Mental Health Champions: Why & How Shawn Talbott Of Amare Global Is Helping To Champion Mental Wellness

An Interview With Michelle Tennant Nicholson

Michelle Tennant Nicholson
Authority Magazine
11 min readJan 14, 2024


Supplementation involves using specific strains of probiotic bacteria, structured prebiotic fibers, and concentrated phytonutrients to directly improve mood, boost energy, sharpen focus, reduce stress, and bolster resilience.

As a part of our series about Mental Health Champions helping to promote mental wellness, I had the pleasure to interview Dr. Shawn Talbott.

As the author of dozens of books and peer-reviewed scientific publications on psychological mood state and the dissemination of those results across multiple media channels, Dr. Shawn Talbott has been studying “mental wellness” for more than two decades and has been a tireless advocate for increasing public awareness around mental well-being.

Trained as a nutritional biochemist (PhD, Rutgers), and experienced as a sports nutritionist to Olympic-level athletes, Dr. Talbott’s work as a “PsychoNutritionist” has involved researching the mechanisms by which food and nutrients influence biochemistry (hormones, neurotransmitters, cytokines) and how those biochemical changes impact psychology (mood, tension, fatigue, resilience) and can help to naturally improve the mental wellness of millions of people.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

I grew up as the oldest of 3 kids of an auto mechanic and a bus driver (yep — my mother drove our school bus). I equally enjoyed being outside exploring and being inside learning (especially reading). To this day, I think my “superpower” is an insatiable curiosity that enables to me to keep asking “why” and “what if” to solve problems in unique ways.

Curiosity is what drove me to study sports medicine in college, and then exercise science for my Master’s degree and nutritional biochemistry for a PhD.

My younger sister is a registered nurse, but our little brother died of a drug overdose about 20 years ago — which was the impetus for me to switch my research focus from improving mental and physical performance in elite-level and Olympic athletes, to helping improve mental wellness in as many people as possible.

You are currently leading an initiative that is helping to promote mental wellness. Can you tell us a bit more specifically about what you are trying to address?

I’m part of the team that started Amare Global, “The Mental Wellness Company” — to change the perception of mental wellness as merely a “brain problem” to an understanding that mental wellness concerns the “whole body.”

This is based on our new scientific understanding of the Microbiome (the trillions of bacteria that inhabit our gut as well as our skin, lungs, vagina, mouth) — and the fact that we actually have “three brains” that determine how we feel and perform.

Everyone knows about the “first” brain in our heads — but how we feel is not “just” in our head, it is also in our gut (our “2nd brain”) and our heart (our “3rd brain”). By harnessing this new science of the Gut-Brain-Axis and Heart-Brain-Axis, we’re able to fundamentally change how we address mental wellness issues — and by getting to the root cause, we’re able to help millions of people not just “fell less bad” but to truly feel their best and reach their highest levels of mental wellness and physical health.

At Amare, we develop a range of Products (such as psychobiotics that significantly improve mood and resilience); Programs (such as the Amare Wellness Center at; and People (a global network of entrepreneurs who are building businesses to help others feel their best) — and our objective is to be in one million homes within the next three years.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

In my early career as a sports nutritionist, helping an elite-level athlete reach the top step of the podium and win the gold medal was a lot of fun. But when my younger brother died of a drug overdose at the end of 2001, I decided to take my knowledge of mental fitness and physical performance and “mainstream” it to help as many people as possible to feel better in terms of their mood, energy levels, mental focus, and stress resilience. I’ve always thought that if I knew “then” what I know “now” — that maybe some of this new science could have helped my brother with his anxiety and he wouldn’t have turned to drugs.

Fourteen books and dozens of research trials later, I helped start and lead the research efforts at “The Mental Wellness Company” (Amare Global) — where we are helping millions of people around the world to naturally improve their mental well-being and overall health.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest them. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

There were a few important triggers.

The first was my brother dying — that moved me to change my research focus away from elite-athlete performance and toward improving the lives of regular people.

The second, was when a dear friend of mine introduced me to a successful entrepreneur who had a vision to start a health company. Hiep Tran had already earned millions of dollars in other business ventures, but he wanted to start something that could truly change the lives of millions of people. We shared similar challenges around mental wellness — me with my brother and him personally — so developing Amare Global as “The Mental Wellness Company” brought together his business vision with my scientific innovation. This gave me the opportunity to not only research, write and educate about mental wellness, but also to develop science-based mental wellness solutions that could actually be used by millions of people every day.

The third trigger came quite recently. As the company grew quickly around the globe, especially during and after the pandemic when public perception of the importance of mental wellness became more mainstream — we attracted the interest of another successful entrepreneur, David Chung. With a long track record of success building companies and brands in the cosmetics industry, combined with a desire to build a world-leading wellness brand, Mr. Chung brings both the resources and experience to lead Amare Global’s expansion around the world — and bring mental wellness solutions to millions of people who need them.

You’re right that we all have dreams and passions that we might never act upon — but sometimes those ideas need a nudge — and sometimes they need a little luck — but they always need a team of talented and motivated people to bring them to fruition — and I have been very lucky to be part of that kind of team.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

There really are so many stories of life-changing results from people who have improved their mental wellness in meaningful ways. Some of these are people who went from feeling depressed or anxious — to feeling “normal” again. Some are from high-achievers who were able to “level-up” their mental and physical performance to unexpected heights. Some are from mothers who tell stories of their kids exceling in school and social relationships.

