The Elixa Probiotic Experiment Concludes; Waiting For Gut Test Data


The roughly 5-week Elixa Probiotic experiment is complete and all that’s left now is to get the data from the nine separate gut-bug tests (stool samples), 6 of which we’re submitted to uBiome, and 3 to AmGut.

To recap, I first took a uBiome sample about a week before starting the course, then both a uBiome and AmGut from the same “location” on the morning right before commencing the 12-day course.

About halfway through, I took another uBiome and then, right at the end, both a uBiome and AmGut. It actually turned out to be a 13-day course, since I was out of town for a day and forgot to bring it along. Coincidently, it was between doses 6 and 7.

Finally, I did a uBiome a week after done, and then just a couple of days ago, both a uBiome and AmGut at 2-weeks after completion. So, if anyone from home has done a more thorough setup I sure don’t know about it. Apparently, these things take a while to process. Given it’s been near six weeks since submitting the first kit, we should begin to see these test results trickle in. I’m curious, though I really don’t know what it’s going to reveal that I don’t already know: I feel fine.

I did a food log as well, but kinda lost interest about halfway in because every day pretty much looked like every other day. My diet is rather simple, and we don’t eat out a great deal. It’s pretty much whole grains, potatoes, beans, eggs, and dairy in various forms, with raw whole milk being the principal form. In conjunction, I eat modest portions of meat & seafood; and for the nutritional density: liver pâté, oysters, clams, mussels, sardines. A little fruit, mostly apples. I supplement with vitamin D, k2, magnesium, and turmeric. 2–4 times per week, I’ll enjoy a craft soda like Virgil’s root beer or San Pellegrino blood orange soda (pretty remarkable, but true: I consume sodas as they were intended … occasional indulgences, duh).

I was going to do the whole thing alcohol-free, but decided that would kinda be cheating because I’m a regular drinker and the whole point was to take the test as I am with no other variables, and I’ve been eating this way for quite a while—since moving to Mexico in late May, where being by myself, I just wasn’t into cooking much besides eggs, or boiling something like potatoes or a pot of beans. Nevertheless, we had three outings during the second week of the course where other people were drinking (including in front of live music at a pub) and I didn’t feel like it in the slightest. “Ice water,” please. Read further to see why that might be.

On the whole grains front, it’s nothing like being a staple—maybe the equivalent of 2–3 slices of bread per day. That’s why I try to get a fair number of potatoes and beans to toss in the starch/carbs category.

I really don’t have a lot to report in terms of effects, with two exceptions that are probably related:

  1. Crazy dreams.
  2. Calm to the point of too calm, for me.

Number one started pretty much right off, and was reminiscent of the crazy dreams being reported way back from large doses of resistant starch in the form of potato starch. Number 2 is something I didn’t notice until the last half of the course, which is probably why I didn’t notice months ago when I took four 3-day courses, but all of them separated by at least a week each time.

It was pretty odd for me. Some combination of lack of motivation, nothing is urgent, don’t worry, be happy. I’m not good at such explanations, since I’ve never had any sort of anxiety or depression issues I’m aware of. I don’t stew over stuff very long, never lay awake worrying, etc., so it was kind of bizarre to be even less concerned about much of anything.

But this raises interesting possibilities, though I know next to nothing about mental problems. For sure, if I had some history of anxiety, I’d definitely want to try this stuff—could be very powerful. But if I had a history of depression, I might stick to a 3 or 6-day course now & then. Anyway, it was marked enough that I noticed. Definitely something is going on there.

Within a week of being done I felt pretty much back to my old self, and my digestion and well-being seem fine to me.

I definitely think this stuff is to be taken on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, no food for at least two hours. I did notice an increase in waste volume, so I suspect one might experience discomfort, perhaps bloating if taking it with food, especially prebiotic food.

OK, I think that’s about it. More later, when data begins coming in. In the meantime, if you want to give it a try.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. Bb on October 23, 2015 at 09:06

    +1 crazy dreams; +1 super calm/chilled – icy chilled like an ice-cream dude.

    Also, rotten gas which I love and going by my poop, my digestion appears to have improved.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 23, 2015 at 09:39

      Yea, Bb and to continue your ice cream reference, chocolate and vanilla.

      It was a little too chill for me towards the end, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some may need that, others may like it less than I. It’s a matter of finding if you see something there and then dose to just right. Perhaps that means washout days, perhaps it means half doses, etc.

      Canabis makes me uncomfortably chill to the point of mild paranoia in some circumstances, which is why I don’t indulge much. On the other hand, if I’m engaged in some physical work, a light buzz can really bring out the enjoyment in doing the task right, for me.

  2. JustinR on October 23, 2015 at 11:21

    I apologize if previously noted, but what is your magnesium supplement of choice?

    • Richard Nikoley on October 23, 2015 at 11:55

      I’ve used mag malate (can’t recall brand), now have both Doctor’s Best and the one from LEF. I switch ’em out. Absorption is an issue with mag, and from what I’ve gathered, stay away from oxide, which is just basically non-bio-available powdered rock.

