Tina Anderson on Psychobiotics, Gut Brain Connection and Just Calm

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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, that’s wellness with an E on the end. And I am here with a dear personal friend and someone whose work I deeply admire, that is Tina Anderson of Just Thrive probiotics, and she’s fascinating. She began her career as a trial lawyer who specialized in settling cases by bringing both sides together, which is a personal passion of hers. And after her second child, she left her high-stress work behind to focus on family. And now, after her own health journey and a lot of research in the field of natural health, she found her life’s work, which is disease prevention and health maintenance. And she’s the founder of Just Thrive along with her husband, and I’ve been using and talking about their products for years.
 
I was excited to have her on today to talk about psychobiotics, which is a new term that’s really, really fascinating. And I’ve been doing some research here as well. We go deep on this and especially the gut-brain connection, how the gut-brain axis is so important, how psychobiotics can influence mental health and resilience, how brain inflammation is often a source of a lot of stress and other issues that we have, and so many other areas. She’s very well-spoken on this. I learned a lot. Psychobiotics is a new term for me. I think you will learn a lot, too, so let’s join Tina. Tina, welcome back.
 
Tina: Thanks, Katie. I’m so excited to be back.
 
Katie: Well, I always love talking to you, and it’s especially fun when we get to record it, and we’re gonna get to go deep on some really fun topics today. But before we do, to help people get to know you a little bit better, I have a note in my show notes that I have witnessed firsthand, which is that you love to dance, especially on elevated surfaces and especially with a tambourine in hand. So if you don’t mind, just give us a little bit overview because I know there’s some cool like culture dancing that comes from your background, and it’s so fun.
 
Tina: Yes. Yes. Oh, my gosh. You have witnessed that, haven’t you? Embarrassed to admit, but yeah.. You know what? I love music. I love listening to music. And I am Serbian, and Serbian music is something that’s super important to me and I love it. It touches my soul and for whatever reason, something just brings me to, like, tables, and I start dancing on tables, or chairs, or whatever it might be that’s elevated. That’s not necessarily tied to being Serbian, but it’s just something that I do. And I laugh because one of my daughters has followed suit, and we carry that trait together. So, it’s fun.
 
Katie: I love it. Every year I do a thing that gets me out of my comfort zone, which in the past has led to voice lessons and standup comedy, and this year, it’s dancing. So maybe this year I’ll be joining you in the dancing war. We’ll see.
 
Tina: Yes. I would love that.
 
Katie: Well, for the bulk of what we wanted to talk about today, you guys have so many products, and everybody listening has probably already heard me rave about them because they’re staples in my life and in my kids’ lives. And there’s a new one that I am excited to learn more about from you today, and I think this is a really important topic that we’re not talking that much about. So, I know that there’s a new mood and brain product that you guys have developed, and this has been a focus for you for a while. So I would love to just get some broad overview of a little bit about it and why this was an important focus for you guys.
 
Tina: Yeah. Well, you know, one of the big core values that we have is that we only launch products that are missing and needed in the market. I mean, that’s when we launched the, you know, spore-based probiotic, we were the first. We were just disruptors in the probiotic space, and we didn’t wanna just launch any probiotic because there were so many. We really wanna find things that are missing and truly needed in the market. And given the fact that mood disorders are off the charts right now, especially, you know, even before 2020, before the pandemic, they were already off the charts. People had been experienced so much stress, particularly over the last two years. We have seen mood disorders, anxiety disorders at an all-time high. There’s one study that showed that 8 out of 10 U.S. adults feel so much stress that it’s actually affecting their physical wellbeing.
 
So, we’ve really delved into a lot of the research on mood and what do we do to actually get to the root cause of it. And a lot of researchers from some of the largest institutions are really starting to take a look at that gut-brain connection. And I think the reason for that is that when you look at psychiatric care, it really hasn’t changed over the last, you know, probably 60 years. The same class of drugs have been used, which are the anti-anxiety meds, the SSRIs that are used for depression. So, essentially, the same class of drugs have been used for decades with minimal success. And, you know, psychiatrists have had their hands tied because they don’t really have many tools. But as it turns out as we… It always seems to turn out the natural world has all these ways to manage the issue and to get to the root cause of it.
 
