Friday, December 12, 2014

Raw Potato Starch; A Great Prebiotic!

The Potato Starch Experiment

Allan Folz and his family of four recently did a "crowd-funded" experiment with potato starch. They designed a dietary strategy and had a full gut analysis done on all four members, before and after the dietary intervention. This experiment could not have been conducted any better in a big university setting. The gut tests used were state-of-the-art 16s rRNA gene sampling by the American Gut Project and the raw data was obtained from the European Nucleotide Archive and double-checked using MG-rast, an open-source metogenomic analysis server.  The subjects involved two adults and two children, all healthy human subjects with no recent history of antibiotic use.

Please have a look at the experiment design, Allan's observations, and an initial look.  The data has now been analyzed. A comparison with the results of the Folz' family experiment and the criteria for "prebiotics" in Rastall and Gibson's new paper show conclusively that raw potato starch meets every available definition of the term "prebiotic."

Adult 1
Adult 2
Child 1
Child 2

                      (Green = Increased abundance    Orange = Decreased abundance)

To recap the dietary interventions:

Adult 1 - Added 4TBS of potato starch daily
Adult 2 - Added 2TBS of potato starch daily, mixed with kefir
Child 1 - Added 1TBS of potato starch daily, plus 1tsp of psyllium husk
Child 2 - Added 1TBS of potato starch daily

The dietary intervention lasted for 6 weeks, and the final fecal samples were taken on the last day.

An examination of the data shows that each subject had considerable increases in bifidobacterium, and mainly increases in the other bacteria suggested as targets for prebiotics by Rastall and Gibson. The slight decreases were most pronounced in the subject (Child 2) who ate the least amount of total fiber supplements, but ironically, this subject also had the largest increase in bifidobacteria.

The species of bifidobacteria detected in the samples were ~95% Bifidobacterium breve, with smaller amounts of animalis, dentium, longum, and pseudolongum.   

Data Confidence


The data used for this chart looks different from what Allan reported was on his American Gut report. The data presented here was derived by plugging the raw data used by American Gut into a program called MG-rast. MG-rast is an open-access metagenomics analysis tool used by researchers and universities to catalog large sets of genomic data. In all cases, the increases and declines in specific gut bacteria correlated to increases shown on the American Gut report. All of the gut reports were conducted at the same time by the American Gut Project, a crucial consideration in gut biome testing as procedures and test methods may change slightly between batch runs.

An example of the level of detail seen in MG-rast is this before and after tree of the diversity in the genera of bacteria seen in Child 1 before and after the intervention.

Changes is color reflect changes in bacterial diversity

Research Question Answered!:

"Is raw, unmodified potato starch a "prebiotic?"

It is conclusive from the table above that raw potato starch acted as a prebiotic in all of the test subjects. As the standard definition of a prebiotic is that it "increases bifidobacteria and other bacteria known to convey health benefits," the answer is clearly, "Yes."

Future Research:

All good studies end in a call for more research. It's what keeps the research industry alive!

Researchers now need to determine if potato starch is a superior or inferior prebiotic as compared to others, and what the optimal dose should be. There should also be studies on complimentary fibers to increase the prebiotic effects of potato starch.


A healthy, fiber-filled diet is paramount to a robust immune system and great health. As a prebiotic supplement, potato starch can play an important role in maintaining healthy levels of beneficial gut microbes. When selecting a prebiotic supplement, do not overlook potato starch. A range of 1-4TBS per day has been shown to have a prebiotic effect and should be used as a rough guide when deciding how much to use. It may be wise to start with a smaller dose and increase weekly. Studies suggest that amounts greater than 4TBS per day will not be assimilated by intestinal bacteria.


  1. I have an interesting observation from my N=1 case. When I started with potato starch the farting was considerable and terrible smelling. Over time it has reduced in quantity and is now almost without smell. But what is interesting is that on those days when the only resistant starch is the PS I have no farting of note (save on morning rising). But when I add lentils to my diet, or substantial cold rice, or much the worst any food containing lupin flour the farting is again considerable, in lupin's case very anti-socially loud. Now how is it that my body manages to get rid of the products from the PS but not from lentils or lupin flour?

    1. Such is life, eh? You should have been there when my current batch of sauerkraut was ready for taste-testing! Hours of hilarity ensued, now I can eat big bowls of it with no unwanted side-effects.

    2. Look forward to Tim's answer, but I would surmise that perhaps the bacteria encouraged by the potato starch is "crowding out" the bacteria required to properly digest those other foods, and that's especially probable if you're taking high doses of PS every day but only occasionally having the other foods.

    3. This would make a good research project for someone defending the thesis, "Does raw potato starch cause unhealthy unbalances in the gut microbiota?"

      What I think, based on lots of reading and my own experiences, is that the biome changes rapidly and substantially after each meal. No food source will totally deplete a bacterial population, only antibiotics can do that.

      As everyone's starting point is different, everyone surely will respond differently.

      Look at the Folz family. They all eat pretty much the same thing and live together, yet they had completely different gut biomes. The pie-chart above shows many bacteria that were undetectable on the 'before' diet being in abundance on the 'after.'

      Certainly, though, no one in the world has a biome that can digest every single food as it is eaten. We all require some level of adaptation to new foods.

    4. Anon, no it has nothing to do with the other starches being eaten occasionally. I eat other starch almost every day and have for months. Its only occasionally I don't and then I notice I don't have the farts with PS alone. However I suspect that I farted heaps with the PS in the beginning because I wasn't used to digesting it. Cold potatoes are'nt a problem - I've eaten them all my life. Cold rice leads to slight farting. Lentils to lots more and lupins are much, much worse. The farting is in direct relationship to the amount I've eaten in the past. One particular brand of baked beans cause no issue, all other beans lead to massive farting. From time to time I think I should persist with the lupin flour and do so for a couple of weeks - but the results are socially difficult so I tend to give up. My hypothesis is that after time the bacteria adapt and the resultant gas is de-gassed as it were as it is produced. But with a new food it takes time for the de-gassing bacteria to build up in the requisite place in the gut. Just a thought.

  2. Once, at FTA, someone asked you (Tim) about the RS content of Kuzu and you answered that you can't imagine the tea having any RS (the poster mentioned drinking Kuzu tea) but you didn't address the RS content of Kuzu powder which is sold as a thickener. Any idea?

    1. Sorry. Still no idea. From what I see, kuzu (or kudzu) is full of healthy compounds, but I cannot tell if it contains RS. My initial reaction is that it does not contain much RS, based on it's similarity to Arrowroot, which has digestible starch according to most papers.

      I could be wrong! The only way to find out would be to have a sample analyzed at a lab that tests such things. At about $500 a pop, I'm not too ambitious to send in a sample.

  3. Question: is there a test, easily accessible, that measures output of short chain fatty acids?

    1. No. And probably good. I've read many accounts that the SCFA that ends up in feces is misleading. If the diet is low in fermentable fibers, you may see high SCFA in feces because your colon is not using it effectively, letting it go to waste.

      As you eat more fiber, and make more SCFA, your colon wall gets better at absorbing the SCFA and your fecal SCFA levels may drop.

      I had a fecal SCFA test done after about 8 weeks of super-high fiber intake, and they were all very high, high end of the scale. So who knows.

      I think there may be some value to testing it, especially if pH is checked as well.

      This is another one of those areas that needs lots more research before we can say it is a worthwhile test.

      Part of the next phase of my research is looking for DIY home markers that will relate to gut health (pH, SCFA, marker bacteria, etc...). Seems it shouldn't be that hard to come up with some easy tests.

      We can measure blood pressure, blood sugar and other things, why not some gut tests?

  4. First teaspoon of PS yesterday and the gas pains and farts today are baaaaaaad. How did you manage?

  5. With a sense of humour, Anon. Plus walk carefully in public and be socially mindful if they smell terrible. The only thing that can be said is that they do reduce, eventually. And the smell goes as your body adapts to the RS. Well mine did anyway.

    1. I had no trouble adding in Jarrow's Inulin FOS powder (small measured scoop per day) a few weeks ago, but that teaspoon of PS? Wowza

    2. Hey, I started out with 6TBS of PS! This was before anyone knew what I was up to. I had to make sure a mega-dose wouldn't make me sick. I really felt nothing, but after a day...holy cow! Looooong, 30 second farts. Unbelievable. I cut down to 4TBS a day for about a month and the gas slowly faded. Now I rarely get gas, but I do notice if I change something in my diet, it may come back for a while.

      Nice, soaked beans at home are gas free, but beans from a Mexican restaurant always result in gas.

      I still so 1-2TBS of PS most evenings. The only time I don't is like yesterday...ate a big bowl of beans, a dinner of Thai food with huge pile of rice and all kinds of good veggies, a green banana, and some walnuts.

    3. You started with 6 T.?! Really, I cannot imagine. 1 t. was bad enough! One thought I had was this protocol is not compatible with my job!

      I'll take it slowly & see how it goes.

      Another hurdle is I'm not very hungry. No wonder I've been lowish carb. I have been focusing on nutrient dense foods and then there's not much desire to eat a heaping plate of vegetables. Sort of lowish carb by default & lack of appetite.

    4. Actually, I think I tried like a tsp the very first time just to see what it tasted like and how it mixed with water, but yeah, I wanted to mega-dose the heck out of it. I wasn't afraid--lots of studies used that amount and more. I think when you first start using ANY prebiotic, ANY amount is a megadose, with most of it passing through unused.

      It won't start causing noticeable reactions until you develop the gut flora to ferment it.

  6. Thanks again for your help analyzing my uBiome results, Tim. I may try potato starch again because I don't think I ever tried it when I wasn't trying something else at the same time. It doesn't seem to be contraindicated in gluten, FODMAP, or histamine intolerance (What DOES she eat?) I don't know if this will go through with my user name, but this is Kathy (kathykpsd)

    1. Your welcome. It was fun. Thanks for letting me show your guts to the world. The more info we share, the more we can learn.



  9. Chlorogenic Acids ( Polyphenolic acids) have the property of Binding and inhibiting the digestiive enzymes Alpha Amylase and Glucosidase. When taken with a "starchy" meal, starch digestion in the small intestine is delayed or inhibited, leading to more arriving into the Colon for the microbiota to feed upon. This leads to more SCFA (Butyrate, Propionate) being generated from the fermentation of the now RS in the Colon. The SCFA may be the molecules working as signalling molecules at the "Epigenetic" level. Brings me back to our discussion on the Starch Blocker"Acarbose"!!!

    1. Aswin - I did not connect those dots! Good thinking. It does seem that nature has devised some tricks to get more fermentable fibers into the colon where it can be used to make SCFAs and other byproducts of bacterial action.

      The only sure way to mess this up is to eat a starch/fiber free diet. So, in your scenario, since the CA is found mainly in the peels of potato, maybe it's best to eat the peels and allow some starch to bypass upper gut digestion. Makes sense.

      Are you planning any experimentation with starch blockers?

  10. I wonder if eating seasonal prevents an overgrowth of bacteria.

    1. I have always been a big fan of eating seasonally, but it's hard to conform to 100%. That said, I never pass up fresh,, local grown, in-season fruits and veggies.

      The overgrowth you speak of could possibly be kept in check this way by ensuring that the diet is periodically disrupted through the year, preventing a gut from stagnating (if that's possible). Also, I like to think of the late winter/early spring (Feb-Apr) as probably the months when hunger would have been prevalent, fresh fruits unavailable, and fat limited. This would have been the time that fermented (purposely or accidentally) foods would have been consumed widely and also starchy foods that store well (potatoes, squash, nuts, grains, seeds) would have been consumed more widely.

      Even in the tropics, I think you can see similar seasonality based on rain or ocean currents.

    2. Tim, when we lived off the land we found that late spring was the worst time for food harvesting. During winter and early spring the plants hadn't yet gone into growth so could be kept in storage either in root cellars or where we were in the ground itself. It was late spring when fast growth was happening that food supply was short as the new growth hadn't got to harvest stage and the quality of stored foods had sharply deteriorated as they wanted to be in strong growth mode. So late spring is hunger time, not late winter and early spring.

  11. first 10 minutes or so talking about PS and RS...

    1. if that link doesn't work...

    2. haha - Just listened. It's obvious the guy got all of his info reading FTA and whoever else was talking about RS last spring. He tried 4TBS a day of PS and saw no change in blood sugar...was he diabetic or impaired? Don't think so.

      His rationale was a bit strange..."There is just no science behind RS" and then going on to recommend FOS and GOS because it is scientifically proven to feed certain strains only.

      Hey, this brings me to another thought.

      If instead of RS, two years ago, I would have "discovered" inulin (or FOS, or GOS), and everyone started talking about inulin as the 'hack of the decade', don't you bet we'd be in the exact same place we are now?

      People would decide inulin is evil, it feeds vipers, and they would have countless better alternatives.

    3. Yeah, it seemed to me he must not have really searched much if he couldn't find any studies. Hell, even resistant Dextrin has studies showing it's prebiotic effects (Japan). I guess his main claim is not that it does not affect gut microbiome but that there is no "science" showing that improves health (besides the lower risk of colon cancer). I was hoping readers would chime in with links showing him that evidence which he wasn't able to find, for whatever reason.

    4. FOS, GOS, and Inulin sounds scientific. Potato starch not so much. Therefor it must be inferior ;-)

    5. I just re-read the MDA post on RS and even in that one post there are lots of study references pointing to various health benefits... Doesn't seem like he looked to hard so maybe he's biased for some reason?

    6. Yeah, it takes an open mind to connect the dots between fiber, prebiotics, resistant starch, and potato starch. When I very first was looking at RS and exploring it on MDA, the only thing presented as a supplement was Hi Maize corn starch. I just happened to notice in a few studies they used potato starch and compared it to Hi Maize. Upon further digging, I found potato starch is more resistant than Hi-Maize.

      It's funny, all of the scientific community is still in love with Hi Maize.

  12. Hi Tim
    Are you familiar with Garden of Life Super Seed? Just started it give it a go. Impressive list of ingredients. Early impressions are that you definitely get the "second meal" effect. Mixing with PS and inulin. Bombs away.

    1. I don't looks fine. A 'serving' is one, 20g, scoop. This serving provides 6g of 'fiber,' mostly insoluble fiber. I'm not a big fan of the terms 'soluble' and 'insoluble' but normally in the supplement world, 'insoluble' means 'non-fermenting,' ie. cellulose/bulking agents.

      I think this product has a lot of 'stuff; ' in it, and would be perfectly fine, great even, to add a scoop to a smoothie or something that had some meaningful amount of fermentable fiber in it.

