Poor Sleep, Cognitive Decline, and Gut Dysbiosis: How Do They Relate?

By TAP Integrative

Poor sleep often precedes cognitive decline, but the reason for this association is not well understood. Sleep restriction has been shown in humans to alter the composition of the gut microbiome, and changes in the gut microbiome have been shown in animal models to reduce cognitive flexibility. Researchers, therefore, hypothesized that changes in the gut microbiome might mediate the relationship between poor sleep and the cognitive decline of aging. 

In a cross-sectional study, 37 adults between the ages of 50 and 85 (mean age = 65 years) provided stool samples, completed questionnaires, and underwent cognitive testing. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index assessed self-reported sleep quality, the Stroop Color-Word Test assessed cognitive flexibility, and the Ubiome Company completed 16S rRNA sequencing of stool samples, following protocols from the Human Microbiome Project.  

 After controlling for hypertension and carbohydrate intake, results showed that poor sleep quality was associated with poorer performance on the Stroop Word and Color-Word tests and with lower proportions of the phyla Verrucomicrobia and Lentisphaerae. The proportion of Verrucomicrobia showed a positive correlation with Stroop Word performance, but this association was not independent of sleep. Partial correlations showed that the only independent association was between poor sleep quality and poorer Stroop Color-Word performance. 

The results of this observational study do not support the hypothesis that changes in the microbiome mediate the relationship between sleep and cognition. Instead, the results suggest that poor sleep contributes to both an altered microbiome composition and poorer cognitive flexibility and in older adults.  

The small sample size and the cross-sectional design are important study limitations. It is possible that future studies will better inform clinicians whether probiotics or other interventions to improve the health of the gut might buffer against sleep-related cognitive decline.  At this time, however, it appears that improvement in sleep could improve both diversity of the microbiome as well as cognitive performance. 


Anderson, J. R. et al. A preliminary examination of gut microbiota, sleep, and cognitive flexibility in healthy older adults. Sleep Med 38, 104-107 (2017). 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Healthy Happenings- Combat Stress and Fatigue with Dr. Wilson

On this episode of Healthy Happenings, we discuss Stress and Fatigue with the leading expert in the subject, Dr. James L. Wilson, DC, ND, PhD. Dr. Wilson wrote the book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome and also has an herbal supplement line built around stress and fatigue called, Dr. Wilson’s Original Formulations.

Interested in more information about Stress? Watch this episode of Healthy Happenings, featuring Dr. Penny Kendall-Reed on Solutions for Stress.

For more Healthy Happenings episodes, visit our YouTube or Facebook page!

 *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Holly Lucille, ND, RN, is a passionate practicing N.D. and nationally acclaimed TV and radio host. She is also an educator, author and lecturer at various health institutions. Dr. Lucille is the past president of the California Naturopathic Doctors Association and was a recipient of SCNM Legacy Award and Daphne Blayden Award from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.

In 1998, Dr. Wilson coined the term ‘adrenal fatigue’ to identify below optimal adrenal function resulting from stress and distinguish it from Addison’s disease. With a researcher’s grasp of science and a clinician’s understanding of its human impact, Dr. Wilson has helped many physicians understand the physiology behind and treatment of various health conditions. Dr. Wilson has three doctorates and two master’s degrees, all in different health-related disciplines. He received his Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from the University of Arizona, with minors in Immunology, Microbiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and research in Cellular Immunology. His doctorates in Chiropractic Medicine and Naturopathic Medicine are from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and the Ontario College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). As one of the 14 founding members of CCNM, now the largest Naturopathic College in the world, Dr. Wilson has long been on the forefront of alternative medicine. For over twenty-five years, he was in private practice in Canada and the United States.

Stress Busting Meal Plan

By Natural Partners

Stress is a part of our daily lives, sometimes things are out of our control and sometimes we create our own stress. One thing that we can control is what we eat, so we devised a meal plan for you that will provide all of the essential nutrients you need to help keep your cool. If you are finding yourself overly-stressed, try some of these recipes instead of your go-to comfort foods and bask in the rewards.


