Last Call for Energy Drink Prototype

Just about a year ago, many of you helped me raise money to rebuild a school in Madagascar. Together, we were successful in raising enough to fund not only the rebuilding of the school, but also a teacher’s salary plus books and school supplies – and we did all of this just as the coronavirus pandemic was starting to spread around the globe.

As part of the fundraiser, I sent a “thank you case” of my prototype “energy drink” to anyone who donated $100 (60 servings = $1.67/serving) – and I asked for feedback on what people thought of the drink. On average, that version was deemed to be highly energizing (everyone loved how it made them feel), but perhaps “too sweet” for some people? A handful of people even thought that the formula was “too potent” at the suggested 4-ounce serving size (including 100mg of caffeine) – so they dialed things down by using only 2-ounces at a time?

Based on this feedback, I have a new (better!) version coming out with Amare Global in the next month or two. This new version uses a somewhat different blend of natural ingredients (from 3 continents – Asia, Africa, and North America) – so we can deliver a very noticeable boost in mood, motivation, and metabolism – without using caffeine and without having to “over-sweeten” to cover the bitter-tasting actives. I am super-excited for this new formula, which goes far beyond anything that exists in either the “energy” or “weight” categories – it really is a new way to optimize mental and physical performance at the high end of the mental wellness continuum.

All that said, I still have some remaining lab samples of the previous prototype – so if you liked the earlier version, let me know. Same deal as before ($100/case), but since the KickStarter campaign is concluded, you can just donate to either PayPal ( or Venmo (@DocTalbott). Unfortunately, when these final samples are gone, they’re gone (but the new version will launch with Amare in a few weeks).

I’m hoping that global travel opens up in 2021 – because how cool would it be to join me on my next visit to Madagascar – or to some of our ingredient farms in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, or North/South America (every continent besides Antarctica)!?!? I’m hoping to run a contest or two in 2021 to enable people to join us to see where our ingredients come from, how they’re harvested, and how we support the local people and economy – so stay tuned for news about that (subscribe for updates below)!

Microbiome and Aging

Yet another interesting article outlining the many ways in which the human microbiome governs so many aspects of human health – in this case, the aging process.

Gut microbiota and aging

Zongxin Ling, Xia Liu, Yiwen Cheng, Xiumei Yan & Shaochang Wu (2020) 

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1867054


Aging is characterized by the functional decline of tissues and organs and increased risk of aging-associated disorders, which pose major societal challenges and are a public health priority. Despite extensive human genetics studies, limited progress has been made linking genetics with aging. There is a growing realization that the altered assembly, structure and dynamics of the gut microbiota actively participate in the aging process. Age-related microbial dysbiosis is involved in reshaping immune responses during aging, which manifest as immunosenescence (insufficiency) and inflammaging (over-reaction) that accompany many age-associated enteric and extraenteric diseases. The gut microbiota can be regulated, suggesting a potential target for aging interventions. This review summarizes recent findings on the physiological succession of gut microbiota across the life-cycle, the roles and mechanisms of gut microbiota in healthy aging, alterations of gut microbiota and aging-associated diseases, and the gut microbiota-targeted anti-aging strategies.

Getting “Unstuck” in 2021

If 2020 has left you “stuck in a rut” (like it has for literally millions of people across the country), then please join me tonight at 6pm PST for a discussion about how to get “unstuck” – whether that be with your motivation, your energy levels, your weight, whatever.

This isn’t about “rah rah” happy thinking – it’s about SCIENCE (specifically nutritional biochemistry and nutritional psychology) – and more importantly, how we can USE the new science around gut health, your microbiome, and the Gut-Brain-Heart-Axis to get you moving in the right direction again.

Maybe you’re stuck because of stress (there was plenty of that to go around in 2020 – and more to come in at least the first part of 2021)?

Maybe you’re stuck because of hormones (both pregnancy and menopause are associated with the topics that we will discuss tonight)?

Maybe you’re stuck because of food intolerances or environmental “toxins” (which can include antibiotics, air pollution, pesticides, etc)?

Getting UNSTUCK means that your daytime fatigue is replaced with abundant physical energy and mental focus.

Getting UNSTUCK means that your metabolism starts to move again – and you lose body fat without “exercising” any harder or “dieting” any more strictly.

Getting UNSTUCK means that your chronic stress is more manageable because your resilience is enhanced – allowing you to show up to any given situation and take care of business.

Streaming live on Facebook ( and Zoom ( – password “amare”

Subscribe for updates at: (blog)

What do you want in 2021?