However, perhaps the best stories, that I’m lucky enough to hear about on a daily basis, are from the people who thought they were “fine” before trying a natural approach to improving their mental wellness. These are often the folks who didn’t even know that they had brain fog until it lifted — or didn’t know what a good night of sleep felt like until they experienced it — or didn’t realize that they were teetering on the verge of burnout until it was replaced with vigor and they jumped up to a new level of physical energy, mental acuity, and emotional well-being that they never though possible. These are the interesting stories that I get to hear from people whose lives are literally changed for the better because they have improved their mental wellness.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

There have been SO MANY helpers and supporters along the way!

My wife Julie has always been my most ardent and inexhaustible cheerleader — always there to keep me focused and grounded and encouraged and reminding me to ignore the (many) naysayers along the way.

Other mentors have included my mother who encouraged me to read as much as I could — to my teachers who stoked my curiosity — to my professors who pushed me to ask “why” — to my colleagues who have supported development of “new” and “never before” approaches to improve mental wellness — they have all had a hand in helping me along the way.

That said, the old saying that “it takes a village” to raise a child, is equally true for the fact that “it takes a team” to bring any idea to its full potential. It’s only through the collective intelligence of a group of team players that meaningful and lasting improvements can have a global reach for millions of people.

According to Mental Health America’s report, over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Yet there’s still a stigma about mental illness. Can you share a few reasons you think this is so?

The stigma is waning as more and more people understand that mental wellness exists on a continuum — and that we ALL have differing degrees of mental wellness, just as we all have differing degrees of physical health. There was once a time when we didn’t understand physical illnesses such as cancer and heart disease and influenza — thinking that they were brought on by evil spirits or bad air. That sounds ludicrous today because we have a solid scientific understanding of the underlying physiology and cellular metabolism driving these health problems. Likewise, we are learning the same underlying aspects of mental wellness — and our growing understanding of the Microbiome, Gut-Brain-Axis, Heart-Brain-Axis, and natural modulation of signals across the entire body are fundamentally changing how we think about — and improve — mental wellness.

In your experience, what should a) individuals b) society, and c) the government do to better support people suffering from mental illness?

All sectors of society need to first understand that mental wellness is not just “in your head” — but rather is an imbalance in one or more aspects of whole-body physiology and biochemistry. This is a revelation across numerous scientific disciplines, from microbiology to immunology to psychology — but that science needs to move further into the public realm. Governments should support further scientific research to deepen our understanding of the microbiome, Gut-Brain-Axis and Heart-Brain-Axis. Society should accept that we are all at higher or lower levels of the mental wellness continuum — and we should strive to remove any and all barriers to access for mental wellness services. Individuals need to understand and be empowered that our mental wellness status is determined by a combination of internal signals, external circumstances, and lifestyle decisions — and that we can all make positive changes in each of these domains.

What are your 5 strategies you use to promote your own well-being and mental wellness? Can you please give a story or example for each?

For more than 20 years, I’ve been both “practicing” and “preaching” a 5-step approach to mental wellness that I call the “SENSE” program — which stands for Supplementation, Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep, and Evaluation. The “preaching” part is that I’ve written a dozen books, written hundreds of articles, and taught numerous college-level courses with SENSE as a research-supported approach to improving both physical health and mental wellness. The “practicing” part is that I personally follow SENSE on a daily basis to support my own mental fitness and physical performance as a husband, father, scientist, author, and endurance nut (with dozens of ultramarathon runs and Ironman triathlons).

Each aspect of SENSE contributes its own unique set of benefits — and when used as a coordinated holistic approach, can significantly improve overall well-being.

Supplementation involves using specific strains of probiotic bacteria, structured prebiotic fibers, and concentrated phytonutrients to directly improve mood, boost energy, sharpen focus, reduce stress, and bolster resilience.

With proper supplementation, the individual has more energy to Exercise;

They are less likely to engage in stress-induced eating, so they choose better Nutrition;

They are more likely to relax and turn off the buzzing in their brain, so they Sleep better;

And as they see positive changes occurring in these aspects of their lives, they have the bandwidth to engage in periodic Evaluation to express gratitude, love themselves, engage with others, and continue to customize their mental wellness journey.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a mental health champion?

My favorite books are written by some of my colleagues and leaders in the field of the microbiome and mental wellness — they give us understanding of what is possible.

My favorite podcasts are those that tell the stories of people who have triumphed over their own struggles with mental wellness issues — they give us hope that we can achieve the same.

Some of my favorites are:


  • Mental Fitness by Shawn Talbott
  • The Mind Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer
  • The Psychobiotic Revolution by Scott Anderson
  • Brain Changer by Felice Jacka
  • This is Your Brain on Food by Uma Naidoo


If you could tell other people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I would tell them about the findings from the world’s longest-running study of happiness — the Harvard Study of Human Development (started in 1938) — which clearly shows that the very definition of living a “good life” is that you are earning your own success — while serving others — that is what enabled people to feel like they had lived a “good life.”

I would also tell them that the way to “earn your success while helping others” is to follow the advice of the writer and marketing expert Seth Godin, who encourages us to “find the others.” This reminds us that the way to start a movement is not to try “convincing” other people of your views — but rather to find the other people who already believe what you believe. Your “tribe” is out there — you just need to find them — and bring them together — and help them move as one in the right direction.

How can our readers follow you online?

I post a lot of my content — articles, videos, certifications — at and I maintain social media channels at:

Instagram =
Twitter =

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

About the Interviewer: Inspired by the father of PR, Edward Bernays (who was also Sigmund Freud’s nephew), Michelle Tennant Nicholson researches marketing, mental injury, and what it takes for optimal human development. An award-winning writer and publicist, she’s seen PR transition from typewriters to Twitter. Michelle co-founded



Michelle Tennant Nicholson
Authority Magazine

A “Givefluencer,” Chief Creative Officer of Wasabi Publicity, Inc., Creator of