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Gut-Brain Axis: Probiotics are the Missing Link to Depression

Science has finally caught up to what many of us have been trying to say for years: How you feel comes from your GUT. Restoring gut health must be part of your mental wellness program. If you or someone who know is suffering from depression, there is HOPE. And it could be a lot easier to overcome than you think.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

The information below is from the book This is your Brain on Parasites by Kathleen McAuliffe:

“In the gut, resident microbes take a share of every meal you eat, but in return they aid in digestion, synthesizing vitamins and disarming dangerous bacteria that you ingest. They also churn out virtually every major neurotransmitter that tunes our emotions – notably GAMA, dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and noradrenaline – as well as hormones with psychoactive properties.

“To varying degrees, scientists now suspect, intestinal microbes influence whether you’re happy or sad, anxious or calm, energetic or sluggish, and, by signaling the brain when you’ve had enough to eat, perhaps even whether you’re fat or thin.

The Gut-Brain Axis is real

“Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how gut bacteria get messages delivered to the distant output of the head, but they have a few ideas.

“Some psychoactive compounds made by gut bacteria, they believe, are detected by the enteric nervous system – a think skein of neurons that runs the entire length of the gut. This network has more neurons than the spinal cord – hence its nickname, “the second brain’ – and it connects to the big brain upstairs via the vagus nerve, a major route by which gut bacteria make their voices heard. Indeed, 90 percent of information transmitted by this cable goes from the viscera to the brain, not the other way around, as science for many years had assumed.

It’s not “in your head”…it’s in your GUT

“Intestinal bacteria may engage the immune system, which can lower our mood and energy level, yet another pathway by which our microbiota might change our behavior. Perhaps related to that observation, depressed people tend to have abnormally high amounts of certain gut bacteria, and they are more likely to have elevated biomarkers for inflammation – an immune-mediated response.

“Intriguingly, certain gastro-intestinal (GI) disturbances – notable ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – are marked by disruptions of the gut microbiome, and these illnesses are associated with an unusually high incidence of mental disturbance in comparison to serious diseases that afflict other parts of the body. Indeed, 50 to 80 percent of those who suffer from these conditions are clinically depressed.

“More surprising, specific abnormalities in the composition of the human microbiota have been linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – a condition characterized by increased anxiety, depression, and impaired social ability.

Could probiotics help millions of people who are debilitated by serious mood disorders?

“Clinical trials are now underway to test probiotics on people whose primary problem is anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. The results are not in yet, but studies of groups whose mental woes may originate in GI troubles offer encouragement. In one study of thirty-seven patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders (an umbrella term for irritable bowel syndrome and other common gastric complaints that can’t be tied to an underlying abnormality), for example, probiotic treatment not only improved their symptoms but also brought about a significant reduction in their depression and anxiety based on both self-reporting and measurements of stress markers in their saliva and urine. The outcome was impressive given that all of the subjects had previously been treated – without success – at multiple medical centers.

“A sprinkling of clinical investigations also suggest that probiotic remedies can soothe colicky babies, a condition that torments 20% of newborns along with their frazzled, sleep-deprived parents. In one trial, the approach reduced crying and fussing by 70 percent.

“Gathering evidence hints that supplements of healthy bacteria may help to buffer already high-functioning people against everyday stress and strains. For example, a randomized, double-blind trial in France on fifty-five people with no history of psychological disturbances found that regular consumption of a probiotic reduced blood levels of stress hormones and subjects’ ratings of their depression, anxiety, and ability to cope – improvements not seen in the control group.”

Probiotics can’t hurt and may help, so why NOT try?

With no harmful side effects, no damage to the hormonal system, metabolism or liver, no additive properties and no need for other supporting prescription medications, I cannot see any logical reason why NOT to take a daily probiotic. At the very least, you can add a probiotic to your daily regimen, even if you and your doctor decide to keep you on anti-depressants. With nothing to lose and so much to potentially gain, it’s a no-brainer (or an all-gutter!).

Even if you don’t suffer from clinical anxiety or depression, studies are showing that you can feel better too. Everyday stress can actually be reduced, just from taking good gut bacteria!

What type of probiotic to take

I recommend several types of probiotic. Taken together, they increase the chance of rebalancing the microbiome in the gut. Remember, it’s not just one type of good bacteria that you need. There are as many as a thousand different strains of good bacteria in a healthy gut.

