The Importance of Human Breast Milk for Gut Microbiome Development

Here’s a little guest post from Tim “Tatertot” Steele.


When you start looking at RS and gut bugs, here’s a connection I recently came across that I will be exploring further for merit.

In human breast milk, there are hundreds of compounds called Humans Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOS). There are also hundreds of bacterial strains present in breast milk, presumably through the entero-mammary pathway. This combination of pre and probiotics results in rapid structure of the newborn’s gut to favor almost exclusively probiotic strains of bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacterias.

The HMOS have a unique cell structure in that they display “ligand mimicry.” Any pathogenic microbe, and most non-pathogens, that encounters these HMOS will attach themselves to the HMOS—and not the epithelial cells of the small intestine. This prevents small bowel infections, diarrhea, etc… and is one reason why newborns are so bulletproof. These HMOS don’t all get digested by bacteria; some enter the blood and urine streams where they further scrub pathogens from the baby.

Here’s where I make my point: RS displays the same ligand mimicry as seen in HMOS.

I’ve never seen that in a study specifically, and doubt it’s in any, but it’s undeniable in my view. When RS is added to a colony of vibrio cholera growing in a petri dish, within 2 minutes, the vibrio leave their attachment to the agar and become attached to the RS granules. It also works with several other studied pathogens.

Bifidobacteria also display an affinity to attach to RS. Since everything wants to attach to it, it acts like a rapid-transit to the large intestine where bifido thrives and pathogens can be dealt with. I am really convinced that there is something special going on when one consumes 20-40g/day of RS. This seems to be the amount needed to make sweeping changes to the gut microbiome and turn the gut into the piece of art it is supposed to be.


  1. - microbes in breast milk
  2. — HMO ligand mimicry
  3. — attachment of vibrio and others to RS
  4. — attachment of bifido to RS
  5. — In-depth look at changes RS makes to human feces lines

And something else to consider:

  1. RS and Peyer’s patches:
  2. SCFA (PS) and Tregs:
  3. More:

This connection, RS—SCFA—enhanced immunity, may not make anybody feel better overnight, but it’s an undeniable marker of health.


Now, all the LC and Keto-tards, tell me again how there’s “no human requirement” for RS or other fiber-like substances. This is all becoming increasingly laughable by the minute. Well, at least we’ve got them squirming all over the place.

I’m not happy unless they’re not happy.

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  1. Tim,
    “Modulation of intestinal microbiota of the mother during pregnancy and breastfeeding can have a direct effect on the health of infants”
    Nursing mothers have been reported to have intestinal hyperpermeability or “Leaky gut”. Could this be what nature intended for translocation of probiotic microbes into the so called “entero-mamary pathway? and could the non closure of the gut epithelium (or leaky gut) after nursing be a cause of “post natal depression”?
    This also reminds me of the ancient Indian Auyrvedic medicine habit of feeding Nursing mothers in India a special food called “Nutritive Edible Gum Laddus – For Nursing mothers”. The ingredients in the recipe appear to have prebiotic properties and some of the Polyphenols in the spices included may have microbial composition modulating effect (my thinking: lots of good bugs and less of bad bugs into breast milk). The recipe contains Gum Arabic, a strong prebiotic, and Ghee, a source of Butyric acid, now known to (among other functions) be an epigenetic switch to modulate Gut microbial composition via induction of T-Reg Cells (from niive T-cells) which secrete Defensin Beta which “decides which bugs are allowed to make a home in the Gut” and as a result, which ones appear in the Breast milk of the nursing mother via the entero-mammary pathway for the new infant.
    Were the ancients really clever to come up with food or were they visited by aliens with superior knowledge about the “Human Superbeing” ?

  2. DuckDodgers says:

    If that’s true, I would imagibe that brushing with potato starch might actually help remove unwanted bacteria from your teeth and oral cavity. But maybe that is pushing all this too far. :)

  3. sootedninjas says:


  4. So if you want to want to ensure the greatest possible number of probiotic bacteria make it to your colon, swallow down your probiotic pills while drinking your potato starch drink? Or perhaps drink your potato starch while eating your homemade sauer kraut.

  5. sootedninjas says:


    I guess just one of the reason that your gut profile seems to be healthy and thriving

    Why Dirt Matters to Your Health

  6. I’m a big believer in eating lots of probiotic foods and minimally washed veggies. When U did the Am Gut sample, it was early June, so no garden fresh dirty veggies at that time, but I had spent a month digging in dirt and I raise chickens, so I always have poop on my hands, lol.

    Also, when I did the Am Gut sample, I was eating very minimal yogurt or kiefer–like almost none. But was eating home made sauerkraut and kimchee.

    I would love to be able to send in a sample every month, but unfortunately am not filthy rich. I think my Am Gut sample showed mainly the power of eating lots of RS rich foods and supplementing with potato starch. Too many variables to pin it down, but I think everyone should strive to eat good food, RS rich food, not be too anal about cleanliness, avoid all the SAD crap, and eat lots of probiotic rich foods and/or pop a probiotic supplement now and then.

    Eat for your gut bugs as much as for yourself, in other words.

  7. sootedninjas says:

    before I started RS I have been eating plain full fat yogurt and Crème fraîche on a regular basis, just about daily. Also, some Asian fermented foods here and there every time I’m able to visit an Asian market.

    With RS I also started make my own Kefir using Organic Milk. Wish I can afford to use Raw Milk BUT not just financially feasible for me because the sources around my area cost around $15 per gallon. So the next best thing at least is Organic Whole Milk from TJs.

    I’m also researching and trying to learn vegetable fermentation. That is another avenue to add more variety of prebiotic and probiotic sources.

    Tonight I added yogurt to my Kefir’s fermentation. It should work. right ?

  8. “Now, all the LC and Keto-tards, tell me again how there’s “no human requirement” for RS or other fiber-like substances. This is all becoming increasingly laughable by the minute. Well, at least we’ve got them squirming all over the place.”

