Seasonal Allergies and Probiotics

If you suffer seasonal allergies, this just might be the idea you’ve been waiting for. As spring approaches, you may find yourself dreading the sniffles, sneezes, and watery eyes that come with the season. The common remedies are OTC allergy meds such as Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra. If you are hit really hard, there’s a full line of prescription meds from Acrivastine to Veramyst. I have a better alternative!  Please read all the way to the end.

tl/dr – Probiotics, especially Elixa, might be better than traditional allergy meds!

 

potato-hack-allergy

Traditional Allergy Medications

Allergy meds fall into basic categories, the most common being sedating or non-sedating antihistamines. Other common allergy meds are:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Mast cell stabilizers
  • Leukotriene inhibitors
  • Nasal anticholinergics
  • Anticholinergic nasal sprays
  • Decongestants
  • Immunomodulators
  • Autoinjectable epinephrine

The nasal sprays are quite worrisome, you can actually become addicted to them! All of these Big Pharma allergy cures contain risks, as nearly all drugs do.

Probiotics

Probiotics are strains of bacteria that interact with humans in a beneficial way. They are often thought to work by creating colonies in the large intestine where most of our gut bacteria resides, crowding out “bad” microbes and creating chemicals, hormones, and vitamins that help us to stay healthy.  While this certainly occurs, other benefits of probiotics are through actions not fully understood by science. For instance, bacteria that have been killed by heat are also considered probiotic even though it’s just the dead bodies of these bacteria we consume. The assumption is that our immune system sees these dead bacteria and becomes stronger. Similar theories exist for live bacteria.

While there are many different types of bacteria called probiotic, it’s been quite apparent for many decades that two types of bacteria stand head and shoulders above the rest: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Lacto and Bifido for Allergy Relief

Researchers from the University of Florida recently completed a study in which they treated sufferers of seasonal allergies with a probiotic containing lacto and bifido (35 test subjects) compared to a group that received a placebo (37 subjects). The probiotic group  showed remarkable improvements in symptoms related to “sniffling, sneezing, coughing,  aching, stuffy heads, and fever (to borrow a jingle from the ’80s).

The researchers presented the data like this:

sneezing

In their conclusion, these pioneers in pollen and probiotics commented:

It is plausible that probiotics, as commensal organisms, may serve a greater role in preventing allergies earlier in life when the immune system is still developing. Our study demonstrates a potential benefit for healthy adults with self-identified seasonal allergies when the probiotic is administered starting at the greatest level of allergy symptoms. Prophylactic administration of the probiotic might potentiate the beneficial effects observed in this study.

The researchers messed up a little…they didn’t even get started with the study until allergy season was well underway, and still the probiotics worked!  Furthermore, they tested numerous immune system markers, gut bacteria, and performed several other medical tests that demonstrate that these probiotics did, indeed, have an effect on the health, well-being, and immune function of the the probiotic test group.

A Little Free Advertising

I did some digging and made a few phone calls, it turns out that the probiotics used in the study were a commercial off-the-shelf Kyolic Kyo-Dophilus manufactured by Wakunaga of America Co., Ltd.

Kyo-Dophilus is supplied in capsules that contain 1.5 billion colony forming units (CFUs) broken down as:

  • 1.2 billion CFU of Lacto gasseri
  • 0.15 billion CFU of Bifido bifidum
  • 0.15 billion CFU of Bifido longum

Now, I promise you this blog post was not intended to be a plug for my favorite brand of probiotics, Elixa, but that’s what it’s going to turn into…

Elixa Version 3

Karl Seddon of the UK has been doing his homework very well. He’s developing a brand of probiotics that he calls Elixa. In the many years I have been studying and writing about gut health, I was always very leery of ever recommending any specific brand of probiotics, but I always just said to make sure that whatever you buy contains lots and lots of lacto and bifido…particularly Bifidobacteria longum, often written as B. longum. B. longum, in my opinion, is the workhorse of the probiotic world, and many scientists agree. B. Longum is the “Champion Colonizer of the Infant Gut.”  My other all-time favorite probiotic is Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum). This is bacteria is the magic behind sauerkraut and kimchi.

I would not consider recommending a probiotic that did not contain both these species of bacteria. Imagine my surprise when I saw Elixa’s new blend, Version 3 which contains:

  • Lactobacillus Plantarum
  • Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
  • Bifidobacterium Bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium Lactis
  • Bifidobacterium Longum
  • Bifidobacterium Infantis
  • Bifidobacterium Breve

When you buy Elixa, you get six sachets, each containing a day’s worth of probiotics. Each sachet contains 10 pills. Karl recommends taking 10 pills every day for six days to help restore gut function after illness or antibiotics. I cannot argue with that logic, and I’ve given similar advice long before Elixa was available.

Comparing Kyo-Dophilus and Elixa

Price-wise, Kyo-Dophilus seems cheaper. You get 360 capsules for $45. Compared to Elixa at $39.95 for 60 capsule (a 6-day supply). But here’s the kicker: Each capsule of Elixa contains 50 billion CFU’s of probiotics whereas Kyo-Dophilus capsules contain 1.5 billion. You’d need 33 capsules of Kyo-Dophilus to match one capsule of Elixa!

