Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cutting Edge Solutions with RS

Ruh-roh Shaggy!  Somebody don't like potato starch!  Whaaaaat?  Read on!  -Tim  


Unmodified Potato Starch May Cause Inflammation

My experience with resistant starches

My experience with resistant starch in general started about a year ago when I was researching tools to increase insulin sensitivity.

I realized that I was eating quite a bit of foods with RS already, which I had discovered based on trial and error of how I felt best.
But after reading about resistant starch, I decided to include semi-green bananas, as they’re a rich source of RS.
The effect was quite remarkable, which lead me to name my diet after this third type of fiber (though it’s really only a small fraction of why the diet works. Read the RS appendix for reasons why it works.)
After releasing my diet, I noticed quite a few people were using Bob’s Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch as a source of resistant starch.
My Experience with Unmodified Potato Starch
I had tried it out once before alone and it seemed decent. Since there seemed to be quite a few people using it and my initial impression was decent, I mentioned it as an option in my diet post, though I favored semi-green bananas because of potassium, other nutrients and other kinds of fiber.
After a fellow hacker on longecity started raving about unmodified potato starch, I decided to give it another test drive so that I can compare it to green bananas.
Well, it turned out that it caused me to have inflammation, which manifested itself by joint pain and fatigue.
These things never happen when I take my normal regimen and I’m well rested.
After the effects wore off, I decided to give it another go to make sure it was the potato starch.
Lo and behold I got tired and inflammation again.
Tiredness after a meal that doesn’t contain glucose is a sign of inflammation.
Read about how inflammation induces fatigue by supressing orexin.
During this experiment, I made sure to take it when I was amped and wide awake, ready to kick ass.
But then 15 minutes after the potato starch the inflammation-induced fatigue set it.
The upside is that I didn’t get any gas from it – probably because my gut adapted to a boatload of fiber already. It seems like everybody farts away when they take it.

Unmodified Potato Starch Vs Semi-Green Bananas

As far as the effects, I would say the Bob’s Red Mill unmodified potato starch is inferior to semi green bananas.
These days, I try to eat about 3 bananas a day and it seems to be a sweet spot for me.
The bananas combined with legumes and the other types of fiber I consume have a cumulative effect that gives me the right level of cognitive umph that I like.
I consumed 85g of potato starch and the effect was less than what I experienced with bananas and legumes.
So, excluding the inflammation, I think semi-green bananas still offer more of punch, and the fact that bananas contain potassium definitely pushes it over the top even if you don’t experience inflammation from it.
I haven’t seen any convincing evidence that there’s much RS in it from a scientific viewpoint, either.
The studies I’ve seen speak about “native starch,” which doesn’t translate into Bob’s Red Mill unmodified potato starch.
I emailed them quite a few months back and they said the potato starch was cooked.
Their method of cooking and preparation could definitely be confounding variables.
I’m willing to give the potato starch advocates the benefit of the doubt and allow them to post studies in the comments section that demonstrate the potato starch in the studies is the same as BRM’s potato starch.

Unmodified Potato Starch Vs Hi-Maize

I think the effects are somewhat similar. I get more of an effect from green bananas than hi-maize, but hi-maize is a lot cleaner, in the sense that it has absolutely no plant toxins.
I use hi-maize when I run out of semi-green bananas and supplement with potassium.

How Unmodified Potato Starch Causes Inflammation

I’m guessing the mechanism behind the inflammation that I experienced was from solanine and chaconine, glycoalkaloids.
Various methods of cooking reduce these plant toxins.
Broiling and frying reduce these toxins because they are fat and water soluble. Microwaving (and probably roasting) is only somewhat effective [Ref].

You CAN get enough resistant starch in your diet

Kresser, “the healthy skeptic”, a misnomer in my opinion, mentioned in his podcast that it’s impossible to get enough RS in your diet alone. As I’ve demonstrated, that’s blatantly false.
This post is not meant to be an assault on the guys at freetheanimal: I respect that they’re willing to experiment and think outside the box (this is not an endorsement of their blog), unlike most other bloggers.
But I feel if I got negative results, then there’s a portion of the population who will also get negative results, so people must use caution and pay close attention to their bodies.
This doesn’t mean that no one can benefit from it, though. If you don’t get inflammation from it, then I don’t see why not.
But I think semi green bananas, hi-maize and certain legumes are better options.