And because the root cause of brain and mental health issues aren’t necessarily stemming from the brain, they’re actually stemming from the gut, and that’s why it’s so powerful. You know, we’ve heard people say, you know, the gut is the second brain. Well, really, what a lot of researchers are now saying is that the gut is the first brain because the gut is really dictating so much of what’s going on in the brain. One area of cognitive function that many medical experts have been speaking on and researching is this incredible connection between the gut and the brain. So, it’s really been an area that we have focused on and are excited to, you know, bring some of the research behind it to our customers and to bring solutions to them.
 
Katie: And I think that’s an important point. And as a caveat, I know you feel the same way, but I think doctors go into medicine with a true desire to help people. Every doctor I’ve met has been…had that true heart to help people. And I feel like a lot of them feel as handcuffed by the system as a lot of people do as patients. And I’ve heard even doctors say, you know, people don’t have these issues because of an SSRI deficiency. It might be a Band-Aid, but it’s not looking at the root cause, to your point. And I think that’s where the best outcomes are when we can combine the two. And certainly, there are times when people do need traditional medical care. I’m a huge proponent of therapy and alternative methods there as well, but I think the gut is not talked about enough when it comes to mental health. And I’m so excited that you guys are entering this conversation and really educating about it. Can you explain more about the gut-brain access for people who aren’t familiar with that term and what it does?
 
Tina: Yeah. Absolutely. You know, the gut-brain access, you know, it basically is the gut and the brain are connected through the vagus nerve. So, the gut-brain access refers to this bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain. And so, the enteric nervous system is this neurological system that wraps around the entire digestive tract. And, of course, the microbes in our gut have full access to this enteric nervous system, and through the enteric nervous system and through circulation of the microbes in the gut, there’s a number of ways that these microbes are affecting the brain. And then, one of the first ways is through this endocrine system. So, the cells within the gut lining can be triggered by the microbes to produce compounds like 5-HTP and other precursors to hormones. And we know that the gut produces neurotransmitters like serotonin. In fact, 90% to 95% of our serotonin is produced in our gut. Dopamine is produced in the gut, GABA’s produced in our gut.
 
And then, we have postbiotics which are made by the bacteria in the gut. So short-chain fatty acids and hormone precursors are all made by the gut bacteria, and then these postbiotics can impact the brain. So, again, it’s just this communication between the gut and brain is bidirectional. This is very well documented. You know, now researchers are very much starting to understand this, and signals go down from the brain, go down to the gut, and from the gut, go up to the brain. So it’s pretty fascinating, and now we know that even lifestyle choices like diet and lifestyle, you know, the stress and the mood that we experience really affect our gut, and then, of course, what’s going on in our gut is affecting our brain.
 
Katie: And I definitely have witnessed that firsthand in my life when in the past I’ve had gut issues and realizing, like, the brain fog and, like, the cloudiness that comes from that, and then conversely, I’ve noticed when you work on that and really support your gut, the clarity, and focus, and energy that come along from that. And I love that you brought out the term postbiotics because I feel like this might be a new word for a lot of people. We’ve all heard about probiotics and a lot of us have heard about prebiotics, and you guys have great products for both of those. I feel like the term postbiotics is a somewhat of a new concept, but it really helps to, like, tie that all in of how it’s not a one-way street at all, like you said, and how they both support each other and how that kind of is a circle that can be in a positive direction, or if you’re not supporting them, it can kind of go in a negative direction. Can you talk a little bit more about postbiotics and how that process works?
 
Tina: Yeah. So, basically, postbiotics are just byproducts of the bacteria in our gut. And one of the main ones that we think of are short-chain fatty acids. And so, a lot of like the butyrate, all of these types of short-chain fatty acids that are produced by the bacteria in your gut are considered postbiotics. And like I mentioned, like the precursors to hormones are also considered postbiotics, and they, basically, are just the byproducts of the bacteria in our gut. And that’s why it’s so critically important that we have healthy bacteria that’s already in our gut because they’re producing…they’re byproducts of that bacteria and will affect our brain and other organs. And, you know, we talked about… We know that the brain affects the gut, but…I mean the gut affects the brain, but the gut is affecting virtually every aspect of our overall health. And I can’t overstate that enough. So, it’s really important that we’re taking care of our gut because the bacteria is producing postbiotics, it’s also affecting how our other organs are functioning.
 
Katie: Absolutely. And how everything seems to tie in there even like I’ve talked a lot about the emotional mental side of health recently, and there’s so many cool studies about how, like when you’re in a constant state of stress or fight or flight, that actually is affecting your gut bacteria directly and then that has rollover consequences into your whole body. And I’ve also heard you talk about the term psychobiotic, and that was a new one for me. So, can you explain what that means?
 
