Probiotics: The Genetic Component of Obesity

[Please do read and integrate this, but here’s a thinking update, April of 2015: Gut Bugs, Probiotics, Prebiotics…And how our microbes make us who we are. This is a process.]

In the obesity debate, you generally have:

  1. You eat too much, don’t move enough. Lack of discipline. Can’t resist reward.
  2. You eat too much fat.
  3. You eat too much carbohydrate.
  4. You eat animal-derived foods.
  5. It’s the toxins and/or anti-nutrients of various sorts. “Neolithic Agents of Disease,” in Paleospeak.
  6. It’s processed food in general.
  7. It’s all genetic and there’s little you can do about it…EXCEPT…one of the foregoing approaches might work for you, and it’s to you to find which one or something else, if any at all.

I’ve actually come to be most intrigued by number 7 and I’ll tell you why: I absolutely think, now, that the genetic component is the chief factor driving obesity, but I can almost assure you that most people, before reading on, would not guess what I have in mind.

I’ll quote from a book in draft, to be published.

There’s about 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and about a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water. In total, there’s estimated to be about five million trillion trillion, or 5 × 1030 (5 nonillion) bacteria on Earth with a total biomass equaling that of plants. Some researchers believe that the total biomass of bacteria exceeds that of all plants and animals.

Inside of every human organism are armies of microorganisms with entirely different DNA from our human cells. That microbiome not only outnumbers our human cells by a factor of ten to one but in total, outnumbers every individual human that has ever lived on the face of the Earth. Your intestinal microflora numbers 100 trillion! Compare that with the total estimated 110 billion humans who have ever been born. You’ve got 900 times as many microorganisms. Your internal civilization of microbiota is comprised of up to 1,000 different species with 3 million non-human genes, compared to your own 24,000.

See where I’m going with this?

Do the math, and the genes that make up your gut flora outnumber your human genes by a factor of more than 100. And when you begin digging into it very deeply—such as drafting a book, perhaps :) —the discoveries mount by the hour in terms of all they do: from manufacturing species-specific antibiotics, to adjusting pH in the gut, to kamikaze warfare, to intra and inter-species bi-lingual communication, to enzymatic action to digest things—even anti-nutrients like phytate—to hormonal regulation, and many other functions…many heavily related to the brain-gut connection and by consequence, behavior.

Think what you will about human genetics, but how about integrate an entirely new set of non-human genes 100 times greater? Factor in enormous variation—not only in numbers of species (500-1,000 per individual, on average), but population numbers of species per individual—and then, that any individual’s gut shifts in species populations seasonally, with different food intake, and you have a complexity that’s likely no match for all the supercomputers on earth operating in parallel. And that’s just for one of 7 billion individuals.

I love complexity. Whilst virtually everyone is out trying to come up with plans and more plans; pat answers, sets of 10 rules, Bibles and manifestos, I have no plan! Rather, I enjoy best complicating the hell out of everything and showing how all such plans are just silly.

Let’s consider just two animal examples.

  1. By now, most people have heard of how if you take an obese rodent and a skinny rodent, swap out their gut biomes, the obese one becomes lean and the lean one becomes obese. The rodent genes didn’t change, but genes did change: they were the far greater number of genes in the rodent microbiome exchanged from one to the other.
  2. How about the obese, heart diseased gorillas living in zoos, subsisting on gorilla chow? Turns out that if you double their calories, but give them their appropriate diet of tons of vegetable matter, they shed pounds and regain health. Did their genes change? Absolutely, but not in their own cells. “Their” genes changed dramatically by virtue of a radical shift in gut flora.

Now let’s consider the human animal, vis-a-vis genetic obesity.

Everyone has seen picture examples from decades past, when everyone wasn’t fat. What was a common sight (not uniform by any means, but most common…exceptions exist)? Lean male, plumpish to fat female. And when offspring were in the picture, it was more common that the sons were twigs and the daughters showed signs of following in mom’s footsteps. Juxtapose that with “the perfect family,” where everyone is lean.

Gotta be their genes, right? That simple? Pat answer? Or, is it the food they eat? It is both genes and the food they eat, all packaged with a cause & effect puzzle?

Let me advance an alternate hypothesis, though you’re free to call it wild-ass speculation if you like: What if it’s genetic AND the food they eat, BECAUSE of “their” genetic makeup (take particular note of those scare quotes)?

  1. Consider where dad works. Interestingly, the further you go back, the more you find traditional roles where dad works outside the home—often enough, getting his hands, hair, face and clothes dirty. He’s exposed and ingests, daily, an endless supply of soil based organisms; a probiotic, and unlike common dairy-based probiotics, are spore forming; so, they can lie dormant for years or thousands of years, only to come alive again when conditions are ripe. Moreover, the spore actually survives the harsh environment of gastric juices that kill lots of live bacteria in your favorite yogurt or kefir—or even fermented foods.
  2. Where does mom work? Traditionally, at home, where cleanliness is next to godliness. The only good bacteria is a dead bacteria and nobody likes cleansers and disinfectants more than mom. Of course, she’s doing it out of an abundance of care for her family flock; and though she’s not to be faulted for her ignorance (her husband is too, but he’s getting them anyway, also through ignorance), ignorance is ignorance.
  3. Offspring are offspring. Traditionally, the boys follow in dads steps and the girls learn every conceivable thing about products upon products, piled on products—the vast majority designed to either kill or sweep away any hint of a bug.
  4. Wouldn’t it be interesting to compare the genetic sequencing of the gut bacteria for a traditional household with a lean dad who works in the dirt, a mom who keeps a clean house between baking cookies and pies, and the kids who, more or less, model their parental-gender examples?

Worthy of consideration, though very loosely outlined (I trust you to connect requisite dots)? So what’s the underlying mechanism, in my view? Let’s take it from the point where people are not getting the daily supply of bacteria: or—and this is super important—after a round of human antibiotic carpet bombing. Remember, the beneficial bacteria in the gut tend to be able to target pathogens through species-specific antibiotics, or creating a pH that’s inhospitable to them. Phages also play a role in keeping pathogens in check.

Damaged Biome –> Malabsorption –> Toxic Overload –> Damaged Tight Junctions –> Immune Response –> Auto-Immune Disease –> Allergies To Everything –> Obesity and Other Health Problems.

Time to come clean. Tim and I—already having read tons of studies on resistant starch that go back 30 years—were very damn confident that they improve the gut generally in a very special way, a “panacea,” as Dr. Art Ayers puts it. Moreover, we’d both seen a lot of recent stuff all over about prebiotics (feed what’s there) being more important than probiotics (get new stuff).

Enter my longtime friend, Dr. BG (Grace), PharmD. She writes a blog in little tiny font—so you pay close attention—at AnimalPharm (link removed). In comments here, and emails you’ll never see, she got quite perturbed at us—especially after we downplayed probiotics on Angelo Coppola’s Latest in Paleo Podcast. I won’t tell you what she told us privately, but there may have been vulgarity involved. Then, serendipitously, Ameer Rosic published a podcast with me, where I think both my thinking had evolved and I explained myself better. Grace liked it.

Long story short, she became science editor for the book Tim & I are co-authoring—now almost halfway through 16 chapters nearing 400 pages—and I ordered three SBO (soil-based organism) probiotics to try. I didn’t want to futz with “which is best” and was perfectly willing to confound variables and make the picture too complex to figure out, because it already is to begin with.

  1. Prescript-Assist
  2. AOR Probiotic-3
  3. Primal Defense Ultra
  4. (See this Update post of two additional probiotics I recommend, and why: Gut Bugs, Probiotics, Prebiotics…And how our microbes make us who we are)

The reason I went and did it was actually not because of Grace’s insistence per se, but because she’d been in comments for months already admonishing people: “you’re feeding empty cages!” In other words, if the organisms you need aren’t there, no amount of resistant starch or any other prebiotic is going to create them. RS is not Dog, after all. But I was torn. I had already experienced lots of benefits as I’ve outlined many times in my RS posts. But then I observed several people in comments having had problems with the potato starch seemingly clear them up after taking one or more of those probiotic recommendations.

While I wasn’t having problems beyond the occasionally wayward fart, it made me wonder whether I was missing out on something. Indeed I was. Alright, quick list for me, all experienced by day 4 of one of each, twice per day, typically on an empty stomach.

  1. Awareness, calm. Nothing bothers me much unless I pretend it does (which I have to do for show & schtick, sometimes). It’s a kind of perspective I haven’t enjoyed having in a long time. Above the fray—with a little spicy sprinkle of hubris and pity. Mushroom cloud on the horizon? “Wow, glad it’s not closer.”
  2. 1/3 reduced need for sleep. I always wondered whether the paleo obsession with lots of sleep in very, very, very, very dark rooms with blackout shades for 8-9 hours wan’t sign of a bad condition. I can remember often bragging about 8-10 hours myself. Really? Are we really meant to spend half of our lives asleep? Potato starch actually exacerbated that a bit because the dreams (brain-gut connection, remember?) were so vivid and intense, it was like kinda going to bed to watch a show. Haven’t slept more than 6 hours in a couple of weeks. I’m now usually up and awake, rarin’ to go, typing away before Bea gets up at 5:30am. Used to be, I’d drag out at 6:45 or so, just to see her off.
  3. Not very hungry for much of anything, usually. This results in not eating much until really no-shit hungry. The potato starch did that too, but now even more pronounced.
  4. Best for last: all my life I’ve had sinus problems. Allergies, itchy nose, runny nose, itchy eyes. I once did the subcutaneous injections for a couple of years (French Navy). I once considered buying stock in paper towel manufacturers. Kleenex doesn’t cut it. I need Bounty! I was on prescriptions since college. paleo helped a lot with that, but I now suspect it was removing those things that most created auto-immune responses (grains, most likely), but not dealing with the underlying cause. Why?* Because after a few years, the problems crept back, such that even a slight indulgence over a burger or a beer would get me sneezing, running of nose, and chronic congestion necessitating habitual squirts of Afrin every night before bed, just so I could get to sleep and not mouth breathe all night. I noticed it immediately, like day 2. About 3 weeks in, I’m 80% plus. Rather than 100 nose blows per day, maybe a few. Don’t need Afrin 90% of the time. Don’t wake up in the middle of the night with desert mouth.

So wow. Number 4, above, is a relief I can’t even begin to express the value of for me personally. Makes me wonder how much of my rather vitriolic demeanor is really me, or simply an underlying pissed-offedness at my lot in life that manifests in ways I’ve simply learned to cope with by taking pride in it. …I’d have rather had a small penis. :)

Seriously, I literally walk around in disbelief, shutting my mouth and taking deep breaths through my nose that was only possible drugged up, before, except for my paleo Honeymoon of a couple of years.

I’ve evolved into a morning smoothie concoction that’s different about every day, and that I split with Beatrice before she heads off to the classroom. I’d advise pounding those 3 probiotics for a couple of weeks (1 of each, twice per day), then perhaps, to make them last longer, something like this. The gist of my morning smoothie recipe, split between 2 people, about 10-12 oz each (this is how I now get pretty much 100% of my Probiotic and RS supplementation—my dose being about 1/2 to 2/3 of this recipe):

  • 1 raw egg
  • 1 piece of fresh fruit (apple with skin, banana, handful of berries, orange, etc., or whatever you like)
  • 2 TBS Potato Starch
  • 1 TBS Green Banana Flour
  • 1 TBS Plantain Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Inulin / FructoOligoSaccharides
  • 1 Scoop Amazing Grass High ORAC
  • 4 oz Odwalla-esq fruit/veggie smoothie blend of choice
  • 4 oz Kefir (plain or any flavor of choice)
  • 1 each of the aforementioned SBO probiotics, caps pulled apart and dumped in
  • Handfull of ice cubes
  • Water as needed for desired consistency in a good blender.

I tried to get Beatrice to take the probiotics about 4-5 days after I began taking them. No dice. That’s when I concocted the “evil smoothie” plan, and all she knew was that it was a fruit smoothie, and she loved the taste. Yesterday—this is a week or so of morning ritual, now—she comes to me saying “I feel fantastic and I think it’s that morning drink. Keep doing it.”

So, I suppose that in the large scheme of things, if you’ve ever lived a sheltered life and/or taken a round of antibiotics ever, it’s entirely possible that your gut biome was damaged permanently, and much of what you experience is merely downstream effects too complex to fully understand (see the beginning section of the post). Or, perhaps you were a C-Section baby who didn’t get the benefit of the billions of bacteria you get in the process of a natural birth. And/or, you were not breastfed, and so didn’t get both the billions of bacteria with every feeding in mammalian milk, nor the probiotics that come right along with it in a nice & tidy package.

Whatever the singular or multiple case, I’m here to say that I’ve bought a number of the dairy-based probiotics over the years and felt nothing I ever noticed. This has been way different than anything.

I don’t see how it can hurt. It might help a lot.

* I further speculate that the paleo LC approach, that removed the antagonists that gave me relief, also starved and perhaps extinguished gut microbes such that I became sensitize to far greater things in smaller doses, ultimately.

Update: I had really intended to spend some space tying this back to #1 in the list of obesity, but things were getting long, so let’s explore that in comments if you like. In a nutshell: I think a bad gut = bad decisions on many levels via the brain-gut connection and hormone regulation, including food choices brought on by insatiable cravings. Perhaps the palatability/reward hypotheses would be better refined by finding out how food engineering is both exploiting and exacerbating the problem.

Elixa Probiotic is a British biotech manufacturer in Oxford, UK. U.S. Demand is now so high they’ve established distribution centers in Illinois, Nevada, and New Jersey.
Still, sell-outs happen regularly, so order now to avoid a waiting list.

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  1. Sidney Phillips on February 27, 2014 at 14:35

    Been reading all the great work you’ve been doing with resistant starch. It’s made a big difference for me in helping heal my leaky gut. Heisenbug’s also doing good work in this area. He had a recent post touting the benefits of L. plantarum and B. infantis (align).

    May I suggest a cheaper alternative for the soil based probiotics. I’ve taken the following from Swansons with good results, and its pretty cheap at $9.99:

    • T-Nat on February 27, 2014 at 17:00

      Upon further review, I was wrong. It does have SBOs.

      For more info on SBOs- go to DrBG’s blog here

      and here a primer

    • T-Nat on February 27, 2014 at 16:10

      It does not look like this Swanson product contains any soil-based organisms.
      I just Googled all the listed strains of this product and none of them are soil based.
      I think Swanson just labeled this product cleverly or should I say deceptively.

      Tell me if I am missing something here.


    • Sidney Phillips on February 27, 2014 at 16:38

      What exactly are soil based organisms? Whuch strains should we be looking for? I’m not certain myself; I assumed those strains listed by Swansons were SBO’s.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 20:01

      “What exactly are soil based organisms?”

      Ha, yea. Sidney, it’s euphemism for dirt. :)

  2. Sidney Phillips on February 27, 2014 at 20:22

    Would throwing in a few of these probiotic pills along with yogurt culture when making homemade yogurt grow these (expensive) strains? In theory I don’t see why not but still it seems too obvious. I was reading the customer reviews on Amazon for VSL#3, which has the most strains I could find at 450 billion per packet ), and one customer mentioned she had done this for her homemade yogurt using only 1 VSL#3 packet. If this works it seems like it’d be a cheap way to have an endless supply of these expensive probiotics.

    • tatertot on February 27, 2014 at 22:13

      I think it may work, but you’ll never know. One reason Grace recommends the probiotics she does is because they are are 3rd party tested for quality. Many probiotics out there, when 3rd party tested, are found to not have the strains or CFUs as advertised.

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on February 28, 2014 at 11:00

      If only it were this simple! I too read that Amazon review, and this set me to learning about the fermentation process more in-depth (so now I feel a teensy bit confident about what I’m going to say, but you should double-check anyway)! Basically: very different sorts of bacteria _end up_ in the finished ferment than are necessarily in the VSL (or other SBO probiotic or similar). You might put a bunch of pills into your dairy or veggies, but the bacteria/yeasts that will take over are ones that have evolved to be Best at fermenting milk or cabbage or whatever. Not to say that you can’t get different varieties, but you can’t just grow any old thing you want in there, and certain particular strains will always predominate (unless you make some happy discovery and make something that is NOT yogurt or kraut or whatever). I think this is one of the reasons it’s so important to eat a varied diet when your gut is messed up – you can’t have it all in just one bowl of yogurt, no matter how tasty or easy or tempting it is to try to “simplify.”

      Kefir appears to be much more adaptable and dependable and malleable, and I recently did a test to see what would happen to my SCOBY (“symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts”) if I added an s. boulardii capsule. (The results are more difficult to interpret, because…what the heck happened?? Damned if I know, although the kefir grains did act differently in the days after I added the yeast.) Kefir seems able to evolve depending on its environment, and the seasons, and supposedly it can even deal with kefir-viruses by turning to helpful phages! Kefir also has friendly non-candida yeast, and is much more robust to temperature etc. than yogurt is. I’m fascinated by kefir.

      If you’re interested, there’s a refreshingly non-political (for the most part, “paleo” and “vegan” and “SAD” members exist happily side by side) yahoo group called “microbial nutrition” that has helped me hugely in my practical obsession to ferment as many different foods as I possibly can (and some non-foods, too). Lots of folks talking about fermentation…is there anything not to geek out about there?

    • scarab enigma on February 28, 2014 at 21:06

      Streptococcus thermophillus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, typical yogurt cultures used in commercial yogurts, are going to be robust strains that were engineered to dominate in the milk environment, and in the temperature range used for yogurt preparation. Since these pills contain SBOs that are more likely found on vegetables, certain strains should selectively grow in the environment of a vegetable fermentation. Using them as a starter culture in a kraut or kimchi might be a better idea. But who knows what flavors and end products may develop. You’re on your own. Or just skip the pill as starter, save the money and grow the natural microflora on food. Ferment some dirty vegetables, start a ginger bug or some sourdough culture, maintain them be creative in their use and see what happens.

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 22:29

      I was just thinking about this. I remember reading a book on fermenting foods, and it seems like different strains that like to cling to different foods, create different environments for themselves.

      During the fermentation process, different gasses and short chain fatty acids that incrementally lower the pH of the fermenting solution. This allows different strains to be active during different phases of fermentation and is the reason why the flavor is different at different points in the process. It’s also why we add salt to sauerkraut, it keeps certain pathogens down until the right ones can get established.

      So, probably what would happen if you added SBO probiotic supplements to a fermenting food, either the active culture would be hostile to the added bacteria, or the added bacteria would spoil the ferment. Either way, probably a useless endeavor. Just enjoy what in the fermented food you are making and eating and get SBOs or other probiotics from supps or real food.

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 1, 2014 at 03:43

      I think it’s in Sandor Katz’ book where it says that soil bacteria will make a non-poisonous but extremely unpalatable product. Occasionally, my kraut etc. comes out mushy and UNPLEASANT, and although I try to force myself to take a bite, every part of my brain is telling me This Is Bad. So I concur – if this is really the sort of vegetable fermentation that comes after contamination with Enough Soil Organisms to Matter, then I’d rather take pills…and intentionally culture natto.

    • Hannah on March 1, 2014 at 08:44

      I am so interested in what “non-foods” you are fermenting…

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 1, 2014 at 10:18

      Actually, not many (yet). But I have been slowly trying various concoctions using “effective microorganisms” (EMs) as a starter – this contains photosynthetic bacteria, and yeasts, and just is so intriguing. EMs were developed more for agricultural/industrial use, but I’m currently brewing some fresh turmeric with some EM starter, to make a tonic of sorts. Also, I’ve been brewing some crazy-smelling stuff to use as a hair rinse, just EM starter and water and black walnuts. It’s a mess…but so far has lovely hair-rinse properties when I have the patience to deal with it. :)

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 20:28

      Sarabeth, maybe that explains the very rapid ‘go through’ my 1/2 cup of okra and carrot kimchi accomplished between yesterday 11 a.m. and today 11 a.m. Wow! The stuff was crunchy but it didn’t smell like kimchi. It wasn’t rotten. Had more acetic acid smell. I added more salt than regular kimchi because I was concerned about all that okra interior space. Scoured my guts quite nicely. Don’t want a repeat.

      I’ll rinse the stuff and cook it up with pork. That ought to take the ‘piss and vinegar’ out of it. Otherwise, what a waste.

    • Scarab enigma on March 1, 2014 at 22:19

      The natural fermentative process truly is a battle, a war between microorganisms for resources and living space. Microorganisms will try to dominate by reproduction or change the environment conditions to suit their needs. Or they launch an all out attack with peptides, known as bacteriocins (I don’t recall bacteriocins receiving any attention in the discussions here so far). And, if that doesn’t work, there is always symbiosis. And we, for the most part totally unaware of the process, get to enjoy great tasting foods and numerous health benefits.

  3. mister worms on February 27, 2014 at 14:11

    This makes me wonder… how about digging up some veggies, brushing the dirt off and just chowing down as an alternative to expensive probiotics?

    It would be interesting to see the differences quantified to compare costs, number of species, number of organisms, etc.

    Even though I just shelled out $50 on prescript assist, I’m skeptical that we really get it right when we try to bottle up something as wild and wooly as this.

    • Dan Linehan on February 27, 2014 at 14:26

      Great post Richard, looking forward to trying some of these products out.

      Just want to say “thanks” for continuing down this path with your research. I’ve been following your blog for years now and it really has been life-impacting, both on my own health and occasionally for those around me, when I can give helpful advice about their various maladies and it turns out to work.

    • Dan Linehan on February 27, 2014 at 14:27

      >This makes me wonder… how about digging up some veggies, brushing the dirt off and just chowing down as an alternative to expensive probiotics?

      Might work to an extent, but difficult to say for sure since we don’t know what sorts of soil is being used in commercial farming or how sterile it really is..

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 19:07

      Thanks Dan.

      You’re one of the ones from way back so I always remember you. I think the first time I recall taking particular note of you was on some slam post on vegans and you said “well, Doritos and Mountain Dew are Vegan.” Still cracks me up.

    • GTR on March 1, 2014 at 15:51

      With eating soil you risk getting infected with bad organism – parasites, bacteria, fungi etc. together with beneficial ones. So it is good that there is someone who extracts only the good ones, so that you are not at risk. Not to mention toxic pollution from factories, power plants, automobiles, industry that to end somewhere.

    • Chupo on March 6, 2014 at 06:50

      Mister Worms,

      Your name reminds be of when I was into vermicomposting (composting with earthworms) about 15 years ago. I remember reports of people whose autoimmune problems would resolve after they’d begun working with worms. Arthritis was a common one. Whether they realized they had to feed their new gut colonists, I don’t remember but they did make the connection between the worm germs and their improved health.

    • Lindsay on March 29, 2014 at 03:36

      Grow your own or buy organic and ferment the veggies – surely cheaper and more sustainable?

    • JB on May 1, 2014 at 22:57

      According to the folks at Prescript Assist, it is a selection of categorically ‘safe’ microorganisms occurring at different stages in productive organic tilth. This sounds better than eating dirt.

  4. John on February 27, 2014 at 14:23

    Great post!

    • John on February 28, 2014 at 06:51


      Primal Defense Ultra is on sale – – $25.72 for 90 (I asked the physical store to price match yesterday, which they did, while saying they couldn’t believe the price and “better than employee discount” etc).

  5. Dan Linehan on February 27, 2014 at 14:27

    Great post Richard, looking forward to trying some of these products out.

    Just want to say “thanks” for continuing down this path with your research. I’ve been following your blog for years now and it really has been life-impacting, both on my own health and occasionally for those around me, when I can give helpful advice about their various maladies and it turns out to work.

  6. Phil Bennett on February 27, 2014 at 14:29

    I have started mixing a spoonful of my garden soil in a pint of water with the RS. (Never put down pesticides and I’m fairly sure free from livestock or cats ;)

    My wife thinks I’m a fucking nut job but I’m experiencing the same symptoms as you since the dirt shakes

    • rob on February 27, 2014 at 16:54

      Eating dirt is as Paleo as it gets.

    • Briterian on February 27, 2014 at 19:13

      And cheaper than those three things above. But I gotta ask are you for real?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 19:15

      You’re a Wild & Crazy guy, Phil.

      Yea, my concern would be that:

      1. We’re talking virgin ground (no pesticides, heavy metal contamination, etc.)

      2. That it’s on or near root storage organs.

      Other than that, don’t see a problem. Bottle it, sell it, make millions. After all, pet rocks only touched on emotions.

    • Nick on February 27, 2014 at 19:23

      Yikes, this seems very risky.

      Heavy metal poisoning is really awful, I would be cautious.

    • tatertot on February 27, 2014 at 19:32

      I pull carrots straight from the ground that is fertilized with chicken shit and coop litter, brush the big chunks off and chow down. Never had an issue.

      Bacillus Lichenformis is an SBO, guess where it loves to grow–decomposing bird feathers, and Lactobacillus Plantarum, another SBO, is found in decomposing plant matter, especially compost piles. These are two of the best probiotics you will find, but they aren’t in every blend, you need to look for them, or eat dirt.

    • Nick on February 27, 2014 at 19:48

      I also eat dirty carrots and have never had any problems.

      Eating tablespoons of dirt seems far riskier. It’s almost like a fecal transplant, at least in terms of the bacterial biomass ingested.

    • Ralnac on February 28, 2014 at 11:01

      Before I start ingesting garden soil, I’m thinking to obtain some food grade diatomaceous earth. I’ll get started on that to hopefully avoid any worm/protozoa infestation.

      Anyone who’s ever had a toddler (or been a toddler) has observed them taste-testing mud pies.

    • Kenny on February 28, 2014 at 06:28

      To add, if you are just eating dirt, then a yearly (or more frequent) stool test for parasites and other nasties would be a requirement.

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 11:07

      Are you in a position to plant a garden? The bacteria surrounding root vegetables should actually be better quality than a random scoop of dirt from the middle of a lawn. The SBOs colonize the root veggies, creating an environment hostile to pathogens, that’s why I think eating dirt clinging to a healthy carrot is less harmful than eating dirt your neighbors diseased cat may have just pissed on.

      Lots of pathogens have a life cycle that relies on a hapless idiot (animal or human) eating it.

      I don’t know if I like you plan….but don’t let that stop you! I’d recommend some s. boulardii yeast probiotics along with the DE.

    • MycroftJones on February 28, 2014 at 11:48

      This makes sense. Have you read the Humanure Handbook, by Joseph Jenkins? I had no idea that the microbial life of a compost heap contained so many miracles, including cleaning up nuclear waste, neutralizing heavy metals, and so on. What you are saying fits right in. He has also made his book free to read online. A good, finished compost should do exactly what you said, and may be even superior to regular dirt, because it has gone through the process of cleansing and purification and microbial alterations that neutralize all the nasties.

    • Ralnac on February 28, 2014 at 12:45


      I have a big garden. I sprayed a very diluted microbial brew on it last summer made of molasses and sourdough starter and had amazing results from that. I’m all about the crobes.

      I’m just waiting for the ground to thaw so I can dig up some of last fall’s beets (I know I missed a few)… know basically where they are.

      I have actually been thinking about this for awhile since I don’t want to wait for the company growing oxalobacter formigenes to get FDA approval (I need some oxalate degrader for sure). Hoping something is growing on the beets that will help colonize my gut. I wouldn’t do this without being pretty dosed up with beneficial microbes first and start small. THanks for the advice.

      I have chickens too but I’m not ready to chow down on coop litter. I don’t wash eggs though, that’s just silly.

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 12:50

      You know, just being around those chickens, collecting eggs, getting poop on your hands and breathing a bit of that dust they create is a healthy experience.

      Lots of people love to dust their coops with DE, that’s OK, but DE dust breathed in by humans is very harmful, way more harmful than the chicken feather dust.

      A backyard flock of just 3-5 chickens is probably one of the best things people can do for getting a good mix of healthy eggs and beneficial microbes.

    • Annika on March 1, 2014 at 04:14

      Dude, I’m one step ahead of you. Here’s a recipe I concocted last year (please take note of the post date):

    • DWS on February 28, 2014 at 21:07

      Bought 3 chicks 5 months ago and they’re laying now. My daughters always hug and kiss the chickens goodnight every night. I certainly don’t discourage it and have started doing myself!

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 2, 2014 at 17:47


      OMG. Tatertot finally speaks o the ‘dirt’ beneath his wings.

      That only took me 1/2 year dude of kicking dirt-filled rectum.

    • gabriella kadar on March 6, 2014 at 07:34

      Ralnac, yes, I remember as a little kid (maybe 4 or 5 years old) I’d been heavily into the sandbox at the nursery school. Hm, then at some time I would not be able to get to sleep at night due to very itchy bumhole. PINWORMS!

      Was treated. I think I only got them once. Unforgettable.

      When I lived in Trinidad in the 1980s, it seemed to me that my friends were forever having to de-worm their kids. Pinworms and more pinworms. Who knows what all else the kids were picking up while playing outside.

      But don’t worry, at least those things are quite easy to eliminate. Just you’ll spend some serious time awake at night busy scratching while the pinworm adults crawl out of your bum in their optimism to spread their joy to others.

      It’s only fair to the rest of us if you let us know if any of this enhances your experience of dirt eating. :)

    • Bjornsdotter on March 10, 2014 at 20:59

      Every sentence in that post made me laugh out loud! I would love to be married to a guy like that one day!!!


    • John Thompson on April 22, 2014 at 14:08

      Would it be ethical to eat earthworms?
      They would carry a payload of bacteria infested soil

    • dogfood on April 22, 2014 at 14:44

      Not today.

    • Jennifer on June 25, 2014 at 08:17

      When I was a toddler (many moons ago!) my Mom found me in the yard spooning dirt into my mouth on many occasions. She consulted our pediatrician who told her that there must be something lacking in my diet that caused me to crave dirt. His advice was to let me eat it if I wanted.

      I always assumed there was some trace mineral I was lacking that lead me to supplement with soil. As a child, and later adult, with many digestive issues – beginning with a severe allergy to breast milk – or to whatever my mom consumed that made me allergic to it, I wonder now if it wasn’t an attempt to help out my gut that made me crave dirt.

  7. john on February 27, 2014 at 14:30

    Dear Richard,
    My only claim to fame will likely be, that a long time ago, I introduced a certain person in Shanghai to the t-nation website, not for eye candy, :-) but for science sake, as the bodybuilders are the only ones who have to take off their clothes and walk their talk (of the result of foods and exercise precision) for all to see.

    The other item that has sat in a crevice in my aged brain is that the bush Africans likely defecate in a squat position in the bush. It is likely at this stage some of the important termite biofilm bacteria ( and termite outputs, which have been to shown to fertilize crops and vegetation) would transfer to the host. These bugs would be candidates to handle the RS and fiber of the African diet . maybe my next trip to northern Australia will be to find some termites, and try the abdomens as fecal bacteria in a capsule…

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 20:46

      “My only claim to fame will likely be, that a long time ago, I introduced a certain person in Shanghai to the t-nation website, not for eye candy”

      Can I get a clue? :)

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 2, 2014 at 17:53

      Well John was being all scientific and biohacking. I went to t-nation for the EYE CANDY

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 2, 2014 at 17:56

      Termites are the most ancient probiotic our earliest hominin ancestors co-evolved with

      Sponheimer, Matt et al. “Hominins, sedges, and TERMITES: new carbon isotope data from the Sterkfontein valley and Kruger National Park.” Journal of Human Evolution 48.3 (2005): 301-312.

    • KAWAM on May 1, 2014 at 12:29

      I’m a total pyro, heating (almost) solely with a wood stove. FAVORITE before-bed entertainment: good audio-book in the earphones while staring into the fire. Sigh. Makes you hate summer . . . video lacks the smell and the crackle and the all-out sensuousness of it all.

  8. WW on February 27, 2014 at 14:34

    “I always wondered whether the Paleo obsession with lots of sleep in very, very, very, very dark rooms with blackout shades for 8-9 hours wan’t sign of a bad condition.”

    I also have come to disagree with this Paleo obsession of darkened rooms. For millions of years, our fore-critters have slept under the moon and stars. And once the cooking and safety benefits of fire was discovered, sleeping in front of campfires.

    I configured my laptop to turn to a very reddish color cast at dusk. You know what is the quickest way for me to fall asleep? Being in a darkened room laying down with that laptop on my tummy – falling asleep in front of the campfire so to speak. I am out within 5-10 minutes.

    To me, there is nothing more Paleo than a cast of yellowish/red light at night.

    • Alie on February 27, 2014 at 18:08

      Thank you for this! I always fall asleep to favorite shows on netflix or amazon, and assumed it was probably a bad thing. This is a different spin on it, though, and it is very much like listening to a much loved story in front of a fire. Interesting. Of course, then I wake up laying on my tablet tangled up in headphones.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 21:01

      “Of course, then I wake up laying on my tablet tangled up in headphones.”

      Most nights, I have to come in the bedroom, remove Bea’s glasses of her face, set the devices aside and turn off the TV.

    • John on February 28, 2014 at 07:49

      I picked up some of those Orange safety glasses. I seem to fall asleep slower watching t.v. with them on. Maybe its because I associate them with skiing and paintball, as in, I’ve conditioned myself to associate tinted lenses with increased perception during highly active (mentally and physically) times.

    • Cathy on February 28, 2014 at 16:25

      OMG!!! Thank you for this! I have always fallen asleep to tv and while reading. There is a station that plays retro tv and I fall asleep part way through Perry Mason and wake up during the Untouchables. When my husband travels I always have a night light. I have never needed total darkness to go to sleep. And I don’t need that much sleep either.

    • Misterian on February 28, 2014 at 19:11

      I’ve wondered about this light thing too when backpacking not very many nights are pitch dark with the moon shining! And I’m about as far into nature as can be. Perhaps we have other hormonal cycles relating to the moon and even the seasons, when the days get shorter and longer?

    • Sally Oh on March 2, 2014 at 09:11

      how did you program it to do that? I had that f-? program on there for awhile, but it always seems to crap out. Thanks!

    • Sally Oh on March 2, 2014 at 09:41

      This explains a lot to me, just as a bio-hacker, testing on myself. Three years ago I was in the hospital for 3 weeks loading up on strong antibiotics to save my life from a third world bacterial pneumonia. I have lasting gut issues that nothing seems to touch.

      I’ve never done pro-biotics because it was all just so confusing to figure them out. I eat sauerkraut and drink beet kvass, kombucha, sometimes kefir, all home made. But I think I need the overload-the-gut to get the ball rolling again protocol. Thank you for this — I’m going to give it a try with my RS.

      Btw, I bought some psyllium husk powder… how do you get that shit down? Disgusting. I notice it’s not in your smoothie. Thank goodness, lol.

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 09:51

      Sally, don’t know why f.lux would crap out. Have had it on all my laptops for years. Just set it right. The programme even added very low temp lighting at some time in the recent past.

      Just delete the programme and re install.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2014 at 10:19


      I’ve got some psyllium on order and plan to add a tsp once or twice per week to the smoothie, see if anything.

    • A on July 8, 2017 at 18:27

      Dr. Kruse would very much disagree with having that EMF all over you even if its tinted orange/red

  9. Laura on February 27, 2014 at 14:52

    You may be saving this for your book, but what is the difference int he 3 products? why do we need all three? do you know how long we would need to take them?

    My problem is the the expense (cue the: “can’t put a price on health, save money on health care costs later, yadda yadda”). The reality is, I can’t afford this right now, and if I saved up, I could only afford to supplement for a limited time. Are there any less expensive products?

    • gabriella kadar on February 27, 2014 at 15:00

      Laura, don’t you know? Richard subscribes to the ‘go big or go home’ philosophy of life. :) He did write that taking all three introduces confounders.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 19:55


      I believe Grace has both personal experience and clinical observation with those she consults and I think the AOR is her preferred. That said, see my not to colin. If you make the initial investment and pound for a week or two, I’ll bet you can back off to 1/2 of each per day and it’s going to stretch things. Or, if you’re just 1, I’d rotate them. 1 cap every three days of each.

