We received a question about how to restore gut flora and function when unable to tolerate probiotics and fermented foods not likely due to histamine allergy. This is a great question, it’s one that I get a lot, and it turns out there are several potential reasons why somebody may not be able to tolerate fermented foods or probiotics, and one of them is histamine intolerance.
In this episode, we cover:
4:58 4 reasons why you may not be able to tolerate fermented foods or probiotics
12:32 How to improve your tolerance for fermentable fiber and prebiotics
22:38 Is it better to eat fermentable fibers in whole food, or is it better to use supplements?
Is it better to eat fermentable fibers in whole food, or is it better to use supplements?This brings us to the same question that you asked, Steve, about prebiotics: Is it better to eat fermentable fibers in whole food, or is it better to use supplements? Well, over the long term, I think, you’ll probably guess what my answer is. I think it’s better to get it from food. But in the short term, I actually find that it’s easier to use supplements to start, and the reason for that is that prebiotics tend to really cause problems for people who have a screwed-up gut, and I’ve found that it’s easier to adjust the dose and build up really slowly and cautiously over time with a prebiotic powder than it is to do with food. It’s just harder to control the exact amount of prebiotic fibers you’re getting when you’re eating whole foods than it is using a powder. We’ve talked about resistant starch as one potential prebiotic that you could use to do this, and potato starch is the version that’s most often used, and then there are things like Prebiogen, which I also sell in my store, which is a blend of non-starch polysaccharides, and I actually recommend that people use both because they stimulate the growth of different kinds of bacteria in the gut. Resistant starch will stimulate growth of a certain type of groups of bacteria, and then the non-starch polysaccharides will have an effect on other types of bacteria.
But let me remind you again that starting at the full dose which is often recommended, like one or two tablespoons twice a day, is absolutely not advised for people with gut issues! I just talked to another patient last week who ended up in the hospital because she was so certain that she was having appendicitis or some major issue in her gut, and what had happened is she had started taking one tablespoon twice a day of resistant starch, and on the second or third day, she was curled up in a ball on the floor for hours until she went to the hospital. It turned out it was just gas pains that were causing that pain. They can be super, super intense, and some people who are listening might have experienced this. That really triggered a flare for her that lasted about two and a half or three weeks. That’s not a typical response, but I just tell you that story to emphasize the importance of starting slowly with any prebiotics. I would say, like, a half of an eighth of a teaspoon, like, a sixteenth of a teaspoon, an eighth of a teaspoon, and then just really, really slowly build up over time. That way, I think, you’ll eventually get to reach the goal, but it could take months or even years to finally get to where you’re going, but you’ll see improvement all along the way, so that’s the bright side.
Steve Wright: Yeah, in case people are wondering, I think Chris and I just giggle a little bit about doing these experiments on yourself and the negative consequences that can happen, so we won’t say anything about the woman that Chris was talking about, and hopefully trying to let you know that, in general, you definitely want to ramp up all the time, whether it’s prebiotics or something else. As we’ve talked about on the show numerous times, essentially you’re changing your gut flora with every bite that you take. Resistant starch is kind of like rocket fuel for your gut flora. If you dump a bunch of rocket fuel down there and you haven’t been running that kind of octane in the engine for a while, there can be some serious consequences