Recommended probiotic daily schedule:

  • Morning – Take 1 Jarrow brand acidophilus capsule with or after breakfast
  • Lunch – Take 1 Garden of Life HSO probiotic tablet with or after lunch
  • At night before bed – Take 1 Udo bifidus capsule at night before bed

(Note: while traveling, it’s best to take only the Jarrow brand 3x daily because it’s easy to travel with, can be transported without refrigeration and it’s more convenient to have only one brand to carry. At home, increase your variety of bacterial strains in the gut by rotating between 3 different brands each day.)


For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval for Iridology Analysis.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!


More on Gut Health:

More on Motivation:

Gut-Brain Axis: Probiotics are the Missing Link to Depression

Science has finally caught up to what many of us have been trying to say for years: How you feel comes from your GUT. Restoring gut health must be part of your mental wellness program. If you or someone who know is suffering from depression, there is HOPE. And it could be a lot easier to overcome than you think.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

The information below is from the book This is your Brain on Parasites by Kathleen McAuliffe:

“In the gut, resident microbes take a share of every meal you eat, but in return they aid in digestion, synthesizing vitamins and disarming dangerous bacteria that you ingest. They also churn out virtually every major neurotransmitter that tunes our emotions – notably GAMA, dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and noradrenaline – as well as hormones with psychoactive properties.

“To varying degrees, scientists now suspect, intestinal microbes influence whether you’re happy or sad, anxious or calm, energetic or sluggish, and, by signaling the brain when you’ve had enough to eat, perhaps even whether you’re fat or thin.

The Gut-Brain Axis is real

“Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how gut bacteria get messages delivered to the distant output of the head, but they have a few ideas.

“Some psychoactive compounds made by gut bacteria, they believe, are detected by the enteric nervous system – a think skein of neurons that runs the entire length of the gut. This network has more neurons than the spinal cord – hence its nickname, “the second brain’ – and it connects to the big brain upstairs via the vagus nerve, a major route by which gut bacteria make their voices heard. Indeed, 90 percent of information transmitted by this cable goes from the viscera to the brain, not the other way around, as science for many years had assumed.

It’s not “in your head”…it’s in your GUT

“Intestinal bacteria may engage the immune system, which can lower our mood and energy level, yet another pathway by which our microbiota might change our behavior. Perhaps related to that observation, depressed people tend to have abnormally high amounts of certain gut bacteria, and they are more likely to have elevated biomarkers for inflammation – an immune-mediated response.

“Intriguingly, certain gastro-intestinal (GI) disturbances – notable ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – are marked by disruptions of the gut microbiome, and these illnesses are associated with an unusually high incidence of mental disturbance in comparison to serious diseases that afflict other parts of the body. Indeed, 50 to 80 percent of those who suffer from these conditions are clinically depressed.

“More surprising, specific abnormalities in the composition of the human microbiota have been linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – a condition characterized by increased anxiety, depression, and impaired social ability.

Could probiotics help millions of people who are debilitated by serious mood disorders?

“Clinical trials are now underway to test probiotics on people whose primary problem is anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. The results are not in yet, but studies of groups whose mental woes may originate in GI troubles offer encouragement. In one study of thirty-seven patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders (an umbrella term for irritable bowel syndrome and other common gastric complaints that can’t be tied to an underlying abnormality), for example, probiotic treatment not only improved their symptoms but also brought about a significant reduction in their depression and anxiety based on both self-reporting and measurements of stress markers in their saliva and urine. The outcome was impressive given that all of the subjects had previously been treated – without success – at multiple medical centers.

“A sprinkling of clinical investigations also suggest that probiotic remedies can soothe colicky babies, a condition that torments 20% of newborns along with their frazzled, sleep-deprived parents. In one trial, the approach reduced crying and fussing by 70 percent.

“Gathering evidence hints that supplements of healthy bacteria may help to buffer already high-functioning people against everyday stress and strains. For example, a randomized, double-blind trial in France on fifty-five people with no history of psychological disturbances found that regular consumption of a probiotic reduced blood levels of stress hormones and subjects’ ratings of their depression, anxiety, and ability to cope – improvements not seen in the control group.”

Probiotics can’t hurt and may help, so why NOT try?

With no harmful side effects, no damage to the hormonal system, metabolism or liver, no additive properties and no need for other supporting prescription medications, I cannot see any logical reason why NOT to take a daily probiotic. At the very least, you can add a probiotic to your daily regimen, even if you and your doctor decide to keep you on anti-depressants. With nothing to lose and so much to potentially gain, it’s a no-brainer (or an all-gutter!).

Even if you don’t suffer from clinical anxiety or depression, studies are showing that you can feel better too. Everyday stress can actually be reduced, just from taking good gut bacteria!

