Tag Archives: immunity

Build Your Oxytocin Reserve to RESET

This little known and misunderstood hormone could be the missing link in balancing runaway cortisol levels. I’m really excited to dive into telling you about this secret hormone superpower, but first, let’s review… 


In my last blog, I talked about how elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol could take a hit on your gut and immune health. While I focused on those two areas, elevated cortisol levels can also sabotage weight loss, your mood, increase your risk for diabetes, and erode your overall well-being.


In the short-term, when you experience an acute stress, cortisol works in your favor. The problem happens when this hormone stays “on” when it really should be off. That’s when the repercussions can have serious effects on the gut, immune system, and your peace of mind


I left you with 10 ways to manage cortisol levels in that last blog. Today, I’m going to show you the most important way you can put a checkmate on that hormone.


Boosting your oxytocin levels is your secret weapon to dial down cortisol and help you maintain a sense of calm, even during these crazy times. 


 The last few months have been rough for us all. If you’re like most everyone I know, you need a healthy dose of “feel-good” emotions to give you a respite from the constant stress. That’s where oxytocin comes in. Many of you are walking around with diminished oxytocin release, without even knowing it


However, what you do know is you feel like life has lost its joy for you. The days drag, and you feel like it’s a struggle to make it to the finish line. You think there’s something terribly wrong with you, but all you need is a healthy dose of the “love” hormone. I call oxytocin the “cuddling and connect hormone,” and it’s very important for your sense of life satisfaction. 


The good news is that even if you’re feeling anxious or stressed out right now, you can build more oxytocin. And it’s the one time I’ll tell you that you can be “naughty” doing so. These strategies are actually fun to implement (including a three-letter word…. Hint, hint), and you will feel its effects immediately. 


Let’s start first by diving into what and how…


Oxytocin is essential for your gut, immune and overall health.


What is Oxytocin?

Researchers have traced the development of oxytocin back at least 400 million years. The hormone played a role in helping our ancestors survive. Oxytocin fosters healthy brain development at birth. Over time, a healthy brain contributes to things that humans need for survival: Social sensitivity, complex thinking, and language. As a child develops, oxytocin provides nutrition in the form of human milk. That bond between mother and child, supported by oxytocin, supports emotional and intellectual development as well as selective attachment. This allows a child to develop skills that he or she will use throughout life, including social behavior and emotional health. As the child grows up, oxytocin supports growth during development, resilience, and healing. All of these things help the child thrive and be resilient throughout life.1 


Oxytocin can help you better manage strong emotions such as stress and anxiety, while promoting a feeling of calm and peace. 


Your body produces oxytocin naturally. This tiny molecule of a hormone, produced in your hypothalamus, then stored and secreted by the pituitary gland, acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. When you release oxytocin, you protect your body from being bombarded with stress hormones, like cortisol. Think of oxytocin as the hormonal equivalent of a feel-good movie, a meaningful hug from a friend, a warm towel after a shower, or cuddling up in a blanket on a cold winter day. This is your ahhh hormone that keeps you calm and collected.


“If you ever experience burnout, emotional disconnection, or withdrawal from things and people you love, it is probably due to cortisol knocking oxytocin down”, says Dr. Anna Cabeca in The Hormone Fix. Thankfully, oxytocin helps counterbalance cortisol’s negative effects.”


You’ve probably experienced the calming, peaceful effects of oxytocin, even if you didn’t recognize that this hormone was at work at the time. Maybe you felt moved by music or recognized a pleasant smell? Go back to that moment. Do you remember the feeling inside? Immediately, you felt relaxed. Your levels of anxiety or stress went down. You felt safe in that environment, and maybe even a deep sense of camaraderie with the people you were with. That’s the benefit of oxytocin, and you can tap into it right now!


Mother nature is wise — the body releases oxytocin whenever you need to feel connected with someone else. 


And who’s the most important person that should connect with you when we’re born? 


Your mom!


From the moment you were born, you felt the effects of this hormone: Moms release oxytocin during childbirth and breastfeeding. Oxytocin fosters a bond between mother and child, earning it the title “the hormone of labor.”


Over the past 100 years, though, scientists have found that oxytocin plays a role in many other functions including sexual activity, social bonding, and managing stress. “The hormone of labor during the course of the last 100 years has had multiple orgasms to be the hormone of love,” write Navneet Magon and Sanjay Kalra. “Many more shall be seen in the times to come!”2



Oxytocin and Mood Disorders

If you’re feeling stressed out or anxious –– and who isn’t these days? –– oxytocin can rescue you and help you manage these uncomfortable feelings. And this is based on science. Research shows that oxytocin can lower stress and anxiety


When the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) responds to stress by releasing cortisol, as I talked about in my last blog, oxytocin can help keep that response from getting out of hand.3 One example of the measurable physiological effects of oxytocin is lowering blood pressure.4 When something triggers anxiety or stress, oxytocin is released in specific brain regions that help manage the response to dial down those mood imbalances. Researchers are better understanding how oxytocin and oxytocin-receptor genes can help improve stress- and anxiety-related conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder. 


One animal study looked at how physical activity impacted oxytocin and its effects on anxiety and empathy levels. (I’ll talk more about empathy in a minute.) Male and female mice ran in wheel cages for six weeks. Researchers measured their empathy and anxiety levels, followed by brain and blood oxytocin levels. Exercise improved empathy-like behavior and lowered anxiety in all the mice.5 Boosting oxytocin levels helps lower anxiety and stress while helping you better empathize with those around you. Talk about a win-win during these turbulent times!


Are you with me so far?



Oxytocin: The Love Hormone

Oxytocin plays a big role in social behavior. When you feel inclined to help, share, donate, or volunteer, that’s oxytocin at work. As humans, we really couldn’t have survived without this hormone.6 


Hugging, kissing, cuddling, and sex increase the production of oxytocin, strengthening the bonds between adults. 


Have you felt that feeling of “being in love”? That’s the feeling of oxytocin. Studies have shown that people who fall in love have higher levels of oxytocin compared with single folks. Even better, they continued to have that amazing feeling six months later!7  


But don’t despair if you’re not in a relationship or in love. There are plenty of other ways to elevate your oxytocin production. Even during these social distancing times, you can give a loved one a hug or gently touch their arm. These gestures of human touch can immediately raise oxytocin levels in you as well as the recipient of your touch.


Sex also stimulates the release of this hormone.  Along with other hormones like dopamine and prolactin, the body releases oxytocin when you orgasm. This is the same kind of rush you get when you listen to your favorite music or (I’m not encouraging this!) do drugs.8  And guys, it also helps with erections — thus why they are 90% mental and 10% physical. 