    • BethM on February 28, 2014 at 14:36

      I agree wholeheartedly with the AOR. I’ve taken Primal Defense and Prescript Assist without any noticeable results. Things began changing immediately when I started taking the AOR probiotics though. No more stinky gas from potato starch (still some gas, but odorless), better energy, better mood and finally the better sleep and vibrant dreams that everyone kept raving about with PS but which I hadn’t really experienced. It’s been a game changer for me.

    • John on March 1, 2014 at 15:07

      I got one incredibly vivid dream shortly after starting Potato Starch, but that was it. Was really hoping it was going to be a regular or semi regular thing. I’ve been doing Prescript Assist, and just got some Primal Defense, and your experience got me to pull the trigger on AOR as well.

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 20:11

      John, try ‘tapioca starch at midnight’…….. or before bedtime. I think the smaller starch granule results in rapid fermentation and a huge spike in acetate production. Which is brain fuel and increases brain activity during the night when blood sugar levels go down, like at 4 a.m. Don’t blame me if the vivid dreams are an unwelcome addition.

      I found that the situation is dose related. If I consume an ‘ice berg on a tablespoon’ worth of PS before bedtime, dreams are intrusive. A rounded tablespoon results in unremarkable dreams. No PS = no dreams. PS during the day but not in the late evening = better sleep but no dreams.

  10. Colin F. on February 27, 2014 at 14:55

    So do you ever get to a place where you don’t need a probiotic or is that now part of the daily routine ad infinitum?

    And thanks for everything you do. Love this site.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 19:50

      My big Q, Colin. Probably yes, in some measure—since Paleoman was always exposed. Erring on the side of caution, if our lives are such they we’re not being exposed to “the seed of the earth” daily, then we ought have a way to get them minimally.

      Yea $$$. I’m sure many have added up that wallet hit already. But remember, I only pounded for 10 days to 2 weeks and now have gone to where Bea and I are splitting one pill of each per day and I’m still improving after a week, so I think that’s plenty. I haven’t done the math but I’ll bet it comes out pretty reasonable if once you get stabilized, your cost is maybe like $30 per month for 2 people (out of my butt estimate, there).

    • Intrigued on March 1, 2014 at 20:00

      So Bea is feeling positive benefit from the 1/2 pill probiotic in the Evil Smoothie? That is, she did not need the 2 week twice a day dosing to start seeing positive effects? Very interesting. May need to introduce the Evil Smoothie in my home as my hubs isn’t keen on “inoculation dosing” for a few weeks.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2014 at 20:03

      Well, 1/2 of all three pills.

  11. john on February 27, 2014 at 15:18

    my goodness. In the interest of fecal bacteria transfer in a population, I went feral. Just typed arse wiping of x culture, y race into google and it is amazing. Makes this site so twee and nice. The cultural anthropologist papers and blogs on the matter are really interesting.

    • gabriella kadar on February 27, 2014 at 15:41

      john, you should read ‘The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters’ by Rose George. The ‘material’ is fascinating. Her constant subjective interjections are somewhat tiresome. Worth the read though.

    • john on February 27, 2014 at 17:14

      thank you Gabriella! Read the amazon page.

      my head is swimming in fecal transfer technology possibilities- corn cob on a string shared in eastern europe where wonderful kefir comes from… and taking fecal transfer ski holidays in those Swiss Alps cute houses for 6 months in winter with animals below and vapours drifting up to the humans above. no need to wonder whether there is a need to pop a another probiotic pill…


    • gabriella kadar on February 27, 2014 at 19:50

      john: corn cob on a string?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 20:51

      “my head is swimming in fecal transfer technology possibilities”

      You may not believe it, but I have a “Richard Rant” post in draft the I almost published yesterday. Got up, decided to preempt with this.

      I’ll give you the title:

      “Anarchy Begins With Eating Shit: How Does the FDA Regulate DIY Fecal Transplants?”

    • john on February 28, 2014 at 05:00

      Yes G, in rural Turkey , a corn cob on as string next to the loo is often used as a communal family cleaning mechanism for the anus. In India the left hand can be used . But westerners cant talk as I remember a Mythbusters episode showing that the toothbrush next to the toilet room picked up fecal bacteria floating around the room in micro water droplets generated when a no2 goes plop into the toitoi!

    • Alie on March 2, 2014 at 16:38

      I have helped butcher chickens, deer, and a cow. I have raised two children, with all that entails. I spent six weeks in Brazil, where the only bathing I did was in the amazon river. And now, because of this website, I am taking pills of dirt. But the one thing that will make me gag is a toothbrush sitting in a holder on a bathroom counter.

  12. Robbie O on February 27, 2014 at 15:41

    Well – its early days but I spent a small fortune on the 3 probiotics and the orac greens which I only started 2 days ago. Still waiting for the AOR 3 to arrive so I can toss that in the mix.

    One thing I am curious of though is that while reading the latest comments on the referenced Dr Ayer site, in his comments responding to questions about taking actual probiotics such as the ones recommended herein he seems to be not much of a believer in their efficacy. I copied from two comments on his latest article
    When asked specifically about certain products he replied as follows:

    start quote

    Prescript Assist,
    As far as I can see from the list of bacteria and fungi listed as ingredients, this “probiotic”, is a bunch of spore forming organisms mixed with Leonardite, a relative of coal that prevents compaction. The choice of organisms seems to be based on availability, because they are used commercially to produce ingredients for other industries. One of the fungi used, for example, is the source of the enzyme, cellobiose dehydrogenase, that I discovered in Stockholm. Most won’t grow in the gut, so they are transients, similar to dairy probiotics. They will not repair gut flora, but they may provide temporary benefits in cases of severe dysbiosis. Homemade fermented veggies are better.

    AOR 3,
    I don’t have any experience with this probiotic. It has a strain is C. butyricum, and that may be useful in your case. If you were treated with antibiotics, you probably lost dozens of different species of bacteria out of a couple hundred species. The probiotic at best would replace one or two of the missing species.
    end quote

    Now – I read this after I already purchased the probiotics but before taking them and have been patiently waiting for this post to be published as RN has alluded to it for a few days. I actually got more strongly motivated to get the probioitcs and the orac to make the so called bionic fiber and reseed my gut as that is also discussed at the animalpharm blog by Dr BG.

    I am no stranger to natural probiotics. Please note I have been consuming raw milk kefir while for two years – and recently after moving to the caribbean from switzerland my kefir culture has died twice (i think from over pastureised florida milk). I have also been fermenting veggies like a mad scientist for the last two years making all sorts of fermented pepper mashes, krauts, beets, etc. using the canadian culture product from quebec – Calwells. What I was not doing was taking RS. I have gotten excellent benefits from RS thus far.

    Seems like there are conflicting views about the benefit of taking probioitics as opposed to just fermenting them. I am very interested to reconcile these points of view given that clearly between RN & BG and DR Ayers there is a striking difference of opinion about the usefulness of taking such probiotics.

    I plan to stick with it in any case. Im not afraid to go big with the probioitics and will feedback my success or lack thereof later once the impacts is known to me. It would be great to see some addtional discussion about these conflicting views.


    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 20:43

      “Seems like there are conflicting views”

      Uh, oh. There’s a red flag. Everyone isn’t thinking the same, spouting the same 10 Commandments. How will we ever all end up doing the wrong thing, taking comfort in collective misery?

      “I am very interested to reconcile these points”

      I doubt there’s any such thing anytime soon and N=1 is the primitive fallback we’re stuck with. Maybe in a thousand years when an “iPhone” can work out all possible permutations in a nanosecond, and for each of the earth’s 10 trillion population.

      I made my own kefir and drank gallons upon gallons of it over a couple of months. I indeed felt good, but nothing like this. I chalked that up to plain good bioavailable nutrition.

  13. TR on February 27, 2014 at 16:12

    Such a symbiotic relationship with dirt. You’d think we came from the stuff.

  14. John on February 27, 2014 at 16:25

    Awesome post, Richard. Awesome!

  15. Kerri on February 27, 2014 at 16:31

    Hear of Dr. Ron’s? Considering ordering this:

    I always enjoy reading your posts.

    • David on February 28, 2014 at 18:55


      Regardings the Dr. Ron’s probiotic, Prescript Assist is available for the same price and provides a more diverse biotic array. It does offer a high CFU for its six strains, but I’m not sure how much that matters. There may be other reasons to support Dr. Ron but this particular probiotic product has some serious, and possibly superior, competition.

    • Kerri on February 28, 2014 at 19:20

      Appreciate the input :)

  16. LWH on February 27, 2014 at 16:33

    Looks like all 3 probiotics are now available on amazon.

    • MycroftJones on February 28, 2014 at 13:02

      I bet there is someone at Amazon who reads this blog regularly. :)

  17. yien on February 27, 2014 at 16:38

    re: the smoothie – recommend Now Foods Apple Pectin. Cheap as chips.

    Plus nothing much more paleo than pectin fibre.

    If there is a big difference, now, between what you are generally recommending and what is evolutionary diet – it would be pectin.

  18. Nick on February 27, 2014 at 16:42

    Anyone have any peer-reviewed science on these particular probiotic strains (SBO, etc.)? Thanks in advance.

    • T-Nat on February 27, 2014 at 17:06

      Here’s one. A study on Prescript Assist and I don’t know who funded this study so take it FWIW.

  19. John on February 27, 2014 at 17:07

    Nick, you can often find studies by typing the various strains into pubmed.

  20. Pd on February 27, 2014 at 17:29


    I have enjoyed this series a great deal. Well done to you and Tim. You guys have brought to the attention of many people another possible missing piece in health optimization.

    That smoothie is a classic. I mean that in a good way.

    I am yet to be convinced about the empty cages idea. It seems odd to me that only a few outliers have issues adapting when so many other people myself included have not experienced anything adverse. Given antibiotic use etc, why is this issue not more wifespread.

    It is something I have been critical of in historical dietary arguments (for example – high fat low carb) where some peole have drawn inferences from what may be suitable for people with pathological issues like obesity and type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome etc and proposed that things like higher carbs (not beneficial for this clinical popn) are evil and high fat is therefore the panacea for all.

    I am going to do this nice and slow, with diversification of RS based foods gradually introduced into the diet. I am of the opinion based on experiences with things like resistance training, aerobic conditioning and dietary modifications that incremental alterations are easier and foster longer term compliance.

    As for the SBO probiotics, are there risks or concerns about these you are across?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 21:22

      “why is this issue not more wifespread.”

      That is a very interesting question, given my juxtaposition of traditional households vis-a-vis obesity or incipient obesity amongst wives in the general.

      These propositions definitely need to be spread to more wives.

  21. kate on February 27, 2014 at 17:35

    Richard, love your thought process. I think you are really pushing at the edges of a significant advance of understanding of obesity and other modern ailments. I’ll pass on the smoothie recipe though, yuk!! :). I’ll continue to swallow the sbo et al capsules and eat chew anything that is chewable!

  22. Alie on February 27, 2014 at 17:58


    You are blowing my mind lately, and I thank you for it. I think Whole Foods has primal defense, so I will start there. I will let you know how it goes. Of course, I will most likely be taking it with wine, so I may not be the best subject.

    Somehow, I’ve always instinctively known dirt was important. When my boys were growing up, I made sure they got outside in the dirt nearly every day. One time my neighbor said if I kept letting them play in the dirt they would get scarlet fever. I said I was sure they would be fine, but if they got sick at least we would know what it was. Weirdo.

  23. tatertot on February 27, 2014 at 19:12

    Great stuff! I don’t regret at all the way we rolled this all out. Early on, we were just pointing out that RS was an overlooked part of paleo and that potato starch was a good source of RS and a great prebiotic. I think we were ill-prepared for what came next, and that’s where Grace really came in–she was prepared to take it to the next level, but knew it involved lots more than 4 more TBS of PS. I think we fell into the ‘more is better’ mindset when we should have been looking at the gut and what all else it needed, the answer wasn’t ‘more potato starch’.

    I was firmly convinced from the start that RS would be enough and the gut bugs would come around if there was enough food for them. I think for many, that may be the case, but for the rest–and especially those who have known gut issues, it’s never going to be the case.

    Grace and I are actually re-writing the entire pre- and probiotic chapter I had written back before Christmas. She read it, was very quiet for two days, and I said to her, ‘Let me know if you don’t like it, we can gut it and start over.’ Her response was something like, ‘I f–ing hate every word of it’ So, I deleted 90% of it and started over. We’re about halfway done now, and this chapter will be worth the price of the book. People are wasting so much money trying to find the holy grail of prebiotics and probiotics, and there is so much confusion when trying to pick out good supplements or foods.

    I am surprised by Grace’s insights every day, her ‘small font’ blog is way ahead of its time, really, and the stuff she was writing about the last couple years is just now starting to get people’s attention.

    I helped Grace write a bunch of blogs last Fall on her 7 Steps to cure SIBO, url-removed/2013/11/how-to-cure-sibo-small-intestinal-bowel.html
    but I think these 7 steps would probably be good for everyone wanting to have a better gut whether they have SIBO or not. The beautiful part of it is, it’s not a never-ending program with more and more complicated protocols that leave you sicker and broker than when you started.

    I wonder how many of those diet programs that have failed people in the past, ie. the Starch Solution, the Leptin Reset, Atkins, LC Paleo, and others would have fared if they’d have started with a gut healing protocol like Grace’s 7 steps.

    Anyway, I’m glad where this has all led. Starting out like we did showed the limitations of RS and I’m sure we are still not done figuring out where to go next.

    • Cathy on February 27, 2014 at 19:39

      This is a very exciting installment to read. It gives me a lot to think about. I went back and was reading some of the posts from last year on AnimalPharm and were Dr. BG talks about fermenting legumes and whole grains, what sort of whole grains? I read an article in Science I think about a Chinese microbiologist who healed his gut and a whole host of other problems with Chinese bitter melon and whole grains. I couldn’t figure out what kind of whole grains.

  24. Resurgent on February 27, 2014 at 20:27

    Fantastic..! Richard. Great post.

    I have a suspicion that the destruction of our biome is not just from antibiotics we take as medicine, but is a continuing process because of the increasing use of ‘pest killers’ we have been using in multitude ways.

    The hand sanitizers now available to wipe off bad bugs from shopping cart handles definitely make their way into our inside. The army of dangerous untested pesticides used on, both animal and plant food production, not only come with the food that is treated, but it gets into the ground and the water and enters plants and animals systemically.

    I have personal experience with my starter cultures dying when used with plants grown with weedicides. Glyphosate (roundup) is now being exposed as a culprit in many such instances. Even milk from animals fed with roundup treated feed kills yogurt and kefir culture. How much gut biome destruction this milk does in children is anybody’s guess.

    This is going to be a long battle. The poisoning is widespread and serious. Your (TT and Dr BG) work is exemplary. Keep it up. looking forward to the book.

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 5, 2014 at 15:52

      Luv U RESURGENT~!

      Have you seen Triclosan (skin and surface broad spectrum ‘sanitizer’, now in our water) and how we all nearly have it in our bodies????! Lovely.

      “Triclosan was measured in different units for some of the studies. Overall it was found in 42 of 49 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.”

      Endocrine disruptor – suspected or limited evidence Veldhoen, N., R. C. Skirrow, et al. (2006). “The bactericidal agent triclosan modulates thyroid hormone-associated gene expression and disrupts postembryonic anuran development.” Aquat Toxicol 80(3): 217-27.

      Endocrine disruptor – suspected or limited evidence Foran, C. M., E.R. Bennett, W.H. Benson (2000). “Developmental evaluation of a potential non-steroidal estrogen: triclosan.” Marine Environmental Research 50: 153-156.

      Skin sensitizer Bhargava H., L. P. (1996). “Triclosan: Applications and safety.” Am J. Infect Control 24: 209-218.

      Limited evidence in humans – skin toxicity Bhargava H., L. P. (1996). “Triclosan: Applications and safety.” Am J. Infect Control 24: 209-218.

  25. Dave on February 27, 2014 at 20:57

    Two questions,

    1) Is there a benefit to diversifying your RS with PS and Plantain Flour? I swear you’ve hit on this before but I can’t to find it

    2) I tolerate Prescript Assist well but when I add anything to get some Bifido and Lactobacillus I get all sorts of problems (skin goes crazy, can’t sleep, sluggish). I tried Primal Flora and Primal defense, at seperate times and both times gave up after about a week and a half. Would you just stick to PA or take another approach? Am I quitting too early? Maybe related, dairy has the same negative effects as those probiotics did.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 21:56

      “Is there a benefit to diversifying your RS with PS and Plantain Flour?”

      Don’t know. RS comes in vastly different granule sizes and since bacteria are several billion years away from micro-frontal-cortextes that allows them to talk, I figure I mix it up.

      Intuition. I like to deal with incomprehensible complexity by covering as many bases as make sense to me.

      As to the other questions, no idea. I tend not to take account of anything out of the ordinary until it becomes very chronic.

    • tatertot on February 27, 2014 at 22:07

      I’d be remiss if I didn’t jump in here…

      Many studies show that the SCFA, especially butyrate, that we are after is much better produced when the RS is accompanied with other fibers. I think that if you are using straight PS, it’s fine as long as you are eating a fiber-filled diet (beans, rice, spuds, fruit, veggies), but isolated PS is maybe not the best use.

      The smoothie mix that Richard put together has everything, even the antioxidants and flavonoids, that are shown to increase bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. About the only thing missing is a handful of pollen, but I’d say that is about the most perfect smoothie I’ve ever seen.

    • alan2102 on March 1, 2014 at 20:52

      Related question: any reason for (other than convenience for some things) green banana powder instead of green bananas? Green plaintain powder instead of green plantain? Potato starch powder instead of potatoes? I mean raw potatoes. Yes, raw potato has a palatability issue. I don’t mean eating them whole. More like blended, or juiced, possibly grated. (Potato slaw, anyone?) Raw potato juice was used by juice nuts of yesteryear. How about potato smoothie, perhaps warmed up a bit and seasoned? How about potato smoothie, innoculated with something and set out at room temp for a day or two to develop some flora? Just thinking aloud here.

    • tatertot on March 1, 2014 at 21:51

      Just convenience.

      I actually do way more dried plantains, eaten like crackers, than plantain flour. People have a fear of raw potatoes, which is cool. Solanine can be present, and if you have Nightshade allergies it would for sure be a problem. We’ve been through all this over the past year–Sous Vide potatoes, dried plantains, smoothies, green bananas. The starches are just so easy and mix so well they are just too easy to use.

    • alan2102 on March 2, 2014 at 02:35

      For the record, the fear has a basis. Toxic glycoalkaloids are present in near-toxic amounts in potatoes, depending (time of storage and exposure to light are factors). They can be minimized by careful removal of eyes and any bruises, or by peeling. Also, cooking does partially destroy them.

  26. Ralnac on February 27, 2014 at 21:04

    I am waiting for the ground in my garden to thaw so I can dig up some dirt from around a few beets leftover from last fall. I don’t know if it will help, but probably won’t hurt. I have reactions to high oxalate foods after a big dose from raw swiss chard in November (as does my daughter it turns out), so we have been slowly cutting dietary oxalate for a few months and working on gut healing.

    The folks on low oxalate diet have been waiting over a decade for approval of oxalobacter formagenes probiotic. As far as I know it is still not available.

    Oxalobacter formagenes breaks down oxalate compounds in the gut, is colonized from the environment by about age 6-8 (from soil), but wiped out by many antibiotics.

    There seem to be a lot of conditions associated with oxalate retention in tissues and organs including certain thyroid conditions, vulvodynia, fibromyalgia, autism, histamine overload, anemia etc. Vitamin or mineral deficiencies can cause the body to produce oxalates as well.
    “Oxalate is a highly reactive molecule that is abundant in many plant foods, but in human cells, when it is present in high amounts, it can lead to oxidative damage, depletion of glutathione, the igniting of the immune system’s inflammatory cascade, and the formation of crystals which seem to be associated with pain and prolonged injury. Ordinarily, not much oxalate is absorbed from the diet, but the level of absorption has to do with the condition of the gut. There is a lot of medical literature showing that when the gut is inflamed, when there is poor fat digestion (steatorrhea), when there is a leaky gut, or when there is prolonged diarrhea or constipation, excess oxalate from foods that are eaten can be absorbed from the GI tract and become a risk to other cells in the body.”

    Quoting from from

    “Research shows that it tangles with cellular issues like altering the cell membrane by lipid peroxidation and oxidizing and interfering with the trafficking of glutathione. In the mitochondrion it impairs many enzymes that furnish the energy for cell life. Oxalate changes what happens in the cytosol, the fluid interior of cells where calcium waves regulate complex chemistry, and where it can also alter the function of ion channels. Oxalate changes calcium storage in the endoplasmic reticulum where calcium is kept available for cell signaling and cell death programs. Oxalate enters the nucleus of cells, where DNA gives the recipe for making proteins, but there oxalate modifies transcription in unknown ways that are only now being studied.

    Because it is so reactive, oxalate also interferes with the duties of many other positively charged ions like magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, and more. This may alter the role of these ions in enzymes and in other complex molecules. Oxalate specifically impairs iron’s intracellular release, and interferes with the whole class of biotin-dependent enzymes called carboxylases. These disruptions of cell chemistry are not what happens when oxalate is bound to calcium, but are what happens when it ISN’T bound to calcium. Its free state allows it to cross into the cell as an ion on transporters generally designed to move sulfate into cells. When someone is low in sulfate, this may change where oxalate is taken.

    Where does oxalate come from?
    Oxalate is present in a lot of plants and fruit that we eat. It is especially high in almost all seeds and nuts, but in some more than others. Ordinarily, the gut won’t absorb much of the oxalate from the diet because most of the oxalate will be metabolized by the flora or just leave the body with the stool. Under other conditions, such as when there is gut inflammation, a lot of dietary oxalate is absorbed.

    The difference can be as great as going from 1-2% of the dietary oxalate absorbed to as high as 50%.

    Over absorption of oxalate will also occur when the tight junctions between intestinal cells open up and let molecules pass to the other side going between the cells. This condition, called the “leaky gut”, may happen during illness, or when cells in the gut die, leaving gaps, and may bring with it allergies to foods. This condition is similar to when the bladder has open junctions called the “leaky bladder”, or when the blood brain barrier is compromised. The colon may also absorb too much oxalate when small bowel function is compromised by surgery, by poor pancreatic function, and/or by fat maldigestion.”

    “It is likely the tie to yeast infections involves a problem in the immune system and its ability to recognize yeast overgrowth and respond. Oxalate is known to impair carboxylase enzymes producing symptoms equivalent to biotin or biotinidase deficiency. The literature on those conditions is clear that when carbxylases are impaired, it is easy to get runaway problems with yeast. Perhaps this explains why some people on the low oxalate diet would lose this inhibition, resulting in a loss of their tendency towards chronic candidiasis.”

    Hopefully I will eat high oxalate foods again someday after I have detoxed from what is in my body and have my gut junctions tight again. And I guess I will have to consume some soil, for real, since the oxalobacter formagenes isn’t available commercially. Babies munch gravel and grass after all.

    I was glad to learn that beans, while high in oxalate, don’t have all that much bioavailable (soluble) oxalate. So I take calcium citrate at the same meal with it and it seems not to be a problem.

    So glad to be learning how to heal my gut and promote the flora within. Just started Probiotic-3. Prescript Assist gave me heartburn.

    • Ralnac on February 28, 2014 at 11:32

      Hmm, decided to try another capsule of Prescript-Assist again after being on Probiotic-3 for a week.

      Initially got major heartburn and acidic belching and felt bloated the first time I took Prescript-Assist (alone), and felt very acid going through my GI tract. Not sure if that happens to many people. I called Prescript-Assist’s distributor and of course they told me it was “die-off”.

      This time, nothing. I took Probiotic-3 an hour before the Prescript-Assist plus calcium citrate to buffer acid. I have been on potato and tapioca starch for a few weeks plus tatos and beans and TMI and fartage settled down awhile ago.

      Maybe they ARE synergistic. Maybe it was die-off. Who knows.

  27. Charles on February 27, 2014 at 22:30

    In terms of obesity, and Stephan G.’s food reward theory, I have found much greater resistance to food reward after a few months on PS and SBOs. Foods that used to just pull me on have little or no attraction any more. This is a completely non-conscious thing, which would speak to it being powerful enough to lead to extra calorie input and obesity. We’re not only making our gut biome healthier, I think we’re making it smarter, too. If you look back at ancestral diets, you wonder how the hell some cultures could include exactly what they needed, when the foods they included weren’t at all obviously nutritious or even easy to find or dig up. Maybe it wasn’t mystical. Maybe they just had very smart guts.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 27, 2014 at 23:19

      Charles, exact same thing, not 15 minutes ago I went to the kitchen, almost just as habit. Looked around, saw there was bacon in the fridge I could nuke. I can do crispy over easy eggs in 3 minutes from fridge to plate (did you see my f-bomb YouTube?).

      Ended up just turning around. It’s weird.

      Philosophy is up for adjustments. I wouldn’t say we have free will. Rather, I would say that it’s possible to exercise power of will,

  28. Marcus on February 28, 2014 at 01:03

    The Human biome contains more that just bacteria, there are fungi, protozoa and archea in there as well, and though I can’t cite any references, there must be also a host of viruses swimming around in the mix.

    I wonder if the accounts of vivid dreams of people experimenting with RS has something to do with stimulating the yeasts and fungi in the gut – sort of growing your own magic mushrooms?

    • bornagain on February 28, 2014 at 02:43

      Speaking of hallucinogenics, I wonder what effect marijuana has on the gut bacteria? Is there anyone who’s done that fecal biome test after smoking every day for a month?

    • CT on February 28, 2014 at 04:30

      +1 I wonder about this as well.

    • Ann on February 28, 2014 at 09:51

      I can’t answer to the fecal test, but I know eating it fresh certainly hasn’t hurt mine. My leaky gut is from chronic long-term stress, and I eat it fresh to knock my gut anxiety down a few notches. I believe I read somewhere that eating it is anti inflammatory for those with IBS and IBD, so? I guess I don’t suspect it would heal anything any better than any other herb, but I really have no idea. We grow medicinally for several friends, so I know it’s all organically grown and clean, and now it’s just another medicine I take.

    • shtove on February 28, 2014 at 11:37

      Great query. Never occurred to me before.

      Sadly google not helping.

    • Sally Oh on March 2, 2014 at 12:18

      Search Dr. Courtney on youtube, I think it’s called “Leaf.” He says we should all juice a plant every day (everything but the root which is too fibrous and might break the juicer) for optimal health. Soon as i can grow some, i intend to.

      P.S. The THC only becomes psychoactive when heated or dried so juicing it won’t get you high. This is how kids with cancer ingest it mostly. They also do an oil but so little and usually with Cannabis that has a tiny amount of THC so no risk of a high. Unlike morphine…

      P.S.S. For the scientists in the room: THC is actually THC-A until heated or dried… then the A falls off and it becomes THC. THC-A is non-psychoactive; THC is.

  29. Erik on February 28, 2014 at 02:39

    Thank you for this great post. I especially like the part about your sinus problems clearing up. I’ve have sinus problems for many years, just like you describe, and after years of research and experimentation I am 100% certain that the fundamental cause is in my gut. Please keep up the good work.

    • Gemma on February 28, 2014 at 13:31

      Sinus problems and microbial communities

      “(…) The team reports this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine that sinusitis may be linked to the loss of normal microbial diversity within the sinuses following an infection and the subsequent colonization of the sinuses by the culprit bacterium, which is called Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum.
      In their study, the researchers compared the microbial communities in samples from the sinuses of 10 patients with sinusitis and from 10 healthy people, and showed that the sinusitis patients lacked a slew of bacteria that were present in the healthy individuals. The patients also had large increases in the amount of Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum in their sinuses, which are located in the forehead, cheeks and eyes.
      The team also identified a common bacterium found within the sinuses of healthy people called Lactobacillus sakei that seems to help the body naturally ward off sinusitis. In laboratory experiments, inoculating mice with this one bacterium defended them against the condition. (…)”

  30. Jer on February 28, 2014 at 03:38

    Richard; In regards to the sinus issue, have you ever tried stinging nettle leaf (capsules, not tea)? My wife suffered from daily from sinus problems and was taking Mucinex daily to combat them; she still got sinus infections that required antibiotics on a yearly basis. I advised her to try the nettle leaf. She now uses it daily, no more mucinex, no more infections. YMMV.


    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2014 at 14:21

      Heck Jer, for about 12 bucks and free shipping w Amazon Prime, why not give it a try. Stinging nettles on the way.

  31. Jer on February 28, 2014 at 04:04

    Just a thought on keeping the expense down of buying and using probiotics on an ongoing basis, how about this: try making your own kefir and/or fermented veggies, and pop a capsule of each probiotic into your brew of choice before the fermenting starts.

  32. skinnergy on February 28, 2014 at 05:46

    Hey y’all, I’m a 38 year old dude and I’m 2 weeks into the RS experiment. I’m coming to it already dialed in on the PHD approach, including all of Jaminet’s supplements. I’ve made it a point to supplement with PS in slightly different ways each day, until the last week or so Dr. BG’s of AM/PM PS + ORAC + phsyllium + prescript assist and AOR3. I just ordered the rest of Richard’s ingredients to try out some different shit. I dig the experimentation.

    1. Sleep. Dreaming. I thought it was psychosomatic at first as it faded after a few nights. But after starting the BG shake, holy shit is that amazing. Have also been waking up earlier. Something that also caught my full attention: DC to San Francisco for 4 days, and usual effects of jet lag reduced by 90% on way out, and nearly 100% on the BACK. Going from SF to DC is soul crushing by itself, nice to not struggle with the jet lag. Pleasantly surprised. Anyone else notice this?

    2. Allergies. January I figured out that I had an egg sensitivity, 5 years worth of psoriasis on face gone within 10 days. Was on 3 daily allergy meds for dust and seasonal/mold. Got rid of one after PHD, got rid of another after psoriasis cleared, and ditched the last one after starting BG shake. So far so good, and this is STUNNING. I’ve been on at least one allergy med for literally as long as I can remember. Richard, I’m glad you mentioned this.

    3. Hormones. I’ll say that I’m getting clear indication that my testosterone is improving. I’m having more days that I describe as “turn it up and pound the dashboard” days. I tested low-ish T (340), low thyroid, high total cholesterol (don’t care) with HDL in the high 80s. It will be interesting to get retested in a couple months. I’m particularly interested to see if improved homeostatic functioning of the gut helps normalize thyroid, and thus LDL goes down and T goes up?

    4. TMI. Was loose for years. Whole30 last year improved, but backslid quickly. Better after PS supplementation, but not great. Amazing after the BG shakes. I’ve had more fully-formed and voluminous TMI in the last week than the last several years combined. Fartage lasted a couple days for me, seemed to even out when PS taken on empty stomach. Unless I have yogurt, apparently. Even full-fat, pastured, low temp pasturized yogurt. Sour cream and cream seem okay, butter not so much. Makes no sense, but is what it is.

    5. BG tests at random. FBG went from 113 to 98 last I checked. I ate a GF pizza and some GF granola and measured every 15 min for 2 hours. I never went over 110. Settled out at 88. WTF? Wish I had some more pre-RS data.

    6. Energy. And overall wellbeing, I guess. I thought I felt pretty good before the RS experiment, but I had no idea how good I could feel. This has been a game changer for me. Thanks to Tim, Richard, and everyone else posting success and failure. I’ll continue to tweak. Looking forward to expanding my fermenting, cooking, and ingredient sourcing.

    • Ralnac on February 28, 2014 at 11:44

      That is really exciting stuff, particularly the improvements in allergies. Wow. I haven’t implemented the full BG shake yet.

      Thanks for the report. It is absolutely so helpful to read about others’ experiences with this.

    • Sally Oh on March 2, 2014 at 12:34

      What is BG?

    • skinnergy on March 2, 2014 at 14:02

      Sally, sorry for the confusion. “BG shake” is Grace’s bionic RS/fiber shake from 7 steps for curing SIBO on AnimalPharm, coauthored by Tim.

      BG by itself stands for blood glucose.

  33. jason on February 28, 2014 at 06:29

    “Or, perhaps you were a C-Section baby who didn’t get the benefit of the billions of bacteria you get in the process of a natural birth. And/or, you were not breastfed”

    My son has this problem and at 13 years old seems to have GI issues that I didn’t develop until years of SAD foods. Since fecal transplants have been discussed here before, I was wondering if there is any protocols to introduce the type of bacteria my son would have gotten by natural birth. I’m sure there must be some ‘transplant’ like this being done somewhere for c-section babies if they know what they are missing. Right? By the way, my 15y daughter was natural and doesn’t have GI problems and eats pretty much the same as my son.

    • Tanya on March 2, 2014 at 13:06

      I think you just work on things with him the way most of the adults here are. He’s well past the age when his gut would have the baby type of composition (vs the bacteria that adults have), so I’d experiment with the prebiotics discussed, see what changes with some of the probiotics. I say “I’d experiment” but I have 2 kids, they’re 7 and 10, and I’m using this to help with their digestive issues, so I am experimenting.

      I’d also add that it’s not uncommon for the 2nd child to have more health difficulties than the first. If you’re not familiar with Weston Price and his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, I’d check it out. A lot of adults are on the edge, nutritionally, and while mom’s reserves may be there for the first child to not have too much going on, health-wise, often the nutritional depletion from growing baby 1 means there’s just not enough left for baby 2, and more problems arise.

  34. bornagain on February 28, 2014 at 21:43

    I’m not convinced I need to take 3 SBOs. With a decent growth medium in place (RS), surely one is enough.

    There are plenty SBOs much cheaper than the 3 you’ve pointed out. This one for example: . It’s one quarter the price of the others.

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 21:48

      Funny your comment popped up while I had this on my clipboard, so I’ll paste it here:

      Advantages of prebiotics (RS) over probiotics [17]:
      – Stable in long shelf life foods and beverages;
      – Heat and pH stable and can be used in a wide range of processed foods and beverages;
      – Have physicochemical properties useful to food taste and texture;
      – Resistant to acid, protease, and bile during intestinal passage;
      – Stimulate organisms already resident in the host, and so avoid host/strain compatibilities, and need to compete with an already established microbiota;
      – Stimulate fermentative activity of the microbiota and health benefits from SCFA (short chain fatty acids);
      – Lower intestinal pH and provide osmotic water retention in the gut.

      Advantages (of RS) over antibiotics [18]:
      – Safe for long-term consumption and prophylactic approaches;
      – Do not stimulate side effects such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea, sensitivity to UV radiation, or liver damage;
      – Do not stimulate antimicrobial resistance genes;
      – Not allergenic;

      Disadvantages of (RS) prebiotics [17]:
      – Unlike probiotics, overdose can cause intestinal bloating, pain, flatulence, or diarrhea.
      – Not as potent as antibiotics in eliminating specific pathogens.
      – May exacerbate side effects of simple sugar absorption during active diarrhea.
      – A consumed probiotic strain must compete with an already established microbiota, and in most cases they persist only transiently in the intestine.

      Individuals also harbor their own specific combination of species and unique strains within their intestinal bacteria suggesting that certain host–microbiota compatibilities exist. By targeting those strains that are already resident in the intestinal tract of an individual, the prebiotic strategy overcomes the need for probiotic bacteria to compete with intestinal bacteria that are well established in their niche

  35. Todd on February 28, 2014 at 07:12

    I’m glad you bring up the paleo tenet of sleeping 8 hours. For me, I struggle to get more than 7 hours a night. With so many studies touting the benefits of 8 hours a night, I’ve always felt like I might be missing out with my average of 6-7. As long as you’re feeling rested, I guess that’s just a silly little number.

    I do prefer it to be dark, though.

    As far SBOs: It would be interesting to see exposure based on regions. Looking outside, I wonder how much diversity there is in our cultivation of lawns and just a handful of trees, shrubs, flowers compared to the country. Throw in the metropolis, too. How many of these critters are kicking around in the big cities?