What type of probiotic to take

I recommend several types of probiotic. Taken together, they increase the chance of rebalancing the microbiome in the gut. Remember, it’s not just one type of good bacteria that you need. There are as many as a thousand different strains of good bacteria in a healthy gut.

Recommended probiotic daily schedule:

  • Morning – Take 1 Jarrow brand acidophilus capsule with or after breakfast
  • Lunch – Take 1 Garden of Life HSO probiotic tablet with or after lunch
  • At night before bed – Take 1 Udo bifidus capsule at night before bed

(Note: while traveling, it’s best to take only the Jarrow brand 3x daily because it’s easy to travel with, can be transported without refrigeration and it’s more convenient to have only one brand to carry. At home, increase your variety of bacterial strains in the gut by rotating between 3 different brands each day.)


For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval for Iridology Analysis.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!


More on Gut Health:

More on Motivation:

Is your Olive Oil fake or “cut” with inferior oils? Check this list!

Quality of food is one of the the most important factors in determining the quality of your health. If you’re using extra virgin olive oil for better heart health, clear skin, healthy gallbladder & liver and to avoid genetically modified oils such as canola oil or high heated rancid vegetable oils, that’s great! But, what if your olive oil really isn’t olive oil at all?! What is the brand you buy has unbeknownst to you been “cut” with sunflower, safflower or canola oil, then mixed with perfumes and green dye to look and taste like olive oil? Your liver/gallbladder flush detox will absolutely not work if your extra virgin olive oil wasn’t actually olive oil. Also, for anyone with food allergies, and especially anyone with sunflower seed or sesame seed allergies, it’s absolutely critical to not eat an adulterated olive oil. If you have irritable bowel syndrome or any type of inflammatory bowel disease, then you definitely want to avoid fake olive oils, especially since other cheap oils can create more inflammation in the gut (and the rest of the body too, including arthritis and gout). Not to mention trigger major brain fog too! Scroll down to check the list of unsafe olive oils vs. safe brands you can trust.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only. 
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition. 

Learn how to make sure what you are buying is what you are getting with your olive oil!

More than 2/3 of olive oil imported into the USA is NOT olive oil!

A University of California Davis (UCD) study found that most olive oil imported into the United States fails to meet the international criteria for “extra virgin.”

The study found that 73 percent of 134 samples of the five top selling imported extra virgin olive oil brands failed the International Olive Council (IOC) sensory standards based on the results of two IOC-accredited sensory panels.

Sensory defects are signs that the oil samples were oxidized, of poor quality or adulterated with cheaper refined olive oil.

An earlier UCD study released in 2010 found that 69 percent of samples of imported olive oils labeled as extra virgin and sold in California failed to meet international extra virgin standards since the oils were too old, poorly made and/or adulterated.

How can you know if your olive oil is REAL or FAKE?

Don’t be a victim to the olive oil fraud. Check your brand against the UC Davis study results below:

These brands FAILED THE TEST to meet extra-virgin olive oil standards:

  • Bertolli
  • Whole Foods
  • Felippo Berio
  • Carapelli
  • Mezzetta
  • Pompeian
  • Mazola
  • Primadonna
  • Colavita
  • Sasso
  • Antica Badia
  • Star
  • Safeway
  • Coricelli

These brands PASSED THE TEST and met the standards for extra virgin olive oil:

  • Lucero
  • McEvoy Ranch Organic
  • Corto Olive
  • Omaggio
  • Bariani Olive Oil
  • California Olive Ranch
  • Lucini
  • Ottavio
  • Cobram Estate
  • Olea Estates
  • Kirkland Organic

Did you notice that the beloved Whole Foods brand FAILED the test? This is just to emphasize that you cannot simply trust in a company with good branding and nice advertising and believe that what they are selling is ok. (For more on this read my article called Why I don’t buy 90% of the “food” at Whole Foods.)

Personally, I buy California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This brand, while not organic, does not give me any of the side effects that I can feel when being “hit” with canola oil (extreme fatigue, bloating/gas, brain fog for 4-6 hours after), it tastes good, smells good and it’s in the Passed the Test list. While not organic, it’s at least what I call a “safe” food. They also have the Non-GMO project verified logo on the label which I always look for when buying a non-organic food. I can find this brand at most normal supermarkets where I live in North Carolina.

Why would companies sell cheap alternatives that are dyed and perfumed to taste like olive oil?

The olive oil industry is BOOMING. We’re talking billions of dollars every year. And there just aren’t enough olives grown to keep up with demand. In fact, tampering with olive oil to make more money is not a new scam. Even the Romans were known to have done it!