Coconut Banana Chia Pudding  

½ cup white chia seeds

2 1/12 cups organic full fat coconut milk

2 whole bananas

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pink sea salt

Unsweetened coconut flake for garnish if desired

In a bowl, mix together the chia and coconut milk. Cover and let it sit in the fridge at least 2 hours, but preferable overnight. When the seeds have rehydrated, stir well to make sure it is even. If the mix is too thick, add another dash of coconut milk, but it should be pudding consistency.

Mash the two bananas in a bowl with the cinnamon and salt using a large fork until they are fairly smooth. Stir the banana into the chia mix evenly. Spoon out a portion for yourself and garnish with the coconut flake if you’d like.



Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast

4 pieces dark pumpernickel bread

1 whole avocado

About 1 cup smoked wild salmon, shredded or torn into chunks

1 ripe tomato, sliced thin

1 cup sprouts of choice

2 tablespoons red onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon wild capers

Toast your sliced of bread and transfer to a plate. Peel and core your avocado and divide it into 4 even pieces. Place one piece of avocado on each piece of toast and mash it gently with the back of a fork to cover the toast.

Layer the tomato, then salmon, a handful of sprouts, red onion and garnish with capers on top of the avocado toast. This will end up open-faced style. Enjoy right away while bread is crispy.



Superfood Smoothie

½ cup frozen strawberries

1 cup raw spinach

1 banana, frozen

½ teaspoon ground flax

½ teaspoon chia seeds

2 cups hemp milk

½ teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth, drink while cold!



Berry Roasted Salmon on Cashew Kale Salad

4, 4-6oz wild salmon filets

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ cup chives, chopped

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup tart cherries, pitted (frozen is fine)

¼ cup fresh blueberries

In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the salmon. Use the back of a fork to lightly mash the berries and stir again. Place the salmon in this mix and cover or seal in a plastic bag and allow to marinate at least 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Remove the salmon from the fridge and onto a baking pan skin-side down. Cover the fish with the remainder of the marinade. Season the fish lightly with sea salt and pepper.

Roast about 12-18 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon. While the salmon is cooking, prepare the salad.

4 cups Tuscan kale, washed and thinly sliced, no stems

¼ cup raw cashews

¼ cup blueberries

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

Sea salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, dijon, vinegar and honey. Toss together the kale, cashews, blueberries, and avocado. Drizzle with the dressing and toss again, season with salt and pepper if need be.

Garnish the kale salad with the roasted salmon and enjoy!



Matcha Cherry Dark Chocolate Bark

1 cup 70%+ dark chocolate chunks

¼ cup shelled pistachios, crushed

1 teaspoon matcha tea

2 tablespoons organic dried tart cherries

In a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate. Continue to stir until it is smooth and velvety. Pour the chocolate onto a Silpat or wax paper on a baking sheet to about ¼” thick. Sprinkle the top of the chocolate evenly with the nuts, matcha and cherries. Chill in the fridge for about 1 hour. Break into snack-sized pieces and store in an air-tight container.



Berry Chamomile Tea

1 pack organic chamomile tea

1 tablespoon tart cherries, frozen

1 tablespoon raspberries

Bring your kettle of filtered water to a boil. In your teacup, add the berries and tea pack. Pour boiling water over and allow it to steep for at least 2 minutes and stir.

Healthy Happenings: Solutions for Stress with Dr. Penny Kendall-Reed

In this episode of Healthy Happenings, Dr. Holly Lucille interviews Dr. Penny Kendall-Reed on the natural Solutions for Stress. So take a breather and sit down and watch this episode to find your Solutions for Stress and relax!


Holly Lucille, ND, RN, is a passionate practicing N.D. and nationally acclaimed TV and radio host. She is also an educator, author and lecturer at various health institutions. Dr. Lucille is the past president of the California Naturopathic Doctors Association and was a recipient of SCNM Legacy Award and Daphne Blayden Award from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Penny Kendall-Reed, ND, is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto. She graduated from McGill University with a B.Sc. in Neurobiology, and earned a degree in Naturopathic Medicine from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. She is the co-author of five books, including the "Naturopathic Diet."

How Allergies Affect How You Feel

By Jared Skowron, ND

When is allergy season? It's every season! Whether it's seasonal, food-related or your neighbor's cat that is giving you an allergic reaction, Dr. Jared Skowron has more information on why these things are making you feel bad. Watch to learn the differences between IgG, IgE, a sensitivity, intolerance and an allergy.



