Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Feeding the Microbiota: Non-Starch Polysaccharides (NSP), Resistant Starch (RS) and Mucous


"During the co-evolution of man and microbes, the human intestinal tract is colonised by some thousand species of bacteria. Gut borne microbes outnumber the total of body tissue cells by a factor of ten. Recent metagenomics analysis of the human gut microbiota has revealed the presence of some 3.3 million genes, as compared to the mere 23 thousand genes present in the cells of the human body tissues."

--Rijkers et al, Gut Microbiota in health and disease: a personalised summary of 
the 3rth workshop

Everything Our Microanimalia Do For Us
How Shall We FEED THEM?

Seed, Weed and Feed the GUT

I've talked already about many ways to seed the gut (fermented foods, SBO probiotics, dirt, etc) to complement the existing microbiota and weed the gut -- removing toxins, mercury, pathogenic overgrowth, parasites and worms.  How should we properly water and feed the gut?

The primary foods are fiber, mucous and starch that resists small intestine digestion. If the gut is diseased, crowding out pathogens and removing parasites is also important. If the microbiota lacks diversity, then diversity needs to be cultivated and nurtured.  Studies show the obese, inflamed, autistic and heart diseased lack microbiota diversity of species and phyla.

Feeding and nourishing the microbiota isn't a special skill... our ancestors thrived and survived in special microecological as well as macroecological niches... and so did the gut microbes.  How did ancestrally derived foods benefit the microbes and what do they specifically provide for us?  Do we rely on them for immunity? For activation of important immune factors (glutathione, our #1 master antioxidant)?  For activation of plant-derived antioxidants like lignans, etc?  For removal of toxic and carcinogenic bile acids?  To balance the steroid hormone pool?

Yes to all.

I like ancestral diets. They must've worked I figured because we are here...

Being Asian I enjoy starches and after regaining insulin sensitivity (after being 50 lbs overfat), I burn starches adequately during glycolytic activity. With VLC/ketosis, I had cortisol dysregulation and to heal metabolism fully I had to eat carbs regularly. Being previously metabolically broken and still recovering from some toxicity (heavy metals, contraceptive endocrine disruption), however, I don't overdo the starches because I'll notice that I regain bodyfat mega fast.  Typically intake may be 1/4 of plate at most meals).

Our family eat certain starches regularly -- carrots, radishes, steamed pumpkin, bamboo shoots, fermented sauerkraut/carrots/radishes, tubers (yellow, purple, white, small potatoes, yams), flours (tapioca, sweet potato) and soaked grains/seeds (psyllium, millet, sorghum, black sesame, rice (purple, brown, white, glutinous)).   The variety depends on what is in season and carried by the organic farms -- Mahota, FIELDS, BioFarm/Cityshop, etc.  All the above contain both fiber and resistant starches (RS) which the microbiota feed on.  Ultimately, both types of microbial food benefit us on many levels.

In fact some studies show synergism when both fiber and RS are consumed together compared to fiber alone (beta-glucan) or RS alone for insulin and glucose reduction and regulation. Behall, et al:  synergism -- MEN and WOMEN. Below is the outcomes from the female study examing the impact on BG and insulin with intake of beta-glucan + RS. The levels of both were modulated low v. high and vice versa. Higher beta-glucan and higher RS produced the most marked improvements in metabolism. High amounts of either were satisfactory as well (see yellow/insulin,  orange/glucose lines and green circles).  Low amounts of either fiber or RS, not nearly as wonderful metabolic outcomes in this study.

Beta-glucan is a special soluble fiber (NSP)-- it's not made by mammals. It's found in yeast cell walls, whole grains, and mushrooms.  It's been shown to not only affect the microbiota but also improve immune function, wound healing, metabolic dysregulation, cancer/tumour sizes, and inflammation.  A recent study tracked the fate of beta-glucan in the gut and immune lymphoid tissues.  Researchers found "these large -1,3-glucans were taken up by gastrointestinal macrophages and shuttled to reticuloendothelial tissues and bone marrow. Within the marrow, the macrophages degraded the -1,3-glucan and secreted small soluble biologically active fragments that bound to CR3 of mature bone marrow granulocytes. Once recruited from the bone marrow by an inflammatory stimulus, these granulocytes with -1,3-glucan-primed CR3 could kill iC3b-coated tumor cells."

Resistant starch (RS) is found to be quite as plentiful as beta-glucan and plant fibers however cooking breaks it down to a form that we can digest (enzymatic, mastication, acidic).  The amount remaining in a food that escapes our digestive juices varies by many factors -- species, maturity of the plant, cooking/cooling methods, food acidity, to name just a few. RS is different from beta-glucan and fiber due to its tightly bound double helical glucose polymer structure.  Yes it is coiled up like DNA....  Solubilization in cooking water 'releases' the starches into a gelatin matrix which our spit amylases and pancreatic carb-ases can breakdown to glucose for absorption in the stomach and small intestine.  Any undigested amounts enter the caecum and colon.  The amount of SFCA produced upon caecal and colon fermentation varies as well depending on an individuals microbiota species, large intestine health status, etc.

