Get Your Gut Right

So much to say…so little time for my blog.

Between my day job and side projects, I still like to keep up with what’s happening on the gut front. And so much is happening lately!

You guys remember my big experiment to see if Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch contained RS, right? [spoiler alert…it does!]. Well, as I was doing the fundraising and testing, I was contacted by several researchers who were curious as well.

One was Dr. Schmidt from the University of Michigan. Here’s a paper he just finished:

Dynamics of Human Gut Microbiota and Short-Chain Fatty Acids in Response to Dietary Interventions with Three Fermentable Fibers (2019) (Full Text Link).

Dr. Schmidt performed various human trials using Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch, Swanson’s Chicory Inulin, and Hi-Maize from MyWorldHut. His experiments were designed to answer:

 

  • Do the three resistant polysaccharides stimulate butyrate production in this population of healthy, young individuals? If so, do they have similar impacts on butyrate production?

  • Which gut bacteria respond to these dietary additions by increasing in relative abundance? Can we identify any species that were unexpectedly affected? Are the same bacteria affected by all three supplements?

  • Can we find any evidence of selectivity, either in the substrates used by primary degraders or in the butyrate producers they cross feed?

  • Do changes in the relative abundance of primary degraders and butyrate producers explain differences in individuals’ butyrate concentrations?

And what Dr. Schmidt found should not entirely surprise us around here. You guys remember butyrate, right?  Was all the rage a while back. Dr. Terri Fites, MD wrote the most comprehensive guide to butyrate that you will ever read: The Homeschooling Doctor’s Butyrate Series.

Some key findings:

  • Consuming RPS (potato starch) led to an increase in the average concentration of fecal butyrate. Neither inulin nor RMS (Hi-Maize) produced a significant change in butyrate.
  • In a pilot study, we observed a significant increase in fecal butyrate in individuals consuming half the dose of RPS (24 g total, 14 to 17 g resistant; data not shown).
  • The butyrogenic response to RPS (potato starch) appears to be due to the nature of the supplement, not just the amount of RS it contains.
  • All the fermentable fiber supplements had some effect on the fecal community
  • The lack of a butyrogenic response to RMS (Hi-Maize) was unexpected because the supplement has led to increased fecal butyrate in animal models…Consequently, more time may be required to develop cross-feeding interactions from RMS (Hi-Maize) that generate measurable differences in fecal butyrate.
  • Inulin increased the relative abundance of four species of Bifidobacterium, consistent with the widespread occurrence of this degradative capability within the genus. There were also increases in the abundance of the butyrate producers Anaerostipes hadrus and E. rectale, but they did not result in increased fecal butyrate.
  • Together, our observations on SCFA and community composition changes suggest that the working model for stimulating butyrate production with fiber supplements is an oversimplification, in that fiber degradation does not always lead to butyrate production.

If you are interested in specific microbes such as E. rectale, F. prausnitzii, or R. Bromii, you will love reading the full text of this paper (at the link above). But I suspect you will be reading lots about all of this soon.

Here is a short email exchange I just had with Dr. Schmidt:

On 3/14/19 12:24 PM, Tim Steele wrote:
Dear Dr. Schmidt – I just read your paper on butyrate production from RS supplements. Strong work, sir!  Very happy to see Martin Blaser’s contribution…I hope that this research finally goes mainstream. I have long felt that many millions would benefit from RPS supplementation.
Tim Steele
Hello Tim,
Thank you for the kind words.  Resistant starch from potatoes has continued to be the most butyrogenic supplement that we have found.  We are zeroing in on the combinations of microbes involved in degradation of RPS and also looking at combinations of different dietary fibers.
Best,
Tom

Watch This Space

Note the editor of Dr. Schmidt’s paper: Martin J. Blaser, MD. If Dr. Blaser is editing this work, you can bet there will be much, much more to see!

I’ll write soon about another doctor I met through my work here who’s studying the effects of resistant starch on the guts of Alaska natives. But let me close by telling you about Gut Garden.