Jared Skowron, ND, is one of the country’s leading experts in natural therapies for children with special needs, with an emphasis in pediatric autism and ADHD. He is the best-selling author of 100 Natural Remedies for Your Child. He is the co-founder of the Pediatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians, founder of the Pediatric and Autism Clinic at University of Bridgeport, and founder of the supplement company, Spectrum Awakening. Dr. Skowron also serves on the advisory boards of Autism Hope Alliance and Natural Practitioner.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Green Cardamom and Inflammation in Pre-Diabetes


Green cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), also known as the Queen of Spices, belongs to the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family. The ground dried fruit of green cardamom contains essential oils that have shown anti-inflammatory effects in vitro. In human trials, green cardamom demonstrated antioxidant effects in patients with ischemic heart disease and hypertension but no significant antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects in patients with type 2 diabetes.  

 In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial conducted in Iran, researchers evaluated the effects of green cardamom supplementation on inflammation and oxidative stress in pre-diabetic women. A total of 80 overweight women with hyperlipidemia and prediabetes were randomized to take green cardamom capsules or placebo for 8 weeks. The green cardamom was dosed at 3.0 grams per day (1.0 gram 3 times per day), based on protocols from previous clinical trials.  

After adjusting for participant-reported dietary changes during the study, the participants in the cardamom group showed significantly lower levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP; p=.02), hs-CRP:IL-6 ratio (p=.008), and malondialdehyde (MDA; p=.009). Cardamom showed no significant influence on protein carbonyl (PC), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), superoxide dismutase (SOD), or glutathione reductase (GR) levels.  

Although this study demonstrated improvements in some parameters of inflammation and oxidative stress in women with pre-diabetes, it did not demonstrate profound effects on all markers evaluated. The researchers suggest that a higher dosage or longer duration of intervention may be needed to observe clinically meaningful results of green cardamom in the pre-diabetic population.  


Kazemi S, Yaghooblou F, Siassi F et al. Cardamom supplementation improves inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers in hyperlipidemic, overweight, and obese pre-diabetic women: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. J Sci Food Agric. 2017;97 (15):5296-5301. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Spring Clean Your Diet

Spring is coming and naturally many of us feel compelled to do a deep clean at home and start anew. This year, try putting your Spring Cleaning fever to use on your diet, a powerful way to springboard towards your health goals. Here are our best simple tips for spring cleaning your diet to cover all the bases of your everyday life:

In the Kitchen-

  1. Clean out the fridge. Time consuming, we know, but get rid of the things you don’t use like that 3 year-old bottle of pickles. Give each shelf and drawer a good scrub down as harmful bacteria can accumulate over time, even in cold temperatures.
  2. Check your equipment. Rusty baking sheets? Chipped Teflon pots and pans? Toss them out! Try upgrading to healthier cooking equipment such as glass, ceramic, and stainless steel. They are a better investment because they will last longer and give you a healthier way to cook.
  3. Encourage plants. Create zones in your fridge for plenty of fruits and veggies. Try cutting back on dairy, meats, and processed foods. Leave plenty of room for pitchers of your favorite homemade beverages like infused water and iced tea. In the freezer, cut back on prepackaged foods and add in your own meal prep items like homemade soups, smoothie packs, and entrees. I like storing nuts and seeds in the freezer as well to give them a longer shelf life.


  1. Organization is key. If you can’t see it, you won’t remember it’s there and you end up hoarding and wasting food. To avoid this, try transfering shelf stable grains and the like to labeled clear glass containers displayed for easy access. When you do this, eating and cooking at home becomes a much easier task, saving you time, money and improving your health.
  2. Give back. For those short dated cans and shelf-stable items, make up a box for donation. Most communities have food banks nearby and will even come pick up if you’re short on time.
  3. Make room for supplements. Create an organized and easy to access space for supplements. The kitchen is usually the hub of the house and if your supplements are right in front of you every morning at breakfast, you are more likely to take them.

Eating Out-

  1. Eating out is inevitable, so here are a few good pointers to try to keep your diet clean.

-Avoid dressings, use lemon or vinegar instead.

-Don’t order meat and dairy unless the restaurant can guarantee it’s organic, humanely raised, and/or wild caught.

