Transcript – Dr. Grace Liu: Fixing the Gut Microbiome with Resistant Starch and Probiotics – #177
Dave: Hey everyone, it’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. Today’s Cool Fact of the Day is that if you needed another reason to care about your gut flora, we just figured out that the more gut flora you have, the better you respond to cancer treatments like chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
We think that it’s because the inflammatory response to those gut flora actually helps your body fight cancer.
Today’s guest is a repeat guest, and it’s Grace Liu. Grace publishes a book called Animal Pharm under the name Dr. B G. She’s got a Bachelor in Nutritional Science and Food Science.
She was on the podcast earlier but we had some audio quality because she was joining from China, so we’ve got a really good, clean video and audio signal today. We’re going to talk even more about the gut microbiome, about resistant starch and what you can do.
One of the interesting things about Grace is that she lost 50 lbs. of fat by doing things that are related to the Paleo diet but including more resistant starch and more of the gut bacteria stuff.
Grace, welcome to the show or welcome back, I should say.
Grace: Thank you very much for having me again. I’m so glad our video and audio are all working now. I felt so bad when it was sub-par to what your normal quality is.
Dave: Yes, sometimes it happens. I’ve guests from around the world on the show and doing very best to get it but the important thing is that we get the information out there that’s useful for people who are looking to perform better and feel better and hopefully, maybe gain a little bit of a better understanding about just what’s going in in their guts, in their brains, et cetera, et cetera.
You’re most known for your writing about resistant starch. Most of us know what starch is. Can you just walk through what is resistant starch, what are the types of it, where do you find it and why should we really care.
Grace: Yeah, it actually started about a year ago. I had heard about it actually a couple of years ago. When I started to do my own research and seeing it online, then it really hit home because I have a bachelors in Food Science but I didn’t learn anything about it. It had just started to be discovered around the 90s. That’s when I got my degree.
There’s 4 types of resistant starch. First one is RS1. It’s found in the seed coat of all plant babies, essentially, seed, nuts and the legumes and whole grains and maize. When it’s embedded in there and when we chew on it, their carbs and polysaccharides, we can’t break them down. What happens is they end up in our gut and our flora eat it.
RS2, on the other hand, are starches that we can cook, but when they’re raw, they’re known as RS2 and we don’t break them down at all. They have no calorie worth and they don’t provide energy for us, whatsoever, but they provide that 1 or 2 calories per gram when they go to our gut flora and they transform this. They make them into saturated fats for us, actually.
One of them is butyrate which we all love, in our tea and our butter and our coffee of course.
The third kind is known as RS3. When we cook the starch, once it cools down, there’s crystals that actually form. Some of these crystals actually can be used in lithium batteries because they conduct so well.
I know that, if there’s a crystallinity which, I guess, the hydrogen bonds [inaudible 00:03:34] terrible but there is this exchange of … The energy can flow apparently from this crystal bond.
When we heat them up like let’s say we roast a tuber or we have full grains like rice or white rice or barley or beans, when we heat them outside of the granule, then the carbs come out.
The strands of amylose and amylose pectin, they actually double helix. They’re really strong, energetic structures. They come out and then they go into solution. They’re digestible for us when they’re warm.
However, when it cools, upon cooling, the water molecules leave the helical, double stranded form. They leave out in the center of the core and then they tighten.
If they tighten, our amylase enzymes can no longer break in that. Our pancreas and our saliva, we have different amylase enzymes that break down carbs to provide us energy because the end product is glucose, we can use these as energy.
However, we can’t. They’re being too resistant and only our gut flora can break them down, in our small intestines and, that’s RS3.
Then RS4 is actually a chemical form. It’s almost like a pharmaceutical like different creams and other forms that are halogenated, stay around in our system forever.
Some of the … A carbohydrates, they can’t be chemically modified, just like phosphates. They last a little longer in our body. Well, I don’t really recommend them because we don’t really know what the downstream effects are and how they affect receptors.
Yet, they are eaten up by gut flora and provide mono-unsaturated fatty acids and energy.
Dave: If someone’s new to this idea of starch, we all know starch and starch is potato, starch is rice, starch is bread – things like that. These are different though because these are stuff that your body cannot actually digest but things that the gut bacteria can digest, right?
Grace: That’s absolutely right.