The average intake of RS in China is 14.9 g/day from wheat, rice and starch products (mung bean, sweet potato noodles); compared with average USA 3-8 g/day intake it is about 2 to 5 fold increased. However, I don't think this holds true any longer for Chinese urban dwellers. When my parents grew up in a small rural village in Taiwan (with pigs and 'home organic' e.g. subsistence farms), they were poor and only ate potatoes, yams, mung beans, rice, and vegetables with very scarce meat/fish/pork belly or chicken or eggs. I believe their childhood intake fiber and RS intake were far more than currently, if not triple or quadruple.

Combined with veggies, most people's diets contain a mix of carbohydrates: rapid digesting (simple sugars, disaccharides), slow digesting (complex carbohydrates), nonstarch polysaccharides (FIBER = b-glucan, xylan, glycan, gums, pectin, mucin, cellulose, hemi-cellulose etc), and resistant starches (RS) to fuel both our human cells and the microbiota.  Our microbiota in the large intestines will eat and ferment fiber, RS, and the mucous produced in the protective layer of the gut.

Most Dietary Starches Contain Both b-Glucan or other soluble fiber + RS
Source: Behall et al

For SIBO and intestinal permeability, it's actually healing to minimize fermentation if it is occurring pathogically in the small intestines... where it shouldn't be.  The surface of the small intestines is not designed to support extensive networks of microbial growth which requires thick mucous.  The integrity of the small intestines can easily be compromised and fail to serve its function (digestion and absorption) when inappropriate growth manages to perpetuate whether it's 'good' v 'pathogenic' bacteria, yeasts or mycobacteria or parasites/worms.

The ONE (optimal nutri eval) is one of the best tools to measure the microbial/fungal metabolic by-products in the urine by opportunistic and pathogenic species in the small intestines.  The GDX/Metametrix GI function stool test is unique to identify microbial overgrowth, dysbiosis, pancreatic digestive enzyme capacity, small intestinal fat/fiber/protein malabsorption, and parasites/worms as well as assess microbial sensitivity to herbal and pharmaceutical antimicrobials.

Diet absolutely shifts bacterial communities in the gut ecology -- simple sugars lowers the good, raises the bad. More fiber and RS both raise the good (in Bacteroidetes -- Prevotella, etc), lowers the bad (in Firmicutes -- virulent strains of clostridas, E. coli's, enterococci, streps).  This is borne out in pig, children and human studies.  Flint et al do a great review here which includes a raffinose study (fiber from legumes) that enriched and ↑ F. prausnitzii, Bifidobacterium spp.  Like many of the good gut flora, Bifidobacter tightens up the intestinal tight junctions as super tight as a nun's **ss, which is enteroproctive and immunoprotective again gastroenteritis, intestinal permeability and necrotizing enterocolitis in trials. Guess what?  Magnesium deficiency compromises Bifidobacter and intestinal permeability (or which came first?).  Bifido appears to enjoy magnesium. In rodent studies fed a mag-deficient diet, intestinal permeability and quantitative changes to cecal bifidobacteria were associated.

My kids and I have scr*wed up Bifido (not bad but could be far better -- 3.2; Brent Pottenger's Bifodobacter is over 20% more and rocks at 3.9)... and we have low mag...  Brent has also has had zero cavities and therefore zero mercury amalgams.  Perhaps my fam and I need to forage us  some raw unpasteurized human breastmilk because it is enriched with Bifido?

Below is a human study n=10 on the microbiota shifts comparing RS2 and RS4 intakes (55 grams/day x3wks, then 2 wk washout).  Even among resistant starches, there is selective species enrichment.

The authors state in the results:  "Ten human subjects consumed crackers for three weeks each containing either RS2, RS4, or native starch in a double-blind, crossover design. Multiplex sequencing of 16S rRNA tags revealed that both types of RS induced several significant compositional alterations in the fecal microbial populations, with differential effects on community structure. RS4 but not RS2 induced phylum-level changes, significantly increasing Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes (+++)while decreasing Firmicutes(-). At the species level, the changes evoked by RS4 were increases in Bifidobacterium  adolescentis and Parabacteroides distasonis, while RS2 significantly raised the proportions of  Ruminococcus bromii and Eubacterium rectale when compared to RS4. The population shifts caused by RS4 were numerically substantial for several taxa, leading for example, to a ten-fold increase in bifidobacteria in three of the subjects, enriching them to 18–30% of the fecal microbial community. The responses to RS and their magnitudes varied between individuals, and they were reversible and tightly associated with the consumption of RS."

Similar enrichment in enterocytes occurred in a rat weanling study feeding either basal diet or RS 5% for 28 days. I like this study because it demonstrated increased glutathione (our #1 master antioxidant; I have a GSTT1 deletion so mine is mildly compromised) by over 2-fold and improved pancreatic elastase secretion (digestive enzymes) in the RS fed groups.  [***Personally I eshew all rat studies unless they're vegetarian studies because (1) rats don't have a gallbladder and (2) they're not as omnivorous as humans or pigs so the data is incomparable, particularly the (ludicrous) meat/colon ca/nitrosamine studies.]