-Add lemon juice to your water.

-Skip dessert, go for an espresso or tea instead.

-Keep digestive enzymes with you and take them before meals.

  1. Know your restaurants. Research restaurants that offer healthy and environmentally responsible options so when you do need to eat out, you know where to go.

At Work-

  1. To avoid the predictable box of donuts or crusty grocery store pastries, keep a stash of your favorite clean treats around. I like having a box of bite-sized organic chocolate squares in my desk for when I’m having a craving for sweets. My other Achilles heel is ice cream, so stashing a box of no sugar added, vegan ice cream sandwiches in the freezer has saved me on many occasions.
  2. Forgot your lunch? Not an excuse to tag along with co-workers on a fast food run. Try keeping a bottle of your favorite protein/meal replacement powder with a shaker bottle at work when you’re in a pinch. Bonus, you save money too.

For the Family-

  1. Keep it clean. Eating healthy and clean is hard enough for yourself, let alone the people in your life. When you keep junk food around, falling off the wagon just becomes inevitable. To avoid this, keep easy to access healthy snacks readily available. A snack lazy susan or jars, veggie terrariums and bowls of fresh fruit are great options to keep you and your family on track.
  2. Prep, prep, prep. Yes it can be time consuming, but when you have healthy and fresh snacks and meals ready to go, life can be oh so healthy and easy. Tour Pinterest for some clever meal prep ideas and recipes, but keep it simple and only make recipes that you know will be super delicious. One of the pitfalls of meal prepping in unappealing food that doesn’t get eaten and eventually just wasted.

Mood and the Microbiome

By Pam Conboy

The gut-brain axis is a communication network that links the central nervous system (CNS) with the enteric nervous system. The anatomical network includes the brain and spinal cord (CNS), autonomic nervous system (ANS), hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary (HPA) axis, and innervation of the GI tract, or enteric nervous system. Both neural and hormonal routes of communication allow the brain to influence intestinal activities, including activity of functional effector cells (i.e., immune cells, epithelial cells, enteric neurons, smooth muscle cells, interstitial cells, etc.). Gut microbiota also influence the central nervous system both directly and indirectly by supporting epithelial barrier function, modulating immune function, supporting healthy inflammation metabolism, and directly altering circulating neurotransmitter levels. All of this gut-brain chatter has a remarkable influence on mood.

Gut-Brain Axis

Microbiota Mechanisms of Action

  • Intestinal epithelial barrier strengthening
  • Immunity and inflammation modulation
  • Hormone and neurotransmitter modulation

Although most of the research linking mood and the microbiota has come from animal models, clinical trials have begun to validate the cognitive impact of probiotics, or, psychobiotics.1,2

In a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 40 adults, participants received a multi-strain probiotic formula (Ecologic BARRIER, Winclove, Amsterdam) at a dose of 5 billion CFU per day. Over the four-week period, the treatment group reported significant improvements in cognitive reactivity to sad mood as evidenced by a reduction in aggressive and ruminative thoughts (LEIDS-r scale). Of particular note in this study is the use of a probiotic as first-line clinical support for mental wellbeing.

A more recent, systematic ten-study review by Wallace and Milev assessed probiotic influence on mood, stress, and cognition.4 Although, most of the studies demonstrated positive results on measures of mood, they were heterogeneous in terms of probiotic strain, dosing, and duration of treatment. The authors therefore concluded that further randomized controlled clinical trials are warranted.

Nonetheless, there seems no doubt that manipulation of the gut microbiota is a promising mental health intervention. As neuroscientist, Jane Foster, PhD of McMaster University states, “It might be time to start thinking about treating [sad mood] from the bottom up instead of the top down. The evidence is there that the brain is responding to the gut. Let’s make that the therapeutic pathway.”5

  • Fond G, Boukouaci W, Chevalier G, Regnault A, Eberl G, Hamdani N, et al. The "psychomicrobiotic": Targeting microbiota in major psychiatric disorders: a systematic review. Pathol Biol (Paris). 2015;63:35-42.
  • Evrensel A, Ceylan ME. The Gut-Brain Axis: The missing link in depression. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2015;13(3):239-244.
  • Steenbergen L, Sellaro R, van Hemert S, et al. A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain Behav Immun. 2015 Aug;48:258-64.
  • Wallace CJK, Milev R. The effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans: a systematic review. Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2017;16:14. DOI 10.1186/s12991-017-0138-2.
  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201403/natures-bounty-the-psychobiotic-revolution