  36. Kati on February 28, 2014 at 07:18

    I have a question that might seem silly, but I’m asking it, nonetheless: does anyone know if eating a couple servings of coconut products daily affects the efficacy of the SBOs? I just ordered the prescript assist and don’t want to mess with how it works, since my gut is a wreck and I can only order it this one time unless I get crazy good results ( pricey stuff!) I know coconut is said to have antibacterial properties and am not sure how that would affect taking bacteria on purpose.

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 20:36

      Kati, that is a very interesting question. Coconut is an atypical antibiotic. Maybe don’t consume it while you are testing Prescipt Assist.

    • Kati on March 5, 2014 at 07:52

      I have avoided coconut for the past few days, just incase until I have a strong establishment after the first 1/3 bottle or so. Thanks for replying, Gabriella!

  37. Kira on February 28, 2014 at 07:47

    Just a caution about eating garden soil. There is more in there than you might realize. Years ago I had a “pet environment” – soil from under the apple tree in the garden and distilled water. I examined the water under the microscope over a period of time. At first there were just bacteria. Then came a variety of algae and diatoms. Then came the cilliates, flagellates and rotifers. Eventually I ended up with paramecia, daphnia and nematodes. All of this was in the water. I didn’t dig down to see what sprung up in the soil. I expect that a lot of the microorganisms existed as cysts before I started my experiment. I wouldn’t expect most of them to be pathogenic, but I do know that flagellates and rotifers can be very efficient predators of bacteria.

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 10:26

      Good caution. I’d be leery of recommending it to anyone, especially if there is a gut problem to begin with. I read somewhere there are like 100 billion microbes and viruses in 1 TBS of dirt. Could be a disaster for someone with bad gut or compromised immune system.

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 08:40

      The YouTube video interview:

    • Kira on March 1, 2014 at 06:50

      Tim, I would appreciate if you could look into this for the book (mission creep???). Some of the people who read it will try eating soil. Is it a good idea? What are the concerns? What is the research? I know that bat, mouse and raccoon poop can harbor some nasty parasites. Some of the amoeba who inhabit insect guts might be transferable to humans. I am not too caught up about being authentically paleo. I would like to be healthy.

    • tatertot on March 1, 2014 at 08:12

      Something tells me that a recommendation to go out and eat dirt won’t make it past too many levels of editing! I personally wouldn’t recommend it, too many variables.

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 08:36

      You guys know about this? Yes? Soil and potato starch soup is on the menu:–164612162.html

    • DuckDodgers on March 1, 2014 at 10:22

      The other issue is lead. Don’t eat dirt anywhere near a current or or previous standing structure. Painters used to scrape off the old lead paint and the chips would just blow and fall all around the structures increasing the lead in the soil.

      You can have your soil tested for lead, dirt cheap, by your state university extension — which is a good thing to do anyhow. But, like tatertot says, I wouldn’t go around eating random dirt.

  38. Jacob on February 28, 2014 at 07:50

    Any theories on why farting subsides after a couple of weeks on RS? I went from farting constantly on 1 tbsp a day to barely farting on 5 tbsp in that time.

    Someone said no farting means empty cage, but that doesn’t explain why it seems to go away for most people? Is something being killed off in that time?

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 10:18

      That’s the million dollar question. I think that lots of farting at first that quiets down after a few weeks is the pattern you want to see. Zero farts from the very beginning usually is seen by people on a VLC diet and probably indicates they are not using the potato starch at all. Mega farts all the time, for a long time, is the one I don’t understand. It seems to be a problem mostly for people who are eating a ton of salad veggies, maybe these people have a robust gut flora from that vegetation fermenters and it just has a field day with the added RS.

      Someone once said they cleared up their farts by taking a spoonful of lemon juice at the same time as the potato starch, others have said it cleared up after adding probiotics. Seems it will be different for everyone.

    • Alie on February 28, 2014 at 10:46

      I hope to god it subsides as I reach the two week mark this weekend. Although rice is not as bad as green bananas, and eating them in the same meal means no gas at all in my case. Plantains were even better. I just bought them because whole foods was out of green bananas (and I suspect that won’t happen again for fear the produce department will receive yet another lecture on the benefits of rs). We are reintroducing black beans into our diet this weekend, in the form of huevos rancheros, so we’ll see what happens. The Hubs is excited regardless…it is one of his favorite foods.

      Kombucha seems to be a good antidote for gas as well, in my experience, and I have been consuming it prior to being in public.

    • bornagain on February 28, 2014 at 13:20

      I cycle my RS. A few days loading up, followed by a few days without. I find this increases the farting and you get some massive shits – two things I love!

    • marcus on February 28, 2014 at 19:40

      My job takes me away from home for a month at a a time. For 28 days I don’t have any milk or dairy. First day home after a glass of cows milk I have an IBS-like lactose intolerant reaction with all the gas and TMI associated with those conditions. Day 2 and onwards, nothing, no reaction. I speculate that my gut flora has a turnover and rebalancing to match the change in diet then settles down. Goats milk doesn’t provoke such a dramatic reaction.

    • Harriet on March 1, 2014 at 00:17

      My farting subsided after a few weeks of being on 4 tbs a day. Then I added 1 tsp of psyillium twice a day with my starch and oh my goodness it came back again with a vengeance, turned TMI pale and made me feel slightly less healthy. I’ve given up the psyllium and the farting is now cut in half but nowhere near as good as it was before the psyllium. I think the psyllium was too harsh for me. I’m still not feeling as good as pre-psyllium desptie being off it for a week and being on the Primal Defence. I’m going to order the other two probiotics this weekend.

      The other thing is that I’m having some nights of no sleeping and feeling a wreck the next day. This after some of the deepest sleep I’ve had in years. Last night I didn’t sleep and Friday night a fortnight ago. I just lie there feeling OK but not sleeping, and then not doing well the next day. It makes for very, very long nights. I’m not sure if its because my gut is really stuffed or if its related to auto-immune problems or what.But very occasional nights of sleeping really well or really badly and most nights sleeping better (but not great) than before PS.

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 1, 2014 at 04:50

      My husband and I are experiencing similarly-not-smooth sleeping patterns. Would love to know what this is… (Last night was a Bad One, but confounded by the baby waking several times, which never helps.)

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 20:39

      Jacob, there are methane eaters and hydrogen eaters. Seems you’ve cultivated them. I don’t think that’s a problem at all. It just means your gut bugs have adapted and you’ve encouraged the ones that ferment all the products of PS to do their thing.

    • Bernhard on March 2, 2014 at 10:07


      Could well be rather beneficial, having gas eaters, the study assumes an overabundance of methanogens, could be it’s just lack of methane eaters?

      “Methane, the key product of carbohydrate fermentation by the methanogens, has long been thought to produce no ill effects in humans aside from gaseous distention. However, recent evidence has linked methane production to the pathogenesis of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as obesity. In particular, a significant percentage of patients with IBS and constipation excrete methane, suggesting an overabundance of methanogenic archaea in their gut. Methane by itself may influence intestinal transit and pH and facilitate development of constipation. If methane has a direct or indirect effect on intestinal transit, attempting to manipulate methanogenic flora may serve as a novel therapeutic option. Thus, understanding methanogens and their role in gut function/dysfunction is vital to our understanding of human health and disease.”

      Dunno where to find them, have a little swim in the gulf post Deepwater Horizon?

      “These methane-eating bacteria (methanotrophs) are very efficient in converting the gas into biomass. Chanton explained that “methanotrophic transfer to biomass can be as great at 40-50%” as compared to “more traditional food webs where trophic transfers that are generally about 10% – meaning that 90% of the food consumed is lost to produce energy and carbon dioxide.” He also said that this high transfer rate of methane into biomass is “significant and allows the highly successful symbiotic relationship of methanotrophic bacteria with seep fauna, particularly mussels.”
      These methane-eating bacteria (methanotrophs) are very efficient in converting the gas into biomass. Chanton explained that “methanotrophic transfer to biomass can be as great at 40-50%” as compared to “more traditional food webs where trophic transfers that are generally about 10% – meaning that 90% of the food consumed is lost to produce energy and carbon dioxide.” He also said that this high transfer rate of methane into biomass is “significant and allows the highly successful symbiotic relationship of methanotrophic bacteria with seep fauna, particularly mussels.”

      Any case we’ll need to reduce food intake then as by their efficiency.

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 10:52

      Bernhard, so basically, bacteria in the gut that produce methane provide food for other bacteria which metabolize the methane and produce hydrogen which is metabolized by yet more bacteria………and Tadaaa! No farting.

      Gotta love the complexity.

      No wonder people on SAD have so many problems.

      Man, I really had a lightbulb moment this morning after reading Harriet’s post about onions.

      Fresh herbs are touted as a carminative and anti-bacterial, anti spasmodic etc. But them little leaves also carry loads of SBOs on them. I figure consuming large amounts will give a person everything they need to make happy stomach, more SBOs, better digestion and the whole nine yards.

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 20:23

      Harriet, if I take a huge dose before bedtime, it seems to energize the brain too much. So I take it earlier, like 8 p.m. And then I take only a rounded tablespoon, not an iceberg on a spoon. That was too much. Had too many intrusive dreams.

      I think though, that taking it in the evening does improve sleep quality. Just not too much and not too soon before bedtime.

    • Harriet on March 4, 2014 at 17:52

      I’ll see if varying the times varies the outcomes for me. I’ve been taking two and a half measured tablespoons just before bed and I know I’ve taken them between 8pm and 9.30 pm. I’ll see if 8pm works better. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Wilbur on March 4, 2014 at 18:18

      Same experience as Gabriella. Also, I have found that combining PS with FOS in my evening dose prevents sleep for me. Maybe adding psyllium is affecting you? I can indeed add psyllium at night without issues, but maybe you are (or I am) different.

  39. T-Nat on February 28, 2014 at 08:30

    Can someone please post the link to Tim Steele’s Am Gut results post from a few weeks ago?
    I tried searching the blog but not able to find it.


  40. Allison on February 28, 2014 at 09:30

    With Tim’s post of his American Gut results he didn’t mention that he took SBO’s and his gut flora was “better” than anyone. Not that I mind shelling out the money for SBO’s. It can’t just be empty cages.

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 10:11

      Allison – I think one mistake I made early on was assuming that everyone would respond exactly like I did to potato starch.

      While I had never taken an SBO probiotic supplement in my entire life, and minimal yogurt/kefir, I have been antibiotic-free for 12-14 years, eat tons of homemade sauerkraut and kvass (fermented beet juice), eat lots of fresh picked, home grown veggies, raise chickens, cut my own firewood and handle wood and dirt nearly daily, I work a day job in a hospital and am exposed to tons of sick people, but never get sick. I drink alcohol rarely, and then mostly home-brewed beer with all the yeast that settles to the bottom of the bottle.

      I drink a concoction made with a ‘magical mushroom’ known as Chaga almost every day, it’s a mushroom that grows all around my house and sought out for it’s antibacterial, antifungal, and medicinal qualities, it can be purchased on line, but very expensive. I’m 99% positive that chaga cured my gout several years back. It has one of, if not the, highest anti-oxidant ORAC score of any wild plant.

      So, get my point? I’m not your normal big-city commuter who rarely gets out.

      Anyway, if anyone wants to look at some different takes on my AmGut report, here are a few links:

      For anyone who hasn’t seen these AmGut results, the amazing part is the bottom of the bar chart. Mine is on the far left. Note the big band Actinobacteria–that’s nearly all Bifidobacteria (12% of it) which is basically unheard of. The top 80% of most people’s gut flora consists of Firmicutes and Bacteriodetes, these are the major players in everyone and the vary based on diet, and are generally of no consequence, but the bacteria that fall under them are the key players–the RS degraders, antibiotic producers, fart makers, and pathogens/probiotics.

      The band of brown (proteobacteria) that nearly everyone has, except me, is where most pathogens live.

      Look at Jeff Leach’s results in the last link (Heisenbug’s blog), Jeff eats a diet high in fiber, but little to no RS. He has virtually no Actinobacteria/Bifidobacteria, but also few pathogen species.

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 13:05

      Your husband may have gotten it in an approved manner, in which it is a bit safer, but still devastates gut biome. I got it in an unapproved method, approved only by the military. An initial large dose followed by weekly doses for 6 months, followed by another large dose at the end. TOTAL DESTRUCTION, not just the creation of antibiotic-resistant gutbugs.

      The sad thing is, they did the same thing during the 1st Gulf War, knew it was wrong, and did it during second war also.

    • Ralnac on February 28, 2014 at 14:05

      This is the full text Mayo clinic article on Cipro/Levaquin that helped us most to deal with the adverse musculoskeletal effects. Explains the mechanism of musculoskeletal injury as best they understand it. Basically it locks up your magnesium, your cells can’t communicate, die faster than they regenerate, and produces reactive oxygen species directly damaging cells. Produces cellular proteins similar to those seen in rheumatoid arthritis, among other badness. Injury may not appear until weeks or months later.

      There is a facebook group as well about Cipro injury where we learned about IV therapy helping. “Myers cocktails” made a huge difference in his pain and function.

    • Ellen on February 28, 2014 at 16:19

      A friend just had that result from Levaquin. in extreme pain, could not stand, let alone walk. Docs offered nothing. Said maybe in time it would get better. But working with an Ayurvedic practitioner
      He has recovered in a few weeks.

    • T-Nat on February 28, 2014 at 09:46

      could you post the link to Tim’s American Gut results post?

    • Ralnac on February 28, 2014 at 12:06

      Mr Tatertot sir:

      What I think is so outstanding about your demonstrated gut bugs and this whole movement (yes, I’d call it a movement) is that you started out like other people: military food and Cipro-compromised gut.

      Now you are restored and we all have microbiome envy!!

      So many diets are symptom management, they don’t heal. Personally, I’m shooting for healing. Thanks for the inspiration, and look forward to hearing how your wife responds.

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 12:40

      My gut was totally wrecked back in 2003. 6 months of illegally administered Cipro (according to FDA), to avoid a non-existent Anthrax threat, thank you Geo W..

      Nearly everyone in Afghanistan that got the same antibiotics I did was doubled over in pain, wetting the bed, fighting, emotional, and then got home and beat, even killed, their wives. Luckily I only had the first few problems, the guys who saw the worst of the action ended up with the really bad problems. The govt blamed it all on PTSD and weakness. Ha! Send trained killers into combat, but first, let’s destroy their gut flora. Good plan.

      LC Paleo actually helped me a bunch to regain my health, but it wasn’t until adding in starches and RS that I felt my gut was truly back to normal. The ’empty cage’ thing goes both ways. Feeding empty cages is just as bad as having an animal you don’t feed.

      Jackie is doing great, btw. She’s been on SBO and some other probiotics and potato starch for quite some time now and has had great improvements in digestion, infections, and health and mood.

    • Alie on February 28, 2014 at 12:59

      Um…are you for serious? Cipro? The Hubs was given a preventative dose before, during, and after he went to Africa several years ago. Later developed severe depression. Could they be related? This bears some research. He’s fine now, but it was not an easy recovery. I’m really glad now that I ordered prescript assist today (chickened out on primal defense). God…what we do to ourselves in the name of good health.

    • Ralnac on February 28, 2014 at 13:12

      Wow that is awful about Cipro doing that to people. My husband was prescribed it last year for diverticulitis. He had horrible tendonitis set in the next morning within about 12 hours from the first pill.

      Thankfully we actually read the paper that comes with the prescription so saw the black box warning. Called his doctor, who poo pooed it, didn’t want to believe his favorite drug would do such a thing.

      Thank goodness for the internet, we were able to take quick action to get him better including IVs containing antioxidants and magnesium. The diverticulitis attack resolved with probiotics and herbs and BCQ. We have a great naturopath now.

      It’s really an awful drug. Some people never recover.

      Glad your wife is improving!

    • Alie on February 28, 2014 at 15:06

      Sort of approved…and probably a normal dose, but before we really researched this type of thing. If I wanted to, I could probably trace some issues to it, but now that he’s over it, it is probably more of a “Hmm…” than anything else. Interesting, and something I will be looking into.

    • Alie on February 28, 2014 at 15:08

      My kids’ godfather was in the first gulf war. I’m going to ask him if he took it. Wondering if there’s a connection with some health issues he faces. Seriously never considered this before.

    • Amy on February 28, 2014 at 17:59

      Gulf War Illness sufferers ought to be all over this.
      I hope RS is a hot topic on their support forums!

    • Ken on March 1, 2014 at 04:15

      Now this is even more fascinating. I’ve felt for some time that PTSD was not as connected to the “stress” of combat necessarily but more to the “stress” on the gut. I had no idea what the method was but this makes a ton of sense. What will we know five years from now that we don’t today? I can’t wait!

    • Peggy Mandell on March 2, 2014 at 07:22

      Who is that friend? LOL Looks like the neuropathy in Herb’s feet is another likely side-effect of Levaquin, as that started five months after he took Levaquin for sinusitis in December 2012. Dr. T will address that next.

  41. T-Nat on February 28, 2014 at 10:28

    Thank you Allison.

    I am going through my GI Fx and ONE results that Dr. Grace just sent me and I thought it would be helpful to compare mine with Tim’s results but the Am Gut report is totally different from GDX and it is not going to be A2A comparison I don’t think.

    I’ll be on Skype with Dr. Grace next week to interpret my report in more detail and figure out a plan.

  42. Taggart on February 28, 2014 at 11:01

    After taking PS for several months I recently began taking Prescript Assist and within 7 days my psoriasis of +25 years disappeared. Amazing. I also experienced the same reduction in sleep as Richard. Since the addition of the PA my sleep has shortened by several hours and I am no longer experiencing the 2pm sleepiness at my desk that I used to. Nor am I tired in the evening.

  43. Radford McAwesome on February 28, 2014 at 11:49

    Just to throw in another $0.02. After 5 days or so of Bionic Fiber (v. B) + Primal Defense my chronic dandruff has all but disappeared. Pretty interesting, will be looking for sleep and dream changes.

    • Ralnac on February 28, 2014 at 12:13

      I cured my lifelong dandruff using kefir or yogurt on my scalp in the bathtub. Worked beautifully.

    • Radford McAwesome on February 28, 2014 at 12:19

      That’s cool. Just to clarify, Bionic Fiber was administered internally.

  44. JeffM on February 28, 2014 at 12:21

    Still doing well using the SCD Probiotics but I may try the other ones when I run out.
    Gas is intermittent. I take walks at work and blast it out as necessary. Seems to be related to protein consumption for me so I may cut back a bit on that or look into digestive enzymes (although I had some bad experiences with those in the past). I tried Chlorophyl on a RS ‘off’ period but it didn’t affect the fart smell and was a bit intestinally irritating. IBS is pretty much a thing of the past :-) Strength is up in the gym so farts-be-dammed! Is it natural not to fart?

  45. Deb on February 28, 2014 at 12:21

    Great post. I am adding more fermented food to my diet, and I slowly increased the potato starch and the heartburn went away. I have not yet added any SBOs. I seem to have developed a reappearance of a very itchy rash in the last month since starting all this, mostly torso (it completely went away when I went gluten free 9 months ago). I am riding it out to see if it’s just everything rebalancing. I find I have to go slow when making any changes. Other than being itchy, I like how I feel on the PS which I take with yogurt or kefir.

  46. dlunsford on February 28, 2014 at 12:51

    Fascinating list of comments. As a microbiologist though I have a basic issue with using probiotics and RS in the same bolus or shake. Let’s see, the basic premise is that RS is resistant to fermentation until it hits the colon due to a favorable flora down there. And yet, there seems to be a desire to take RS and various fermentative probiotic microorganisms at the same time. Sure, the small intestine may offer different conditions than the colon, but one would expect some fermentation to occur along the way such that the final dose of RS hitting the colon may be much less than expected due to microbial action in transit.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2014 at 15:44


      Actually, the resistant refers to it being resistant to gastric breakdown, not fermentation. Couple of things. First, one idea is that RS might improve SIBO, at least in the strains that feed on it, in a mechanical way. They attach so the starch as its transiting the SI. Here’s a pic of it:

      In the same way, this can help live bacteria actually get to the colon rather than be destroyed in the stomach. Either way, if the RS passes through the SI, fermentation is going to happen either by resident bugs, or perhaps some of the strains in your kefir. In fact, the AOR Probiotic-3 has potato starch in the capsule along with the spores. BTW, any idea how long on average it takes spores to come to life once conditions are suitable?

      Also, sometime in a post comments way back Tim was talking about reading various stuff about industry attempting to package RS along with probiotics (like yogurt), indicating to me that it indeed helps get the live strains to the colon. However, unless in spore form such as the AOR, you can guess what the shelf life is going to be.

      Bottom line, I doubt there is sufficient time for a bacteria to fully ferment an RS granule before it passes through the SI.

      The only way to get around this is potato starch enemas, and believe it or not, at least two readers have done it, with purported excellent results.

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on February 28, 2014 at 16:40

      Okay, am typing with a wiggling baby in my lap, but wanted to note a few things relating to the last sentence of your comment, Richard…

      1. At first, potato starch (4-8 tbsp.) made a great difference in my poop volume/quality/etc.

      2. After a couple of days, this effect completely stopped…and I was all Stopped…until adding the psyllium husk, 1 tbsp./day.

      3. Then, things continued along nicely, with some stellar, photographic-quality days, interspersed with days when things moved but weren’t fantastic, if you know what I mean. I’ve been feeling “dependent” on something for at least three years, enemas after doing GAPS for a year…then tons of cream and high-fat dairy…and now potato starch and psyllium??

      4. Whenever I try to skip a day of morning starch(es) consumption, things (ahem) stop.

      5. Yesterday, being one of those days, I decided to try the 4 tbsp. PS mixed with water and inserted Up The Rear. I did this right before bed. I expected all sorts of Activity once the enema was in, but nothing much, and I fell asleep.

      6. This morning, I had a non-exciting (not great, not bad) poo, but nothing that made me think the experiment was worth repeating.

      I continue to wonder about the empty cages metaphor (or was it empty pages? The baby is interrupting my typing quite a bit)… I wonder why I seem to need the psyllium husk after over two months of supplementing RS. I wonder about the fine balance of trying to figure out how to introduce the right probiotics along with the pre-. (I’ve been supplementing Soil Probiotics for over three years, and making/eat tons of fermented food for longer than that. I’m very intrigued by the possibilities now that Resistant Starch has entered my life. :)

      I’m looking forward to having the right gut flora to avoid constipation! And I wonder how long that’ll take…

      Baby is so not sleeping, but she’s so damn cute!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2014 at 17:13

      Wow Sarah. Looks like you’re doing all the right things.

      What about starches, fibers from fruit/veg? Also, what SBO? Seems like it keeps coming up AOR as the hostess with the mostest.

      Take care of that baby. Make her a Free the Animal reader. It’ll still be around. :)

    • bornagain on February 28, 2014 at 22:41

      I hope you got some photos of those photogenic days Sarabeth! Please share if you may.

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 1, 2014 at 04:47

      I tend to try something as soon as I decide that it Makes Sense, but this often means that I try several Good Ideas at once…and it sometimes takes years to figure out what is (or isn’t) working. This is not necessarily a good personality trait, but I try to temper it with stubbornness (in order to ride out whatever happens next).

      Right around New Years, when I first tried potato starch, I also began adding starches in general as per PHD, stopped eating breakfast (Jaminet’s 16/8 intermittent fasting idea), and began eating a ton of coconut oil. Also, I started supplementing with iodine (very low dose), in addition to starting the AOR probiotic (I was already using Prescript Assist and Primal Defense).

      Today I decided to have a modified breakfast shake, as per your recipe above . First time I’ve eaten breakfast in a couple of months…further complication may at least add further interesting data! I’ll report back if any results to speak of.

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 1, 2014 at 04:48

      Sorry, I chickened out and deleted the photos. :)

    • dlunsford on March 3, 2014 at 06:56

      I’ve only seen data on bacterial spore germination or “sprouting” times for things like B. anthracis or B. subtilis and those were under in vitro conditions. Depending on the bacterial species it can be minutes to hours. There are various triggers for germination (change in pH, ionic strength, etc.) so the time it takes during an intestinal transit could be widely variable and may not reflect what is seen in vitro in the lab.
      Yea gads; potato starch enemas!

  47. Richard S on February 28, 2014 at 13:05

    I’ve had chronic loose stools, usually 1x/day without any other gut complaints on an off for the past 4 years and nearly every day for the last year. Have not yet had the talk with a doctor about IBS-D. I started 1-2Tbsp PS plus more RS from parboiled rice a couple months ago. Maybe some improvement (<20% improved?). I eat mostly primal and moderate carb. I previously tried probiotics without added RS. I see clinical trials showing benefit to both low FODMAP and probiotics for IBS. So I was dreading the idea of doing the low FODMAP diet and already eat relatively low on FODMAPs. I'm wondering if the success of the low FODMAP diet is just because it starves the bad gut bugs, but the minute you go off the diet they get out of control. So to get to the true root of the cause of IBS-D, I'm thinking about ramping up to a broad-based, aggressive probiotic supplementation with a mix of RS sources and keeping FODMAPs low. Does this make sense from what the brain trust here has discovered about RS, probiotics and gut issues?

    • Natalya on March 14, 2014 at 14:51

      Hi Richard S,
      I too had chronic loose BMs, ~18 months. Also improved w PS, but not gone. Another FTA reader on a different thread had a similar experience, they upped their PS. I tried the same thing, upped to 5 – 6 TBS/day. Worked a charm. After a massive ‘blow out’, looseness all gone! I’m now back down to 4 TBS and still no problem. Also eating some RS and taking probiotics.

  48. bornagain on February 28, 2014 at 13:05

    Richard, in her latest post Melissa M. finally folds on paleodrama! Why is that when feminists fail they always seem to play the victim? Can’t they admit some of their ideas are fucked?

    • Danny Grayson on February 28, 2014 at 19:34

      Wouldn’t say it was a fail at all. Site sure helped me – site was a fantastic idea.

  49. Iatrogenia on February 28, 2014 at 13:28

    It seems like you changed a bunch of things at once, including the smoothie. How do you know which one was responsible for the beneficial effects?

    It could be potato starch is not in the equation at all.

    Which of the probiotics was most effective?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2014 at 15:49


      No, first 10 days to 2 weeks I took the capsules on an empty stomach, water only. Saw the benefits, and the smoothie was my way to get the wife to try.

      I wasn’t really interested in determining which product would be best, which would be impossible to do anyway unless you happen to stumble on the one that does nothing first. I simply wanted as many strains as possible.

      Not sure what you mean by PS not being in the equation. I was on that for many months without taking probiotics, except for kefir now and then, but I drank plenty of kefir prior to using PS. As reported, enormous benefit from the PS, which made me reluctant to bother with SBOs but low & behold, things even better.

    • kate on March 1, 2014 at 04:42

      I tried Prescript Assist before long before I had ever heard of resistant starch. Results were nada for me. For me potato starch alone produced immediate significant effects. Adding Prescript Assist magnified the effects. No question in my mind SBOs plus RS is a synergistic combo.

  50. Ripken Holt on February 28, 2014 at 14:34

    So just to be clear, is it not recommended to eat dirt? I saw a little bit about this in previous comments but nothing definitive. I have a semi-forest area near my house even though I’m 15 minutes from the Capital of NC, and would much prefer to just get my hands dirty in it once a day instead of shelling out big bucks for the exact same thing. Also, If you did decide to ingest dirt, would you really need more than just the amount that gets caked on your hands? People are talking about the billions and trillions of microorganisms in just a tbsp of dirt so you would think that you wouldn’t need that much.

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 14:48

      I doubt you will find anywhere recommending you go into the woods and eat the dirt you find. Just too many variables. Go out, dig for some worms under a stump, then lick your fingers. I don’t know what to say really. I can’t see myself eating dirt like that. What if a rapid possum just slobbered there?

    • crosswind on April 18, 2017 at 14:19

      Now people in Maui, Hawaii are dealing with Rat LungWorm Disease (parasite infection) and Home gardeners, Restaurants, Farmers MUST wash ALL Dirt OFF Veggies, herbs. You never know what stray cat, wild animal, bug or rodent walked or used the bathroom near that garden dirt.

      “The disease, which affects the brain and spinal cord, is caused by a parasite. The infection is carried by rodents and can be transmitted by slugs, snails and other animals found on fresh produce.

      “This is a serious problem and it’s going to impact farms, it will impact restaurants, it will impact grocery stores if we don’t get this under control,” said Kay Howe, curriculum development specialist for the Hawaii Island Rat Lungworm Working Group.”

      “Symptoms of the disease include severe headaches, hallucinations and nausea. There is no cure, but it is preventable. Health experts say all raw produce should be thoroughly washed. Experts also recommend covering any catchment tanks to prevent snails and slugs from getting into them.”

      –April 11, 2017, Hawaii News

  51. quattromomma on February 28, 2014 at 15:03

    iHerb has a 10% off sale now through March 4. No coupon code needed.

    Has anyone tried the smoothie with their kids? My 11 year old son has pollen allergies and is a snotty, itchy mess April through October. No other health issues, but I don’t want to cause any.

  52. Eric Tran on February 28, 2014 at 15:55

    I am so excited to try this out. Even though I need to watch my budget, I will definitely try out these probiotics. I don’t mind since I have friends who spend that much money per month on things that they really don’t need. Thanks for the update on your experiment with these probiotics!

  53. Eugenia on February 28, 2014 at 16:46

    I’m from Greece, now living in the US. I grew up in the Epirus Greek mountains, living a traditional life (offal, fermented bread, goats, the whole deal). Most of the women there were also fat, and most of the men were lean, as you noted. The women who were working in the fields, were thinner than the women who only worked around the house, or worked in the fields for only a few days in the year, during the harvest. However, this was not true for women who were working with animals (walking goats or sheep all day up in the mountainous terrain). Most of these women were also fat, while the men were still thin. I can think of plenty of thin women herding, but these were also women who were working in the field the rest of the time (their daughters or mothers in law were taking care of the home). I don’t remember anybody who worked far away in the fields (woman or man) and was fat. But I remember plenty who worked as herders and were fat (especially women). And all women working around the home (house, chickens, and optionally a small veggie garden around the home) were ALL fat.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2014 at 17:31


      Thanks for complicating things. :)

      Love Greece, BTW. In case you never read it…

    • Eugenia on February 28, 2014 at 17:48

      This was a great read, thx! The olive oil we have in my village too, is unfiltered, so it tastes nothing like the ones you can buy here that feel diluted. It is thick, dark in color, very flavorful, even spicy at times. I love it. I wish I was allowed to bring some to the US…

      BTW, I want to let you in for a secret. Greece has a lot of cool stuff to offer, but in my opinion, the biggest one it can offer for health is its Greek Mountain Tea (herbal). If you have the time, please do a search on PubMed about Sideritis (its scientific name). Traditionally, this was for us the equivalent to what kefir was for Caucasus people. A cure-all, but with modern research backing these claims up! This is very little known in the Paleo community, who still go for caffeinated teas (that also contain excessive amounts of fluoride nowadays). If you’re interested in trying the Greek tea, I can share some (for free, of course), and explain how to prepare it, since it’s not offered in the standard tea bags (I live close to San Jose).

    • gabriella kadar on February 28, 2014 at 18:39

      In the old days, men preferred their women with a bit of chub. It meant they were fertile and didn’t have TB. I don’t know why the super thin female image became so fashionable except it takes a lot less fabric to cover one.

    • gabriella kadar on February 28, 2014 at 18:45

      True Eugenia about the mountain tea. We’ve got it here in the stores and it’s great for sinus problems, allergies etc.

      Greek people can bring their olive oil back to Canada probably because we don’t grow olives here. I get the Petrina Olive Oil. My friend’s dad goes back to Greece every year to harvest the olives. It’s a cooperative. Grassy green beautiful olive oil.

    • MycroftJones on March 1, 2014 at 02:19

      Eugenia, can you tell us what is the difference between “working in the fields” and “small veggie garden”? Most of us here have never “worked in the fields”. How many hours a day? What sort of tools were used? What about during winter?

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 1, 2014 at 03:55

      Hi Gabriella,

      You know, the feminist in me wants to agree with you. But this same “feminist” instinct is similar to the part of me that tried to normalize my PMS for my entire adult life, by “reclaiming” the sacred every month. Finally I realized, NO! This is NOT about the freaking red tent, and it is NOT normal to be so depressed I want to die, or to experience cramps worse than childbirth every 32 days…and my desire to heal does not mean I have a low pain threshold (I’ve birthed three babies at home, with no drugs).

      Similarly, I normalized my son’s Autism Spectrum-style symptoms for six years, because I wanted to Value Who He Was, and Recognize that Everyone Is Different, and Accept Him Fully and Completely So He Could Accept Himself. (Interestingly, autistics are one of the few control groups who do not respond in the ways that psychologists have noted that “normal” people do, either to lifestyle “psychological” interventions or to “placebo” events).

      Anyway – all this is to say not that women should be rail-thin…but when I take my kids to gymnastics class, there are five out of the eleven young woman in the older-girls’ class who are dealing with excess weight, and they are pre-teens. I would never ever want to give a child (or an adult!) a complex over this, or make them feel Bad, or claim that weight is more of a “personal” issue than, say, asthma or cancer (which we are perfectly fine, at least sometimes, turning into a Public Health Problem). But I really do think that being fat is a sign of ill-health that is not politically correct to recognize.

      If that makes any sense – don’t mean to disagree with your sentiment!


    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 06:47

      Sarabeth, we don’t disagree. I think we find common ground in appreciating neither extremes.

      The modelling world is the extreme. Obesity is the extreme. Too many girls compare themselves with not only the modelling extreme but also the movie star extreme. There some serious body dysmorphic stuff going on in both directions and a lot of self dissatisfaction among girls who are entirely ‘normal’. Not normal is the sense that obesity and overweight is now the norm.

    • Eugenia on March 1, 2014 at 09:38

      Working in a small veggie garden usually takes 1-2 hours a day. Working in the field, the people had to walk miles first to get to the valley, and then work there the whole day. They’d return home with nightfall, and they would wake up very early (5 AM). The home veggie garden was a joke compared to the hard work in the fields.

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 1, 2014 at 19:08

      Got it – I see what you mean.

    • MycroftJones on March 2, 2014 at 12:02

      Thank you Eugenia. Shotguns weddings and life without electricity, plumbing, or pesticides are living memories in my family. Once my wife came to the West, she got tooth cavities and gained weight after a few years. Grandma remembered when her uncle went around installing most of the telephones in her town with tools that he jerry rigged himself. Then the big telco came in and copied his tools without any royalties or payment.

      With that preamble, what was involved in working in the fields? 5 miles there, 5 miles back, so that is 10 miles of walking per day, already a good exercise. How much stuff was transported? Wheelbarrows full of tools? Was this year round, or was it seasonal, like half the year? Did the men bulk up in the winter?

      If they didn’t have tractors to do the work in the fields, did they have livestock such as horses or cows? How many days were spent in plowing, how many in sowing, how many in scythe swinging, how many in pruning of grape vines, how many were spent beating up olive trees, how many were spent stomping the grapes, crushing the olives, and grinding the wheat?

      I know a Romanian men who grew up in Transylvania in a village without electricity, two dairy cows lived in the house and his grandparents taught him to make cheese. So I hired him to make cheese for me; I provided the milk, and he kept half the resulting cheese. He was an electrical engineer. He wasn’t fat, but his wife was.

      Hope you don’t mind all these questions Eugenia, it is like a rare find, finding someone that has actually experienced a traditional lifestyle within living memory; my own kinfolk that grew up that way are dead now, with their memories of the Great Depression and Victory Gardens.

