Monday, December 8, 2014

More AmGut Reports!

Not sure how many around here remember Allan and his family project.  Last year around this time, a blog regular, Allan, got the wild idea to subject his entire family (wife and 2 kids) to an experiment based on my American Gut report. 

His plan was to have each family member get a 'before' report from AmGut, then add a different amount of potato starch to each diet, and get an 'after' report. 

The problem was it would be expensive, nearly $800.  So he launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money.  I was so excited about this project, that I secretly told Allan I would make up the difference.  Around Christmas last year, days before the campaign was about to expire, and still about $600 short, I sheepishly told Jackie what I was up to.  She rolled her eyes.  But then, Christmas miracle, supporters came in left and right and Allan ended up with over $1000 to fund his project!  See the full Indiegogo page here.

Results are now in!

I think that if Allan were to do this experiment today, we'd have had a different set of parameters for him to test besides potato starch, but this was a year ago in the halcyon days of potato starch wonders!

His test would involve:

Over the course of a 6 week study period I will maintain a food journal for each participant and provide a daily diet supplement of resistant starch in the form of Bob's Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch. Each participant will follow a unique supplementation regimen:

a) adult 1 - 4 TBSP mixed in water, consumed on an empty stomach

b) adult 2 - 2 TBSP mixed in water, consumed on an empty stomach

c) child 1 - 1 TBSP potato starch plus 1 TSP whole psyllium husk mixed into yogurt

d) child 2 - 1 TBSP potato starch mixed into yogurt

"Adult 2" is still awaiting her 'after' report, so I will wait until then to fully explore the reports, but you can see a great presentation Allan put together here.

Lots of changes occurred, most notably to me were the across-the-board increase in Bifidobacteria:

Adult 1 - From .95 to 5%
Adult 2 - Awaiting Results
Child 1 - From .33 to 1.5%
Child 2 - From .27 to 6.8%

Also, Adult 1 went from an Akkermansia level of 17% to 1.5%.  I'm sure we'll be debating that for years!

So have a look at the full report (found here) and let Allan know if you have any questions.  I'll probably do a bit more talking about this as will other bloggers.  Should be interesting to see how everyone explains the results!



  1. I can't wait to see the results but the link "(found here)" in your post is dead - doesn't work. BTW, have you been to FTA lately?

  2. A slight clarification to the experiment's protocol…

    Adult 1: 4TB mixed in water
    Adult 2: 2TB mixed in a kefir made w/ an active bifido culture
    Child 1: 1TB RUMPS + 1TSP Gr. Psyllium husk both mixed in water
    Child 2: 1 TB RUMPS in water

    While the kids and I, ate yogurt as part of our normal diet, ie. we had dairy on a regular basis, the yogurt was NOT one cultured with strains of bifido. That bears mentioning because most commercial yogurts, in fact, are cultured with bifido. This is further confirmed by our pretty low "before" bifido numbers. We were eating the exact same yogurt for months before the test, as we did during the 6 weeks with the RUMPS supplement… so, diary alone isn't going to grow large amounts of bifido (shouldn't be surprising IMO).

    Part of what I wanted to test was whether RUMPS would "spontaneously" spur bifido growth, or if one needed to take it along side a bifido-containing yogurt to get a strong effect. While we don't yet have Adult 2's numbers to know what it can do when taken alongside bifido, I think we answered the spontaneous question in the affirmative.

    What I find interesting was Child 2 taking just one TB/day had a greater increase than me taking 4 times the amount. Child 2 started from a lower baseline and finished higher than me! Maybe the smaller gut needed less prebiotic? Maybe the error bars on Am Gut's tests are 20-50% of the reported measurement? I don't know, but arguably Child 1 also had a 5X increase, same as me, and again on 1/4 the dose.

    Another part of what I wanted to know was whether there was a minimum effective dose with RUMPS. It's a little (or maybe a lot) confounded trying to extrapolate from small children to adults, but it seems like one might be able to get along OK without mega-dosing as I was. I think we'll need Adult 2's results to really feel certain about it, but long-term I'm far more inclined to go with 1 TB 2-4 times a week than 1/4 cup/day. The latter really wears on a person. :)

    HTH. Cheers. -Allan

    1. What was adult one eating PRIOR to the experiment which resulted in 17%!!!! Akk?

    2. Short answer: I don't think it has anything to do with what I ate. The whole family was eating close to the same thing and only I was off the charts for Akker.

      Or if you prefer, the long answer...

  3. Yea, I'm going to wait until adult 2 comes back to blog about it. Unfortunately, it's all a bit compromised in my view, owing to your post about some vastly different numbers from the exact same swabbing.

    I stop far short of calling it worthless (it's not), but I just don't think people ought to live or die by the results (I know you don't). And, those of you doing this are performing a social service by helping to fund something that will only get better and better over time. Still, context prevails. Just keep it REAL, I guess.

    Another think I'm very skeptical of is the idea that raw RS2 kills off "core" species. Falls under the category of extraordinary claims, requiring extraordinary evidence. Moreover, it falls under the fallacy of "if some is good, more is better." We do not know. Akkermansia may well be the cat's meow, but we don't know that more is better. That has to be showed. Just like negative feedback dominates natural processes, so does diminishing returns.

    For example, the epidemiology is that a Vit D level above 50 ng/mL is negatively associated with all cancer. A Vit D level of 100, while not harmful, does not have anything I'm aware of to show it's better than 50.

    I use that because my first VD test in 3 years just came back and I'm at 56. I supp D3 n average, 1-2 times per week, 4-6K IU. I used to do that daily and I was in the 70s to 80s. I'd rather use sups to stay just over 50, use the sun in summer to go wherever.

  4. I'd be a *little* wary of the doubling in protobacteria there, however without knowing exactly which species perhaps how Allan and family are feeling heath'n'fitness-wise is more relevant.
    Interesting! Thanks for posting and sharing Tim....Allan.....All.

  5. Not AmGut, but my uBiome kit is completed and in the mail! Woo! This will be a sample after long term (6 years) antibiotic use. Boo! I'm hoping to do some serious gut fixing in 2015 and retest.