For the record, increasing your levels of oxytocin won’t instantaneously make you trust or fall in love with someone. You can’t magically fix a bad relationship, suddenly empathize with someone you don’t know, or feel more trusting just by increasing oxytocin levels. You have to actually know someone and feel something about them to get the feel-good benefits of this hormone. But for people who you already know and care about — your significant other, your friends and colleagues, your family — 


Oxytocin can improve feelings of love, contentment, security, and trust.


Boosting-Benefits of Oxytocin

There are a lot of other benefits of maintaining healthy amounts of oxytocin secretion that are worth discussing. Here are my top 4:

[1] Weight loss. Studies show that sufficient amounts of this hormone can help you manage your appetite so you lose weight.9 When you feel content and calm, you’re less likely to overeat or grab something sugary to calm you down. Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can also lead to weight gain. Sufficient amounts of oxytocin can balance out the effects of cortisol, nudging the scales in your favor.

[2] Better sleep. Studies have shown that oxytocin can help you sleep better.10 This makes sense, considering how this hormone balances out cortisol and helps you feel more calm. Remember that you’re also releasing oxytocin when you orgasm or have sex. If you’ve ever drifted off to deep, restorative sleep almost immediately after sex, you can thank oxytocin!

[3] Gut health. Oxytocin can increase the release of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in cells that line the intestine. This helps to protect the intestine and repair intestinal injury in conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).11

[4] A stronger immune system. Among its immune-supporting benefits, oxytocin can:

  • Inhibit inflammation that, left unchecked, can weaken the immune system
  • Exert an antimicrobial-like effect to fight pathogens that create infection
  • Promote wound healing and regeneration
  • Suppress stress-associated immune disorders12 


So I hope now you get why oxytocin is so important and can benefit you. Increasing levels of this hormone can instantly boost your mood. You feel more connected with other people and more intimate with your partner. Your immune system becomes stronger, you sleep better, and you can even hit your goal weight with more oxytocin. In short, you want plenty of this hormone sticking around!



Gratitude is an Oxytocin-Boosting Attitude 

One of the most effective ways to increase oxytocin is by cultivating gratitude. In one study, researchers examined how gratitude impacted oxytocin levels in 69 heterosexual couples. 


Researchers asked each participant to choose something specific that the partner did for him or her that fostered gratitude. The recipient took up to five minutes to thank their partner for that action. They then noted their reactions to the interaction in private online questionnaires. The interaction and self-report were repeated with the second partner. 


In other words, each participant in the study participated in two interactions: One in which he or she expressed gratitude, and one in which he or she received an expression of gratitude. Participants in this study said that they felt more loving when they cultivated gratitude. The positive emotion that gratitude creates can strengthen a relationship in the short term and over time.13


The good news is that you don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to foster gratitude, and you can practice this with anyone. 


Writing thank you cards, calling someone who means a lot to you, and keeping a journal are great ways to cultivate gratitude. You might even consider a gratitude buddy, where you each text or email each other three things you feel grateful for every morning and evening. Once you start feeling the effects of gratitude, it becomes contagious!


11 Effective Ways to Boost Oxytocin

Like other brain chemicals, oxytocin is very sensitive to moment-by-moment changes. In other words, you can increase the levels of oxytocin by making a few simple choices during any moment of your day. The more your body releases oxytocin, the easier it becomes to release this hormone consistently. Here are 11 ways to do that.


[1] Really listen. The greatest gift you can give someone is to be fully present and really listen to what the other person is saying. “When listening to another person, don’t just listen with your mind, listen with your whole body,” says Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now. You make the other person feel cared for, which boosts oxytocin levels in you both. Watch their face and listen to what he or she is telling you. Listen with your eyes and your complete body. 

[2] Have fun. We could all incorporate more fun into our lives. Having fun includes doing more things that you love and bring joy into your life. Rent a feel-good movie, go see a comedy show, play charades or have a park stroll with your best friend. Laughter and maintaining a playful attitude can help lower cortisol levels and improve oxytocin.

[3] Give a gift. When you give something –– a donation to your favorite charity, a handwritten card –– without expecting anything in return, you do get something back: A big oxytocin boost. Try it for yourself, with no strings attached, and see what happens. 

[4] Serve a meal. Creating a healthy, delicious meal and sharing it with others can increase oxytocin levels. These weekend breakfast tacos make an easy, delicious brunch item you can share with your friends and that everyone is sure to enjoy.  

[5] Do yoga. One study looked at 15 people with schizophrenia, which often involves social difficulties, and how yoga might increase oxytocin levels. After one month, yoga had improved how participants recognize emotions and how they function socially. They also had increased levels of oxytocin.14 Even a few minutes of asanas (yoga poses) can help here. You can find great yoga poses for an easy at-home routine in Happy Gut.

[6] Meditate. Mindfulness meditation is a great way to boost oxytocin. Meditation might sound like a daunting or loaded term, but you really only need a few minutes to get its many benefits. Even being fully present when you do simple tasks like washing the dishes can bring you joy and increase oxytocin levels. You’ll find a simple meditation technique here.

[7] Get a massage. Human touch is therapeutic, and one of the best ways to experience that is with a massage. One study found that just 15 minutes of moderate-pressure massage on the upper back could raise oxytocin levels.15

[8] Hug someone. Human touch raises oxytocin. When you hug someone, you release oxytocin. If they aren’t a hugger, telling your friends, colleagues, and significant other that you love them can also boost oxytocin levels.

[9] Playing with your dog. If you own a dog, petting him or her can also release oxytocin. If you don’t own one, visit a friend who does or offer to dog sit. Cats can increase oxytocin too, but petting them too much may overstimulate them, causing them to bite or scratch and increasing your cortisol levels!

[10] Do something a little scary. You might not have expected this one! Moderately stressful activities such as riding a roller coaster or jumping out of an airplane can increase oxytocin levels. If you’re a single rider, you might make a bond with the person next to you on a rollercoaster.16

[11] Fix your gut. If you want more oxytocin, start by focusing on the gut. Studies have shown that gut bacteria –– more specifically, the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri –– can increase oxytocin levels and support immune responses. The right balance of healthy gut flora can benefit a wide variety of conditions, including mental health and metabolism.17 


We’re still learning about how oxytocin can help improve conditions such as anxiety, aggression, stress, and the fear response. Researchers are exploring how using intranasal oxytocin, for instance, might be a potential treatment for anxiety and depressive disorders.18 While you can use synthetic oxytocin, the body makes this hormone naturally. Why not make more on your own with these strategies? 


One of the best ways to restore gut balance and optimize levels of oxytocin is to take a probiotic supplement


When you have the right gut flora — an abundance and diversity of good gut bacteria — you support immune health, balanced hormones, optimal energy levels, and an overall sense of well-being. 