    • tatertot on March 2, 2014 at 12:15

      yes, I’m enjoying the stories, too. I grew up on an American farm in the midwest, spent many hours hoeing weeds and doing labor for $3/hr in the 70’s and 80’s. Also walked barefoot in shorts and no shirt in the hot sun, where just hours before crop-dusters were spraying doG knows what on the same fields I was now working in. I remember pouring jugs of pesticides into a tractor-towed sprayer that made us almost puke and eyes water just smelling it.

      All along the roadside in Ohio corn country, you see signs: “De Kalb”,”DuPont”, “Monsanto”. These are test plots for GMO corn, the signs are there to warn other farmers not to plant with so many miles lest their crops be contaminated. What happened when it go really windy?

      So, yes, hearing stories of farming in more primitive ways is very nice.

    • Eugenia on March 3, 2014 at 09:54

      >How much stuff was transported? Wheelbarrows full of tools?

      Mostly their food in a bag, the tools were already in the field, waiting for them.

      >Was this year round, or was it seasonal, like half the year?

      Probably half. The rest of the year they’d work around the house, and the few animals they had (even people who their primary job was the fields, they still had animals to take care of).

      >Did the men bulk up in the winter?

      Not sure really.

      >If they didn’t have tractors to do the work in the fields, did they have livestock such as horses or cows?

      Donkeys mostly, rarely a horse. In rural Greece we didn’t have cows until very recently.

      >How many days were spent in plowing, how many in sowing, how many in scythe swinging, how many in pruning of grape vines, how many were spent beating up olive trees, how many were spent stomping the grapes, crushing the olives, and grinding the wheat?

      I can’t give such details, because all this was before my time. By the time I was old enough to understand all that, most people had already left my village. When my dad was young, there were 400 people living there: Today, it’s about 40.

    • Regina on April 22, 2014 at 19:21

      I’m really enjoying your stories Eugenia.
      Maybe that it is more peaceful to be closer to home? I remember when I was a NYC commuter to lower manhattan everyday. I was rail thin. I grabbed a bagel, donut n coffee before stepping into the subway. Ate a foot-long sub sandwich for lunch. Ate take-out chinese, pizza or spaghetti for dinner. (the Homer Simpson diet). I was skinny. Not thin. Skinny. When I found a more peaceful existence AND healthier diet, I gained weight. Normalized now on PHD plus FTA tweeks.

  54. Carl on February 28, 2014 at 16:51

    What kind of track record exists to judge the safety of this stuff? How do you know the capsules contain what they claim? How do you know what they should contain?

    I ask, because it took only a few minutes to find a couple of articles that raise questions about whether or not there might be risks to this particular kind of supplementation:

    I was struck by this comment in the second link:

    “IMPORTANT UPDATE: Notice the date on the post above: 2003. It is now 2011 and the interesting thing is that most of the info in this post is no longer applicable as Garden of Life has changed their product! And the ONLY (direct) soil organism it now contains is Bacillus subtilis – which has been used for over 1000 years by the Japanese to culture natto. So it has a long history of safety in this application.
    Bacillus licheniformis is now only used indirectly as part of the culturing medium of Primal Defense, but according to the product label it is no longer part of the HSO blend.
    Interesting… and you have to wonder why Garden of Life changed the product? Whatever, it was done very quietly and I only became aware of it myself within the last year.”

    The implication is that there were “problems” when other organisms were in the mix.

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 17:10

      You pays yer money and you takes yer chances.

      Those links are really the only bad thing I could find, too. SBO is kind of a nebulous term. Most bifodbacteria is an SBO. We are working on clearing that confusion up.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 28, 2014 at 17:37


      It’s just bullshit. H. Sapiens have been ingesting SBOs for 200,000 years and used to ingest a lot more and we’re here. There was another deal in comments just a few posts ago about some woman who sells dairy probiotics slamming SBOs. The date of this revelation was 11 years ago.

      You get them whether you want to or not and these chosen products are 3rd party tested, recommended to me by people using them in clinical practice. It’s bullshit.

      I guess the “only good bug is a dead bug” mentality will never die. Great news for the anti-microbial product manufacturers.

    • gabriella kadar on February 28, 2014 at 18:33

      Carl, (Richard), SBO probiotics are being used in American hospitals to treat extremely sick people who have antibiotic resistant Clostridium difficile infections. This was not the case back 11 or more years ago. If this stuff would be so dangerous, then it certainly wouldn’t be used on great grandma who is shitting her life away.

    • Ann on February 28, 2014 at 20:45

      Chris Kesser himself wrote a scathing blog post article about SBOs back in the early 2000’s. He was uncomfortable with the idea that SBOs were spores, and what if all those spores invaded and took over, and were impossible to kill? I myself was uncomfortable with the idea — until I tried them. Current consensus is that they pass through and are out within two weeks, and these days even Chris Kesser carries them in his online shop (Prescript Assist) and recommends them to all of his patients, he says with great success.

    • Carl on March 1, 2014 at 19:15

      “H. Sapiens have been ingesting SBOs for 200,000 years and used to ingest a lot more and we’re here.”

      That is true. But whenever the issue of low life expectancy of early man comes up, we are told that it was low because of high infant mortality, homocide, accidents, predators, parasites, and infectious diseases, which are now controlled by antibiotics. So maybe we are here in part because SBO’s weeded out the weak and left those with stronger immune systems alive? As long as birth rates were high, the species could have tolerated a significant amount of weeding.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2014 at 19:33

      “So maybe we are here in part because SBO’s weeded out the weak and left those with stronger immune systems alive?”

      That would require a hypothesis that SBOs are fundamentally pathogenic to earlier hominids, including existing primate species. God luck. The ingest far more of them than we do.

    • DuckDodgers on March 1, 2014 at 20:27

      Not only does Chris Kresser sell SBOs now, he has also called out the bullshit fear-mongering coming from the dairy-based probiotic industry.

      Chris Kresser wrote:

      There is a lot of confusion about this topic. Jini Patel has raised concerns about soil-based organisms (SBOs) in this article, based on claims made by Natasha Trevnev, the founder of Natren (a company that sells lactic acid-based probiotics). Most of the objections raised in the article are either technically inaccurate or outdated by current research. It has become clear through DNA sequencing of the gut microbiota that the human gut has a makeup of bacteria similar to or already of SBO origin. From an evolutionary perspective, it’s likely that we were exposed to SBOs to a much larger degree than we are now, due to the industrialization of agriculture and food distribution, and changes in soil quality and diversity.

      The term “spore former” refers to microflora that can form spores that are biologically active, i.e. reproduce in the spore form, and are highly resistant to the environment and cause disease. Endospore formers, on the other hand, are biologically inactive and remain that way until environmental conditions allow resuming normal forms. Prescript Assist does have endospore formers, but they simply pass out of the system if they ever form in the gut of any mammal.

      The Relman-Stanford group studies have shown that SBOs are more numerous in the gut than lactic acid microflora, and that the microflora resident in the healthy mucosa of the gut differ considerably from what is present in fecal material (which tends to have higher numbers of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria).

      Finally, Prescript-Assist microflora are recognized Class 1 Etiological Agents, non-toxic, non-pathogenic, from independently maintained lines — this is well documented in both of the Clinical Therapeutics Articles. More than a decade of use as a supplement has revealed no adverse effects and/or side-effects [including reportedly patients with impaired immune systems], as well as the initial demonstrations with repeated consumptions of doses amounting to 500X that recommended for ordinarily daily use with no ill effect.

  55. Ann on February 28, 2014 at 20:41

    My thinking has changed SO dramatically about what goes into my mouth these days. I am already planning to eat veggies right out of my garden after a brief brush-off, but without rinsing. I am planning to try to get through the day without washing my hands after picking up my eggs each morning. Things gonna be different now…

    Tonight, while watching “The Legend of Mick Dodge” on The National Geographic Channel, he is walking through the woods of the Olympic Peninsula, and after a hellaceous rainstorm he walks up to a fir tree and methodically, and with great joy and abandonment I might add, sucks the rainwater from the branches of the fir tree. First thought that enters my mind — he’s getting his soil-based organisms…. How quickly our thinking can change…

    • tatertot on February 28, 2014 at 20:55

      Ann – I have had chickens for about 10 years now. At first I was so anal about washing the eggs, wearing a respirator, sanitizing my hands, etc… That got tiring, and I laxed a bit over the years. Now I only wear dust mask when cleaning coop, just brush poop and bedding off the eggs and keep them in the garage (50-70 deg) until we eat them, they rarely get over two weeks old. I very rarely wash my hands unless I’m handling store bought raw meat. But, carrots right from the ground just brushed off-no problem.

      If I get a big glob of poop on my hand, of course I wash it off, but just with water. I’m generally up to my elbows in moose guts once or twice a year, too. I can only imagine the lateral transfer of microbes going on there.

    • Ken on March 1, 2014 at 06:36

      Tatertot – why the mask? We have a dozen chickens and clean the coop once a week. It’s cold here but we haven’t felt the need protect ourselves like this. Maybe we should? What do you do with the straw and poop? We throw it in the run where they kick it around further and it seems to turn to dirt over time. Haven’t seen the ground in months though so hard to tell. Should we just pile it somewhere and use it in the garden? We were thinking of digging it out of the run this spring and using it for our vegetable garden.

    • tatertot on March 1, 2014 at 08:18

      Only use a dust mask when I’m doing a hardcore cleaning, so much dust that if I don’t I will be blowing black snot-rockets all afternoon. I only clean the coop 2-3 times a year (deep litter method). I only have 5 (Jersey Giants) at the moment.

      The chicken litter makes excellent fertilizer, but needs to mature for a year or two in a compost pile. It will kill plants if applied too soon–too much nitrogen. I just pile it in a heap and turn it in the spring, then till it in to the garden in the fall.

    • Hannah on March 1, 2014 at 08:36

      Wearing a mask is a good idea when cleaning the coop b/c of all the irritating particulates (dust,dander, etc.) Bird dander is a lung irritant that can cause lung diseases, the poop can cause inflammatory lung conditions as well. People who raise birds indoors are at highest risk, but best not to breathe that stuff at all!

    • Mark on March 1, 2014 at 21:09


      My wife had an interesting point over dinner tonight and your ‘up to elbows in moose guts’ comment reminded me. The point was, what effect is there from a GUT MICROBIOME point of view to the whole ‘eat local’ movement? Interesting idea. Case in point, don’t drink the water in Mexico. Clearly different bugs at play that your geo-transplanted gut isn’t used to. So, what about the reverse? Bringing in food from who-knows-where that, assuming you aren’t cleaning it entirely, has bugs that are entirely foreign to the LOCAL microbiome, as opposed to food that has literally ‘grown up’ in your local ecosystem?

    • Thomas Vetter on April 11, 2014 at 14:12
  56. Erik on February 28, 2014 at 21:55

    This might be slightly off-topic, but speaking of ingesting bugs to improve gut health, does anyone have experience with S. Boulardii? I read a couple of very positive studies and anecdotes on it for SIBO, Candida, and other stuff. The wikipedia page describes many positive effects:

    I’m thinking about giving it a try.

    • Ann on February 28, 2014 at 22:50

      I bought some, but was warned off of it by the “Whole Approach” website that claimed that if you have any serious candida they don’t recommend it because of the sensitivity to yeasts that you’ve probably developed. S. Boulardii is a yeast.

      I’ve since discovered, thru stool testing, that my candida is not systemic, and some of these SBOs have S. Boulardii in them, and I’m taking the Primal Defense, and just ordered the Prescript Assist and the AOR P3. I believe one of those has S. Boulardii in it. Also, many kefir starters have S. Boulardii.

      I’m not sure I would bother taking it in an isolated form unless you have C. Diff or something. Studies have shown that if taken during a course of antibiotics it can prevent C. Diff infections. If you decide you want it anyway, Jarrow has a reasonably priced bottle at around $26. But that one does need refrigeration.

    • Erik on March 1, 2014 at 00:17

      Thanks, Ann! I’ve decided to give it a shot for my SIBO. I’ve read some concerns about it too, that it could cause trouble like fungemia or yeast sensitivity, but I think it’s being exaggerated, and it’s mostly just theoretical. Maybe severely immune-compromised should be cautious.

    • Erik on March 2, 2014 at 02:24

      Please ignore my last post. Based on some studies I’ve found on S. Boulardii and fungemia/ fungal infections I’ve completely changed my mind. No S. Boulardii for me, and I wouldn’t dare to recommend it to anyone. For those interested, here’s two of them:

    • tatertot on March 2, 2014 at 11:52

      erik – You are being overly cautious. But that’s fine, nobody is twisting your arm.

      Conclusion from first link: ” We found that probiotics are safe for use in otherwise healthy persons, but should be used with caution in some persons because of the risk of sepsis.”

      Conclusion from second link: “In conclusion, Saccharomyces organisms are increasingly reported as agents of invasive infection, especially in immunocompromised or critically ill patients.”

      My thought is that if you treat yourself like you are critically ill, you may soon be. My apologies if you are critically ill or immonocompromised.

    • Bernhard on March 2, 2014 at 11:57

      Maybe Spanish Caravan’s approach would make a lot of sense here.
      RS enema enriched with SBO’s and …. Will give it a try as soon as get
      hold of SBO’s, the rear entry approach.

  57. leo delaplante on March 1, 2014 at 05:41

    hey richard .last time i sent you a dr greger video it was on second meal effect of beans,,,here is another one but this time on amla(indian gooseberry) and its value on the ORAC scale,i have been taking this for 1.5 years now at maybe 5 cents/day cost…..

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 06:55

      Leo, I have a box of barberries. Can only get fresh amla. I haven’t actually looked if they have dried. Where do you get dried ones?

      He left out Sumac. Check the ORAC values for that!

    • leo delaplante on March 1, 2014 at 07:26

      the highest for orac is dragon blood and i read that it might damage your dna this is where i buy my amla also known as Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis) you only take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon a day its very high in vit. c.. and polyphenols ,more than 100 studies done on it,, here is a litsing of 3100 foods and their ORAC values and here is how dr greger uses amla and hibiscus tea as a drink (i drink this my self and it tastes like fruit punch) he now adds amla to his recipe

    • Charles on March 1, 2014 at 10:47

      Amla powder at Amazon:

    • jo on March 2, 2014 at 06:20

      Gabriella, I’ve found powdered amla here before – – and i think ive also seen it in Big Carrot. I also found dried – not sweetened – barberries in a Bulk Barn store in Leaside during xmas cooking season.

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 06:41

      jo, sounds like we live in the same part of town.

      If you go to Iqbal Halal supermarket on Thorncliffe Park Drive, they sell fresh barberries from Iran, boxed. Beautiful.

      There’s also Trupti, which is in the same industrial strip (other end from Iqbal). That guy sells so many nuts, spices and whatnot. Mindboggling. For sure he’s got powdered amla as well at a much cheaper price than Big Carrot. You need your Encyclopedia of Food to figure out what all he sells. Both are worth the trip.

    • jo on March 2, 2014 at 12:26

      Gabriella, I live right near Iqbal – i can spend hours browsing in that place – mostly trying to figure out what everything is! i’ve found all kinds of cool things in there. Have not been into Trupti, though…will try. Suny’s, on Don Mills, is great, too – mostly for the astounding array of veggies.

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 20:37

      Hot Damn jo! Now you’ll tell me you live on Wynford Heights Crescent. And I’ll find out you live down the hall from me or something like that.

      I shop at Sunny all the time. How come I’ve never seen you? :) There’s also a Polish Deli ‘Pioneer Deli’ which is good for some things like 30% Western Creamery sour cream. In the freezer at the back they have fabulous sausage. Blood sausage and Hungarian sausage. They sell cod liver pate (in cans).

    • jo on March 4, 2014 at 03:13

      Sure, I saw you a week ago Saturday! I was wearing my “Please Don’t Pull My Finger” T-shirt. Weren’t you wearing your FTA baseball cap? I thought it was you… ;) Have to check out that Deli

      Not Wynford Heights, but I know a person in those buildings, have walked the park behind, too. But I live on Thorncliffe – not very far at all. Lol! Small world!

    • gabriella kadar on March 4, 2014 at 04:38

      jo, I think your scarf must have been covering the “Please don’t” part of the logo. I thought, right on, a person who fits right in with my family culture, BTW farting in the bathtub beats singing in the shower any day. ;)

    • jo on March 4, 2014 at 06:04

      **snort** Must have been a psyllium on-day

    • gabriella kadar on March 7, 2014 at 07:08

      Hey jo, was it you at Sunny this morning buying green plantains, green bananas, a jicama, avocadoes wearing earphones? I was going to ask ‘buying resistant starches’? But thought, heck, if it ain’t you then I look like an eejit.

    • jo on March 7, 2014 at 18:37

      wow – that sounds like a tasty breakfast – imagining it all together in a smoothie… No, gabriella, it was not me, alas. I am glued to my keyboard these days, working to a deadline, going slightly mad. no fun at all, except for the music i produce, only me to appreciate it…laughing! hope you had a good shopping trip.

  58. Pohtaytoh on March 1, 2014 at 05:58

    In addition to seeding and feeding our guts with good bacteria and RS, should we also be concerned with weeding our guts of parasites? Are we all full of nasty critters bingeing on an all-you-can-eat gastro buffet while we scurry around filling the trays whilst wondering why we eat so much?

  59. Adrienne on March 1, 2014 at 06:58

    Re: Natural childbirth and breastfeeding: Wouldn’t the benefits of these things also depend upon the health of the mother and the quality of her breastmilk? For example, if one has an obese diabetic mother, perhaps it’s better to be born via c-section and not to be inoculateed by her bacteria via natural childbirth. Is all breastmilk healthier simply by virtue of being breastmilk?

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 09:10

      Not the article, but about Dr. Ames theory. Even Paul Jaminet at PHD appears to endorse this strategy although I don’t follow his blog on a consistent basis and have never read any mention of Dr. Ames. But it goes along with the PHD and the addition of certain supplements and vitamins.

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 09:30

      Here’s the Ames paper for triage theory in re: Vitamin K

    • GTR on March 1, 2014 at 14:53

      @john – “In evolutionary terms , when organisms only inhabited oceans, the organism in the ocean has equal access to all nutrients , atom by atom, due to the diffusion power of the sea. On land it is different and geologically controlled.” – when it comes to minerals in the water you can buy them concentrated and use as a fertilizer, it’s expansive though.

    • Tanya on March 1, 2014 at 08:56

      Adrienne, it seems like it depends. One of the earlier posts (or was it a comment thread?) talked about the galacto oligosaccharides in breastmilk functioning quite similarly to resistant starch. And babies who get formula have very different gut bacteria. If mom’s gut bacteria are *that* off and/or other stuff is going on with mom, maybe the wacky bacteria due to formula is the better choice. But given all the work many of us, for ourselves or our spouses, are going through to improve gut bacteria, it doesn’t seem like a trade-off to make lightly.

      It gets complicated though because if mom’s health is really impaired (like she had CFS, waving my hand) then baby may have a few strikes against him before he’s born. And it can start to matter how things match up in that particular case. Like for me, my CFS wasn’t significantly digestion-involved. With a more specific example–my son got sick a ton and a half as a baby/toddler–would it have been better with formula? His gut bacteria probably would’ve been wonkier, but his vitamin D would’ve gotten higher/faster (and later supplementation was noticeably helpful), and there would’ve been a lot of other differences with positives going both ways, so overall…. idk.

      A few years earlier, my daughter was born. She seems significantly more prone to weak digestion (still working on that — she’s 10 now) and I’m pretty sure that, whatever my milk’s inadequacies, she was probably better off than if she’s just gotten formula. She needed all the help she could get re: having good bacteria settle in.

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 09:03

      Adrienne, if you look up information about cow milk, the things that make it good and the things that make it bad, then, of course, it would be applicable to human milk.

      I was reading a forum where people with cows (not professional dairy farmers) were trying to figure out why a cow’s milk went bitter. Sometimes it’s just not providing adequate minerals, sometimes it’s a weed like buttercup, sometimes it’s just that the cow is getting ready to go into heat. So I’d assume human breastmilk will be affected by varying circumstances as well.

      A study was done to measure the vitamin K2 level in breastmilk. This is a direct reflection on the mother’s dietary intake of K1 and K2. Vitamin K2 accumulates in glands like the mammary glands, the salivary glands, the testicles, ovaries. Unless the mother was given a large dose of K1 prior to going into labour, breastmilk contains zero to extremely low amounts. Hence the use of vitamin K prophylactically in newborns to prevent haemorrhagic disease. The thing is, once this is administered, if the mother’s milk is deficient, the K1 given at birth is not ‘forever’. Most of the time, most mothers do supplement here and there with formula which contains really super high levels of K1. I was quite surprised actually at how high. But maybe it is like this so that even small supplemental formula feedings will ensure that K1, which is non-toxic, levels in babies will prevent haemorrhagic disease.

      A few years ago, a woman who did everything WAPF – Nourishing Traditions wrote a very long comment on Stephan Guyenet’s blog. She said that she had 100% breastfed and her baby at several months of age developed a brain hemorrhage. It was diagnosed as being from Vitamin K deficiency and unfortunately now her child has severe permanent brain damage. I have no reason to not believe her since she added this to a very old blog entry of Stephan’s. Very sad.

      A diet high in greens (with added olive oil) plus organ meats like beef kidney (beef liver is not a good source), chicken liver, egg yolks, fish eggs, Gouda cheese, and even some natto, will ensure that breastmilk will contain some vitamin k2. Very very few prenatal vitamin supplements contain any vitamin K1 and even when they do, the amount is insignificant.

      Studies in vitamin K1 deficient rats, indicate that the bacteria in their colons produce bacterial K2 which does not appear to provide a significant source of this vitamin to the animal. I’ve got a whole huge filing cabinet full of Vitamin K articles because this was ‘my thang’ back in 2009.

      The Ames theory about this Vitamin makes an interesting read. I’ve got it saved on my other laptop, so if anyone wants it, I can post it.

      Both vitamin D3 and K2 drops should be given to breastfed babies. These days it’s only D Drops.

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 09:07

      An old fashioned ‘remedy’ for providing very young babies with vitamin K2 was to mix raw egg yolk with a little sugar and spoonfeed. This was done in places like Italy where food shortages after the war and in rural areas were problematic. If the baby looked like it was bleeding from the bowel, the doctor instructed the mothers to do this.

    • john on March 1, 2014 at 13:42


      The Long Clock of DNA and Time

      The best person to talk about Bruce is with Grace. About 8 years ago, I remember that she was so excited to interview him . Funny, if my mind is still holding up, (Grace :-)) I also remember the outcome..

      This is my take- Bruce is an outstanding scientist, giving the world the Ames Test for environmental toxicity test eons ago. About 15 years ago, he came up with a concept of the body needing about 14 super nutrients to function to its best.

      But the devil that Bruce noted, is that these super nutrients are scattered around the world, no one until recently could readily access them in “a daily soup” so to speak. My answer to that is to evoke a geological perspective. In evolutionary terms , when organisms only inhabited oceans, the organism in the ocean has equal access to all nutrients , atom by atom, due to the diffusion power of the sea. On land it is different and geologically controlled. SO if one sees the world in blocks of say 10 million years, then the human gut-organism-DNA axis is just trying to cope with the advent of fire technology and the change of environmental attacks from outside organisms (ie food from Art’s perspective) hind gut to fore gut rebalancing . If so much neurological activity is still in the gut, I can imagine a movie where the quorum sensing going on there is of a medieval war theater over territory and resources and armies.

      What Richard and Taterlot are doing is a public service of moving published bench science into simple everyday practice, something that can fail or take hundreds of years. Look at the tomato effect of 100s of years of time from tomato discovery to everyday usage in America.

      We are blessed to live in the Space Age and the opportunity to be citizen scientists . The art is in taking a broadest possible perspective , with the risk that we still miss the obvious!

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 2, 2014 at 17:36


      Thank you for your thoughts! ” If so much neurological activity is still in the gut, I can imagine a movie where the quorum sensing going on there is of a medieval war theater over territory and resources and armies.” That is a fine statement. Our gut is a terrain worth fighting over by the microbiota.

      Ames is interesting — but he is very right about nutritional triage. And everyone underestimated how important the gut flora contributes beyond nutritional harvesting and fat production but directly to neurotransmitter modulation (> 40 made in the gut, 70-80% of serotonin and melatonin precursors) and immunity conditioning and deployment.

      I’m glad when I miss the obvious, I got help like U!

  60. Chris on March 1, 2014 at 07:49

    Richard, I’ve also been reading your site for years and I rarely comment. I think I’ve been reading since your “NO POO” (shampoo) escapade.

    Thank you for always pushing the boundaries of what we believe to be “a fact.” This is, hands down, without question the best blog/resource in the entire Paleosphere, and shit, even outside of it.

    I applaud your effort and commitment.

    Please excuse my excessive praise, but what you, tim and Dr. BG are doing is truly been life changing for me.

    On a side note, I’ve started with 1 TBS PS and the PerscriptAssist, so far, so good. I tried 2TBs of PS a while ago and had to stop due to obnoxious and horrid smelling gas and feeling like shit. My new regimen is much better. I needed some SBOs.

    After reading all your posts and comments I’ve realized that my gut has been broken since I was a kid (now 28). I remember always having digestive/pooping issues as a kid, which has continued to this day. Always suffered with acne my whole life too. Just a few days after starting the PS and SBOs probiotics, my face is dramatically clearer. Don’t know if it’s attributed just to the SBO/PS as I’ve been going to the sauna 3x week to detox my body as well. After reading a bit of AnimalPharm, I’m considering getting some of that clay to clean out my innards!

    Luckily, I’m on my way to healing the gut. Thanks for your hard work, looking forward to the book!

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 2, 2014 at 17:40

      Strong work Chris! Do you work out and sweat 30-60 min each day?

      Sauna is amazing — don’t discount its merit. I know people who in their country do regular sauna (like my Finnish ex-pat beauties . OMG THEIR SKIN IS ROCKSTAR

      Obviously skin is gut-deep too; another organ that’s enormous and ignored.

  61. Ralnac on March 1, 2014 at 09:05

    “Eating Dirt” by Gerald Callahan.

    A balanced, even poetic article about geophagia: past, present, benefits and risks. Published by the CDC, Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

    Dr. Callahan is associate professor of immunology/public understanding of science in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 2, 2014 at 17:42


      Thxxx for your awesome links and comments!

      Have you seen this Japanese chef? Obviously dirt needs to be holistic, organic, parasite-free!

      The Secret’s in the Soil
      Modern Farmer interviews the world’s pioneer of “soil cuisine,” Toshio Tanabe

      By Danielle Demetriou on October 8, 2013

      A heap of gritty soil is not a welcome sight on a dinner plate, except when you dine with Japan’s Toshio Tanabe. Tanabe serves dirt-based specialties alongside oysters, truffles and risotto at his Tokyo restaurant Ne Quittez Pas.

      Tanabe, the world’s pioneer of “soil cuisine,” trained at Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris and believes that soil adds a healthy natural flavor to all kinds of dishes, from soups to sorbets. His customers clearly agree: Tables are booked at least three months in advance to sample his loamy delights. And what do they taste like? Tanabe’s concoctions have a textured and at times mudlike edge, although the dirt itself is surprisingly neutral to the tongue.

      Modern Farmer: Come on. You really eat soil?

      Toshio Tanabe: I’ve been eating soil for 25 years. At first I simply left it on unwashed vegetables freshly picked from the Earth. But a turning point was eight years ago when I was on a TV cooking program. I wanted to create something surprising in one bite — and made a soil-based dish. Since then, many people have visited my restaurant asking to try soil dishes. So earlier this year I launched my first soil menu.

      MF: How would you describe the taste of soil?

      TT: It is very hard to put into words. I would not say it tastes earthy, but actually like the Earth itself. Many people immediately use the word earthy to describe it, but that’s because of their image of soil. Either way, most people find it delicious and some say it has no taste at all.

    • Marcus on March 14, 2014 at 17:50

      I was wondering about safe sources of earth for those who want to experiment with dirt smoothies – elsewhere in this thread others have mentioned the possible parasites and pathogens that might be present in backyard soils.

      Well, what about unwashed organic potatoes as a source of healthy soil? In the grocery section of the supermarket there are organic potatoes from all over the world. Haul a sack home, scrape or rinse off the soil, keep the dirt and toss the potatoes.

      Voila, SBO’s from Egypt to Idaho and all parts in between.

  62. leo delaplante on March 1, 2014 at 09:55
    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2014 at 14:46


      Interesting stuff. Popped some in my Amazon cart. Ever since I got Prime, I’m an Amazon madman.

    • Ellen on March 2, 2014 at 13:32

      Cart? You use the Amazon cart?! You won’t be a true madman until you turn on 1-click ordering.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2014 at 14:27


      I like to consolidate stuff. For one, it helps out a vendor (Amazon) I care a lot about. If I can delay gratification a few days, then when possible, stuff comes in one box, it’s one delivery. Im not a big “save the world” guy—though I always do recycle swizzle sticks from one drink to the next—but if it’s no bother for me, then I’ll take what I see is the sensible approach.

      Plus, fewer deliveries results in less of Nuke barking. Her “bedroom” is the one with the window to the front and she diligently stands guard. Nobody walks by without being told to go fuck off in dog bark!

    • gabriella kadar on March 3, 2014 at 16:31

      Richard, the two amlas I chopped up finely and added to the okra stew, totally cleaned me out. I mentioned this to my assistant who says that in India people eat this thing during the hot summer months to ‘cool’ the digestive system. She said my experience is typical. It didn’t stop her from eating the okra stew I brought to work for her. By the end of the day she said she can feel its effects starting. So, I guess, the take away message here is be careful. I don’t know if the powdered form has the same effect as fresh, but my butt needs a break.

  63. dogfood on March 1, 2014 at 11:16

    Richard, Tim, and Grace, thank you for this enervating gut punch-up!
    Richard, I’ve been experimenting (with good-to-great success) with many of the protocols you’ve been documenting, to include RS. I’m not having vivid dreams, but am experiencing a lot of other benefits. One thing really struck me when you shared the sinus issue, though. I’ve had a rocky nasal passage for decades and have to blow the schnoz after every meal. As a kid, I had to muck out the pens, feed the chickens, ducks, etc. and was never sick, never had any allergies, was thin as a rail. It’s all coming together now and the prebiotics are on the way, but I have a general question:

    Are these like Sea Monkeys, where we add fluid and a town and attendant menagerie show up, swimming around and fashioning crowns? I’m wondering how a live organism makes it for so long in a little plastic capsule.
    I still need to work up the courage to put another growing thing on the counter and get my kraut marching (the family has finally accepted the kombucha as an entity, but not as a beverage), but I want to try this first (being ‘merican and wanting a quick fix in pill form).

    Thanks for all your writing and sharing on the human condition.

    • tatertot on March 1, 2014 at 11:35

      I think your SeaMonkey analogy is pretty close. Also, some is done with spores, but I think mostly just freeze-dried versions of very hardy bacteria.

      Some of the best probiotic supplements encapsulate the freeze-dried bacteria in an RS shell. This lets them resist getting burned up as they enter the atmosphere of the gut system and they are released when microbes in the large intestine eat away their capsule of RS.

    • Annika on March 3, 2014 at 05:05

      Tim, your comment segways nicely into the question that has been puzzling me. I was under the impression that the capsules of probiotic supplements protected the probiotics from being destroyed by stomach acid. Since one of the functions of stomach acid is to kill bacteria, wouldn’t opening a capsule and sprinkling the contents on food or into an Evil Smoothie doom those poor SBOs to certain death in the acidy stomach? Certainly we eat probiotics in food with no enteric coatings, though, but for the price I’m paying for AOR, I think I’ll stick to swallowing the capsules whole.

      Richard, do you see any advantage to opening the capsules other than to trick your poor unsuspecting wife?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 3, 2014 at 06:23


      It was my impression that we’re dealing with spores mostly, not live bacteria and the whole thing about spores is that it’s a protective coating of its own. Not sure the survival rate, but just in case, I am trying to get to the point where she’ll just take the capsules (I do both…in the smoothie and every could of days, a round of the capsules. Not sure those capsules survive the stomach. I’ll bet the dissolve. Just a convenient way to take them.

    • tatertot on March 3, 2014 at 08:37

      There is also an element of ‘trade secrets’ around how the probiotocs are encapsulated. I’ve noticed that some say they are specially encapsulated to survive the trip, while others make no mention. The thing with dumping capsules into an RS blend of sorts is something we have been talking about here for a long time.

      Live microbes will attach themselves to RS granules and the RS granules will protect them as they transit the stomach and SI. How that translates to spores, I have no idea, but I assume it would be helpful as they will have some food to eat as soon as they hatch. Did you notice AOR Pro-3 is already encapsulated with potato starch? Apparently others know this trick as well.

      I’ve seen studies where up to 100% of certain probiotic species will perish when swallowed and 100% will live. There is also lots of evidence that even dead probiotics are helpful to the immune system, much like injecting dead viruses as ‘flu shots’.

      With the AOR, I take it whole, but, like Richard said, I’ll bet that flimsy capsule dissolves as soon as it hits the stomach.

  64. GTR on March 1, 2014 at 15:58

    As strange as it seems your 4 advantages are similar to what Dave Asprey claims with his lifestyle (complete one, not just a diet). Although he gets these “externally” – via devices, supplements etc., rather than via internal bacteria.

    1. Awarness, calm – he uses biofeedback devices like heart rate variability, neurofeedback etc. in order to control stress.

    2. Reduced need for sleep – provigil, orange glasses and other light control.

    3. Not very hungry – this one due to the diet, that includes external sources of short-chain fatty acids, but also a lot of fiber.

    4. Elimination of some of the previously-persistent lifelong problems – in his case it was negative effects from mold toxins.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2014 at 16:52


      I sat across the dinner table from Dave (I call them Rose Colored Glasses :) and had him explain it to me.

      Weird guy, but you’d have to invent him if he didn’t exist.

    • Charles on March 1, 2014 at 17:11

      I like Dave, but it looks like getting your gut biome optimized (and maybe supercharged with the RS and probiotics) gives you pretty much all of the same things without the extra drugs, nutraceuticals and electronics. You’re probably getting the same things, biochemistry- and neurochemistry-wise, but you’re getting them endogenously and in a constant “drip.”

      I have never in my life felt as mentally alert as I do with PS and probiotics. And it’s not like I’m wired, I just feel awake all the time, even when I’m sleepy, if that makes any sense. Better sleep helps, but I’m fairly sure that’s not all of it.

      And on the sleep thing, since butyrate or butyric acid is a component of both GABA and GHB, doesn’t it seem like that might have a lot to do with better sleep and more vivid dreams?

      “GHB has been used in a medical setting as a general anesthetic, to treat conditions such as insomnia, clinical depression, narcolepsy, and alcoholism, and to improve athletic performance.[5] It is also used as an intoxicant (illegally in many jurisdictions) or as a date rape drug.[6] GHB is naturally produced in the human body’s cells and is structurally related to the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate. “

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 19:08

      Charles, this thing came up on Heisenbug’s blog comments.

      So I went through the PubMed as much as possible.

      Seems the following in regards to short chain fatty acids:

      RS fermentation results in butyrate, propionate and acetate.

      Neither butyrate nor propionate are found in the peripheral circulation.

      Butyrate appears to be used up by the colon cells.

      Proprionate finds its way to the liver via the Portal circulation where it is metabolized by hepatocytes. Apparently proptionate is anti-inflammatory for the liver.

      Acetate is found in the peripheral circulation. It is an alternative fuel for the brain. Which might explain why, during the night, when blood glucose levels go down, acetate is fueling the brain and hence better sleep and REM sleep.

      There have been articles published in the past year about how alcohol also results in acetate for the brain. Chronic alcholics are getting more brain energy from the booze. I wonder if the nightmares that some boozers experience has something to do with high acetate levels in the brain. BECAUSE, when I tried tapioca starch before bedtime (and it is a smaller starch granule than potato, therefore probably fermented faster than potato starch) I got nightmares. Consistently. I stopped the experiment after several days. Even cassava eaten in the evening created problems. I made a cassava pone (with much reduced sugar content) and eating it during the day was fine. Eating it in the evening was not fine.