Shifting Microbiota Communities: GI Fx Stool Test and Optimal Nutri Eval (ONE)

Brent Pottenger's case:  Recall his Prevotella, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes are quite stunning and no biomarkers of dysbiosis.  He has likely very little mercury (no history of cavities). His diet: near carnivory, fermented full fat Greek + some veggies both raw/cook (per Pottenger's cats).  The microbiota sequencing reveals a beautiful display of healthy guts.  Previously he c/o acne and migraines which are signs of SIBO and intestinal permeability.

My case: The Prevotella, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes (2013) are impressively improved and robust compared with the initial 2011 when I had CFS, fogginess, fraility (sarcopenia), rank mood, and on/off body fat.  The SIBO is gone except for residual dysbiotic biomarkers from a parasite and Morganella. [yes wtf I dunno where the origin was but my children also have pathogenic overgrowth or parasites but we all different. I suspect I got it from one the irresistable poopers, see below]

Would you like to do a GI fx stool test and see your microbiota and do a ONE to evaluate nutrient deficiencies, dysbiotic markers and 8OHdG (DNA damage)?  Let me know and show me!  (Cost $99 and $129, respectively, plus admin fee $50).  Let's conduct paleo gut experiments.

What had I done?
--for two years
  • gluten free, casein free, exercise/yoga (some barefoot on soil/lawn)
  • removed mercury, gold, titanium parts and oral chelation on/off
  • sleep, adrenal/gut support, antioxidants incl pycnogenol, omega-3, minerals
  • Prescript Assist, FloraMend
  • whole food diet (rainbow tubers, veggies, organic meat, lard/ghee)
  • fermented pao cai, Beijing radishes, carrots

--for two months prior to the GI fx stool test
  • Seed: Raw unpasteruized sauerkraut at nearly every meal and drank the brine, SBO probiotics
  • Weed: charcoal and bentonite clay; removed gut irritants (alcohol -- studies here and here)
  • Feed: Kraut and fiber rich foods (basmati rice, vegetables, potatoes, etc)

Energy Flux and Metabolism in Superorganisms

I consider this formula for energy flux:

Calories In (SUPERORGANISM) = Calories Out (MICROBIOTA) + Calories Out (HUMAN) + HEAT*Fluxxx

Rapid and slow digesting starches (RDS, SDS) impact blood sugars and insulin sensitivity by raising BG. The effect on insulin sensitivity and how they burn fat in the mitochondria actually depends on the individual, their insulin sensitivity and the carb/glycemic load.  See Major Paleo De-Mything.

On the other hand, insoluble or soluble fiber and RS do not raise insulin or blood sugars. In fact fiber and RS have been shown in several trials to behave like protein and omega-3 fats by raising insulin sensivity.  Both fiber and RS naturally have glycemic indices of 'zero', 'bulk' up food, increasing fecal transmit time as well as fecal microbial biomass. Combined with digestible carbs, RS and fiber both tend to prevent spiking of glucoses, thus blunting the effects of high GI (glycemic index) foods and sweets. Both fiber and RS definitely lower inflammation but appear to do so via routes which are intimately tied to the microbiota.

Role of the Gut Microbiota in Nutrition and Health

The mouth and stomach digest ~10% of our carbs and the rest 90% is digested in the small intestines if all is functioning (pancreas, gallbladder, oral amylases, GI acidity, microvilli brush border enzymes, pepsin secretion, bile, peristalsis).  What escapes small intestinal degradation is later fermented by the microbiota in the large intestines (caecum, appendix, colon) to volatile organic acids, known as short chain fats -- acetate, proprionate and butyrate.  Although microbial byproducts provide some fuel to us  and the local enterocytes in the gut ecosystem (~10% of our total energy requirements compared with ~30% in other omnivores), actually much of the butyrate and other SCFA goes to provide energy to the microbiota . See above diagram 'Fermentation -- energy for bacterial growth'.  From my reading this amount varies. The SCFA collected at the colon depends on inflammation, IBD status, diabetic v. nondiabetic, etc.  I think it reflects SIBO and intestinal permeability factors which affect the microbiota.

SCFA play a role in the immune system and metabolic pathways by as binding fat-sensor receptors such as PPAR alpha, gamma, delta and GPR41/43.

How we chew the food and shear the particle sizes of resistant starch granules determines how much may be broken down in the small intestines. The first, top diagram above shows how digestive amylases 'etch' granules of resistant starches recovered in the intestines.  Food preparation also transforms the digestibility, crosslinks and polymerization of the starch matrix.  Longer heat, higher boiling/gelatinization, and maturity of the plant are all factors that predispose to higher digestibility and potential blood sugar impacts.   Cooling the starch and adding acidity (lemon, vinegar, fermentation) all lower small intestine digestibility by changing the coagulation of starches and protecting the starch granules from enzymatic degradation. Both refridgeration and autoclaving (high moist heat) polymerize the starch chains and raise RS.