I’ve combined a high-quality probiotic supplement with other gut support in my brand new HAPPY GUT® RESET: 7 Day Detox. This program creates a clean start to balance hormones, lose weight, and feel better now that the summer season is here. 


Detoxification is an overused term, but what I am referring to here is giving the liver all the nutrients it needs to process and eliminate harmful toxins from the body. With detoxification, think of the liver as a factory with two shifts. 


PHASE I (the first shift) receives raw materials, processes them, and sends them on to (phase 2). However, some of the products that pass through the first shift are more harmful than the raw materials they started out as. 

PHASE II (the second shift) needs to be functioning optimally in order to quickly get rid of these new, more damaging substances. If the liver’s detoxification pathways become overwhelmed, this can lead to an unwanted build-up of toxins in the body. 


I’ve addressed both phases of detoxification with The HAPPY GUT® RESET: 7 Day Detox, which also includes sufficient amounts of protein and probiotics to aid the detoxification process. With this kit, you’ll get: 

  • 2 meal replacements a day using the HAPPY GUT® CLEANSE SHAKE
  • HAPPY GUT® REVIVE, a 50-billion CFU probiotic supplement to support gut and immune health while helping the body better absorb nutrients to detoxify
  • HAPPY GUT® DETOX1, a synergistic formula that combines an extensive array of nutrients that combat damaging free radicals, support the immune system, and help detoxify heavy metals and other harmful compounds.
  • HAPPY GUT® DETOX2, a unique blend of nutrients specifically designed to support phase 2 detoxification, the process whereby your body prepares toxic compounds for elimination. 


Among its roles, the liver helps eliminate excess amounts of hormones, including cortisol, while helping balance feel-good hormones such as oxytocin. The nutrients in this program go beyond detoxification. Sufficient amounts of protein also keep blood sugar levels balanced, so you stay full, focused, with a steady mood and energy throughout the day. The Happy Gut® Cleanse Shake provides an inexpensive, convenient way to get high-quality protein combined with gut and liver-supportive nutrients to help you properly detoxify. 


When your gut is happy, so is your mind and body. 


The HAPPY GUT® RESET: 7 Day Detox provides the essential nutrients that  the body needs to have more energy and focus, lose weight more effortlessly, sleep better, and maintain a steady mood throughout the day.




1 https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/7854_2017_18

2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22029018/

3 http://www.ghrnet.org/index.php/ijnr/article/view/2209/2682

4 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15834840/

5 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31140236/

6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6784812/

7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3936960/

8 https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-orgasm

9 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jne.12376

10 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12832103/

11 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275795#uses

12 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28119696/

13 https://academic.oup.com/scan/article/9/12/1855/1611597

14 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768223/

15 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23251939/

16 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-moral-molecule/201311/the-top-10-ways-boost-good-feelings/

17 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308127476_Microbes_and_Oxytocin_Benefits_for_Host_Physiology_and_Behavior 

18 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6361048/


Get Your Cortisol In Check To RESET

We all know that stress is a big trigger of gut unhappiness. With everything that is happening in the world right now, every virtual patient I am seeing is experiencing higher-than-normal levels of stress that can manifest in many different ways: irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, weakened immunity, anxiety, and other symptoms of a sick gut


Underlying much of this stress is cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. When you hear “stress hormones,” you might automatically think cortisol is bad. Like any hormone, though, maintaining balance is the key. Too little or (more likely) too much cortisol can disrupt your sleep, your mood, and your overall well-being


Your gut and immune system take a hit, as increased cortisol levels become a silent killer, paving the way for nearly every disease. 


What is Cortisol?

The adrenal glands make cortisol, and the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain are the control centers for this hormone, monitoring and adjusting its concentration in the blood according to how much cortisol your body needs.


This system –– the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) –– produces a series of chemical messengers, including cortisol that form a feedback loop and help the body maintain balance under normal circumstances. Together, the HPA axis regulates digestion, immune function, sex drive, metabolism, and how the body responds to stress. A well-functioning HPA axis is what makes life great, dynamic, with boundless energy and motivation to get things done.


In fact, cortisol speaks to almost every cell in your body, because most of them have cortisol receptors.


Cortisol levels are generally higher in the morning and gradually taper throughout the day.  A healthy cortisol curve looks like this.



Healthy Cortisol Levels:

  • Manage blood sugar levels
  • Regulate sleep-wake cycles
  • Support how the body utilizes carbs, protein, and dietary fat
  • Regulate energy levels
  • Normalize blood pressure
  • Help the body perform specific functions, including metabolism and reproduction
  • Enhance the immune system by keeping inflammation in check


We’re even seeing how cortisol might perform as a communication highway between the gut and brain. In one study, researchers looked at the bacteria of 24 piglets. (The gut and brain development of these baby animals resembles the gut and brain of human infants). They discovered that one particular bacteria uses cortisol to communicate with, and make changes to, the brain. While the study focused on people diagnosed with autism, it reveals how the gut communicates with the brain and how neurotransmitters and even hormones, such as cortisol, can help that process.¹

So in the right amounts, cortisol is perfectly healthy and plays many critical roles in the body. 


When cortisol levels becomes imbalanced, it can be “the robber that comes to steal your peace” — disrupting your mood, sex drive, sleep, and energy levels. 


Because this hormone plays so many roles in the body, high levels of cortisol can wreak havoc on nearly every system, including the gut and immune system. If you want a happy gut, you need to have happy, balanced cortisol levels.


Elevated levels of cortisol –– when this hormone stays high long after it should taper down –– can make you gain weight, especially unwanted fat in the middle, and make losing weight incredibly difficult. Studies over the past 15 years have shown that even moderately high cortisol levels can also impair brain function, weaken your immune system,make you more susceptible to infections, and increase the risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. 


I’ve seen this in my patients — high cortisol levels due to stress, leading to lapses in short-term memory and word-finding difficulties to the point the person thinks they’re now losing their mind on top of the stressor.


Overall, cortisol is what I like to call the “elephant in the room”, because it is the silent menace that can ravage your health. You can ignore it, but it will still be there. For a while, it may stay silent. In fact, the symptoms of…


High cortisol may remain “silent” for months or even years before you start noticing them.


But, it’s not really silent — the problem is the person often has grown so accustomed to living with high cortisol levels that they fail to identify its damaging presence in their state of health until someone calls out that “elephant in the room”.


And in that point of acknowledgement when I look into their eyes and say — “You’re holding a lot of stress” — often a sigh of relief follows, sometimes even with tears.



Understanding the Stress Response

To understand why cortisol balance is so important, and why imbalances can become a problem, we need to look a little bit at how the stress response works. A healthy body has an intricate, interconnected system called the HPA axis, which I mentioned earlier. In a healthy body, this system releases cortisol when it is needed and stops releasing it when the body no longer needs this hormone.