Allergy Challenge

For anyone suffering seasonal allergies, I’d like to offer a challenge. Instead of spending your money on Flonase and Zyrtec, buy a bottle of Kyo-Dophilus and/or Elixa and see how it effects your allergies.

Kyo-Dophilus is found in Walmart, Walgreen, Vitacost, iherb, or on Amazon. If you want Elixa, you’ll have to go straight to the supplier at Elixa-Probiotic.com.

To make it fair…and to replicate the study design of the probiotic/allergy research from the University of Florida, I’d suggest using two capsules per day of Kyo-Dophilus and one capsule per day of Elixa. This means a six-day supply of Elixa (60 capsules) will last 60 days. A big bottle of Kyo-Dophilus (360 capsules) would last 180 days. But allergy season generally only lasts a month at best, so you’re looking at about $40 for each challenge. To summarize:

allergy

I suspect that Elixa will work better since taking one capsules of Elixa per day is equivalent to taking 33 capsules of Kyo-Dophilus (are you bean counters catching on yet?). For those taking Elixa, feel free actually to take as many capsules per day, up to the full 10, as you like.

I’ll let you know how it works, as a long-time sufferer of birch pollen allergy, I’ll be using up my Elixa during the May/June birch pollen season.

If anyone else tries, I’d love to hear your results.

I’ve discussed this “off-label” challenge with Karl Seddon, CEO and founder of Elixa, and he’s excited to see the results.

Tim Steele

60 Comments on “Seasonal Allergies and Probiotics”

  1. Wilbur March 8, 2017 at 6:35 am #

    Great post Tim! For anyone who is dubious, I used to have terrible seasonal allergies. I had them for over 30 years. Must gut project cured them completely. I used kimchi and sauerkraut though.

    I have a hypothesis. I am even more convinced after reading Life at the Speed of Light. Venter had to be very careful in verifying that he had created artificial,life because of horizomtal gene transfer. Putting in genes to make his artificial ones glow blue and be resistant to an antibiotic wasn’t enough evidence because the genes could have been horizontally swapped, leaving the real live cells blue and resistant.

    So my hypothesis is that it’s the diversity of genes that matter. That could also explain why heat killed bacteria are probiotic. Dirt contains lots of genes, as ivevread, so maybe that’s s why getting dirt going through the gut is so good. Plants have endophytes, which might be another reason a plant of diverse and locally sourced plants is so good.

    People who eat mainly processed food probably get very few genes.

    Anyway, it’s amazing not having allergies. Totally worth it. Good luck to anyone who tries!

    Like

    • Marc July 2, 2017 at 8:40 am #

      Great information Wilbur! As an allergy sufferer too I’d be interested in learning more about what exactly cured your allergies. You mention:

      “Must gut project cured them [allergies] completely”

      However it is not clear what “Must gut project” is exactly. Any further details regarding this? Thanks!

      Like

    • Marc July 31, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

      Hey Tim, by chance do you know what gut project program (“must gut project”) Wilbur may be referring to when he mentioned that it cured his allergies? Haven’t found anything related to it on the web. Thanks!

      Like

      • Tim Steele August 1, 2017 at 6:27 am #

        I assume “must” was supposed to be “my,” If so, Wilbur’s gut project was to increase his daily fiber intake to something like 100-150g/day. On a side note, I started taking the Elixa this summer when I’d notice allergy symptoms, and it helped immensely. I normally get side-tracked with runny nose a couple weeks every summer, but have had almost none of it this year. My routine was to take 5 or 6 Elixa capsules when I noticed allergy symptoms, then 1 or 2 a day for a couple days.

        Like

        • Wilbur August 1, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

          Marc, sorry, I missed your post. Yes, it was supposed to read “my.”

          My gut project is to eat a little of as many fiber and fibrous plant types as possible every day, and to vary things on a weekly scale. For fun, I counted one typical day and found that I had eaten about 45 types of plants that day. Some are powdered like dandelion root, which is high in inulin, and baobab, which is high in pectin. I drink a fiber drink every day that has about 100 g of prebiotics. I drink tea and herbal teas, as well as wind and beer, which are all beneficial.

          The rest of my eating is whatever I want to eat. But my improved gut hijacked my food tastes, and I eat only healthy stuff 99.9% of the time. The only rule is never, ever preservatives or artificial ingredients.

          I had terrible allergies. Where I live, you were only allowed to get the -D version of allergy meds, the ones that helped a little, OTC for a 10-day supply once per month. It sucked!

          After starting my gut project, I was on a walk when I noticed that everywhere I went it smelled like Fabreze. I couldn’t figure it out. It actually triggered headaches because at that time I associated Fabreze with rental cas that people had smoked in. I found out, however, that I was smelling Spring! For the first time in decades! Now I can smell flowers by type. Mimosa is my favorite. I’ll smell it on a walk and hunt for it until I find it. Sometimes it’s half a block away. I’ve not had allergy symptoms in 4 years.

          Like

          • Marc August 1, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

            Thanks for the info Wilbur! Very informative and useful post. Feeding the microbiome with a high variety of prebiotic sources is indeed a good idea. For that however I think the gut microbiome must already be in a good state otherwise unwanted bacteria may end up consuming most of those prebiotics.

