiome “make” more collagen that can be used to support skin health (elasticity, hydration, inflammation, etc). Make it – don’t take it!

However, if you have a collagen product that you like, then our new oral spray will help that collagen work even better – because after providing the amino acid and peptide building blocks for collagen synthesis (with the collagen supplement), the oral spray will enable your gut/microbiome to utilize those building blocks more efficiently for enhanced collagen production. Alternately, you could also provide these amino acid building blocks with a full-spectrum complete plant-based protein as an alternative to animal-derived collagen. Different strokes for different folks…

Moldavian Dragonhead (Dracocephalum moldavica) extract (aerial parts – sustainably sourced from farms in Moldova, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria)

  • High content of flavonoid glucuronides
  • In-vivo studies show a collagen-boosting effect preserving a youthful collagen expression and mass during aging
  • Uniquely activates collagen synthesis/support pathways (AMPK/FOXO) for wrinkles, hydration, elasticity, moisturization, tissue repair, etc (stimulates autophagy process for internal cellular repair/renewal)
    • AMPK activation = reduces glycation (like metformin)
    • FOXO activation = increases DNA repair and reduces oxidative stress
    • AMPK/FOXO = increased autophagy
  • In humans = significantly increased skin moisturization (14%) and elasticity (7%)
  • Flavored with organic Honey, organic Grapefruit extract and natural Strawberry flavor
  • Dracobelle brand was a Nutra Ingredients Asia 2022 Finalist “Beauty from Within”

Lactobacillus Sakei 65 Heat Treated Probiotic (Postbiotic) – lactic acid bacteria from fermented Korean Kimchi

  • Immune-modulating and inflammation-reducing strain with clinically tested efficacy on AD (Atopic Dermatitis)
  • Nourishes the Gut-Skin-Axis to optimize overall skin health and is studied to help with dermatitis, eczema, hydration, etc.

I hope that helps you understand the ingredients in this innovative inside/outside approach to supporting the Gut-Skin-Axis with our new Dermabiotics products.

We all know, that when we look better, then we also feel better – so this is how “The Mental Wellness Company” uses science and innovation to support beauty.

Skin Microbiome as a Predictor of Health and Aging

Just yesterday (October 12), one of the most prominent scientific journals (Nature Aging) published a very important new paper, “Associations of the skin, oral and gut microbiome with aging, frailty and infection risk reservoirs in older adults” – showing that the microbiome of the skin may play an important and under-appreciated role in predicting not only overall health, but also the trajectory of aging and the risk for frailty (note = “frailty” is described as a state of “decreased function and physiological reserves and increased risk of morbidity and mortality resulting from an accumulation of deficits” – also known as “unsuccessful” or “accelerated” aging.)

You can read the full paper HERE (fair warning – it is very complex, but also very interesting) and see some interesting excerpts highlighted below…

  • microbiome changes were not associated with chronological age so much as frailty
  • potential role particularly for the skin microbiome in disease risk 
  • The microbiome has mechanistic roles in virtually every dimension of human health overlapping considerably with aging, including cardiovascular health, cancer, infection risk and numerous other morbidities linked to metabolic and immune senescence.
  • A recent meta-analysis found that the skin microbiome was a better predictor of chronological age…
  • skin-specific patterns of pathogenicity reservoirs identified in this study may represent potential targets to improve or surveil the health of older adults.
  • Most surprising was that the broadest differences in functional and taxonomic features of older adults were found in the skin microbiota, with implications for skin, whole-body and public health.
  • attention to the skin as a potential beacon for general health. We propose a pattern characteristic of frail older adults; a Frailty-Associated Dysbiosis of the Skin (FADS)

Bottomline?

Supporting our skin microbiome is important for the obvious benefits of helping us “look better” (acne, wrinkles, skin tone, hydration, elasticity, etc).

Also obvious – if we feel that we look our best, we feel more confident, which supports our mental wellness and how we carry ourselves.

Less obvious, but as shown in this important new study, the skin microbiome can also be an important predictor of whole-body health and successful aging.

I think the “takeaway” from this new study is that optimizing ALL our microbiomes is important – the gut for certain benefits (like mental wellness and metabolism) – the skin for other benefits (like beauty and aging) – the vaginal microbiome for even other benefits (like delivering a healthy baby and preventing postpartum depression/anxiety) – and as the science progresses, we will learn more about harnessing the oral microbiome (for not only dental benefits, but also inflammation and Alzheimer’s risk), and the lung microbiome (for prevention of respiratory infections and improvement of sports performance) – and so much more!

We are in a new science-backed age of harnessing the power of the microbiome to improve every aspect of human health, well-being, and performance. Exciting!

What is Mental Wellness?

I had the great pleasure last week to be at the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii – where I got to meet and interact with people from all over the globe. I was there competing as part of the Executive Challenge, which brings together business leaders from around the world to compete, but also to connect and network and celebrate our families and friends who have supported us all year.

As we’re all meeting one another, we learn about where everyone is from; what they do for work; and how they arrived at Kona – so it was with great pleasure for me to describe what we’re doing at Amare Global – The Mental Wellness Company.