Tina: Yeah. Actually, the term psychobiotic has been…it’s kind of new for everybody because it was coined in about 2013 by two psychiatrists and they basically… What psychobiotic refers to is the friendly bacteria that play a role in the gut-brain access and that influences the health and activity of your brain. So, it’s basically the probiotic strains that help improve mood and cognitive function. So it’s… And this, our new product, is considered a psychobiotic, which is really exciting. And, you know, to go even back up a little bit, the biggest offenders to and the root cause of all mental health issues is basically that brain inflammation. So brain inflammation we now know causes this cognitive function, things like anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, all of these mental disorders, and mental health disorders are all caused by inflammation in the brain. And so, we know that the two biggest offenders to brain inflammation are LPS toxins, which I’ve talked about before on podcasts with you, but basically LPS toxins are lipopolysaccharides which are normally found in our gut bacteria in our gut, but they are not problematic. They’re not really problematic when they’re in our gut. They become problematic when they seep into our bloodstream.
 
And then, the other offender is stress-induced basal inflammation, which basically are these external stresses that we deal with day in and day out like the fear, the social isolation, trauma, traffic, you know, fighting, you know, all those types of things that we are dealing with on a regular basis. So, the two types of offenders to this brain inflammation are the LPS toxins that seep into our bloodstream and this stress-induced basal inflammation. So, the good news is that, you know, the… The bad news… Let me go with the bad news first. The LPS that leaks into our bloodstream is very problematic. And we know from the study, we did a double-blind human clinical trial on leaky gut and showed that, you know, 55% of young healthy college students had a leaky gut and didn’t know it. So, they estimate that most people are having that LPS seep into their bloodstream on a regular basis. They estimate that about 80% of the adult population has a leaky gut and doesn’t even know it. And so, this LPS leads to chronic low-grade inflammation and is affecting all of our organs, not just our brain, but we do know that, you know, LPS is associated with higher levels of anxiety, age-related disorders. So, there was a study that came out, I think in 2017, that microbiome-derived LPS has been shown to be higher in people with Alzheimer’s.
 
So, you know, this LPS is a huge indication of Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, that’s an inflammatory disease, and then same with Parkinson’s disease. So, you know, this type of disorder that causes anxiety and depression is the same, and it’s all driven by LPS toxins in the bloodstream. So, as a company, that was one of our main goals, is to protect that gut lining, and that’s why we launched Just Thrive spore-based probiotic. Just by taking the spores alone, we saw a 60% reduction of LPS toxins that leaked into circulation. So when you reduce that LPS from going into your bloodstream, all of the inflammatory markers come down. I mean, it was incredible what that study showed us. So if you’re taking the probiotic alone, you’re halfway there. You know, we already know that the probiotic alone is that basic part of brain health and cognitive function because we have to stop the LPS from seeping into the bloodstream because those LPS toxins are going up to the brain and causing inflammation.
 
And then, of course, the other part of that is that stress-induced basal inflammation that I mentioned that is basically the external stresses that we’re dealing with on a daily basis. And so, when we get an external stress, those external stresses immediately trigger a response to the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands, and then that turns on the adrenal gland that then releases cortisol. And we know that cortisol starts increasing inflammation in the body and it’s, you know, very, very harmful. I’m sure you’ve talked about cortisol lots of times, but it’s very harmful, especially to our brain because it causes that inflammation. So, you know, where we came in is how do… We already know how we’re reducing that LPS toxins. We already know we’re getting rid of the majority of the LPS toxins seeping into the bloodstream by sealing up that gut lining. But then the question became, how do we arrest those external stresses?
 
And the great news and where a lot of our research has been focusing on is there’s a compound called peptidoglycan, and it’s been shown this ability to arrest these external stresses. And the interesting thing is that peptidoglycans is passed from mother to child while the child is in utero. And I always am stressing about that. I’m always trying to tell moms who are pregnant to be taking care of their gut because all of these gut bacteria and the good ones are being passed onto the child.
 