    Keto-tard here :) , and yes we do indeed need fiber “like substances”. It dont see keto and fiber as all that contradictory, keto keeps my hunger in check, RS keeps my gut working and as of lately has improved my nutrient absorbtion leading to improved energy levels.

    On another note Tim Steele mentioned adding green powders to the RS, i have been adding just regular spices to the RS together with some Vinegar and this seems to remove flatulence even futher and it also feels really great fro the gut.

  9. Richard has there actually been much backlash from the LC’s/etc.? Seems like most everyone commenting here is in agreeance…are you getting emails/messages on the back end?

  10. DuckDodgers says:

    The incredible, edible RS cattail…

  11. Duck-Very interesting idea to brush with RS(I’m a Dentist). My thoughts would be to rinse with your last bit of RS drink(assuming its just suspended in water not dairy) wait 5 mins then brush. Id avoid toothpaste for a week, just brush as normal without paste, then see how your plaque level is compared to before. That is what I’m going to do.

  12. @tot,
    Is there a final consensus on tapioca starch? I see you here and there around the internet in some places saying it’s comparable to potato starch, but other places say you found it spiked blood sugar. It’s mentioned in some of Richard’s older RS thread’s, but the latest posts seem to leave it out of the picture.

    Even at 1 TBL, I get mucus/congestion from potato starch, and might have to find an alternative. I found this report comparing banana starch to cassava (tapioca) starch which includes a starch digestibility graph for each, but I’m not exactly sure what it means. They do conclude that the starch in banana FLOUR is less digestible than banana starch. Would that mean banana flour is better for our purposes?

    Anyway, just wondered if you had come to a final conclusion on tapioca. ~Thanks!

    • @Q, that study was in vitro so I’m not sure what can be taken from it, if anything. One big question I have is in-vivo, does the human digestive system behave the same regardless of the starch makeup and ease of digestibility or not? When I say behave, I mean the type and amount of digestive enzymes thrown at the meal.

  13. Tatertot,

    This just adds more pieces to the gut health puzzle – good to know.

    For me, to put your recommendations (20 to 40g of RS) into practice, I need to put it into a context of what I actually put in my mouth.

    For example, yesterday I had 5.5 ounces of raw potato (Russet). Per your previous information of 25grams of resistant starch per 100grams of raw potato, I calculate I consumed 39grams of RS. Does that calculation sound correct?

    Since I happen to like raw potato this would seem like an easy fix for the gut, if my calculation is correct.

    Also, would one cut in half (due to the RS of raw potatoes) the amount of calories per 100grams (79 calories), amount of carbs from 100grams (18grams) and amount of protein from 100grams (2grams), since I’m obsessive and keep track of such info?


  14. Looking for advice/thoughts from others based on your experience. I’ve been low carb paleo for a couple years. No real health problems. I decided to give RS a try based on all that I’ve read on your site Richard. Started with 1 TBSP a day for a week and slowly worked up to 2 TBSP’s a day. One first thing in the AM on an empty stomach and the other two tablespoons at night before bed. I have noticed much deeper sleep but no other positive symptoms. However what I am noticing is lots of poo along with all the gas! I’m going so much that it’s crazy- like 5x’s a day vs 1x a day before RS. I’ve been taking the RS for 3 weeks now and the bloating along with everything else is almost too much. I’m about the quit. Anyone else experiencing this?

  15. DuckDodgers says:


    Please let us know your results as well. I’m sure you’re aware that before toothbrushes were invented, many ancient cultures used barks (such as neem bark) and other chewing sticks such as miswak — which looks awfully like a toothbrush when chewed. I use a neem tooth powder, and will probably continue that but I will try to remember to do an RS swish beforehand.

  16. gabriella kadar says:

    Yo GeoffD,

    Here in Toronto ‘The Disgusting’. I haven’t had electricity since Saturday night and also have not been brushing with toothpaste. Mostly, in truth, not brushing at all much. Once last night. Sort of like camping. Zero sugar intake (except for milk in my tea). Sourdough rye (so nothing that encourages plaque)…. just potato starch in either kefir or milk. I’ve got some plaque happening on the lingual of the mandibular molars. Been using a brush with nothing on it, plus Stimudents. I find that potato starch sort of coats the teeth for a while after ingestion. Don’t know if any of the bacteria in the mouth are enjoying the bath.

    Blood glucose readings yesterday afternoon and evening were between 80 and 85. Troubling that 2 hours after waking up this morning it was 128. (WTF?) I don’t see how 1 cup of lactose free milk would do that. But it wasn’t a fasting test. I’m not diabetic, supposedly………..

  17. Q – My conclusion is to NOT use tapioca starch. I don’t think the stuff we get in the US contains much RS. I think that real, unprocessed tapioca starch would be a good source of RS if you could confirm it’s content, since that’s not possible, I will abstain. If I lived in south america where tapioca starch was a staple and could confirm through BG testing or how it made me feel (fart), I’d use it in a heartbeat.

  18. @Woodwose – The deal with the Green Powder is that it is another way to make a diet more ancestral through the use of an easy supplement. I know we get grief for hawking powders like potato starch and Green Powder, but unless you go WAAAAAY out of your way, you won’t be getting enough.

    The green powder’s magic is in it’s polyphenols, flavonoids, antioxidants, and other trace chemicals and minerals.

    This is a good one–look at what’s in it — kelp, grasses, cocoa powder, that sort of thing.

    I, personally, don’t use any of these products — full disclosure here — because I eat frozen, handpicked, dirty buleberries that I picked last summer that were slobbered on and pooped on by bears, I also eat 100% dark chocolate, ginseng extract, and some magical mushrooms that only grow in the far north (chaga). I drink tea made of spruce needle tips collected at the height of their antioxidant cycle, and willow buds picked when the ground is still frozen.

    Our ancestors ate all this crap, too, and they ate tons of pollen as other have mentioned. Pollen has the same flavonoids and polyphenols as green powder. Look into pollen supplements, as well.

    If I moved away from this land-of-plenty I am in, I would be buying green powder type stuff and lapping it up.