Underlying this process is the autonomic nervous system, within which you have two opposing systems:

  • SYMPATHETIC Nervous System – triggers a “fight or flight” response 
  • PARASYMPATHETIC Nervous System – helps the body calm down


Think of these two opposing systems as your “on” or “off” switch, or the gas pedal and brake in your car. When you feel stress, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in and the body moves into “fight or flight” mode, meaning you either confront or run away from whatever threat you are experiencing. Historically, this helped us survive in the wild, and it can protect us today from potential threats


When you feel stressed out and the sympathetic nervous system gets turned on, the adrenal glands release adrenaline. The results of this hormone are immediate, and physical changes occur very quickly in the body. Your heart rate increases. Your muscles tense. Whatever doesn’t impact your short-term survival –– things like digestion and sex drive –– get put on the backburner.  The primary focus of the body during this imminent threat is to either fight or run away from a problem. 


If the brain continues to perceive something as dangerous after that initial activation, the adrenal glands release another stress hormone, called cortisol. This helps the body continue to deal with whatever danger it has encountered. 


When that stress subsides and your body has restored its sense of harmony, the sympathetic nervous system turns off, and the parasympathetic nervous system goes on, so you stop releasing cortisol. Through a complex feedback loop, stress stimulates the production of cortisol when the body needs it and inhibits it when the body no longer needs it.²


Think of your parasympathetic nervous system as “One Big Sigh of Relief”


Unfortunately, that’s not often what happens when someone experiences near-constant, low-grade stress. Whether that stress is real or imagined, stress stays on overdrive and cortisol production stays “on” when it should be “off.” Over time, that takes its toll on the HPA axis, especially the adrenal glands, which continue to release stress hormones even when the body no longer needs them.


Let’s apply this to current events. Even during the 2020 pandemic, many of the stressors we have encountered are imagined, not real. To the body, it doesn’t matter. The same stress response occurs whether you are actually threatened by something or think that you are threatened with something. Over time, this “stress in overdrive” response creates problems throughout the body. Here, I’ll focus on cortisol’s impact on the gut and immune system, and how…


Gut balance creates hormone balance.



High Cortisol Can Lead to Leaky Gut 

Stress is a huge factor in how your gut behaves or misbehaves. If you’re constantly stressed out and your cortisol levels stay high, that will manifest with gut issues ranging from indigestion, low stomach acid, poor digestive enzyme production, to problems including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and increased intestinal permeability.


At the root of stress response is the fight-or-flight response, a heightened state of alertness that is controlled by stress hormones such as cortisol. As a sudden reaction that gets you to safety, this response serves its purpose, but over the long term, it can result in gut problems. For many people this adaptive response is activated for way too long without enough of its counterbalancing “relaxation” response.


When the sympathetic nervous system stays on when it shouldn’t, all sorts of things can happen to the gut, from indigestion to gas and bloating after you eat a meal to conditions like leaky gut. If you cannot digest your food properly, you will suffer from nutrient deficiencies, abdominal distress, imbalances in gut bacteria, and protein malnutrition. As a result, your risk of developing leaky gut syndrome and food sensitivities is high, along with all the symptoms associated with these conditions. In other words…


Extended stress can lead to gut distress.


Once you have a leaky gut, toxins, foreign material, infectious organisms, and partially digested food particles “leak” into your bloodstream — your good gut flora suffers too.


The stress response “in overdrive” can also alter the natural balance of healthy bacteria in our guts, causing the gut ecology to shift in favor of a more hostile group of critters. 


The quality and diversity of your gut bacteria is a two-way street, which in turn can impact stress levels. 


One review looked at how various forms of stress –– things like psychological stress, sleep deprivation, pollutants, and diet –– impacted gut flora among military personnel. Among their potential for damage, researchers found that unhealthy gut microbiota can increase inflammation, increasing the risk of gut-related diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.³ 


We’re still understanding how stress can impact specific gut bacteria, and vice versa. One animal study, for instance, found that probiotics could improve the stress response and restore tight junction integrity.4



Getting the right nutrient support is critical to maintaining a healthy, happy gut…


but so is learning to better manage the stress levels — which if left unchecked, keep cortisol high and damage the gut leaving a wake of misery for the person living with a sad gut.



High Cortisol Levels Can Weaken The Immune System

The immune system has been top-of-mind for me, as well as many of you for the last few months. And you can’t talk about how to optimize your immune system without talking about hormone balance.


As a health-regulating gatekeeper, your gut plays a key role in optimizing your immune system, while keeping out potentially detrimental substances.5


Anything that impacts the gut will also impact your immune system, because up to 70% of your immune system is housed all along the digestive tract. 


When you’re stressed out and your cortisol levels stay high, you can get sick more often. Why? Cortisol isn’t the enemy of the immune system. In fact, in the right amounts, cortisol can support the immune system by lowering inflammation levels. 


However, too much of this stress hormone has the opposite effect: It creates more inflammation, which can weaken the immune system. High levels of inflammation then lead to an overworked immune system that can’t protect you against viruses and other infections.6 


As a result, chronic stress can increase the risk for infections.7 More specifically…


Stress lowers white blood cells called lymphocytes that are particularly adept at fighting viral infections. 


Without these hardworking white blood cells, you have a higher risk for viral infections.8 


I’m sure everyone who’s reading this has gotten sick at some point when they were under high stress! 


One review looked at over 300 empirical articles to evaluate stress’s impact on the immune system in humans. The overall conclusion was that short, acute stressors, which usually last a few minutes, such as feeling stressed about an exam, could strengthen the immune system. Chronic stress had the opposite effect, suppressing the immune system.9


So, how do we get this runaway train under control?



Calming Down Cortisol

10 Ways to Get Your Stress Levels in Check


This is such an important conversation to be having right now.


I’ve highlighted here how elevated cortisol levels can impact the gut and immune health. The “stress in overdrive” repercussions that accompany high cortisol can also increase anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep problems, and brain function. Stress impacts your health in so many ways. The body was intended to be in mostly a relaxed, calm state, not constantly stressed out. 


The best way to have healthy cortisol levels is to manage stress. By creating a relaxed state within yourself, your gut will benefit from reduced stress hormones, less muscle tension, and important vagal tone — important input from the “relaxation” portion of the autonomic nervous system — the parasympathetic nervous system — that allows you to digest and process food with ease.


When you find yourself getting wound up because of stress, you can easily access the parasympathetic nervous system to return your body to a natural state of balance. With some practical techniques, you can change your focus toward health and connection and instantly begin the process of healing and disease resolution


A harmonious mind-body-gut connection helps restore cortisol balance and promotes overall wellness. 