      My gut feel is that even thought the recommended daily amount of fiber is set at 25-35g/day by most of the world's advisory boards, it should really be 25-35g of fermentable fibers. So, to get the "tatertot tim" approved dose of fiber from Super Seed, you'd need 20 scoops...or nearly the whole jar.

      But, it has probiotics and some other good stuff, so if you just wanted it for a little extra in your day, sure...why not? But I don't think a scoop (or 3) of this stuff will give you all the 'fiber' you need.

      Dietary Fiber 6 g 24%¹
      Soluble Fiber 1 g
      Insoluble Fiber 4 g
      Sugars 0 g
      Protein 6 g 12%¹
      Calcium (naturally occurring) 66 mg 7%¹
      Iron (naturally occurring) 2 mg 11%¹
      Perfect Fiber BlendOrganic Flax Seed Meal, Whole Chia Seed 18 g +
      Poten-Zyme® Whole Food Fiber BlendAmaranth Sprout, Quinoa Sprout, Millet Sprout, Organic Buckwheat Sprout, Garbanzo Bean Sprout, Lentil Sprout, Adzuki Bean Sprout, Organic Flax Seed Sprout, Sunflower Seed Sprout, Organic Pumpkin Seed Sprout, Chia Seed Sprout, Organic Sesame Seed Sprout 1.5 g +
      Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Alpha Linolenic Acid) 1.1 g +
      Organic Cinnamon 127 mg +
      Stevia 20 mg +
      Proprietary Probiotic BlendLactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus acidophilus

  13. Bravo! Great post Tim.

    Now I wish you could magic the reason for why resistant starch consumption means I can consume lactose with impunity.

    1. Well, you could formulate a thesis and a research question and see what we can find.

      "RS improves symptoms of lactose intolerance."

      "What metabolic changes occur in people consuming RS that reverses the effects of lactose intolerance?"

      I wonder, honestly, maybe the spate of lactose intolerance is more a statement on the general lack of fermentable fibers in the western diet?

    2. And resistant starch has improved my gluten intolerance. I can't say I can eat it with impunity, but I can now eat (homemade) muesli four times a week and the occasional bit of biscuit or bread - though only if I don't eat the muesli. So while I still avoid most gluten products my choices are widening.

  14. So, Tim - Wouldn't inulin, glucomannan, or psyllium have had the exact same effect? What is your next great thesis...I know you have one!

    1. lol, I guess I just answered that in GabKad's comment!

      Yes. I think if the Folz Family would have done this experiment with just about any of the standard prebiotics the effects would have been similar.

      Wouldn't this be a hoot: 2000 people. Groups of 100. Each group do nothing other than add a set amount of a prebiotic daily for 6 weeks. A full set of gut tests (before and after).

  15. What is your opinion on the different strains of bifido? Is one better than the others?

    1. The only thing I have seen with Bifidobacteria I don't like is the "patented" strains, ie. Bifidus regularis, found in commercial yogurt.

      Other than that, I think it's great that there are a whole bunch of different Bifido's in the world, maybe there's one for everybody! I've never seen anything that makes me feel someone who has a majority of B. breve, as the Folz Family is at any disadvantage over someone who is growing a different strain.

    2. I've not managed to try the B.Longum that some are going on about. Though I have tried the B.Infantis, and the B.Bifido. I swear I feel a little bit happier when I take the B Infantis. It supposedly helps produce serotonin - must be why babies always seem pretty happy!
      Other than that, I think some are splitting hairs way to much and being alarmist in the process. We are talking about gut bugs here and looking after the microbiome. To make it sound as though a little bit of potato starch is going to kill you seems like overkill.

  16. Yes, potato starch increased some gut bacteria, but, Tim, the reduction in Akkermansia and Christensenellaceae is troubling to me. I'm with Dr. Grace on this one, it doesn't really look like a Good Thing. I think you need more of those, not less. I don't have answers, only questions.

    1. Hi Ilaine, IDK, it seems like we don't know enough yet. When Weston A. Price traveled the world over studying traditional peoples, he remarked that diets varied substantially. And yet, many people were remarkably healthy despite the variance in diet.

      If the gut community shifts and changes in response to our environment and what we eat, it seems likely there is no one perfect healthy make-up of microbes.

      Hopefully, in the next few years, we'll learn more and more. Right now, all
      I can rest my hat on is we seem to need SCFA producers. The rest I'm not so sure about.

      Still learning!

  17. Ilaine - This will undoubtedly be the topic of research for decades to come. As we can start to identify individual species with new testing methods, we start to see associations.

    Christensenellaceae, for instance, has only been described in the literature for about 2 years. This year, two papers came out showing that people with a lean phenotype had more Christensenellaceae that people with an obese phenotype, leading to speculation that host genetics play a role in the biome we inherit.

    Maybe one day, someone will develop the perfect blend of fibers that ensure every human has a perfect set of gut bacteria. But I'm not holding my breath.

    If you read between the lines, and look past all the noise, the ONLY difference that exists between me and Dr. Grace is that she does not feel that raw potato starch should be classified as a prebiotic. I've shown in this post that, according to present-day definitions, raw potato starch does indeed act as a prebiotic.

    Maybe some day the definition of "prebiotic" will change. Maybe some day we will have a more complete understanding of the gut.

    No one has all the answers just yet.

  18. Tim - What is your opinion of all the "bionic" fiber blends everyone is coming up with. Grace now has 3-5 combos (depending on how you count), Richard was bragging about developing a special "Fart Powder" to sell. Wilbur has a great blend, but when I priced it out, it was EXPEN$$IVE!

    Is plain old potato starch just as good?

    1. I admit some of the stuff is not cheap. But when pricing it out, consider how long it will last you. Some of the more expensive stuff lasts longer because you use less. Some time ago, I did a cost comparison, and it seemed I was using about $7 per month per fiber type.

      In my case, I can also deduct what I was paying per month for various medicines, like Allegra D, and the high copays of prescriptions typical of my former situation.

      Then there is the benefit of, I hope, a healthier future.

      Big picture, big picture...

    2. I have to admit that I think that "plain old potato starch" is just fine. Now, maybe if someone ate nothing but potato starch all day long...and had no other source of fiber...not so smart.

      I think that if you are eating healthy foods, and that includes a nice range of fruit and veggies plus some starches every day, then a couple spoonfuls of potato starch is fine. This is much preferable to using Metamucil pure psyllium or Benefiber's pure cellulose.

      I think that nearly all people should be supplementing some fiber daily. I absolutely love the "Wilburesque" fiber blends that people are coming up with. In fact, my potato starch jar is running low and I need to make a run to the health food store (or Amazon) and I'm planning on making a nice fiber blend.

      It will probably end up being 50% potato starch, 25% inulin, then some small jars of "other stuff."

      I don't really like Glucomannan, banana flour, or any of the gums in my blends because they don't mix well with liquids. I'll probably try some pectin and then see if I can find some baobab, larch AG, or XOS.

      I also keep a jar of whole flax seed in my freezer and eat a spoonful of those regularly.

      Last night my "dessert" was a handful of raw oats, a spoonful of flaxseed, a spoonful of potato starch, a handful of blueberries, and a spoonful of maca powder all mixed in with coconut milk.

      I think if everyone kept a jar of "fiber" on their counter, even if just plain old potato starch, and got in the habit of using a couple spoonfuls every night, they would quickly see the benefits of increased fiber in their diet, namely: better sleep, better poop, better health.

    3. Tim -

      I learned a little trick with the gums to get them to mix well. It uses baobab so you'll have to get some first or find something similar. The baobab floats on water. I then pile glucomannan, psyllium, banana flour, mesquite powder, and any others that tend to clump on top so they do not touch water. Then when I am ready ( and it can sit for a few minutes) I start mixing with a spoon. Everything gets mixed perfectly. I think it also has something to do with the viscosity created by the baobab.

    4. Initially I had problems with adding guar gum because if it is sprinkled onto a wet mix it forms clumps. I found, however, that if you dry mix all your fibres/RS including guar gum then it thickens the mixture nicely when water is added.

      One of my favourite "puddings" is PS (2 heaped tablespoons), psyllium husks (2 heaped teaspoons), inulin (2 scoops), acacia (1 scoop), larch tree arabinogalactin (1 scoop), guar gum (1 scoop). I generally open a capsule of probiotics into it (rotating between AOR, Primal Defense, Prescript Asssist, Stephen Langer's with SBOs, and some others). Mix it all up and then eat with a couple of spoonfuls of full fat greek yoghourt stirred in.

    5. I find that sort of 'pudding' to be a very enjoyable dessert. A handful of frozen berries will turn it quite handily into 'ice cream.'

      That guar gum really is a strange one. The other night, I put a tsp of it in a glass of water and let it sit just to see what would happen. Within about 15 minutes it was so thick a spoon would stand up in it.

      Another idea for your pudding that I keep forgetting to talk about...try throwing in a half or quarter packet of Knox unflavored gelatin.

    6. You all sound like a bunch of medieval alchemists. Maybe you should add a bit of philosophers' stone into your concoctions :-)

    7. Only if it will ensure we grow massive amounts of Angelmansia, Chrystalmethia, and undo the evil effects of mega-dosed RUMPS.

    8. Wilbur, would you mind detailing what exactly is in your concoction. Including amounts etc.
      I've seen you list various things over the last few months, but I'd love something more detailed and what you might be doing now.
      I have my own not very thought out blend going, and keen to hear others!

      Au anon

    9. Amounts approximate because I don't measure and it varies. Split into multiple drinks, as best I can remember: 4 T PS, 2 T inulin, 2 t larch, 2 T cellulose, 2 T ph guar gum, 2 t GOS, 1 t maltodextrin, 1 t dextrin, 3 T baobab, 1 T amla, 2 t mesquite powder, 1 T banana flour, 2 t original amazing green grass, 1 T glucomannan, 1 T ground flaxseed, 1 T of whole fusion fiber (incl marshmallow root and slippery elm).

      Some are not pure prebiotics, I guess, but are high fiber enough that I include them.

      As always, I consider the drinks supplements to real food. I'm now eating a whole bulb of raw garlic per day, including the skins. I eat about 1/2 raw onion, including the skin. I eat several raw green onions per day, including the roots. Leeks, when I can find small, dark green ones. Lots of vegetables. Lots of berries. Currants. Figs. Kumquats just came out, and I eat half a pint (?) per day. I thought I had an aversion to mushrooms, but I was wrong. I am making up for lost time.

    10. Thanks a lot Wilbur! Wow, the quantities you are taking is an eye opener. I'm not taking nearly as much. So will start to slowly ramp up.
      I'm also amazed at the amount of glucomannan you are taking. I only tried a little bit of it a while ago and the amount it gums up and sucks up water was incredible. It kind of put me off, but I will try again. You must be consuming a fair bit of water with all that. Haven't tried guar gum yet, I imagine it is possibly similar.
      Thanks again!

    11. Are you taking all of that at once, or that is just the blend you made? That's like 20+ TBS, and probably 100g of fiber. The blend itself I think is great, but I'd probably just want 2-4TBS of the blend daily.

      Did you find larch in a powder? All I could find is capsules.

      Did I ever tell you my Larch story?

      I was taking about 10g of it for a while. I was with a bunch of grungy guys at work, the kind who aren't shy about farting around each other. Well, when I felt one coming on, I let it loose. After a few seconds someone says, "Damn Steele, do you eat friggin' pine trees?"

    12. Tim,
      When I was at school we used to light farts in a darkened room for the spectacle of the amazing colours they produced. I wonder whether the farts from different fibers burn with distinctive colours? Gemma, now we're really talking alchemy.

      That's an incredible amount of fiber. Do you really take all that every day? It would be really interesting to see you do an Amgut or UBiome. Also what's the flatulence effect?

    13. I forgot also 2 t ground psyllium and 500 mg beta glucan.

      Tim, that's what I guess based on an earlier calculation - about 100 g per day supplemental. I split it into two drinks, one after breakfast and one about an hour after dinner. Given my philosophy that domesticated plants are not as fibrous as wild ones and that I eat about 50 g of fiber from plants, this has the effect of tripling that amount. It actually seems to be a conservative amount of fiber to me.

      That's funny about the larch. I use the Vital Nutrients powder. Expensive, but I don't like capsules.

      It's hard to say with all the changes I made, but I think most of the really good changes happened at about 75g supplemented per day.

      Anon and anyone else trying this,
      Yes, I drink a lot of water. A lot. One time I didn't, and the poops were difficult. I won't do that again. The good news is that my body is really good at letting me know when it needs water. But I can't ignore it. I have no problems with the glucomannan using the baobab trick above. No clumps at all.

      Stuart, 99% every single day for about a year. Sometimes I just don't feel like it. Some days I feel like hitting the fiber hard and take MORE! If I have something that I absolutely want no gas or farting, I skip the one two drinks back (for example, to have no gas at all Tuesday during the day, I skip Monday night's but still do Tuesday morning's).

      In the house, I am known as the only one who never farts. Really. In actuality, I have controlled gas that I can release at discreet moments. Except when I go on a walk. I think the walking massages the intestines and I am, well, noisy.

      I'd be interested in Amgut or UBiome, except that the deficiencies in the method make me doubt what I might learn. My health seems perfect right now - nothing left to fix - and that is how I am measuring things.

      BTW, Stuart, you might be interested in the book "Guns, Germs, and Steel." It has a very good description of the evolution of domesticated plants and how this differed by continent. I feel like I am on the cusp of another realization about diet, but I haven't figured it out yet.

    14. @Stuart

      Magister Kelly was after gold, not amazing colors :-)

      Anyway, for the sake of the alchemistic experiment I have bought PHGG (guar plant derived) yesterday, in a health food section. I have put a teaspoon into my morning kefir + one banana (no other white powder) for breakfast, and I was exceptionally very, very hungry in 2 hours. So I think it does something to the blood sugar.

      I am thinking it must be the galactose which does the magic, perhaps directly in / via mitochondria.

      Funny, galactomannan: another complex polysaccharide that has a potential to heal various conditions. But some people prefer to believe in unnatural, high fat ketogenic diets

    15. @Tim

      Reading your arabinogalactan story:

      "When a human ingests AG, our intestinal microbes may see this as an assault by a deadly pathogen and takes this cue as a signal to increase production of protective microbes such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli."

      It might be the similar applies to PHGG.

    16. Gemma - I was really amazed to learn the great lengths some early societies went to to collect tree bark products from certain trees. Well, actually not bark, but xylem.

      I've always wondered how beavers and moose could survive 'eating wood' but it turns out they don't eat wood, they eat xylem, the saccharide-rich plant material just under the bark. They have developed gut flora that can provide everything the need to thrive by eating only the xlyem of trees.

