So much to say…so little time for my blog.
Between my day job and side projects, I still like to keep up with what’s happening on the gut front. And so much is happening lately!
You guys remember my big experiment to see if Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch contained RS, right? [spoiler alert…it does!]. Well, as I was doing the fundraising and testing, I was contacted by several researchers who were curious as well.
One was Dr. Schmidt from the University of Michigan. Here’s a paper he just finished:
Do the three resistant polysaccharides stimulate butyrate production in this population of healthy, young individuals? If so, do they have similar impacts on butyrate production?
Which gut bacteria respond to these dietary additions by increasing in relative abundance? Can we identify any species that were unexpectedly affected? Are the same bacteria affected by all three supplements?
Can we find any evidence of selectivity, either in the substrates used by primary degraders or in the butyrate producers they cross feed?
Do changes in the relative abundance of primary degraders and butyrate producers explain differences in individuals’ butyrate concentrations?
And what Dr. Schmidt found should not entirely surprise us around here. You guys remember butyrate, right? Was all the rage a while back. Dr. Terri Fites, MD wrote the most comprehensive guide to butyrate that you will ever read: The Homeschooling Doctor’s Butyrate Series.
Some key findings:
- Consuming RPS (potato starch) led to an increase in the average concentration of fecal butyrate. Neither inulin nor RMS (Hi-Maize) produced a significant change in butyrate.
- In a pilot study, we observed a significant increase in fecal butyrate in individuals consuming half the dose of RPS (24 g total, 14 to 17 g resistant; data not shown).
- The butyrogenic response to RPS (potato starch) appears to be due to the nature of the supplement, not just the amount of RS it contains.
- All the fermentable fiber supplements had some effect on the fecal community
- The lack of a butyrogenic response to RMS (Hi-Maize) was unexpected because the supplement has led to increased fecal butyrate in animal models…Consequently, more time may be required to develop cross-feeding interactions from RMS (Hi-Maize) that generate measurable differences in fecal butyrate.
- Inulin increased the relative abundance of four species of Bifidobacterium, consistent with the widespread occurrence of this degradative capability within the genus. There were also increases in the abundance of the butyrate producers Anaerostipes hadrus and E. rectale, but they did not result in increased fecal butyrate.
- Together, our observations on SCFA and community composition changes suggest that the working model for stimulating butyrate production with fiber supplements is an oversimplification, in that fiber degradation does not always lead to butyrate production.
If you are interested in specific microbes such as E. rectale, F. prausnitzii, or R. Bromii, you will love reading the full text of this paper (at the link above). But I suspect you will be reading lots about all of this soon.
Here is a short email exchange I just had with Dr. Schmidt:
Dear Dr. Schmidt – I just read your paper on butyrate production from RS supplements. Strong work, sir! Very happy to see Martin Blaser’s contribution…I hope that this research finally goes mainstream. I have long felt that many millions would benefit from RPS supplementation.Tim Steele
Watch This Space
Note the editor of Dr. Schmidt’s paper: Martin J. Blaser, MD. If Dr. Blaser is editing this work, you can bet there will be much, much more to see!
I’ll write soon about another doctor I met through my work here who’s studying the effects of resistant starch on the guts of Alaska natives. But let me close by telling you about Gut Garden.
I’ve been talking about Gut Garden since it first launched back in 2016. I’ve gone through several jars and have sent many to relatives who were leery about using straight potato starch.
Recently interest in Gut Garden was renewed when Dr. Alan Christianson released his new book, The Metabolism Reset Diet. In this book Christianson discusses the importance of prebiotics and mentioned Gut Garden in several interviews.
Gut Garden’s New Line-up
What most people don’t know, while all this interest in prebiotics was occurring, Gut Garden was busy working on several new products to help people with digestive health.
Give Gut Garden a look. I’ll see if they can give us a discount code and answer any questions you might have about their new products. Watch the comments!
I’ll keep updating my blog as time allows. My new book, The Diet Hack, should be out this summer.
Hope you all are having a great Spring and keeping your guts healthy!