Getting cortisol in check is one key step in improving your digestive wellness, diminishing the effects of leaky gut syndrome, and fortifying your immune system. This is what most of us need right now.


10 Ways to Get Your Stress Levels in Check

[1] Meditate. One way to promote the relaxation response and manage cortisol levels is through a mindfulness practice, like meditation. Meditation is the most powerful tool for creating a sense of peace within, even when you are still surrounded by the day-to-day stressors of life. You cannot control what happens outside of you or what happens to you, but you can certainly control your internal state of mind. Ultimately, how you respond to stressful situations is really the only thing that you have control over. Worrying, getting angry, and arguing with others does not change the external events that have transpired. They may be necessary in the moment, but long-term they damage you by promoting the release of stress hormones like cortisol and putting you into that fight-or-flight response that sets your entire body, including your immune system and your gut, on high alert. Even a few minutes of meditation every day can help the body better manage cortisol levels. You’ll find a simple meditation technique here.


[2] Find active relaxation techniques. Relaxing mindfully is a great way to balance cortisol levels and establish calm, which will support a healthy gut and immune system. When I say active relaxation, I mean doing something constructive but calming that attenuates your health and wellbeing. For example, you can do a progressive muscle contraction-release sequence from head-to-toe, leaving your body feeling refreshed and relaxed. Another one of my favorite ways to unwind is forest bathing, a traditional practice where you visit a forest and breathe its air. Just getting out into nature is healing in and of itself. Numerous studies show that forest bathing can significantly reduce cortisol levels to reduce stress.10 But if you can get out to a park and feel the grass under your bare feet or walk on the sand by the seashore, these are other great ways to actively relax your body, mind and spirit.


[3] Remove sugary, processed foods. Yes, I know that grabbing a cookie or something sweet when you’re stressed out might bring a moment of relief. But the stressor will still be there after you indulge, and high blood sugar levels will keep your cortisol elevated. 


Remember this: what your body feels, the mind feels. Sugar creates an internal rollercoaster, potentially raising your heart rate and blood pressure, leading to a feeling of unrest in the mind.


Cortisol imbalances, in turn, can trigger sugar and carb cravings, making you more likely to choose foods that create gut imbalances and further upset your gut health with nasty bugs like candida. If you need something sweet that will also support the gut and immune system, try my almond-hemp chocolate truffles recipe in Happy Gut.


[4] Eat more gut-healing foods. The right foods support gut balance and mitigate some of the effects that high cortisol levels can create. Eating foods high in dietary fiber can protect the gut. In one study, researchers looked at how short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) might impact stress and anxiety in mice. When the gut digests dietary fiber, it makes these SCFAs. Colon cells then use these SCFAs for energy. When researchers introduced SCFAs to the guts of mice, they had a significant decrease in stress-related behavior. They found that SCFAs could reduce the risk of stress-induced leaky gut.11 Fermented and cultured foods can also support the gut. I talk more about these foods in Happy Gut


[5] Get 8 hours of sleep every night. Poor sleep –– not getting enough sleep or getting poor-quality sleep –– affects your hypothalamus, the master control center in your brain that regulates all hormone secretion, including cortisol.12 Studies have shown that with poor sleep, your cortisol levels remain elevated the following evening.13 This can create a vicious cycle where you continue to sleep poorly at night and stay stressed out during the day. If you work late-night shifts, these high cortisol levels will trigger early-morning sugar cravings.


[6] Practice breathing with movement. Some patients have told me that accessing the breath when they are stressed out is hard to do. One solution is to combine breathing with movement to lower stress hormones, which helps to relax your gut. One study among 29 nurses (28 of them female) with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found that mindfulness-based stretching and deep breathing exercise could support healthy cortisol levels.14 I talk about a few breathing techniques in this blog. My favorite way to move with the breath is through yoga.


[7] Try yoga. Studies have shown that for people with depression, a regular yoga practice is more effective than medications alone to manage depressive symptoms but also lower cortisol levels.15 You don’t need an hour-long Vinyasa Flow, either. Even five minutes of sun salutations and down dogs can help. During quarantine, I made a 20-minute yoga routine part of my morning waking ritural. When you do inversion poses in yoga, the flow of blood to the brain calms the nervous system and can relieve feelings of stress that are often the source of gut-related maladies. You’ll find simple, gut-healing poses in my book, Happy Gut.


[8] Incorporate adaptogenic herbs.  When you’re eating well, supporting gut health, and implementing the right lifestyle factors to manage cortisol, I’ve found a few well-studied herbs can provide that added nudge to help better manage the levels of this stress hormone. Two of my favorite adaptogens –– so called because they help the body better adapt to stressful conditions –– are Rhodiola rosea and ashwagandha. One study gave 80 participants either a 200-mg dose of Rhodiola rosea twice daily or no treatment for 14 days. Supplement users found that Rhodiola rosea lowered stress while significantly improving mood.16  


I’m also a big fan of ashwagandha, an herb that can help the body better adapt to stress. One study gave 64 participants with chronic stress either a 300-mg ashwagandha extract or placebo twice a day for 60 days. Researchers measured serum cortisol levels before and after the study.  At the end, serum cortisol levels were substantially reduced in the ashwagandha group compared with the placebo group.17  



[9] Boost your bonding hormone. The body has a powerful hormone called oxytocin that can help balance the impact of cortisol. Basically, oxytocin puts the brakes on stress and anxiety to create a calm, collective feeling. It is the hormone that bonds mother to child. Stay tuned: In my next blog, we’ll be featuring this cortisol-balancing hormone and I’ll show you many ways that you can harness the benefits of oxytocin! 




[10] Support liver detoxification. The liver is your body’s main organ of detoxification. One of the critical roles it plays is to help clear excess amounts of hormones, including cortisol. Without the work of your liver, hormones would stay in circulation for too long. Enzymes in the liver control the concentration of cortisol.18 When your liver becomes backed up with an accumulated toxic load, which happens often in our modern world, it fails to clear these excess hormones, leading to unhealthy levels of cortisol. You can learn more about how to avoid these toxins in this blog.



The best way to support the liver’s detoxifying abilities is by getting the correct nutrients. Protein is one of them. Without sufficient amino acids from protein, the liver cannot complete phase 2 detoxification, the phase where the liver tags metabolites with an anchor that pulls them out of the body. 


As a result, your liver gets backed up much like Lucy did in the famous chocolate factory episode of “I Love Lucy,” where she was stuffing chocolates in her bra, mouth and chef’s hat. Trust me, you don’t want to get backed up like Lucy.


Some of my readers and patients have asked about an “express” program that provides everything the body requires to optimally detoxify. This is especially important if you’ve been feeling additional stress the last few months, and maybe ate a few (or more) things that didn’t support the gut and immune system.