      Also, amazing, is that there are two source of arabinogalactin in the world: plants and bacteria. It turns out that xylem is particularly rich in AG.

      So, yes, I can see why eating AG would trick your body into thinking you just ingested a bunch of bacteria and boosting the immune system in turn.

      Gums are generally rich in AG. PHGG should be, too.

  19. I've never heard Richard or Tim suggesting that RPS should be your only fermentable fiber source. Quite the contrary. But even the most vocal detractors of potato starch only whinge about 'high dose RPS in isolation'. Who does that?
    Wilbur has mentioned that he buys a lot of his 'doing a Wilbur' ingredients on Amazon. In Australia, and I've no reason to believe that it would be any different in the U.S., things like inulin , acacia/guar gum etc, pectin, and glucomannan, are all available in bulk from food ingredient suppliers far far cheaper than Amazon. They are all (except the inulin) extensively utilized by the food industry for functional properties apart from their fermentability. I actually just bought nearly 2 kilos of grapefruit pectin from your 'Vitacost' for US 18.49/lb. And your local shipping would be both faster and cheaper. A U.S company called 'JHbiotech' sells glucomannan (mainly at the moment to fish farmers would you believe) in 1, 5, 10 and 25 kg sizes They also sell a great value inulin.
    Fermentable fiber is not that expensive.
    Just get most of it from PS (or plantain/green banana) and give the little buggers some alternatives to munch on. I and I'm sure Wilbur, who has made such an art of it, just enjoy having the best fed microbiomes imaginable.
    In fact for those who stuggle with ramping up their intake of RPS, I think its actually better if you combine the ramping up mix it with a few other basics like pectin, glucomannan, and inulin.
    Another way of getting it in bulk is 2kg 'sample' packs from China. Even with the EMS shipping charge ( about a week to the U.S) it's still remarkably affordable. Just look on Alibaba.. There are many producers. Most of them have an MOQ of 1kg. But I've found the best value is to buy 2.
    Honestly, you really don't have to wait for Richard's fart mix.

    I've been giving my dogs inulin PS and psyllium now for a couple of weeks. One of my two dogs, although short haired, sheds a LOT of hair. You've heard about dogs that lose so much hair that if you open a can of baked beans, you'll find some hair inside the tin. That's my dog. Anyway, yesterday I suddenly noticed when I was giving her her daily rub down on the lawn to spare the vacuum cleaner, that there was far less hair. It makes me think of the people who can finally tolerate dairy or wheat after a lifetime of sensitivity once they start feeding the bugs.
    One of the things that really struck me about those articles about the Hadza is that they (even the kids) get up to 150g fermentable fiber a day.
    Our poor guts in developed countries.

    1. Hey Stuart - That's awesome you've found so many cheap sources of fibers. My favorites still are homemade potato starch and green plantains dried in front of my wood burning stove. Something nice about DIY.

      I actually hope that Richard does get his Fart Powder going. It would be great for gifts. I agree, no one should ever have to pay extra for a "bionic" blend when it's all right there for the picking.

      Have you looked in Hi-Maize corn starch? That's fairly cheap in bulk and seems to be a great prebiotic as well. I've never tried it, but I think it would be OK.

    2. Tim, regarding the Hi-Maize corn starch: I bought a 5 lb bag from the Honeyville website about 3 years ago. I'm a type 2 diabetic, and I was trying to experiment with resistant starch for improving blood sugar. My experience was that the Hi-Maize contained too high a proportion of digestible starch to be useful for me: my blood sugar rose too much after taking a couple tablespoons. It probably would not be a problem for a non-diabetic. (I was grateful for your spreading the word about potato starch; it seems to have a much better ratio of resistant/digestible starch.)

    3. Tim,
      I did look at the Hi maize, but like Anon above commented it has rather a lot of digestible starch (only 22 % RS they told me). Only slightly better than home retrograded potatoes. And I find that I'm just not eating nearly as much now I'm feeding my microbiome properly, so the thought of trying to chase small amounts of RS3 in cooked/cooled starch just seems like hard work
      Actually the company that bought the Australian Penfords operation immediately stopped making the potato based Penfibe RS and now only sell Hi Maize.
      I would happily have bought a 25 kg bag of Penfibe (85 % RS3) and used it gradually over the next 5 years if it was still available. Kept dry it lasts indefinitely. Bought in bulk like that ( and you Yanks still can) it's really very cheap. I did manage to wrangle a sample of Cargill's Actistar (the tapioca based RS3 - also 85%) and it mixes easily in just about anything.

      The 'glug' factor of guar gum is hilarious. Which is why it makes such a great pudding I suppose. I also found that mixing it with other dry ingredients first stops it clumping. Someone commented a while ago that they were seeing spectacular glycemic results from using partially hydrolyzed guar gum, which has no glug factor whatsoever. So useless for puddings, but great in a smoothie, and you can use a lot more of it

      Great news! I scavenged three cases of grapefruit the local fruit market was tossing. It will take a while peeling them all, but so much pectin

    4. Wow, Actistar looks great. I did look into tapioca starch a little while ago, though this looks slightly different. Asian grocers seem to have quite a range, and they are all very cheap. I have seen potato, tapioca, and mung bean starches, none of them are at all expensive. Much cheaper than buying them from a health food store.
      Sounds like you are getting quite a collection too! Perhaps I should be asking you the same thing as I asked of Wilbur - may I ask what is in your 'special blend'?

      Au anon

    5. Good to know about Hi-Maize. I will probably pass on it.

      As to other starches, I think I would probably recommend Mung Bean Starch over all the rest, but I have no real idea what RS content it contains.

      I keep hoping that someone will measure and catalog the RS contents of raw starches found on the market. Potato starch is the only one that has been heavily analyzed. In fact, the places that measure RS use potato starch to calibrate their equipment because they know that it will be the upper limit they need to measure.

      Probably the most excited I've been about a prebiotic lately, though, is when I recently read about hydrolyzed guar gum. Not sure who started talking about it, but I think that there is some real value to it.

      Here is a great paper on PHGG, with also some good discussions on fiber in general. A few tidbits:

      "Although guar gum has positive physiologic benefits, its high
      viscosity makes it difficult to incorporate into food products and enteral solutions. PHGG was produced to provide a dietary fiber
      source that could be added easily to the diet and would be acceptable
      to consumers.

      PHGG is produced by controlled partial enzymatic hydrolysis of guar gum. PHGG has a smaller molecular weight and less
      viscosity than native guar gum. PHGG is stable, does not hold
      much water, and has a bland flavor.8 It is soluble at the pH levels
      commonly found in foods. PHGG has been used in cereals, juices,
      shakes, yogurt, meal replacements, soups, and baked goods and as
      a fiber source in enteral nutrition products. PHGG has undergone
      extensive toxicity testing and found to be safe.9 Dietary levels up
      to 10% PHGG were tolerated by laboratory animals without any
      signs of toxicity.10 In addition, in 1993, the Life Sciences Research
      Organization of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental
      Biology commissioned a panel of six experts to assess the
      use of PHGG in consumer foods.11 The experts concluded that a
      daily consumption of PHGG at levels up to 20 g/d was safe."

    6. Tim,
      That's really great info about PHGG. It was the retired Air Traffic Controller who was so impressed with its effects. He was taking a tablespoon with water with every meal. I didn't even realise it was different to plain guar gum and wondered how he could consume a tablespoon like that without setting like a pudding. A Chinese company I found on Alibaba sell PHGG for USD 5/ kg. It is a bit difficult to find in Australia. Maybe better in the U.S. I wonder where the 3 tblsp/day chap got his?
      isn't it amazing that it was already well studied over 20 years ago.

    7. This is the brand he uses. I just got some from Amazon. Don't know where he got his. So far am not seeing the superoir BG results he reported but will keep at it

    8. elliebelly,
      Just had a look at that link. It said the Sunfiber/Clearfiber was unavailable and gave no future availability. One thing I did notice in the product description was a comment about Benefiber containing wheat dextrin. Now a couple of people have commented that Benefiber is just cellulose. In Australia the product Benefiber has always been wheat dextrin, which is a highly fermentable prebiotic. I just thought Benefiber in the U.S must be a different product. But apparently Benefiber is the same all over the world, and it's not cellulose.
      A good study comparing the fermentation profiles of PHGG, Inulin, and wheat dextrin:

      IHerb has Sunfiber. Perhaps VitaCost too.
      How long have you been taking the PHGG? The same 3TBS/day?

    9. So I noticed that Amazon was now out of this product and wrote to Harvest Moon to inquire if they stopped producing it. They replied that they had recently had *a run* on the item and were awaiting new supplies. Hmmm, I wonder why. ;-)


    10. Stuart,

      Just taking it for three days, but only once the first day, and twice the last two days...I keep forgetting about it at lunch.


      Hey, you guys are 100% correct! it contains wheat dextrin which has been shown to be a really good prebiotic, and it seems to be gluten-free (not sure if it conforms for celiacs, though).

      I would hesitate to call Benefiber a great single-source of fiber, but I think I will actually buy a jar to put in my "mixture jar." Ingredients list only 'wheat dextrin.'

      The fiber that I was thinking of that is pure cellulose is

      From their product description:

      " The SmartFiber we use in Citrucel with SmartFiber comes from cellulose, which occurs naturally in plants and is the most abundant, renewable fiber on earth. But we improved this natural fiber so that Citrucel with SmartFiber can promote regularity without causing bloating, gas and other side effects of other fiber products.*

      You see, some fiber therapy products use psyllium seed husk as a fiber source, and the soluble fiber in psyllium is partly fermented in the large intestine and may create excess gas.

      Citrucel with SmartFiber is proven to help restore and maintain regularity, and it is the only fiber that won’t ferment to cause excess gas*. Unlike the psyllium in some fiber products, which ferments in the large intestine, SmartFiber is methylcellulose. It cannot ferment and will not cause excess gas or bloating. Plus, SmartFiber is also non-allergenic and gluten free. Now that’s Smart."

    12. Hi Stuart, As a fellow Australian I would appreciate if you could list the particular prebiotics and the particular suppliers where I could source those prebiotics,
      As to 'I've never heard Richard or Tim suggesting that RPS should be your only fermentable fiber source.' I've never heard Grace ever actually state that they were. I suspect that Richard just put that up as a 'Straw Man' argument to justify launching his attack. Tim has created a blog with accompanying comments discussion here which is much more to my liking regarding a natural flow of ideas, suggestions and viewpoints.

    13. Richard and Grace are a lot alike in the ego department. It's not surprising they couldn't work together and Tim got caught in the cross-fire, I believe. I like what Grace writes about, I just can't ever figure out what she's trying to say. I've been following Tim around from blog to blog hoping to get him in a talkative mood, which is surprisingly easy to do. I was very glad when Tim started this blog!

    14. Totally agree with the above two comments!

    15. Au Anon,
      Sorry, I missed this.

      1 100g approx raw potato, with dirt
      1 tbs of
      psyllium husk
      cacao powder
      lupin flour
      wheat dextrin
      resistant maltodextrin
      oat bran
      larch arabinogalactan
      mung bean starch
      brown seaweed (Wakame)
      rice bran
      bee pollen

      1 tsp
      guar gum
      moringa leaf

      a raw beetroot
      6 white mulberry leaves
      and although nil fiber, 2 raw eggs, 1 tbs WPC, and lots of stevia, or I couldn't drink it.

    16. Oh thanks so much Stuart. Wow you and Wilbur have got some great blends going. My five or so are looking totally inadequate.
      (And Wilbur that was me saying thank you (@ December 19, 2014 at 7:18 PM) - forgot to identify myself.
      Very kind of both of you to share.

      Au anon
      Actually my name is Andrea

    17. "lots of stevia, or I couldn't drink it."
      This made me smile. So the truth of it!
      What is WPC?


    18. Stuart, you've mentioned oat bran several times as if you include it in a drink. Do you? The oat bran I am familiar with is rather chunky and would not lend itself to a drink, I wouldn't think. But I am seeing more and more that it might be a good thing to include.

      I don't have problems with the taste of the drinks, but I've found that my recent addition of mesquite powder is very good. Sweet, caramel, nutty, a touch of cinnamon.

    19. Andrea,
      WPC is whey protein concentrate. Also, have you noticed this local source of baobab powder? By far the cheapest I've found so far: $58.50/kg and reasonable shipping:

      But I honestly wouldn't worry about setting records for the number of ingredients. Just get at least 40g of fermentable fiber of more than 1 type, let your dog (or somebody else's ) lick your face regularly, and eat at least a pound of dirt before you die (hint: start now).

      My ingredient list has just sort of evolved. Mmm THAT looks interesting...Now my blender jar is starting to look small.

      I did find the oat bran was a bit granular in the smoothies. So now when I make one, I put oat bran wakame, and the glucomannan to soak in water in the fridge till I make the following day's masterpiece. So the oat bran is already a soft slurry for the blender blades to demolish.

      Mesquite is a cactus, right? Is it a prebiotic? Do you know what kind of oligosaccharides they are? I was wondering if aloe vera would be similar.
      It grows prolifically in my garden.

    20. Oh good find re the baobab. That is pretty cheap. Shipping is $12 for 5kg for me. Been having a quick look at their website for other starch goodies to add in.
      They have mesquite powder, but for some reason only 5kg and 350gm, nothing in between.
      They also have 1kg spirulina.


    21. Stuart wrote: "But I honestly wouldn't worry about setting records for the number of ingredients. Just get at least 40g of fermentable fiber of more than 1 type, let your dog (or somebody else's ) lick your face regularly, and eat at least a pound of dirt before you die (hint: start now)."

      Got the dog. Eating fermented foods. Dig in the garden three seasons.

      But you fermentable fiber bitches (said with love) have lost this newbie!

      Way too many choices! Different types? There are different types? I have PS, Inulin and FOS. Give me one of two more to add to a mix, please.

    22. I'm working on a similar blend, not so in depth as Stu's, but my goal is to keep it all to fibers that mix well with water so that a smoothie is not required. I thin have another jar of other fiber-y stuff that does not mix well with water that I use when I do make a smoothie or some type of 'ice cream/pudding' type dessert.

      My water-mixing blend will consist of 1 pound of potato starch, 1 pound of mung bean starch, 12oz of Inulin (Matamucil Clear Inulin), Wheat Dextrin (Benefiber), 7oz PHGG (Nutrisource), and XOS (Bio-Nutrition).

      In my non-water mixing jar will be an continually changing blend of maca powder, amla powder, apple pectin, larch AG, banana flour, buckwheat flour, glucomannan, psyllium, and whatever else strikes my fancy at the moment.