So these peptidoglycans are called an exopolysaccharide, and that’s important because this exopolysaccharide actually has a layer around it and that layer is what makes it more resistant and resilient so it could survive through the gastric system. You know, we talked a lot about the spore-based probiotics. They have that ability, they have endospore shell around themselves and that allows them to get through to the, you know, gastric system and to the…or get through the gastric system to the intestine. And that’s what’s so unique about the exopolysaccharides, is they have that ability to get through the gastric system. And so, bifidobacterium longum is a peptidoglycan, and so it’s this exopolysaccharide. And so, when it gets into the large intestine, it actually has the ability to mediate the inflammatory response by the guts. And this bifidobacterium longum 1714 is the strain that’s used in our new product, Just Calm. And it continues to be in line with our other products that we’ve launched, you know, and that it’s well researched, backed by science, it’s missing and needed in the market, and it’s considered a psychobiotic by all definitions. So it’s really, really exciting.
 
Katie: And I think that’s an important point that it’s synergistic with the spore-based probiotic as well because then you’re like sealing and you’re also then supporting the brain side. And I know we’ve had a whole conversation about this in the past. I’ll make sure that’s linked in the show notes, but can you give us just a brief overview? You talked about it a little bit of what separates spore-based probiotics from a lot of the other ones we see on shelves because this was new for me. I used to think years ago like, “Oh, you need refrigerated probiotics so they’re still alive” and all these things, and you helped me really like understand the difference in what’s happening in digestion when you’re talking about these specifics spore-based probiotics.
 
Tina: Yeah. So the biggest difference with spore-based probiotics is their ability to survive the gastric system and arrive alive in the intestines. The majority of probiotics just are sensitive organisms. They aren’t able to make that journey from the mouth through the digestive tract and into the intestines alive. Not only does the body temperature normally kill them, but the gastric system, the stomach, is very acidic. It’s meant to be a gastric barrier. And so, we know that the spore-based probiotics has this endospore shell around itself and that allows it to arrive of alive in the intestines. And then when it gets to the intestines, it actually has the ability to stay there for about 21 to 28 days, and it’s really in the microbial environment. So it’s doing something different in your gut than my gut. And so, it’s really incredible.
 
And like I said, we’ve done many, many studies on these strains, and one of the most profound studies we did was on leaky gut or metabolic endotoxemia. And what that study showed is that after taking these strains for about 30 days, it reduced the LPS toxins seeping into the bloodstream by about 60%. And this was with no other dietary or lifestyle modifications. It was, you know, given to otherwise healthy college students, which we all know what college students do to their bodies. So it’s really an incredible… It’s so foundational to our health because when you’re sealing up that gut lining and you’re not allowing, you know, these toxins to seep into your bloodstream, it is not creating that inflammatory response. So it’s a totally different category, very well researched, and has been so life-changing for so many of our customers. It’s been really exciting.
 
Katie: Yeah. I’ve definitely… It’s the first probiotic, and I’ve talked about this a lot, that I’ve ever felt the difference from, and that now is a staple in our house along with pretty much all of your products at this point, even for pets. But I’d love to go a little deeper on the Just Calm and this specific strain because I think this is gonna be a whole new area of gut health that we’re just starting to understand and I think you guys are really leading the charge here. And I also know from hearing from the audience, women, especially right now, are struggling with anxiety and overwhelm and a lot of these things that we’re talking about. So, walk us through a little bit of like what’s happening specifically in the gut. And that’s so cool too that you mentioned that this is one of… Like basically what’s passed on from mother to child, which we now know from research, many of us may not have gotten an optimal start with, depending on how we were born, same thing with our kids, depending on the birth scenario. I’ve been at a lot of births and things like antibiotics can interrupt that process, C-Sections can interrupt that process, and there’s ways to help mitigate those situations as well. But for those of us who are already born, these are some ways that we can help rehabilitate.
 
Tina: Right. Exactly. Yeah. So this particular strain, it’s bifido longum 1714. It is so extensively researched and scientifically verified as a mood support product. It’s very new in the market. We are so excited about it. It’s new in the market, but it’s actually a normal part of our gut commensal flora. It’s isolated from healthy humans. So this is a part of our normal gut flora. And one of the studies on this bifido longum 1714 was conducted by APC Institute out of Cork, Ireland, and it’s one of the most preeminent gut-brain institutes in the world. And they looked at samples of people with mood disorders like anxiety and depression versus people who do not have those mood disorders, and what they found is that people with no mood disorders had high levels of this bifido longum 1714 strain.
 