      I figure, consuming tapioca starch during the day would be okay.

      Charles, this is like drugs, man.

      Today I baked a Jamaican boniato potato in coconut milk. I removed the pieces with a slotted spoon so they still had a bit of clotted coconut milk on them. I don’t know what happened. I literally whipped through vacuuming my place afterwards. It was like nothing. I have not done that in recent or past memory. Honest to god, the last time I had that much energy and was able to effortlessly complete a physical task without taking breaks was 20 years ago. I am going back to the supermarket tomorrow and cooking up a batch of this stuff for the week because I want to see if this is a ‘one off’ or if it’s consistent.

    • Charles on March 1, 2014 at 23:57

      This is not a whole lot different than the whole Dave Asprey, Bulletproof thing. The difference is we’re dealing with endogenous chemicals. If we “take” them, we call them drugs.

    • Art on March 2, 2014 at 01:16

      Your night terrors are possibly a result of increased slow wave sleep, GK. You were sleeping the sleep of the infant! RS literally turning back the clock.

      SCFS increase leptin which, in turn, increases slow wave sleep. Possibly.

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 2, 2014 at 19:04


      However would one truly need upgraded ‘Brain Octane’, BP coffee or other similar concoctions if the 2nd brain was working?

      (the 2nd brain = gut/enteric nervous system where we produce > 40 neurotransmitters)

  65. Harriet on March 1, 2014 at 17:02

    Damn it. Just found out that Amazon won’t send probiotics to Australia.

    • Harriet on March 1, 2014 at 17:46

      And Iherb has sold out of AOR. Bummer.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2014 at 19:22

      Yes, Amazon is very subservient to all world masters. It’s as though they think they provide less value for the cost.

      Must be the guns, armored vehicles and fashions.

    • Tanya on March 2, 2014 at 14:33

      It looks like ships internationally (I didn’t see more details on that, nor the cost) but I’ve ordered other stuff from them and just this morning I saw that they have AOR-3 in stock.

  66. Gina on March 1, 2014 at 17:42

    I’ve been taking 4 tbsp a day of Bob’s Red Mill potato starch in water for a week now just for grins. I’ve experienced no gas at all. At. All. I wonder what this means. Anyone? I’m a vegan, so I was already eating a lot of reheated beans, rice and pasta, so maybe my gut was already used to it; I don’t know. Thanks in advance to anyone who has any ideas.

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 19:29

      Gina, I think so too.

      There’s a study I sent to Richard et al. about methanogens and sulfur reducing bacteria. YOU’VE GOT BUGS. Apparently there are bugs that consume Hydrogen as well. So, no farts.

      Stinky farts can mean the sulfur eating bugs are inadequate. Lots of not very smelly fats means the methane eating bugs and the hydrogen eating bugs are inadequate.

      Fascinating shit….er, stuff.

    • gabriella kadar on March 1, 2014 at 19:30

      Jeeze, typos. ‘Lots of not very smelly FARTS…’

    • Richard Nikoley on March 1, 2014 at 19:37


      Thanks for the 1st ever n=1 vegan. Can you put the word out? It’s raw, only dried. In fact, it has to be raw to get the dealy.

      Yea, what Gabriella said. You have a biome developed to digest plant matter, even co-feeders, those who eat the fart shit others produce.


    • Harriet on March 2, 2014 at 00:45

      Gabriella, Have you any idea which the sulfur reducing bacteria are? I definitely need them as I can’t eat salad onions or any onions that haven’t been well cooked.

    • Gina on March 2, 2014 at 05:13

      Thanks for the replies, Gabriella and Richard.

      I’ll put the word out as best I can!

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 05:36

      Harriet: In salads I use very small amounts of white onion because the green onions (scallions) are ‘hot’ and ‘strong’ in my mouth. But I use parsley, mint, cilantro and dill as ‘vegetables’ not as seasoning or garnish. I think maybe that’s how I’ve picked up ‘the bugs’.

      I was wondering how it is that my guts are doing fine. I’m sure there’s lots of SBOs in fresh herbs and when eaten by the handful on anything, they’ll seed the gut nicely.

      I cook thoroughly a beef patty, cut it up into bite sized pieces. While it’s frying, I’d cut up mini cukes, mini tomatoes, thin fleshed red or yellow peppers, a small amount of chopped white onion mix in a handful of chopped herbs (whatever is in the house, usually dill and parsley), add a bit of feta cheese, black olives, lime juice, . A drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper. Add the beef burger pieces and gently toss everything together.

      This stuff tastes so good. It’s a hot/cold salad.

    • gabriella kadar on March 5, 2014 at 02:52

      Harriet, try this article:

    • Harriet on March 4, 2014 at 23:26

      I’ve been eating handfuls of home grown herbs unwashed from the garden for years now. I often wrap them up in a lettuce leaf and eat as is. However I am definitely short of a range of bacteria – probably from years of being prescribed antibiotics so doctors could get me out of their rooms rather than actually have to find a way to understand what was wrong with me.

    • gabriella kadar on March 5, 2014 at 03:11


      Given that a significant fraction of humans lack detectable SRB in their gut microbiota (8) and the substantial representation of D. piger in our sampled healthy adult population that do harbor SRB, these findings raise the question of what differences exist in the microbiota of individuals with and without this organism. For example, what other organisms occupy its niche in different diet contexts, or is its niche unoccupied? What are the functional consequences to the microbiota and host in different diet contexts? Sulfur is a precious resource and its limitation, notably in malnourished children and experimental animal models, is associated with diminished growth (36, 37). Differences in the utilization of carbon sources observed in the artificial gut community we constructed in gnotobiotic mice, coupled with the capacity of D. piger to invade the community, evoke the question of what effects administration of this organism would have on human biology. These questions emanate from and illustrate the benefits of studying gnotobiotic mouse models of the type described here.’

  67. jgibson on March 2, 2014 at 04:30

    Okay, I’ve had this thought in my head for a few weeks now but have been sitting on it. But I’m wondering if – since it’s a product of fermentation – with the right bugs, and the right foods it’s possible to manufacture vitamin k2 in our own guts? Am I the only one who’s thought this? Did I miss it if they did? If that turns out to be the case – first butyrate, then K2 – there are going to be some bulletproof people flipping out when they find out us RS people are practically shitting Kerrygold.

  68. gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 05:44

    jgibson, an experiment was done with rats to deprive them of vitamin K in the diet. The gut bacteria produced vitamin K mostly for themselves. It’s a different type of K. That’s why there’s so much K in feces. The amount of vitamin K absorbed in the colon is very small. Vitamin K is fat soluble and requires bile. The bile left in the colon is in salt form so not active.

    It’s easier to obtain K2 from animal foods. If you think your food sources are low in K2, take a supplement.

    • jgibson on March 4, 2014 at 04:42

      I’m doubtful I’m deficient at this point. K2 is something I’ve specifically been eating for for a while now. I’ll admit though that I was half going for humor there.

  69. jo on March 2, 2014 at 06:45

    Pursuant to Dr BG’s “empty cages” I’ve been wondering whether seeding all these animals, filling my cages, is productive only of i am also feeding all the little buggers. I’m taking AOR Pro-3, Prescript Assist, as well as 50 billion bifidos and lactos in a third prebiotic (Ultimate Flora). I was about to start cycling in another (Syntol AMD) until I read, above, about S. boulardii. I take one by one, rotating, accompanied by PS in water or a shake and amazing grass. Two to three times per day. Gas production has died down, unless i add psyllium or FOS.

    Here’s my question: PS feeds bifido and lacto – do they, in turn, fart-feed the others? or am i planting this diverse zoo but starving them? I don’t think I’ve read, yet, a fuller discussion on what feeds what – or am i missing a crucial piece of this puzzle?

    • David on March 2, 2014 at 07:06


      Regarding Erik’s comment on S. boulardii causing problems, this quote from one of the linked studies is important:

      “All cases of probiotic bacteremia or fungemia have occurred in patients with underlying immune compromise, chronic disease, or debilitation, and no reports have described sepsis related to probiotic use in otherwise healthy persons.”

      Also discussed is the disproportionate number of preterm infants in the referenced studies skewing stastical results and many other factors that diminish the issue towards insignificance for the reasonably healthy. However, as has been mentioned here many a time, anyone with the aforementioned conditions should proceed with caution or even avoid entirely.

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 07:06

      Jo, that’s part of the problem and the mystery. The American Food Project, to which we here cannot contribute, has got all these analyses based on genetics, but we don’t know what all the bugs do.

      Definitely though, the bacteria eat each others’ products and eat each other’s bodies and there’s really a universe going on in there.

      Like I mentioned to Harriet, I eat a lot of chopped fresh herbs. I buy them by the big bunch, swish and rinse them as a bunch in cold water, shake dry and chop. I have a feeling I inadvertently added to my gut biome by doing this. Most people use these herbs as seasoning or decoration. I eat them as a significant part of a recipe.

      Even with rice. I’ll sautee onion, garlic, finely chopped red pepper, carrots, zucchini (something red, orange, yellow…. colourful stuff) in olive oil, add rice. Toss until it’s hot. Then I quickly stir in lots and lots of dill or parsley or cilantro (or all) and serve. This way the herbs get warmed up but they don’t cook. Yum. Beautiful too.

      It’s important to have sharp knives and a big chopping board. That’s all.

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 09:38

      SBO sauces: pesto, chimichurri.

      There’s all sorts of recipes for chimichurri depending on which South American country you are looking at. Argentinians use flat leaf parsley. Other people use both parsley and cilantro. Basically, go nuts. Do your own thing whatever tastes best. Use lemon or lime juice, or vinegar. There are no rules in this game. Every family has their own recipe.

    • jo on March 2, 2014 at 11:11

      ah, yes, you are right, David, thank you for pointing that out.

    • jo on March 2, 2014 at 11:21

      i like chimichurri! love coriander. i’m going to have to try making it myself – and with some slightly rinsed herbs. ive stopped washing my veggies (other than romaine – can’t stand the thought of eating those little slugs). haven’t yet got to the point where i’m willing to try rice – though i did try a little cold pasta the other night and it was much gentler on my blood sugar than it has been in the past. be good with cauliflower, too. thanks for the ideas, Gabriella.

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 12:27

      jo, ‘you made me do it’!

      Went to Iqbal this a.m. and bought 5 amlas. Sour/bitter little f**ers aren’t they?!

      Okay, so I sautéed onion with cumin, coriander, dark mustard seeds and finely chopped 2 amlas. They got soft. Then I added Indian Okra. That’s in the pan now, covered with a bit of water added so it won’t scorch. Will add some canned tomatoes next and salt to taste. I was actually wondering, hm, acidify the dish with? Usually lime juice. I’ll see how the amla works for this. Experimentation.

      Ordinarily I don’t add spices to this dish but given the really sharp flavour of the amla, I figured, this needs a bit of spreading out in the palate tweaking.

    • jo on March 2, 2014 at 12:39

      ha! good for you! and here i’ve just been adding the powder to my increasingly complicated smoothie. now i feel like such a chicken. but that melange sounds pretty interesting. apple cider vinegar?

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 14:06

      jo, it tastes great. I ate it on top of parboiled basmati rice. (shhh, ate two servings.) I guess amla is a good alternative to amchar but without fibrey stuff. I guess a person could use tamarind as well, but that’s sweet/sour.

    • jo on March 2, 2014 at 15:06

      cool! gotta try that out…

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 5, 2014 at 16:03


      Great comments — it’s a fantastic ecosystem in our gut. We feed them actually from the mucin and carbs that we secrete on the very tip of the gut microvilli (fucose — like in seaweed and other plants). We make a lawn, and they graze happily.

      PS and soluble fibers feed not only bifido and lacto, but the biggest populations — Bacteroidetes (soil) and Clostridia (soil). We need soil, get it? These are the origins of our gut species, and antibiotics cause their genocide.

      We not only fart-feed (AWESOME TERM) with RS + NSP fiber and their resultant H2, methane, sulfur but also lactate and the fats — butyrate, acetate, propionate. Propionate is actually a substrate for gluconeogenesis. The gut cells rely on 70% butyrate for fuel and energy but there are other sources as well.

      It’s not a war in the gut but a really serene harmony if all is ‘go’.

      Centarians have a boatload of RS and NSP fiber fermentors — particularly one soil based on called E limosum. Bacilli (soil) is also prominent. On the other hand low amounts of these are associated with debilitation and disability.

      Optimal and bulletproof brain health (no anxiety, no panic, no autism/spectrum) depends on optimal gut health. Same can be said for all health imho.

  70. marie on March 2, 2014 at 12:34

    Caution required!
    So says my rail-thin mother, who’s been fermenting her own foods and keeping a traditional, clean, kitchen all her life, in a village and in cities across two continents.
    Not “antibacterial spray” clean, but soap-and-water clean. Therein lies an important difference.

    There’s an argument to be made that the biggest trouble with antibacterials and the general efforts towards ever cleaner environments is Not that they are too clean, it’s that those products easily kill the weaker and beneficial bacteria but tend to allow the worst offenders to grow and even develop resistance.

    If we truly were raised in near-sterile environments then sure, the sterility might be the biggest problem, due no/little exposure to even good bugs. However no one is raised in anything remotely resembling a sterile environment, I don’t care how many antibacterials and soaps are used in the home. I mean, who never stepped outside? Did they have their little hands bandaged and tied down all through baby-hood? Never fell down as a toddler? Played with other kids? Got splashed by a car going through a puddle even once? No pets in or around the home?

    However, that doesn’t mean eating soil outright is a good idea. There have been several cautionary voices in the comments when it comes to soil eating, from tatertot and DuckDodgers for example, but also many questions and a few who seem enthusiastic to experiment with dirt eating.

    So I’m just gonna translate what mom just told me – it was a long phone conversation. Emphases are hers (and yeah, I concur) :

    Don’t eat dirt. Period. There is no and-or-if about it. One reason is that we’re human, we live in human settlements. Human settlements breed the worst bugs. Always have. That’s why people used to die of infectious diseases and parasites, and it was worse with the growth of big cities, before the importance of hygiene was recognized in the late 1800s.”

    “What about forests and still ‘wild’ areas? O.k., Less often exposure, Maybe, but rabies, parasites and pathogens from rodents, scavengers and from predator’s poop are all over the place there, and I mean from hawks and vultures too. So this patch of dirt maybe ok, but the next patch a metre away won’t be. You want to play the russian roulette? Why?!

    “Look, farmers don’t use any old ‘manure’ for fertilizer, they use that of plant-eaters and occasionally from chickens (depending on their feed/housing), not from predators and absolutely never humans’, we make the worst poop of all. We have to bury it, it’s so bad. Why do you think it stinks to us? You like your ‘evolution’, yes? That’s evolution” (my note: the lady doesn’t pull her punches :) ).

    “So what about dogs eating shit? Nonsense! It’s only some dogs and who said they never get sick from it? Ours did, don’t you remember bizou?
    Anyway people messed up dogs. Do wolves it shit?
    Natural is good, luddite is stupid, you know that! Now go study the difference in your labs” (my note: there’s a ‘bah’ in there somewhere, I can still hear it… :) )

    All of which reminded me :
    here’s just one example from ‘labs’, backing that up : Bacteriodes θ-ι-ο (‘theta iota omicron’).
    Though, it’s a big example since it’s one of the most populous bugs in humans.

    “The predominance of B. thetaiotaomicron in human feces makes it a worthy candidate as a marker of human fecal matter. A bacterial primer set for it was detected in a vast majority of human feces in the study, but in only 16% of dog fecal samples, and in no cow, horse, pig, chicken, turkey, or geese samples. Since the health risk for contact with human feces is generally higher than that with non-human feces, this is an important development in terms of identifying human fecal matter.”

    It works as an example of how common can be the pathogenic bacteria in humans, but also as an example that “good” and “bad” can be the same bacterium, depending on it’s concentration…. which depends on the balance of other bacteria keeping it in check.

    “Its metabolic function for humans is to degrade plant polysacharides, a very essential capability for the human gut. Additionally, it is very important during the postnatal transition between mother’s milk and a diet heavily consisting of plant starches.”

    Meanwhile, on the dark side :
    “Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron is the second most common infectious anaerobic gram-negative bacteria. It is considered an opportunistic pathogen, frequently associated with peritonitis, septicemia, and wound infections. B. thetaiotaomicron is capable of causing very serious infections, such as intra-abdominal sepsis and bacteremia. It’s resistance to antimicrobial agents is a cause for major concern, and thus methods to identify B. thetaiotaomicron in clinical specimens is of utmost importance.”

    So Caution #2 :
    anyone who suspects a compromised immune system should think twice about playing with bacterial repopulation outside of the the tried-and-true dairy and veggie fermenters, that is, only certain lactobacteria and certain bifidobacteria – in the latter there’s longum and infantis, sometimes co-named/labelled, which are also used in hospitals to treat persistent C.Diff. infection (something that nearly killed me 17 years ago).

    Now, if anyone can give me some good arguments I can use next time I talk with mom, I’m all ears… :)

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 2, 2014 at 19:13

      There’s a really cool company that composts pet waste: . They also pick up food waste from all sorts of local restaurants, and the company and its services make me feel warm and fuzzy. :)

    • Bernhard on March 3, 2014 at 00:28

      “Embracing” the fact that the human way to treat faeces (be they human animal or other) at the current “state of the art” is a disaster, globally by now. We turn a potential blessing in re- cycling it, into poison for land, water, air and species.

      Well possible we need to look at the “psychological” aspect first.
      Guess you have heard about this book, “humanure”, just an excerpt from page 121:
      “Fecophobia is alive and well and running rampant”.

    • tatertot on March 2, 2014 at 12:56

      The Voice of Reason.

      Thanks, Marie!

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 13:47

      According to Steven Johnson’s book ‘The Ghost Map: The story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World’:

      The contents of cesspits were shoveled out by (unfortunate) people who piled the excrement into wagons that were taken out of town and dumped in ‘farm fields’. Not just in London. All over Europe. This is why the soil around old cities in Europe is so fertile.

      Is it a good thing to do? Unless human fecal matter is composted, no it is not. But in many parts of the world, like China and India, human fecal matter is recycled. In China and not as commonly anymore, Korea, fresh human feces are fed to pigs. (Poor pigs. Do they have a choice? No. Pigs suffer everywhere.)

      Composting raises the temperature of whatever it is high enough to kill pathogenic organisms. So it’s not such a bad thing to do. (Even the contents of my kitchen garbage can become warm within 24 hours of introducing all sort of vegetable matter. Doesn’t stink, but it’s warm.)

    • marie on March 2, 2014 at 14:08

      I’ll pass that on to mom – though, you’re already in her good books of course…
      I had her taking coconut oil, rather lackadaisically, since last summer, then increased it to be the only cooking oil two months ago but at the same time added PS to yogurt daily.
      Too many confounders lately but I don’t care, the two foods stay, she’s actually having more good days than bad and she’s clearly in peak form on the good ones, managing the household and even purposely following through with the coconut and the PS.
      I also just got a lecture on east-vs-west philosophy.
      She has more appreciation for those ‘labs’ than she lets on, though, I never thought I’d be grateful to have my mom telling me off :)

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 14:21

      marie, at least I’m in somebody’s good books. ;0

      But in truth, composting works. All animal shit, even cow and sheep needs to be composted before use. Some shit is harder to compost than other shit. Donkey and sheep shit is probably the easiest. Donkey shit is easier to collect. Sheep shit, just leave those little balls in the field. Horse shit is not ideal because horses don’t chew their food really well. Hence the big turds left by police horses. Cow shit is fine but takes longer to compost. Pig, chicken and human are the hardest. Chicken shit smells really bad while it’s being composted. One of the neighbours used to do this in the garage. Since the garage was under the house, I’d hate to know how his living room smelled. Woohaw.

      True, I’ve never heard of dog and cat shit being composted. Cat shit especially. Very acidic.

    • marie on March 2, 2014 at 14:26

      heh, my reply was to Tim, but Gabs, it applies to you too :)

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 14:32

      marie, that’s a relief. Being in someone’s ‘good books’ would feel uncomfortable. ;)

    • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2014 at 14:35

      “Even the contents of my kitchen garbage can become warm within 24 hours of introducing all sort of vegetable matter. Doesn’t stink, but it’s warm.”

      Remember early on in the PS days people reporting not stinky farts, but HOT farts?

    • marie on March 2, 2014 at 14:35

      About composting, yes, you’re right of course. I think her point was that human and generally predator’s poop is very unsafe ‘raw’, which is how you’d find it in nature, as pertains to soil eating.

    • marie on March 2, 2014 at 14:48

      Yes! I too remember those and yeah, likely similar cause.
      But I have no personal sense for the farty business. When gabriella piped up and said she too had no fart problem, it was such a relief! I think we both had some good bugs already because of traditional herbs and veggies.

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 15:07

      Marie, your mother is correct about what animal feed contains. Pigs produce an awful lot of ‘fertilizer’ which when washed into streams and lakes causes algae blooms. Which then use up the oxygen and kill fish. Farmers here have to containerize their pig shit. Adds to the cost of farming.

    • gabriella kadar on March 2, 2014 at 15:30

      marie, I was wondering if something was amiss. But given I eat okra and all sorts of green things with no (literally) issue, I think the bugs are recycling every other bug’s waste products. We are extremely efficient with our human/bacteria cooperative. Which means, of course, we manage to extract every darn calorie from even the less calorie dense sources. Probably you and I could gain weight from okra.

    • marie on March 2, 2014 at 16:19

      “Probably you and I could gain weight from okra” – yup, for sure, and once upon a time we would if we needed to.
      However, if the microbiome is so efficient, it’s also not driving cravings for junk food today and in general it’s not even driving hunger – which is as it should be, evolutionarily speaking, no?
      I only find junk food cravings when I’ve drifted from my traditional cuisine for a while, like long travel. Reverting to ‘my’ food and with good doses of PS fixes the problem quickly.

      Methinks a healthy, aka efficient, microbiome is always a net ‘win’ when it comes to weight management.

      Either that or mine is particularly docile and well-behaved?! My sister-in-law heard about those fecal transplants for weight loss and is pestering me….an ocean and continent between us seems a good thing at the moment! lolz.

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 2, 2014 at 18:02

      Yes ~Thank you Marie! I concur that we need to be specific, selective and controlled about healthy dirt exposures because parasites can be present and that may be the tipping point for risk versus benefit.

      Sometimes I jump and make the analogy: healthy dirt = healthy people

      Or like the good calories, bad calories meme, we need good clostridia to protect against bad clostridia eg C difficile

      [and we must not ignore how good calories (fiber+RS) feed and fuel the good gut flora]

    • marie on March 2, 2014 at 21:00

      ” …specific, selective and controlled” Grace, I love it! – and it makes a great chapter title…

    • Harriet on March 4, 2014 at 23:33

      I hadn’t seen it anywhere in what I read so I must have missed it. But I would have loved to have read it as hot farts were something I wondered about. After 8 weeks they have cooled a little, but only a little.

  71. Passerby on March 2, 2014 at 13:31

    OT, but something’s up with your homepage, It’s going to a rent-my-timeshare thing with no links to other posts. Can still pull up individual pages (such as this one) by googling, though. You get hacked or something?

    Somewhat more on-topic, I’ve been curious about this soil-based probiotic thing for awhile, and your post convinced me to give it a whirl. Ordered some today, although for purely financial reasons I’m trying Swanson Ultra’s SBO product. Can’t find any third-party tests cfu counts, but several people have seen results from this that they never got from dairy-based probiotics, and I’ve seen it described as a generic version of Prescript-Assist, so fingers crossed…

    • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2014 at 14:02

      Fixed now. I’m designing a new Theme and did a very bad thing. :)

    • kate on March 2, 2014 at 16:50

      Lately, when I open this homepage, another tab opens up with an add. Just seems to be happening with this site.

    • Brian on May 6, 2014 at 20:22


      how did the Swanson Ultra SBO work out for you?


  73. GeoffD on March 2, 2014 at 18:44

    I’ve been getting the hot farts like crazy. CRAZY. I used to only ever get them with Trader Joes turkey meatballs. What gives with the heat? I’m on 4tbs ps for 3 months now. I’ve been on Primal D and prescript assist for 2 weeks. The hot farts come with an overwhelming bloat, and mild pain where my appendix used to be. Been trying to add kombucha and fermented veg whenever I can. On the plus side, gym gains are tremendous.

    • marie on March 2, 2014 at 21:43

      Geoff, I may have a suggestion, but it strongly depends on whether I understood correctly that the crazy hotness (I won’t tease, nope, I promise! I won’t even connect it to the tremendous gym gains ;) ) started after the 2-week intro of the new probiotics and whether your regular diet contains grains and/or sugars daily.
      Has it been in the last two weeks and does your diet include these foods usually?

    • Thomas on March 3, 2014 at 14:00

      Hey GeoffD,

      I’ve been experiencing the same things (hot stuff and gym gains) after introducing RS and SBOs (Prescript-Assist). I’d really like the latter. The former, mehh not so much.

      Regarding the hot farts, I also have the exact same sensation in my appendix. It must be a certain type of gas that gets outed.

    • GeoffD on March 3, 2014 at 16:42

      @Marie. PHD. No grains(cept white rice), sugar only in dark chocolate 3-4x per week. I am eating many more bananas-green of course…

  74. Briterian on March 2, 2014 at 19:45

    Just got my blood tests back today. Was hoping to see my cholestreol drop. Didn’t and my tsh went up. But my crp has gone from 1.3 to .7 to now .4 so that’s cool. I know my blood sugar has dropped way back and was thinking it might connect to reduced cholestreol so a little bummed out. Maybe I should give it more time. I’ve been doing ps for 3 months. My particle count went up, hdl dropped and my small ldl went up a tad. Just curious if anyone has seen something similar or just the opposite. I had read to expect something better.

    • Tanya on March 2, 2014 at 20:12

      Have you made any other changes in this time period? I’ve heard that increases in iodine intake can increase TSH, even if they don’t actually cause/increase hypo symptoms (and it seems like that’s something some folks play around with at the same time). Idk much about changes in cholesterol.

    • marie on March 3, 2014 at 20:52

      Or you could ask for input from women who’ve been IFing for many years successfully…

      I was taught as a child by a grandmother and have been doing it on-and-off all my life. I’m 47 now. It was originally in a structured fasting approach that had to do with the orthodox religious calendar. I’m not remotely religious, so I stopped it at some point in late adolescence, only to return for the health and energy benefits later as an adult.

      The thing is, I have yet to see even any anecdotal evidence of problems with IF when it’s done correctly.
      I wonder how much of the problems reported are because people who are sick try it (don’t try it alone if you’re not healthy, especially if you have diagnosed PCOS or other hormonal problems – Stefanie Ruper has a specialty on PCOS btw) . Also, people might try it without any preparation, following the extreme approaches of 20 year-old male bodybuilders? There’s a lot of bro-science on this all over the interwebz and that may be it’s worst drawback!

      Meanwhile, just keep in mind that there do not seem to be any controlled studies showing any negative effects, so any negative physiological effects discussed are of a hypothetical nature. On the other hand, there are many controlled studies showing immediate physiological changes that are beneficial (I’ve linked just a few below).

      Finally, epidemiological studies show population-wide benefits, on populations that have a history/tradition of it – in other words, they know how to do it.

      So it’s a great thing that you’re trying to get oriented with IF ! It’s the one way to make sure you don’t do easily avoidable mistakes and make it unduly hard on yourself.

      For decent science and historical background, you might want to try a Canadian author/scientist, Brad Pilon and his “Eat-Stop-Eat” book – his work is also an easy read. Pilon is one of the first in the field to try to explain the benefits and popularize IF.

      Another great source of background is Peter Attia’s blog. If you’re really into science, there’s the easily searchable blog “hyperlipid” (though…I do mean really intothe science, the man writes in what seems like biochemical code sometimes!). Meanwhile, for science with some philosophical fun, I like J.Stanton’s blog.

      I could go on (and on and on….) – so I’ll stop here. Obviously you can count me as a female fan of IF (!)
      To maybe help get you started,, here’s a few of my favorite journal articles -the first is a review :

      The ajcn journal btw has a motherlode of ‘alternate day fasting’ papers – if you want more, just search on that term.

      Fasting and neuronal cell autophagy (aka ‘it can help keep your brain young too’) :

      Fasting causes cell protection from toxins, even in chemotherapy :
      “…following the discovery that short term starvation (STS or fasting) causes a rapid switch of cells to a protected mode, we described a fasting-based intervention that causes remarkable changes in the levels of glucose, IGF-I and many other proteins and molecules and is capable of protecting
      mammalian cells and mice from various toxins, including chemotherapy.”

      I just hope I didn’t put you to sleep with all this…but then, sleep is a net good, no matter how you look at at it, no? ;)

    • Briterian on March 3, 2014 at 07:22

      I’ve been low-carb paleo (25-50 g carb) for two years and was taking red rice yeast and niacin and a thyroid medicine to get it down to reasonable levels and a few months ago said screw it…I don’t want to be taking this stuff the rest of my life. I had heard that RS can help cholesterol as a result of reducing inflammation. I was happy to see my CRP continue to drop but not my LDL-P/Small-LDL. I have been on chlomid for the last year to help low T and it sure has and I know my doc is going to take me off of that to see if I can product my T naturally.

      I have also cut down a bit on fat. I now just do PS, fish oil, probiotic, vitD and melatonin. I am adding VitK2 and Iodine later this week along with the Swanson SBO. I was just surprised my LP-IR went up a bit. As far as diet, I am looking to add in more cold legumes and maybe some fruit. I also skip breakfast and eat barely anything for lunch – doing the IF thing – so wondering if I should take Richard’s advice and do the beans and eggs for breakfast ala 4HB – which I did before and that was when I was my leanest…

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 3, 2014 at 17:07


      I was in the same boat as you — ketotic and then rammed my adrenals deep into the ground. Hormones, thyroid, mental ability — everything suffered and tanked. IF is just going to make recovery impossible FYI.

      Have you read the Schwarzbein Principle II? It will correct you of the ‘yo yo dieting’ that I used to be committed to because it’s extremely hard on the adrenal glands, the main producer of T (men) and progesterone (women) outside of the gonads.

      Please don’t forget to check out step#7 about recovering hormones — particularly adrenal glands. The smaller the gland, the more f*kced up the damage… The adrenals are the ‘master’ gland which regulate all the others. If it doesn’t work, we die — whereas dysfunctional gonads and thyroids just lead to eunch-ism and life goes on.

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 3, 2014 at 17:15

      Hi Grace,

      I am at this moment doing some googling and trying to understand: when is it good to IF, and when isn’t it? Will it help my hormones…or mess them up further? Have you written about this, or can you recommend an in-depth article discussing how to know whether your health is bed in the right way to benefit from IF? :)

      I used to be vegetarian (birth until age 30), then have been eating a pretty low-carb (I realize now) diet for the past four years, WAPF/GAPS/traditional foods/paleo/etc. I would like to take my – ahem – hormonal healing, if such a thing is possible – to the next level, which is why I started IFing in January. But I am somewhat concerned that my choice wasn’t quite as educated as it should be.

      Thanks for any ideas!


    • quattromomma on March 3, 2014 at 19:07

      Sarabeth—There’s mixed reports on IFing for women of childbearing age. Stefani Ruper’s paleoforwomen blog is a good place to start for the anti-IF view.

    • Briterian on March 4, 2014 at 05:48

      Hi Dr. BG,
      Thanks so much. I started eating breakfast again today after a 9 month hiatus. It was cold lentils, 2 eggs and guacamole. I have not read the Schwarzbein but will look into it. Are there any other lifestyle/diet tweaks you recommend? I start with VitD/K2/Iodine later this week along with some SBOs and psyllium husk along with my PS.

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 4, 2014 at 10:23

      Hi Quattromama and Marie,

      I really appreciate the ideas – I am thinking on them, and trying to piece it together, and all these links are great.


  75. Q on March 2, 2014 at 20:02

    Fucking hell! It’s like how the Eskimo’s have over 20 words for ‘snow’ whereas everybody else just has one. I’m thinking RS folks are going to need a new expanded lexicon for farts.

  76. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on March 2, 2014 at 23:07

    i believe in the old times, they fed pigs left over (not fecal matter) in China.


  77. Vandenbug on March 3, 2014 at 00:48

    Richard if 2014 shows a sudden, unexpected acceleration in climate change, people will blame you personally. Resistant starch and the farting “side effect” causes a surge of methane release into our atmosphere. Forget about melting siberian permafrost and giant arctic ocean methane plumes! Resistant starch that will kill our planet.

    • Alie on March 3, 2014 at 10:36

      Actual conversation yesterday evening while the hubs was doing bills:

      Hubs: “What is this prescript assist charge?”
      Me: “Those probiotics I ordered. Why?”
      Hubs: “Oh…just wondering how to categorize it.”
      Me: “How about gardening or yard maintenance…they are pills of dirt.”
      Hubs: “I think I’ll put it in ‘musical instruments’ because of all the farting.”

      Funny guy, that one…

    • Vandenbug on March 3, 2014 at 11:11

      Haha. I’m still practising to get some control on the rythm section, pitch is just way out of my league. Respect!

  78. Michelle on March 3, 2014 at 10:26

    I live in Canada and trying to get Prescript-Assist here is annoying and expensive. To order it direct from the company, there is a $100 shipping fee. To order it from it’s $128 (vs $69 on, which doesn’t ship this product to Canada.) I had to order the bottle I have to a Kinek box in Buffalo and drive down and pick it up.

    Help us Canadians out – if you have a few minutes, email iHerb and ask them to add it to their list of products – I order a lot of hard to find items from them with no problem shipping it here. I wish they would carry Bulletproof products because they could ship it here cheaper than Asprey does (and he lives in Canada.)

    Richard, I will try the two SBOs you purchased from iHerb too. I thought I’d work through one bottle at a time rather than mix them up. Is taking SBOs a ‘forever’ thing, like taking RS? Or is it a take a bottle or three and then feed the buggers with RX and leave it at that kind of a deal?

    I also wondered how people were using plantain and banana flour since cooking kills the RS – I may have to try the smoothie.

    Anyone else having problems with fasting BG? Mine was going down a bit but now seems to be going up higher. For RS sources, I’m mainly eating plantain chips and green bananas with some cold Uncle Ben’s here and there plus trying to increase my overall carb intake as I fear I was unintentionally too low – I have been struggling with this for some time now. I’ve tried PS over the past months but get achy joints and stop, will try again.

    What is the final verdict on arrowroot starch? There’s been back and forth on whether it has RS – yes? No?

    Lastly, wondering about tapioca starch – I know there’s a difference between Tapioca flour (no RS) and tapioca starch (RS?) Would this product provide RS?

    • tatertot on March 3, 2014 at 10:51

      Tapioca/Arrowroot starches – ?? Just not enough known to make good recommendations. I’m fairly confident most tapioca starch has a good bit of RS. Tapioca starch and flour are the same thing.

      BG – Lots of variables, A1C more reliable than FBG.

      Raw banana flour can be made into a very edible cookie dough or used in smoothies. If you do gluten free baking, use banana flour, the RS3 it provides appears to be higher than most gluten free flours.

      SBOs seem to be a short term intervention to heal gut, then just get them for free from the environment. I like the thought of keeping a bottle around to take one every now and then just to keep things ‘fresh’. But you shouldn’t need them forever.

    • Gassman on March 3, 2014 at 15:29

      I just started with tapioca starch and Primal Defense Ultra yesterday. I had been doing ~6 Tbsp of PS a day for about 10 weeks. I had been been using Garden of Life Raw 50& Wiser. The gas never subsided and finally drove me to try something else. I took a break from PS Fri and Sat, and started with 1 Tbsp TS yesterday morn, and 2Tbsp before bed with PDUltra. Had a slight burn in my gut shortly after taking, but it wasn’t too bad. I’ll keep up this routine for a week or two or three to see what happens, increasing TS. Perhaps I should have tried the PDUltra before stopping PS, but maybe I’ll add some PS to my TS in a week or so. So far with the TS gas has been minimal and No.2 has been satisfactory. I have autoimmune (RA) but it is mild. I really want this to work. I noticed benefits from PS, but I and my family needed a break from the gas.