      I think as a minimum, if you are looking for a blend that will be easy to take when simply mixed in water, it should consist of 50% potato starch, 25% inulin, 12.5% PHGG, and 12.5% wheat dextrin.

      If you wanted to leave the PS out, I'd make it 50% Inulin, 25% wheat dextrin, and 25% PHGG.

      Also, I think mung bean starch is an acceptable alternative to potato starch, but honestly I can't vouch for it's exact RS content just yet, so if blood sugar is an issue, you'll have to do some home tests to see if it spikes your BG.

      When making a blend that you intend to mix with water, be sure to try each component in water first! If you add Glucomannan powder, for instance, it will turn to Jell-O before you can drink it.

    23. Oh, and as to amounts...I plan on just using 1-3 TBS of this blend per day. More on days I don't eat as many plants as I should be. I try to stay in the 20-50g of fiber per day range and figure I can usually get 10-30g from food and need an extra 10-20g from 'powders.' I think the blend that I described above will end up being about 5-8g per TBS of total fermentable fiber.

    24. Stuart

      Not sure on mesquite or aloe Vera. I read mesquite stabilizes blood sugars, so I gave it a whirl. It has wonderful taste.

      Instead of popping your oats in the fridge, you might consider leaving them out to ferment. Lots of good things about fermented oatmeal.

    25. @Stuart

      Aloe is a rich source of mannans, which are calming, anti-inflammatory, in fact so much that they might block the desired immune reaction. Especially when ex-victim of candida, be careful with that, or at least try and see...

      Do not forget mushrooms and beta glucans form various sources, not only oats.

      Have you noticed that Wilbur is non-stop changing his concoction? I think that is the key. Never eat the same for too long.

    26. Wilbur,
      Yes I was fermenting the oat bran for a while but stopped when I started adding the brown seaweed to the same soak container. I'll just soak them separately and start fermenting it again.

      Why were you so keen on cacao nibs for a while?

      Apart from the super saccharide mannans, do the aloe's also have any prebiotic effect?
      Oat bran is a good prebiotic as well as being a source of beta glucans isn't it?
      I take your point about the cycling principle. Do you think some fermentable fibers should be in a 'core' that never changes, or should they all come and go? So would it be better to just get the desired total amount of fermentable fiber (which in my case at the moment is about 75g) from a reduced number of fiber types, but rotate the membership of that smaller team, say, every week or two? It will be so hard to give any of them a rest. I don't want to miss out on possible benefits!

      Which ones get tenure?

    27. And this. Thoughts anyone?

      INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PROBIOTICS AND PREBIOTICS, Volume 2, Number 2/3, pp. 97-104 (2007)
      Robert A. Sinnott, Jane Ramberg, Jakob M. Kirchner, Cherie Oubre, Christy Duncan, Stephen Boyd,
      and John E. Kalns
      ABSTRACT: We hypothesized that a small subset of colonic flora would be able to
      utilize complex plant polysaccharides (CPPs). Feces from 4 healthy humans were
      sequentially passed three times over 9 days in growth media composed of either
      aloe vera gel polysaccharides (AVP), larch arabinogalactan (LAG), or a dietary
      supplement including these two ingredients (MSS) suspended in a minimal salt
      solution. CPPs were first dialyzed to eliminate polymers and sugars <8,000 MW,
      forcing bacteria to consume only higher MW components. Isolates were obtained
      on rich media and then 16S DNA sequenced for species identification. API strips
      were in some cases used to confirm identification. A total of 6 species were
      identified; however, 90% of isolates were Enterococci. Supernatant analysis showed
      variable consumption of the entire MW range of polysaccharide components. These
      findings suggest that enterococcus species play an important role in the utilization
      of CPPs.

    28. @Stuart

      I think the gut flora will eventually try to metabolise any (poly)saccharide, including those of aloe. I just don't know if and to what extent it should be considered food or medicine. The sugar composition varies lot, surely, and its alkaloid content as well. Was aloe eaten by ancestral populations?
      This paper describes some immunomodulatory properties. The question is who in what state of health needs what.
      Mass spectrometry characterization of an Aloe vera mannan presenting immunostimulatory activity

      You are asking perfect questions, I just don't know the right answer. I think there may be a weekly menu, and season adapted, and some foods eaten once a year only. Many examples can be found in the old books.

    29. re: cocoa nibs - I was doing an experiment. 6 weeks of real-food only fibers. No powders of any type. I wrote about it here:

      But, yes, the cocoa nibs did a number on me. I was going crazy trying to get more than 20g of fibers from food in a day, then I found cocoa nibs which were like 10g of fiber per handful, so I was eating like 3-4 handfuls a day. I went through two full bags in about a week.

      They were good! But soon my big toe started hurting like I had gout. At first, I played it off thinking I had hurt my foot jogging in new shoes. I limped around for about a week, and then noticed my liver was feeling tender. I still had not connected this to the cocoa nibs. Once I realized I was dealing with a gout attack, I slowed down on some of the foods I was eating in bulk (beans, green bananas, cocoa nibs) and took my gout medicine (colchisine) for a few days and the gout cleared up. A few weeks later, I was feeling fine and ate a couple more handfuls of cocoa day, gout was back.

      I started looking into cocoa nibs and it turns out they are the highest natural source of theobromine. Theobromine is a purine. Gout is caused by excess purines which turn to uric acid crytals and accumulate in certain joints to cause gout.

      Also, consider that just 4-5 years ago I had a severe case of fatty liver disease, so I assume that maybe my liver is not in pristine shape.

      Funny, I never had any issues eating datk choclate, even the 100% type. Many gout websites say dark chocolate actually HELPS gout.

      So, back to the same old theme, eh?

      So many of these fibers are dose dependent. They are not all meant to be consumed daily in large quantities. I think it is wise to cycle fibers for sure and not overdo any of them.

    30. Sounds painful. But I'm just curious about what 'overdoing' a fermentable fiber is though. You seem to be saying that the reason you got gout was the theobromine in the cacao. So it was unrelated to its fiber content, right? If you had been taking the fiber that cacao contains as an isolated powder, what would have been the problem?

      So it was unrelated to any fiber content. And the upshot of all this RS3 ''trumps RS2 'everytime' nonsense that we hear from time to time is that if you take high dose PS in isolation long term, you are asking for trouble.So just take moderate dose PS , moderate dose inulin , moderate dose glucomannan, moderate dose pectin.....- in other words, a shit load of fermentable fiber from a huge range of fiber types (presumably up to that ancestral level of 135 g) every day of your life. Isn't that the idea?

      So in the context of also getting a lot of cellulose to do the proximal to distal thing, can you 'overdo' pectin, for example, or inulin.
      I am talking about a gut that is not dysbiotic.
      Isn't the reason that Wilbur takes a particular fiber out of the line up, because he notices some kind of adverse effect? Wilbur?
      But if each new addition to team colon fits in seamlessly, why not keep it? For ever.
      I suppose the reason I'm harping on about this is that I would have thought that each fiber type does something uniquely good.

      Also, the feeling I get, from you lot, and under my belt, is that fermentable fiber is not something you have holidays from. It's that important. Or even more specifically that you even have lean days from. Although ancestrally that is probably what happened. But ancestrally there were probably more than a few days when you were sleep deprived. or didn't get enough VitC (for example). But no one would argue that so doing was a good idea would they?
      So a lot (and as wide a range AS POSSIBLE) of fermentable fiber (<150 g) every single day of your life, is the ideal. Or not?

      I do realize that if you get your fermentable fiber from real foods, then there are probably going to be other constituents (like you found with the theobromine ) that can lead to problems, But we live in a world of fridges and the opportunity to source just the fermentable fiber. Real food contains other goodies too of course (cacao for one) so I'm hardly suggesting avoiding real food.
      But even though, as Gemma said, we just don't know how many fiber types we should include in the daily mix, my gut feeling is that the more the merrier. Perhaps some in greater quantity than others. Inulin PS and pectin perhaps.

      What do you think of the Chris Masterjohn line that if you get enough choline, you can't get fatty liver?

      Hey Wilbur,
      Have you noticed anything interesting about adding spirulina? I got a bit of flatulence for a couple of days from upping the dose from 1 tsp to 1 tbs.

    31. I add in and take out fibers mainly based on how I feel about them. That's one reason I do not premix - my mix changes daily. If not in the fibers consumed, then in the proportions. Occasionally one will cause an adverse reaction. Sometimes I consistently forget one even though it is right in front of me. I figure that is some sort of sign.

      Yesterday Morning I did not feel like having any fiber. I don't know why. Things are back to normal today.

      I like the spirulina, but I haven't noticed much effect. It's a keeper, but for some reason I've wanted to lower the dose to about a scant teaspoon per drink.

      I have been doing the broad based, high total fiber for almost a year. No problems. But, damn, Stuart - it's freaky how much we think alike.

    32. Hey all! Merry Christmas...did Santa bring you lots of good fiber?

      I wish we could answer this one question definitively, then we could put much of this to rest: "What products of fermentation are required for a healthy gut?"

      If we knew exactly how much butyrate, acetate, propionate, and other end-products of bacterial fermentation we need to maintain a healthy colon and thriving communities of gut bugs, we'd be able to zero in on a better 'fiber requirement.'

      The 'fiber' of the '70s and '80s was all about cellulose and bulking. This led to books like Fiber Menace and a complete lack of understanding about what 'fiber' really is and does. I have seen fiber described as a 'roughage that scrapes your colon walls' more times than I can remember. The Paleo eating movement completely missed the mark on fiber, Wheat Belly completely missed the mark on fiber, and Atkins/Keto/VLC and almost every single diet plan (FODMAP, WeightWatchers, PHD, GAPs, etc...) misses the mark on fiber.

      As the SAD intake of total fiber is less than 15g, and only a fraction of that is fermentable, I think that pretty much any level of fermentable fiber over about 10g/day is a great start for most people but I believe that we will discover that we need more like 20-50g to adequately flood our colons with SCFAs and other byproducts of bacterial fermentation.

      It is pretty clear to me that different fibers have different outcomes. But most, if not all, still produce a combination of butyrate, propionate, and acetate.

      My gut feeling is that if we are eating a varied diet, then maybe just a spoonful or two of potato starch is enough to give us all we need...if we have the right set of bacteria to process it.

      Nature loves "bet hedging." In nature, rarely is anything perfect. In the real-world where things 'just happen,' and aren't guided by beliefs, bad science, or the internet, I think it is more common to see multiple protective pathways. In this regard, why not try to hedge the bet and take a whole bunch of different fibers?

      What animal or organism can get its hands on the exact same food 365 days a year? I think diversity is very important. But as busy humans, we also need a way to incorporate these ideas so that we can comply. I think a rotating fiber jar and a focus on high-fiber foods is all we need to do. Take as much (or little)`supplemental fiber as you like and let your large intestine tell you if you are 'doing it right.'

      There is little danger of overdoing fibers. Excess should pass through unfermented. If you don't like the results (farts, stool bulk) then change strategies and fiber types until you find your sweet spot.

      Of course, we can overdo anything...even too much water can be harmful, so if one ate nothing but fiber, they would eventually suffer, but this is an extreme event that no one is recommending.

      Some day some smart guy will come along with ALL the answers and we will be able to stop wondering. Until then we just have to do what we feel is right.

    33. Yes, Merry Christmas to you and yours, Tim!

    34. Thanks Tim. I'll remember that post.

      I really admire the nebulous, almost spiritual way you are guided in matters fiberous.
      Perhaps the reason you have limited the spirulina is that it really does taste disgusting. I don't even enjoy it in smoothies, or any kind of drink. So I mix it with macadamia oil to peanut butter consistency (surprisingly little oil is needed) and then just shovel in a spoonful and swallow it quickly. I find it fascinating that hominids have long prized it as a highly nutritious food, ignoring its slightly fishy unpleasantness. I suppose if you are hungry enough, even algal pond scum tastes pretty good. Now that we know the details of its amazing range of nutrients, It's hard to not be persuaded. And now I learn of the XOS factor too.
      It even makes fine biodiesel
      Belated Christmas cheer to you all - and your microbiomes

    35. Funny, I never thought it tasted bad. Two possible reasons: first, the mesquite powder is very tasty, even though I put only about a tsp in my drink. It dominates the other flavors. Second, my tastes have changed a lot. Almost like things that taste bad are good. Except cod liver oil - that's just nasty.

      For me, the feelings I get about fibers are almost like those I get about spices. A lot of dishes from widely varying cuisines use similar spices. Even within a dish you can change the spices based on how you feel. For some reason, that's how I feel about fibers. I also notice that I feel calm, relaxed, and happy right after drinking my fibers. Too soon for anything to be digested, I think. Maybe it's in my head, but it's working for me anyway!

  20. Hey you guys...I was going to write a full post on these some day, but here are some words about Larch AG that I wrote a while back:

    The scientific definition of AG is “a biopolymer consisting of arabinose and galactose monosaccharides.” Arabinose and galactose are plant sugars that humans do not digest, however, our beneficial probiotic microbes enjoy them immensely! There are two types of AGs in nature, plant and microbial. The microbial AG is found in cell walls of (mainly toxic) microbes and the plant types are found in many natural gums, such as gum arabic and guar gum, and tree saps. The plant types of AG are used to seal wounds in the plant...think how you often see tree sap leaking into a scar on the side of a tree to seal itself off from invading insects and disease causing microorganisms. The microbial AGs are found in mycobacterium cell walls, mainly. Mycobacterium are the pathogens known to cause many human diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy.

    When a human ingests AG, our intestinal microbes may see this as an assault by a deadly pathogen and takes this cue as a signal to increase production of protective microbes such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli.

    One of the best sources of AG comes from the Larch tree. The Larch tree is a conifer (pine) that has the unique quality of losing its needles in the fall like other trees instead of retaining its needles like other pine trees. Maybe it was this special characteristic that made the Larch tree easily identifiable to our ancestors, but archeological evidence shows man has been using the inner bark of the Larch tree for many thousands of years as a gastrointestinal aid and immune system booster.

    The Mongolian Larch (Larix dahurica), has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to stimulate the immune system, exhibit anti-inflammatory actions, and enhance vascular permeability and for its antiseptic actions which were deemed useful in treating cystitis, respiratory problems, and wounds. Siberian explorers often noted that indigenous peoples of Siberia drank tea made of Larch bark and that the bark of Larch trees was stripped from nearly every Larch tree in the vicinity of Siberian villages indicating extensive use of the bark.