So, you know, there was a four-week human clinical trial that showed that this strain reduced perceived stress, it improved memory, it reduced mental fatigue, it positively supported brainwave activity, which is really exciting, and improved the ability to handle that occasional stress. So, you know, who wouldn’t want that in this day and age? And one of the questions that one of the human clinical trials wanted to determine is how does the 1714 strain actually translate as a psychobiotic into the modulation of stress function and the brainwave function? So, they basically wanted to know, can this strain in the face of induced stress modulate cortisol and a person’s perceived stress response and heart rate? And in general, what they saw is this 1714 strain reduced perceived stress and cortisol output, which is huge. They know that this strain is arresting that inflammatory cycling, and then eventually the HPA access triggering slows down and then eventually shuts down, and then less and less cortisol and stress hormones are produced.
 
And then a number of studies actually were done… These are human clinical trials that were conducted on day-to-day stress as well as large stressors that impact brainwave functioning, which is really exciting. We know that having high levels of the delta and beta wave levels is associated with a heightened stress state. And so this study showed a significant decrease in beta wave function. And this is what’s exciting, and an increase in theta wave function. And, of course, we know theta wave is associated with that flow state. You know, when you talk about being really calm, having really good cognitive function and, you know, not getting distracted easily. So that’s called the flow state, and it’s measured by this increase in theta wave function in the brain. And the study showed that this probiotic strain can actually alter brain wave function. It also showed it could reduce mental fatigue because your brain is not as inflamed when you’re in a better state of mind. And it also showed that this strain improves coping mechanism and reduce the negative emotions that normally come from stress. So the studies are so extensive on the strain, and it’s so exciting to be able to bring something so new and so powerful to the market.
 
Katie: And I think that resilience piece is really key as well because we’re obviously all gonna encounter stress that’s not going away nor should it. There’s actually a healthy place for certain amounts of stress, but I feel like that resilience can often be the difference, especially as a mom for the days where I get a ton done and I still have to deal with a lot, but I am not overwhelmed and I feel like I’m productive and on top of it, versus the days where just every little thing seems to just amp up that overwhelm. And there’s been some amazing books written about resilience and, of course, like strategies we can use on a logistical level in our houses, but I think addressing the physical side is really important and there haven’t been great resources for that in the past. It was kind of like you kind of just had to try things and try to figure out what worked. And certainly, we know things like a healthy diet and reducing inflammatory inputs makes a big difference, but like you said, for those of us who maybe already have had gut inflammation or brain inflammation, taking something targeted like this really is a leg-up to dealing with that and to feeling more resilient which then lets you have the energy and the motivation to do all the other things that help as well.
 
Tina: Right. Absolutely. And we have to remember, like getting to the root cause of all of this. There’s a lot of products out there that are getting, you know, putting a Band-Aid on and helping people make, you know, making them feel better, but getting to the root cause of this inflammation and this response is really important. And we have to understand that what is causing all of this is inflammation. And so, we have to be careful with that, you know, be aware of that and be mindful of that.
 
And so, yeah, then we decided to launch Just Calm, which is really exciting, and it’s really exciting. This was such an important product for us that we decided to actually launch it under a new sub-brand called Joot, J-O-O-T, which is kind of exciting. So we love the OO which actually, you know, it comes from the, you know, 007 James Bond and, you know, the double O is associated with being advanced, and boosted, and up-leveled. So you know, we even… A lot of people will say that OO is even lucky. You know, a lot of good brand, big iconic brands out there like Yahoo, and Google, and Zoom all have the double O’s. And so we took the J from Just, and the T from Thrive and then we added the double O’s. And so the product is Just Calm by Joot and it’s a Just Thrive brand. So we decided to do a whole brand expansion because of this product because we know it is so critically important for so many people out there right now, especially with the uncertainty of the world and the stress that we’re dealing on a daily basis.
 
Katie: And I feel like from the research I’ve seen, developing gut problems in the gut is kind of a long-term thing that happened through the course of a lifetime often. Although, often we can, through birth, enter with a less than optimal microbiome. When people start rehabilitating their gut with things like this, how long typically is it before they see results or how quick does that process happen once you’re really focused on it?
 
Tina: Yeah. So with the probiotic, we always say that, you know, it takes… Depending on what you’re experiencing or what you’re trying to get at from the product, you usually say about 30 days. You know, sometimes people will see results within a couple days and some people will take three months to see a result. But for the most part, I’d say on average, you’re looking at about a 30-day where you start to really see some changes and the gut is… We know we did a study on the probiotic alone showing that it showed a 30% favorable shift in the gut after about two and a half weeks, which is huge. I mean, you don’t find any probiotic out there that has that kind of… I’ve never seen a study like that, shows a 30% favorable shift in the gut just after two and a half weeks. And then, with the Just Calm with the 1714 and the B strain product that we just launched, that would be, you know, same thing probably about 30 days to 60 days. The study that was done on the 1714 strain was over a 30-day period.
 