So certain foods will have more RS as a result of food prep compared to the original food:
Fried rice or 'al dente' rice versus rice boiled in large volumes of water
Cold chinese rice ball snack rolled in lard/oil and seaweed versus warm steamed white rice
Sushi rice (room temp rice, sweetener +vinegar) versus warm steamed white rice
German cold potato salad with vinegar versus a boiled LARGE American monoculture GMO potato
Whole grain wheat pasta versus overboiled white pasta

Fermentation breaks down RS
Boiled poi (more) vv. Fermented poi (less)
Unfermented cooked rice v. Fermented Indian dosa rice or idli (less)

Autoclaving polymerizes amylose so raises RS
Processed (heating/reheating process) Uncle Ben's rice (but beware of the endocrine disrupting plastic it's encased in) v. freshly cooked long grain rice (less)

Evolution of RS

The amount of resistant starch appears to me to be related to the amount of protein in the tuber or grain/seed, on cursory review. I've tried to dig further but can't find anything.  The food sources which appear to have the most RS are the starch containing foods with intact cell walls and higher protein content legumes (9.5-11.1% dal, lentils, beans), whole grains (4.5-6%), or complete proteins (2% potato; 4.8-5.9% processed non-modified PS; steamed/cooled potato 31% and roasted/cooled potato 52.5%).  Perhaps amylose and other RS protect the peptides embedded in the starch matrix for tuber and grain/seed winter storage to buffer the Ice Age chill? Sprouting and germinating grains/seeds raise protein and nutritional content, but lowers RS.  Additionally, fermentation of starches is a trade-off -- fermentation lowers RS but raises protein/vitamin content.


Anonymous said...

The factor that makes starch 'resistant' is mainly it's physical structure--not it's amylose, amylopectin, or protein content. Dr. Englyst 'discovered' RS in the 80's and studied it extensively. He found similarities in X-Ray patterns between RS, also.

Here's a couple of good, old, papers on the characteristics of RS for your enjoyment:

Possibly the earliest mention of RS in the scientific literature: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/45/2/423.full.pdf

A really old paper (1920's) examining RS, but they didn't know it at the time: http://www.jbc.org/content/52/1/251.full.pdf+html

Huge list of RS in real foods, with citations and sampling methods: http://freetheanimal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Resistant-Starch-in-Foods.pdf

Anonymous said...

I saw a chart one time listing the relative butyrate producing capacity of different fibers. I believe that RS was on top, followed by mucins, gums, and pectins with inulin and polyols at the very bottom.

I would love to see your take on this feature of fibers, as I think it would be way more appropriate to classify fiber as bifidogenic or butyrogenic as opposed to soluble and insoluble--which mean nothing.

Dr. B G said...

Tater--- is that you....???!

Dr. B G said...

The most amazing and evolutionary/REVOLUTIONARY discussions are at FTA


Anonymous said...

Yes, it's me.... Hey, I left some comments for you at


I'm sure you don't have time to monitor constantly, so thought I'd let you know here...

Thanks for your hard work and great blog! Wish I had found it sooner.
Tatertot Tim

Dr. B G said...


Thanks for your comments --finally reviewed the links. Yes. I loved them and enjoyed reading the history of RS and how they study the effluent liquid at the small intestines and compared to the back end. The starch iodine test is so primitive (remember the cracker, spit and iodine tests in grade school??). Oldies are goodies.

Either the first or second link looked at control effluent and found self made fucoses and galactoses. These are produced and harvested by the minimal gut flora that inhabit the small intestines. I believe this is the tenacious SFB and soil based critters. You mentioned at an fta thread where the critters etch into and take a read on starch granules. I think these are some of the critters that also harvest and graze on our lawn of fucose and other mu ins grown at the tips of healthy microvilli (eg non-diseased and SIBO-absent).

I have genetic variants of FUT1 and FUT2 -- my ancestors and I do not produce as many fucose as others. This can predispose to certain infections (and subsequent autoimmunity).

This article talks about the role of FUT1/2 and the gut

I think it is quite impressive the scope and both of the experimentation at FTA. I commend both you and Richard on the effort (and his successful baiting). Lol. You're both good hunter and phisherman...... Ahhh aha and kale smoothie drinker.

Because of my ancestors diet I suspect the 'carb intestinal landscape' and dietary NSP and RS provided selection pressures that allowed discontinuation of massive fucose production on the microvilli -- because diet supplied all the food for the biota.

It is imperative to separate out therapeutic interventions (psyllium/PS, glucomannan,potato starch/PS, SCD, GAPS, ketosis, etc) from ancestral diets to avoid confusion and misunderstanding. I think we all strive for the same. My goal is for better understanding of our microbiota, its ties to immunity and longevity and the best ways to achieve it. Is funny-- they keep going back to our unique genotype signatures and ancestral diet/living circumstances

Dr. B G said...

I have to admit - we r on holiday in Macau and HKG so I'm less compelled to search all this. What is nonmodified potato starch?? D u have a good link? Does it contain all the toxic things found in raw yams and potatoes?? Or are they all processed out -- glycoalkaloids, solanine, amylase and trypsin inhibitors, oxalates (also in raw kale smoothies), etc)...??

I think they're are limited studies on RS and bifido or other fermenters in humans. I don't trust the rat studies. Something about pig and dog studies makes me hesitate as well

I'd love to see a FTA hack on the gut microbiome and healing sibo. I suspect richard has hardcore sibo.

So do many -- anyone with refractory chronic illness ...


Anonymous said...

Grace - We have been using Bob's Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch--


$12 for 6 pounds! Any kind will work, it just has to be unmodified, meaning it has never been heated up, and it has to be eaten raw. It's very easy to add it to smoothies, yogurt, water, sour cream, or whatever...Make sure you don't get potato flour--that won't work.