    In our intestines, we have a special tissue known as gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). The GALT is the primary storehouse of our immune system and it functions as an interface between the foods we eat and the way our body reacts to things that may harm us. From birth on, our GALT senses what we are eating and produces antibodies to counteract harmful substances. It has been postulated that Larch AG stimulates the GALT with a low level signalling of a harmful substance, even though there is absolutely nothing harmful in Larch AG. Through some twist of fate, the cell structure of Larch AG mimics the cell walls of some of the world’s most deadly pathogens and when the GALT sees this substance, it goes on guard. This effect has been called “immunomodulatory” and “immunostimulatory” by those that study the immune system. These qualities are found in scant few food sources, but somehow our ancestors identified Larch AG thousands of years ago and utilized it for these exact reasons. Modern day scientists have spent countless hours and money looking for synthetic sources of immunomodulatory and immunostimulatory classes of drugs and have yet to devise any that matches Larch AG in simplicity and lack of side-effects.

    1. (con't)

      In practice, an immune system “primed” with Larch AG has a faster response time when pathogens such as tetanus or influenza strike. As a side benefit, an intestinal ecosystem fed a small amount of Larch AG on a continual basis is filled with beneficial bacteria that persist from the start to the end (proximal to distal) of the large intestine. Many traditional fibers found in “high fiber foods” such as cellulose and inulin do not produce a sustained growth of probiotics throughout the entire large intestine. Much of our modern health problems are due to the fact that the modern gut is not well-populated with beneficial microbes. When the gut is fully grown with probiotic species, the entire gut is protected against many diseases that affect modern societies...IBS, GERD, diverticulosis, Crohn’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis.

      Studies show that Larch AG in the range of 1.5 - 4 grams per day are optimal for priming the immune system and creating the conditions needed for a stable ecosystem of probiotic bacterial species in the human large intestine.

    2. I don't know if this has been listed yet. I'm on my second container.

  21. And some more words about XOS:

    Xylooligosaccharides (XOS)
    Xylan is a basic building block of plant cells. Technically, they are polysaccharides composed of xylose, a sugar present in most plants, but who really wants to hear all that? You’ve heard maybe of cellulose? Well, XOS is similar to cellulose, but found in different plants...mostly trees and algae.

    Xylan can be broken down into smaller units called XOS, and it’s these smaller units that our gut bugs just absolutely go crazy for! In nature, this is accomplished when certain yeasts begin to eat certain plants, algae for instance, and then we eat that plant. Throughout human’s time on Earth, the ingestion of XOS was a common experience up until just several thousand years ago. When we began farming and raising animals, most sources of XOS were removed from our diets.

    Back in the day when humans were really hungry and there was no supermarket or fast-food restaurant around, they ate just about anything they could find. Sometimes this turned out really good. Ever see all that green stuff floating in stagnant ponds known as algae? Did you know that was once a major source of nutrition for many people? Early on in human evolution, algae was an important food source. Harvested for millennia in Africa, dried cakes called dihĂ© can still be purchased in markets around Lake Chad. The Mesoamericans referred to dried algae as tecuitlatl and it is still grown and processed commercially all over the may know it as Spirulina. Spirulina has a huge following for its amazing nutritional qualities, but it’s also an amazing source of XOS.

    1. (con't)

      While many plants contain XOS, they are in such miniscule amounts they cannot be considered a reliable source. Recent interest in novel prebiotics has led food researchers to develop new sources of XOS. Simple hot water extraction processes are now used to separate XOS from certain hardwoods, cotton stalks, and corn cobs. The extracts are further degraded by such microbes as Bacillus licheniformis, a very unique and human-friendly microbe found in many probiotic supplements.

      XOS is Highly Specific Microbe Food
      While Potato Starch RS and Larch AG are special in that they increase the numbers of beneficial bacteria present in the human gut, XOS is special in that it feeds the exact same microbes we have been trying to introduce through these targeted prebiotics.

      Many scientific studies have been conducted with XOS and it has proven time and time again to feed only certain probiotic strains of microbes such as Bifidobactria and Lactobacillus. One species found in Intestinal IQ, Lactobacillus plantarum, is considered a gold-standard probiotic that feeds nearly exclusively on XOS. As most diets lack even modest amounts of XOS and supplement containing XOS will provide ample food for flourishing colonies of L. plantarum. Many studies in the past have postulated that L. plantarum seems to prefer oat products over all other food sources, but it is, in fact, the XOS found in oat hulls that L. plantarum is after. L. plantarum and other XOS loving Lactobacillus probiotics (such as L. acidophilus) produce lactic acid, formic acid, and ethanol in the gut when well-fed...these substances are crucial to keeping the pH of the gut optimal for growth of other friendly microbes and hostile to pathogens. When the pH of the human gut becomes too high or too low, invading opportunists take over and lay waste to the intestinal ecosystem we hope to create. A gut with a pH in the range created by lactic acid producing bacteria will not allow pathogens, fungi, yeasts, or viruses to become established.

      Other XOS ‘Magic’
      As a consequence of the targeted ability of XOS to grow beneficial bacteria, XOS has been studied for its ability to produce seemingly miraculous metabolic machinations:

      Cholesterol Lowering

    2. (con't)

      Human studies on XOS show that daily intake increases short-chain fatty acids needed for good gut health and decreased levels of putrefactive products (p-crestol, indole, skatole). When evaluated, stool frequency and abdominal conditions improved simultaneously. Blood ammonia levels were reduced in patients with liver cirrhosis. It is noted time and time again that in human studies with XOS levels of beneficial bacteria increase, pathogenic bacteria decrease and no complications such as diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, or stomach upset are reported. XOS prevented constipation in pregnant women in one trial and noted that even in severe cases of pregnant women having very hard stools, the stool consistency normalized.

      A study was recently conducted on elderly subjects (65 years old and up) on the effects of 4 grams per day of XOS. This supplementation greatly increased bifidobacteria and fecal moisture while decreasing fecal pH...all signs of improved bowel health.

    3. Tim

      Thank you for this post. It seems my diet is deficient in XOS. I have ordered spirulina!

    4. Tim, any idea of the amount of XOS in spirulina? Are any of those "new sources" commercially available? Been looking for this prebiotic for a while.

    5. I keep looking but haven't really seen any prebiotics that feature XOS. I see several companies are making it, not sure who is buying it...I think it gets used in the food processing industry.

      Life Bridge XOS, for example. (XOS from corn cobs!)

      I see quite a few Google hits with XOS, but nothing jumps out at me as an XOS supplement one could easily buy.

      Here's Spirulina, 5lbs for $189

      Regarding XOS in Spirulina, I've never seen an actual content listed, but all algae is said to be rich in xylose, XOS, and other amazing things.

      Spirulina is actually a cyanobacteria. Wikipedia has a great article on Spirulina:


      Dried spirulina contains about 60% (51–71%) protein. It is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, though with reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine and lysine when compared to the proteins of meat, eggs and milk. It is, however, superior to typical plant protein, such as that from legumes.[2][9]

      The U.S. National Library of Medicine said that spirulina was no better than milk or meat as a protein source, and was approximately 30 times more expensive per gram.[10]
      Other nutrients

      Spirulina's lipid content is about 7% by weight,[11] and is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and also provides alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA).[9][12] Spirulina contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E.[9][12] It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc.[9][12] Spirulina contains many pigments which may be beneficial and bioavailable, including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, chlorophyll-a, xanthophyll, echinenone, myxoxanthophyll, canthaxanthin, diatoxanthin, 3'-hydroxyechinenone, beta-cryptoxanthin and oscillaxanthin, plus the phycobiliproteins c-phycocyanin and allophycocyanin.[1]"

      I wish it wasn;t so damn expensive!

  22. Oh, and this, too:

    Yacon Powder
    One weird little trick to lose weight? Dr. Oz’s miracle cure? Or just the latest “superfood” to hit the scene? Yacon powder has been touted recently as a miracle cure for nearly every ailment, but what’s the hype all about?

    Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius, Asteraceae) is a perennial plant from South America that forms underground tubers weighing up to a pound. Yacon tubers are a low calorie, low net carb food that is rich in inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Yacon syrup is a low calorie sweetener that shows promise for improving insulin resistance and reducing bodyweight of the obese.

    Isolated fractions of inulin and FOS are not the best prebiotics in the world...they fall well behind RS, Larch AG, and XOS in promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria, however, when combined, as found in nature,they display the exceptional qualities of a true symbiotic promoter of gut health. When tested in isolation, inulin or FOS rarely does much more than promote a few prebiotic species, but when tested in combination they produce amazing results, namely the extending effect of butyrate production throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

    Yacon powder is just what the name implies; a powder made from dried yacon tubers. This slightly sweet powder makes an excellent addition to smoothies or recipes. Yacon powder has been extensively tested for safety and inulin/FOS content and has been deemed an exceptional addition for nutraceutical applications.

    Yacon powder contains more than inulin and FOS, though. Rich in antioxidant polyphenols, flavanoids, phenolic compounds, alkaloids, steroids, glycosides and carbohydrates yacon powder is a “whole food” unlike the extracted isolates such as potato starch, Larch AG, and XOS.

    1. (con't)

      Yacon powder has been tested extensively and shown to increase populations of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, resulting in higher levels of short-chain fatty acids and enhancement of colonic cells. Yacon powder has been shown to prevent colitis, an inflammation of the gut lining and enhances mineral absorption, gastrointestinal metabolism, and can lower cholesterol. Yacon powder is a proven modulator of the human immune system, improving resistance to infections and allergic reactions.

      In the andean region of South America, yacon is treated as a medicine. The yacon tuber is fed raw or cooked by people suffering from diabetes, digestive disturbances, and kidney problems. Other beneficial effects are noted as accelerated bowel transit time in already healthy individuals, increased defecation frequency and increased feelings of satiety in the obese. Pre-menopausal women have been shown to benefit from yacon is its cholesterol regulating ability, improvement of iron bioavailability, and immunomodulatory activities.

      The specific increases to beneficial bacteria when fed a diet containing yacon are impressive! When compared with commercial FOS preparations, yacon shows markedly better results in increasing the abundance of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Additionally, two other beneficial bacteria, L. acidophilus and L. plantarum, were found to utilize yacon powder as a preferred growth medium over commercial FOS powders.

      RS, Larch AG, and XOS mainly increase the short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) known as butyrate. Yacon powder has been shown to selectively increase the SCFA acetate.

    2. Yacon is one of those that goes in and out on my routine. I first started about 1 t per day with no problems. Then I developed diarrhea, and ultimately traced it to the yacon. At some point, I added it back in, ultimately getting over 1 T per day! Then I lost the cravings, and the diarrhea came back. It is now out of the mix entirely.

      I first started yacon based on two studies. The first is that Barnesiella can protect against antibic resistant bacteria

      The second is that yacon root feeds Barnesiella

      It has a nice tastes more like fruit than tuber.

    3. Our local food co-op carries fresh yacon tubers in the late fall. It's grown by someone locally (in Oregon). The tubers are crunchy and sweet, and they are are nice to slice and put into a salad. I used to get gas from eating more than a small bite, but I seem to do better with it now (having added a little more RS to my diet).

  23. Not sure where to post this, but I had to laugh a bit. While searching for AG and PHGG, I found this patent, Nutrient mixture containing oligosaccharides; therapy for inflammatory bowel disorders

    It's a prebiotic blend that would make Wilbur blush!

    "The invention will now be further illustrated by the following examples.
    EXAMPLE 1 In Vitro Study of the Prebiotic Potential of Several Oligosaccharides and Mixture thereof

    The Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), used as positive control, is Actilight 950P®, Beghin-Meiji industries, France (containing 92% oligosaccharides),

    The Galactooligosaccharides (GOS) is Elixor®, FCDF, Netherlands (containing 58% oligosaccharides, 23% lactose, 19% glucose).

    The Xylooligosaccharides (XOS) is Xylo-oligo 95P®, Suntory Limited, Japan (containing 91% oligosaccharides).

    The Soyaoligosaccharides (SOS) is Soybean Otigosaccharides Syrup, Soya Oligo Japan Inc., Japan (containing 23% oligosaccharides, 21% sucrose, 31% other saccharides).

    The Arabinogalactan (ABG) is ClearTrac AG-99®, Larex Inc., USA (containing 95% soluble fibres).

    The Acacia gum (AG), also called gummi arabicum, is Fibregume®, Colloides Naturels International, France (containing 85% soluble fibres).

    The Wheat germ (WG) is Biogerm PB1®, Multiforsa, Switzerland (containing 32% oligosaccharides, 30% protein, 12% fibres, 7% fat).

    The Isomaltooligosaccharides (IMO) is Isomalto 900®, Showa Sangyo Co., Japan (containing 89% oligosaccharides)."

    "According to the invention, the compositions of the invention may further comprise insoluble and/or soluble fibres, such as non-starch polysaccharides, e.g. cellulose, hemicellulose, resistant starch, gums, guar gum, hydrolysed guar gum, e.g. partially hydrolysed guar gum, available for example as Benefibre® (from Novartis Nutrition Corporation), pectin, gum Arabic and mixtures thereof."

  24. Replies
    1. Do you get a sense of whether she gets credit or commission from sales? Did she contact you - on a Saturday evening! - in response to your posts? If so, this is the customer service I appreciate! I will probably order very soon!

    2. Yeah, she's here now...just going over my order.

      Just kidding, no idea. Just passing on the link.

  25. This day just keeps getting better and better!

    While shopping at my favorite store, Amazon, I discovered not only Cheap Mung Bean Starch $12.97 for 16oz.

    But also Metamucil 100% Inulin This had been discontinued last year, looks like they brought it back. Really good price! $13.99/12oz.

    And, BTW, these are not affiliate links, I don't get anything from these!

    1. And an early Christmas present from PubMed...I'll try to get full text when it's up.

      "Partially hydrolysed guar gum (PHGG) is a water-soluble dietary fibre that is non-digestible in the upper gastrointestinal tract. It is believed that PHGG benefits the health of hosts by altering the colonic microbiota and stimulating short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. However, it remains unclear which bacteria ferment PHGG in the human large intestine. In this study, the effect of PHGG on faecal bacteria was analysed to specify the bacteria that contribute to the fermentation of PHGG in the human large intestine. Ten healthy volunteers consumed PHGG (6 g/day) for 2 weeks. Faeces were collected at 2 weeks prior to consumption, at the end of 2 weeks of consumption, and 2 weeks after consumption of PHGG. Bacterial DNA was extracted from these collected faeces and subjected to real-time PCR using bacterial group- or species-specific primers. The copy number of the butyryl-CoA CoA-transferase gene and the 16S rRNA gene copy numbers of Bifidobacterium, the Clostridium coccoides group, the Roseburia/ Eubacterium rectale group, Eubacterium hallii, and butyrate-producing bacterium strain SS2/1 were significantly increased by the intake of PHGG. Other bacteria and bacterial groups were not significantly influenced by the intake of PHGG. It was believed that the Roseburia/E. rectale group bacteria, Bifidobacterium, the lactate-utilising, butyrate-producing bacteria, E. hallii and bacterium strain SS2/1, would contribute to the fermentation of PHGG in the human large intestine. PHGG may benefit health by stimulating Bifidobacterium and butyrate-producing bacteria in the human large intestine."