    So, I guess I’m being a bit of a hypocrite telling you guys to take Green Powder, Potato Starch, and Probiotic Pills when I think you can do just as good eating bear poop, magic mushrooms, and dried plantains. But since I can’t send EVERYBODY all my secret stash, the best I can do is point you to where you can buy the stuff or hope you can find it in the woods near your house.

  19. GabKad and Geoff – Awesome that dentists are getting on board. I have much more respect for dentists than most CW docs. Since I started oil pulling and using RS, my dental exams are a breeze, where they used to be white-knuckle deep cleanings.

    I’ve also stopped getting so many X-rays, only letting them zap my brains every 3-4 years instead of every year.

    A lot of people brush w/baking soda — it seems potato starch might be just gritty enough to work with the added pathogenic adherence properties to really get the bad guys out of the pockets and pits.

  20. So I just tried the PS mouth rinse. 1 tablespoon PS swig, followed by a pasteless brush five minutes later. My teeth feel like I just got them cleaned by my dentist. Crazy.

  21. gabriella kadar says:

    Tatertot, you’ve got me convinced. (I’m totally easy, so they say.) I’ll brush with RPS.

    GeoffD: please note that since GlaxoSmithKline bought out Biotene, all the enzymes, the lactoferrin etc. have been removed and replaced with some carcinogenic methyl- and propyl- paraben.!!! GSK has a complaint page for US residents only. If you want enzymatic toothpaste (not ADA approved) the veterinarians carry Virbac vanilla mint for pets. (gawd, this is so pathetic.) The reformulated Biotene mouthwash burns. Bastards.

  22. gabriella kadar says:

    Ashwin, that is absolutely totally fascinating! Wow! Do you think maybe the hormones involved may be responsible for the gut permeability?

    Makes me wonder if oxytocin has an effect here. There’s information out there on how all the passion of the sexual relationship in it’s early ‘throes’ results in people feeling ‘under the weather’. I always thought this was just from lack of sleep but maybe there’s something else going on.

    You’ve just made my head spin around.

  23. Ashwin – I think the fact that Raw Potato Starch can turn naive T cells into Tregs is HUGE. It also plays in with a concept called Oral Tolerance–training Tregs/Peyer’s Patches to recognize pathogens from ‘taste’ alone. Is that why babies put everything in their mouth?

    Also, here’s where I’m heading with this. Baby has gut filled with bifido (aided by HMOs and boobie gut bugs) and an immune system that is still ‘Under Construction’ for several years after weaning. What do you bet that foods we were first introduced to for 2 million years of so were rich in RS…cooked/cooled yams, cooked/cooled roots and tubers, etc…pre-chewed meat. Then throughout life, a regular infusion of RS, polyphenols, fibers, etc… to keep gut bugs in good shape.

    Contrast that with babies today — weaned onto strained carrots and appleasauce, rice pudding, and other weird crap in a little jar. Nothing to replace the HMOs after being pulled off the tit, then a lifetime of food that does nothing to support gut health.

  24. @Ashwin, my work is with mothers and infants. I have never seen anything in the literature to suggest that lactating mothers have greater gut permeability as a group. I would be very interested in seeing any information that indicates that lactating women have leakier guts than their non-lactating counterparts, or even men for that matter. Thanks. (There is evidence to show that lactating women have improved immunity and stress levels over their non-lactating counterparts.)

  25. gabriella kadar says:

    Tatertot, IF they are on the tit in the first place. That’s why the formula manufacturers have introduced oligosaccharides now.

    Babies want what is in mom’s mouth. There’s a point in time where they want to eat what mom’s eating but not what’s on mom’s plate but what’s in her mouth. If mom follows the instinct, she gives it to the baby. The problem with all the puritanical practices is that most people say ‘ooo gross’. But it is the natural way to feed the baby.

    Oh, and telling mothers to wash their tits before feeding the baby? psssssht. Ridiculous. There are so many microbes living on the skin and nipple area when the mother is lactating, that these are important as well. Probably most mothers who actually do breastfeed don’t bother with all that rubbish anyway. Who can? The 24 hour dairy bar is a ‘just as’ establishment.

  26. gabriella kadar says:

    Tatertot, if you look up the bomb calorimeter readings for breast milk they are totally out of whack with what the baby can actually get, calorically, from human breast milk. There is such a high level of oligosaccharides present.

    The only thing that concerns me in re: breastmilk is that studies indicate the level of vitamin K2 to be nonexistent in the milk of most mothers in the developed world. I actually know of babies who develop gut bleeds because the mother is only breastfeeding. The vitamin K injection only lasts for so long. The vitamin K content of formula is super high. So even small supplementation of breast feeding with formula feeding ensures that the baby does not get vitamin K deficient.

  27. Hey, Lauren – All settled in?

    Here’s a good paper about microbes and breast milk, with a ‘picture’ of a microbe leaking through (last figure in the paper). Actually, Grace wrote about this, too.

    url-removed/2013/09/why-we-are-sick-and-fat-calories-in.html (towards the end of blog)

    But here is where I think the strangeness is: Leaky gut is really an issue with Tight Junction Complexes in the epithelial layer of the gut operating correctly, but bringing bad stuff into the blood stream. It’s not like it sounds–there’s not a hole that continually leaks. OK, got that? Check this out. Do you know what keeps milk from dribbling everywhere? Tight Junction Complexes, the same as found in the gut, only these are in the mammary glands. According to Grace’s blog, these two TJs can introduce total crap into baby–wheat toxins, alcohol, drugs, or whatever. But, the leakiness that sucks microbes into blood and puts them in boobies is different–they are selectively sucked out and packaged for delivery.

  28. @gab – Interesting on Vit K. this would be a cool experiment — have an expectant mom megadose with potato starch and probiotics to get her bifidobacteria count way up there, then see if baby and mom have more vit K. Supposedly K is produced in the gut and should not have to be supplemented in a perfect world.

    But, hopefully nobody is looking to me for direction on breast feeding protocols, way out of my league here!