Katie: And I know we’ll get these questions because I do… Anytime we talk about a supplement, which is who can take it and who can’t? Can kids take it? Can pregnant women take it? Any cautions around any of that?
 
Tina: Yeah. But there’s no other indications that… Remember, this is a normal part of our gut flora. So we’re meant to have this strain in our body. We always tell people, of course, if they’re pregnant and they’re nursing, to check with your doctors, but great for kids, kids need this, especially in this, oh, my gosh, what they’re dealing with now, it breaks my heart. And just to… No problems with kids, no contraindications that we’re aware of at this time.
 
Katie: And like your other products, one thing I love about your probiotics especially is their heat stable. They don’t have to be refrigerated, but also they can be put into foods or smoothies because I have a couple that don’t swallow pills yet. Is it the same with these? Can I add it to stuff?
 
Tina: Absolutely. You could add it and mix it with food. It’s not a problem at all. So it won’t lose its potency or anything like that.
 
Katie: That’s awesome. My oldest daughter has been finally actually taking all of your products, especially the K2 and the probiotic because she’s trying to get faster for pole vaulting and to grow because she doesn’t wanna be 5’2” forever. And she, for the longest time, could not swallow pills. She just learned, which is awesome. But we were putting them in smoothies or I’d bake them into muffins or whatever just because she had trouble with the pills. So that’s my tip for anybody usually with toddlers, is you can mix it into any kind of food or apple sauce or whatever and kids can get it too.
 
Tina: Yeah. It’s really important to do that. I think your daughter wants to be as tall as Cassie, right?
 
Katie: That might not quite be in her genes, but she definitely wants to be taller than 5’2.
 
Tina: You can open the capsules, mix it with food. It’s amazing how many adults that don’t like to swallow capsules either. So she’s not alone.
 
Katie: Yeah. Or I’ve even found… Because the probiotics don’t have a strong taste, I have a recipe for homemade marshmallows, and they mix well into that once you’ve started whipping the honey and the gelatin. And so they’re probiotic marshmallows, that’s a staple at our house with the kids and they love it.
 
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Are there any other supportive lifestyle or diet factors that seem to even help improve the efficacy when someone’s adding these products in? Anything that they can do that also supports gut health or brain health?
 
Tina: Yeah. Well, so one of the things I always say is the probiotic is so foundational because when we’re talking about efficacy and absorption, you know, if our gut is inflamed at all, we’re not absorbing nutrients. So we have to be really mindful of that. So we wanna make sure that we’re taking the probiotic with whatever supplements you’re taking because you know that you need to be taking, you know, you need to be doing all kinds of things to support your gut so you could absorb these nutrients. And then, we also know we wanna diverse microbiome. So I’m a huge fan of intermittent fasting because we know now that intermittent fasting is helping with diversity in the gut. It helps by actually starving bacteria that allows you… Some bacteria actually needs to be starved in order to proliferate through the gut. So that would be one thing to do just to help continue to support your gut health is going to allow you to absorb nutrients and absorb other supplements that you’re taking and to help your lifestyle choices.
 
Katie: Yeah. That’s been a big part for me. I think, especially for women, it’s like experimenting with IF and figuring out what is your window because I know there’s a lot of people who are like women shouldn’t fast, and I’ve had a lot of experts on this podcast who say everyone’s fasting while they’re sleeping. Women fast. We all do it. It’s figuring out what your optimal window is, and maybe if you’re coming from a place of thyroid disease or overwhelmed hormones or your postpartum, don’t really restrict yourself to a short window, but you can still eat a 10 to 12-hour window so you’re still getting plenty of nutrients, plenty of calories, and your body’s still getting a break, which is supportive of your liver, of your gut, like you said. I’ve also seen… I don’t think they were for everyone, but I’ve seen really cool data on a three-day fast being a gut reset because it lets the gut have rest. And I’m a big fan of…when I do short fast, still taking the probiotics so that they’re in my gut getting to like rehabilitate without competing, and I’ve noticed big differences from that.
 
It seems like there’s also… And I know we talked about this a little bit, very much a gut-skin connection. And I think skin health is a big topic for a lot of women. For my kids, as they’ve gone through puberty, they’ve wanted to not have acne. We’ve been focused on skin health quite a bit and now as I’m getting older, I’m focused on trying to keep my skin healthy and not get wrinkles. Talk a little bit about the gut-skin connection because it does seem like when someone had as gut dysbiosis, you often see it expressed in the skin.
 