That’s why I re-imagined the Happy Gut® 14-Day Mini-Cleanse into the new, easy-to-complete Happy Gut® Reset: 7-Day Detox. This kit offers a clean start to balance hormones, lose weight, and feel better now that the summer season is here. And since a lot of people may not have the time or be ready to commit to the more extensive, deep dive of my Happy Gut® Reboot: 28-Day Cleanse, this is the perfect alternative you’ve been patiently waiting for.


With detoxification, think of the liver as a factory with two shifts:

[Phase 1] The “first shift” receives raw materials, processes them, and sends them on to the “second shift”

[Phase 2] The problem is some of the processed products from the first shift are more harmful than the raw materials they started out as. 


So the second shift, or Phase 2, needs to be functioning optimally in order to quickly get rid of these new, more damaging substances. If the liver’s detoxification pathways become overwhelmed, this can lead to an unwanted build-up of toxins in the body (think Lucy in the chocolate factory). 


The great news is there is a solution that supports both Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification.


Along with Phase 2-supporting amino acids, I’ve combined all the nutrients the liver needs to detoxify in the…




  • CLEANSE SHAKE. A gentle “gut cleanser” that serves as 2 meal replacements per day
  • REVIVE. A 50-billion CFU probiotic supplement to support gut and immune health while helping the body better absorb nutrients to detoxify.
  • DETOX1. A synergistic formula that combines an extensive array of nutrients that combat damaging free radicals, support the immune system, and help detoxify heavy metals and other harmful compounds in Phase 1 detoxification.
  • DETOX2. A unique blend of nutrients specifically designed to support Phase 2 detoxification, the key second step that packages toxic compounds for elimination from the body. 


With this program, you can rest assured you are providing your body all the nutrients it needs to detoxify healthily. And we even take the guess-work out of meal planning. 


I’ve shared this program with a couple of my patients and I’ve already received rave reviews. One 37-year-old female told me that she lost five pounds doing this detox. 


Another really loved the smoothie recipes we created, along with the shopping list to ensure all ingredients are used with minimal waste. And one of my male patients, who didn’t believe supplements made a difference, couldn’t believe the results he saw, including a boost in energy that motivated him to start exercising again after months of not going to the gym.


Providing the right nutrients to support liver health helps balance hormones including cortisol, which will help you lose weight, have more energy, and sleep better. Feeling constantly stressed out isn’t normal, and you don’t have to accept living with that low-grade stress, even during these crazy times. Giving your body the right nutrient support with the Happy Gut® Reset: 7 Day Detox supports hormonal balance to keep the gut, immune system, and overall health strong and resilient

It’s time to Reflect, Reset and Renew, and you can easily begin today with my 10 tips.




1 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19490976.2017.1353849

2 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322335

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6143810/

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604320/

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3298082/

6 https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/

7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2869337

8 https://www.simplypsychology.org/stress-immune.html

9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361287/

10 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31001682/

11 https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/JP276431

12 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2902103/

13 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9415946/

14 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3701284/

15 https,://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768222/

16 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26502953/

17 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23439798/

18 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6240761/

Address Your Stress To Build Your Immuno-Resilience


As we tread lightly through a new reality of measured social distancing, infection prevention, and economic uncertainty, stress has risen to the forefront of many people’s lives. This month’s theme is immuno-resilience. In this third blog post in the series, we dive into how stress can directly affect the functioning of the immune system through the interface you all know I love to talk about — the gut. 


If you are like most people, you are experiencing an amplified amount of stress these days, or you’re living with someone who feels amped up by the circumstances, which adds to your stress. Whether you turn on the news or read the latest headlines, you can quickly feel the effects of stress and how they impact our bodies and minds, including the functioning of the immune system. 


A Gallup poll found that 55 percent of Americans often feel stressed out. Researchers noted that for so many of us, stress, worry, and anger have become intensified.1 That poll was from 2018. With the Covid-19 pandemic unfolding, I can assure you that number is most likely higher.


You cannot control what happens outside of you or what happens to you, but you can certainly control your internal state of mind. Ultimately, how you respond to stressful situations is really the only thing that you have control over. It’s as simple as that, but not so simple to implement.


Stress Impacts the Gut and Immune System

Worrying, getting angry, and arguing with others does not change the external events that have transpired. In fact, they damage you by promoting the release of stress hormones and putting you into that fight-or-flight response that sets your entire body — including the immune system and the gut — on high alert.


Stress is a huge factor for how your gut behaves or misbehaves. If you’re constantly feeling stressed out, your gut is also unhappy. I often say that… 


Stress is like an attack on your gut!


And what impacts the gut — more specifically, the quality and diversity of the bacteria within the gut — can also impact the immune system.2 


A little bit of stress is normal and even healthy. But that stress response, when it stays in overdrive long after it no longer serves you, can exacerbate symptoms throughout the body, including increasing autoimmune symptoms and susceptibility to infections.


Even before this pandemic began, for years I have seen how stress plays out in various gut-related problems among my patients. I think of stress as the unmentioned proverbial elephant in the corner of the room — it is omnipresent, but often ignored. And we cannot ignore it any longer, because…


Stress sends ripple effects throughout the body.


Chronic stress can lead to digestive enzyme deficiencies. Stress is a common cause of low stomach acid, which can lead to multitude of issues, including SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), an increased risk of bacterial infections, and an inability to efficiently break down protein. As a result, some patients also struggle with depression because of a deficiency of the amino acids (from inadequate protein breakdown) that are needed to create neurotransmitters for healthy brain function, happiness, and satisfaction.3


Over time, these gut imbalances can contribute to problems including leaky gut syndrome. Studies show that chronic stress can increase permeability of the gut lining.4 Over time, that condition — more commonly called “leaky gut” — can lead to obesity and increase your risk of infections.5 6


The take-home message here is that there is a clear and strong connection between stress, your gut health, and your immuno-resilience


If you want a strong immune system, you need to work on lowering your stress levels…


which very likely will involve increasing your mental resilience to what life throws your way.


Stress, Gut Health, and Mood Disorders

The inflammation that stress can create can actually change the levels of neurotransmitters and increase the secretion of stress hormones. Many of these neurotransmitters are made in the gut.


Consider serotonin, one of the molecules of emotion and the signal for a “happy mood” in the brain. More serotonin receptors are found in the gut than in the brain. In fact, 


95 percent of serotonin found in the body is produced by the gut’s nervous system. 7


Being in charge of producing so much of this “happy chemical,” along with 40 other neurotransmitters, it’s no wonder the gut is central to feeling happy and feeling balanced.8 I’ve talked elsewhere about how yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help you balance the parasympathetic (“relaxing” arm) and sympathetic (“fight-or-flight” arm) of the autonomic nervous system. You can learn more breathing exercises here.