As you might imagine, this health-conscious population of executive athletes was quite interested in mental wellness (personally, as well as for their families and employees) and curious about our approach of harnessing the new science around the microbiome and Gut-Brain-Axis.

When I describe “what is mental wellness” to someone, I try to keep it short:

“It’s the ability to handle stress and feel good with mental, physical, and emotional balance.”

When I describe how we do that, I also keep it simple, explaining that:

“How we feel it not just in our head, but also in our gut – and by balancing our microbiome (gut bacteria) and their production of neurotransmitters, we can optimize how we feel and perform.”

The World Health Organization defines mental wellness as: “A state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” 

Let’s be honest, most people don’t feel great – they feel “fine” or just “OK” – and they don’t realize that there are effective natural approaches that can help them feel their best – what we call “flourishing” – and we can do that through the Gut-Brain-Axis.

If someone wants an even more detailed explanation about “what is mental wellness” then I’ll use this:

Having good Mental Wellness means that you’re energetic, optimistic, and resilient.

On a daily basis, it means that you can focus and get things done; that you can relax and sleep well; and when the “you know what” hits the fan, that you can rise to the occasion and solve the problem.

Mental Wellness is a natural, holistic, non-clinical approach to developing our internal resources to help us think, feel, connect, and thrive. 

As an active multi-dimensional process of moving from languishing to resilience to flourishing – focusing on Mental Wellness helps us move toward a deeper, richer, and more meaningful human experience.

It’s always good to keep in mind that simple idea that “how we feel is not just in our head – it’s also in our second brain – the gut” – because that reminds us that the state of our mind affects our body and vice versa.

On the eve of our Global Convention, I feel so fortunate to be part of world-leading company like Amare, that is harnessing the new science of the Microbiome and Gut-Brain-Axis, to deliver innovative natural products and lifestyle programs that allow people to create personalized approaches to help them and their families optimize their Mental Wellness.

The Road To (and From) Kona

What an amazing week or so – I was finally able to realize a long-time dream of completing the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii.

This is the “big one” in the world of triathlon – the top athletes – the lava fields – the heat and wind – the history…

When I was a young elite-level up-and-coming triathlete “back in the day” – I held a professional license and would qualify to compete at Kona on a nearly weekly basis. But in those days, I was also a starving student and couldn’t imagine being able to afford an expensive plane ticket to Hawaii – so I always passed my slot down to the next athlete.

As I got older and moved along in my career, I kept competing (though not at the elite-level) as a way to stay in shape physically and mentally. Racing triathlons became a family-affair and an “excuse” to travel to some amazing places for events in New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, and many more – but the qualification slot for Kona became very elusive. Now that I could afford to fly to Hawaii, I wasn’t fast enough to secure a qualification!

After 22 Iron-distance events, I finally secured a Kona slot through the Executive Challenge program at Ironman Chattanooga in 2019 – but then the worldwide COVID19 pandemic caused the cancellation of Kona in 2020 and 2021 – so 2022 was special in a lot of ways for a lot of people.

After over 3 years of training and waiting, it was simply magical to experience Kona in all its glory. We had great weather – hot as expected but not nearly as windy as it could have been. My objective going into the race was to ENJOY the entire experience. I have a habit of going too hard on the bike portion (my “best” event) and then struggling on the run – so this year, I wanted to follow a plan – enjoy the swim (and look at the reef fish), ride steady on the bike (and take in the lava field vistas), run conservatively (to avoid the death march), and offer support and encouragement to my fellow competitors (it can be a long day out there and every “atta boy” helps).

I’m happy to say that the day went 100% according to plan – I enjoyed the entire experience and came across the line with a smile on my face (a big part of that smile was having my wife of 28-years, Julie, there to greet me at the finish line – she has been my biggest supporter over all these years and there is no way that I could do any of the things that I do without her).

Everyone second-guesses their race – thinking about where they could have saved time (I spent about 30min in transitions and aid stations) – or where they could have gone faster (I probably could have pushed harder on the bike or run more of the uphills) – but at the end of the day, it’s whether the overall experience is a net-positive or a net-negative, and I have to say that Kona 2022 was hugely on the positive side for me.

I think that it is also important to look at triathlon as a metaphor for life – not just about your finish time on the clock – but more about the entire journey – with yourself mentally and physically – with your friends and family who support every aspect of your training – and ultimately with how having a hobby like this helps to enrich your life and the lives around you.

Thanks to everyone who followed me during the race (and before and after) – I could feel your good vibes pushing me along and lifting me up! Mahalo!

Best Supplements for Athletes?

I’m here in Kona Hawaii for the Ironman World Championships on Thursday and Saturday (when I race) – send me good vibes!!!

I’m frequently asked about what supplements I take – and/or what are the best supplements for athletes?

Here is a short video (6min) of what my favorite ‘athlete combo’ of Amare supplements would be…

MentaHeart 30min before workouts less than 1h and right before exercise for longer than 1h

Energy+ and Edge in water bottles

HempGBX before very long workouts over 2h (to help induce ‘flow’)

Post-workout – Relief and OmMega to control inflammation and Superfood to stimulate tissue repair (autophagy)

For executives and especially ‘executive athletes’ I would also recommend Fundamentals and Mood+ and possibly Sleep+ to help develop a foundation of resilience to help avoid burnout