  29. Gabriella, I would not be surprised if future research shows that the Gut microflora itself is responsible for the up take of certain Probiotic Bacterial species into the “enteromamary pathway” and into mothers milk. There is a theory that Dendritic cells “pick up” microbes from the gut lumen by opening intestinal epithelial tight junctions. We know that tight junctions and the proteins involved are controlled by Butyric acid and other SCFA. And we know the source of SCFA, don’t we? The microflora appears to be in charge throughout…….
    Lauren, the term “Leaky Gut ” is very vague. Tight junction control of the intestinal epithelium may be related to Intestinal hyperpermeability. I am not suggesting that all lactating mothers have a “leaky gut”, but if nature (or evolution) intended microbes from the mothers Gut to be translocated into Human milk, the “permeability” period would be short and would heal or close as soon as the “job in hand ” was completed. You would not be expected to observe any symptoms in lactating mothers, unless ………the tight junctions for some reason malfunction and allow penetration of peptides/antigens from the gut lumen into the body to cause post natal depression. A long shot? May be.
    This article is very interesting and throws a little light into the source of the Bacteria in human milk……….

  30. Thank you @Tim (and Grace) and @Ashwin! Wonderful information and lots to ponder. Thanks again, Lauren

  31. sootedninjas says:


    you could be experiencing a reaction on potato. maybe try a different source like raw plantain, raw green banana or even supplement with scFOS. there is a downloadable link in one RS blog post that list food and amount of RS that it contain.

  32. Just as sootedninjas replied, xylitol is one source of saccharide with which you can actually brush your teeht.

    Storyline. My mother is fructose intolerant and my brothers girlsfriend is diabetis type 1.
    As i am in this Richards blog and also various other health-shit stuff, i somehow found out about xylitol.
    Its sugar made from birch-bark in a chemical process. Discovered by the sweets-starving finns in war.
    So, this stuff is expensive. But gut as a sweetener. 40% less calories, nearly as sweet as sugar, cooling effect in mouth, not rising BG, antibacterial.

    Just now if searched for prebiotics and found that xylitol oligosascharide is a good source for feeding gut bacteria. No further researched done yet.

    Wantet to share it to you guys. Maybe someone knows more about it.

    As bob red mills is not available in germany and i cant find another source of RS, i might give xylitol a try in february.(free time)

    Does anybody have another good supplementary source for RS?

    Merry Christmas to everbody!

  33. ChocoTaco369 says:

    Richard, this is a brilliant post. Basically, it’s stating that resistant starch acts as soap for pathogenic gut bacteria, which explains why people with gut issues are seeing such dramatic effects upon supplementation. It doesn’t just feed the good bacteria, it carries away the harmful bacteria like Drano unclogs a drain.

    I’ve always seen the “optional” nature of dietary carbohydrate as an argument for its importance and the low-carb/keto view to be narrow-minded and shortsighted. The superior argument, in my opinion, is that carbohydrate is so incredibly essential, your body has developed ways to create it even in its absence, and is even willing to consume its own muscle, bone, connective tissue and organs to get it. That is profound, but what is even more profound is that the very nature of ketosis is an argument against ketosis. Because it takes such meticulous planning to maintain ketosis, the only realistic time a person would have encountered ketosis naturally is through periods of starvation as it would have been nearly impossible for our ancestors to sustain a calorically-replete ketogenic state. (Virtually no foods are 80% calories from fat, and I’m guessing our ancestors didn’t have much refined coconut oil, yet many foods are 80+% carbohydrate.) Since our brain requires so much glucose every day, the purpose of ketosis is to help supplement the brain’s glucose consumption so your body wastes away its muscles and organs at a slower rate. Ketosis is a mechanism to help slow starvation, which is why low-carbers tend to have elevated levels of nearly every stress hormone – ketosis would only be encountered naturally under the most stressful conditions, and if the body is in ketosis, it’s likely because of extremely stressful situations. The LAST state the body wants to be in is ketosis because it is, literally, a marker of starvation.

    Or maybe I’m the crazy one, Richard.

  34. @Mike:

    All I can tell you is that for me, took some time to settle out. I’ve been taking the stuff in various dose for a good number of months, now. Still get farts, though only sometimes, not all the time. Stool volume has decreased a LOT over time, not sure why, but I’ve lost weight and continue to lose, so could be I’m just naturally eating less. I’m just never very hungry and when I am, it’s gentle.

    I figure that it took far longer to mess up my gut than three weeks so it will probably take quite a while to get it in better shape.

    Also, in terms of the farts, that’s total social construct. It may well be that it’s a sign of good gut health. And for one, they are not noxious at all, and I’ve done the under the bedsheets test. :)

  35. @Choco

    Yep. This is why I say that in my view, ketosis or even non-ketogenic LC is really only appropriate as a therapy (obesity, diabetes, cancer, neurological disorders, etc) where, just like any drug intervention, the list of negative side effects and risks are deemed worth it in order to get a large benefit in exchange.

    Or, there’ no free lunch.

    Moreover, the simplest argument against LC, VLC or ketogenic diets as some sort of “healthy lifestyle” is the composition of mammalian milk: about 50/30/20 F/C/P as I recall. And I believe that’s the general template Paul used in PHD. It makes fucking sense. And how many anecdotes have we heard now from people going from LC to PHD and fixing a shit ton of problems?

    Add higher sources of RS or supplement with PS, Plantain Flour or others, to the PHD and I think you’re getting as close to optimal as is worth seeking out. One day there’s going to be a post on that. Also, I should point out that Tim was well on his way to all sorts of improvements by going PHD a few months before getting on the RS kick.

  36. I’ve been taking RS for close to a week, and as you know, Richard, I’m a type 1 diabetic.
    I have gut issues. I’ve always had symptoms of gastroparesis and I usually feel a chest burn everytime I eat. I always had episodes of diarrhea. Since I’m taking RS, my gut has healed. I don’t feel any of that, but my insulin resistance hasn’t decreased overall. Surprisingly, it is increasing! I need more units of insulin than before. Could this be because of the improved digestion of food?

  37. @Eloy – You are breaking new ground here. I never feel uncomfortable seeing T1D folks using potato starch/RS because I know you all take your health seriously and track everything.