54 thoughts on “Unmodified Potato Starch May Cause Inflammation”

  1. I seem to be having a reaction to BRM potato starch also, how long did your bouts of fatigue and joint inflammation last? It seems to be affecting me for several days.
      1. Joe, thanks for posting about this subject. It helped me isolate the PS as the issue. I also posted on the FTA website, but as others mentioned, it was not very helpful. I saw some comments about iodine, do you have a separate blog post on this or more info? Thanks again, David
  2. FYI: I’ve been on unmodified potato starch for two months. Horrid gas. Switched to 6 pm and did much better in that arena. But last week, starting getting headaches that I only felt when I bent down to retrieve something. Odd, since I never get headaches!! Six days of that.
    Next thing I notice, I’m REALLY tired physically. 2 1/2 days of that. I’ve been busting my brain, trying to figure out WHAT is going on. Then in hit me–the unmodified potato starch. It’s the only major change I’ve made in my life the last few months. And the ONLY other time I can remember getting a headache is when I had just started using Lugol’s iodine a few years ago and was raising it i.e. I discovered that detoxing gives me headache. So does using resistant starch cause detoxing? Or is it the plant toxins finally getting to me? I’m going to stay off it a week and see what happens…
    1. Your reaction to lugols and PS have nothing to do with detoxing. PS is because of toxins. Lugols gave you an issue because free elemental iodine is toxic and damages tissues, which is why it gave me a stomach ache when I took it and made me feel crappy. Its toxicity derives from its oxidizing properties, which make it able to denaturate proteins (including enzymes). This has nothing to do with detoxing.
      1. Makes sense that it could be a toxin issue. I figure I’ll figure it out or not after I’ve been off the potato starch for several days. Today is getting close to being off 48 hours—still have some physical fatigue this afternoon, so we’ll see as more days off go by.
        As far as iodine, I’m not on enough to make it toxic. Lugols is more potassium iodide, which as I understand it don’t have the toxic elemental iodine but the more benign iodide.
          1. Joe, my understanding from Brownstein and Flechas is that the toxic effect from iodine use is from detoxing. But what I’d really like ideas about is why I’m so tired after two months of using RS….
          2. I’d love for them to explain why they think this to be and their proposed mechanism.
            It’s not RS, it’s just PS and it’s from the toxins. Use Hi-maize, which has just as much RS and you won’t get tired, but you may still get a headache if you take too much.
  3. Hello! Interesting post. I starting experimenting with Bob’s Red Mill PS last week. I was very reluctant to try. I have had an immune system response to potaotes for over 5 years. I did a low cal / low carb diet and lost 105 pounds. After weight plateaued I found that I could not eat potatoes or potato starch. Reaction – severe pain and swelling of major and minor joints, heat, crying and severe anger. Not fun. Reaction sometimes is within an hour but usally it is exactly 24 hours after ingestion.
    After reading Dr. Art Ayers of coolinginflammation, Richard at freetheanimal and Grace of AnimalPharm I decided to give it a try.
    I was on vacation and not eating my normal foods. Reaction was virtually none. Fear on injestion which dissapated. I did get constipation, which I haven’t had in years. I did have a few twinges of joint stiffness in next few days.
    I have plantain flour in the mail. I ate some fresh plaintains. Fine. Best in smoothie. Mouth felt raw when eaten straight.
    Since my reaction to potatoes started, I had not found anyone else who reacts the way I do. This page is the first time. I do not react to anything else, including all nightshades. I am guessing that the diet restriction on potates eliminated my abiltiy to digest them with triggering the immune system. Ironically (I think), I have no problems with wheat and glutens – when many other people do.
    I stopped the PS for a week because of the constipation. Now that I am home again, I had one TBSP last night and one TBSP this morning. My head is feeling a little strange and lips tingly. So….this post is extremely relevent to me.
    Now I am thinking that a potato starch sensitivity is one more variablity. I will stop potato starch and switch try the options.
    Thanks for the information. Honesty is appreciated. I have learned to live by the principle of not criticizing others but rather trying to understand where they are coming from. Thus….some people might not get benefit from potato starch, and need to rely on other forms of resistant starch.