Please join me tonight at 6pm PST for a discussion about New Year Resolutions.

Streaming live on Facebook ( and Zoom ( – password “amare”

I’ll be discussing the following topics – and answering questions…

Why (most) New Year’s Resolutions Fail?

What is a better approach?

Why Mental Wellness will be a 2021 focus for millions of people? (stress, fitness, finances)

Subscribe for updates at: (blog)

2021 is the Year of Mental Wellness

Nice article in Fast Company – outlining why the #1 trend for 2021 will be “home-based health & wellness” businesses.

Jan 1 will be the start of a new decade – and one that I think will be focused on Mental Wellness – with people finally getting a handle on their stress, mood, focus, and ability to use mental fitness to fuel their physical performance.

There is no physical health without mental wellness…

11.26.20 | WORK LIFE

3 reasons why 2021 will be the best time to start a business

Today, amidst all that is happening in our country and the world, is the best time to launch a business.

For one, I fundamentally believe there’s never really a “wrong” time to start a business. Either way, you’re going to face challenges. Either way, you’re going to have to deal with some level of competition. So instead of waiting for the perfect time, you might as well dive right in.

But more concretely, the economy right now is fertile ground for entrepreneurs and business owners. Interest rates are as low as they’re ever going to get. Millions of people are looking for jobs, which means labor markets are abundant. The rise of “working from home” has opened a larger pool of talent to choose from when hiring. And most importantly, major industries are showing their vulnerabilities—which means opportunity for entrepreneurs savvy enough to invent new, compelling solutions.

There are a handful of trends that have emerged over the past year that will certainly begin to accelerate as we head into 2021. For one, as we get closer to creating a vaccine for the coronavirus, there will be a massive amount of pent-up demand for consumers who have been waiting to travel, go to concerts and sporting events, and even just get back to shopping in retail stores and dining at their favorite restaurants. At the same time, some of these other trends like remote work and leaner workforces I believe will also continue to accelerate—so finding ways to capitalize on both will be crucial for entrepreneurs.

Whether you’re looking to launch a new product or start a business in the near future, these are the three big trends I would encourage you to keep a close eye on in 2021.

1. The rise of at-home health products and remote wellness

Health and wellness products are certainly going through a major push right now.

Over the past year, I have talked to dozens of entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries: supplements, at-home genetic illness analysis, testing, home fitness, you name it. All of these businesses have quintupled in revenue in the last six months. And while I do believe this growth will most likely deflate a little bit initially after there’s a COVID-19 vaccine, I also foresee this trend roaring back with even more sophisticated products not long after.

For example, just in the at-home fitness market, sales of dumbbells and weight plates on eBay increased around 1,500% this year compared to 2019. Private-label vitamin and mineral supplement sales jumped 1,286% compared to a year ago. And according to CNBC and a study done by consulting firm Bain & Company back in May, “Only about 3% to 4% of grocery spending in the U.S. was online before the pandemic, but that’s surged to 10% to 15%.”

If there’s one thing the coronavirus really showed society as a whole, it’s that many of the ways we thought to take care of ourselves (going to the gym, going to the grocery store, etc.) can, in some way, also be done at home. I don’t believe after COVID-19 the everyday person will stop leaving their house and only want to work out at home and have their groceries delivered. But more and more, people have certainly found it to be a convenient alternative on certain days when they need it.

2. The diversification of supply chains

Many businesses outsource manufacturing to other countries: China and Mexico being two of the most common. But depending on how trade wars continue between America and these other countries will heavily impact many businesses here in the states.

That said, there has also been tremendous innovation and investment around manufacturing automation. And so, depending on the product, price point, and consumer base you’re targeting, it could begin to make sense to manufacture here in the United States as opposed to outsourcing those efforts to another country. You can also control all parts of your process a lot more easily than if you were to do so overseas. For example:

Less lag time

Can receive just-in-time inventory

Less strain on company cash flow

The trend that is emerging is that more and more entrepreneurs are beginning to realize how risky it is to have their entire business reliant on one supply chain, or one manufacturing partner. If something happens politically, or even just with their partner in the business, all of a sudden they’re in a tough situation. So, if you’re launching a new product or venture, I would strongly encourage you to at least have other supply chain options at your disposal and know what the possible implications would be if something were to go wrong.

3. The acceleration of e-commerce

E-commerce is quickly establishing itself to be the best and easiest way to launch a product and/or business.