Gut Garden

I’ve been talking about Gut Garden since it first launched back in 2016. I’ve gone through several jars and have sent many to relatives who were leery about using straight potato starch.

Recently interest in Gut Garden was renewed when Dr. Alan Christianson released his new book, The Metabolism Reset Diet. In this book Christianson discusses the importance of prebiotics and mentioned Gut Garden in several interviews.

Gut Garden’s New Line-up

What most people don’t know, while all this interest in prebiotics was occurring, Gut Garden was busy working on several new products to help people with digestive health.

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Give Gut Garden a look. I’ll see if they can give us a discount code and answer any questions you might have about their new products. Watch the comments!

I’ll keep updating my blog as time allows. My new book, The Diet Hack, should be out this summer.

Hope you all are having a great Spring and keeping your guts healthy!

Later,

Tim

 

 

 

 

22 Comments on “Get Your Gut Right”

  1. Tim J Jamison April 19, 2019 at 10:10 am #

    Thanks for the update Tim. Lots of stuff to take a look at. I’ve been supplementing with Inulin alone for the last couple of weeks. Now I’ll be adding PS back into the brew. Looking forward to the new book.

    Like

    • Tim Steele April 19, 2019 at 11:45 am #

      I think a mixture is the best way to go. It looks like it doesn’t even need to have as much potato starch as I once thought, just a spoonful should be plenty.

      I just made a smoothie that had 1TBS each of Hi-Maize, potato starch, chia seeds, flax seeds, and oat bran mixed with blueberries, honey, coffee, and ice. So easy and so good.

      Like

      • Stephen April 23, 2019 at 12:57 pm #

        Thought I read about a study you posted on drinking a smoothie of oat bran and blueberries

        Like

      • Jeff April 27, 2019 at 5:25 am #

        I eat chia seeds, oat bran, and blueberries daily, too.

        Like

      • Allison April 29, 2019 at 8:19 am #

        I was hoping for better results with HI-Maize. Could you explain if it would still be beneficial to use if the butyrate isn’t as good as what was thought. I still have buckets of it. I always use it to make my banana and green plantain pancakes. 🙂 I was especially happy about the heat not being able to change the overall beneficial use.

        Like

        • Tim Steele April 29, 2019 at 9:45 am #

          I would not totally discount the effectiveness of Hi-Maize. I keep a container of it on the counter and add it to anything I might be making with flour as well, pizza dough, pancakes, etc… It’s still a good source of RS and fiber, there’s more to the story than butyrate!

          Like

  2. drnoe58 April 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm #

    Been using PS every single day for 6 years now…. Minimum 3 tbsp/day. Interesting to find out I may not need that much.

    Like

    • Tammy in Ohio April 21, 2019 at 6:52 am #

      I use about 1/2 scoop of Gut Garden every day. Not sure how much that is, but it’s always enough for me. I started out taking a full scoop but it made me gassy so I backed off, the instructions say to start at 1/4 scoop. 1/2 scoop never gives me gas and I can tell it works!
      Tammy

      Like

    • Tim Steele April 21, 2019 at 7:30 am #

      You know, way back when we started all this, some people were saying that something like 5g of the proper fermentable fiber, eg. resistant starch, was enough to change gut flora in a positive way. I think what really messes people up is following the advice to get 30g/day of “fiber” and then getting nearly all of it from non-fermentable sources like cellulose. For the long-run, my bet is on RS, and especially potato starch. If Martin Blaser writes a book extolling the virtues of potato starch you can bet there will be a lot of interest. Just remember, you heard it here first, folks! Haha

      Like

  3. Danielle Koch April 21, 2019 at 6:38 am #

    This is great news, Tim! You really started something big. I’m seeing new prebiotic mixtures all the time in stores like GNC. Glad I’ve been following you to cut out the confusion. I’ve used Gut Garden and really like it. Did you say there is a discount code?