How else can you check your olive oil to know if it’s safe?

In his book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller, there is one thing he wrote that really stuck with me. He said: If you are paying LESS than $10 a liter for your extra virgin olive oil, then it’s not olive oil. That book was published in 2012 so I could reasonably estimate the number to be even higher today! In short, you get what you pay for with olive oil. Don’t settle for less, because your health is so much more valuable and important than anything else!

How to choose good Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Here are a few more tips from Tom Mueller’s book Extra Virginity that can help you navigate the deceptive olive oil market:

  1. Look for olive oil with a “best by” date, or better yet..a date of harvest. Try to buy oils from this year’s harvest. “Best by” date is usually 2 years after an oil was bottled, so if you see a date that is 2 years away, the oil in more likely to be fresh.
  2. Phrases like “packed in Italy” or “bottled” in Italy do not mean that an oil was made in Italy, or even made with Italian olives. Generally speaking, avoid oils where a precise point of production – a specific mill – is not specified on the label.
  3. Don’t pay attention to the color of an oil. Good oils come in all shades, from vivid green to gold to pale straw. Both in flavor and aroma, genuine extra virgin olive oils have a marked fruitiness reminiscent of fresh olives, and typically some level of bitterness and pepperiness.
  4. Choose dark glass bottles over other containers that protect against light, and buy a quantity that you will use fairly quickly. Even an excellent oil can rapidly go rancid when left sitting under a half-bottle or air.
  5. Make sure that your oil is labeled “extra virgin,” since other categories – “pure” or “light” oil, “olive oil,” not to mention “olive pomace oil” – have undergone chemical refinement which strips away olive flavors and many of the oil’s health benefits.
  6. Finally, remember: If you are paying LESS than $10 a liter for your extra virgin olive oil, then it’s NOT olive oil.

How to Eat Clean: Start with Green Smoothies!

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens and many delicious combos without any chemical additives, flavorings or refined sugar. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health.

When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!


For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval for Iridology Analysis.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!


More on Food Labels:

More on Food Additives and Food Allergies:

More on Genetically Engineering Foods:

Fasting shown to reduce inflammation: Research from Yale University

If you’ve ever done a fast before, you’ve seen for yourself how quickly inflammation is reduced. In just a matter of days, you can see rashes disappear, puffiness going down, joints moving easily without pain, brain fog clearing, eyes brighter and blood sugar levels stabilizing. Well, finally…scientists are proving it!

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

Reduce Inflammation

“Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have found that a compound produced by the body when dieting or fasting can block a part of the immune system involved in several inflammatory disorders such as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

In their study, published in the Feb. 16 online issue of Nature Medicine, the researchers described how the compound β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) directly inhibits NLRP3, which is part of a complex set of proteins called the inflammasome. The inflammasome drives the inflammatory response in several disorders including autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, and autoinflammatory disorders.

“These findings are important because endogenous metabolites like BHB that block the NLRP3 inflammasome could be relevant against many inflammatory diseases, including those where there are mutations in the NLRP3 genes,” said Vishwa Deep Dixit, professor in the Section of Comparative Medicine at Yale School of Medicine.

BHB is a metabolite produced by the body in response to fasting, high-intensity exercise, caloric restriction, or consumption of the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet. Dixit said it is well known that fasting and calorie restriction reduces inflammation in the body, but it was unclear how immune cells adapt to reduced availability of glucose and if they can respond to metabolites produced from fat oxidation.”
(Source: Anti-inflammatory mechanism of dieting and fasting revealed, Yale School of Medicine)

When I did a 40-day water fast a few years back, I had the privilege to experience this phenomena first-hand. Water fasting means to drink only water, in the same way that juice fasting means to drink only fresh juice. Only water is consumed during the fast. No food is eaten. Natural Hygienists agree that having small amounts of fresh lemon or lime in the water is ok; however in that water fast, I didn’t do that. Two years later I did a 25-day water fast in Vilcabamba, Ecuador and in that fast, I did drink fresh herbal teas like mint, sage and parsley and also added lemon to the water for the first week. After that, I went straight to water. In both fasts, I experienced a profound reduction of inflammation and a deep sense of healing, both physical and spiritual.

Even 1 day per week of fasting can greatly help to reduce inflammation.

If you’re interested in learning more about water fasting, check out my eBook: A Comprehensive Guide to Water Fasting. This book is immediately downloadable in either .pdf or .epub format:

Water Fasting

Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician. Read full disclaimer here.