    • gabriella kadar on March 3, 2014 at 16:05

      Michelle, I contacted Prescript Assist a while ago and they sent me their professional package plus samples. The minimum order for professionals is 12 bottles. I am going to call them about cost to Canada as a healthcare professional. We cannot retail the stuff legally, so it’s just tying up capital for me. But I’ve got a few people who want to try it. That means I provide it at cost. (Yes, Canada is so good for small business……plus the RCDSO would crawl up my ass if I were to provide these probiotics to patients….’not within the scope of the profession’. But so long as I don’t profit from this, I can order it for anyone who is interested.) I don’t know where you live. I’m in Toronto. Easy to find me, just look me up.

    • VR106 on March 3, 2014 at 16:55

      PDUltra stopped the gas for me. I have been taking PS since the middle of last November with no let up in gas production. I started taking PDUltra 10 days ago and ever since then flatulence has been at a minimum.

    • Mark on March 3, 2014 at 20:22

      Thats great to hear. I just got some of the PDUltra as well and had the farts yesterday but they seem to have subsided. Heres to hoping….and if it continues to work out, we should buy up all the PDUltra and relabel it as “Bean-o for PS Hackers” and we’ll make a fortune. We’ll just market it to the PARTNERS of the PS Hackers. :)

    • Marybeth on March 4, 2014 at 08:59

      This is my 2 month mark of RS, 7 weeks of homemade fermented food (mostly kimchi and some carrots with ginger, I have carrots and burdock brewing and some sauerkraut) and 2 weeks of beet kvass. Bone broth with dulse, sumac and some turmeric is a regular staple for lunch along with some fermented food. I take 1/4 cup of beet kvass morning and evening (I now have colored urine). I take my RS with my homemade coconut kefir, 1/4 c frozen blueberries, 2 T PS (today I varied and put 3 T) 1 T + coconut oil, 2 T flax seed that I grind ea morning and PA (that I break open – just bought some AOR Probiotic3). I also take 2 T PS before or after lunch and then another 2 T in the evening with more probiotic. I take a total of 6 T PS.

      I have RA (mild as well) and am not proud of my antibiotic protocol but that is water under the bridge. My RA is underwraps – no problems. I exercise 4-5 days a week and I do take some supplements. I do not eat any processed sugar or processed food and have reintroduced rice, potatoes and beans a la Free the Animal way. I have started making dosas but as it is time consuming that happens every other week. No oils except for tallow, ghee, coconut oil and EVOO and some duck fat when I cook duck and reserve. I do cheat every now and then with pizza and Indian bread. I don’t seem to have any food intolerance.

      As far as TMI – it started every other day or two and then started to become regular 3 weeks ago and very much so after starting beet kvass (before starting RS I was using magnesium so I was regular). Passing gas but not as much as when I began RS (although my husband would beg to differ).

      Vivid dreams not so much and sleep is getting better (the sleep I believe stems from some recent health news). I don’t do BG and weight is not a problem (5’3″ 107 lbs.)

      That’s my story so far.

    • jason on March 4, 2014 at 10:08

      Canadaian web site for prescript assist and only $49 a bottle.

      • gabriella kadar on March 4, 2014 at 10:42

        The wholesale price is half that. But I need to find out what’s shipping, brokerage costs (if any), duty. etc.

    • jason on March 4, 2014 at 10:10

      actually a good tip to remember for anything you’re trying to buy online, type canada after the item in google. I usually find a canadian source for stuff that way.

    • Michelle on March 7, 2014 at 14:46

      Thanks Tim. Does baking (heat) reduce the RS in banana and plantain flour, like it does with PS? I haven’t tried baking with them yet but might if I know a fair amount of RS will make it through.

    • tatertot on March 7, 2014 at 14:55

      I’m told it holds onto RS very well when used in gluten-free baking, but haven’t seen the actual reports. If you are doing it anyway, try banana flour, but don’t start just to get more RS! The most RS will always be found in the raw starches, if you like raw cookie dough (who doesn’t?) try it that way. I have only made pancakes with banana flour, and they turned out pretty good.

  79. skinnergy on March 3, 2014 at 11:05

    Just came across this bit of info:

    “To generalize from these studies, RS softens stools and increases stool bulk, decreases pH, increases short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) including butyrate, reduces products of protein fermentation, and decreases bile salts in fecal water. Such changes seem to be achieved within about 4 weeks of commencing consumption. The greatest effects are seen with the highest doses where increased fecal starch recovery is observed”

    Sorry if this has been discussed here already. This supports my experience with PS, though I know response is individual. I started with 1 Tsp, with A LOT of gas and obvious peristalsis. Then to 2 Tsp the next, with no change. Then, well, fuck it, and 4 TBLS the next day, and various doses up to 7 TBLS since then. Gas comes and goes, but is mostly gone compared to the first few days.

  80. John on March 3, 2014 at 13:37

    Psyllium husk…

    I had digestive issues several years ago. They were certainly exacerbated by psyllium husk supplementation. When I first went paleo/primal and read for the first time that such supplementation could be damaging, inflammatory, etc., I thought why not avoid psyllium and whole grains. Finally, after years, my digestive pain issues subsided for the most part. I’m talking going from frequent stomach pain and other pains to 80% improvement.

    Since going all out primal, I’ve reintroduced white flour, which I consume fairly regularly, as well as sugar. Frankly, though my diet is still good most of the time, the only dietary “rules” I have are avoid vegetable oils, and avoid whole grains/insoluble fiber.

    I thought the thinking behind Psyllium Husk (we are basically talking about Metamucil, right?) was that it “works” by creating an inflammatory response in your digestive tract, speeding transit and adding water volume. Also, it is acutely damaging to your intestinal lining (thus the “evacuate this shit” response in the body). Have I somehow taken too much information distilled from “Fiber Menace”?

  81. Mark on March 3, 2014 at 20:23

    TMI Time:

    PS alone: TMI no improvement for me really.

    PS + Psyllium + Primal Defense Ultra = WOW. Off the (bristol) charts improved!

  82. Elsa on March 4, 2014 at 01:47

    Has anyone tried Tongmaster PS ? Is it flour or RS? There is no information on the packaging and I have emailed the company but got no reply. Thanks.

  83. Susie Goldfish on March 4, 2014 at 03:43

    I recently had a Mercury filling removed and have been taking Chlorella to chelate the Mercury. The effect when combined with Prescript Assist and PS is reminiscent of the first time I ever took PS and PA together, My family members had to flee the house.

    I wonder if the Chlorella feeds different Prescript Assist strains than the PS?

    On another topic, I found some Yacon flour at my local health store. The description says:

    Yacon is a Peruvian root vegetable which contains sugars known as fructo-oligosaccharides. These sugars are not absorbed by the body, making Yacon about the best low glycaemic sweetener around. Use as a flour in raw cakes and cookies. Naturally Gluten Free.

    Sounds like a good smoothie ingredient. When I did a search on the internet, I also found this information about Yacon:

    • tatertot on March 4, 2014 at 09:45

      Yacon is good and also Glucomannan. Not sure exactly what strains of gutbugs they feed, but a good addition to an RS blend.

  84. Jens on March 4, 2014 at 09:27

    I live in Chile and it is really difficult to get any product similar to the ones mentioned.
    I only found one, which has the following:
    Lactobacillus acidophilus
    Bifidobacterium bifidum
    L. Bulgaris

    I know I’m missing many of the other SBO, so I wonder if taking this supplement will do any good at all?

    Thanks for any comments and regards.

    • tatertot on March 4, 2014 at 09:34

      Jens – Take what you can get, but I have a feeling that where you live puts you in contact with all the SBOs you’ll ever need. Hit the farmer’s markets and fruit stands, eat lots of organic, fresh-picked fruits and veggies, learn to make fermented foods/drinks. Eat more like the poor people of Chile than the wealthy.

    • Jens on March 4, 2014 at 09:53

      Well, I actually live on the capital city, Santiago, so we are not in so much contact with the country as you may think.
      I love to make and eat sauerkraut and kimchi though, so together with the PS, I think I’m pretty good.
      Just want to feel as good as Richard did (I’m also congested most of the time), and only want to make sure I’m not wasting my money on “incomplete” supplements.

  85. Mike Ede on March 5, 2014 at 01:52

    Gut microbes spur development of bowel cancer

    • Richard Nikoley on March 5, 2014 at 07:56

      So vague. No idea of the health of the mice of what may have been done to induce polyps in the first place. There’s 500-100 species and 100-120 times our genes.

      Without some clue as to which ones are the problem, this is like saying that they found that removing someone’s heart halted the progression of heart disease.

    • Deidre on March 5, 2014 at 10:47

      I saw this comment last night re: bowel cancer/RS and it worried me.

      I googled around and found this summary of the research at TheScientist which seemed to point the finger at Clostridium:

      “Most of the tumor-dwelling bacteria belonged to the Clostridiales family, Lira said. The researchers also observed an upregulation of inflammatory molecules near the polyps.”

      Then I did a site search on Clostridium at the FTA blog and found this from Dr.BG:

      “Clostridium cluster XIVa is also referred to as the Clostridium coccoides/Eubacterium rectale group which are potent cross feeders of resistant starch and raw potato starch in clinical experiments. [E rectale are poor RS fermenters but they live symbiotically with keystone gut species that DO EAT and ferment RS to secondary food (substrates) which E rectale consumes like a hog on fire.]”

      Then I found this quote from Dr. Ayers:

      “The bacteria that digest RS, for example, are Clostridia (see EM right, note bacterium dissolving its way into the grain of RS), the type of gut flora that also stimulates Tregs and prevents autoimmunity. Thus, the beneficial impact of dietary RS results from feeding gut flora. Most people already support gut flora that can utilize RS, so most people benefit from RS in their diet. Some people have severely damaged gut flora, dysbiosis and constipation, and they may need to eat live, fermented foods (not just dairy probiotics) to recruit enough new bacteria to benefit from RS. ”

      Clostridia. Good or bad? Richard is correct that without a lot more information it is hard to make a valid judgement.

    • Art on March 5, 2014 at 14:13

      It seems clostridia flourish in necrotic (cancerous) tissue. One would expect to find them about the polyps, I guess. A benign citizen caught at the scene of the crime and mistaken for a villain, perhaps?

      Moves afoot to utilise them in cancer therapy.

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 5, 2014 at 15:39


      My thoughts are that prior to the neolithic, many diseases were low — cancers, heart disease, arthritis, autoimmunity, allergies and autism. The difference is diet and antibiotics mainly. Perhaps those at risk for cancer for disequilibrium of the gut microbes where the pathogens flourish and incite inflammation. The beneficial commensal organisms are necessary to control inflammation and reduce pathogens in the gut. How do we possibly recruit these when we have take antibiotics or foods with pesticides on them (or have GMO bacteria in our gut microbes)?

      Personally I think polyps and colon cancer are a result of antibiotics and the ecology they breed. It’s not unlike Richard’s post on prisoners outnumbering engineers. Make sense? We are a prison system LOL.

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 5, 2014 at 15:49

      Mike Ede,

      That’s such a great article. I love studies like that because I hope they somehow figure out where their anus starts and where their mouth ends…

      IS THEIR PRE-EXISTING MICROBIOTA MISSING? > 25% of people’s gut flora cannot use resistant starch or ferment soluble fiber… “We have concluded that RS2 and RS3 are broken down in the human gut, probably in the colon although in 26% of cases this breakdown was impaired.” [Hat tip Gabriella Kadar]

      That was from a study ~20 years ago and I bet now the numbers are EPICALLY ATROCIOUS.

      Cummings, John H et al. “Digestion and physiological properties of resistant starch in the human large bowel.” British Journal of Nutrition 75.05 (1996): 733-747.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 5, 2014 at 16:19

      Art says:

      “Moves afoot to utilise them in cancer therapy.”

      doG, I love complexity!

      Bring it on. C’mon, humans are 1 species. Gut bacteria are 500-1000 species, and most do a lot of different things. Humans have about 25K genes, and the critters in total, about 3 million.

      All I want is for people to say: “basically, we know squat. We’re trying. It’ll be a while.”


      “and it worried me.”

      Deidre, in a rational world, you’d probably just hunt the study authors down, slit their throats and eat their raw livers, give the scraps to your family. Then, maybe, such primitive “science” masquerading” might get withheld by others who like their lives and livers.

    • Adrienne on March 6, 2014 at 09:30

      I am all for self-experimentation and the benefits of rs and pre-probiotics are clear from those who have been generous enough to post their results. I am concerned about introducing large amounts of (for my gut) odd strains of bacteria found in soil based probiotics and would probably start with the 4-6 strains commonly found supplements that have a solid safety record. I know that even with food sources — one brand of kimchee made my husband and I ill (and the effects lasted for several weeks), yet another brand did not. Different bacteria, different results. Maybe the reaction to rs and pre and probitic sources varies depending upon age/health status, antibiotic use and genetics.

      I posted a question yesterday under the blog post regarding fermented veggies about the high rates of colorectal cancer in Korea — maybe someone has thoughts:

      Does anyone have thoughts on why Korea appears to have such high rates of colorectal cancer despite consumption of large amounts of fermented vegetable fibers and rs (rice, yam, bean, mung noodles, tubors etc)? I realize that smoking is a risk factor, but other countries are heavy smokers and do not appear to have the high risks for colorectal cancer that Korea does. I was looking at the info here: The link mentions that height is also a risk factor but then says calcium is likely protective yet Norway, Denmark and Netherlands (high dairy consumers) didn’t seem protected at all. I’m thinking that the stats may be generally useless because of all the confounding factors but the fact that Korea ranked so high seems odd if fermented veggies and rs are in fact protective

    • tatertot on March 6, 2014 at 09:42

      I’d love to see the CRC rates of North Korea.

      South Korea has it’s growing pains, and are shifting to a Westernized diet. I’ve been to Seoul many times. Lots of drinking, smoking, soy, pollution, and western foods. Also a comparison between urban and rural S. Koreans would be interesting. My guess is that they were very healthy up until 40-50 years ago and the Korean War changed a lot for them.

    • Regina on March 6, 2014 at 12:34

      Dear Dr. BG (Grace),

      Do you know if your SIBO cure protocol would benefit someone on acid blockers?
      My neighbor has had 3 visits to the ER in the last 6 wks with intense upper GI pain.
      Doctors are telling him he has to stay on acid blockers permanently or he’ll get cancer.

      I sent him your link to SIBO cure and also to Metametrix GI Effects test.

      Is there anyone that should stay on acid blockers permanently??? Sounds wrong-headed to me. (?)
      Thank you, Regina

  86. Thomas on March 5, 2014 at 08:01

    Partially off-topic, but I’m wondering whether fermenting the vegetables someone has an intolerance for might be the way to reintroduce the necessary strains of bacteria to properly digest said foods.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on that?

    • Sarabeth Matilsky on March 5, 2014 at 08:21

      I’ve been wondering about this, too – I’ve been adding various types of seaweed to my veggie ferments, and hoping that this might help to introduce those supposedly difficult-to-acquire seaweed-digesting bugs to my family’s guts… But I imagine that if the ferment is mostly cabbage, then the seaweed might go undigested by the bacteria just like it can go undigested in the gut, and so the microbial composition could in theory go either way!

    • Dan on March 5, 2014 at 10:50

      Hey Thomas, I’ve got an onion intolerance that I’ve had for 6 years. I tried fermenting onions about a year ago to see if that would help me tolerate them…no dice. Maybe combined with PS this would help though?

      I started PS about 3 months ago and without focusing on it have slowly been adding in more and more onion to my diet, onion powder at first and then some really well cooked onions (I think cooking the heck out of the onions “pre-digests” them and makes my gut have to do less). At first I still had some symptoms (gas and pain) but that has gone away. I think the PS is feeding the bacteria that can digest onions and they’re sticking around more now. I haven’t been brave enough recently to try some fresh onions, but you may have prompted me…

      Let us know if you do any experimentation, I’m really curious about the results.

    • gabriella kadar on March 5, 2014 at 13:28

      Thomas, I made okra/carrot kimchi. Added green onion, garlic, etc. Shit my brains out. But did the same with home made sauerkraut last year according to Sandor Katz recipe. Boom, shit my brains out. Repeatedly. Too much of something. Don’t know what the ‘something’ is because commercial kimchi, dill pickles don’t do that.

    • Dan on March 6, 2014 at 09:23

      Thomas, just had onions last night while out at dinner. Not a lot, maybe 1/8th of a white onion. No issues though, phew! I’m gonna keep trying to push this. One of my favorite foods is french onion soup, I’m gonna try it out now with gluten free bread. Good luck!

    • Thomas on March 6, 2014 at 11:17

      good to hear, Dan!

      Enjoy the soup ;-)

  87. quattromomma on March 5, 2014 at 11:24

    Just started Primal Defense Ultra after 6 weeks of PS alone. Body temp has increased noticeably—outside temp is 15F today and I am unusually warm and toasty.

    • gabriella kadar on March 5, 2014 at 16:34

      quattromomma, come over here and say that. Was Chill factor minus 30C (I guess like 0F.) Today was minus 9C. Felt warm. People were out and about. This winter is killing me. All the whale blubber in the world ain’t gonna make minus 26C, chill factor Satan’s butthole, feel warm.

    • Michelle on March 5, 2014 at 18:37

      Gabriella, I live in downtown TO and will look you up & email re the prescipt-assist. A friend might want a bottle too.

      All my life I have been cold. I remember in public school, sitting on my hands to warm them up and this continuing through my teens and adulthood until last fall when I started adding some RS. All my life, I have only truly felt warm in 27+ degree C summer heat. This winter, although the coldest in 20 years (many, many -20C days/nights), I have rarely been cold and have not experienced cold hands or feet. I have a wide selection of sweaters that are going unused – previously I wore a wool sweater every day, even through the late spring. Now when I get dressed, I find myself wondering if I will be too hot – never been a concern before. Last winter, I dressed in layers of fleece to sleep at night + socks. This winter, no layers, no socks. Neither the house or office temperatures are set any warmer than last winter and when I am outside in my same winter clothes I just don’t feel the chill I used to. It has been liberating but also makes me fearful that I will find the summer heat, when it finally gets here, too much. I always thought I’d be that old lady shivering in the middle of summer while wearing her down parka – maybe RS will keep me from this fate.

      Any thoughts/research on why RS might increase body temperature?

    • gabriella kadar on March 6, 2014 at 08:02

      Michelle, just phone my office. (Bloor and Spadina, above Shopper’s Drug Mart). We’ve sent in the application yesterday. Waiting on them for a reply now. is the email at work. That way I can keep track of how many bottles to order. I’m planning to get the 90s.

      I checked the AOR probiotic 3 product and supposedly the Supplements+ store 2304 (I think) Bloor Street West sells their products. I’d phone first though.

      I think this year I’m going to convince my friends who have allergies during the summer to try out Richard’s smoothie and the probiotic combo.

    • Angela on March 28, 2014 at 12:09

      Sitting here with cold hands right now. I was already thinking I would try the morning brew suggested here with at least the AOR, but now that we’re talking potentially helping my cold hands and feet…. SOLD!!!

  88. Chupo on March 6, 2014 at 07:41

    This is too funny not to share. I was looking for a good deal on inulin so was searching Amazon for “metamucil inulin” I scrolled down to the “all departments” result and see this. LMAO! I guess prebiotics helps with that too?

  89. Lynn on March 6, 2014 at 13:28

    Richard ~ I would really love to try your morning smoothie. Are you taking these 3 probiotics like this long-term or are you taking less? Thanks.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 6, 2014 at 22:50


      Not sure how it will persist. Currently, it’s just 1 of each of the three per day, added to the smoothie that the wife & I split. So far so good.

    • Lynn on March 7, 2014 at 08:27

      Thanks. I’ll look for updates! Really appreciate what you all are doing.

  90. […] in either volume or stench. The whole time, I was peeling paint with the stink. Then I saw your post on adding the probiotics to the mix, so I ordered all 3 […]

  91. […] Here's a post about it: Probiotics: The Genetic Component of Obesity. […]

  92. Snoop Lambby Lambb on March 16, 2014 at 04:45

    Has anybody out there been able to get hold of a product called Mega sporebiotic (it’s only available through practitioners)? There is an FAQ here that I read through and found very informative:

    I know that “stronger” is not always better, but this probiotic formula looks like it may have a bigger punch than the three probiotics listed above.

    • Natalya on March 16, 2014 at 08:15

      I believe I heard about it from Chris Kresser. Sounds interesting. I had the same result as you, only available through practitioners.

    • gabriella kadar on March 21, 2014 at 16:37

      The FDA won’t permit sale of this probiotic. They didn’t like the words in the literature. So no one can get it now. Tried calling the company: phone out of commission. Application form goes to nowhere.

  93. Charles on March 16, 2014 at 10:54

    I’m working on getting some, and also working getting some more powerful strains based on HU58 and HU36, two of the bacillus probiotics in that formula.

  94. Zero carbs... - Page 3 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 3 on March 20, 2014 at 08:53

    […] apples, beef and lamb steaks and glasses of whole milk as you want. I recommend you read this: Probiotics: The Genetic Component of Obesity | Free The Animal It is a very interesting perspective. Cutting carbs from your diet allows pathogens to take over […]

  95. Latest in Paleo 103: Probiotics, Antibiotics, Meat, and Obesity Humans Are Not Broken on March 21, 2014 at 16:11
  96. […] I got soil based probiotics. Probiotics: The Genetic Component of Obesity. […]

  97. Leslie on March 25, 2014 at 03:54

    Hi Richard –

    First off, thank you for all this research & for sharing it with everyone. I have been following it for a while now.

    I am curious about your sinus improvements. Are you still seeing the benefits? Just looking for small update regarding sinuses and this protocol.

    I have suffered with sinus issues for years; blocked nose, allergies, having to blow my nose a lot, sinus infections (which, yes, growing up in the US means I got given a lot of antibiotics for this). Now I live in the UK, and have been on Prescript Assist for about a month now, RS from dried green plantains (make them myself), a few green bananas and a little PS (I get headaches from too many potatoes so I keep PS to no more then 2 TBSPs every few days). I have just ordered Primal Defence Ultra and need to look around for the AOR. Not that easy to find here. I am going to try out your morning smoothie recipe.

    Anyhow, a sinus update w/ your probiotic/ RS protocol and how you found the stinging nettle capsules would be much appreciated. Would love to hear from anyone else about this, too.

    All the best and thank you again.

  98. Richard Nikoley on March 25, 2014 at 09:30


    Really incredible. Very happy. Doing the same thing, except I’ve added a couple of stinging nettle caps per day. Not sure if it really does anything, but it’s inexpensive, so no probs.

    • Leslie on March 26, 2014 at 02:22

      Thanks so much for the reply. I know there are so many other benefits to taking RS and probiotics, but for those of us who have suffered w/ sinus issues most of our lives, this is at the top of the list of desired cures.

      Primal Defence Ultra arriving today, nettle leaf caps in a couple days; making a smoothie this afternoon.

      Thanks again and keep it up.

  99. […] just published my probiotics post and its smoothie recipe, and based on the above, decided to order up some Amla Powder aka Indian Gooseberry […]

  100. Rhonda on March 25, 2014 at 14:36

    I just started reading some of your post and looking at various comments. I find them intriguing and have been enjoying them. The reason I am posting a comment is to strongly recommend that you stop promoting AOR Probiotic 3. I wouldn’t give to my worst enemy as it has polyvinyl alcohol and polyvinylpyrrolidone in it. I used to take Primal Defense Ultra. I am going to start taking Prescript Assist as it looks much better.

    • Natalya on March 26, 2014 at 11:35

      Another SBO Probio, (I saw it listed somewhere? Was it on Animal Pharm?) with no chemical additives, as far as I can tell, is Body Biotics. I personally like it, but it does not have the 3 species found in AOR 3. I notice that the PA had a greater odor reducing, and perhaps even gas reducing, effect, than the Body Biotics. Although time is also a factor. I have just started the AOR 3. Because I have learnt to be cautious, I started w ~half a cap/day. I am curious about what these 3 species will add to the mix.

  101. Probiotics: The Genetic Component of Obesity | ... on March 26, 2014 at 21:43

    […] Damaged Biome –> Malabsorption –> Toxic Overload –> Damaged Tight Junctions –> Immune Response –> Auto-Immune Disease –> Allergies To Everything –> Obesity and Other Health Problems. Time to come ……  […]

  102. tatertot on March 26, 2014 at 09:44

    Rhonda – I know what you mean, I hate chemicals, too.

    The polyvinyl alcohol and polyvinylpyrrolidone seem to be very common in most pharmaceuticals, and don’t appear to be harmful.

    The polyvinylpyrrolidone is used as a thickener, gel, and even in food items.

    The polyvinyl alcohol is a water-soluble synthetic polymer. It is used to increase viscosity in pharmaceuticals and as a lubricant and protectant in ophthalmic preparations. Polyvinyl alcohol is often found in over-the-counter eye redness and eye lubricant (“Tears”) eye drops. Polyvinyl alcohol is the lubricant, and works by providing moisture to the eye, which helps relieve dryness and protects the eye from becoming more irritated.

    So, yes, all sound kind of scary. Not sure what the alcohol is doing in there, everything I read say it’s only in eye drops. But it’s right there on the ingredient list.

    My thoughts are that it sucks they use this stuff in drug delivery systems and may be a good reason to look for different brands that don’t contain chemicals. I have a sneaky suspicion that these two items are found in lots of the medicine and stuff we ingest daily. Chemicals like these are one of the big reasons I avoid processed foods with added colors and fake texturizers.

    • tatertot on March 26, 2014 at 21:04

      Ann – I’m gonna jump in here as I had a study on the subject open. These are the species of bifido I would look for in a probiotic. These are the ones most commonly found in adults:

      B. longum,
      B. adolescentis,
      B. breve,
      B. pseudocatenulatum, and
      B. pseudolongum

      OK, I just looked at all the probiotics in our house and none of them had any of these species.

      One (Accuflora) has B. bifidum.

      Prescript Assist has no Bifido. AOR-3 has no Bifido.

      This one: has 2 of the 5 on the list.

      I’m starting to think that bifidobacteria is being overlooked in the gut and supplements. I can’t say your probiotic is worthless, it may be just fine, but B. infantis may not be a normal adult bifido species.

      Here’s another that has 2 off the list:

      If it were me, I’d want to get some that are in the list I gave above. It came from here:

      And, to add to the confusion, I have heard that some companies have ‘invented’ strains. Bifidus Regularis is a well-known example and used in Jamie Lee Curtiss’ yogurt (Activia?). Maybe Bifido Infantis is similar, it seems to have origins in a Proctor and Gamble lab…

      Sorry, Ann – I know that’s more than you asked for and not really an answer, just wanted to put all this somewhere I could find it again!

    • Leslie on March 26, 2014 at 09:51

      tatertot –

      Thanks for that info, very insightful.

      I am curious about your take on AOR Probiotic 3. Is this something you would avoid, or recommend others avoid or would the benefits of it outweigh any potential harm?

      I am about to pull the trigger and buy some of this stuff, which is not cheap. More importantly I don’t wand to add to my toxic load if I can help it.


    • tatertot on March 26, 2014 at 10:01

      Leslie – No idea how to answer that. I was avoiding the original question until I could look into it a bit, but felt it deserved a good answer. I was hoping someone else would jump in, lol.

      The probiotics found in AOR 3 are not very common, but important. These are three Soil-based organisms that are hard to source from food or nature and not found in any other mixture to my knowledge. Prescript-Assist has a good blend, too, but missing the ones found in AOR-3. \\

      I have a strange feeling that if we requested product sheets and tech data from Prescript Assist or any commercial probiotic, we’d find something like this in all of them. Maybe AOR is taking it a step beyond to publicize what’s in their product so people can make wise decisions. Does a manufacturer have to list all the ingredients that go into making gel-caps and used as binders? I don’t know.

      On the plus side, using these probiotics shouldn’t take over your life and are just needed to jumpstart or ‘seed’ a gut. I’d like to think a lifetime of fermented foods and digging in the dirt are enough once you fix your problems that came from a life of sterile living and antibiotics, etc…

      Sory no better advice…anybody?

    • gabriella kadar on March 26, 2014 at 10:08

      Tater, maybe you have an answer for this: Primal Defense Ultra which contains lactobacillus and bifidobacter lists ‘colony forming units’ on the label. Prescript Assist only provides a list of bacteria. I know they are spores. Is that why there’s CFU on the label? You can’t make colonies from these bacteria on any sort of lab media?

    • Leslie on March 26, 2014 at 10:22

      wow, more great insight. thanks for this reply and for all the work you are doing on this subject.

      Didn’t meant to corner you on this one, was just hoping for someone who had been looking in to this for a while to weigh in on it, that’s all. And I do appreciate the difficulty in answering this. We are trying to artificially do something which, for years, was natural and took no labs, distribution or packaging materials.

      I am going to err on the side of ‘the poison is in the dose’, and get myself a bottle and go for it. So many others, including Richard, are reporting positive results. As you say, this should not be a life-long supplement I ingest, but something to help kick start things that I can then keep feeding in other ways.

      Happy to report back my personal n=1 if anyone is interested.

      thanks again.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 26, 2014 at 10:32


      To make this stuff last longer (I have all three–cover all bases) what I did was take 2 each twice per day for about a week, then once per day, and now, I typically take one of one brand one day, one of the 2nd the next, and 1 of the 3rd the next. I also try to go 1-3 days every week with zero of any probiotics or supplemental RS, and I like one of those days to be a total fast day.

      Seems to work well for me.

    • DuckDodgers on March 26, 2014 at 11:32

      I’m curious about the rationale for Primal Defense Ultra. I thought people with SIBO tend to not do so well with Lactic Acid Producing (LAB) since SIBO tends to be an overgrowth of D-lactate-producing probiotic species in the small intestine. This is why Prescript Assist is recommended for people with SIBO.

      Unless I’m mistaken (and that’s completely possible) Primal Defense Ultra seems to have a lot of dairy-based LABs in it for a what’s being marketed as a “soil-based” probiotic.

      HSO Probiotic Blend (5 Billion CFU) 410 mg*

      Saccharmyces Boulardii
      Lactobacillus Plantarum (Lactic Acid Producing)
      Bacillus Subtilis
      Lactobacillus Paracasei (Lactic Acid Producing)
      Bifidobacterium Longum (Lactic Acid Producing)
      Bifidobacterium Breve (Lactic Acid Producing)
      Bifidobacterium Bifidum (Lactic Acid Producing)
      Bifidobacterium Lactis (Lactic Acid Producing)
      Lactobacillus Acidophilus (Lactic Acid Producing)
      Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (Lactic Acid Producing)
      Lactobacillus Salivarius (Lactic Acid Producing)

      I only ask because a few weeks ago I was taking Primal Defense Ultra with my RS and drank a glass of someone’s very potent homemade Kombucha and fell into a severe brain fog that lasted for a few days. It was pretty awful. And every time I took RS during that time, it just got worse. I also got a similar, but less severe reaction from a tablespoon of homemade Kefir while the Kombucha was still in my system. Normally I have no problem with Kefir and RS. I’ve also had that Kombucha before and never had a problem previously.

      So, somehow the combination of RS + Kombucha + Primal Defense Ultra gave me debilitating brain fog. I suspected d-Lactic acid-induced neurotoxicity since lactic acidosis has been documented with Kombucha and I was probably pumping up all those probiotic LABs with RS, which may have just added fuel to the fire.

      Anyway, I have no idea if that’s what really happened or not, but I’m not sure I understand why Primal Defense Ultra is being lumped together with Prescript Assist and AOR3 when it seems to be a completely different kind of probiotic that might not be suitable for someone with SIBO.

      Anyone have thoughts on all the LABs in Primal Defense Ultra?

    • tatertot on March 26, 2014 at 12:08

      I’ve been trying to get smart on all this. There seems to be a subset of microbes that we all need, but are missing. I think that Grace’s approach in shotgunning as many species as possible is a very good approach to ‘reseed’ a gut as she puts it.

      In confirmed SIBO, yes, the LABs may be not so helpful it would appear, but I’m no expert, either. Bifidobacteria produces lactic acid, but doesn’t live well in the small intestine. Lactobacillus, however, appears to quite readily live in the SI, but seems to be a good resident, producing antibiotics against pathogens and busting up biofilms.

      The list you copied above contains a few hard-to-get species, the Saccharmyces Boulardii is a probiotic yeast that seems extremely promising. The Lactobacillus Plantarum is another key probiotic that appears to give more benefits than the rest. The bifido’s are all actually SBOs, I believe, as they are shown to live in dirt around soil roots.

      Bacillus Subtilis is another SBO with promising results and has been used since the 40’s as an antibiotic against certain diseases. This is probably another one of those key microbes we all should have but don’t.

      On this last one in particular, it’s well-studied as a commensal human gut microbes, also known as ‘hay’ or ‘grass’ bacillus because it’s found there, you’d think we’d just all be full of it. Not a drop of it shows up on the Am Gut reports of my wife and I, and I have never seem it on anyone else’s. It could be that this is one of those that requires constant ingestion and does its magic as a transient as opposed to a resident. Lots to learn!

    • tatertot on March 26, 2014 at 12:22

      I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one link and a copy-job, so here:

      “Food-related lactic acid bacteria (LAB) as well as human gut commensals such as bifidobacteria can de novo synthesize and supply vitamins. This is important since humans lack the biosynthetic capacity for most vitamins and these must thus be provided exogenously. Although vitamins are present in a variety of foods, deficiencies still occur, mainly due to malnutrition as a result of insufficient food intake and because of poor eating habits. Fermented milks with high levels of B-group vitamins (such as folate and riboflavin) can be produced by LAB-promoted and possibly bifidobacteria-promoted biosynthesis. Moreover, certain strains of LAB produce the complex vitamin cobalamin (or vitamin B12). In this review, fermented foods with elevated levels of B-group vitamins produced by LAB used as starter cultures will be covered. In addition, genetic abilities for vitamin biosynthesis by selected human gut commensals will be discussed.”

    • dogfood on March 26, 2014 at 12:59

      I take PDU with ~50g PS in a fasted state each day, followed by 16oz of my home-brewed kombucha about 30 minutes later (with lunch in between). I haven’t noticed much effect on mental states (and certainly nothing deleterious). I’ve been on this regimen for about 3 weeks.

    • marie on March 26, 2014 at 14:31

      tatertot, “someone” here :)
      I’m terribly wary of synthetic chemicals, being around a lot of them, but I don’t worry about these two so I thought I’d throw in here why I don’t.

      The nice thing about PVA and PVP is that they’ve been around for most of a century and are very well studied and very widely used.

      PVA: Most school kids get their hands all covered in the stuff when they do the popular ‘slime’ experiment (mix PVA with Borax, add food coloring for convincing swamp-slime effects).

      In the lab if we have excess PVA solution, we’ll sometimes dilute it and keep some in a tray to dip our hands in periodically, preserves the skin from all the drying effects of dry atmosphere, frequent washing etc.
      As you found, PVA is used in many eye-drop solutions to lubricate the eyes/alleviate dryness (it’s non-irritating, so doesn’t sting like some other eye-drops).
      It’s used in pills and really very broad applications, from textiles to fishing/angling (!) – they sell baggies made of it in most angler’s stores, in which to put the bait.

      All in all, no history of even rare reports of adverse effects linked to PVA in all this time with wide use.

      As for PVP, again no adverse reports/links/associations that I know of, unless you actually inject it’s highly cross-linked version (PVPP) which is meant to be oral (yes, drug addicts will do weird things, like crushing and injecting pills meant for oral consumption). When taken orally, it passes right through us.