    1. Thanks for your review. You’re reacting to potato starch because of alkaloids, such as solanine, in raw potatoes. Various cooking methods reduce solanine concentrations.
      1. Dear Selfhacked,
        Please explain better. Does that mean the BRM is not consistant with their process in your opinion? Why did I start reacting in the first place? Try telling elderly Ukrainain relatives that you can’t eat potato cheese perogies anymore. :-(
        1. Everyone has a different level of tolerance to various toxins. If your relatives are eating raw potatoes, then they may have a higher tolerance to these toxins and not be so sensitive.
          1. Dear Selfhacked,
            No, my family does not eat raw potatoes. The food I am referring to is a cooked potato food.
            Everyone in my family eats potatoes, loves them. I am the odd one out.
            A lot more has been written on Free the Animal, just today. After doing some stool testing, it looks like those who have problems with potato starch still have a flora/fauna gut imbalance. If after a year you still can’t handle PS, I am thinking something is still out of balance…
            In your self experiment, have you been tested to find out exactly what is populating your gut?
          2. Dear Selfhacked,
            Your response of “nonsense” was not a helpful answer. I asked if you have had your gut tested. I didn’t pick on one type of test, as there are many, but it is a question that should have been answered. If this is your business and your self experiment, then you really should know what is going on inside….
            Generally improved health is a good indicator of a healthy gut… but in your “about” page you explain that you still have dietary issues with “all dairy, yeast, eggs, caffeine, theobromine, alcohol and other foods/substances”. If we add potatoes/potato starch to that list, I think it is clear that there is something still amiss in your gut. I don’t have a problem with dairy or yeasts or eggs, just potatoes.
            The statement that potato starch “may cause” inflammation with the inference that it *does cause* and your use of the BRM packaging is an criticism worthy of Bulletproof. Why the drama? I am glad that hi-maize works well for you, I will try it too. But shouldn’t there be a variety of cheap, natural sources of high RS?
            All of the allergens and sensitivities that people have today are not normal. There is something wrong with all of us if we can’t eat normal things – dairy, potatoes, eggs, etc.
            Thanks for sharing your issues with potatoes. I will take it into consideration. However, I kindly object to the conclusion.
          3. I think there are some misunderstandings here.
            Being sensitive to certain foods in my opinion is mostly not a gut problem. I’ve certainly tried every way to tolerate foods like casein and gluten, without success. I’ve taken every probiotic, dietary fiber and supplement that heals ‘leaky gut’. At this stage I’d recommend staying away from foods you’re sensitive to. You can induce tolerance if you have IgE related allergies, however (not my situation).
            Some people are sensitive to potatoes, but my post wasn’t even referring to that. BRM’s potato starch is RAW, which means it contains more plant toxins than regular cooked potatoes. If you are sensitive to cooked potatoes, you are more likely to have a reaction from raw potatoes like potato starch. I think people who aren’t sensitive to cooked potatoes may be sensitive to potato starch.
            People need time for their gut to adapt to RS, which is what I had assumed you were talking about. But the health of my gut doesn’t correlate with how well I tolerate foods.
            There is no test that I’m aware of that reliably measures the health of your gut. uBIOME doesn’t tell you much useful info.
          4. I only took 1 tsp of PS and my mouth burned most of the day. Within 10 minutes of taking it my heart started racing and a neck injury that hasn’t bothered me for 5 years flared up. No sleep that night also. I never had a problem with cooked potatoes in my life. Raw and concentrated spud to me is not good. Problems may pop up in people if they take it in high doses(4 + tbsp) long term. I wouldn’t risk it.At FTA they do like to tell people their messed up if they can’t take it. I do not have an autoimmune issue . I used to eat green bananas just because ripe ones made me gag. Now I just eat a variety of veges, meat, eggs, berries and nuts. My gut bugs will have to find something they like from that.