Dave: Okay, and there’s 4 different kinds of these things and you’ve been doing a bunch of research about what the body does with these. Can you tell me how the body just processes normal starch so the people who are listening can start to get an idea of ‘how would I handle normal starch?’
Then let’s just play that through, let’s say with like resistant starch 1 and see what would happen when the body try to digest it.
Grace: Okay, let’s make this simple. How about sugar palm?
Dave: All right.
Grace: Sugar palm,Palm sugar is little low GI, it’s a little more fructose actually but table sugar is one on one glucose and fructose. It is a Disaccharides.
When we consume it, out body has disaccharidases and breaks it down and we get individual molecules like fructose and glucose and absorb it. It has a very high GI, almost …
Dave: You got to explain what a GI is because everyone listening doesn’t have a degree in Nutritional Science, remember that.
Grace: GI is not the most optimal test but it’s a good metric …
Dave: What is GI? This is gastrointestinal, right?
Grace: Glycemic Index.
Dave: I know it’s Glycemic Index but people listening have to understand the things or they won’t understand what we’re talking about here.
GI is the amount that something you eat is going to influence your sugar. Glycemic Index.
Grace: Yes, exactly. Because it depends on the person consuming it, it’s actually very individual. We need to have a very super healthy person and the GI would be low versus …
It measures how much your blood sugar rises over certain period and certain foods will impact this differently. Foods that release the sugar faster, will rise the GI the highest.
The table sugar is usually the standard, about 100. Actually, white potatoes, Russet potatoes can go even higher than that based on the standard.
White potatoes, Russet potatoes, when they’re consumed, the GI can be over 100 or 105 or 108. It can really impact the blood sugar. The higher blood sugar goes up, the higher the GI can be.
A low glycemic food would be a food that would have more fiber in it or it would have less impact on the blood sugar because it’s combined with other things when we eat it.
Dave: Like butter is a low glycemic food because it doesn’t move the amount of blood sugar you have at all. Sugar would be 100 on Glycemic Index, right?
Grace: Exactly. Right. Mashed potatoes, even really the junky mashed potatoes that we add butter or cream, let’s say the fat content in the cream has the GI zero. Actually, because they buffer how fast the sugar goes into our bloodstream, they lower the GI of the food originally. It changes from what it was originally.
Let’s say we take a resistant starch food. I like lentils. It has a GI depending on what you need and what chart you read. It could between 30 or 40.
Lentils may have more RS1 because it’s in the seed coat. Then it has, for every 100 grams serving, maybe about 4 grams of resistant starch 3 when you cook it and cool it up to room temperature.
Now, there’s other fibers in there. We call them non-starch polysaccharides, NSP or just our conventional fiber. When you read the package level, that’s the fiber that we see. That’s the regular, conventional fiber.
Right now, it doesn’t seem that the food companies are really putting the RS content, but mostly, it’s very little. Maybe potato chips is 1 or 2 grams. Lentils is much higher but they’re not really currently being reported.
Dave: Resistant starch can be useful as a probiotic to feed gut bacteria but you just said potato chips and lentils which are full of carbs and most of which are not resistant starch.
You’re going to be getting a real high carb diet. Lentils have a bunch of anti-nutrients in them and some of those fibers that are irritating to the gut. Why would you eat a food that have about 4% resistant starch when you could just get pure resistant starch and add a tablespoon to your food?
Grace: That’s really a good question. Lentils, it’s debatable maybe what the anti-nutrients are. I think if we soak them a little bit and then cook them …
Dave: You can certainly reduce lentils. Between beans and lentils, more people tolerate lentils than beans. I have them on the suspect foods list because I find that most people who eliminate lentils, beans and grains at the same time really like the quality of their day.
When they add lentils back in, they can tolerate it but they aren’t quite as good as they were the other way.
Grace: I see, and just have FODMAPs. For people with IBS and a broken microbili where our disaccharisades with enzymes are that breakdown FODMAPs, they’re broken and somewhat compromised if FODMAPs can from foods like whole grains and regular starches, there can be a problem. Even RS2 is a problem for some of these people as well.
Dave: If you’ve never heard the term FODMAP, what would that be?
Grace: These are the foods that may cause a lot of gas and bloating for people because they don’t breakdown the active resistance, but not in the traditional sense.