All of the bad stuff from the potato is washed away in the making of the starch. The potatoes are steam washed, peeled,and milled in water. Then the starch is filtered out and dried. You can make it at home easy enough if you have lots of time. You'd get about 4TBS per pound of potato. Search for 'Making Potato Starch' on YouTube.

At about 8g RS per TBS, it's easy to take a tailored dose as opposed to real food where you can't really know the content.

There are lots of studies on RS and human gut microbes. Lots of them from 2013. Interest seems to be picking up on RS as a prebiotic now that they can sequence microbiome. Just go to Google Scholar, type in Resistant Starch and Human Gut, then sort by 2013, you will be amazed!

I'd love to see a thesis or human RCT on 'Potato Starch as a Prebiotic Supplement' Until then, we'll keep plugging away on Free The Animal!

Have fun!
Tim (tatertot)

Anonymous said...

Here's a great paper from 2013 with a very boring title...thank goodness for keywords!

"The role of “keystone” species in the degradation of recalcitrant substrates"


Dr. B G said...

Ok great! That saved me hours that might have flown by at the pool. Yeah the glare off the iPad was off-competed by errr... The glare off ... skin

So bags of refined and processed PS will save the world (or the world of guts)?? Lol!!! Hey it works and the antinutrients are processed out compared to raw tubers.

Ill check out the microbiota search for RS.

Recalcitrant pathogens is a major modern problem. I do hope RS plays a role in their displacement and crowding out. Seriously though I believe most individuals require an antimicrobial/antiparasite regimen once a year particularly if they have pets (or little children who mouth things).

For me I had recalcitrant overgrowth (candida) which bacillus licheniformis, SBO and sauerkraut helped tremendously -- both symptomatically and on the GI FX testing.

It turns out that b licheniformis secretes biofilm busters -- I believe this helps to realign the guy ecology and pathogens that are refractory to common treatments.

Anonymous said...

I was working with some Chinese scientists last year collecting samples of a mushroom that grows where I live called Inonotus Obliquus (Chaga). Apparently the Chinese love it, but it is hard to find. They were studying ways to make cultures in a lab to extract the bioactive compounds from.

This mushroom cures diabetes, cancer, inflammation,and regulates metabolism. I drink a tea made from it regularly. Most of the studies cite it's anti-oxidant properties, but I can't help but think much of it's magic is from the gut.

Dr. B G said...

That's so interesting! Magical shrooms!!

I really liked the keystone microbe piece. What are ur thoughts on which keystone entities are key? I'd concur -- just like an ecological niche, each member serves a role or several roles. We have apex predators, herbivores, ground feeders, and then the garbage collectors and scavengers. Each is vital and important and an imbalance throws the entire ecology off kilter....

From your observations, what is the gut brain axis? Why is it off and is RS enough? You posted on how the combination of psyllium and RS/amylose shifted fermentation from proximal and to the distal sites of the colon. That is very curious. So much ER don't know but gut feelin says it's all more than fascinating!!

Anonymous said...

I think we know too little to name the keystone microbes, but a gut filled with bifido- and lacto- species will surely provide the environment for the keystones, assuming bifido and lacto aren't keystones themselves. There are probably also other types that have been lost in modern man, meaning we may never enjoy the health of our ancestors.

I think one of the most important (and most broken) aspects of the G-B Axis is endogenous gut production of hormones, neurotransmitters, and vitamins.

I'm always amazed that we can live with sterile guts, and I think the vast majority of humans are living with suboptimal levels of gut microbes--due mainly to lack of fermentable substrate.

I think that RS is enough to restore the balance due to it's affinity to feed beneficial bacteria. 2-5g/day won't cut it, though--we need 20-40g/day. I'm also thinking that the other common prebiotics are just as important, but on their own can't produce enough butyrate to substantially change the environment. The other probiotics (mucins, gums, inulin, FOS, etc...) are probably the determinates for the minor players or even very important keystone species that have yet to be identified.

Take Care!

Dr. B G said...

I appreciate your deep thoughts and insights!! Have you heard of gut microbiota cross feeding? Bifido actually do not produce butyrate.... But the cross feeders do!

Dr. B G said...


Read chapter four -- all about potato starch being consumed by a primary feeder -- RB-- then further fermented to butyrate by a secondary cross feeder species EB. Sorry-- paste not work. Please google 'PDF analysis of functional human intestinal microbiota by stable isotope'

Dr. B G said...

I have another question-- nightshade allergies (which are temporary imho hypothyroid slash sibo/permeability related issues). Does PS trigger nightshade allergies? If no, then why not? Is the antigenic part filtered out?

Anonymous said...

I guess I never really gave much thought to where the actual butyrate is coming from--interesting about cross-feeders...makes sense.

Did you ever exchange these ideas with fellow AHS11 presenter Melissa McEwan? She wrote a lot about butyrate a few years ago, not sure where she's at now: http://huntgatherlove.com/content/human-colon-evolution-part-4-secrets-butyrate (Here she has a list of butyrate production in response to carbohydrates)

I couldn't find the study you mentioned above about cross-feeders, but googling that word string did turn up a bunch of hits on cross-feeding gut microbes. Very interesting indeed, seems that lactate and acetate are important precursors to butyrate production.

