Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vigor paper published in Progress in Nutrition Journal

Lots of people have been asking me about the new manuscript on Vigor published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Progress in Nutrition (Volume 12 - April 2010). The title of the paper is, “Ancient wisdom meets modern ailment – traditional Asian medicine improves psychological Vigor in stressed subjects.”

As you can see from the title, “Ancient wisdom meets modern ailment” - the general idea of the publication is to highlight the fact that ancient practitioners of traditional medicine used natural approaches to solving health problems - and that we can use that ancient wisdom about herbs and nutrients to counteract some of today’s most debilitating conditions (such as chronic stress, Burnout, low mood, fatigue, mental fog, and many others).

The scientific journal, Progress in Nutrition, is a peer-reviewed journal from an Italian publisher that specializes in producing “proceedings” from scientific meetings. I was asked to submit this one on Vigor after delivering an invited presentation on “Traditional Medicine as Modern Dietary Supplements” that I gave at a scientific conference in Hong Kong.

This issue of the Progress in Nutrition journal features the proceedings from the 4th International Symposium on Functional Foods entitled, “New Horizons in Chinese Medicines & Health Foods” that took place at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (sort of like China’s version of MIT) on October 29-30, 2009.

It was interesting to participate in the Symposium with a broad range of Western scientists and Eastern herbalists. Just as I was speaking about the Western concept of “Vigor” – other scientists were speaking about the Eastern concept of Qi (“life force” – pronounced “Chee”) – and we were both speaking about the SAME concept and using some of the SAME natural approaches to restore Vigor/Qi in the face of various types of stress.

In my presentation and in the Progress in Nutrition manuscript, I outlined some of the early studies on the herbal formula that would eventually become Eleviv – so you will see the very same blend of Eurycoma, Citrus peel, and Green tea noted in the Methods section of the paper.

The text of the summary/abstract appears below. A PDF of the publication can be downloaded (for free) and a color reprint of the Progress in Nutrition article can be purchased in the “Vigor Media” section of

If you’re looking for more information about psychological Vigor, my new book entitled, “Vigor – 7 days to Unlimited Energy, Focus, and Well-Being” (400 pages, including dozens of individual experiences) is available at (all profits to support Operation Smile charity).

I hope you enjoy the manuscript and I hope you will share it with others so that more of us can enjoy the high state of Vigor that we all want.

Summary/Abstract (Progress in Nutrition, Volume 12 (April 2010)

Background: Chronic stress plays a major role in the pathophysiology of many disease states, particularly psychological disorders including depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and burnout. These stress-related changes in psychology may be due to both endocrine and behavioral factors – and may be mediated or attenuated by lifestyle factors including diet, exercise, and dietary supplements. Vigor is defined as a 3-tiered sustained mood-state that is characterized by (1) physical energy, (2) mental acuity, and (3) cognitive liveliness. Vigor can also be described as the opposite of “Burnout” (physical fatigue, mental exhaustion, and cognitive weariness). Objective: Our objective was to assess changes in Vigor, Mood State, and Metabolic Hormone Profile (cortisol and testosterone balance) in response to a modest lifestyle intervention including a dietary supplement based on traditional Asian medicine and including Eurycoma longifolia root, Citrus sinensis peel, and Camellia sinensis leaf – each of which is used in traditional Asian medicine to improve “life force” and well-being in fatigued individuals. Methods: We report on 82 subjects – all displaying moderate levels of psychological stress. We measured endocrine parameters [salivary cortisol to testosterone, (C:T) ratio)], and Global Mood State (MOOD) and related subscales: Vigor (V), Fatigue (F), and Depression (D), using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) psychological survey before and after the supplementation intervention. Subjects followed a supplementation periods of either 8-weeks or 12-weeks. Each intervention included recommendations to follow a balanced diet, moderate exercise, and daily supplementation. Results: Compared to pre-supplementation values, post-supplementation measurements indicated significant changes for C:T ratio (-15-19%), MOOD (+20-22%), Vigor (+27-29%), Fatigue (-41-48%), and Depression (-40-52%). Conclusion: These data indicate that factors that are typically disrupted during periods of chronic stress (metabolic hormone profile and psychological mood state) may be positively and significantly impacted by modest changes in diet, exercise and supplementation patterns that mirror those commonly used in traditional Asian medicine.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Anti-Aging Nutrients?

We get a lot of questions at about supplements for “anti-aging” benefits. Here is a short bit of correspondence that I had with a journalist writing a story on “anti-aging nutrients” - hope you find it interesting...

Hi Wxxx - hope you are well...

Here are some comments for your article on anti-aging supplements, please let me know if you need any further details...

I have written a book focused on aging of the skin - which highlighted the 4 areas (“pillars”) of biochemistry that must be balanced to slow the effects of aging ( - which are:

1. Oxidation (caused by free radicals and controlled by antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins C/E, thiols, carotenoids, and flavonoids)

-Flavonoids in particular are potent antioxidant nutrients because their chemical structure provides multiple active sites to help fight numerous free radicals simultaneously - great dietary sources are tea (catchins), apples (quercetin), berries (anthocyanidin), and citrus (PMFs).

2. Inflammation (caused by an imbalance between inflammatory/antiinflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines and controlled by antiinflammatory types of fatty acids, turmeric, xanthones, etc)

-Eating more fatty fish or supplementing with fish oil provides an antiinflammatory dose of omega-3 fatty acids that can help reset your inflammatory balance. Other good sources of antiinflammatory nutrients are flax seed (omega-3), mangosteen (xanthones), and turmeric (curcumin). 

3. Blood sugar (too much glucose in the blood will “age” tissues prematurely by a process called glycation - so you want to keep blood sugar from getting too high - or fluctuating too much)

-Eating “whole” grains and limiting refined carbs helps control sugar fluctuations, as does combining any carbs with balanced amounts of protein/fat/fiber. Specific nutrients for controlling blood sugar include flavonoids, gymnema, bitter melon, PMFs, and many others.

4. Stress hormones (too much cortisol exposure leads to increased blood sugar and increased inflammation - so controlling cortisol also controls inflammation and blood sugar).

-Any type of stress, but especially the low-grade chronic stress that most of us experience on a daily basis from work, traffic, deadlines, bills, etc tends to result in cortisol overexposure (as well as a drop in testosterone - in women as well as men) and thus lead to fatigue and depression. That same cortisol overexposure also interferes with blood sugar control and with inflammation/oxidation - so getting a handle on stress and on stress hormones is essential for good health. Some nutrients that help rebalance stress hormone exposure include theanine, eurycoma, citrus PMFs, and green tea.

These are just a few suggestions - but I’m happy to expand on them in greater detail if you still need info for your article - just let me know...

All best,



Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D.

Nutritional Biochemist and Author

NEW BOOK - “Vigor - 7 Days to Unlimited Energy, Focus, and Well-Being” (


Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on LinkedIn

Follow me on Facebook

-Killer at Large - an award-winning documentary exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic  (

-The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens) -

-Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection - The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) -

-Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living (Chronicle Publishers - Currant Books)

-The Cortisol Connection - Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) -

-The Cortisol Connection Diet - The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) -

-A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements - an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press) -