            Prebiotics alone may very well fix most gut bacteria imbalances in the long run but I think combining prebiotics with probiotics would be a lot more effective.
            For example a good approach may be to combine taking a good variety of probiotics (like Elixa, SBOs, fermented vegetables, etc.) for a few weeks and then introduce a high quantity and variety of prebiotics.

            Like

            • Wilbur August 2, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

              Well, my gut was in terrible shape when I started my gut project. I had IBS-D and metabolic syndrome. Signs of developing CVD thatbran in my family. Overweight. High blood pressure. Prone to abscesses. Certain foods were guaranteed to cause problems.

              I used to think in terms of good and bad bugs. In fact, I imagined a war going on inside me and I was feeding the good guys. The road was not easy or short. I had some pretty nasty bowel movements at times. But within about 6 months, it was clear that all my problems had significantly reversed. My doctor told me that, until then, she believed what I had done would have been impossible.

              Now I’ve read a lot more about genetics, epigenetics, nutriepigenetics, and such. I think the story is a lot more wonderful than bad vs. good. Just my opinion though.

              I don’t want to get into it too much, but apparently bacteria love to cooperate (it is my regret that I once disagreed with wildcucumber on this, but I now agree with her). They want us to be healthy. It’s in their best interest. But they also want to survive, and for that they need to eat. If you don’t feed them, they’ll find food – it’s you. So the good guys effectively become bad guy when not fed.

              Bacteria very easily change food sources. It might be a change in gene expression, but they are inveterate gene swappers. i don’t know what it means to be a bad guy here, except as an expressed function. But what if that function changes when a good food source (fiber, plant) is available?

              So maybe it is two-prong prebiotics and probiotics. The only popularly considered probiotics I’ve consistently used are fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Oh, and l. Reuteri. Not sure why on the last but my gut seems to like it.

              But plants are probiotic. They have endophytes. So lots of different plants get lots of different genes flowing through your gut for the bacteria to sample. Plus food for the bacteria.

              I’ve read that dirt is littered with genes. So getting dirt plants (from farmers markets or your garden) and getting a dog probably send even more genes through.

              A fascinating book that I loved is Sharon Maolem’s “Inheritance: How our genes change our lives – and how our lives change our genes.” He is a very good writer. He also has a diet book. I’m not as enthusiastic, but he does say that it’s good to eat a little of everything and not a lot of anything. I think his advice is solid in the diet book, but it’s too repetitive.

              Good luck!

              Like

              • Teddy August 2, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

                Hi Wilbur,

                You have answered many questions about your journey. Here is one more: when you were starting with the fibers, I know you added one at a time but how much of each did you add and how long did you wait before you increased the amount of each particular fiber? Did you wait for bloating to stop if you had bloating at all? What about you Tim?

                I think I went too far with psyllium husk a couple weeks ago and my skin broke out terribly – the exact problem I was trying to correct. I wonder if it is a detox reaction.

                Another unrelated question – my fermented vegetables came out on the soft side. The only crunchy one in the mix is jicama. Have you guys had that happen? Not enough salt maybe? There are so many variations about the ratio of salt to vegetables and /or water for brine that it is hard to pick the right one. Any ideas?

                Like

                • Wilbur August 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

                  I just winged it. I figured bloating and farting were the price to pay. Nothing painful, usually. I don’t remember exactly what I did but I did know to go slowly. It takes time to reverse many years of problems.

                  I’m guessing not enough salt. Or too high a temperature. I pretty much leave my fermenting to experts, and there are many very good ones where I live. The only exception is yogurt. I made my own wild culture (no commercial involved) and it is very predictable and easy.

                  Like

                  • Fiona August 3, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

                    Hi Wilbur, did the bloating and farting take a long time to abate? Did it abate or does it not affect you? My bloating is completely gone but the other symptom may become a problem suddenly for an hour or two or three sort of randomly at times I least want to experience that type of symptom. They are a little challenging for some sorts of employment!! 🙂 … Thank you for sharing all your experiments and results and thoughts – it is really appreciated and helpful.

                    Like

                    • Wilbur August 3, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

                      This is a hard one to explain. I do not have bloating caused by fibers. Sometimes excess salt bloats me, but that is different.

                      During the day (night is very different), I feel there is a connection between my mind and gut that provides perfect farting/pooping timing. It’s weird. An example: my main bowel movement is at about 8:30 most mornings. But I have a 7 am flight that by the time I get to the hotel it’s 3 pm. I do not have to go before or during the flight. No pressure. But I get to the hotel, and, wow, I make up for lost time! It’s like my brain lets my gut know that now is not a good time until it is.

                      This happens a lot to me. Knowing that my usual schedule is inconvenient is enough to put me on a different schedule.

                      It’s sort of the same with farting. During the day, I know there are times I can’t fart, so I don’t. Then I am alone for a few minutes, and then suddenly I nonstop fart.

                      I’m known around our house as the guy who never farts.

                      Nighttime is a whole different animal. I wake realizing I sound like a whole section of trumpets. My wife and I have agreed to never speak of nighttime emissions. Good thing for me! I guess consciousness is vital for control of flatulence.

                      Like

                  • Fiona August 3, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

                    I just wanted to say thank you for your reply (a couple of posts down) Wilbur. It sounds like you have the body/mind connection all sorted – at least during the day. It seems I still have to work to do in that area. It sounds similar to me not needing an alarm clock as I have the whole mind/body clock connection with waking up in the morning functioning well – I just think the time I want to wake up and I do.