About the Author:

Majored in biology and trained as a medical technologist, Pam left the laboratory bench early on to pursue a career in marketing. In vitro diagnostics was the initial focus, where she began as a product manager. After more than a decade working for companies large and small, she spent nearly 15 years as an independent marketing consultant serving bio/pharma, medical device, and animal health companies worldwide. Today, Pam is the Director of Marketing for Klaire Labs (SFI USA) I Reno, NV.

Practical Applications for Curcumin in Common Disease Treatment

By Natural Partners

Curcumin has been traditionally used for thousands of years for health issues such as gas, digestion, menstrual irregularities, parasites and even gallstones. Curcumin is extracted from the root or rhizome turmeric, its active compounds being curcuminoids (demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin). Curcumin has almost 100 molecular targets and several mechanisms of action. Because of this, curcumin has been shown to be helpful in the treating diseases such as hepatitis and liver disease, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and HPV.

For liver disease in particular, curcumin has many therapeutic applications. With the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease increasing more than any other type of liver disease, curcumin is being used more and more to help treat it. Curcumin treats nonalcoholic fatty liver disease effectively because it improves glucose disposal and insulin sensitivity, blocking fat deposits in the liver. For other liver disease, curcumin has been shown to reduce drug induced hepatotoxicity, enhance the effects of antiviral drugs in the suppression of Hepatitis B, inhibit Hepatitis C virus replication, and protect liver cells from oxidative stress.

Curcumin is also becoming prevalent in the treatment of cervical cancer and HPV. Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer world-wide and one of the leading causes of death in developed countries. Typically, cervical cancer is associated with HPV and curcumin has been shown to slow or limit the activity of the HPV virus. By enhancing p53 activation, a gene that can act as a tumor surpressor, curcumin can help fight HPV infection.

With the treatment of diabetes, curcumin is proving to be effective as well. Millions of Americans have type II diabetes and the trend continues to  increase, year after year. Curcumin can act in multiple ways to reduce blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance. Primarily, curcumin significantly reduces HbA1c levels. With pre-diabetic patients, curcumin can help stop the conversion to type II diabetes. In other clinical human trials, curcumin has shown to  decrease fasting blood glucose, insulin resistance index, serum FFA and triglycerides, C peptides, ALT and AST levels while increasing LPL activity, adiponectin, and insulin AUC/postprandial serum insulin levels.

Depression is another disease that can be difficult to treat, but practitioners are finding curcumin very useful in this application as well. Curcumin is uniquely able to address multiple biological mechanisms associated with depression such as oxidative stress, immuno-inflammation, and HPA-activity while promoting neurogenesis. In some studies, curcumin has even been shown to be as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) in treating symptoms of depression. More importantly, curcumin has much less reported side effects than prescription anti-depressants.

One of the issues with both turmeric and curcmin is that they are poorly absorbed in the blood stream. Different products can use one or a combination of various absorption agents to deliver the curcumin. Potencies can range from 10% to nearly 90% curcuminoid content, which is the most important factor when choosing a curcumin supplement, so the type of supplement and delivery form makes a difference. Whether it is used in preventative medicine or to treat acute illness, curcumin is proving to be effective in many areas as we accumulate more data. Time will tell what curcumin applications could extend to in the future.


Sasaki H. Innovative preparation of curcumin for improved oral bioavailability. Biol Pharm Bull. 2011;34(5):660-665.

Cuomo J. Comparative absorption of a standardized curcuminoid mixture and its lecithin formulation. J Nat Prod. 2011;74(4):664-9.

Gota VS. Safety and pharmacokinetics of a solid lipid curcumin particle formulation in osteosarcoma patients and healthy volunteers. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58(4):2095-9.

Jager A. Comparative absorption of curcumin formulations. Nutr J. 2014; 13:11.

Sanmukhani J. Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2013;28(4):579-85.

Bhardwaj RK. Piperine, a major constituent of black pepper, inhibits human p-glycoprotein and CYP3A4. J Pharmacol. 2002;302:645-650.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.