    A week is hardly enough time for the big changes your gut needs to undergo, so keep watching BG and insulin, keep eating RS, and let us know how it goes. Good or bad.

  38. Spanish Caravan says:

    Eloy, you may need to do it longer to improve your insulin sensitivity. Supposedly RS will make you sensitive to your injected insulin. I don’t think your gastroparesis will be affected by RS; GP is a neuropathy of your vagus nerve and it improves over a long time when normal BG is achieved. Although I can imagine higher neurotransmitter levels produced in your gut could jumpstart your vagus nerve, reducing symptoms. When you say insulin resistance, I don’t understand, as being Type 1 and being insulin resistant, that would make you a double diabetic.

  39. @Richard and Choco – I think there is more to the puzzle than slamming potato starch, but once a person starts eating real food like an omnivore with a focus on feeding gut bugs what they really want, then we can start to get that ancestral health we have all be striving for.

    It all starts with getting away from SAD.

  40. Spanish Caravan, I’m not insulin resistant. I aproximately inject 0.5units/kg a day, which is a pretty good ratio. By ‘insulin resistance’ I mean ‘insulin sensitivity’. Thanks for your help :)

  41. Allan Folz says:

    Tim et al, this is incredible work. Kudos all around.

    The positive effects of RS are certainly interesting, but as an engineer I generally don’t get really interested in a subject until the conversation turns to “how” it works. Then I end up not being able to contain my excitement. :)

    I’ve decided to alter the RS science project to hopefully better address the bifido mechanism. I’m going to have ‘Adult 1’ abstain from fermented dairy for the study period. If the other adult and children have spiked bifido counts relative to the straight RS supplementer, then I think we can infer some importance of a 1-2 punch of prebiotic-probiotic supplement. It will also be interesting to see any divergences in BG measures among the study subjects.

    Now all we need to do is get the thing funded. (Hint, hint, people. 😉 )

  42. Allan Folz says:

    Oops. Wrong link. Here’s the project donate link. :)

  43. Spanish Caravan says:

    Choco, ketosis = starvation. If you read starvation literature, you’ll notice the same things over and over. Compromised immunity, reduced WBCs, constipation, dry eyes, low immunoglobulins, low body temperature, cold fingers, mood disturbances, anxiety attacks, heart racing and palpitations.

    That’s why low-carbers are falling prey to autoimmune diseases and immune deficiencies. Their problem is that these issues are hard to diagnose and do not have ready blood markers, so it’s hard to connect the dots. It’s not just low T3 hypothyroidism. We have a ton of anecdotal accounts of how multiple food allergies hit them upon “detoxing”, i.e., going on ketosis. How cold their hands are (Raynaud’s). How they’re more susceptible to infections and their nose is constantly running. Some of these guys develop non-food allergies they never had before. Eventually, some will end up with serious conditions like Systemic Lupus or an immunodeficiency that makes them susceptible to lymphoma. I really think the VLC to cancer link is not really from the mucin deficiency and H.Pylori but from immunodeficiency which ends up as blood cancer varieties down the road. It takes on average 10-15 years for lupus or cancer to be diagnosed. These guys will never be able to pin it to a diet that made them lose weight and straightened out their cholesterol. Yes, it all looks good on paper. You may feel good (save cold fingers and sinusitis). Your GP might be astounded. But you’ve kickstarted autoimmune and immune deficient pathogeneses that could end badly.

    Fortunately, when these symptoms appear, most people with common sense cease low-carbing and disppear from online forums with tail between their legs. Never to be heard from again. But new converts who lost weight and lowered triglycerides appear and dominate boards for 6-18 months, until their own symptoms become obvious. So it’s a cycle. As long as the grass gets greener each year, the low-carb movement will be buoyed by the newbies and ingenues.

  44. Tatertot,

    the problem is, vitamin K2 produced by gut bugs is not Mk4 or Mk7. I don’t remember right now but it’s something like MK9 to 11. The liver just stores the stuff because it doesn’t know what to do with it. That’s the thing: gut bug vitamin K2 is for the bugs.

    I’ve got a huge file on Vitamin K2 at home (I’m at my kid’s place right now). It was my focus a few years ago and the lack of Vitamin K2 in breastmilk is alarming. There’s all sorts of hypotheses as to why etc. But if women are given large doses before labour, their milk contains plenty.

    Some time ago a woman wrote a comment on Stephen Guyenet’s blog about how she did everything right according to WAPF. Then her kid had a cerebral haemorrhage which will, unfortunately result in a lifetime disability.

    Which is why I’m not too thrilled when women insist on nothing but breast for 6 months. Give the kid a bit of the damn formula since it’s so high in Vitamin K. It’s not a religion, it’s just damn food.

  45. gabkad:

    Would be interested to see what you have on K2 production by gut bugs. Because I was into MK4 so way back and have supped it ever since, I’ve very sensitive to its effects on teeth and gums. Low & behold, once I began the PS, my teeth have become EVEN smoother. And another commenter reported that his plaque deposits plain fell off.

    So, clue me in when you get a chance. May be worth a post, or, just write one for me. :)

  46. PS in Germany says:


    Search the supermarket shelves around other sauce thickeners, chances are you’ll find cheap “Kartoffelmehl”. Check the fine print, of course, but it usually is pure starch.

  47. DuckDodgers says:

    I still get plaque on my lower inside teeth (despite also supplementing with FCLO/HVBO and RS). However, I went to scrape away that plaque yesterday and it came off really easily. First time that’s ever happened.

  48. DuckDodgers says:

    JimF wrote:

    yesterday I had 5.5 ounces of raw potato (Russet). Per your previous information of 25grams of resistant starch per 100grams of raw potato, I calculate I consumed 39grams of RS. Does that calculation sound correct?

    Since I happen to like raw potato this would seem like an easy fix for the gut, if my calculation is correct.