                    Like

                    • Wilbur August 4, 2017 at 11:15 am #

                      I forgot to mention that there are times when I thought I was alone but wasn’t. Oops.

                      Not me. I’d sleep all day without an alarm. In fact, I have trouble sleeping when I haven’t set an alarm!

                      Like

                  • Teddy August 4, 2017 at 3:02 am #

                    Wilbur, I was rereading about your yogut making experiments from an earlier post. I am curious about the way you use kale: 1 inch piece from the stem or leaf and you add that to how much milk? Anything new you have played with?

                    Like

                    • Wilbur August 4, 2017 at 11:12 am #

                      I stopped making the kale version. It was the best when by itself, but the favors would not come out in other applications. The chile stem version is the one I use.

                      I used about one-inch square in a pint jar. More milk requires more time. If I started all over, I’d do one-inch of kale or maybe 6 chile stems in a cup of milk at 110 degrees F. I’d let it go until it has a nice strong yogurt smell. Loosely cover (to avoid skin). Let go to room temp, then refrigerate. Check the texture the next day. The texture improves when it’s cold. If you like it, then move up to a couple of quart jars. Put a couple of tablespoons of yogurt in each, fill wth milk, stir, cover loosely, and put back in at 110 degrees F. I leave mine in about 12 hours. Let go to room temp, then refrigerate to avoid condensation on jar and lid interiors. Use the most recent batch to inoculate the next, as they seem to improve with age.

                      Nothing new! Good luck!

                      Like

                    • Mark Leigh August 8, 2017 at 11:31 am #

                      I made yogurt from kale yesterday. I picked 3 medium-sized leaves from my garden and put them in 2 quarts of pasteurized whole milk in my Instant Pot which happens to have a yogurt setting. I took out yogurt 14 hours later when the whey was starting to separate. It tastes good.

                      A pretty big quantity of yogurt stuck to the kale leaves so I wrung out the yogurt from the leaves.

                      I left the lid off my Instant Pot. I didn’t bother to heat the milk to 180 degrees prior to adding the leaves like some yogurt makers recommend.

                      Like

                    • Teddy August 8, 2017 at 11:59 am #

                      Mark, you beat me to it. I picked up a gallon of raw milk today and plan to use it tomorrow. Did you keep the milk at 110 F? Sorry but I don’t know how instapot works. What do you think is the best approach to use with raw milk?

                      Like

                    • Wilbur August 8, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

                      Congrats! I forgot to say that my method is valid only for pastuerized milk. I know nothing about raw milk! I personally would feel uncomfortable not heating raw milk to 180.

                      Like

                    • Mark Leigh August 8, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

                      Teddy, I don’t know anything about making yogurt from raw milk. The internet seems to have quite a few different opinions about making yogurt.

                      I don’t know how warm the Yogurt Setting is on my Instant Pot. I leave the cover off because I suspect that the yogurt may get too hot if I leave the cover on.

                      Like

              • Marc September 24, 2017 at 10:25 am #

                Hi Wilbur, thanks for providing more details about how you eliminated your allergies. On my end I have been trying multiple approaches to tackle this problem: year long rhinitis, especially in the mornings with extreme allergy symptoms during the hay fever season. I should had that my diet is quite good (mostly paleo with very little / no processed food).

                Elixa alone has unfortunately not helped very much with regard to allergies. I’ve also tried Resistant Starch, GOS, Inulin, etc. and I feel it helped but once I stopped taking them, symptoms returned. I think the problem is that I have not taken prebiotics in enough quantities and for a sufficient period of time so they have a lasting effect. Also I may not be incorporating enough variety of prebiotics (only 3) when adding a few more would have a compounded positive effect (as you mentioned about the way “bad bacteria” can start to have a less negative effect when fed).

                Do you have a list of the types of fiber that you think worked the best for you (or maybe just the list of the different fibers/prebiotic sources you tried)?

                Also do you have more details about the quantities? Are we talking about consuming how many grams of each per day?

                Finally, are there any supplements that you think could work well in solving this allergy issue (for example one that provides as much variety of prebiotics as possible)?

                I imagine the more variety of prebiotics you consume, the better as it has more chances to cover all bases. Now it is matter to figure out how to get them (food or supplement form) and in what quantities.

                Thanks a lot in advance.

                Like

                • Marc September 24, 2017 at 10:35 am #

                  Hi Tim, please don’t hesitate to share your take if you have some tips/answers to the questions in the previous comment too. Thanks a lot.

                  Like

        • Marc August 1, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

          Thank you very much for the information Tim! On my end Elixa hasn’t fixed allergies unfortunately but I think it has helped a lot with digestion.

          Like

          • Teddy August 10, 2017 at 7:06 am #

            Hey guys, I made the kale yogurt from raw milk just like I make yogurt with a Tbsp spoon of a Fage but instead used 2 sq inch of kale. Turned out great. Thanks Wilbur and Mark!

            Like

            • Wilbur August 10, 2017 at 9:38 am #

              Cool! We had to throw away a couple of containers of Fage because no one would touch it after having homemade.