      • JustinR on October 23, 2015 at 12:03

        Thanks, Richard.

  3. Brian on October 23, 2015 at 13:19

    I just finished my first Elixa course and coincidentally received my “before” uBiome results. As for the Elixa, I too noticed a calming effect. As a lifelong tortured Chicago Cubs fan, I should have been a basket case for the last week or two. Instead, it was just “meh”. Not in a bad way though, I quite enjoyed not being stressed by something as inconsequential as a sporting event. Now to figure out how to read these uBiome results….

  4. Richard Nikoley on October 23, 2015 at 14:31

    “As a lifelong tortured Chicago Cubs fan”

    You….no….I’ll let that go. ;)

  5. Resurgent on October 23, 2015 at 19:51

    Speaking of Magnesium supplementation – I use pure Magnesium Glycinate. I buy it in a 2 lb bag from bulk supplement stores and add a half a teaspoon to kefir to hide its unpleasant taste.
    It is also available from various other sources as capsules or powder, but with added taste improving additives.
    I find this is one of the more bio-available substances, and also inexpensive if bought in bulk.

  6. Jon on October 24, 2015 at 00:15

    I did a double course of Elixa recently and noticed the calming effect as well. In my case it wasn’t too calm. I found myself quite engaged in work, family and not bothered too much by things.

    I have experienced the same thing on other probiotics, but only for a day here and there. I’m taking Bifido Max and Dr Ohhira’s at the moment and have experienced the calm days, but not everyday.

    My wife is taking Bio-Kult and has had a similar experience.

  7. bb on October 24, 2015 at 22:40

    Alcohol. Does it mess with the probiotic? Should we avoid it while on Elixa?

    • Richard Nikoley on October 25, 2015 at 09:04

      Excess messes with the gut, so a probiotic can be beneficial, but perhaps less so than otherwise.

  8. T C on October 26, 2015 at 10:24

    Is there a chance the benefit of Elixa is just in the amount of probiotics? It seems like it has a similar quantity to other probiotic products. The difference being you take this in 3 doses versus the bottle recommended dose of 1/day in others.
    I find I get similar results if I take large amounts of other probiotics.
    Any thoughts?

    • Richard Nikoley on October 26, 2015 at 10:38

      It’s higher dose.

      This was my first thought. Just triple the dose of what you already take (assuming similar species). But that’s not the whole story. Karl developed a technology (he’s explained this in other comments) that encapsulates with some concoction that both makes your stomach expel it quickly, but then survive to the colon.

      So, you need both a high dose and a vehicle that gets it to the colon where it’s supposed to be.

  9. Resurgent on October 29, 2015 at 19:35

    An excellent study that was recently concluded proves what many have reported here:

  10. gordster on November 2, 2015 at 10:20

    Been lurker for some time. I recently ordered elixa (4 pack) and am nearly finished. I have only what can be considered severe gut dybosis which has progressively worsened for 30+ years. The elixa has helped a little to date, not a magic bullet. I have taken healthy trinity probiotics in the past which is more effective for me in some respects but the count is low and cost is high. The resistant starch has been the biggest help with the constipation but it never really took away the severe pain I live with.

    About 10 days into my elixa journey I started incorporating sole brine into my program. I am only in about day 10 of taking the brine but I am encouraged as my pain has dropped more than 70%. I am wondering if all the antibiotics, pain meds leached minerals that the brine is replacing.

    I am hoping over time things will get more normalized with my RS intake(been taking for 8 months), elixa and sole brine. Trying to be patient but the pain just wears on you.

  11. Hegemon on November 3, 2015 at 05:37

    Richard – how’s the bread experimentation going? I was curious if unenriched bread and/or elixa have helped with the plumbing department.

    I bought a local bread here that’s stone ground whole wheat flour, yeast, water, and honey. I ate it for a couple days, and had wicked acid reflux, trouble falling asleep, and crazy nightmares (as per the usual, in other words). Also runny poos the next morning. This is after 2 rounds of Elixa back to back. Have you had any of these symptoms, and if so do they go away if you keep eating gluten? I wonder if the gut will rebalance itself if I keep eating bread and give it time.

    I don’t want to abandon the real bread experiment too soon, but with a little one on the way in a few weeks I don’t want to trash my sleep (and the wife’s) for nothing.

  12. Keith on November 9, 2015 at 00:35

    Hello Elixa users,
    I bought the Elixa four pack and set aside last Saturday to start. But about 2 hours after taking them I started to get the worst headache which didn’t get better until the following day. I didn’t see a doctor (though I am a neuroscientist) but based on the symptoms (particularly it got worse when lying down, wasn’t migraine like and could be described as the worst headache pain I’ve had), I’d say there was a good chance it was raised intracranial pressure. I felt horrific all day. That night I had very vivid dreams. The next day I did a massive crap which I am guessing was a sign I might have had a strong die off reaction. I’ve had similar headaches on two other occasions so I can’t rule out it being coincidence (though I suspected a die off reaction on those occasions too – I had SIBO). Although I suspected the die off would pass if I continued (if it was die off), I had to stop taking the pills as I have a pregnant wife with morning sickness, a three year old and a job. So I am in a bit of a quandary. Do I try again in the future when the circumstances are more suitable? Try a lower dose them build up (though does this defeat the purpose?)?
    Has anyone had a similar experience or heard of die off causing raised intracranial pressure?