      It too has been around a long time and is used in hospitals in many applications. The regular PVP actually started out as a blood plasma substitute, a ‘volume expander’ for trauma victims back in WWII. It’s also what Betadine is made from (mix PVP with iodine) and it’s in soaps and creams too. The highly crosslinked form is used in beer and wine-making, apart from pharmaceuticals.

      That’s all I know.

    • Rook on March 26, 2014 at 15:52

      marie, tatertot –
      Thanks so much for weighing in on this. I was about to start reading up on these two compounds when I saw that comment but see (thanks to you both) that for the most part, they seem pretty much benign.

      I’ve only been taking the PDU and AOR as that’s all that’s easily available to me but will look into sourcing some Prescript Assist as well.

    • DuckDodgers on March 26, 2014 at 15:58

      @dogfood. I suspect there was something funky with this particular batch of kombucha. The people brew it in a greenhouse that has all sorts of fish and plants contributing to the air it ferments in. I dunno. My wife who doesn’t take PS and doesn’t take probiotics also got a much milder brain fog from that same kombucha too. It was certainly the kombucha but I think PDU just made my reaction worse than my wife’s.

    • dogfood on March 26, 2014 at 16:04

      Funky kombucha, roger that (almost a redundancy).

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 26, 2014 at 17:25


      I love the science experiment when I did that with the kids (and their princess parties, with pink and lavender food coloring).

      The recipes that I had used guar gum, not PVA. They probably have similar viscosity and gelling characteristics.


    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 26, 2014 at 17:32

      Hey Duck

      I used to believe that but I think in any dysbiotic situation (arent these all SIBO??) then certain LABs are more helpful than others. It may be more helpful to weed weed weed then plant the species which maintain a low pathogen and low candida garden by employing the very plants that prevent their overgrowths!

      “Lactobacilli are found among the normal bacterial flora of the gastrointestinal tract, and Lactobacillus plantarum (Lp) is one of the species frequently isolated from the human mucosa, which is capable of surviving the low pH of the stomach and duodenum, resisting the effect of bile acids in the upper small intestine when ingested, and temporarily colonizing the gastrointestinal tract by binding to the intestinal and colonic mucosa. Concurrent with colonization by Lp there is a decrease in bacterial groups with gas-producing ability, such as Veillonella spp. and Clostridia spp. Evidence has now accumulated to suggest the efficacy of certain probiotics like Lp299v, which may be capable of bringing about a significant reduction in pain, abdominal distension and flatulence, while increasing health-related quality of life in IBS.”

    • DuckDodgers on March 26, 2014 at 17:51

      I figured there was a good reason for it, Grace! Thanks for clarifying.

    • Ann on March 26, 2014 at 20:36

      Dr. Grace – do you have an opinion on the probiotic “Align” that has bifidobacterium infantis 35624?

      From the website:

      “Bifantis is the natural probiotic ingredient in Align. The specific and pure strain of Bifantis found in Align is Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, which helps build and support a healthy digestive system.* Align is the only probiotic supplement that contains Bifantis. ”

      Aren’t the bifido bateria the ones that help control histamine reaction?



    • Ann on March 27, 2014 at 07:53

      Tim – NO! This is great – never too much information!

      Good to know about companies *engineering* strains. Not so great in terms of a natural biodiversity of the gut.

      I will look into the brands you listed.

      Why do you suppose the bifido strains are overlooked?

      The more I read and learn about this, the more I feel it is a huge uphill battle to get things balanced again. Always work.

      Thanks for your thoughts!


    • Natalya on March 27, 2014 at 08:07

      All kinda difficult to sort out. Sometimes I think you have to just make an educated guess and see if it works for you. But what works for you might not work for me!
      This reports a study on B. infantis and gut barrier function:

      “Custom Probiotics” has a combo w B. infantis + 2 on Tim’s list.
      They don’t give it away though!

    • tatertot on March 27, 2014 at 16:20

      Yes, it’s just so confusing. Hopefully our approach we are all coming up with is an easy one that works. The missing link on probiotics has always been ample prebiotics. Now that we know how to source RS in meaningful doses, and know what works alongside it, we have a huge headstart to getting our guys going again.

      RS rich foods, inulin rich foods, potato starch, green bananas, glucomannan, psyllium, etc… all these will grow your gut bugs. A nice blend of probiotics including ones normally found in the dirt clinging to ancient Tiger Nuts will grow nicely and treat you well.

      We just have to look past the manufacturers and figure out what we really need, then get it from them. I wish there were a better way, but for now it’s trial and error to some extent with helpful advice from each other and a critical look at what’s really in the probiotics we are paying so much for.

      I’m so happy to see folks here discussing actual species names, it was always a wall for me. Grace has been hugely instrumental in bringing the gut bugs into the limelight they deserve. Six months ago we were all like, ‘yeah, yeah, lacto, bifido, whatever’. Today we are discussing whether B. infantis is a subspecies of B. longum and worthy of our dollars. That thrills me to no end!

  103. Regina on March 27, 2014 at 08:21

    Tim , All,

    How about GutPro:

    Lactobacillus plantarum
    Lactobacillus gasseri
    Lactobacillus salivarius
    Bifidobacterium bifidum
    Bifidobacterium infantis
    Bifidobacterium longum
    Bifidobacterium breve
    Bifidobacterium lactis

    It’s got 2. But I like that it doesn’t have any other chemicals. Hate the price.

  104. kate on March 27, 2014 at 08:38

    Here is one with 4 on Tater’s list:

    • kate on March 27, 2014 at 08:39

      Oops, never mind, looking at the wrong list.

  105. Gemma on March 27, 2014 at 11:11

    Where to find Bifidos? Here (warning: geek only!)

    • tatertot on March 27, 2014 at 11:54

      Thank you, Gemma – Now I have a new place to waste my time. Yes, that was geek city, but informative. It also lists the main bifido forund in adult human guts as Bifidum, Breve, and Longum. There are a few others, but they don’t seem to be normal gut bugs, B. dentium for instance.

      B. infantis that someone mentioned yesterday looks to be a subspecies of B. longum.

      If anyone wants to learn about bifidobacteria, use the link Gemma provided and jump to page 80. Then click the species name and it will open a new page that has recent PubMed articles featuring that species. Pretty cool resource.

    • Gemma on March 27, 2014 at 12:38


      :-) the time will surely be spent well!

      Hat tip for the link to Lita Proctor
      speaking now at AAAS Symposium on Microbiomes of the Built Environment )
      (got a tweet from @JessicaLeeGreen)

  106. Marybeth on March 27, 2014 at 08:15

    Ther-Biotic Complete (Klaire Labs) has B.bifidum, longum, lactis, and breve (along with lots of lactobacillus strains and Strephtococcus thermophilus) . $$$

  107. kate on March 27, 2014 at 08:32

    @ Regina and Ann. I have the gut pro (powdered version). Someone, somewhere recommended it for histamine issues. I’ve been using it off and on since last fall. Usually mix it in my rs. Haven’t noticed any differences using it, but histamine issues is just a wild guess on my part, anyway. Although expensive, the powdered version goes a long way.

    • Ann on March 27, 2014 at 08:55

      I may try this one. Did you read the reviews? It sure sounds good. So far Dr. Grace hasn’t weighed in on my questions about colonizing strains, so I don’t know. I know the SBOs have helped me, my husband, and my son tremendously. At this point we’re using all three, Prescript Assist, Primal Defense Ultra, and AOR P3, but once we’ve leveled off a bit therapeutically we will cut back. Too speedy for all three.

      I’m also taking this one

  108. Regina on March 27, 2014 at 08:39

    I had run out of the 1 bottle of GutPro I had bought a year or so ago. (well before I knew what RS was).
    The only thing I remember is that my dog would come flying over the couch into the kitchen whenever I opened the jar. He’s not a terribly food-driven dog but he would beg me for that dust.


  109. tatertot on March 27, 2014 at 10:16

    Hey you guys! We are looking into all of this very hard trying to come up with some good recommendations. Grace has said she’s happy with the three she recommended and has checked them out pretty extensively. Apparently not all probiotics are what they seem and may contain less than the label says, different strains than the label says or other little surprises.

    As for bifido, I really have no good advice. I am looking for a supplement that has some of the real human species in it as opposed to man-made trademarked bifido, but who really knows what these manufacturers are up to? My best advice would be to get the ones you can afford off Grace’s list and look for a bifido/lacto blend that has as many different species as you can find. May not be scientific, but seems like it would give best chance for the right ones to take hold.

    • PS on March 27, 2014 at 11:47

      Does anyone have a supp that has Clostridium butyricum other than AOR-3?

      Can’t seem to find it in any other probiotic supp.

    • tatertot on March 27, 2014 at 12:04

      I think you’ll have a hard time finding that one, and it’s a biggie.

      It’s found naturally in many fermented, raw milk products. Not sure how to be sure it’s in there, though, like if you make your own kefir.

    • PS on March 27, 2014 at 12:24

      Thank you tatertot.

      I see it mentioned a lot over at Cooling Inflammation. I noticed the AOR product has lactose and potato starch….. perhaps I’m being too paranoid given the small amounts, but I’m trying to do a “paleo autoimmune protocol” type thing, trying to keep it strict.

      Thanks again! You, Richard, Dr. BG have been amazing on this gut stuff.

  110. DeeNH on March 27, 2014 at 13:46

    I just want to report that I read AnimalPharm’s superb 7-part series on how to cure SIBO back in the Nov/Dec 2013 time frame where the details of how-to RS, etc. were nicely laid out. And then I found great reading here on freetheanimal. In early February I finally started twice daily doses of Organic PS + ORAC green powder + psyllium + Primal Defense to awesome results (thank you). Fasting blood glucose finally dipped from above 100-120 to 80-90 and SIBO/IBS symptoms almost vanished (excretion almost back to normal). Great to know you are working on a book together now. I will purchase it for sure. Here is my big concern though that I wish you would give consideration to. Collectively (Richard, Tim, Grace) you always recommend Bob’s Red Mill PS. I have nothing against BRM but their PS is not organic. Potatoes are on the dirty dozen list. In one example of a large industrial potato farm described by Michael Pollan in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, at least one of the chemical fertilizers used is called Monitor, a neurotoxin. After it is sprayed, it is considered so toxic that no one may enter the fields for 5 days even to fix irrigation machines if they break down. Then after harvest, potatoes are stored in sheds for 6 months to allow the neurotoxins to off-gas. So, please consider this angle and perhaps recommend an organic form of PS. I use Frontier brand (found at Amazon). Yes, organic is a lot more expensive but compare that to the cost of some of the other products you recommend – ORAC green powder and soil-based probiotics, etc. and it’s negligible IMO. I choose not to consume PS that was probably treated with a neurotoxin and hope you will too. Again, I thank you (and Tim and Grace) for all your effort to study, experiment and “publish” this great information because I have benefited greatly!

    • Richard Nikoley on March 27, 2014 at 14:14

      I’m not sure that’s a huge concern, even if Bob’s uses those sorts of potatoes. They’re a pretty clean company with a rep as such they like to keep, so I would tend to doubt it.

      Also, “Organic” has become in many ways a big scam set up for the big farms. What you’re far better off doing is ignoring all that government crapola, go to the local farmers market, collect some cards, visit the farms and satisfy yourself.

      At any rate, I’d also suspect that Monitor is water soluble (though I couldn’t quickly find anything). Not only are potatoes blasted with hot water prior to being ground up to extract the starch, but they use LOTS of water in that process.

      I know, I know, stuff like this is of great concern to a lot of people. That’s fine, but I also have to limit the things I worry about and that’s just not going to be on my radar. However, I will add that brand to my Amazon store.

      See page 2.

    • Ann on March 27, 2014 at 14:29

      DeeNH – we discussed the Frontier brand over at Animal Pharm. Some of us tried it and got HUGE spikes in our BS readings, which stands to reason since even Frontier told me in an email response to my questions that their potato starch is NOT processed an a way that preserves the RS content. I would question the effectiveness of that product, although Richard and Tim may disagree. I can’t use it because of the high readings I was getting.

      I had to stop using the potato starch because I don’t tolerate it well for a number of reasons, but someone over there mentioned they also thought it was the chemicals since Bob’s isn’t organic. I bought the Frontier brand, and when my blood sugar spiked like it did, I wrote Frontier and that’s when I got the reply that it was not processed to retain the RS in the product. Tim says he doesn’t believe that, but I’m not using it anyway.

    • tatertot on March 27, 2014 at 14:40

      DeeNH – Thanks for the other brand info, we have absolutely no affiliation or loyalty to Bob’s other than they have been helpful answering our questions and providing a cheap potato starch that’s easily recognized.

      One thing I picked up early on with potatoes destined for starch, they are treated much differently than potatoes headed for Safeway and Kroger’s. They don’t need to look pretty and they don’t need to be stored. Things makes a big difference in the chemicals used on them. Eating-type potatoes get sprayed with stuff that inhibits them from sprouting and get doused with anti-fungals as well as pesticides in the field.

      I’m not saying that all starch potatoes are grown under perfect conditions, but they don’t get sprout inhibitors or fungicides as they are normally taken from field directly to starch extraction facility.

      The nice, clean potatoes you see at the supermarket this time of year were picked 6+ months ago and kept nice looking through all kinds of chemical means.

      I couldn’t find any info on Monitor fertilizer, either. As a grower of potatoes, I don’t use any fertilizer, weed killer, or anything on mine and they grow just fine. I know commercial operations aren’t so easy on their crops, but potatoes are very easy to grow and don’t require the chemicals like above ground veggies do.

      Plus, most toxins are found in peels, and in starch processing, peels are removed in first stage.

      I wish there were a brand of potato starch on the market designed for us crazy folks who want to eat it raw that came with a certification of chemicals, RS content, and other contaminates. Anyway, glad you found an organic type you are happy with and thanks for sharing success with us.

    • tatertot on March 27, 2014 at 14:50

      Ann – Yeah, still not believing it! lol

      Here’s why: In the starch making process, it involves spraying and fine mesh screens. If the starch was heated in a way that destroyed the RS value, their entire starch processing facility would be a gooey mess.

      There is a product on the market known as ‘pre-gelatinized’ potato starch that looks just like regular starch, but if you mix it with water, it turns to paste.

      I have no idea what caused your blood sugar to spike when you tried it. I also doubt the company knows anything about RS. BUT, I could be wrong. Maybe theirs is somehow pregelatinized and they do know what they are talking about.

      A quick way to tell would be a side-by-side comparison of the two, mixed with equal parts water, and checking settling rate and consistency in water. If that was the same, a BG test on an empty stomach would settle it.

      I know that tapioca starch made my BG spike as much as a baked potato while others have said it didn’t do anything to theirs, so it’s possible there are differences in manufacturing methods that result in less RS. Until we have certified products it will be a ‘user beware’ situation. I’ve never heard anything negative about Bob’s RM potato starch.

    • Grace/Dr.BG on March 27, 2014 at 15:49

      Hi DeeNH~

      Appreciate all of your concise comments and kind compliments!

      Have you had many antibiotics growing up?
      How long VLC or low starch have you been?

      I hear ya — I have problems with industrial crops but recently a friend tested the most popular brand of PS and found no mycotoxins (generally on the skin) so I suspect for pesticides (on the skin), the product is ok and fine.

      For me, I have heavy metal issues and hypersensitivities to sulfa and nickel and mercury. The way the powders are processed may contribute to problems for me. (Sulfa to keep it ‘white’ instead of vitamin C/ascorbate and stainless steel/nickel for drying the wet pulp, etc).

      Have you tried other resistant starch and fiber? Have you been able to add back food yet without significant bloating, gas or other signs? Gradual is good.
      Green banana flour?
      Green plantain flour?

      Please continue to let us know your progress and thoughts! I’ll get around to posting more but too busy!

    • Richard Nikoley on March 27, 2014 at 15:51


      Well, your comment came in right at the right time. Right as I was looking for a nice close to the post.

    • DeeNH on March 28, 2014 at 13:27

      Another thought that may or may not be applicable. I think I remember a comment from Tim somewhere saying one can discern whether potato starch is starch or flour by looking at the nutritional label. But maybe that doesn’t discern modified from unmodified? And I can’t locate the comment in question.
      Anyway, I found links to both product nutritional labels. Can anyone discern anything by comparing them? They are very similar but not exact.


    • Chupo on March 28, 2014 at 22:45
    • Chupo on March 28, 2014 at 23:15

      “Me so horny. Me love you long time.” Full Metal Jacket.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 28, 2014 at 09:43

      Looks like Ann is right. From my Facebook page:

      “Janice Rabin Jones Hey everyone! I tried the organic Frontier PS several months ago and it is NOT unmodified. It IS MODIFIED and has been heated in processing. I had used BRM first but was concerned about toxic residues but the Frontier did not give the same response as BRM. I called Frontier and they said they weren’t sure but it was likely heated. I put a tablespoon in water and stirred it and very little sank. I threw it out at $11 a bag. ”

      Both the BG and sink test failed. Pretty conclusive.

    • DeeNH on March 28, 2014 at 12:58

      Gee, honestly, that’s not how it responds for me. I put 2 tablespoons in a glass of water and it sinks and dissolves very easily and quickly with a spoon. Then I add the primal defense powder and ORAC green powder and have to use a mini whisk to dissolve those in. Then finally I add the psyllium and have to whisk that too. But the Frontier OPS dissolves without problem. And again, my FBG has dropped since using this product combination so I don’t know what else to say except it seems to work for me.

      I have never tried Bob’s so I can’t offer any comparison.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 28, 2014 at 16:37

      OK, this is getting confusing. Do you have BRM on hand to compare?

      What potato starch should do is not “dissolve” (but that may just be your manner of describing) it should sink to the bottom and pack very tightly. It actually has a scientific description: Non-Newtonian Fluid. If you poke it with a finger, it’s like fine clay submerged in water.

    • marie on March 28, 2014 at 19:58

      Oh Richard, I love it when you talk physics :D

    • Richard Nikoley on March 28, 2014 at 21:35

      “Oh Richard, I love it when you talk physics”

      In some circles I frequent, it’s called foreplay.

    • Guttural on March 28, 2014 at 22:02

      BRM PS does have at least one problem. One that may contribute to any negative effects that may have been assumed to be nightshade related. Sulfites. My timeline:

      • Positive effects followed by a killer headache a few days later.
      • Looked into cause or solution: 1) Add SBOs 2) Sulfite sensitivity. Added preservative in most PS including BRM.
      • Added Primal Defence Ultra. Headache hit and miss.
      • No headaches from Mt Uncles GBF but positive effects not as strong.
      • Sourced preservative-free PS. Forms non-Newtonian fluid. No headaches!
      • Added AOR PB-3, Prescript Assist and Acacia fibre. C. Butyricum is new best friend.
      • Study: Anti-thiamin (vit b1) properties of sulfites, caffeine. (
      • Study: Treatment of fatigue in IBD with b1 mega-dose despite normal levels (
      • Added benfotiamine (fat soluble b1) mega-dose. Consistent wakeful sleep, better energy.
      • Experimented to make sure it was reproducible.


    • marie on March 28, 2014 at 22:08

      Avec raison :)
      Foreplay/Long time (live) :

    • Richard Nikoley on March 28, 2014 at 22:55

      WAIT just a minute. I see a girl engaging in Foreplay [for a] Long Time in that video.

      Good rare find.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 28, 2014 at 23:17


      Wrong. Olongapo, PI. Every night.

    • Chupo on March 28, 2014 at 23:22

      I got Bifidus from one of them! Whores!

    • Richard Nikoley on March 28, 2014 at 23:55

      Sure you don’t mean Neisseria gonorrhoeae? Here’s the funny thing. 5 years, dozens and dozens of “dirty whores” in PI over 30 trips, Thailand for about 8 trips, and Korea about 15 trips, and elsewhere. Not one time.

      Know where I got nabbed twice? Japanese girls.

      The professionals keep their product in good repair and maintenance.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 29, 2014 at 00:00

      …I should clarify. Both Japanese were regular girls. One was was a curator of antiques in her own shop in Tokyo, specializing in British stuff (she made a trip twice a year to fill two 40′ containers). She lived just down the beach from me in Hayama, helped me do the deep cleaning of my place before my parents arrived, and closed her shop for a week to play tour guide.

      She got the clap from the guy she was with immediately before me.

    • marie on March 29, 2014 at 00:09

      Chupo, je me suis choquée! They “independent women, some mistake (them) for whores”.
      Richard, no, he means b.adolescentis (and don’t you dare ever get cured, Chupo :) )

      Santé! (with diamonds in the glass)

    • Ann on March 29, 2014 at 09:14

      Gutteral – wow – that’s concise. Love it.

      What is Mt. Uncles GBF – Green Banana Flour? If so, that’s also my response with plaintain flour. It works, but not as marked effects as BRM PS. Do you take a dose of GBF before bed as well? My sleep has been in the flusher all week.

      I had asked about Acacia Fiber before and got no response – glad to know it, too can work, as my body likes it way better. Psyllium just a bit too strong for my use.

      What was your source for the benfotiamine? Brand? And were you taking the B1 in the morning or before bed?



    • Guttural on March 30, 2014 at 16:01

      I don’t use GBF regularly these days. I think more weeding is needed.

      Doctor’s Best. Half in the morning, half evening. Takes 48hrs to kick in.

  111. […] DeeNH // Mar 27, 2014 at 13:46 […]

  112. DeeNH on March 28, 2014 at 12:07

    Richard and Tim > Thanks for your replies. I’m always questioning and always learning and you provide good “food for thought” on this issue. Perhaps I’m thinking too much about the organic PS based on that Pollan description but since it seems to work for me, I think I’ll stick with it and try not to be judgmental about non-organic PS.

    Ann, It is so interesting that you had a different experience with Frontier OPS. I don’t know what to say but sorry your BG spiked. I know I was so relieved when mine dropped. I’m glad I didn’t read your experience with Frontier before I gave it a try because I probably wouldn’t have. Could it be that you have an issue with night shades?

    Grace, You are very kind and generous to commenters (although this isn’t even your blog and you are here and responding). What a great community!

    Anyway, your questions: I don’t recall bouts of antibiotics as a child (big family rarely visited doctor) but guess 4-6 times as an adult (now aged 52). I was always considered healthy and active/fit.
    How long low starch? About 13 months (yeah newbie). IBS onset September 2012, 6 months after a colonoscopy (related?). After no diagnosis from doctor after several weeks of illness, started reading voraciously and self-diagnosed IBS/SIBO around Dec 2012. Traveled the path of FODMAP restrictions then eliminated wheat, beans, sugar and the few processed foods I ate, then by February 2013 was hip to VLC primal/paleo. Only became aware of high fasting BG after a physical/blood test in July 2013 when doctor told me result 109 was borderline pre-diabetic. Yikes. Bought a glucose meter and started testing myself and always above 100-120. Then read PHD and added “safe starches”, intermittent fasting but no real difference in FBG until I added the RS et al to the mix and presto – FBG dropped. Yeah baby!

    Nope, haven’t tried any other RS and fiber. Maybe I will at some time.

    Thanks for reporting that no mycotoxins were found in popular brand (non-organic) PS. It is good to know and important to report for others reading this.

    I think I have more gut healing to do and feel that I’m on the right path. I’m even hopeful that the stubborn weight will budge as I continue to add/introduce new and varied quality SB probiotics.

    Which reminds me, Richard, glad my comment helped you close the post. And I’m looking forward to you adding any new information/connections to gut and obesity/weight gain. Probably many others are looking forward to that too. Thank you.

  113. […] Get resistant fermentable fibers like resistant starch in your diet so that your gut bugs have the substrates by which to synthesize vitamin nutrients. And in order to ensure that you're not feeding empty cages, such as after lifelong occasional rounds of carpet bombing antibiotics, or years of VLC dieting that has starved some of them to extinction, get on some rounds of soil-based probiotics. […]

  114. […] but I wanted to relay how it went. Since doing all the stuff with Resistant Starch and the Soil-Based Probiotics, I've done a few experiments both in terms of blood glucose (reported here) and heartburn […]

  115. Mary on April 16, 2014 at 09:40

    I’m still reading through the comments, so forgive me if this has been addressed. Are we close to knowing which strains of bacteria keep humans thin? I’m pretty sure I lack them ;-) I eat between 1,500 and 1,600 calories on most days, am moderately active, and have recently begun including resistant starch in my diet. I have also started taking Prescrip Assist, but am easing into it. I wonder whether I should be looking for specific strains for weight loss (yes, I’m looking for a “thin pill”:-).

    I was also wondering whether genetic heritage plays into this as well. If I am of Northern European ancestry, would my gut be happy with the same beneficial strains prevelant in the guts of Asians or Africans?

    • tatertot on April 16, 2014 at 10:10

      I think we are a long way off from a thin pill.

      In studies, both animal and human, transplanting feces from thin person into fat person does have a definite effect on metabolism.

      I think the best we can do at this point is eat a good diet including many types of fiber and RS, exercise, and live as stress-free as possible.

      I’m like you, of Euro descent and can gain weight at the drop of a hat. Calorie counting is pointless, all it does is ensure I will meet (and usually exceed) a daily target. I’ve found that eating only at meals and until just about full, but not stuffed, works very well for me to effortlessly maintain weight without counting anything. Also, not weighing daily helps, too. If you are eating good food, and not too much of it, you won’t become obese and metabolically deranged. That’s different from saying you will become thin and have the body of your dreams…it’s a distinction you may just need to live with.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2014 at 10:11

      “Are we close to knowing which strains of bacteria keep humans thin?”

      Probably not, it it will probably turn out to be many strains, and a proper balance with others as well. I doubt there’s a “thin gut biome.” There may be a range, within particular environments.

      Moreover, it could also be a lot simpler that that, and it’s a few bad guys doing the damage and all that’s needed is to get enough god guys in there and feed them, and they’ll take care of the bad ones.

    • Charles on April 16, 2014 at 10:23

      About half-way down there’s a discussion of moving bacteria between lean and fat mice, and it’s clear that it’s a complex situation.

    • Ellen Ussery on April 17, 2014 at 08:10

      Mary, the fact that you got headaches and some heartburn with the PS indicates you need to take some probiotics. Just backing off and only doing the foods may not be enough to get your gut into optimal shape.

      I got headaches with PS and even with high amounts of whole food sources. Taking Prescript Assist solved it for me. Then, after a few weeks with the powders, I am now mostly doing only the High rs foods and one tablespoon of green banana flour in Yogurt for dessert at dinner. I keep seeing good changes. Haven’t lost those pesky ten pounds yet, but am opting for health and thinking the weight will then settle where it should.

      Husband got heartburn from RS and high RSfoods Have been dosing him with ALL the suggested probiotics and he is doing better…. Am taking time with this so have not yet tried any of the potato starch or other powders on him, but at this point he is doing well with the Cooked and cooled potatoes and rice.

    • Ellen Ussery on April 17, 2014 at 10:19

      He wasn’t willing to do that, so I have to work within his parameters…. And it is really tricky doing this with someone who doesn’t like to report the details!

      I just fed him a small portion of beans for the first time since starting all the probiotics. fingers crossed.
      Fingers crossed

    • Mary on April 17, 2014 at 07:12

      Hmmm. Well, I lost a significant amout of weight after adopting a whole foods (and gluten-free) diet. At first the weight melted off quickly (it was almost a little scary), but after about six months stopped. I have tried, alternately, strict low carb paleo and many of the Perfect Health Diet recommendations, but now include many of the whole foods I was eating when I was losing weight (beans, soaked steel cut oats, occasional brown rice).

      For exercise, I try to get in 10k steps per day, strength train twice per week, and try to get a HIIT session in once per week. I have lost maybe 5 lbs in the last year and have about 30 to go. I eat three meals a day and rarely have a snack or eat off plan. I eat within a 10-hour window most days, but have no desire to fast. I am hypothyroid, but that has been managed with medication for many years.

      I tried the PS and did poorly on it (headaches, minor heartburn), but do well with whole food sources of RS.

      I realize I could take more extreme measures to lose weight, but I don’t even want to attempt methods I will not be able to sustain for life. (People close to me already think I’m rather obsessive.) I think I may need to just accept that things will not improve and be grateful that I have not regained the weight I lost. I am also going through menopause, which likely is not helping :-/

      Thanks, Tater. When is your book coming out, btw?

    • Mary on April 17, 2014 at 07:15

      Thanks, Richard. I am trying to get them growing!

    • LynnLivingLife! on April 17, 2014 at 07:38

      Menopause will definitely slow things down in the weight loss department. But, take heart, that too passes and you will see some weight loss after your body adjusts to menopause changes.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2014 at 09:42


      The only thing I would caution, as a lifelong GERD guy myself, is push hard and pull back. So, I pounded the PS and probiotics, then went several days with zero.

      I recommend such an approach.

  116. Bernhard on April 17, 2014 at 02:04

    Don’t know whether this is of interest.
    Found a source in England that provides
    all three Probiotics. Good thing is, a quick
    search showed their prices are lower from
    the outset than others I found.
    Then, they provide an online chat during
    business hours with perfect service.
    Got myself a ten percent discount as a new
    customer and even got a further 20 when
    ordered the wrong AOR product first (my fault,
    but as that is minerals,vits,.. kept it anyhow).
    Bargaining with them works, just ask.
    Think it possible to get us a huge “group discount”?

    Have a look if interested:

  117. Becky on April 17, 2014 at 09:14

    After reading #4 on allergies I finally have some hope. I have ordered the probiotics and will hope for relief. I took interferon for a year because I had metastasized melanoma and at the time interferon was the only protocol after surgery.

    • LynnLivingLife! on April 17, 2014 at 12:13

      Becky ~ What do you mean by #4? Thanks.

    • Becky on April 17, 2014 at 18:03

      The 4th point Richard made about his allergies being helped and his lifelong suffering being relieved with the addition of probiotics.

    • Lynn on April 18, 2014 at 16:44

      Thanks Becky. I’m still trying to figure out how much to take for it yo make a difference for me.

  118. […] use myself and find value in. The hottest thing now is the soil-based probiotics. Since I first did the post on them in late February, about 1,500 units out the door in total, for the three of them. One Tweeter tweeted me just […]

  119. Patti on April 22, 2014 at 15:59

    For about a year I’ve been doing LC and the last 3 months more of a ketogenic diet. Recently I have been craving potatoes and rice like crazy, which I gave into and have been eating these foods everyday. This post is particularly interesting to me in light of my recent food escapades. However, I am not sure if adding these foods back to my diet will keep my weight in the same range it is currently in. Although, I originally gave up the carbs because of my weight, I am definitely going to add the probiotic, and experiment with the RS. I don’t think we fully understand if cravings are harmful or helpful.

  120. Resistant starch can improve your health | Health, fitness and vanity on April 27, 2014 at 03:15

    […] risk and improve blood cholesterol. Dieters also have cause for cheer. Resistant starch can aid in weight loss by increasing satiety; it is a carbohydrate that with virtually zero impact on blood […]

  121. 811: Guest Host Richard Nikoley & Friends Explain The Importance Of Resistant Starch | The Livin La Vida Low-Carb Show on April 28, 2014 at 10:08

    […] podcast – A Gut Microbiome, Soil-Based Probiotic, and Resistant Starch Primer For Newbies – Probiotics: The Genetic Component of Obesity – Dr. Grace Liu’s 7-Step Cure for SIBO – Two Compromised Gut Case Studies – Revisiting Resistant […]

    • Lorraine on May 16, 2014 at 19:12

      So how do you prepare your potatoes. Cook, cool in refrigerator then re-warm below 130*? There is just so many cold potatoes I can eat. When you re-warm if you cannot go over 130*, isn’t that kind of cool to eat. And rice, is the secret to all of these, first cook then refrig. Or can you cook and just get to under 130* then eat? I know, many questions. I just can’t see myself eating coldish potatoes for very long.

  122. tim on April 28, 2014 at 15:49

    Has anybody had very strong reactions to soil based probiotics? I took one capsule of Prescript Assist in the evening….. got very bad dreams and found it very difficult to get up in the morning. This lasted for about 4 days, where I felt pretty zonked out for the whole of that period. The only time I had a similar reaction was when I was prescribed Amytryptyline. I haven’t taken any more as the experience was pretty unpleasant.

    • Ellen Ussery on April 28, 2014 at 17:37

      Might be worth seeing what happens if you take it in the morning. If you get the same result try one of the others.

    • Dave on May 2, 2014 at 04:38

      Tim…I had a similar experience with the Primal Defense – Ultra product. Within an hour of ingestion I got dizzy, weak, cold shivers similar to the flu, my sinuses filled up — in general, it was a feeling of malaise that lasted for ~48hr.

      It was so bad that I (in haste perhaps) flushed the remained 215 (of 216) capsules down the toilet. I do not want to relive that feeling anytime again soon…Dave

    • Natalya on May 2, 2014 at 08:22

      I am having a similar struggle with AOR3. Excessive, painful gas, gut rumbling and an inability to control windage. At one or even a quarter capsule.
      However I take it to be a sign that I am clearing out stuff that has to go, and that is only reluctantly moving. In other words, a really positive sign.
      So, I decided to take the GAPS diet advice, and take a tiny portion. Like a pin head. I could even feel that, but it was manageable. Now, after a wk, I’m just about ready to increase. All unpleasant symptoms subsiding.
      I have had a mild flu like thing w other probiotics.

  123. Christoph Dollis on April 30, 2014 at 12:18

    If you haven’t seen this, you’ll probably find it interesting. I know I did.

    Sinusitis Linked to Microbial Diversity

    I’ll pick up my Prescript-Assist in a few hours. Excited.

    • Elise on May 1, 2014 at 05:32

      Anybody know of a good probiotic supplement that contains Lactobacillus sakei ? My daughter suffers from sinusitis and just took a 20-day course (10 days on Augmentin that didn’t work and another 10 days on ceftin) and I have her on Saccharomyces boulardii and Prescript Assist but I read the article that Christoph posted and it seems that L.Sakei may be the way to go but I cannot find any available supplement that has it.

    • gabkad on May 1, 2014 at 06:32

      For what it’s worth, I had a lousy sinus infection (maxillary sinus, mostly right sided because of anatomical reasons, that side wouldn’t just clear up). I did a sinus rinse and a gigantic bright golden yellow mucous blob came out. Staphylococcus aureus. For some reason after that everything cleared up.

      Sinus rinsing can prolong a problem though if it is overdone. I had been rinsing twice per day for a number of weeks because of the sinus problems. Then I did a search and found a pubmed article about how excessive rinsing can prolong a problem. So I backed off and only used a strong salt water spritz for a number of days. I wanted to at least keep the tissues moist so the crap would maybe drain out of the sinus. When I finally did the rinse after a week of not doing anything, the ‘production’ was a big ‘Wow’.

    • Mark J on May 1, 2014 at 06:39
    • Mark J on May 1, 2014 at 06:51

      Elise…or maybe this is the way to go?

    • Gemma on May 1, 2014 at 08:08


      read the story here, too:
      “Ten months ago my family was struggling with chronic sinusitis that no longer responded well to antibiotics. My oldest son had just been told to get another CAT scan and to prepare for ENT surgery to “open up the sinuses more”. We were desperate for something that would help us that didn’t involve antibiotics or surgery.”

    • David on May 7, 2014 at 07:05


      I hope I can save you a lot of time and frustration finding this particular bacteria. The only known culture that’s a consumer product that I’ve been able to find is in ProBio 65. Unfortunately, this is a Korean product that’s unavailable in the U.S. (unless you know someone that lives in Korea- actually, if anyone in this thread lives in Korea, maybe they can help us both out).

      There is exactly ONE product, from ONE supplier, that contains the same strain of l.sakei that’s found in traditional Korean Kimchi, is resistant to stomach acid, and I believe is also present in the sinuses of healthy adults. It’s called “Lactopy.”

      You can buy it here:

      or on Ebay here:

      There are strains of l.sakei used to cure meats that can be purchased from suppliers in the U.S., but I do not know if it’s something you’d want to ingest on its own.