When you find yourself getting wound up because of stress, you can easily access the parasympathetic nervous system through breathing and meditation to return your body to a natural state of balance. Through yoga with coordinated breath and movement, you can change your internal focus towards health, connection and calm within minutes.


What Impacts the Gut Also Impacts the Immune System

About 70 percent of the immune system exists in the gut as the gut-associated lymphoid tissue or GALT.9 When production of serotonin and other neurotransmitters becomes imbalanced, the immune system also suffers.10 


Gut health can impact the immune system in so many ways. Studies show that various stressors such as maternal separation can alter the composition of the gut flora, contributing to dysbiosis or an imbalance between good and bad gut bugs. The ways that you manage stress can influence both the diversity and complexity of that gut flora, which when negatively affected can subsequently weaken the immune system.11 

 The overall consensus is that when you learn to manage stress, the gut improves. When the gut lining is strengthened, the immune system becomes stronger. I for one know this, because 


“I suffered from a weakened gut and weak immune system throughout my teenage years, and as result dedicated my life to figuring out how to improve my gut health and fortify my immunity to build immuno-resilience.” 


Learning to manage how I reacted to stress was a key part of this journey. 

What ultimately matters with managing stress is to find tactics that work for you. With the recent increase in stress levels, some of my (virtual) patients are asking me about additional ways they can lower stress levels without resorting to pharmaceutical drugs and other invasive measures. There’s not one right way to do so for everyone, but there are scientifically proven avenues to dropping your stress-o-meter.

That’s why I wanted to provide these Four Anti-Stress Strategies. Along with eating a Happy Gut®-friendly diet and maintaining healthy lifestyle factors to nourish the gut-brain connection, these are additional and sometimes overlooked ways to help manage stress levels.



Anti-Stress Strategy #1: EAT FERMENTED FOODS

One of the most powerful, effective ways to lower stress levels and boost immunity is with foods. I’m talking about things like leafy and cruciferous vegetables as well as berries and low-sugar fruits, of course, but also fermented and cultured foods, which can support the growth and proliferation of your “good” bacteria


Probiotics including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can help the brain better manage mood disorders including stress.12 These probiotics are found in:



[1] Cultured foods, such as yogurts or kefir

[2] Fermented foods, such as fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, and kimchi 

[3] Cultured beverages containing favorable live bacteria, such as kombucha or Coconut Water Kefir 


Among their many benefits, probiotics or healthy gut flora can help improve mood disorders. In animal studies, the probiotics in these foods can lower anxiety levels.13 Another review that looked at a wide range of probiotic strains concluded that overall, they had a positive effect on depressive symptoms.14


Probiotic foods also support the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, the brain’s major inhibitory neurotransmitter. 


GABA can help you relax, reduce stress, feel more calm, maintain a balanced mood, reduce pain, and improve sleep levels. 


Some foods that contain GABA include teas (green, black, and oolong teas) and fermented foods such as kefir.15 


A century ago, researchers found how kefir can impact mental wellbeing. George Porter Phillips observed how patients in a London hospital with depression struggled with severe constipation, which showed up in their appearance. Whereas others believed depression was the cause of these problems, Philips had another suspicion: THE GUT.


Phillips gave these 18 patients kefir, which contains lactobacillus bacteria. His experiment was among the first proof that…


To improve well-being, you need to start with the gut. 


Of those 18 patients, 11 were completely cured and two more showed significant improvement. Even 100 years ago, we knew about the healing powers of this fermented drink.16 17


Maintaining healthy levels of GABA can help you better manage stress levels.


In one study, mice were divided into two groups. Some got probiotics; others received broth. They then measured GABA levels. Overall, the mice that received probiotics had a lower stress response. Interestingly, the mice that had their vagus nerves severed didn’t get those benefits from the probiotic. This highlights how the probiotic can communicate from the gut to the brain. When the vagus nerve becomes impaired, as often happens under stressful situations, that communication can’t happen.  


Anti-Stress Strategy #2: DRINK HERBAL TEAS

If you’re familiar with essential oils, you know the calming benefits they can provide. Lavender, for instance, has a long history of benefiting conditions like stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.18 


This flowering herb is grown for its essential oil, which can be applied topically. Lavender tea also supports a variety of issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Digestive issues such as vomiting, nausea, intestinal gas, upset stomach, and abdominal swelling
  • Pain from headaches, sprains, toothaches, and sores
  • Prevent hair loss19


A variety of herbal teas can help manage stress levels. Some of my favorites include [1] passionflower, [2] chamomile, and [3] kava. I encourage people to experiment with their own herbal teas to discover their unique stress-relieving properties. 



  • Contains Apigenin (antioxidant) that binds to specific receptors in the brain to promote calmness20 
  • Helps Soothe an upset stomach, and makes a great post-dinner digestive
  • Supports Intermittent Fasting to get you through those late night hours (topic for another future post)


Gut-Soothing Calming Tea

[1] Purchase dried chamomile flower pods at a health-food store

[2] Bring to a boil in a pot

[3] Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. 

[4] Drink it warm or make a refreshing iced chamomile tea with a sprig of fresh mint leaf.


Some teas might combine calming herbs for a synergistic effect. To make a stronger, more medicinal tea, simply steep the tea bag for up to ten minutes. 


While it’s not an herbal tea, green tea provides its own unique stress-managing benefits. It contains a calming amino acid called L-theanine. One study found that students who drank green tea had a lower stress response than those who didn’t. Caffeine could inhibit that calming benefit, so opt for a decaffeinated green tea.21 Or go for my favorite combination of green tea, lemon verbena, spearmint and lemon grass in Tazo® Zen Green Tea.


Anti-Stress Strategy #3: TRY CBD OIL

A newer but very powerful supplement to manage stress, support the immune system, and so much more is CBD oil. 


This oil is derived from cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. CBD oil often comes from hemp flowers, which are rich in CBD but low in the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that gives cannabis its psychedelic, mind-altering qualities. As a supplement, CBD is attached to a carrier oil so the body better absorbs this chemical compound.

CBD interacts with specific receptors in the nervous system. It can impact levels of serotonin, your “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, anxiety, and increased stress levels.

Studies show that…


CBD oil can help reduce anxiety and stress-related conditions. 