Tina: Yeah. I mean. so many people will go to a health food store and say, “Oh, I’ve got this skin rash. You know, what can I put on it?” And it’s like, “Yeah. You should put on some topical treatments maybe to help, you know, the irritation that you’re experiencing” or people will do things for, you know, acne or other skin conditions, but really it all stems from the gut. So we know, if you have a, you know, a gut or a skin issue, you need to focus on…you know you have some dysbiosis in your gut. I mean, it’s almost guaranteed. If you have anything going on with your skin, whether it’s acne, a rash, eczema, you know, psoriasis, whatever it is, we know that this is stemming from an imbalance in our gut.
 
So really important to be focusing on the gut. There are huge skin connection. Like we said, brain connection, immunity. People forget about that too. I mean, 80% of our immune system is found in our gut lining. We need to be focusing on our gut when we’re talking about our immune system. So from skin health to brain health, to immune health, all of these things are…from heart health. I mean, you name it. There’s really no condition out there that you can’t find that is not associated with an imbalance in your gut. So I would always encourage somebody when they have a skin issue, to be focusing first and foremost on your gut. Like I said, there may be some creams and potions out there that, you know, that might also help, but we know that we need to get to the root cause of whenever we’re dealing with anything like that.
 
Katie: Yeah. And with all the talk of like how truly everything does go back to the gut, I feel like this is one area that truly also pays dividends because if you are improving your gut health, you’re also absorbing more of the food you’re eating. You’re getting more nutrients out of the same amount of food, you are getting better sleep, which we know is one of the huge keys to health and there’s a huge gut connection there. I’ve seen, especially in the last year, a lot of medical research coming out about things like insomnia and sleep issues being tied to gut imbalances and how there’s a rise in all of those right now because of all the chronic stress that we’re experiencing that’s causing more gut disruption. So like you said, I feel like everything truly does go back to the gut.
 
And I know, not directly related to guts and supplements, but one trick I found as well is that humans are very light-dependent being, and I know you and I both love the sunlight. And I find that just going outside in the morning and getting a few minutes of morning sunlight in combination with adding these things in and focusing on the gut is another great way to, like, boost your resilience, give yourself energy, and really help improve sleep at night. And I know that you also don’t just research and like talk about this life. You all in live this life and your family lives this life and you guys have a very healthy lifestyle. So I’d love to hear any other things that are maybe your personal non-negotiables that you do you for health or maybe your 80/20, like the 20% of things that you feel like give you the biggest benefit in your own life.
 
Tina: Yeah. So the biggest benefit I think for me is just walking outside. I’m a huge walker. I do the fast walking. Sometimes I add a little jog in there, but I… And it’s got to be outside. And I live in Chicago where the weather is awful, especially in January, but it doesn’t matter. I’m out there. Unless it’s really icy and dangerous, I’m pretty much out there all the time. It’s so good for me being in that, like you mentioned, the sunlight and being outside with nature is just super important and that’s also super important for your gut.
 
I also, every morning, do my deep breathing. I use an app called the HeartMath. I do that on a regular basis. It’s non-negotiable because it’s so important. I know how important your… I know that the brain affects your gut. I do all these things to, you know, support my gut health, and I have to calm myself down. Obviously, I’m super busy, three kids, a business that I’m running. It’s kind of crazy on a daily basis. So, even though my kids are older, but I still need to calm my brain down a little bit. So that has been really helpful to me, too.
 
Katie: Yeah. I love it. And I’ve seen you do that even when we’ve been at events or traveling together, you get up and you go for a walk every day, and I will say, knowing you in person, you are one of the people I know who just has seemingly boundless energy. And am I remembering right? You don’t drink coffee?
 
Tina: No. I mean, I sometimes will drink decaf because I love the taste of it, but I just can’t… The caffeine is too much for me. I have enough energy on my own.
 
Katie: It’s a funny thing. I feel like some of the most energetic people I know don’t drink coffee. I’m like, “Hmm. I wonder.” But also to your point, what’s that quote that like where you try to focus on all these expensive biohacks, but at the end of the day, like, go back to the simple things like hydrate, get sunlight. Basically, we’re complicated house plants with emotions. Like we still need to do these things. We need to be out in nature. And I think that one gets overlooked for a lot of people as well.
 