    I’m sure you’ve had some good luck with raw potato so far, but please be careful. Potatoes are nightshade ( Solanaceae) vegetables and tend to contain solanine in their raw form. Our ancestors likely did not get their RS from consuming raw nightshade plants as the nightshades we find in the supermarket are ones that have been domesticated — wild nightshades would have been pretty toxic. There are many tubers, bulbs and corms that are not part of the nightshade family, but unfortunately you won’t find many of them in the supermarket.

    I recently experimented with raw and underdone potatoes and had some nasty side effects from the solanine. If you notice a burning sensation in your throat while consuming raw potato, that’s the solanine you are sensing. If you are determined to eat raw natural RS foods, make sure it comes from plants that aren’t part of the nightshade family.

    Potato Starch is perfectly safe as the solanine — which is water soluble — is all washed away to create a very pure RS powder.

  49. sootedninjas says:

    although from a previous comment on another blog post, BRM Potato Starch is non-GMO. Are there GMO potatoes anyway ?

    However, it is NOT labelled as organic so I would assume that pesticides has been used.

    How does it effect us since we are consuming it by the boat load ?

  50. @sootedninjas – Here’s my take. Making potato starch is a very watery process. Water, filter, water, seive, finer and finer, and finally drying. The amount of starch we are consuming on the high end is the amount found in less than a pound of potato. Perfect Health Diet says to eat a pound of potato a day, which source would you say contains more contaminates? I’d think whole potatoes.

    The bigger concern would be solanine, but that also appears completely absent in potato starch.

  51. sootedninjas says:

    “Water, filter, water, seive, finer and finer, and finally drying.”

    I could see your point. It washes away some or hopefully all of the pesticides as opposed to whole potatoes.

  52. Spanish Caravan says:

    Tatertot, what do you think of these non-BRM PS brands like Ener G that Brian mentioned? Brian thinks that one’s as effective (or more so) than BRM’s. Do you think the method of making potato starch is similar across the board? I also tried 3 separate brands of Asian potato starches and they all had a minimal effect on BG at the 15 minute mark.

    Aside from testing BG and seeing that there is some bottom residue, is there any way to check your PS has RS?

  53. @sootedninjas – Call me biased, but I can’t see any downsides to consuming potato starch, in any amount. I don’t think I could recommend anyone taking more than 6-8TBS a day, but I don’t think it would harm anyone. 2-4TBS a day seems plenty for most, and about quadruples everyone’s RS intake.

    If I saw something that raised a red flag, I’d be the first to pull the plug on this. So far, it’s all good. Safety of the starch and effects on the body are all positive. Nightshade intolerance is surely a concern, if someone had active colon cancer or diabetes, also would require special handling, but for a person who is reasonably healthy and wants to beef up their gut bugs–go for it!

    @SpanCar – The Ener-G stuff looks great, non-GMO and gluten free (meaning made in a gluten free facility) I personally would use any potato starch sold for human consumption in America or Europe. I’d have to be really convinced if buying it in a 3rd world country or anywhere with known food contamination problems.

  54. A few with psoriasis have noted very bad flairs using PS, me included….stuff I haven’t seen in 30 years when I first got hit badly as a teenager.

    I get/got it in very symmetric patterns side to side, symmetric to a vertical plain running through the middle of my body which indicates a gut connection.

    So maybe there is a certain gram negative bacteria being “fed” by the RS or the RS causes some sort of irritation to the gut lining in an autoimmune way or SIBO is present or who knows what exactly the connection to RS is?

    I can definitively say modern allopathic medicine can give a shit about a gut – skin connection unless is ends in a drug that can be prescribe for this or that.

    All this is not to knock RS. It is clearly helping people and it helped me before I went off it due to the psoriasis re-appearing with heavy thick symmetric plaques first time in many years except for some very light stuff over the past 20 -30 years in times off heavy stress or partying, or other crazy life periods. If nothing else, the RS is giving me something to sleuth out as it makes a connection with an on going old ailment.

    After the first flair 1 month ago I stopped RS supplementation and after psoriasis plaques cleared up I went to eating RS in its RS3 form from cold rice (just slighted warmed, no need to eat cold rice if one doesn’t want to) and well cooked potatoes cooled/warmed and some occasional plantain. I think I have seen some benefit from the sleep and blood sugar control standpoint but not like when I consumed the 4 spoons Potato RS. Total RS has to be lower though. The psoriasis seems ok but maybe the holidays have confounded some of my efforts.

    Some of the things I wonder about:

    – Do I have bad gut bacteria or lack certain good ones?
    – Do I have sibo (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth)?
    – Why do I have pain in cartilage and other connective tissue, is there a connection to gut bugs?
    – Why does low carb help the above but lead to sick thyroid type symptoms?

    In other news, Merry Christmas! (especially to the politically corrects that say happy holidays)

  55. ChocoTaco369 says:

    Richard, I think dairy consumption needs to be put in proper context as well as it suffers from the same pitfalls carbs do. The typical argument against dairy in paleo circles is, “We are the only animal in nature that drinks another animal’s milk.”

    Great. We’re the only animals in nature that have cars for traveling, electricity and heated and cooled dwellings. I don’t see many people complaining about that and ditching their cars, A/C and heat for a more “paleo” lifestyle. I’d like to amend that statement to say, “We are the only animal in nature SMART ENOUGH to drink another animal’s milk.”

    The proper context: babies are not weened off mother’s breast milk because at some point the breast milk isn’t ideal for the baby. Breast milk is the perfect human food. Babies are weened off mother’s breast milk because at some point, the quantity of milk and calories the mother must produce to support the ever-growing child becomes so great, the mother cannot produce enough. The baby will literally drain the mother to death. Babies are weened to protect the mother, not the baby. Cows can produce far more milk than a human – and with a similar nutrient balance, and we are smart enough to harness this amazing technology.

    If you cannot tolerate dairy, the problem is with YOU, not the dairy. Fix the problem!

    Think about it.

  56. To check your Potato starch source for true RS, put a small bit on a sturdy spoon and mix with a small amount of water. Then just warm over a flame, nothing hot. If it is uncooked PS, the mixture will quickly gelatinize and turn completely clear. Otherwise it will be a paste.