  4. I am so glad to read this. I have developed severe joint pain (knees/hip) where as previously to Unmodified Potato Starch, I never encountered. I am giving it up as of today to see if I experience improvement. I am hoping this will reverse my condition. Before this, I was the epitome of great health.
  5. Count me in on those not responding well to BRM potato starch. Even after 4 weeks “adaptation” I had numerous (6xa day) runny bowl movements, excessive room clearing noxious gas and zero improvement if fasting vlood glucose. Tapioca starch on the other hand brought my FBG down from 110 to the 90s.
  6. I seem to have evaded the side effects you mention with the unmodified potato starch by taking a tincture preparation of turmeric every day. Obviously that’s not a good long term solution if the orexin connection is true here and I honestly hadn’t thought of that.
    The guys over at Free The Animal seem to recommend plantain and banana flour in addition to the green bananas.
    I read elsewhere (probably on Free The Animal too) that cooked-then-cooled rice and parboiled rice are good for RS. Generally I avoid bananas in the morning as in the past it caused me to suffer hypoglycemic fatigue. Occasionally I do eat a banana before bed and it seems to help me fall asleep quickly and wake up well-rested in the morning like taking honey.
    Any suggestions for keeping bananas from ripening quickly?
  7. Does resistant starch preferentially feed probiotics? If you consume too much will the spillover feed pathogenic organisms? What about people suffering form SIBO? Should you do a round of oil of oregano and lauric acid before starting the diet? Also, why would humans evolve a taste aversion to unripe bananas?
    1. I had SIBO. Most people with IBS have SIBO. It’s fine. If you follow the diet, it includes lots of antimicrobials, which should take care of the bacteria in teh small intestine. I would especially suggest ACV and kombucha. You can take the anti microbials with the diet.
    1. Thanks, that would accord much more with my experience. I realize now that I get RS and prebiotics from bananas, which probably makes it equivalent to more RS alone. So 55% would make sense – 30% was a low figure. I also do believe that it’s raw based on how inflammatory it is.
    1. He also charges shipping($5.95) for his coffee, and portland roasting charges $11.30, so pr’s coffee is still cheaper. PR’s coffee is a lot cheaper when ordering multiple bags because the $11.30 shipping is flat rate.
  8. I can already see “bulletproof” RS coming:
    1. No third party verification of superior benefits whatsoever relative to “normal” RS
    2. Probably Bob’s RedMill RS packaged in a pretty new bottle
    3. Charge $20 more for the above
    4. Sheep line up to buy after the multi level marketing and blog partners hype it up
    Seems to be the tried and true formula.
    As for RS itself, it has not given me any problems but I will be on the lookout more carefully for the symptoms you described. I find that getting green bananas is a problem as most stores I check don’t stock them. Where do you get yours?
    1. Lol, I was thinking the exact same thing. Hilarious.
      I just go for the greenest ones. If they’ve got even a little green on it I take it. I need to buy them every other day or every day depending on the season.
      1. Something that myself and friends have noticed this past year when purchasing green bananas..
        usually I purchase all green bananas (green but not overly hard/dark green) and they will ripen by themselves at room temperature over a few days however this year I have had to switch to purchasing the more yellow /green bananas because the green ones wont ripen- no matter what.
    2. You forgot to mention that he’ll tell you the premium is because he had to source it from some place in the amazon to guarantee that it’s mycotoxin free and only by consuming this will you be bulletproof, like him.
  9. Interesting post. Do you think perhaps you are allergic to nightshades? I could sleep as well on the potato starch and am thinking of trying the bananas. Can you say just how ‘green’ your bananas are for the right effect? I only like semi green bananas but never noticed any effect from them. Also do you need to purchase your bananas often? If I buy bananas the way I like them (semi green or about to be semi green) they are good on for a day or two.
    Have you tried green banana starch?
          1. What about keeping them in the frig? I noticed they stay greener, are harder to peel and eat when in the frig. I don’t have enough energy to buy them everyday or other day.

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