              Like

  2. Wilbur March 8, 2017 at 6:45 am #

    I just noticed your chart on cost per day. Those with really serious allergies (like mine) probably use the D version, such as Claritin-D. That’s much more expensive. Plus at least in my state, you can’t buy 30 pills at a time. People use it to make meth or something. We are restricted to one box of 10. I think that’s one box per month. Your driver’s license gets scanned. It forces the description route for chronic sufferers. Prescription might be “cheaper” but you know you are really paying for it in feeling funny, not having work 100%, and in potentiall side effects, which probably include sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.

    Like

  3. Tim Steele March 8, 2017 at 10:26 am #

    I’ve never taken probiotics except after a surgery last year. I’ll be curious to see if taking 1 Elixa a day has any noticeable effect on allergies. Every year in May or June, at the height of birch pollen season, I get sneezy, watery eyed, and puffy eyes. I usually wait until it gets really annoying and then pop some Zyrtec or something. This year I’ll do the Elixa and see what happens.

    I tried eating bee pollen, did not help. I eat lots of fiber, no change. This will be interesting.

    Like

  4. Susan March 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    Hi, Tim. The last time I left a comment for you I was awaiting an order of Bimuno. Three boxes arrived on January 18. What happened next was just short of a miracle. Two days after I started using Bimuno in my morning coffee my years-long allergy symptoms completely disappeared. No clogged sinuses; drippy, burning eyes or nose; itchy ears or burning eustachian tubes. And no aggravating post-nasal drip with the accompanying sore throat. If I left anything out, Bimuno fixed that, too! After 49 days, I’ve not used any allergy eye drops, nose sprays, throat-numbing sprays, or allergy pills. Talk about saving money! I also made a trip back East during this time, and still had no allergy problems, not even on the plane. Life is so much better these days.

    Thanks for all you do for us.

    Susan

    Like

    • Tim Steele March 8, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

      That’s great! Bimuno is a prebiotic fiber derived from cow’s milk called GOS (Galacto oligosaccharides). It was created to mimic the fiber in human breast milk (Human milk oligosaccharides). GOS is found in nearly every baby formula sold, but not generally used by adults. In fact, it was not even available to purchase until Bimuno came along. (http://amzn.to/2nfTrcA)

      Susan – had you tried any other prebiotic fibers prior to trying Bimuno such as potato starch, inulin, etc?

      Thanks for the update.

      Like

      • Susan March 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

        Thanks for asking, Tim. Yes, i’ve been taking inulin and Hi-Maize for the last year or so, as well as eating greenish bananas, lentils and other high-fiber foods regularly. I was one of those who didn’t fare well on potato starch, which apparently caused me achy knees and hips. No achy anything now. Also, I regularly drink kefir. My daily fiber regimen is a sachet of Bimuno in the morning, and an after-dinner glass of water with a tablespoon of beef gelatin and a heaping tablespoon of Hi-Maize stirred in. I take a tablespoon of inulin a few times a week.

        Like

        • Tim Steele March 8, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

          Just shows that it pays to keep trying. Prebiotics/probiotics/gut health is a “real thing” even if it does not seem like it sometimes. Just gotta find that magic combination. I like your fiber regimen…not expensive and hits all the elements. Good job!

          Like

          • Susan March 8, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

            Thanks, Tim. I owe my happy gut bugs to you and your blogs.

            Like

            • Tim Steele March 8, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

              Thanks.

              Another source of GOS is Klaire Labs Galactomune (http://amzn.to/2m0xjSH). A combo of GOS and beta-glucans. One serving has 5g of “a blend of GOS and beta-glucans.” It does not say how much GOS, though.

              Also Seeking Health GOS, same mixture as Klaire Labs, a bit more expensive (http://amzn.to/2ngilsF).

              By contrast, Bimuno has about 2.5g of GOS per serving.

              Galactomune is $34 for 30 5g servings.

              Seeking Health GOS is $39.95 for 30 5g servings.

              Bimuno (on Amazon) is $18.98 for 30 sachets (http://amzn.to/2ngfmk0) But I also see it advertised for $98 for the same exact product (http://amzn.to/2m0nbJK), so buyer beware when buying Bimuno! Don’t pay too much.

              Like

              • Susan March 9, 2017 at 6:25 am #

                Tim, do you have any opinion about whether prebiotic supplements are a daily life-long addition, or if the changes are semi-permanent or perhaps permanent, barring antibiotic use in some form? Just curious.

                Re costs, I paid ~$11 for each 30-day box of Bimuno through Amazon. Hi-Maize came from Honeyville 5 lbs for ~$20, and inulin from Piping Rock 425g for ~$10.

                Like

                • Tim Steele March 9, 2017 at 7:18 am #

                  I think you could phase out supplements if you could replace them with high fiber foods, ie. several servings of beans, cooked/cooled or raw potatoes, green bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, garlic, etc.

                  Every time I try, I fall short in getting near the target of 40g/day. If I stop all supplements for a couple weeks, and just eat normally without regard to fiber, I notice a slow change towards bowel irregularity, constipation-type stools, and odoriferousness (to put it nicely).

                  I’m sold on life-long supplementation of prebiotics, but what works for one person may not work for another, so experimentation is in order for everyone.

                  I think that the vast majority of Westerners are not getting near enough fiber and have become complacent in accepting poor bowel function as normal. This in turn leads to a weakened immune system and other issues that could be regulated by a well-fed gut.