      Now, we have to decide if PHGG is a frankenfood, or worthy of a spot in our fiber jars.

    2. Tim,

      Swanson has inulin powder $5.49 for 8 oz.:

  26. The mung bean starch at my local Asian market is $4.53/lb. There is also green bean starch, in addition to the more common potato and tapioca starch.

    1. All I want for Christmas is to know how much XOS is in spirulina. I was including spirulina in my smoothies already because it has a reputation as a superfood, But now that I learn it also contains XOS. And oat bran because it's a cheap source of beta glucans. But it too has XOS.

      Does anyone know what kind of fermentable fiber cacao contains?

      I mentioned earlier that I had scored three cases of grapefruit, which I wanted for the inulin in the pith.Peeling them is really easy. But removing the zest isn't. So I discovered that a much better approach is to just leave the peels with zest intact to dry for a few days (more if it's humid). When the peels are no longer attached to the fruit the volatile oils evaporate really quickly Then you just hydrate the dried peel for a few hours (less if you cut it into thin strips with a pair of scissors first) and then add it to a smoothie. So next time you eat an orange or use a lemon for cooking, don't toss the peel. Keep it for the free pectin. It also gives the smoothie a wonderful subtle flavour enhancement.

      I've read 'Guns Germs and Steel'. I think Jared Diamond is great A bit depressing though. I've never fought in a war, and life in the developed World is really so easy.
      I get about 75g of fermentable fiber /day. I think I'll boost it to 100 now hacked the pectin supply. I had remarkable improvements even with just PS and psyllium husk. Eating all that fruit my whole life, even though the massive fructose intake gave me a crippling Candida overload and a non stop hypoglycemic rollercoaster ride, it probably gave my microbiota a lot of pectin to eat. So maybe once I ditched the fruit, but started feeding the gut bacteria in low fructose ways made me an early responder to the PS/ psyllium.
      How much spirulina are you planning to take?

    2. Gemma,
      Speaking of gold and unmentionables, here's my Joke for Christmas:

      After dinner at the Royal Table, it was customary for the invited guests to take turns waxing eloquent about Queen Victoria's various virtues. One by one , the guests offered their adulatory comments. And the Queen nodded appreciatively. When it came to Oscar Wilde''s turn, he said gravely, and with perfect composure, 'Your Majesty, you are like a stream of bat's piss'. Everyone else was appalled, not least Queen Victoria. But she was well aware of Oscar Wilde's wit, and asked thinly: 'Why Mister Wilde, whatever do you mean?' Oscar Wilde replied calmly, and with the conviction befitting a loyal subject, 'Your Majesty, I mean merely that you are like a shaft of gold, when all around is dark'.

    3. Hey Stue, a good one. Have you seen it by Monty Python's?

    4. You two are too funny.
      Thanks for the laugh and have a great Christmas.

      Au anon/ Andrea

    5. Stuart,

      I am coming up dry on the XOS content of spirulina. I finally got mine today, and I will probably do 2 tsps for a little while with an eye toward 1 Tbsp.

      Here is an article stating that cocoa mass is 2-6% soluble fiber, mainly hemicellulose. It references a study I can't find. Hope it helps.

    6. Gemma,
      I had no idea it was originally from Monty Python. And I thought I'd seen everything they ever did. Thanks

  27. Could someone tell me what the fiber types are in baobob?

    1. If I'm not mistaken, the main fiber is pectin. I don't think there will be any RS or inulin, but certainly there are several types of other fibers and plant polyphenols/flavonoids (antioxidants) that make baobab a very good choice.

    2. @elliebelly

      There is mainly pection and mucilage in baobab fruit, no starch, some other sugars. The interesting thing it very high vitamin C and also very high calcium and many other minerals. Though the content may vary a lot. The leaves are edible too, not only fruits and seeds. Bark is mainly used as medicine.

      Here a nice paper:
      Adansonia digitata L. – A review of traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology

  28. Hey Tim
    what do you thin of DR B G recent posts against PS? and RS2?

  29. Replies
    1. I think Grace's recent post is spot-on. No one should replace all of their dietary carbs with RS2. I also think Grace is right when she says:

      "And there is a cost -- RS2 at high doses compromises gut diversity and specifically the species that make us human and lean, fat-burning machines: Christensenella, Bifidobacteria longum, and AKKERMANSIA."

      So, take this as a lesson! If you are eating a diet that consists of meat, fat, and raw starch you will not thrive as a human being.

      I also like her very first chart...the one with a "Y" in every column. It tells me at a quick glance that if you have SIBO, there is no suitable starch for you.

      Early on in my research into RS, I came across several studies that show that many pathogens will cling to raw starch granules. I believe this to be a fact, and have seen it repeated and studied many times. The starch granules have a unique cell surface structure that makes pathogens think it is a human cell (molecular mimicry) and the pathogens will leave their attachment to the small intestine and cling to the raw starch where it gets flushed out of the system quickly.

      Pathogen Adherence to RS2

      Cholera Adhesion to RS2

      Very, very early on, I wondered if RS2 would therefore be a "cure" for SIBO. Many other people saw the logic behind this (including Grace and Norm Robillard) and gave it a good does not seem to work that way in real life, though several people with SIBO swear they have been helped with the addition of potato starch.

      Green plantains have been a cure for diarrhea for many generations, supposedly due to this adhesion principal. Many studies show that diarrhea-causing pathogens are, indeed, flushed out by the attachment they form with RS2.

      Green Bananas for Diarrhea

      Apparently the pathogens involved in SIBO are of a different breed and aren't so easily tricked. And it could also be that SIBO has different origins such as pH imbalance, genetic root causes, yeast overgrowths, or physical damage.

    2. As to the claim the RS2, specifically, does not lead to fat loss. Vanity has never been a big part of this for me. I figure that if you are eating right, your body will go to where it genetically wants to be, and for some of us, that may mean we do not have 6-pack abs and 3% body fat.

      Anyway, here's a recent paper on the subject (Abstract only...can't find full text.):

      High-amylose maize resistant starch 2 favorably influences body composition in healthy overweight adults

    3. "Very, very early on, I wondered if RS2 would therefore be a "cure" for SIBO. Many other people saw the logic behind this (including Grace and Norm Robillard) and gave it a good does not seem to work that way in real life, though several people with SIBO swear they have been helped with the addition of potato starch.”

      Hi, Tim! It works that way in real life. Raw potato cured me of SIBO, though I failed with potato starch (but I’ve never tried it with psyllium...). So sad that you, Grace and Richard quarreled:(


    4. If I wasn't seeing raw potato starch working in real life, with my own eyes, I wouldn't keep on about it. The stuff works. Does it work for everybody? Not a chance...but what does?

      I actually think a raw potato is a better way to get RPS, but it's a much harder 'sell.'

  30. Any idea how much resistant starch there is in a cup of mixed berries? Blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

    It seems easy enough to eat a roasted and cooled potato per day.

    1. "how much resistant starch there is in a cup of mixed berries?"

      I am afraid, really very afraid that there is NO starch there. But a lot of other useful stuff. Anthocyanins and other flavonoids, chlorogenic acid,... Eat them.

    2. My Christmas present for Tim: a research paper concluding that...
      ... the berries from Alaska are the best!

      The antioxidant level of Alaska’s wild berries: high, higher and highest

    3. Awwwww. Thank you! How did you know what I liked?

      Well, know we know why Santa chose the North Pole as his home base. Those elves need lots of fiber!

      The berries up here almost make our long winter bearable. I'm about half-way through 6 gallons of blueberries I pick last summer. I eat a big handful every night, stems, leaves, bear slobber and all.

      It's such a shame that the fate of most berries picked here is jam and jelly that is 90% white sugar, but it was good to see that the berries still are healthy even when processed.

    4. @Gemma, I mis-spoke! Berries have fermentable fiber, yes?

  31. From PHD
    These foods are made of PHD-compliant ingredients – rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch in the case of baked goods – but they have a few defects:

    Low nutrient density. As a purified macronutrient, gluten-free flour is unaccompanied by micronutrients.
    Low water content. Whole food starches, like white rice and white potatoes, typically have less than 500 calories per pound due to a high water content. But flours and foods made from them, like noodles and pizza dough and bread, lack water and provide 1300-1500 calories per pound.

    The lack of water is potentially a problem because water is crucial to digestion, especially digestion of proteins. In the stomach, food needs to be dissolved in an acidic water bath in order for protein-digesting enzymes like pepsin to work properly. Dry foods are just not digested well.

    Flour-based foods may be problematic for more reasons than their lack of water. Last year, Ian Spreadbury proposed that “acellular carbohydrates” – carbohydrates that are not surrounded by cell walls and embedded within a cytoplasm – may be unhealthy because the carbs can feed bacteria in the upper digestive tract which can then infect important organs like the pancreas, gallbladder, liver, and small intestine. Cellular carbohydrates would be digested lower in the intestine, helping to maintain an antiseptic and healthy upper small intestine.

    1. If these flours/starches are cooked and cooled e.g. in bread etc. do they become R3? Does this ameliorate the acellular effect?

    2. Cooking and cooling a raw starch changes the RS2 to RS3, but only at a fraction of the original RS2. Raw potato starch = 60-80% RS2, cooked and cooled = 2=3% RS3, by weight.

  32. I've been puzzled about "diet cures" for rheumatoid arthritis. In particular, drastic (compared to SAD) diets like the McDougall diet. It is making more sense to me now. A starch based vegetarian diet like McDougall prescribes must be cranking out the SCFAs.

    1. Jin - yes, of course! Makes perfect sense. The "Potato Diet" (see tabs above) was loosely based on one of Mary McDougall's protocols. Here again, I think were people get in trouble is to carry out a starch-based vegetarian diet as a life-long way of eating.

      Short term, these diets can do wonders in reducing inflammation and fixing gut problems, but I don;t believe they are suited for long-term health, as many vegans report.

  33. hey Tim
    would it be a good rule of thumb like, to test a newbie lets say to this whole RS and PS and Ferment able fiber, have the subject take some PS and see his reaction?

    if he has A bad reaction like diarrhea then he sure need allot of work in the gut, if he has a good reaction then his gut atin that bad but can benefit from better care?

    1. Sure. That's a great plan.

      If a spoonful of PS causes a bad reaction, try the test again with a spoonful of inulin. The try some Benefiber with Wheat dextrin. If you cannot handle any of these fibers, you'd best get to a doctor and be tested for pathogens.

  34. another question since the GUT is called the 2nd brain and linked to mood,
    i have been looking for links to gut and schizophrenia, i have a close relative suffering take meds but needs better, i couldnt find any postings about it does anyone have info links?
    thanks would be greatly appreciated

    1. Dr Emily Dean at Evolutionary Psychiatry would be a good starting place to explore the mind/gut connection.

    2. Yes, Emily has written lots:

      I think that restoring balance to the gut flora can help with mood, sleep, and immunity.

    3. thanks guys anything more definitive and more close to schizophrenia?
      i have seen autism mentioned in relation to gut and autoimmune disease which maybe the correct description of autism, but i didnt much of schizo linked to autoimmune and gut

    4. Hey...I don't doubt that schizophrenia is linked to the gut in some way, but I doubt that simply adding fiber or changing diet will be the cure. If I lived closely with someone suffering, I'd encourage them to stick to a strict paleo-type diet and avoid eating refined sugars, oils, and flours. I think everyone benefits when the gut is behaving normally, so it's always my position that we need to eat right to begin any type of healing.

    5. @aj1441

      Sorry to hear. This paper talks about oxidative stress and states that there is a reduced level of glutathione, might be worth looking at it:
      A role for glutathione in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia? Animal models and relevance to clinical practice. 2009

      And this one mentions interesting aspect of aspirin:
      Aspirin: a review of its neurobiological properties and therapeutic potential for mental illness 2013

    6. AJ1441--You may want to take a look at studies linking food intolerances to schizophrenia--things like eggs/gluten/dairy, etc--but not only those things! I think a good, well-done (hopefully guided) elimination diet, especially eliminating things commonly excluded on an autoimmune paleo diet could be helpful. I haven't had time, but eventually plan on trying to read up more on this. The studies I have read about have been pretty old and don't seem to have been followed up on. Food intolerances can have a startling effect on the brain, not well-recognized or studied. In my opinion, getting those foods out and shoveling in the good (for example, like folate----methyl-tetrahydrofolate reductase deficiencies can cause some cases of schizophrenia and can be overcome with food folate/natural folate) and working on the gut can help make the person not so susceptible then to schizophrenia. To me, this is where RS and other "fibers/prebiotics" can come into play, by raising butyrate which can have good CNS effects and also help the gut lining not be "leaky." You can try Googling "brain allergies" and "schizophrenia" together for some alternative takes on this kind of stuff. Of course, everything must be taken with a grain of salt. Good luck.

  35. Tim in one of the comments above you say that many diets and movements missed the Mark on Fiber, you mention Gaps and others,

    regardless once you have the mark on fiber which Diet would you recommend or which one do you practice? im talking besides the fiber
    as i saw Dr Art say that gaps works in a very roundabout way because it misses the whole gut and fiber things, so once you have it whats the best?

    1. Ha! Good question. I always like the 'template' approach. I love Primal Blueprint, with its focus on limiting carbs to under 150g/day or so and sourcing only high quality food. Many people can handle much higher carb levels, many do better on less. But nobody that I've ever seen does well on donuts, candy bars, and Pizza Hut.

      I love PHD, but I think it relies too heavily on supplements, the food pyramid (apple) they came up with is great, except I would take "legumes" out of the "never eat" list.

      I like Atkins, but only if done the way Dr. Atkins advised in the '70s where you add carbs back in rather fast and don't punish yourself on endless induction.

      The diets I hate the most are the Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Southbeach types, or just a generic "low carb" diet. These diets never teach anyone how to eat or how to make wise food choices, so they make long-term success unlikely.

      I think its most important to develop a list, in you mind, of foods that aren't really foods, and you rarely eat them. Foods that are highly processed and contain flour, sugar, and refined oils need to be banned 99% if you want to stand a chance. Whole, identifiable, foods need to comprise the bulk of your diet.

      All of these diets also need fiber if they are to feed all of you (you and your gut microbes).

  36. thanks tim
    what about Gaps? and Dr Weston price?

