Saturday, August 30, 2014

Upcoming Blog Posts

Just wanted to give quick a lead-in to Monday's blog, "Probiotics and Antibiotics."

I have some antibiotic posts that are set to pop up every Monday morning for the next 10 weeks.  I figured it was way too much for one blog, but 10 seemed to fit.  I've been interested in this whole 'antibiotic resistance' thing for a long time and did quite a bit of research on it.  I hope you get something out of it.

I'll be off moose hunting all next week, and then classes start up on Sept 8th.  I have a couple other blogs in the wings on fun stuff like Beet Kvass and Sauerkraut making/science.  Those will get posted on Wednesdays most likely.  I'll try to keep up with the comments as best as I can, but I see you guys are doing great!  Keep it up...I love when you all carry on the discussion, heck, it's how I got my start.  I used to get in trouble by bloggers for turning their comments sections into my private forums.  It's a blast, I don't mind if you do that here!

Anyway, I was reading my latest issue of FFG this morning, and came across an article that fits in nicely with tomorrow's antibiotic blog.

In the "News and Notes" column was a short piece called 'Washington Elk Hoof Disease.'  It discusses a disease being seen in wild elk that has only ever been seen in cows and sheep before.  The hoof disease is caused by the treponeme bacteria and cripples the animals.  It's been a serious problem in the livestock industry for 30 years, and there is no cure, livestock with this disease are slaughtered and fed to us and our pets.  What is happening is an all-too-familiar story.  A bacterial infection weakens it's host and allows a fungal infection to grow rampant within the cells of that host.
These hooves you see below are the result of unstoppable fungal infections!  Horse owners know this problem only too well.

See Story

Treponeme is also the bacteria behind syphilis, which is maybe why there are all those sheep jokes out west.   But that's beside the point. 

OK, where am I going with this?  The US Department of the Interior has recently (July 2014) banned the planting of GMO (or 'GE,' genetically engineered) crops on lands within National Wildlife Refuges,  specifically calling out areas in Washington state.  This looks legit, I have to believe it is.  See Memo 

So how do GMO crops and treponeme bacteria relate?  Easy.  GMO crops change the composition of gut bacteria akin to the damage done by antibiotics.  Much of the genetic engineering is the splicing of genes that breed herbicides, pesticides, and other unnatural mutations into our food crops, these herbicidal grains are resistant to bacterial attack meaning the farmer needs to spray less and gets higher yields.  When we eat these plants, our gut flora is altered.

I'm going to be studying this entire GMO thing heavily over the next couple years, and hope to write lots more on it.  Here are a couple links if you'd like to read more now:

Dr. Mercola on GMO damage to gut flora

GMOs: The Mutants Among Us

I'd like you to at least click on the two links above, these are generally cited as 'quack science' by the agriculture industry.  People like Dr. Mercola have been raising the GMO alarm for years now and get treated like barefoot hippies holding 'The End is Near' signs at a Berkeley peace rally.

 Then have a look at this:  British Medical Journal; Genetically Modified Foods

From the peer-reviewed article:

The use of genetic modification in food production is proving contentious and attracting much media coverage. Despite this, it can be difficult for anyone not directly involved to know how to obtain hard facts. Genetically modified foods raise many issues—scientific, technological, environmental, social, ethical, economic, and political—too many to cover here.


  This led to concerns that the antibiotic resistance gene might be transferred to animal gut flora (including human pathogens), which might then acquire resistance to a clinically useful antibiotic.

 In the heat of the debate it is easy to forget that DNA is, and always has been, part of our daily diet. Daily, each of us consumes millions of copies of many thousands of genes. Many of these genes are fully viable at the point of consumption, and in most cases we do not know what they do. How many people stop to consider the viable yet unknown genes of tomato, cucumber, and lettuce in a salad, the bovine genes in a beef steak, the fragmented DNA in many processed foods, and the genes of the many micro-organisms that we breath and swallow?

Oh, that was written in 1999!



  1. Poor elks.

    Similarly, the White-Nose Syndrome in bats:

    "White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an emergent disease of hibernating bats that has spread from the northeastern to the central United States at an alarming rate. Since the winter of 2007-2008, millions of insect-eating bats in 25 states and five Canadian provinces have died from this devastating disease. (see map below) The disease is named for the white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, that infects skin of the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats. In April 2014, WNS was confirmed in Michigan and Wisconsin."

  2. Oh crap. The Mercola piece was far more in depth than anything I've seen before. GM Alfalfa was approved in Canada too but the company took it off the market. Farmers were up in arms.

    Happy hunting you lucky so and so. Mmmm moose is such clean tasting meat..

    1. I've always resisted rallying against GMOs because I thought that was taking it a bit too far. I've never been one to jump on every bandwagon like removing your fillings, complete grain avoidance, or the whole 'mycotoxin' fear-mongering, but I have to say that certain genetic modifications are a hazard to humanity.

      That article on elk getting a disease normally confined to livestock makes me wonder about the safety of wild game taken in the vicinity of GMO crops even grass-fed beef. But that would definitely be taking it too far...right?

  3. was wondering if BRM Tapioca starch works effectively as an RS. i cant tolerate nightshades so looking for something else thats easy to use and cheap.

    1. Tapioca starch, in theory, contains lots of RS. In practice, I can't say I recommend it whole-heartedly.

      Tapioca comes from cassava. Cassava contains cyanide. The cyanide is easily removed and cassava is safe to eat, but I fear that some of the cyanide removal processes destroy the RS.

      There are like a dozen types of cassava, some may have more RS than others.

      Here's what I would say to try: Buy a bag of tapioca starch, eat 4TBS of it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, measure your blood glucose at 15 minute intervals for 1-2 hours and see what happens.

      If your blood sugar stays stable, not deviating by more than 5-10 points, it's definitely a good source of RS. If your blood sugar spike 30+ points, poor source.

      Sorry, but that's the only way I know. There is a big need for some commercially available RS sources, labeled with their RS content and origin (organic, GMO etc..).

      If you don't have a BG tester, I don't know of any other way other than sending a sample to a food lab and paying $400 for an RS test.

    2. Oh, otherwise, just eat green bananas and dried plantains. Or banana flour.

      Or Hi-Maize corn starch available from Kind Arthur flour...I don't love it, but it is a valid source of RS.

    3. Ya think that Hi maize stiff is GMO?

    4. According to their website, no.

  4. I was distressed to read this article

    It did manage to shake my confidence in my anti GMO stance somewhat. Would love to know more about Mark Lynas conversion , for example.

    1. Thanks, elliebelly! I should have never clicked that link, that was a long one...but good.

      I think that big Agra confuses the issue by saying, "But we GMO'd more vitamins or a plant that needs less water!" If that's all GMO's were about, I'd just shut-up, bit it's not. There is a class of seed known as 'Round-up ready'.

      This is a GMO grain that you can spray Round-up, or 2,4d, on without killing it. This is highly disturbing on many levels that needs to be the subject of about 20 blog posts.

      I don't know what to think about Mark Lynas.

  5. I really liked this documentary about GMO's, nice to watch and easy to understand.

  6. Hi Tim,
    Perhaps your upcoming articles will address natural antibiotics as per this discussion: .