                  Like

                • Wilbur March 9, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

                  I tend to agree with Tim.

                  A daily life-long addition? Not daily per se. I usually get about 120-150 g/day of prebiotics, but I can skip days. A couple at a time. For some reason, I’ve declared Saturday morning to be a fast time, and that includes fibers. Whatever. I’m just a passenger.

                  But I never go long without them. I’ve not gone long enough to experience old, negative symptoms.

                  But over the years, I’ve gradually reduced my percentage of “isolated fibers.” The isolated fibers are GOS, larch arabinogalactan, inulin, partially hydrogenated guar gum, and glucomannan. The rest come from what I’d consider “food,” like raw potato starch, baobab, amla, Hawthorne berry, dandelion root, burdock root, green banana flour, blue-green algae, Amazing Green Grass, maca root, chia seed, psyllium husk powder, flaxseed, chia seed, dried mushroom powders, black seed, cumin seed, black peppercorn, and so on. Also cacao powder for those so inclined.

                  Teas are important. I drink black teas, green teas, red teas, African wild teas, white teas. Lots of different spices in the teas. Lots of flowers. Hibiscus, jasmine, and camomile I think are the best. Holy basil. Bark teas are a new favorite, especially wild cherry bark. But sassafras bark and peppermint bark are good too. Coffee is good.

                  What you drink might have prebiotic and probiotic potential. Beer and/or wine. Scotch vs bourbon.

                  Diet, as Tim says.

                  All of these influence the gut. Lots of studies.

                  Putting all of this into a coherent picture, it becomes less of an obligation than more of an opportunity. This is good. These veggies are beautiful. The fiber drink makes me feel better. Tea relaxes me.

                  You start thinking for the gut first. Then you never want to quit. The gut wins.

                  Like

                  • Wilbur March 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

                    Compare the ingredients in a good, organic Chai tea to a Diet Coke. Which is better for the gut? Which tastes better?

                    Like

                  • Tim Steele March 9, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

                    Very, very well put, Wilbur!

                    ” …it becomes less of an obligation than more of an opportunity.”

                    I feel the same way. When I make a cocoa powder, banana, potato starch, chia seed, blueberry, coffee smoothie, it makes me feel good…not something I dread doing. Or even just mixing a spoonful of RPS in water and drinking…not a pain at all, an opportunity.

                    Same feeling I get when I pull dandelions in my driveway, then eat them…roots and all. Or tap a birch tree for it’s first drips of sap in the spring. Something to rejoice.

                    Like

                    • wildcucumber March 31, 2017 at 9:04 am #

                      Wait, what? You make smoothies with coffee, Tim? That’s brilliant! I’m fed up with yoghurt & kefir, don’t want to go too fruity, so I think I’ll try it. Nice, thanks!

                      Like

                    • Wilbur April 6, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

                      Hey Tim and Wildcucumber –

                      I have been doing a lot of experimenting. I can’t think of where to post this, or even if you are interested or even if you already know. It all started with a friend lamenting that she had to use commercial starters to inoculate her homemade yogurt. Well, in olden days they didn’t have stores for that.

                      I found references to using chili pepper stems and “ant eggs” as starters. The stems are apparently traditional in some parts of India. So I tried it in the bread proofing box I bought to make salt rising bread and sourdough (still haven’t made them). It took about 18 hour at 105-110 degrees, but the yogurt was great!

                      I’ve now made several generations of yogurt using the previous batch as a starter. But I wondered what was special about chili stems. So I tried a piece of organic lacinato kale. The yogurt was even better! Really complex flavor. The Fage we have is harsh and off-putting in comparison.

                      What about fermented vegetables? I tried beet pickles. It made an interesting yogurt that has a beet flavor. I’m going to try something more neutral next time, and also make generations of beet yogurt to see if the beet taste goes away.

                      And, yes, as soon as I can find ant eggs that have not been saturated with poisons, I’m going to try that. My understanding is that they are the little balls of dirt that make up an anthill.

                      There is a lot of misinformation out there. Lots of reputable sites advise against ultra-pasteurized milk. I use that. It will be thin and runny. Mine is thick. I can make it thicker by draining the whey and/or adding cream. It will taste like chile pepper. It doesn’t. I don’t put the fruit in. The kale version has no kale taste. You have to heat the milk to 180 (or similar) and then cool to 110. Nope. I drop a 1-inch square piece of kale into a pint of cold milk, and put in the bread proofer.

                      I’m a bit unsettled on the temp. 110 was the first suggestion, but things seem to be better with 105.

                      Anyway, I know a lot of you readers use yogurt for their smoothies, so maybe this will help. I think commercial yogurt is essentially processed food, and off dubious health value. If you look past the nonsensical misinformation of the web, it’s really easy.

                      IMPORTANT NOTE: Nothing I’ve said should be applied to raw milk. Whole different animal!

                      Like

                    • Tim Steele April 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

                      Cool, good to know, Wilbur. I have never dabbled in fermenting milk at all. I’ve made salt-rising bread and lots of beer, though. I would have never thought about pepper stems or ant dirt. I assume you do not mean real eggs, just the dirt balls they use to create mounds.