  57. This link to a recent post from Dr Ayers at coolinginflamation highlights the autoimmune connection to the gut and gut microbes.

  58. gabriella kadar says:

    Choco, generally mothers stop breastfeeding baby number 1 because baby number 2 arrives. That’s if ‘nature takes its course’ is happening.

    Having many children is a function of robust health of the mother. In societies where girls are married off early, you usually see a lot of malnutrition. The adaptive reserve of these females is exhausted in their twenties and they develop ovarian failure (early menopause) about age 40. It seems that these societies have managed to put two and two together, although there are places where girls are too young at first pregnancy and that’s not good either.

    If you check the birth rate and survival of children back in late Victorian times, you will notice that among women who were married and breeding, they were producing up to 15 or more children most of whom survived into adulthood. Many women were not married and the numbers of these increased due to the death rate for men in the First World War. During late Victorian times if a man could not support a wife and family, oftentimes he did not marry. This was not, of course, universal. But the high survival rate of babies appears to indicate that there was a tendency for men who could support (sometimes with help from unmarried siblings from both sides) a family.

    There was a retrospective study done on the age of mother and frequency of twin births among the Mormons during the late 1800s. Only robust healthy females can manage this feat. Recent data gleaned from early ultrasounds indicate that the frequency of twin embryos is much higher than previously thought. Later ultrasounds often indicate an empty sac. So when women with two embryos manage to carry both to terms, oftentimes these are robust, well nourished women.

    A well nourished woman can breed repeatedly quite well without being ‘drained to death’. Please bear in mind that most babies, once they reach an age of about 15 pounds are also being given some supplemental feeding of whatever mom is eating.

    Tolerating dairy is dependent on two things: ability to digest lactose and hypersensitivity reaction to casein.

    There are actually families where babies are unable to digest lactose from birth. Most of these families are living in the eastern part of Finland. Possibly they are Sami, not sure now. These people adapted by providing fermented dairy to the babies. For some reason one of my cousins was born with this genetic defect. She was raised on buttermilk and she grew up to be very strong and more muscular than any of the rest of us.

    The rest of us all became lactose intolerant which is not all that unusual from our part of the world. Mine started in my late 20s after a viral infection. We use fermented dairy products instead of fresh milk. Lucky for me that lactose free milk is available for my tea.

    Taking potato starch, natto, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, naturally fermented pickles has not eliminated my lactose intolerance. I gave it a test run a few days ago and although I did not get the usual explosive diarrhoea at 2 a.m. I did have low abdominal colicky pain. So maybe it’s getting better. Maybe with small doses of lactose over time I’ll develop tolerance. Don’t know but will try it.

  59. Thanks for the response and thoughts Richard. I started actually measuring the tablespoons. According to my wife I was taking way more than two measured tablespoons at a time! Now down to two measured tablespoons in the AM and 2 in the PM and feeling much better. Though still have the massive gas but it seems to be getting better. I may add some yogurt in to my diet- I quit yogurt when I went Paleo- so maybe that is what I am missing. Love the blog. Long time follower. Keep up the good work.

  60. @Perry – We are all on the leading edge of this–as it comes to light that so many things are connected to gut bugs, it only makes sense that a big change in microflora could cause problems like you describe. I have also heard of skin conditions clearing up. Some have reported joint pain, possibly nightshade related. All things to think about.

    I’d say for folks who experience anything negative, cut back to like 1TBS a day mixed in yogurt and look at taking a probiotic supplement of some type and see what happens. If you want to completely avoid potato starch, use plantain flour or homemade dried plantains and plenty of RS rich foods.

    Let us know how it goes!

  61. Spanish Caravan says:

    @Perry – Who knows, maybe the same bacteria that help with fecal integrity also flares psoriasis. What I noticed my first month was my skin was very itchy. I usually don’t scratch but when I did, I got a big rash. The itchiness subsided however.

    Another thing I noticed is that my athlete’s foot may have returned. Now, the last time I had that was before my VLC days 4 years ago; upon VLCing, I stopped sweating and my feet became real dry, started peeling and was snake-like. I think my athlete’s foot returning is normal and glad that I have it, since I sweat down there now and have to wash my feet regularly. When I didn’t sweat, it was gone.

  62. @Tatertot re: oil pulling

    In case you wondered why oil pulling helps – here is an interesting explanation by commenters and Dr. Ayers (read in the comments about vagus nerve exercises)
    “… the role of the vagus nerve in responding to infection/damage signals by producing signals that inhibit inflammation…”

    “…Oil pulling would also position the tongue and require nose only breathing. It is interesting that it must be prolonged and sufficiently vigorous to make an emulsion.:

  63. I too have negative side effects from the PS, so it can happen. I am a believer in all of this science so I too am trying to get as much RS into my diet as possible from other sources.

    I stole Tatertot’s “rice pudding” recipe – cold rice with cream over it. A dash of maple syrup.

    Cold cooked potatoes, plantain chips, etc.

    I would like to know, since there is so much RS in raw oats, if there would be anything wrong with trying actual raw rolled oats, soaked overnight appropriately. I have been gluten free for 4 years, but maybe if a good raw un contaminated source could be found for rolled oats (bobs would be roasted, other brands are steamed), would it be appropriate?

    By the way, my bad side effect is Tmi that is urgent and runny even on one teaspoon a day. Richard tried to “man me up” to push through it but it lasted for a week and I have four kids on different schedules so I am Not Man Enough to continue, lol.

    I too wonder if I have more bad bacteria than good.

  64. The problem could be with the dairy – feedlot style dairies and unhealthy cows and cooked milk. Try raw dairy from a healthy cow. I cannot digest even the best pasteurized milks any more, but raw milk is just fine. And I used to be able to drink pasteurized milk my whole life.

  65. Nancy, you’re spreading nonsense that just isn’t backed up by the evidence.

    See this recent Policy Statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

    “the benefits of these natural factors have not been clearly demonstrated in evidence-based studies and, therefore, do not outweigh the risks of raw milk consumption. Substantial data suggest that pasteurized milk confers equivalent health benefits compared with raw milk, without the additional risk of bacterial infections.”