The end result, no matter how it occurs, is a tightening of the junctions at crypts and gaps in intestine. This seems to occur naturally in an intestine continually flooded with butyrate. That's where I think potato starch really makes it's money! An easy way to ensure continued butyrate production.

Nightshade allergies don't seem to apply to potato starch--after processing, there's nothing left but tightly packed amylose and amylopectin starch granules. I am very confident that the starch in potatoes are in no way responsible for nightshade allergies, as the allergies are more commonly seen in non-starchy nightshades like peppers and tomatoes.

Hope I'm not spoiling your vacation with all this RS talk!

Dr. B G said...


I love melissa and she is far ahead of paleo intellectual circles.

Only the best talk about butyrate. Lol hahah.

Vacation is fantastic and in fact we have done a little experiment here eating foods that the past two or three years I had inexplicable intolerances. There is mild bloating but not the 8mon preggers concave look! I'm quite happy. Havent been on the scale but clothes are even a little loose (gym, touring around). I think the sbo, kraut, Chinese tubers (purple potatoes, yams, etc) and antiparasite regimen have finished there job.

Glad you found the cross feeding articles. I'll send a cool PDF soon.

What are your health goals?
You look lean. AWESOMR BIG GUNS. You've cured all the modern health woes from what i discern -- hypothyroidism, hypertension, diabetes (BG 200s), physiologic IR, hgba1c 6.5 to 4.9 (YES I LIKE THIS METRIC), damage from the VLC hysteria,
TMI/stool/fartage... Did I miss anything?

You eat a complete diet that appears to suit you
-- kale
-- young moose (ahah the cuter the better)
-- fermented home crafted veggies and kraut kvass kefer
-- 'dirty carrots'
-- butt loads of butyrate substrates (beans, slow carbs, NSP/high fiber foods, potato starch 20-40g/d and uncle ben's)
-- dairy and fermented dairy

You defy the 'sibo' guru (the heartburn book guy) -- curing sibo by eating all the foods that he says to avoid in he initial stages. GAPS and SCD also avoid the same. A very restrictive diet for 18 months is prescribed typically.
--disaccharides (lactose)
--complex carbs (slow carbs, rice, potatoes etc)

For me, I see you have cured most of the sibo. If there's any residual like in my case it's parasitic but otherwise all the metrics are reversed -- digestive, mind/mental, skin, hormones, vascular -- and nutrients are replenished (mag zinc B vitamins etc). You are hopefully meeting all the health goals that you'd want.

Personally, I do hope people learn from the RS experiments and how to identify/cure SIBO because SIBO is the cause of cancer, inflammation and disease. It's not hard, no? You make it easier!

So, so far no one has remarked that their nightshade allergy was triggered by refined potato starch? I'm sorry -- I have missed six months of good RS FTA threads and need a catchup.

Anonymous said...

It just dawned on me what the BG stands for in Dr BG...duh.

From where I was 4 years ago, I am really happy! I was the poster-boy for metabolic syndrome, and all I was getting from docs (besides more medicine) was 'eat healthy whole grains, lean meat, and exercise more'.

The only remnant of this time I have left is possible hypothyroid...I took myself off my 150mcg Synthroid a couple years ago, and TSH crept up to 6.5. I got back on it a year ago and find 50mcg is keeping my TSH around 2. I just went today for labwork, and if TSH has dropped, I may drop the Synthroid again for 3 months and see where I'm at.

I know you don't like TSH and T4 as indicators, I had antibodies, T3, rT3 and all that checked last year at Endo and everything was fine except TSH high, T3/T4 low--but I was still pretty LC at that time.

I was also noticing today going through old labwork, that my WBC has hovered around the low end of ref range for quite some time, but seems to be coming up gradually now. I think you predicted this pattern, no? Last check it was 5.5 up from 5.1 and was 4.7 a year ago. How long does it take to get mid-range?

I keep Vit D around 50 with lots of sun in summer and 5000IU/day in winter.

My goals are to just keep healthy and strong and keep learning. I'm in a pretty good position to help others who don't mind giving up donuts and cigarettes.

Nobody has reported nightshade allergies w/potato starch. Richard said that about 100 people have bought Bob's Red Mill by clicking his Amazon affiliate link. That probably means that several hundred more bought some on their own. I have gotten a few dozen people on other sites to try it, and a few in real life. No bad effects reported anywhere, with the exception of pretty good gas if you start out too aggressive. 1-2TBS/day everyone seems to be able to handle, after 3-4 weeks people do well with 3-4TBS/day.

A few expected and unexpected results from all this: People report great sleep with vivid dreams, skin conditions clearing up, low body temps rising to 98.6 for first time in years, erratic bowel movements fixed, and lowered FBG.

Dr. B G said...


I appreciate all the updates. You have made amazing progress! It's funny that we have come to many of the same conclusions on a very similar health journey... Hope it's not lost on you.