                      Ant hill dirt has some interesting properties, one is that it has a sort of natural antifreeze in it and is used to keep things moving in cold weather. Ants have symbiotic relationships with friendly fungi and bacteria, so it would make sense that ant-hill related items might make good fermenting media.

                      Like

                    • Jo tB April 10, 2017 at 11:38 am #

                      Wilbur, what an interesting find. I would like to try the experiment with the latino kale. Did you use the leafy part of the kale or the stalky end. I use it a lot in my smoothies so I could easily leave an inch off the bottom and put that into the yoghurt (I have a yoghurt making machine).

                      Matrixik, funny you mentioned Ergomax. I recently bought GOS from them too. Haven’t gotten round to using it as I am starting to use Wilbur’s fiber mixture and need to add it. And I have also discovered Amazon. de !! Good source for probiotics, as you can get German brands there.

                      I’m keeping my fingures crossed that it all works out well.

                      Like

                  • Teddy March 23, 2017 at 4:34 am #

                    Wilbur,
                    Which GOS brand do you take?

                    Like

                    • Wilbur March 28, 2017 at 10:52 am #

                      Tim, Susan, and Teddy –

                      I’d forgotten about this. Given Susan’s experience with GOS and allergies, I had my wife add it to her fiber drink. At the time, she was taking Claritin-D, using nose sprays that caused bleeding, and she had ringing in her ears that felt connected to sinus pressure. That’s typical for her thisvtime of year. She very quickly improved and has no problems, and that’s being deeper into allergy season. Cool! Thanks Susan! My wife is very grateful.

                      Teddy, it’s the Seeking Health Probiota Immune. About a teaspoon per day, which is what my wife takes too.

                      Like

                    • Susan March 31, 2017 at 6:36 am #

                      It’s good to have another GOS option, so I’m glad you asked, Teddy.

                      And Wilbur, I’m happy to hear that GOS has relieved your wife’s allergies! Thanks for the validation.

                      Update: I’ve been taking Bimuno GOS daily for ~2.5 months and still have no allergy symptoms. Shocking! And to top it off, I feel so healthy.

                      Like

                    • Matrixik April 5, 2017 at 11:11 am #

                      Hi, in Europe I found also Ergomax Prebiotics – Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS) 400 grams for 23 € (from their site, 33 € from amazon.de…).
                      Anyone have any experiences with them?

                      Like

                    • Tim Steele April 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

                      Matrixik – It appears there are only 2 or 3 products available with GOS. I’ve not heard many people discussing them, other than Bimuno. I have no reason to think that they are not all as good as Bimuno. I’m curious to hear your experience.

                      Like

  5. TR March 8, 2017 at 5:21 pm #

    Hi Tim- I had Spring allergies too for years, then they up and disappeared. Not sure why. I can only attribute it too better eating. I am SOLD on the benefits of Elixa. If by chance it doesn’t work, I used to use Histablock by Nature’s Sunshine. No side effects, and it did work and kept the symptoms in check….FWIW.

    Like

    • Tim Steele March 9, 2017 at 7:23 am #

      Glad to hear that Elixa is working for you. Thanks for the tip on Histablock (http://amzn.to/2nj3ldF). I love the ingredient list!

      “Stinging nettle, quercetin, bromelain and immature orange peel (which contains synephrine)”

      Like

  6. fatboymuscleman March 8, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

    Tim, I’m 6’4″ and my colon is physically larger than a 5’4″ woman. Just ask my toilet…

    In guessing I’d see better results with more Eliza tablets per day. Thinking about 20 per day for 12 days along with additional prebiotics at the same time. Maybe 10 in the AM and 10 in the early PM.

    Thoughts?

    Also, I read about a probiotic l curvatus combined with l plantarum improved cholesterol and led to weight loss.

    I cannot find l curvatus to save my life. Can you do some digging?

    http://suppversity.blogspot.de/2015/11/health-weight-loss-start-in-gut.html?m=1

    Like

    • Tim Steele March 9, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

      I’ve wondered that myself, if bigger people should take more probiotics. My initial reaction is that the doses given are for “medium-sized” people, and adequate for everyone. Once a bacteria gets hold, it should grow according to the fermentable food sources in your colon, the larger doses found in Elixa are there to ensure it can get a foothold. If I was 6’4, I’d probably be inclined to super-size doses of about everything, lol.

      Here’s a place that sells L. curvatus for fermenting foods: https://www.lactic.com/en-us/products/productrange/galastar%E2%84%A2.aspx

      And for making sausages: http://www.sausagemaker.com/bactoferm-f-lc-p/11-1313.htm

      But I cannot find any probiotic blends that contain it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • fatboymuscleman March 9, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

        Thanks!

        I knew you’d be able to find some.

        I ran across this today:

        http://www.ascendedhealth.com/nutrigenomics/Probiotics.htm

        I’m going to give that regimin a shot plus all of the prebiotic fiber and RS you recommend.

        Thinking about a big ol pot of chili thickened with HyMaize (added at the end when the chili is starting to cool off) with mixed greens, cinnamon, turmeric, dark chocolate, lots of tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic lean beef, and a bunch of different beans.

        That should give my gut a good amount of stuff that the good bacteria want.