    Thoughts appreciated.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 9, 2015 at 07:08

      Keith, I’ll get this to Karl right away. I don’t want to speak out of turn, so I’ll let him field it.

    • Karl S on November 10, 2015 at 13:39

      Hi Keith,

      I’ve experienced this before too. I get it with psyllium husk and some cellulose variants.
      A few people get it with RS.
      I’m not entirely sure what causes this but it would certainly be described as a pounding headache from the gods. Hurts like hell but it tends to vanish after the first day.
      As for Elixa, it would work on the same mechanism. Some change in the gut flora is causing this. It could be the RS content, or even the cellulose material. Perhaps the probiotic content itself. You’re the first to report this on FTA/email, so I’d guess it has roughly the same prevalence as headaches from RS/psyllium. (very low)

      Vivid dreams is also a common report from RS. I’ve experienced that from inulin but not from psyllium.

      Like I said, whenever this has happened to me (over the years of my various crazy experiments) it has always worn off after the very first day. Which is hard to believe since it is so powerful and you can barely focus on anything else. Psyllium husk was the worst for me.

      Have you tried RS or psyllium in the past?

      Thanks for making me aware of this feedback. Always useful to know people’s experiences.

      It has always puzzled me how it occurs so rapidly after consumption of (in my case) the psyllium.

      Kind Regards,
      Karl (Elixa)

    • Sue on January 30, 2019 at 22:39

      You were experiencing detox symptoms. When you can get yourself through it, start again.

  13. Keith on November 11, 2015 at 00:43

    Thanks Karl. I’ll give them another try when the time is right. My wild speculative guess would be that something is affecting the tight junctions in the blood brain barrier causing increased pressure: possibly since the presence of bacteria in the small intestine cause intestinal TJs to open and the headache kicked in about the time my stomach empties. Less likely given the time frame (2hoirs after taking them) is a die off reaction since there is no way the Elixa bacteria could have reached my colon, it’s harder for me to believe, though there are bacteria in the small intestine to a lesser degree so its not impossible. When you / others get the headache from psyllium, how soon after consumption does it kick it?

    I eat quite a lot of cooked and rice (if cooled to frozen counts), sweet potato (Japanese ones which are basically desserts they are so sweet), and oats every day, though not out of any attempt to eat RS. I have been consuming wheat dextrin daily since my SIBO was cured. I got a brain fog after starting the oats and get it any time I try to eat more of them than what I am used to.

    I’m still having incredible dreams despite having only taken one dose 5 days ago. Very interesting. Has any research been done into this?

    Thanks again


    • Karl S on November 13, 2015 at 04:54

      Hi Keith!

      Yes, I certainly agree about the unlikelihood of Herxheimer reaction.

      My headache reaction to psyllium happens so fast (approx 30-60minutes) that it surely can’t be some metabolic byproduct of the bacteria or any interaction within the large intestine (although substrates and substances CAN indeed reach the large intestine in as short a time period as 60 mins, e.g. lactulose).

      The other major roadblock in trying to solve it is the fact that it doesn’t seem to re-occur after the first day that it occurs (which is not always on the first day of the ‘course’ of psyllium).
      I’m not sure how the headache with RS has manifested for most people. Maybe it is different entirely.

      Re: Dreaming.

      Not read it yet, but have it saved on my to-read list.

      Kind Regards,
      Karl (Elixa)

  14. Keith on November 15, 2015 at 14:50

    Thanks for the dreaming link. I look forward to reading.

    30-60 mins after ingestion for a headache is very fast. It’s tough to imagine that it’s a consequence of something happening in the stomach.

    I wondered whether if there was damage in the proximal small intestine together with something potentially noxious like billions of bacteria (harmless if in the right place but presumably you wouldn’t want them to breach the intestinal barrier?) or RS (? No idea), there could be a interaction.

    In any event, I’ll try again in a few weeks.

    • Keith on December 7, 2015 at 00:25

      I’m case anyone else ends up here after having the same experience, my update is that I tried Elixa again but took half late afternoon and had no problems so took the other 5 capsules before bed. I had no headache. Then the day after I took the whole dose at once in the morning and had no issues. Maybe it was coincidence, maybe the old blend, or maybe I just had to build up or something else.

      To early to comment on the effects other than the dreaming. Good grief. Taking them before sleeping made for an interesting, interesting night. The dreams were hallucinatory strength intense, surreal and memorable. Much more so than when I took the Elixa in the morning.

      • Karl S on December 14, 2015 at 16:13

        Hi Keith,
        Thanks for the update! Much appreciated.
        Good to hear the headache did not repeat.

        Interesting about the dreams. This is quite often referenced by RS takers and, in my experience, with Inulin. So it’s interesting to hear of this in the context of Elixa.

        Kind Regards,
        Karl (Elixa)

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