    Dr art says "less diverse diets" by which i assume he means not many food groups results in more diverse microbia gut, its counter intuitive and he says fruits are mostly worthless,
    so how about a theory that fruits were for our ancestors the candy we eat today just a indulgence, and once we moved away from that we came to believe they are so healthy,
    ppl like you who i assume dont eat junk can use fruits for sugar craving etc

    1. GAPS looks OK, but misses fiber, I think it seems. WAPF is more just dietary advice and not a 'diet plan' which is probably better. WAPF has great advice on wise food choices.

      I don't think we should avoid fruit, but probably something like 1-5 pieces a day is enough. I like your theory. I think we crave sweets for a reason!

      Art Ayers is easy to mis-quote because he enjoys looking into the science of what we eat and how it effects us. This sometimes does not translate into dietary advice that makes sense. When asked, you'll find Art eats a very sensible, finer-rich diet and avoids the processed stuff.

  37. what do you mean by Gaps misses fiber?
    from a cursory search it seems to include gut health and fermented veggies
    ye the late Seth Roberts had allot of interest in "We crave sweets for a reason"

    1. Visit and look at the "avoid" list. I think most of the regulars around here will not agree with many of the foods they say are bad. The good food list is great, though.

      I hope a couple of you take a look and comment, but to me it looks like the GAPS diet is not very gut bug friendly.

    2. I did GAPS for about 18 months. It wasn't my cure-all, but as far as fiber goes, it should have ample diverse "fibers," if done properly. The book highly encourages lots of vegetables, at first boiled and then as a person improves in gut symptoms, raw too. Fruit is allowed, as well. Fermented foods are staple. Yes, many "fiber/prebiotic" foods are excluded while on the diet, but all GAPS people should know that the diet is not intended to be lifelong. It's to get one better and then venturing slowly into other real, properly prepared food. As far as resistant starch goes, it is there: lentils and Navy beans, some good, good butyrate producers. Admittedly, the FOSs and inulin are regulated pretty strictly (no jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, etc). I often wondered about that, and wonder if it has to do with some of these GAPS-type people, myself included, having SIBO type issues. GAPS is a spin-off of SCD by Elaine Gottschall. Elaine didn't like Bifido as a probiotic orally because she said it overgrew too aggressively. So then I ponder if she excluded the FOS/inulin/most forms of RS (not all) because they would have encouraged Bifido growth/SIBO and worsening GI symptoms. I don't know. I'd have to look and see if Bifido is an over-grower in SIBO or not--or if we know the over-growers in SIBO. I think it's pretty neat the diet she came up with without having all the research and exchange of ideas we have now! I just love connecting the dots on all of these diets.

      You commented on Paleo too. But shouldn't a well-done Paleo diet have plenty of vegetable/fiber/prebiotic matter too? Are you thinking it would be low in RS/starch? Is that why you mention it as being poorer?

      And finally, if we step back, is a complex, diverse diet (or complex, diverse supplementation of whatever) necessary for thriving? Maybe so, because of all the antibiotics, processed foods, chemical assault? Maybe not? How are we all doing and feeling on these complex fiber regimens? Have we reached our goals, our endpoints? No, so we keep experimenting? Or yes, so we should hold steady or drop back once "healed?" Out of genuine curiosity, I'd like to know how people using significant "fiber" concoctions are doing health-wise. Are they meeting their goals? Is this something that can really benefit people struggling with health issues, and for how long should they do it?

      Thanks for letting me ramble.

    3. Terri! You can ramble here any time you like! Thanks for stopping by, I know you are busy.

      Thanks for your GAPS discussion. All I know about it is just what I saw in about 10 minutes of browsing the website.

      I have to step back sometimes and remind myself that all of this talk of "fiber" is only one piece of the overall health puzzle. I don't think that fermentable fiber is a magic bullet on it's own, but I do think it is often-overlooked.

      I learned a lot from your Awesome Butyrate Series, and it's one of the things that energized me to keep learning about the benefits of fermentable fiber.

      As to what I said about most diets being low in fiber, Paleo, especially the low carb versions of it, are lower than SAD even in fiber. Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, William Davis and others have all came out this year and admitted their diets were too low in fermentable fiber and have started recommending things like green bananas, raw potatoes, potato starch, etc... to boost natural butyrate production.

      I will be the first to admit that we have a long way to go in understanding how the gut works, exactly what fibers and how much we need.


    4. Terri -

      I like your blog! I ran across it before, but lost track of it until Tim linked it above.

      I am not sure if I am one of the people you are addressing, one of those with "significant fiber concoctions". I think so, as I eat about 150 g per day, about 100 supplemented. Lunch today was a big raw dandelion root! There are some posts in this thread on my supplements.

      I can only speak for myself. I stumbled on this by accident, and had no idea where it would go. I have been in a state of equilibrium since early April of this year.

      Regarding your question about health goals: I have no goals. I have nothing left to fix. My weight is perfect. I cannot eat any better, yet I am eating what I want. My bloodwork is perfect. I am free from goals. I just live now.

      The funny thing is that I once had goals. I weighed 200+ and thought it would be great if I could get to 175. Maybe if I ate better, exercised more I could do it. On my fiber regime, I didn't even pause at 175 - I went to about 163 where I have been for 8 months. I've been at this weight before, by starving myself and convincing myself that being hungry is good. I eat whatever I want until I am full. Today for lunch I wanted a dandelion root from the garden, and it filled me up. Tonight I will have a triple raw garlic, double raw red onion, triple cheese pizza - the whole thing - and will weigh within +/- 2 lbs of my weight, as I have 98%+ of the days since April.

      My doctor says she has never seen such a dramatic change in a person, particularly in such a short time.

      I plan to hold steady.

      I don't know if this will work for everyone or even a significant set of people. I don't feel as though people understand how hard I am pushing this - Stuart I think understands and might be out pushing me, and he seems to be getting similar results! I am pushing my dogs, and they are thriving and are not having the normal issues of city dogs fed commercial chow (sorry, I don't have enough time to get them on a real food diet).

      I also have a feeling that during my transformation that I suffered from symptoms that might have turned others back. I remember constant headaches and other things that I have since learned might have been Herx symptoms. I'd never heard of them before, and had no idea that the gut might be at issue. I just ignorantly stumbled my way through, and landed in a very good place.

    5. Hey Wilbur,

      Thanks for mentioning your headaches.

      I have always been skeptical of the Herxheimers explanation for symptoms. But this morning I woke up with a very mild headache that somehow told me I needed to go to the bathroom. Afterwards the headache was gone. So perhaps that is what is going on with me now. I couldn't push through bad headaches all day as you did, but I will watch this carefully and hope for some positive benefits albeit less spectacular than yours

  38. @Stuart and Wilbur

    Do you take fibers with probiotics? What about antifungals?


    1. I made a fermented Carolina Reaper - habanero - garlic hot sauce that I eat every day, probably a heaping tablespoon. I eat sauerkraut many days. I play with my dogs a lot - they are outside a lot, and get very dirty. I make sure to nuzzle my face on them, and avoid washing my hands unnecessarily. Once in a while I take the three SBOs that FTA recommends, but I do not notice a big difference.

      I do take L. Reuteri every day. I think that one might be significant. Several studies show, for instance, it accelerates wound healing. Since I have been taking it, wounds that normally bleed for a long time simply stop (not slow) after a few seconds. It is a definite change. There are other benefits as well.

      I don't think that I take any antifungals.

    2. Wilbur said: "I don't think that I take any antifungals."

      He does not have to, his diet is anti-fungal per se.

    3. Anon,
      It annoys me that probiotics (especially the good ones) are so expensive, while even small amounts of unsterilized dirt from anywhere on Planet Earth contain literally billions - and from a vast taxa - of bacteria/ fungi/yeasts/viruses, both pathogenic (which your immune system needs the practice in dealing with) and beneficial - don't you just love the yin/yang of dirt?

      So I eat dirt. Didn't your grandmother tell you you need to eat a pound of dirt before you die? Actually the only soil I eat comes on the raw unwashed potato that goes into my daily fermentable fiber smoothie. But I stir a spoonful of dirt from random parts of my garden into unchlorinated water and add the strained liquid to the smoothie too.
      Risky behaviour. Probably. But I wouldn't do it if I wasn't also consuming a lot, and from a vast range, of fiber types, mainly fermentable.

      So many people do indeed benefit from taking probiotics. But to me it just seems that we should all eat a lot more dirt. The whole 'seeding' function of taking probiotic pills rather than plain ole dirt has always seemed a bit daft.. I mean your gut contains 100 TRILLLLLION bugs, Yet these pills contain at most billions. So even if you downed the whole bottle at once you'd still only be making a tiny ripple in your gut pond. If they don't multiply prolifically because the appropriate food is plentiful enough (prebiotic fiber) that tiny ripple will vanish very quickly
      So I seed my gut with dirt, and spend the money I save on more fiber.

      The longer I do this, the more I realize that providing enough fermentable fiber to the microbiota in your colon is (no exaggeration in my case) the missing link the modern human diet has been lacking. All that effort traditional and allopathic medical practice alike have put into curing disease, when they've been labouring under the overwhelming handicap of not realizing how important fermentable fiber is.

      From reading the commentary litany of broken guts on FTA and Animal Pharm, I've realized that many people's microbiomes are in such poor shape that they simply can't tolerate the thing that they actually need to get well - fermentable fiber.

      The next ten years of medical research is going to be very interesting as the best way around this Catch 22 is worked out. Not a moment to lose, wouldn't you agree?

      In fact I noticed a recent comment here defending PHD against Tim's observation that it, like so many other modern dietary approaches' attempts to foster human health, had missed the point about fermentable fiber. The comment was to the effect that PHD had some fermentable fiber in the allowed foods. But it's not enough. Not even close. You'd explode before you got enough fermentable fiber from the allowed foods on PHD.
      The fact that plenty of people have benefited from GAPS, PHD,SCD et al. is for me just an indication of how woeful the SAD diet really is.

      So many of these elimination diets do indeed benefit the legions of people with various food intolerances. Yet one of the things noticed when I stumbled on FTA was that so many people were reporting that RPS was curing them of the food intolerance altogether.And potato starch is only the (admittedly very sharp) tip of the fermentable fiber iceberg.

    4. Anon,
      I've personally been very lucky, and I've ramped up the dose of fermentable fiber to currently about 75g in only a few months. The health benefits have been so astonishing (most interestingly, neurological - it's no surprise to me that our gut is described as our second brain) that I'll keep ramping it up over the next couple of months to about 150. If Hadza kids thrive on this amount, that's good enough for me.

      Antifungals?. A lot of garlic. But that's for the taste and because it contains a lot of inulin. Oh and raw potato, I think that's antifungal. In my other life with a broken gut I had really serious fungal yeast overgrowths, and I took mountains of antifungals year in, year out - for decades. Tried every elimination diet. And some anti Candida protocols did work for a while. But without exception the Candida always came sneaking back I used to wonder if it was my Karma to have flaky skin and itchy genitals.
      Maybe feeding my microbiome properly will fail too. The reason why I think it might actually be the game changer I've dreamt about for so so long is that the health improvements are on many different levels- many completely unexpected. Like the brain fog lifting and finally being able to remember telephone numbers and people's names without having to use some clever memorization routine to commit it to memory.I'm middle aged. You'd think I'd be due for a few senior moments.

      And when you think about it, it amazes me that we missed it for long. I mean we have rather a lot of gut bacteria. Who all need feeding and all eat only one thing - fermentable fiber (or the by products of their brethren doing so)
      I also think it's worth mentioning, since you specifically asked about antifungals, that with a properly functioning microbiome, we have our own on board antifungal defenses. I'm not even sure that we should even need to take antifungals. That's certainly been my experience. When I think back over my lifetime of taking antifungal medicines and eating antifungal food - it makes me itchy..

    5. Wilbur, Gemma, Stuart, thanks for the answers!

      I ordered probiotics online, but the delivery is awful, have been waiting for about a month already. And funny thing, it looks like Candida’s receding without antifungals and with only tiny amounts of B amyloliquefaciens about three times a week (I’m reluctant to buy probiotics, i’m waiting for my order!!). I’m ramping up on fibers too, but slowly and cautiously, and my fibers are not at all antifungal. Love pectin... Garlic is so smelly, that i eat it only when it’s ok to smell bad and it’s been unacceptable lately.

      Stuart, plz, update on how it goes with fibers and Candida, I follow your posts. I have the same memory difficulties during Candida flare-ups, poor concentration, low energy, etc. Same thoughts about karma, seriously)) I didn’t like spirulina btw.

      I tried L Reuteri, it’s very calming (i’m prone to really bad depressions), makes it a pleasure to think too. Peaceful happy feeling... B12?.. Only it was dairy based, I stopped it when I stopped dairy. Brain reaction is the first thing I notice, have struggled with severe brain fog for the past two years.


    6. Tim,
      You've mentioned that above 40g/day fermentable fiber the gut bugs can't use it and it just becomes expensive poop. Do you know whether those studies were done with people who gradually tried to ramp up their intake? What was the time frame?

    7. I forgot that I take a Tbsp of dandelion leek miso every day. That I do so in spite of the harshness of eating it on a spoon must mean that it is important!

      EShe, I don't understand why you would stop the reuteri if it helped just to honor an arbitrary rule on dairy. In a lot of cases, the dairy is removed in the production process. I'd call the manufacturer if it remains an issue. I think biogaia brand is based on human milk, but I might be wrong.

      Stuart, my recollection is that number is for just RS. I haven't seen anything comparable for total fiber. I did research on whether one can take too much total fiber, and never ran across anything saying so or that it would be wasted. I think a broad range of fibers helps here so that everybody gets fed!

    8. “I don't understand why you would stop the reuteri if it helped just to honor an arbitrary rule on dairy. In a lot of cases, the dairy is removed in the production process”.

      Wilbur, i put it wrong, sorry :) It was a dairy product with L Reuteri, not pills. I used to experiment with all probiotic foods available in order to understand what this or that bacterium makes me feel like. L Reuteri turned out a bit like Propionibacterium, another B12 producer. They are quite different in other respects, but very similar in the serene feeling they give.

      I’ve had sinusitis all my life, without dairy and gluten (or with gluten+Bacillus subtilis) i’m close to normal. Perhaps i’ll reintroduce dairy, it’s just a little dairy-free experiment for a month or two.

      I had to google both Carolina Reaper sauce and dandelion leek miso, so exotic))


    9. Stu - Just quickly on my 40g statement...

      I don't really know that we cannot handle more than that. I suspect that as we eat higher and higher fiber, we grow the bacteria that can ferment all of it. In those really old raw starch studies, they showed raw starch passing through intact over about 40g. Maybe 6 weeks would have changed that.