From a testing point of view, it’s much more effective to engage and gather feedback from customers online than if you were to try to do something similar as a brick-and-mortar type of business. Facebook and Google remain the easiest ways to market to broad customers and also end up leading to the highest margins—because you end up owning the relationships you have with your customers directly (as opposed to someone walking into a store, buying a product, and leaving).

That said, I believe it’s important for businesses to maintain as much control over the shopping experience as possible. I would try to stay away from third-party ecommerce sites—including Amazon. A year ago, Amazon was driving 95% of our ecommerce sales here at Hydros. But at a certain point, we realized how much we were leaving on the table by building a business on their platform instead of driving customers to our own website, and actually capturing their information. We pivoted, and today Amazon represents 0.5% of our sales. It’s more of a marketing tool than anything else.

The reality is, the coronavirus has severely impacted both retail and mom-and-pop style businesses. Many have either pivoted to ecommerce, or gone out of business. I am still a believer in retail, and I think long term the category will come back and thrive in new, exciting ways.

But especially for entrepreneurs looking to launch a new product or venture in the world today, you are far better off starting online and then pursuing any kind of brick-and-mortar distribution later on down the road.

Winston Ibrahim is the founder and CEO of Hydros.

This article originally appeared in Minutes and is reprinted with permission.

Mood and Your Microbiome (WSJ)

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a very nice article yesterday (Dec 21) about the “unexpectedly huge role” that our gut bacteria (microbiome) play in our well-being.

You can read the original article here and see my highlighted version below.

You can also join me TONIGHT at 6pm PST for a discussion about this article, the future of mental wellness, and how you can naturally manage your own microbiome to improve how you feel mentally (mood, stress, energy, focus) and how you perform physically (exercise, metabolism, weight).

 Streaming live on Facebook ( and Zoom ( – password for Zoom is “amare”

At Amare, we have been helping people to naturally improve their mental wellness by modulating their microbiome through lifestyle interventions including “programs” (diet, movement, mindfulness), and “products” (targeted supplements including specific strains of probiotic bacteria, prebiotic fibers, and “phytobiotic” plant extracts). Our research has been peer-reviewed and presented/published dozens of times since our launch in 2018.

Here is the text of the WSJ article with my highlights:

Feeling Depressed? Bacteria in Your Gut May Be to Blame

New studies point to the trillions of organisms in the human microbiome as playing an unexpectedly huge role in our well-being

Scientists are exploring evidence that major depression may in part be a gut feeling, orchestrated by the microbiome—trillions of microorganisms living in and around our bodies, which influence our health and well-being.

In a series of studies, researchers are discovering that the microbial menagerie living in our digestive tract may help regulate brain function, including mental health. Recent findings by scientists in the U.S., Europe and China are linking our feelings of stress, anxiety and severe depression to disturbances among hundreds of microbe species living in our gut that some researchers have started calling the psychobiome.

Conversely, other bacteria in the gut appear to produce some of the same substances used by doctors to treat depression and may naturally play a role in maintaining our emotional balance.

“The feeling of malaise, if you will, is often associated with gastrointestinal disorders,” said microbiologist Jack Gilbert at the University of California, San Diego and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who helped pioneer the study of the human gut microbiome. It is “chemically altering nerve signals going into the brain, which alter brain chemistry and therefore behavior, mood and, we believe, depression and anxiety.”

As evidence, some scientists have been able to infect mice and rats with mental disorders, including depression and anxiety, by transplanting stool samples, which contain gut microbes, from human patients into laboratory animals, several recent studies show. “When you give these mice the microbes from depression, they begin to behave in a depressive-like way,” said psychiatrist Julio Licinio at State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. These behavior changes in mice affect such things as appetite, weight gain and activities like swimming. Dr. Licinio studies the biology of depression and helped design some of the experiments. “It’s actually transmissible,” he said.

Until now, though, no one has been able to single out specific species of microbes linked to a mental illness. This month, an international research team for the first time identified dozens of species of gut microbes involved in depression by comparing patients diagnosed with the disorder to healthy people. These 47 species are a tiny fraction of the gut’s microbial diversity, which includes other single-celled organisms, thousands of virus species and fungi.

The new research by neuroscientist Peng Xie at China’s First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University and colleagues reveals a potential mechanism for a mental illness that affects an estimated 350 million people world-wide, several experts said. The research was published in the journal Science Advances.

Scientists are rushing to discover how such microbes interact with the human central nervous system, what signals they send to the brain and how that alters a person’s behavior or risk of mental illness, in hopes of new treatments and diets for maladies of the mind.