  66. Spanish Caravan says:

    @Nancy, I have nightshade reaction to PS. Funny thing is, it didn’t hit me until 2 weeks after. I normally react only to potato skin, so I’m wondering perhaps the skin gets into the PS somehow.

    I’m the original person who tried to introduce the raw oats idea. BRM makes excellent gluten-free rolled oats that are delicious in milk, almond milk with 2 tbsps of plantain flour, some blueberries and strawberries, unsweetened cocoa, cinnamon, etc.

    That’s one of the few real food sources that people are overlooking, I think. You get 12g of RS per 100g but unlike other foods, that’s an easy 100grams you can eat.

    I’m a little wary of phytic acid but how can you eat oats raw after soaking them? You mean after soaking and drying them? Isn’t soaking reserved for heating your oats with water the next morning?

    I would definitely take it easy if your stool is runny. Along with hyperthermia, that could be another sign tha you maybe overdoing on RS.

  67. Nancy & Nick

    This is something I think on often.

    On the one hand, you have people who think you’re KILLING EVERY OUNCE by pasteurizing milk. Then they go and cook dinner.

    One the other hand, you have people who think they’ll BE KILLED by an OUNCE of raw milk.

    For me, I seem to tolerate either raw or pasteurized and when the latter, I go for the absolutely minimal pasteurized by Saint Benoit here locally.

  68. @Spanish, we regularly eat raw oats after soaking them. I soak a cup of raw oats overnight (or longer) in a cup of plain yogurt. Next morning (they will be slightly ‘drier’) I add cinnamon, fruit/nuts, and raw cream with some raw honey. It’s like a mushier version of Bircher muesli. Tastes good.

  69. @Spanish, we regularly eat raw oats after soaking them. I soak a cup of raw oats overnight (or longer) in a cup of plain yogurt. Next morning (they will be slightly ‘drier’) I add cinnamon, fruit/nuts, and raw cream with some raw honey. It’s like a mushier version of Bircher muesli. Tastes good. (It’s also easy to add PS to the cream before putting it in the oats.)

  70. @Nancy – Here’s an idea. Send of for two of the $99 American Gut Project test kits. For the next 6-8 weeks, just focus on getting lots of RS rich foods and probiotics from wherever you can–pills, yogurt, sauerkraut, minimally washed veggies, etc… then send off the first sample.

    After that, start playing with potato starch in addition to what other stuff you have been doing. Work your way up to 3-4TBS a day over 6-8 weeks, and send in the other sample.

    It’s the only way you will ever know for sure what your gut microbes look like and if they are responding.

    The other option, and it’s a perfectly fine option, is to just do as you are doing. Play with foods and doses of RS from varying sources, and track how you respond and feel.

    I’m one of those people who like to see everything. I’d love to send off a sample weekly for a year if I could, just to see–and I have no health problems to speak of. I just find this interesting.

  71. Good point, Richard. Heating milk might be less important than the health of the cows giving it.

    Yes, I believe St. Benoit is the best pasteurized milk there is, and I can drink a cup of it, but two cups make me a little ill. However, their yogurt, drinkable and creamy, is splendiferous. All jersey cows, mostly pastured. Mmmmm.

  72. Spanish, I don’t know if Bob’s Red Mill oats have ANY resistant starch. They are roasted before rolling. I contacted a gluten free oat company yesterday to ask if their oats were truly raw, and they told me they have to steam them before rolling, because once rolled the oats will go rancid quickly if not previously heated.

    Is there a reason for us to avoid oats because it is a grain?

    And if we don’t need to avoid them, how to get them raw but still rolled so we can soak them and eat them cold and raw? (And from a gluten free source)

    I believe to remove the phytic acid one would have to throw away the soaking liquid the next day and rinse, THEN add your yogurt and honey.

  73. I definitely understand the scientific principle drive to get as much total info as we can. I have been lazy – I paid for one sample and didn’t send it in. I think I should do so now, when I really am barely starting the RS (was away for the last couple weeks). Then do another in a couple months after trying to maximize the RS.

    I definitely want to know.

  74. Spanish Caravan says:

    Nancy, if rolled oats are roasted, I don’t think it will have much RS. So there goes that idea. I suppose you could soak and then eat after drying them but that just doesn’t sound appetizing, unless you want to heat your oatmeal. What about like Quaker Oatmeal? Isn’t raw Quaker Oatmeal isn’t rolled but the problem is they aren’t gluten-free.

  75. Not all rolled oats are cooked, but raw ones might be rancid? Anyone know? If you buy raw rolled oats, how rancid are they and what does that harm?

  76. @Nancy, so this is implying that raw rolled oats are grains that have been soaked in water at low temperature, then rolled, and then air/sun dried without applying high temperatures. Must be more expensive, eh? I don’t see why they would be rancid unless they were not dried sufficiently and packaged correctly. IMO grains are too much trouble for too little nutrients.

    Are Oats Healthy?:

    Removing grain antinutrients:

  77. YAY for oats! Mark Sisson et al. can theorize and fear-monger about the negative effects of lectins, phytic acid, etc, but ultimately if you delve into the studies the trials on oats are overwhelmingly positive. There’s lots of recent review on PubMed:

    Avena sativa (Oat), a potential neutraceutical and therapeutic agent: an overview.

    Review of human studies investigating the post-prandial blood-glucose lowering ability of oat and barley food products.

    Dietary oats and modulation of atherogenic pathways.:

    Oats might be okay even for celiacs:

    That’s just a small of review articles from the past couple years.

  78. leo delaplante says:

    i mentioned last spring to this group that buckwheat is 30% rs,buckwheat is the only gain that is PHD approved,,i have been using it along with ps in my morning smoothie fpr the last 8 months,i have also made buckwheat pancakes,soba noodles

  79. gabriella kadar says:

    leo, buckwheat is neither a ‘gain’ nor a grain. When cooked, the starch becomes available for digestion.

    You put raw buckwheat in your smoothie?

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