    10. @Stu, do you make or eat fermented foods?

    11. Jin,
      When I was about 18 I started making my own yoghurt because I read that the lactic acid and the bacteria which survived the gastric pH were healthy. I'd make about 3 smoothies every day with frozen bananas and various other fruits and became completely addicted to the fructose and consigned myself to candida overgrowth for about thirty years. That wasn't the only problem. The acidity of the yoghurt dissolved my tooth enamel and I actually had one dentist curious about how long I'd suffered from bulimia because the erosion was so pronounced. I've had dairy goats for most of my adult life so I've always had plenty of raw milk to make the yoghurt with.
      The combination of the acidity of homemade yoghurt and eating all that fruit quite honestly made my life a living hell of ruined teeth and a yeast/fungus free for all.
      Now I'm well aware that fermented foods are much prized in the health seekers canon. So I'm pretty well a lone voice. But I actually think they're pretty overrated. No hunter gatherer humans have ever fermented food. You need to be able to make liquid holding containers. And tooth enamel just isn't designed to deal with acid food.
      I really enjoyed hearing Jeff Leach reporting that he never eats fermented food. It's slimy and disgusting.
      That said, I fully realize that fermented foods do indeed contain many very healthful compounds and fermentation degrades many substances that are worth avoiding in certain foods - for example soybeans. Its just that they're always acidic and/or unpleasantly high in salt.
      I do mildly ferment the oat bran that I include in the smoothies for the fermentable fiber. Fermentation degrades phytates doesn't it? And also the barley and rice I eat. Rice and barley are delicious slightly fermented before cooking The raw ferment water goes into my smoothies.
      I did eat rather a lot of yoghurt over the years. I just wish I hadn't had to spend so much on repairing the damage it did.

    12. Woo hoo! A point on which Stuart and I disagree. But in details, but not really in the big picture. I've thought about this a fair bit, and have my own perspective. YMMV. FWIW. etc.

      I too think that things like yogurt and kraut are overrated. They are a small part of a much larger picture. In my point of view, the probiotics and probiotic foods only need to be a small part of the diet IF the bacteria in them are also given the food they need in the gut. Bacteria multiply so fast that the difference between eating 10 million and 100 million, for instance, is trivial compared to how fast they can grow in a hospitable gut. When I eat fermented foods, it's a tablespoon of homemade hot sauce or maybe a half cup of kraut. I do not eat yogurt because it seems to do nothing for me. I give my dogs probiotics, but at about 1/4 the recommended dose in a mix that includes lots of fermented fiber. I've read that grandmothers recommended a spoonful of kraut, not a bucketful.

      I started fermented foods about the same time that I started concentrating on dietary fiber. My tooth health has dramatically improved. I do not brush immediately after eating it, and, well, I hate to floss. I think that gut and oral microbiomes control tooth health (along with proper diet), and thus the acidity is a red herring. The healthy biomes can deal with the acidity. Unhealthy biomes, maybe not.

      In my view of things, the connection between hunter gatherer diet and fermentation is not critical. Fermentation has been a part of the human diet for at least thousands of years. Lots of time for the microbiomes to adapt. But in most of those thousands of years, the microbiomes (the connected gut and oral) have been given plenty to eat, allowing them to adapt. What is different today is that people starve their microbiomes with processed and over-cultivated, sweet, and soft veggies, and then expect that a bucket of yogurt will fix things. But the gut is inhospitable, and the supporting players are too weak from starvation.

      I also personally believe humans have eaten fermented stuff for a very, very long time. Animals love fermented stuff. I read someplace that squirrels bury some acorns to ferment them and to reduce the tannins. There are some suggestions that humans and their predecessors would eat partially rotten fruits. Some monkeys enjoy fermented fruits.

      Just my POV.

    13. To add, I personally find benefits from probiotics foods. I used to suffer from terrible hand eczema in winter. It disappeared around the same time I started consistently eating fermented foods. Afterward, the Mr. Heisenbug blog had a series of posts connecting the dots. Cognizant of it this year, I have been even more consistent. I have not used any of the expensive creans I used to buy ( that never worked for more than a few hours) and my skin is perfect. I know that l. Reuteri works on me. I have had good gashes and cuts that miraculously stop bleeding in seconds, consistent with research. I crave raw miso every day. It is nasty stuff on a spoon (miso soup is good though), but I feel that I need it. I should research what it does.

    14. Wilbur,
      I think you are probably right about the gut/ oral health interconnection.
      And dogs do so love burying bones then digging them up later when the fermentation/ rotting is in full swing. Even fruit fies prefer fermenting/ decaying fruit. I really enjoy watching drunk fruit flies crashing in to each other and their surroundings.
      You're right, fermented foods do have a long evolutionary history.
      I do find that the oil pulling seems to be causing a kind of tooth enamel remineralization . They feel kind of 'slippery' - and it isn't just the oil slipperyness either.
      I just hope that one day I'll be able to eat acidic foods without my teeth hurting.

    15. Stuart, what bacteria did you use to make yogurt? I had negative experience with traditional yogurt and acidophilus. My reaction to fermented foods varies considerably depending on bacteria.


    16. I just got back from 4 days in a hotel, eating out almost every meal. I tried hard to eat good, but, man. I hate eating out so much! As soon as I got home, I had this tremendous urge to eat a giant bowl of my homemade sauerkraut. I had that, 4 oranges (the little ones!), and a hunk of moose sausage for dinner. Best food I've eaten all week! Sitting here oil pulling now.

      I swear that half the problems people have are caused by eating restaurant food too often. So many of our friends who live in the city eat out nearly every day. I probably eat in a restaurant once or twice a month, and then try to stick to salads.

    17. @Wilbur

      By the way. I read lots of different forums & blogs on different diets, English, not English... Miraculously fast wound healing is often reported on raw food diet, one man says that there’s no pain even, no pus etc. (Very high fiber, lots of raw fruits and veggies, incl raw potatoes, no probiotics.) I don’t advocate going raw, just noticed the similarity))

    18. Esha,
      Do many of the raw food commenters you read about eat raw meat and insects? I wonder if the no wound pain commenter did?
      I never pasteurized the milk I used for the yoghurt, so I just used a couple of TBS of the previous batch to start a new one. The taste and consistency would change slightly with the goats eating different foods, and also whatever temp I incubated it at, and for how long. Raw goat milk seems to produce the best yoghurt at 39 deg C

      Is there any fermentable fiber in pollen? I know it's not the only reason to eat it. Just curious.

      I really like the taste and texture of the onion and garlic skins you reported eating. But they're quite hard chewing work, so I've found that my little electric spice mill reduces them to almost a powder, which I then add to anything savoury for a bit of extra body. I wonder what's in them apart from cellulose?
      Also, basil grows really well here, so I make a lot of pesto. I always used to get really obsessive about nipping off and discarding the flower heads to stop the plants bolting to seed. And also discarding the stalks when I make the pesto. But I've started including the stalks and flowers in the pesto, and leaving the flower heads on the plant for longer. So there is quite a lot of the flowers and stalk fiber in the resulting pesto. I love the rough honesty of it.
      Humans have managed to develop such an unhealthy aversion to fibrous texture in food haven't they?

    19. I've never had any food intolerances. But I was really allergic to a pasture grass called 'green panic' that grows prolifically around here. Whenever i was pulling it out of my garden, where it is a really annoying weed, my arms would get covered in itchy bumps, my nose would run, and I'd start sneezing.
      It's been raining here and the green panic is in full flight, so I've been pulling a lot of it out for the last week. I suddenly realized that I haven't had any of the allergic symptoms I've had for my entire life.
      Fermentable fiber is remarkable.

    20. @Stuart

      Pollen! My favourite subject. Yes, it should be fermented, together with some honey. The bees do the same - to obtain so called bee bread.


      There is of course part of a pollen grain that will survive just anything - sporopollenin, on of the most resistant organic materials in the world.

    21. @Stuart

      “Do many of the raw food commenters you read about eat raw meat and insects? I wonder if the no wound pain commenter did?”

      No, he’s raw vegan, though I do read raw meat eaters as well )) I like to read opposite opinions. Funny you asked about insects, we licked ants in my childhood, big black ants that tasted like candies. We didn’t kill them or hurt, just licked the bug and let it go. Adults never knew) No one i know was that close to eating live insects.

      I’ve never even tried unpasteurized milk, let alone ‘wild’ yogurts))

    22. Esha. That is very interesting about the raw diet. I have no issues with cooking, but I prefer most, if not all of my veggies raw. Maybe it is a separate effect, or there might be some deep connection.

      Stuart, this is the article that motivated me to try garlic and onion skins

      I used to compost. There is not much point anymore as I eat just about every part of the plant now.

    23. Thanks for the paper Gemma. How would you go about fermenting the pollen and the honey? I had a quick look on the internet but am still not quite clear. There seem to be a few recipes for mead, but I believe that is different.
      Thank you!

    24. @Andrea

      If you have dried pollen -- you add it to a bit of water and simply mix it well into the honey. The ratio would be 5-10% of pollen, or even more. Leave it 14 days, preferably in temperature around 30 deg C, and turn the bottle once a day or so. I can get such a ready made fermented pollen in honey from our local bee keeper.

      The best option would be to rob the beehive directly, and eat the honeycomb.

      That does not mean you cannot eat pollen as it is, you just do not know how much is digested. It depends on the pollen type as well. Even some insects have troubles... another lovely paper:
      Pollen nutritional content and digestibility for animals 2000

    25. Great. Thanks Gemma!
      I haven't actually got any bee pollen at the moment, but it has been on my 'to buy' list for ages. Finally going to get some! can feel the buzz of goodness just reading about it.

    26. Pollen or "bread"? I bought pollen at the local farmers market this fall not knowing any better. After reading these articles, I think I ended up with mostly dropping of pure pollen from the leg scrapings. After reading Gemma's articles, not what I think I really want. Glad it's still sitting in my fridge, unopened.

    27. Wilbur,
      That's amazing about the onion skins. More quercetin, excellent.
      Onion skins are such an effective protective shield for the onion inside. Not surprising really that they should be nutritional powerhouses.
      Just curious, are your kids old enough to form an opinion about your innovative habits?

      Fascinating stuff. I also read that to produce one tsp of pollen granules takes one bee working 8 hrs a day a full month. Industrious little creatures, aren't they? I wish Monsanto would disappear.
      I'm just a bit annoyed I have to wait 14 days for my first batch of bee bread.
      Do you keep bees?

  39. I read that Hadza + 150 g fiber a day repeated on various blogs. Do we know if that is total fiber intake or fermentable fiber intake?

    The volume of real food to get to that number is hard to comprehend.

    1. That's it exactly! They don't eat foods that are commercially domesticated to be sweet and easy to chew. They eat baobab that is 30-50% pectin fiber. I like it, but no one else I've given it to can stand it. They eat tubers that have been cooked, yet retain fibrous parts that must be spit out. The volume of sweet mushy food needed to get to that level would involve tremendous calories!

      I can get only about 50 g per day by really working hard on food choices and maintains my calorie level. I supplement the addition 100 I feel I lose my eating sweet mushy food.

    2. Anon,
      I'm pretty sure it's the baobab. They eat so much baobab 53% pectin. The 150g is the kids. The adults probably consume more.
      I find it so interesting that humans took baobab out of Africa to the four corners of the planet. Wherever humans settled, if the climate is suitable, there are baobab trees .
      What did Gemma say that Paleophil said? ..'seeing baobab trees evokes our race memories of Africa.
      And I'll never forget Rebecca Sornson's comment. '.. it's like eating slightly sweet chalk'

    3. There is a really good study on the Hinds Cave Paleo Indians from the US Southwest desert regions. I think these are the same Indians as the Anasazi, the 'cliff dwellers' that were so successful but seemingly vanished overnight.

      Anyway, the Hinds Cave indians left behind 9000 years of well-preserved poop (coprolites). Upon examination, it was found they ate 130g+ of inulin-like fibers per day. The foods they ate were mostly cactus (prickly pear) based and other desert plants (wild onion, nuts, seeds, pollen) that we would hardly recognize as food. Their meat sources were mostly small rodents, lizards, birds, and snakes.

      I think that all hunter-gatherers probably ate a great deal of fiber. How that translates to our modern requirement is the million dollar question at the moment.

      I personally think that there is a sweet spot somewhere in the 20-50g/day range, based on lots of studies that show fibers in this range produce all of the desired benefits we are looking for (lower colon pH, high butyrate, and increased levels of friendly gut bacteria).

    4. Another paper from 2012

      Honey bees (Apis mellifera) have a diet that consists entirely of foods that are derived from plants: nectar and pollen. Bees process nectar into honey, which provides the colony with their primary source of carbohydrates and holds only trace amounts of amino acids and vitamins [26]–[29]. Pollen provides honey bees with virtually all of their remaining nutrients, including amino acids, lipids, vitamins and minerals [30], [31]. However, the cytoplasmic nutrients in pollen are not readily available to bees because each pollen grain has a cell wall that is chemically difficult to degrade (e.g., an extremely resistant sporopollenin outer layer underlain by a layer of cellulose). Honey bees are one of the few insects known to have genes that encode cellulases [32], but their persistent difficulty with pollen digestion is evidenced by the substantial proportion of pollen grains that are not fully broken down in the guts of workers [33]. Furthermore, most pollen sources do not provide a complete complement of the nutrients that honey bees require or may contain only trace amounts of some essential amino acids [34]–[36], which means that bees must collect a mix of pollen types when they can.

      To alleviate some of these nutritional challenges, honey bees typically do not consume raw pollen. Instead, workers process pollen that they collect by packing it into honeycomb, adding glandular secretions to it, and sealing it with a drop of honey [37]. Pollen processed in this way is matured into bee bread after several weeks, presumably due to the activity of microorganisms that are found in bee bread, but are absent in unprocessed pollen [38]. Bee bread is chemically different from pollen: it has a higher vitamin content [39], lower amounts of complex polysaccharides, a shift in amino acid profile [40], and lower pH [41], [42]. It is routinely suggested that these changes in nutritional composition are a result of the metabolic activity of the microflora that is present in stored pollen [37], [38], [41], although the organisms that are actively involved in this metabolic transformation have never been definitively identified.

      Although the organisms that are responsible for this conversion have remained largely a mystery, it is clear that bee bread is more nutritious to workers than unprocessed pollen. Honey bees fed the former food live longer than those that are fed the latter [49] and are better able to offset physiological damage from pests when bee bread is abundantly available [50]. Because of the way that bee bread is inoculated, matured, and distributed, its microbial community acts as an extended gut for the colony, and the benefits of its activity are shared amongst all colony members.