“The big race is on to understand what role all these play in various brain diseases,” said Emeran Mayer, a medical psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles who studies the brain and gut microbiome and has written “The Mind-Gut Connection.” He adds, “if you already have genetic risk factors for Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s or major depression, this is a factor that could push it over the edge into a disease.”

Not so many years ago, the only microbes that attracted medical attention were germs that caused infections and diseases. But indiscriminate use of antibiotics and other sanitation measures eliminated the harm that bacteria cause at the expense of the protection they can provide. Unintended health consequences ranged from increases in liver disease, Type 2 diabetes and asthma to preterm birth and antibiotic-associated diarrhea, according to a 2019 review in the Journal of Experimental Medicine and many other microbiology studies.

During the past decade, advances in low-cost, high-speed gene sequencing machines allowed researchers to study millions of microorganisms that normally can’t be grown in a laboratory. In these studies, researchers can determine whether genetic material belongs to bacteria though a biomarker called the 16s ribosomal RNA gene, which turns up only in microbes. As a result, the study of the microbiome is one of the hottest new fields in medicine, with more than 15,000 scientific papers published last year alone. “There is a lot of excitement in the field of psychiatry now about this,” said John Cryan at the University College Cork in Ireland, who studies the microbiome and the neurobiology of stress.

Microbiologists calculate that the human gut contains more than 100 trillion microorganisms. Together they weigh about 5 pounds—about as much as a big mango and slightly more than the human brain, according to the European Society for Neurogastroenterology and Motility.

Moreover, where the human genome carries some 22,000 protein-coding genes, researchers estimate that the human microbiome contributes some eight million unique protein-coding genes, or 360 times more bacterial genes than human genes, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Human Microbiome Project.

These microbes appear especially adaptable to changes in the environment, diet and the biochemistry of emotion. While no one yet knows exactly why, patients with various psychiatric disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and autism-spectrum disorder have significant disruptions in the composition of their gut microbiome.

The microbes appear to be in almost constant communication with the brain directly by affecting nerve signals and indirectly through chemicals absorbed into the bloodstream, said Dr. Gilbert, who also is scientific adviser for a small microbiome company called Holobiome in Cambridge, Mass., that seeks new ways to treat depression, insomnia and other ailments.

Some common gut bacteria, for example, help generate neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which affects neural activity related to mood and memory. It’s commonly used to treat depression. Others make an amino acid called gamma-aminobutyric acid that naturally blocks some brain signals. It’s used in medication to relieve anxiety and improve mood.

“The bacteria are hijacking parts of systems within the body that we know are affecting emotional regulation,” Dr. Cryan said. “This has led us to the idea that by targeting microbes in the gut, we can have behavioral effects that are going to have impact on overall well-being.

Give the Gift of Energy

Please join me tonight at 6pm PST for a discussion about how to increase “energy” levels going into the New Year. Streaming live on Facebook ( and Zoom (

By “energy” – I mean the you can naturally improve…

Physical energy (motivation)

Mental energy (focus)

Mental awareness (engagement)

Selling Our Farm

Sort of a bittersweet time – we are selling our 20-acre farm in Lisbon, Ohio.

Lisbon is a quiet little farming community that reminds me a lot of how Vermont “used to be” – with rolling hills, wildlife, and lots of peace and quiet. Lisbon is about 60min Southeast of Akron; 45min West of Pittsburgh; and 35min South of Youngstown.

We have owned the property for about 15 years and during that time have raised cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, and vegetables (including hunting deer and pheasants). There are bald eagles and grey herons that regularly visit the creek that runs along the lower field.

It’s a magical place that we are not visiting very often since my mother passed in April – so we’re hoping that someone else will enjoy it as much as we have. Take a look here.

Amare Live – Tonight!

Please join me and the rest of the Amare Global team for a quick (45min) overview of how Amare is leading the Mental Wellness Revolution by helping people reduce stress, improve mood, increase energy levels, sharpen focus, and optimize their mental wellness.

If you want to feel and perform your best, please join us at 5pm PST at

The Most Wonderful (Stressful) Time of the Year!

Please join me tonight at 6pm PST for a discussion about STRESS – and how we can reduce tension and improve mental wellness using a range of natural science-based approaches.

I’ll be talking about how to use your entire Gut-Heart-Brain-Axis to reduce stress and improve resilience across the entire Mental Wellness Continuum from Mental Health – to Mental Wellness – to Mental Fitness.

Join via Facebook Live ( or Zoom ( Password on Zoom is “amare”