Do you suspect that the adrenals are working better? In terms of temperature regulation, the adrenals do more of the minute to minute temperature regulation. Cold hands ALWAYS 100% signifies adrenal dysregulation... Cold extremities go in parallel with thyroid problems because 70-80% of thyroid problems are rooted in adrenal dysregulation. The adrenals are the foundation of our health. The smaller the gland, the higher the priority in health (pineal, pituitary, hypothalamus, adrenal, ovaries, testicles). We can live somewhat happily without testicles or ovaries (though I wouldn't advise), but heck not the adrenals -- death would ensue in 12-72 hours.

From my understanding your diet is now aligned with every standard adrenal protocol and the carbs are high (no longer LC, no?) -- 150 grams of complex carbs (low glycemic index (GI)) daily. Thats excellent. Frassetto's seminal paleo UCSF paleo diet also was higher carb 220-250 grams/day but extremely low GI and super high fiber. The sources of RS were carrot juice (which I presume included fiber) and yams.

Why do you think RS/potato starch is wildly raising everyone's core body temp at FTA? What do you suspect?

When our adrenals fail, we don't oxidize fats. In other words, mitochondrial liberation of energy from fatty acids stops or is wholly inefficient. People may be Metabolically Unhealthy Skinny (MUSsed up) or Metabolically Unhealthy Obese (MUO). This is babies, children, adults and elderly now! I think our guts are so destroyed which raises cortisol and dysregulates the adrenal glands.... To burn fat we need actually some adrenaline and no excessively high cortisol/insulin.

From the literature it appears to me that RS + NSP + soil based organisms (fermented vegs, supplementation) do a couple of beneficial things for metabolism:
--fermentation produces HEAT
--fermentation produces abundant SCFA
--abundant SCFA bind to potent stimulators of metabolism (GPR41/43)
--the symbiosis creates a tighter and healthier gut, which likely lowers cortisol/adrenaline and adrenal dysregulation
--a tighter gut means less microbial toxins and LPS cross into circulation which improves reverse T3 and other stress mediators (which TANK body temps and proper temperature regulation)
--the combination of RS + NSP is far superior than either alone to lower AUC, insulin and blood sugars. These improve metabolism. Together they lower body weight (NSP does alone as well; I havent seen an RS-alone study yet).

Actually 'BG' is from blood glucose. I'm a CDE -- certified diabetes educator.

Dr. B G said...

Tim --

RE: WBC. I think normal range is fine. I'm not certain if there are any benefits for mid-range levels. Have you found otherwise?

hey I like your BG, brain-gut but not sure my brain counts! lol


Anonymous said...

"I appreciate all the updates. You have made amazing progress! It's funny that we have come to many of the same conclusions on a very similar health journey... Hope it's not lost on you."

Not lost on me at all. The only reason I am dogging this issue is that hopefully it will help others who read this, now and in the future. I think the one big missing element in paleo is the care and feeding of gut flora. I love your weed-seed-feed protocol!

"Why do you think RS/potato starch is wildly raising everyone's core body temp at FTA? What do you suspect?"

I think people are FINALLY getting some real activity in their large intestine. Not just little bursts of probiotics like you get from a cup of yogurt, but real growth and expansion of beneficial bacteria, tightening of junctions, reduced inflammation, and whatever else those guys do. Ever see a compost pile steaming away in the middle of the Winter?

"RE: WBC. I think normal range is fine. I'm not certain if there are any benefits for mid-range levels. Have you found otherwise? "

No, it just seems to drop on LC, like trigs.

Off to read your new post!

Dr. B G said...


Love your comments -- thank you for the dogging on the hard issues!

Yes I concur -- people with 'intestinal and higher core heat' are resurrecting their large intestinal flora! I think the tight junctions are all a consequence of the perkier flora...SFBs, SBOs, ERs, RBs...

What you said is key 'I think people are FINALLY getting some real activity in their large intestine. Not just little bursts of probiotics like you get from a cup of yogurt, but real growth and expansion of beneficial bacteria, tightening of junctions, reduced inflammation, and whatever else those guys do. Ever see a compost pile steaming away in the middle of the Winter? '

So if our large intestines (caecum, appy and colon) are a compost pile then what is the ecosystem of the pile?

Have you seen the coprolite study ancient hominids with comparisons to compost? We do have COMPOST in our herbivorous COLONS... But our small intestines are PRIMAL AND CARNIVOROUS....


Fantastic thoughts!!!

Anonymous said...

Dr. BG - Great coprolite study! 2012, no less. Things will change fast with all the new technology we have.

Didn't you mention Mung Beans? Looks like mung bean starch may be even better than potato starch. This was from FTA this morning.


"Spanish Caravan // Oct 5, 2013 at 10:09

Maybe it’s working too well and I have to cut back! Yesterday, after starting Bob’s RM Tapioca Flour (tapioca starch), it didn’t seem to be having the same effect as Bob’s RM PS. I have some rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and felt my eyes dry out after my 12th day on PS. So yesterday, I took 5 tbsp. of TF and hit 97.6-97.8 rather than the 98.2-98.6 I’ve been seeing with PS. Not bad but the strength didn’t seem to be the same.

Last night, I went to a large Oriental grocery chain and bought what’s labeled “mungbean starch,” which Tatertot lists as having 50.3g Min RS per 100g. It’s completely white and you can’t tell from PS or TF. Didn’t seem to fully dissolve when mixed.