Tina: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree with you more.
 
Katie: Well, I would also love to know, what’s next for you guys. Are you researching any new products that you can talk about yet? I’m sure there are some that are secret, but any other fun ones coming up soon?
 
Tina: Yeah. Well, you know, we’ve put so much energy into our mood product, but we have recently started researching… Ironic that you asked, is skin health product. So I’m excited to kind of talk about that maybe next time because we’re not in the launch phase yet or anything, but we’re getting there. So we’re just constantly trying to find, like I said, things that are missing and needed in the market. And so we’re gonna be focusing on the skin because that’s also affected…people are being affected by skin issues at crazy rates these days.
 
Katie: Yeah. Unfortunately, at least the data I’m seeing, pretty much everything is on the rise right now, which to circle back to the beginning of the episode, goes back a lot to stress. So we’ve all been dealing with a whole lot of stress the last couple of years, which hopefully we’ll see some relief from soon, both from in our own lives and societally, but where are right now.
 
A few questions I love to ask as we get close to the end of the time. And I know I’ve asked you this one before, but you can give the same or different answers, and that is if there’s a book or a number of books that have profoundly impacted your life, and if so, what they are and why.
 
Tina: Yeah. So I think I had mentioned before “The Four Agreements.” I know it’s been used so many times on your show, but it just really…it’s such a simple, wonderful book. And I always say like there’s not a word wasted in that book. It gets right to the point and has really helped change my life and the way I look at things. Even one of the four agreements is to always do your best and I think…and that may be different on different days. And that was a good reminder because I think we always wanna do our best, but sometimes it just looks different on different days. So that was… It kind of released me a little bit. And then, one of my other favorites is “I Can See Clearly Now” by Wayne Dyer. Wayne Dyer is definitely one of my heroes in life and definitely, his books have been life-changing for me.
 
Katie: Yeah. You introduced me to him I think largely, and I’ve been really enjoying reading a lot of his stuff as well. I know he’s been a really big influence in your life as well. And on that note, any advice that you wanna pass on? A lot of moms are listening, and I know I often get asked like how do you balance business and kids and all the things going on and you do the exact same thing. So any advice related to anything we’ve talked about or anything completely unrelated?
 
Tina: Yeah. I guess I would say to give yourself grace. I think that is such a hard thing for moms and us women who are super motivated and driven and wanna get a lot done, is we have to give ourselves grace that we can’t do everything and that when we do wanna make changes in our life, whether it’s health, or finances, or, you know, social life, whatever it might be, that we just take baby steps and just every day, if you just take little baby steps every day, they make profound changes in our lives. And I think that’s what’s helped me, is I took baby steps and I was trying to be patient when we were launching the company, and there were a couple of years, you know, in the beginning, that were really, really hard and that we weren’t making a ton of progress. And then… But I just always took those baby steps and next thing you know, you know, we had this successful company that was being, you know, talked about by people like you and other health and wellness influencers. So I just would say give yourself grace and just take baby steps on a regular basis.
 
Katie: I love that. And I wanna always say it’s such a pleasure to always talk to you and I love the products. I know there’s so many products out there and I always rave about the ones that you guys make because they truly are daily staples in my life to the point that, like, to make sure I remember probiotics and K2, they’re on my kitchen table with the salt and pepper so that they’re always there at meals and I can just pass them around to the kids. That’s a tip I give people often, is like, especially when they’re really important things like that, put them in your way. So if there’s a nighttime supplement, put it next to your toothbrush. If there’s a morning one, put it on your nightstand. If it’s with meals, put it on your kitchen table and leave it there because often we forget if it’s not… And, you know, not top of mind, if you don’t see it. And so, yours are very much a part of my life. They’re in my house, my kids’ lives, and I’m just super grateful. And I know from knowing you, how big your heart is and how much of a passion you guys have for truly helping people and changing lives. So grateful for you, and for your friendship, and for your time, and thanks as always for being here, Tina.
 
Tina: Oh, thank you, Katie. I feel the exact same way about you. Your heart is so big, and you’re just an amazing human being. And thank you for bringing all of this great information to people out there. I know my daughters are huge fans, and they read your blogs all the time. You’re like their Bible, and then, you’re my Bible too. So thank you.
 
Katie: Aw, thanks. And I love your girls. And my daughters are huge fans of them as well. So I love that our families have gotten to connect, and thank you for your time. And as always, thanks to all of you for listening, for sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast.”
 
If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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