    • Elise on May 8, 2014 at 11:38

      Thank you David. I will try to buy some and give it try on her. She is coming back from college today with yet another brewing sinus infection. I wonder if it is of more benefit to actually dip a Q tip into the powder and swab the nostril cavity with it as well as ingesting like the woman did with the kimchii juice. At this point she (and I ) are willing to try anything to get rid of this. I will let you know of results.

    • Gemma on May 8, 2014 at 12:09

      Elise, see this comment too:
      “My dr. has had me put the contents of a probiotic capsule in my sinus rinse when I get sinus infections…works wonders!”

    • David on May 8, 2014 at 12:29

      NP Elise.

      BUT…she may be smelling yogurt for a while (the bacteria is in a dried yogurt pouch) haha. I bought some and my girlfriend and I are going to try to culture it in some MRS broth (it’s a medium for growing lactobacillus family of bacteria). You can buy it online, but my girlfriend’s the scientist so I’m a little short on the details of how you would actually grow it.

      Though, I imagine if you *can* grow it, you’ll have endless nasal rinse stock. :)

    • Gemma on May 8, 2014 at 12:46

      Elise, hopefully your daughter is not a vegetarian, as L. sakei (formerly called L. bavaricus) is used in meat industry as well in the production of fermented, dry salami. Get some good quality salami and give it a try. She should eat it, not stick it into her nose :-)

    • Ellen Ussery on May 11, 2014 at 13:41

      Gemmak mentioned Lyme. And it is something I have been thinking about be ause we are pulling ticks off ourselves here several times a week.

      For several years we followed the protocol of Bruce Fife taking oregano oil and caps for week after each bite. But early last summer, I began to worry that so many round of the organo were harming our guts almost as badly as the Abx would. that was about the same time the ticks slowed down so I didn’t worry about it too much and just put oregano oil on the site of the bite until there was no visible redness.

      Now we are into the heavy tick bite season again. The only thing I can come up with is just to go full time on the various probiotics cycling , through the various recommended one at each meal and of course somefermented food at each meal

    • Ellen Ussery on May 11, 2014 at 13:51

      Since Gemma mentioned Lyme disease I am wondering what you guys think of my current strategy for dealing with tick bites. Which is to go heavy on the probiotic pills along with our regular consumption of one or several probiotic foods with each meal.

      We used t do a course of oregano oil and caps after each bite. We get a lot of bites here in Virginia this time of year. But after all this gut information, I realized we might be doing almost as much damage as abx would. So now i only out the oregano oil on the bite site until all redness disappears.

      Anybody have any other ideas to help prevent Lyme’s?

    • KAWAM on May 11, 2014 at 09:27

      Wondering here — a number of years ago I had a prolonged upper-respiratory infection that was finally treated with antibiotics and steroids. When I finally came out of it, I has “post-viral anosmia” — total loss of sense of smell — which lasted over two years. Appalling and terrifying. There’s been some regeneration in the years since, but certainly not complete. So, I’m definitely adding sense of smell to my n=1 symptoms.

    • Gemma on May 11, 2014 at 09:33

      Re sense of smell. I am definitely interested in that as well. What do you mean? Has it improved or not?

    • KAWAM on May 11, 2014 at 09:57

      @ Gemma ~ It was explained by my non-paleo doc that my nerves had been severely damaged but that regeneration was possible. Maybe. My sense of smell has definitely improved over time and continues to slowly improve. But I’m still pretty impaired. I can’t smell a lot of things that others can, and some of the smells I sense are definitely different that what I remember them being pre-anosmia. I don’t know of any objective way to track whether regeneration continues, but subjectively, it seems that there’s continued improvement. Now the question will be whether the prebiotic/probiotic protocols enhance the glacial-paced improvement I’ve been having since around 2009.

    • Gemma on May 11, 2014 at 10:22

      I am afraid that would be too much to expect. A small miracle, perhaps. Mine happened after a head injury (concussion occurred in relation to low blood pressure after some diarrhea/GI flu virus or such, and I had some sinusitis at that time as well. Interestingly, all this happened after ATB treatment for a tick bite and positive test for Lyme).
      Anyway, this sense of smell loss, terrifying as you say, appeared right after the concussion. No real help from the good Drs. It is so little explored, I think. And some slow, very slow improvement, varying a lot. Tried to teach myself some smells, to be able to distinguish some danger. But I think in my case it is on the brain side, not in the nerve cells in the nose.

      P.S. Somebody mentioned here or elsewhere increased sense of smell after zinc supplementation. That would make sense – increased mineral absorption due to improved gut flora.

    • gabkad on May 11, 2014 at 11:02

      Gemma, people who don’t have anosmia have no clue as to how terrible this is. Whenever I get a bad cold, it’s always at the tail end that the lack of sense of smell kicks in for a couple of days…….and I totally freak out because I’m afraid it might not come back.

      Back in February 2003, I had an inner ear infection with all the vertigo and puking that accompanies it. I managed to get the meds to help keep it under control but ate nothing for 3 days. Even after that I only had chicken broth for the next two days. It was quite amazing that this heightened my sense of smell to the point where just walking through my own home, I walked through what I can only describe as ‘smell scapes’. From a smell point of view, it was like every three feet or so I was ‘in a different place’. I could walk by my neighbours’ apartment doors on my way home and tell by smell who was home and who was not. I knew who was at work on the floor at the office as soon as I got off the elevator. I thought, wow, this must be what it’s like to be a dog or cat. Eventually it faded back to normal. It lasted about 15 months. I suppose it was hyperosmia.

      At the time I was also doing Hatha yoga with a bona fide yogini. Not someone who just took a few courses and thinks they can actually teach yoga. She told me that she experiences the same thing after she goes on a fast. But it doesn’t last as long.

      I guess it’s the body’s way of heightening the sense of smell in response to a starvation state. Would make sense as a survival mechanism.

    • KAWAM on May 11, 2014 at 12:13

      @Gemma ~ my heart goes out to you. And think on this: regeneration can and does occur throughout the body. Nose-nerves, brain, all kinds of places. These protocols increase the opportunities. Here’s looking at YOUR Biome, Kid!

    • Gemma on May 11, 2014 at 12:44

      Gab, thanks for the starvation/fasting tip, it definitely makes sense and worth looking into. In fact, I have never tried. Hmm, 15 months of hyperosmia, sounds good :-)

      KAWAM: ha-ha, regenerating body parts like lizards?

  124. Elise on May 1, 2014 at 08:37

    Thanks all who responded! It looks like kimchi is the way to go for now since the supplements that Mark posted the site for are just in Korea. She is coming home from college next week so she will be having kimchi smoothies for breakfast :-)

    • gabkad on May 1, 2014 at 08:59

      Oh yuk. Maybe just eat the kimchi as is??

  125. Lorraine on May 16, 2014 at 19:04

    So, how do you eat your potatoes if you should not reheat them to over 130*. Do you have to cook them first then cool them then rewarm?
    There is just so many cold potatoes that I could eat, so what are your suggestions in preparing them and even rice. Is the secret to cook then cool down then re-warm? Thanks in advance.

  126. Dave on June 7, 2014 at 06:59

    I’m truly beginning the question the paleo prescription of endless avoidance. It just seems that paleo in the long term becomes a matter of coping with being affected by things in all directions instead of building resilience and treating underlying causes. I like the comment about a C-section birth as one possible reason for gut dysbiosis. I’m a fraternal twin from a C-section birth. I wonder if this is the reason for my brother and I finding such benefit for our myriad of problems with paleo.

  127. Rob O'Daniel on June 10, 2014 at 11:26

    Rich, I’m alternating (weekly or so) between 2 of the SBO Probiotic supplements you recommended, mixing PS into Greek yogurt almost every day, and drinking a little flavored kefir a few times per week, but…

    You’ll be gratified to know that as I was overhauling a flowerbed this last weekend, digging up the dead or nearly-dead rosemary (::sniff::) and flowering shrubs, my mind kept sticking on: “Hey, my gut is gonna appreciate all this mucking around in the dirt with my bare hands.” Working in the yard is already a very therapeutic thing anyway, but knowing that it also might be helping to boost my gut health kinda made it a doubly-rewarding activity.

  128. Matthew on June 17, 2014 at 12:30

    Hi, it’s been a pleasure to find your site & pour over it the last few days! I’ve been looking into soluble fiber for the last year or so & got turned onto resistant starch a couple of months ago.

    Ok, so I’ve gotten really curious after reading a comment in some post about it being quite likely that different resistant starches & fibers preferentially feed different bacteria. This lines up with my empirical experience most definitely. I’ve been leaning heavy on legumes for a few months at least, not uncommon to have, say, red kidney or black beans for lunch with some greek yogurt/cacao nibs/berries for a dessert, green lentils for dinner, snacks work in requisite nuts blend trail mix with raw cacao nibs added; if there’s another meal in there, it’ll likely involve one of La Tortilla Factory’s high-fiber/low-carb tortillas with a bunch of oat fiber in it. So, I’m getting fairly acclimated to what for me at least is a fairly high fiber diet without any consistent negative effects. For example, looking at my food tracker for yesterday, I had 48g of fiber in two meals. I know there are folks on hear with MUCH higher intakes, I’m not trying to start a comparative manhood analysis, just trying to give a frame of reference to say that that intake caused no scorched earth side effects.

    The reason I’m quite curious is, we got a Trader Joe’s here back in October; I was excited to see they had some high-fiber granola bars as I was looking for new ways to work in some other good fiber sources when I had to have an on-the-go packaged snack. They’re the Rolled Oats & Chocolate Chip Fiberful Granola Bars. The first ingredient on the list is Oligofructose, which I knew was a inluin-type fiber (looking like ~9g per bar), & that I’d had a slightly similar experience to this when high dosing inulin supplements early on in my journey down the rabbit hole. In a nutshell, these things lead direction to colonic thermonuclear fusion. For a real-world example, on a recent guys’ trip, after the free breakfast at the hotel I had one of the Fiberful bars to get my fiber count up for the day… within the hour, I could clear the van out; someone highly suggested I start eating some yogurt & see a doctor. What they didn’t know was I’d even had yogurt at breakfast & had a big container of greek yogurt in the cooler next to me. This has been the par for the course with me & these granola bars.

    Now, I’m seeing from digging around online that Bifidobacteria tend to feed on FOS, but that E. Coli does as well, & in doing so it & other bacteria produce hydrogen & end up feeding sulfate-reducing bacteria which eventually produce hydrogen sulfide.

    If I got all of that right (big if), then it at least partially explains the reaction to that particular fiber.

    My question is, of the soil-based prebiotics mentioned, or any other methods y’all have found, is there a good way to reduce the E. Coli and/or sulfate-reducing bacteria populations? I’ve already got some of the soil-based prebiotics in my Amazon cart to try in general anyway, but I just wanted to see if anyone had any suggestions.

    Thanks for your time!

    • Ellen Ussery on June 17, 2014 at 17:06

      Here’s the “ice cream” we have been eating for our high fiber dessert

      In a food processor, Magic Bullet , or similar machine,


      1 partially defrosted green(ish) banana
      1/4 to 1 full cup yogurt or coconut kefir
      1 minced half dollar sized piece crystallized ginger
      (Some berries)

      Top with cocoa nibs and enjoy

    • Richard Nikoley on June 17, 2014 at 13:24

      Hi Matthew

      All I can say is that way back before RS I got a tub of Inulin/FOS powder and couldn’t take it. Not so much gas, but real bloating discomfort.

      Since doing the RS for a year now, then adding the three SBOs, I can now do like 4 TBS of PS, double the dose of inulin/fos as before, and toss in 3 caps of glucomannan and have zero ill effects.

      Confounded, I know, but that’s my experience. Can’t know if it was one thing, a combinination of some, or all put together.

    • tatertot on June 17, 2014 at 13:28

      Mathew, I think you are seeing why the “Fiber revolution” did not work.

      Some time ago, the USDA recommended we get approx 25g/day of ‘fiber’. If this ‘fiber’ all came from real food we would all be a healthier bunch of people. The average intake of ‘fiber’ for most of the US (and the civilized nations of the world), is less than 15g/day–nearly all coming from wheat. Switch to a paleo-type diet, especially low-carb flavored, and watch that fiber intake drop to <5g.

      I think that a paleo diet with 20-40g of real food fiber (including RS) is the perfect amount. I have been playing with fiber from real food for the last couple months, and without beans and cocoa nibs, it's nearly impossible to hit 10g/day.

      When the USDA made their recommendations, I'm sure they were thinking 'real food'. What the food manufacturers did is come up with cheap fillers that had functional (for them) value. For instance, FOS when added to a bar increases sweetness without increasing calories. Inulin gives a mouth feel of fat w/o fat calories. Inulin and FOS on their own, are terrible prebiotics. In nature, Inulin is always bound to FOS. In this combination–great prebiotic, produces butyrate and feeds bifido. On their own, in a test tube, they can be shown to do great things, but in the body, they need other fibers to create the microbial populations we desire.

      All the food industry is looking for is a "high in fiber" label.

      What I am looking for is 20-40g/day of fiber from real foods, counting RS. I think preferably, you'd want 20-30g per day of plant fiber and another 20-40g of RS from real foods. In reality, I say shoot for 20-40g per day of RS and fiber and take some raw potato starch to make up the difference. Beans twice a day and a greenish banana will get you nearly there, a handful of cocoa nibs, some raw onion, and some nuts are easy, high fiber foods, too.

      Try getting your fiber from whole foods and don't count any of the fiber that is in processed food bars or snacks. A green banana is nature's fiber bar! Eat one while also munching cocoa nibs–not bad at all! Banana can have some yellow, doesn't have to be rock hard and solid green.

      Try the SBOs, they can help balance your gut, but the biggest factor is always going to be diet.

    • Lynn on June 17, 2014 at 14:35

      Tater Tot ~ I hope you can help me. I bought some Inulin but I don’t know what to eat it with so it will work. Also, what is FOS?
      Thank you.

    • Lynn on June 17, 2014 at 14:36

      Tater Tot ~ I hope you can help me. I bought some Inulin but I don’t know what to eat it with so it will work. Also, what is FOS? I can’t eat potato anything.
      Thank you.

    • tatertot on June 17, 2014 at 15:01

      I’m only going to answer once, no matter how many times you ask! Just kidding.

      Use it is a smoothie, or alongside any meal containing fiber. I’m not really a fan of inulin supplements because I think it is more a byproduct of the food industry and not a real food at all, but as a way to boost your fiber intake, probably not that bad. As a sole source: no good! At least with potato starch, I can easily make it at home–not so with powdered, water soluble inulin or FOS.

      FOS is fructo-oligosaccharide. In nature it is a chemical structure attached to inulin. It gets separated in processing factories, nearly all comes from chicory roots, and is used in artificial sweeteners and food additives.

      Some other fibers to consider adding to a smoothie would be Larch Arabinogalactin, Glucomannan, pectin, psyllium husk, banana flour…probably some I’m forgetting…but go easy on some of these, they swell tremendously in water and can actually choke you if you tried taking too much without enough water.

      This is why I’m a fan of real food fiber, but will be the first to admit it’s hard to do. Down load a good fiber contents chart and look for foods that fit your lifestyle and calorie goals and try to get 20g+ a day. Add a supplement on days you are lacking, but you should eventually not need to rely on it. Beans, pea, lentils will be your friend!

    • Lynn on June 17, 2014 at 17:11

      Thank You!

  129. Lauren on June 25, 2014 at 16:19

    Just after my friend complained to me about her collicy 3rd baby (who was born by C-Section) and I told her that he may need probiotics I read a study that said the trip through the birth canal really doesn’t do anything to increase a baby’s microbiome.

    I do, however worry that I’m not doing right by my baby even though I breastfeed if my comprimsed gut bacteria won’t pass on good probiotcs to her.

  130. My Heal Your Gut Smoothie on July 6, 2014 at 08:54

    […] were immediately added to the mix: fill the cage, then feed the beasties. The general advice is to o.d. on probiotics for a few weeks to really fill the cage, then back off to normal […]

  131. frankie on July 19, 2014 at 07:19

    I have experienced ‘all things wonderful’ after beginning probiotics (Prescript-Assist & Dr. Stephen Langer’s). Sleeping well for the first time in 1.5 years has been a God-Send! But, would someone please comment on the ‘over the top negative reviews’ on some SBO Probiotics?

    Although there are only 28 negative reviews out of 379 on Amazon for Primal Defense Ultra (as of July 19, 2014) it still causes me to wonder if I should take this one.

    Also, eating a gluten free diet, I have to question the ingredients of Barley and Oat Grass. Maybe the ‘grass’ version of the grain isn’t so bad?

    Nonetheless, I’d appreciate any advise.
    thank you!

  132. Sheere on July 22, 2014 at 03:06

    Is there any way of getting enough probiotics through natural food and not by supplements?

  133. Jim on July 23, 2014 at 22:23

    Hi Richard:

    Have you seen John Brisson’s “Fix Your Gut” blog? Specifically, his articles that caution against taking SBO’s (he calls them HSO’s – hemostatic soil organisms)?

    I’ve been feeling great with Prescript Assist, Primal defense, Probiotic-3 and resistant starch – and so articles like his (that suggest it is potentially harmful to take this probiotics) are alarming. I wasn’t aware that any of this was controversial.

    Any thoughts on this? thank you. ~jim

    • Chupo on July 24, 2014 at 13:03

      Chris Kressers response:

      There is a lot of confusion about this topic. Jini Patel has raised concerns about soil-based organisms (SBOs) in this article , based on claims made by Natasha Trevnev, the founder of Natren (a company that sells lactic acid-based probiotics). Most of the objections raised in the article are either technically inaccurate or outdated by current research. It has become clear through DNA sequencing of the gut microbiota that the human gut has a makeup of bacteria similar to or already of SBO origin. From an evolutionary perspective, it’s likely that we were exposed to SBOs to a much larger degree than we are now, due to the industrialization of agriculture and food distribution, and changes in soil quality and diversity.

      The term “spore former” refers to microflora that can form spores that are biologically active, i.e. reproduce in the spore form, and are highly resistant to the environment and cause disease. Endospore formers, on the other hand, are biologically inactive and remain that way until environmental conditions allow resuming normal forms. Prescript Assist does have endospore formers, but they simply pass out of the system if they ever form in the gut of any mammal.

      The Relman-Stanford group studies have shown that SBOs are more numerous in the gut than lactic acid microflora, and that the microflora resident in the healthy mucosa of the gut differ considerably from what is present in fecal material (which tends to have higher numbers of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria).

      Finally,Prescript-Assist microflora are recognized Class 1 Etiological Agents, non-toxic, non-pathogenic, from independently maintained lines — this is well documented in both of the Clinical Therapeutics Articles. More than a decade of use as a supplement has revealed no adverse effects and/or side-effects [including reportedly patients with impaired immune systems], as well as the initial demonstrations with repeated consumptions of doses amounting to 500X that recommended for ordinarily daily use with no ill effect.”


    • Richard Nikoley on July 24, 2014 at 06:21

      Humans and their ancestors have been betting micro organisms from the dirt for millions of years.

      So yawn on all that stuff. Onus of proof is on him.

    • Jim on July 24, 2014 at 09:59

      good point.

      We weren’t running around with soap and water making sure our hands (and those of our little darlings) were squeaky clean.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 24, 2014 at 18:50

      Thanks Chupo.

      I’ve seen that a few times but it serves this thread well.

    • Duck Dodgers on July 24, 2014 at 19:51

      We weren’t running around with soap and water making sure our hands (and those of our little darlings) were squeaky clean.

      Certainly not. If you want to learn about the history of cleanliness in America, listen to this terrific episode of Backstory (a fantastic history podcast).

      Rinse and Repeat: Cleanliness in America

      Spoiler Alert… Soap is a very modern invention!

    • Regina on July 24, 2014 at 20:20

      Thanks fort the link Duck Dodgers. I am enjoying listening to it!
      Have you read:
      Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History
      Very cool read on our dirty not-so-distant past.

    • Bernhard on July 25, 2014 at 02:11

      “…and that the microflora resident in the healthy mucosa of the gut differ considerably from what is present in fecal material…”

      “differ considerably”
      Stool examinations – are they good for anything in that case, or just a waste of money and effort?

      If any exist, what kind of examinations would then be of value?

    • Duck Dodgers on July 25, 2014 at 12:34

      Well, even pure natural springs have bacteria in them.

      I suppose the problem — in terms of obtaining commensal diversity — is that even if one is washing without soap, most people are washing with sanitized, chlorinated water.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 25, 2014 at 13:07


      There’s washing and then there’s WASHING. A river is going to be teaming with organisms. Plus, it’s not going to get all of the soil off, either.

  134. John Brisson on July 25, 2014 at 15:21

    Dear Richard,

    I do not agree with your stance on HSO’s BUT I do appreciate the work that you do sir.

    I do have a few questions though, for the sake of debate if you do not mind.

    1. Do you agree with Kresser and PA that all of the “probiotic” bacteria in PA are non-toxic and have no adverse reaction reports?

    2. Why do some people get bacterial and parasitical infections from the consumption of unwashed organic or homegrown fruit with soil?

    3. One of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses in the third world is the consumption of contaminated food sources. More than likely this would apply to ancient man as well since sanitation wasn’t considered during his time?

    4. Finally, bacterial cultures in most HSO supplements and the amount and types of bacteria present in actual soil are radically different in most cases. Therefore is it not true that the bacteria found in most HSO supplements are not commonly found in soil around the world and are not considered natural gut flora to most humans if at all? Bacillus subtilis is mainly found in people who eat natto for an example.


    John William Brisson

    • Duck Dodgers on July 25, 2014 at 20:57

      A few comments:

      Do you agree with Kresser and PA that all of the “probiotic” bacteria in PA are non-toxic and have no adverse reaction reports?

      It’s a loaded question since you already documented a few rare cases from a handful of the PA flora in one of the links Michael Thomas posted, above. It’s not at all surprising. Pretty much any microbe can become pathogenic/opportunistic if it goes unchallenged. That doesn’t mean that it’s unsafe for most people. People with compromised immune systems ought to know to be careful with probiotics.

      Why do some people get bacterial and parasitical infections from the consumption of unwashed organic or homegrown fruit with soil?

      Could be many things. Compromised immune systems. Lack of GIT acidity. Surely you’ve heard of Quorum sensing? If a large enough population of any bacteria/microbe appears in the body at one time, all of the bacteria/microbes get a set of marching orders from each other — switching on specific growth genes to work together. In smaller populations, those same bacteria play other more docile roles.

      In essence a certain commensal in small or moderate numbers might secrete helpful metabolites, but become opportunistic if too many appear at once, or if acidity lessens, or if other commensals aren’t present to keep it in check. I suspect maintaining a rather diverse microbiome can help reduce the chances of any one bacteria getting a foothold.

      One of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses in the third world is the consumption of contaminated food sources. More than likely this would apply to ancient man as well since sanitation wasn’t considered during his time?

      Well, the most ancient hominids were nomadic, so they would probably poop and move on — just like any other animal. Most of the third world issues you are referring to are population and overcrowding issues, which wouldn’t have applied to man until the invention of agriculture, when settlements began.

      Incidentally, some believe that dogs domesticated themselves by following nomadic HGs, eating their feces and leftover scraps while gaining starch tolerance.

      Finally, bacterial cultures in most HSO supplements and the amount and types of bacteria present in actual soil are radically different in most cases. Therefore is it not true that the bacteria found in most HSO supplements are not commonly found in soil around the world and are not considered natural gut flora to most humans if at all? Bacillus subtilis is mainly found in people who eat natto for an example.

      True. But, I don’t believe anyone here ever suggested that PA was the equivalent of eating dirt. A single tablespoon of dirt has something like a Trillion different microbes, from what I understand. While PA only has a few selected species. I think you may be getting overexcited by the term HSO. In reality, HSO seems to just means anything that didn’t come from the dairy industry. It’s just a marketing term.

      Anyhow, if you read Kresser, you can see he is simply pointing out that the Stanford-Relman studies on the geobiography of normal mucosal linings shows a decent amount of Actinobacteria in a healthy human stomach. And as I’m sure you know, Actinobacteria is widely considered to be soil bacteria, and it is also abundant in freshwaters. So, HSOs are likely old friends. The nice thing about PA is it only takes a few billion to make an impact on its normally occurring population size. Probitics that target larger populations tend to be ineffective since they can’t really make a dent in the required populations (like pissing in the ocean).

    • Duck Dodgers on July 25, 2014 at 21:44

      Should probably also mention that many animals, including humans, will purposefully engage in geophagy by eating fine clay when they are sick.

      The clays obviously absorbed toxins, but of course they weren’t sterile.

    • John Brisson on July 26, 2014 at 06:00

      I cannot disagree Duck Dodgers. If people want to take PA, that is their personal choice. I just want people to be aware that it and all probiotics can become opportunistic (I believe PA should be used with more caution due to the nature of endospore bacteria being harder to eliminate than others.)

      Kresser did say though:

      “Finally,Prescript-Assist microflora are recognized Class 1 Etiological Agents, non-toxic, non-pathogenic, from independently maintained lines — this is well documented in both of the Clinical Therapeutics Articles. More than a decade of use as a supplement has revealed no adverse effects and/or side-effects [including reportedly patients with impaired immune systems], as well as the initial demonstrations with repeated consumptions of doses amounting to 500X that recommended for ordinarily daily use with no ill effect.”

      This is an incorrect statement. Some people unlike you believe that the organisms used in PA are 100% safe and cause no issues whatsoever. Trust me, I have met them on the Bulletproof forums.

    • JB on August 14, 2014 at 18:13

      John Brisson,

      I didn’t cross more than one post in the BP forums which agreed with your cautionary statements about prescript assist… just ignorant you, bunny hopping from post to post arguing with people who experienced positive effects from taking it. OK, we get it… you are taking a strong counter-stance on a very popular and efficacious probiotic because you think they ‘might’ be opportunistic… which, in my sole opinion seems to be nothing more than a ploy to garner attention on your part…but I digress.

      In any case, your comprehension of current scientific literature and the human microbiome is effectively that of a GNC sales rep who reads muscle & fitness on his lunch break. Please go back to the BP forums where you can continue to troll for positive mentions about prescript assist in an attempt to posture yourself as an ‘expert.’ Your head is so far up your own ass on this one it is offensive.

  135. Scott on August 13, 2014 at 07:29


    I don’t know whether this study has already been covered here. It is about bacteriia that are able to close your tight junctions, Dr Alessio Fasano is one of the co-authors.

    August 1, 2014 — (BRONX, NY) — Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that bacteria that aid in digestion help keep the intestinal lining intact. The findings, reported online in the journal Immunity, could yield new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and a wide range of other disorders.

    …Einstein scientists found that absorption of a specific bacterial byproduct is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the intestinal epithelium—the single-cell layer responsible for keeping intestinal bacteria and their toxins inside the gut and away from the rest of the body. Breaching of the intact intestinal epithelium is associated with a number of diseases.

    Dr. Mani and his colleagues suspected that bacterial metabolites exert their influence by binding to and activating a protein in the nuclei of intestinal epithelial cells called the pregnane X receptor (PXR). PXR was known to be activated by chemicals within the body (such as bile acids) as well as by drugs including steroids and antibiotics.

    In a series of mouse studies, the researchers found that a metabolite called indole 3-propionic acid (IPA)—produced exclusively by so-called commensal bacteria, which aid in digestion—both strengthens the intestinal epithelium’s barrier function and prevents its inflammation by activating PXR. More specifically, PXR activation suppresses production of an inflammatory protein called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) while increasing levels of a protein that strengthens the junctions between adjacent intestinal epithelial cells.

    “By adding probiotics in the form of IPA-producing bacteria to the intestine or by administering IPA directly, we may be able to prevent or treat IBD and other inflammatory disorders that occur when the intestinal epithelium has been compromised,” said Dr. Mani. “Such a strategy could also be tried for other health problems that may occur when the intestinal epithelium breaks down, including certain forms of liver disease, diabetes, asthma, allergies, obesity and heart disease.”

    The study can be found at

    Does someone has full access to it and give some more info which strain(s) were covered within? L. plantarum or another strain=

    • Saraswati on September 16, 2014 at 00:10

      C. sporogenes most probably.
      See here :

  136. Ashwin Patel on September 16, 2014 at 11:42

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to compare the genetic sequencing of the gut bacteria for a traditional household…………..
    Take a look at this BBC Horizon Document on Allergies in Children.

  137. ing on September 30, 2014 at 11:35

    Interesting about your calmness. I havent heard anyone speak of that before have you?
    Only one probiotic has ever done this for me (and I have tried probably a hundred brands over the past 12 years trying to repair my gut from antibiotics during C-section) After a probiotic implant using Kyodophilus I felt like a totally different person-but like the “me” I was when a carefree child. After an inital day of dizziness plus mild headache a calm, mellow, happy mood came over me and nothing could phase me. I became totally easy going and the opposite of my current sensitive moody self. The effect was astounding, and sadly short lived. I dont seem to be able to get the probiotic implants effect to stick for more than a few days to a week. And I dont get the effect with every implant (orally the probiotic has no effect).
    Prebiotics dont make any difference either.

    Lately I have been trying potato starch and the only effect is loss of sleep. No gas, no other effect besides maybe being too warm at night.

    The only prebiotic that causes me gas is raw onions or dehyrated raw onion–dehydrated oh more so!!

    I have been trying AOR-3 for past week with no effect at all.

    Im curious if you have narrowed down which probiotic might have caused the “calm” effect? I have tried primal defense so I guess I just have to try the prescript assist now.

    Was your calm life changing?

    • Richard Nikoley on September 30, 2014 at 11:59


      Looks to me that you are a prime candidate for a shit transplant.

      How long do you want to futz before you go with the max?

    • Bernhard on September 30, 2014 at 12:14

      Step on the way this is by now, not the max yet.

    • Charles on September 30, 2014 at 16:30

      For me, potato starch + Prescript Assist gives me that calmness. AOR 3 did nothing for me. And I had gone to experimenting with a lot of other powdered RS sources, and my digestion was still good. But when I went back to potato starch (1 tblsp. @ night) + Prescript Assist, the change in mood was dramatic. And it was totally unexpected as well, so I doubt there was much placebo affect. I didn’t know I hadn’t been feeling that significant reduction in anxiety. Then it came back, and it was, “Oh yeah, that’s what I was feeling at the beginning of this whole thing.”

      I think everyone is going to be different, especially with something like this. Though RN has noticed the same thing and mentioned it early on. Remember YMMV, depending on where you start (and what your bacteria want).

    • ing on September 30, 2014 at 16:58

      Thank you so much Charles for relating your experience.
      What I find interesting is that my stools are normal yet Im still experiencing nutrient deficiencies and insomnia (along with low mood) I expected these issues would clear after finding source of diarrhea. But even before diarrhea I had lost that childhood calm (also clear awake mind) that I found unexpectically in that probiotic.
      Did find that the prescript assisted aided with sleep as well? Any other health benefits?
      thanks again!!

  138. ing on September 30, 2014 at 12:15

    I actually did a fecal transplant, poo from someone with excellent BMs,, who gets gas with prebiotics and has the most easy going go with the flow mood (just in case)…nope didnt help at all and gained 20 pounds really quick after.
    Any more thoughts? Have tried and retried the “kill then re-plant” method. Now Im wondering if a long fast followed by probiotics plus prebiotics would do me any good.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 30, 2014 at 12:18


      Long fast. Yep. Pretend you’re starving. Let the 100 trillion bugs work out who eats, who doesn’t. See where you are.

      No other ideas.

    • ing on September 30, 2014 at 12:34

      Thanks Richard for the nudge. have you had any feedback on fasting for reseting gut bacteria? Any studies?
      How long would you recommend and do you think taking probiotics during or after? Prebiotics during/after?
      Would hate to have fasting backfire like the transplant.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 30, 2014 at 13:19

      I don’t look at it like that at all, and I roll my eyes with every comment where someone has a runny shit and freaks out and changes everything.

      Ever considered that diarrhea is a natural thing. Couple of weeks ago I think I got something bad. Within an hour, I was runny shit, and for a few hours. I actually felt not OK but better. To me, that’s a robust gut.

      Most people are ignorant and stupid, and they want others to tell them what to do. I offer info in hopes that folks begin to figure shit out on their own and not freak out every time their shit is liquid.

      The only thing I know about fasting for sure is now matter what issue may plague me, a water fast of 30 hours always heals all ills.

      My doggies taught me this.

    • ing on September 30, 2014 at 13:37

      well diarrhea for over 10 years is not good in my case considering the nutrient deficiencies that are adding up,.never freaked out by diarrhea and consider it a good thing when it comes and then eventually goes. for figuring things out on my own well since this shit started I have spent two to ten hours per day researching and trying various experiement and have spent thousands in testing and doctors, naturopaths and healers of all sorts. Finally took medicine for a parasite after a renowned specialist found a parasite; diarrhea stopped but symptoms and deficiencies continue.
      Ive fasted for five days with no luck so much longer is probably needed in my case.

  139. Melanie on October 30, 2014 at 16:30

    somewhat new to your site found it via cooling inflammation blog, cuz I’m trying to body wide inflammation in this 52 yr old female body that has had lots of abx assaults from decades of recurrent UTI, GI infections (SIBO, H pylori, yeast and and and) turned chronic food allergies, insomnia, hypoclohydria, hypoglycemia, now lymes and co-infections. Changed the diet LC Paleo and that helps, takin Byron White herbal antimicrobial tincture and wanna know when it makes sense to begin RS and Probiotics cuz while one is on loads of Abx therapy long term it just doesn’t make sense, or? THANK YOU.

  140. Iwona Grad on February 8, 2015 at 12:29

    If we talk about sil bacteria, perhaps it would be worthy to mention Teruo Higa and his Effective Microorganisms?

  141. David on February 27, 2015 at 18:08

    I have blastocystis hominis. what are peopel’s recommendations to get rid of this parasite if I would like to avoid medical antibiotics

  142. Christine on April 24, 2015 at 09:04

    Hi Richard,

    I’m curious as to your opinion of the shelf stability of SBOs; my bottle of prescript assist has an expiry date in 2018. I’m not very familiar with the production methods of probiotics but I’ve always wondered whether the bacteria multiply and share DNA in the capsule given their fast reproduction rate. Sorry if this is a silly question :)

    • Richard Nikoley on April 24, 2015 at 18:30

      Not silly. Google “spore forming bacteria.” Basically, spores can last millions of years, which is the point of forming a spore, analogous to a seed.

  143. Kim Rich on June 30, 2015 at 16:00

    I have taken Primal Defense Ultra for several years. I feel it is a good product. I am a little out of my league here. I am not all that knowledgable about the gut. My husband has leaky gut. He is allergic to so many things. We are working on healing his gut. I have never had him take the primal defense because of the barley grass and other ingredients that I am concerned he will react to. This is not the type of allergy where you can rebound in a couple of days. We have spent years trying to unravel his condition not to mention the money. Is there a suggestion of probiotics that do not contain grasses that would be beneficial?

  144. Paul P on September 28, 2015 at 14:36

    * I further speculate that the Paleo LC approach, that removed the antagonists that gave me relief, also starved and perhaps extinguished gut microbes such that I became sensitize to far greater things in smaller doses, ultimately.

    I am late to this party but what you wrote above struck home with me. I also tried Paleo with a very strict no FODMAPs twist. Initially my symptoms improved. Eventually, they worsened and I started to become more sensitive to even more foods. I can only guess that I was killing off the bacteria that I in fact needed more of, not less. As soon as I reintroduced several Paleo and FODMAP no-nos my symptoms started improving (after a few days of “My hell what have I done!”). Those no-nos where home made bread with ground whole wheat and white potatoes. Now I am looking for additional ways to get more RS into my diet slowly. The goal now is to re-cultivate the microbes that got nuked when I was treated for c-diff. This had better work…

  145. […] Hyper-Probiotics […]

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