This morning I was 97.5. Had 1 tbsp. of MS with Almond Milk. About an hour later, I felt it getting real hot. I mean, really hot. 99.4! Then 99.3, 99.1, 98.8. This stuff seem to be even stronger than PS? But is it good to go over 99? I’m at 98.8 now so I’ve stabilized. But what do you make of a temperature spike like this? Something I never saw with PS.

I checked out Tatertot’s footnote regarding MS, where it’s noted that MS has the highest Amylose content, i.e., the lowest rate of starch digestibility during 30 to 180 mins compared to the other starchy food samples. “The high amylose content in the bean starches and the composition of the RS-I and RS-II resulted in a very low rate of starch digestibility in the observed samples (Osorio-Diaz et al., 2002), whereas commercial cassava starch exhibited greater starch digestibility than the other samples, as it
contained a very pure starch with low fat and protein content.”

In other words tapioca starch (cassava starch) had the highest digestibility due to amylose but MS had the lowest. PS had was in the middle. Perhaps it’s the RS AND digestibility that determines effectiveness and shows up as higher temperature? That would explain why TF was somewhat ineffective, PS is effective but MS is pushing me into hyperthermia!"

Comparison of mung and potato starch:


Dr. B G said...


My feeling is that amylose content is what determines RS mainly but the factors that affect crystallization during growth, crude fiber content, and plant maturation/storage and retrograding after cooking/cooling also can play minor roles. Did you know why instant noodles have such a high RS spike? The food manufacturers add an RS-enriched starch callled cowpea starch to give the noodles bend, flexibility and tensile strength.

Mungbean, yam and sweet potato noodles are like that (Korean and Chinese cuisine) -- jelly like, slimy very strong and bendable. Hard for Caucasians to get used to sometimes. Guess what? Many are often consumed COLD with cucumbers, raw garlic, vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce.

Also (see below) mung bean is unique -- it's high in protein, high in crude fiber, and very low in TS, total starch. Most of the Asian tubers, roots, legumes and cereals are this way...

"The daily intake of starch roducts by our subjects was estimated to be 46.9g. Sweet potato starch noodles
(41.0%) and sweet potato starch jelly sheets (31.6%), both commercially processed starch products, were found to have higher levels of RS than sweet potato starch (28.9%). Mung bean starch noodles had surprisingly higher (31.1%) starch content than boiled mung bean (11.0%). The high RS levels in starch products were probably due to the retrogradation of the gelatinized starch after thermal processing."

From here

More here

You said something curious on a FTA thread -- that the microbes residing on beans are what ferment the starches (raffinose -- insol to soluble starch) upon soaking overnight. It is hard to assess just isolated tapioca starch, potato starch or mung bean starch effects are without trying to simulate ancestral eating and food preparation steps...

Can you tell I studied food science in college??? And worked in a lab on making GMO raffinose-free beans... LOL!!! And I never learned the legume-microbial link. Thanks so MUCH!!

Anonymous said...


This is where I got most of my bean fermenting and cooking ideas.

One problem I see with modern populations that eat a lot of legumes, they also eat a lot of fried foods and wheat (and soda pop). Legumes are a cheap source of protein and carbs, but wheat and vegetable oil are cheap, too.

Sataran said...

Just wanted to comment on that leukopenic effect on a VLC diet. That is a signature immune reaction. I've seen WBCs drop anywhere from 25-50%. For most, WBCs reflect inflammation. So when you're losing weight ... your arterial infections subside and lowers inflammation, so WBCs naturally go down. That is a good thing.

However, what happens in some people is immunodeficiency: their WBCs fall close or below the reference range. Some below 3.0, even 2.5. At that level, you basically have neutropenia and/or lymphocytopenia. Platelets also may fall, too. These are basically immune deficiency symptosm of going ketogenic. Some of thse people go on to develop diseases like SID / CVID. I know because 1/3 of a group of diabetic patients on a VLC diet have developed it. Those WBCs, as well as, Secretory IgA, low triglycerides, low FT3, low leptin, high cortisol are part of the same equation. Witness the recent connection being made with gut microbiome and infections agents causing autoimmunity.


Dr. B G said...


Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate them. How do you monitor and observe WBCs dropping? On the internet, cases or anecdotes? I had not heard of that. What do you mean by 'I know because 1/3 of a group of diabetic patients on a VLC diet have developed it. '


Brianna Lomba Hall said...

Hello! Just wanted to pass on to you that there is a homeopathic bowel nosode made from Morganella Morgani. It's a commonly used bowel nosode. Might be an option to look into.

Dr. B G said...

Thank you Brianna~! I have indeed used some homeopathy with great relief.

Unknown said...


What do you think the mechanism is behind the dry eyes and RA with Potato Starch? Are you still using mung been starch in its place?

Anonymous said...

I tried about 2 Tbs of Bob's Red Mill unmodified PS for about 4 days. The gas was not bad, but I started getting a lot of pain in my stomach area, and increased symptoms of neuropathy, tinnitus, dry eyes, dry mouth, etc. Surprisingly my GI function was better, but I am concerned about feeding SIBO with this.

Any ideas? comments?