        Like

      • Susan March 10, 2017 at 5:48 am #

        Tim, I’m curious about the smaller people/bigger people thing–about eating food and also taking prebiotic/probiotic supplements. I weigh 115 lbs. and am 5’3″. The average American woman weighs165 pounds, so I understand. That’s a huge difference. What does that mean for me and others who weigh less than average?

        Wilbur, you’ve figured out what works for you and I admire your persistence and dedication. But I can’t imagine consuming the quantity of prebiotics that you do. Is this your entire diet, or do you also eat more “normal” foods as well?

        Fatboymuscleman, thanks for bringing up this topic. I’ve long wondered about it.

        Like

        • Tim Steele March 10, 2017 at 10:44 am #

          In retrospect, I think that only prebiotic fiber needs dosed to the size of the person. The “official guidelines” for fiber are 30-38 for men and 25 for women. This tells me the designers too average size into mind, but it’s a pretty short-sighted way to present it to the public. But it would be hard to come up with any rule, so many factors involved.

          In general, bigger people need to eat more food. So the amount of fiber ingested is kind of self-regulated to appetite in a real-world setting. In modern day, we are all aiming for gram targets, but really should use more of less depending on weight/size/metabolism,

          Once the colon is filled with fiber, it should not take an extra large dose of probiotics to populate the available areas.

          The bacteria will explode in growth in just a few minutes/hours. What you hope is that the 10 billion colony forming units you swallow will become 10 trillion in a very short time. Consider the average gut has around 100 trillion bacteria living in it all the time.

          I doubt eating 10 billion more would effect the outcome at 8 hours if the food eaten was the same.

          Hope that helps!

          Like

        • Wilbur March 10, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

          I weigh 165, so my intake scaled to you weight might be 80-90.

          I do eat normal food. Lately breakfast has been a whole grain rye sandwich with smoked salmon, egg, and onion with black pepper and cracked cumin seeds. Plus kimchi and raw miso on the side as my probiotics. I skip lunch, no snacks. Dinner is whatever I like. Last night was goat shoulder with bacon jerky braised in pork bone broth, (made from dried) baby Lima beans, lacinato kale, and dried Turkish figs for dessert. Tonight is tuna casserole and peas.

          I don’t eatbpizza often, but when I do it’s usually the whole pie.

          On a recent travel, i reduced my prebiotic intake for longer than usual. I found myself being much hungrier than usual. I think the prebiotics generate a lot of calories through SCFAs.

          Like

          • Susan March 10, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

            Everything sounds delicious and well-considered, Wilbur. Thanks for answering my question about your diet. I rarely eat pizza, either!

            My weight set point since beginning a fiber regimen has adjusted from ~110 to ~115, so I do think you’re right about those extra fat calories. Hmmmm. More to think about.

            I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey.

            Like

            • Wilbur March 10, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

              I think too that the added fiber can increase fecal matter and associated water content in the gut, both of which might cause an increase in weight. I always intend to weigh myself before and after a BM, but always forget. Probably better that I don’t have that info!

              Do you have a math background? I don’t see ~ used very often anymore. I’d forgotten, actually, even though I used it a lot.

              Like

              • Susan March 11, 2017 at 8:52 am #

                Wilbur, thanks! You made me laugh out loud! It wasn’t until I dated a physics major that I finally understood what algebra could do for me. And that was many moons ago.

                To answer your question, I suspect it came from a long-ago editing background. A tilde’s just a useful little thing, don’t you think? I also suspect you are correct about water content, etc., including the not needing to know part.

                Stumbled on a new-to-me probiotic drink this morning called Gut Shot, but I don’t recognize all of its active ingredients. I always end up going back to kefir due to the apparent diversity of its bioactives. Also, there’s a new jar of King’s Mild Kimchi in the fridge, so there’s more and different bugs getting ready to play. What fun!

                Like

  7. Jo tB March 9, 2017 at 9:25 am #

    Recently I came to the realisation, that I can get most products on Amazon.de (Germany) and they ship to Holland quite easily. In some cases it is quite a lot more expensive, but in other cases if evens out as if I buy from iHerbs I have to pay import levies and VAT and so lose the cheaper cost.

    Amazon Germany sells Imundo for 12,65 Euros and the travel version for 16,16 Euros.

    https://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/251-9911947-9658929?__mk_nl_NL=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bimuno

    I can tolerate Inulin quite easily and use a tablespoon plus a tablespoon of Green Banana Resistant Starch to my smoothie. Definitely helps as about 4 hours later I produce a good stool. I notice a definite improvement in my constipation (much more regular).

    Like

  8. Jo tB March 9, 2017 at 9:29 am #

    I always have a runny nose in the winter a
    nd my nose is very dry in summer. So I will give Kyo-Dophilus a go. Is also available on Amazon Germany.

    https://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_12?__mk_nl_NL=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kyo-dophilus&sprefix=Kyo-Dophilus%2Caps%2C152&crid=31ND6N8GMSPQG&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Akyo-dophilu

    Like

  9. thehomeschoolingdoctor March 12, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    I second ditching nasal steroids. Before we changed the way we ate, a member of our family had to use Flonase daily. Ended up with a perforated nasal septum, which the ENT doc says is actually not uncommon with Flonase use.

    Our allergies dramatically improved with a huge dietary change. But when we do have flare-ups, we add L. plantarum. I liked seeing the CFU amounts of Elixa.

    Terri

    Like

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