In fact, CBD can help address generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.22 



[1] Lowers Inflammation 

[2] Supports Digestive Concerns, including stomach swelling and bloating

[3] Helps Gut Mobility, the stretching and contractions of the muscles within the gut23 


Research has shown that CBD oil may help with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, which stress and anxiety can worsen, by lowering inflammation, improving gut motility, and lowering the frequency and intensity of spasms in the gut to help better manage discomfort.24


CBD oil is also ideal for immune system support. It binds to the CB2 receptors in the brain, spleen, and leukocytes, helping to lower inflammation and support the immune system.25 CBD oil also increases the body’s white blood cell count to better handle infections.26 27  


We are still learning about the effects of CBD oil on the immune system. Some research shows that CBD is immune-suppressive: It can promote apoptosis or cellular death, for instance, eliminating harmful cells. CBD oil can also suppress or enhance cytokines, suggesting that it serves a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation. Other research shows that CBD oil is immune-enhancing, perhaps due to its stress-reducing effects. Because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, CBD oil also shows great promise for autoimmune diseases.28 


CBD oil shows a lot of promise for many other conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Acne
  • Brain Health
  • Heart Health
  • and even for some Cancers


Research for CBD oil is still in its infancy, but what we’ve learned so far shows great promise to help people manage these conditions better.29 


Anti-Stress Strategy #4: TAKE DIGESTIVE ENZYMES (to increase protein intake)

One of the best things you can eat to manage stress levels is protein. The amino acids in protein help form the building blocks for neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. As I’ve said before, balanced levels of serotonin30 and other neurotransmitters will help you better manage stress levels.


Getting sufficient protein can help stabilize the body’s blood sugar levels, eliminating the spikes and crashes that can make you moody, irritable, and stressed out.  


Without a sufficient amount of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid in the stomach to break down that protein, however, the gut wouldn’t be able to absorb those critical amino acids that play important roles to support the immune system, repair and build tissue, and provide the building blocks for all the enzymes that power your cells. A plant-based digestive enzyme can provide that support to help break down protein and other nutrients the body needs to thrive.


I wasn’t happy with the digestive enzymes on the market, so I created my own with HAPPY GUT® ACTIVATE. This full-spectrum digestive enzyme includes everything the gut needs to break down food and properly absorb nutrients; 

  • Carbohydrate-digesting Enzymes: amylase, glucoamylase, cellulase, hemicellulase, diastase, beta-glucanase, and invertase
  • Protein-digesting Enzymes: protease, acid protease, alpha-galactosidase, protease SP
  • Fat-digesting Enzyme: lipase


This digestive enzyme is also helpful for the improved digestion of plant foods like grains and beans, as well as dairy products, which commonly induce digestive upset.


That’s why I include HAPPY GUT® ACTIVATE in my 28-day GUT C.A.R.E.™  Program that I outlined in Happy Gut® . To ensure that you are getting sufficient protein, the program also includes 2 canisters of HAPPY GUT® CLEANSE SHAKE. This gut-healing, fructose-free, hypoallergenic, vegan protein powder supports gut health, supports the immune system, and balances blood sugar so you no longer struggle with hunger and cravings.


Starting your day with a protein-rich meal provides the support your body needs to thrive throughout the day. Many patients have told me they don’t have time or the appetite for breakfast. A protein smoothie makes the ideal solution. In fact, research shows people who eat protein at breakfast tend to feel less hungry throughout the day and consume less calories, not only helping to keep your mood happy but also your waistline trim.


Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, immune health support has become a very hot topic. What some experts overlook, unfortunately, is the gut-immune connection. 


When the gut is healthy, the immune system has a strong defense system…


against the viruses and other pathogens the body is exposed to. A strong gut forms a barrier against these invaders. It can break down and absorb nutrients to provide what the immune system requires to work well. A healthy, happy gut manufactures the right neurotransmitters to better manage stress levels.


The 28-day GUT C.A.R.E.™  Program provides all the foundational tools the gut needs to heal and stay strong. This is the same protocol that I’ve used with thousands of patients to heal gut problems and support their immuno-resilience

You want to do everything possible to keep a peak-performance immune system. That starts with the gut, by providing the nutrients it demands… So that you can thrive and build immuno-resilience during this pandemic and beyond.



 Given the significant impact the Covid-19 Crisis has placed on us from the limited nutrient-dense foods available, toxins from cleaning solutions, and added stress — ALL gut-compromising — we want to provide for the first time ever, not $100, but $200 OFF* the HAPPY GUT REBOOT:  28 -Day Cleanse.

We KNOW this to be our best offer not only because of the price, but rather because of the results this program has provided to many patients of my practice who have reversed their gut-related health issues by treating the underlying cause — the GUT.




The HAPPY GUT REBOOT:  28-Day Cleanse includes: 

  • HAPPY GUT® CLEANSE SHAKE: support for the overall metabolic detoxification process (two 14-day containers)
  • HAPPY GUT® ACTIVATE: support for digesting all three macronutrients
  • HAPPY GUT® RESTORE: 100B CFU shelf-stable, dairy-free, broad-spectrum probiotics, to support healthy gastrointestinal health
  • HAPPY GUT® ENHANCE: comprehensive support for optimal gastrointestinal health and function
  • HAPPY GUT® CLEANSE: support for healthy gastrointestinal microbial balance
  • HAPPY GUT® RELAX: support for bowel regularity as well as cleansing and detoxifying
  • HAPPY GUT® APP: FREE download containing recipes, shopping list, daily guidance, tracking, push notifications, and MUCH more
  • HAPPY GUT® Private Facebook Group: direct access to our team while completing the cleanse and provides additional gut-health info


Kickstart your #happyguthappylife!


*$200 off 28-Day Cleanse ONLY, use code: TAKE200OFF. Offer ends May 31, 2020 11:59pm EST



1 https://news.gallup.com/poll/249098/americans-stress-worry-anger-intensified-2018.aspx
2 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352289515300370
3 https://www.healthline.com/health/hypochlorhydria
4 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11040188/
5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6140100/
6 hhttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leaky-gut-syndrome/
7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29909048
8 https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/neurotransmitters
9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/
10 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128000502000103
11 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352289515300370
12 hhttps://www.pnas.org/content/108/38/16050
13 hhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010276/
14 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319175/
15 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201901/3-amazing-benefits-gaba
16 https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190218-how-the-bacteria-inside-you-could-affect-your-mental-health 
17 https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-mental-science/article/treatment-of-melancholia-by-the-lactic-acid-bacillus/8FFA58CD6E82E8F015379F1D30552CD4 
18 https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01809067
19 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265922#benefits 
20 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
21 https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb/40/6/40_b17-00141/_article
22 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/
23 https://usa.inquirer.net/31501/cbd-oil-benefits-the-best-cbd-oil-digestive-aid 
24 https://greenthevoteok.com/cbd-oil/studies/ibs/ 
25 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2768535/ 
26 hhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S104366180900108X?via%3Dihub
27 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2190025/
28 https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0073 
29 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-oil-benefits 
30 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200301/brain-power-why-proteins-are-smart