    Like

    • Tim Steele April 21, 2019 at 7:35 am #

      I think that soon you’ll start seeing even more! Marketers love it when things like this go viral. I remember seeing “raspberry ketones” everywhere for a while, still not sure what that was all about, haha. I am firmly convinced that if everyone started taking a spoonful or two of potato starch daily we’d have a much different world.

      Like

  4. Tammy in Ohio April 21, 2019 at 6:47 am #

    Gut Garden has been my favorite since learning about it here last year, I always click your link when I buy it, hehe. I have been using it in much less than the instructions say and it works perfectly. If I forget to take it for a couple days or run out for a week, I can REALLY tell a difference. Maybe the dosage is too large? Is that what the study is saying? What do you think is the best dose of Gut Garden?

    Tim, I have been so healthy since I started reading your work 3 or 4 years ago (has it really been that long?!). I never get bloated or seasonal colds, I used to be the sickest one in the house, now I’m everyone’s nurse! I always used to look 6 months pregnant but since adding my fiber smoothies every day my stomach stays flat. Can’t wait for your new book!

    Tammy

    Like

    • Tim Steele April 21, 2019 at 7:32 am #

      Thanks for the comments, Tammy! If you found something that works…don’t change a thing. I know, I can’t believe we’ve been discussing all this for so long, either, lol.

      Like

  5. anon April 21, 2019 at 6:53 am #

    I would be interested in a discount code as well.

    Like

  6. Gut Garden April 21, 2019 at 8:27 am #

    Thanks for nice write-up Tim! We’d love to offer your readers 15% off sitewide with the code HACKER. It’s really awesome for us to hear such great things about our resistant starch blend from users. Resistant starch is gaining in popularity but still relatively unknown outside our little corner of the internet! If you love our products, one step toward lowering our prices would be to please leave us an Amazon review! Every review really does increase sales and more sales = lower prices! Thanks again Tim!

    Like

    • Tim Steele April 21, 2019 at 11:31 am #

      How nice! Thank you. I think that RS will soon become a household word. I literally set Paleo on fire when I started talking about RS a couple years ago, and I think it helped lead to the near demise of low-carb Paleo diets. If we can make RS trend like Keto is you’ll be all set! I admire your determination to keep in the game and continue to provide quality digestive health supplements.

      I just updated the main post with this:

      Here is a short email exchange I just had with Dr. Schmidt:
      On 3/14/19 12:24 PM, Tim Steele wrote:

      Dear Dr. Schmidt – I just read your paper on butyrate production from RS supplements. Strong work, sir! Very happy to see Martin Blaser’s contribution…I hope that this research finally goes mainstream. I have long felt that many millions would benefit from RPS supplementation.
      Tim Steele

      Hello Tim,

      Thank you for the kind words. Resistant starch from potatoes has continued to be the most butyrogenic supplement that we have found. We are zeroing in on the combinations of microbes involved in degradation of RPS and also looking at combinations of different dietary fibers.

      Best,
      Tom

      Like

    • Tammy in Ohio April 21, 2019 at 4:50 pm #

      Thank you for the discount code! i’m really curious about the other 4 products, too.

      Like

  7. Jeff April 27, 2019 at 5:18 am #

    While I still take inulin, this research has caused me to double the amount of potato starch I take on a daily basis.

    And I can tell it is doing something by simply looking at my stools before flushing them. There are literally bubbles coming up from them. Only potato starch has that effect on me.

    Like

  8. Bryan April 27, 2019 at 10:55 am #

    Hi Tim,

    I’m just starting a Potato Hack today. I was just thinking how would this info change or not change the “Hack”. Any thoughts?

    Like

    • Tim Steele April 27, 2019 at 1:27 pm #

      I don’t think this changes the hack…just gives in some credibility is all.

      Like

  9. A Jake May 21, 2019 at 7:52 pm #

    Well aren’t we all just dying to get a discount code???

    Like

  10. thehomeschoolingdoctor May 24, 2019 at 3:40 am #

    Thanks for the mention! I’ve been working overtime on a community project and have been out of commission! –Terri

    Like

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