Usually, because normal GI tracts should be able to breakdown these type of food. What it stands for is fructose like table sugars and sometime it can be irritating if they have lots of sugar in it.
A pack or just one serve of course of fructose, oligosaccharides, disaccharides which are two sugars combined. Mono … Can’t remember them right now.
Then poly … Different sugar alcohols like that come in bake sugars like maltol. If you want to buy a sugar-free chocolate, this cause gas with people because they’re not broken down for …
Dave: But sorbitol and malitol is all right?
Grace: Yes, yeah. Other people can digest it so it’s actually bearable. Sometimes it’s a good test to see if we have some dysbiosis and problems in our gut.
The lentils, depending a little bit because in terms of colon cancer research, it almost comes out on top. It feeds our flora in a good way because we don’t have as much dysbiosis, let’s say, because it has all 4 kinds of fiber. We have oligosaccharides, the NSP traditional conventional fibers and then the resistant starch 3.
Over and over, they seem to show that the colon health is almost optimal and ideal for longevity, but it is a problem if people have dysbiosis. That’s the key for me in why I developed the 7 Steps so that people can get over this hump really quickly if possible.
Dave: What percentage of people don’t have dysbiosis in the US today?
Grace: The rate of diabetes is 1 in 10 if you combine kids and adults. If we look at different conditions which are on the rise for the last, only the last few years, they seem to be going up on the rise.
1 out of 10 children in the US maybe diagnosed with celiac. In UK it’s even higher, 1-2%. Autism has gone up hugely. It’s almost 1 in 50 in some geographical areas.
Each one of these is characterized by digestive issues. Then we have our IBD, IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and inflammatory Bowel Syndrome.
Dave: I tend to find that it’s such a common thing whether you have dysbiosis which means you have bad gut flora or good gut flora is not even a real question because you have hundreds and thousands of different types of bacteria in your gut.
Whether you’re officially over the line or not, I would say, very few people have optimal gut flora because we’ve changed the biome of the planet so the soil which the source of our gut flora has broken stuff in it and we get that in our guts. It comes from our food, in what we breathe, eat and touch.
There is definitely a debate about lentils. They’re the most tolerated one but I found so many people who believe they tolerate lentils, quit them for a week and then at the backend they go, “Oh God, that’s that feeling I used to have.”
They’re like a food that you should pay attention to as maybe it’s good but maybe it has problems, but the question about, “Why would I eat a food that have a tiny amount of resistant starch in it if I didn’t want the other” for instance “the other carbs in the food?”
If you had to choose between eating sushi which is also a good source of resistant starch versus eating lentils, you might choose the rice or you might just take a spoonful of resistant starch which is something that I’ve experimented with for about 9 months using resistant starch on a regular basis.
I guess we can move on from just the lentil question but what happens when you eat resistant starch?
Grace: I want to make one thing clear. The RS2 is actually not a equivalent to RS3. Early on in my journey, I was thinking that they were very similar because they’re a few studies that differentiated them. Now, there are a few more.
When I had my gut improvements it was also with RS3, so I had steamed tubers and white mountain yams and that helped recover my gut really nicely along with some [inaudible 00:14:28] that you’re talking about.
Dave: So, people who are driving in their car right now in traffic and listening to this, I’m really stuck here because I’m not sure that I know what RS3 versus RS2 is. What happens when you eat any resistant starch?
Grace: Let’s go back to the map then. When we eat any kind, whether it’s raw RS2 … RS2 is all raw and not cooked. Actually, it behaves in the same way in the mouth as cooked RS3 but cooked RS3, as you mentioned, have carbs so why would we choose it if it has carbs in it?
For people who are really carb-sensitive like someone who is diabetic and has to be careful about cutting carbs, they would get the carbs with it. That would mean, in fact, the blood sugar like we’re talking about the Glycemic Index.
When they’re in the mouth, either one of them are salivary amylases and the other enzymes, we try to break it down but nothing happens. Then it goes to our stomach and then to the small intestines.
Two things can happen. If someone has dysbiosis, in the small intestine, this can start fermenting. Even RS2 … This is seen in people … These are the people who may reactions with RS2 because it acts like a FODMAP.
I’ve seen and observed complaints of headaches or body aches, dysbiosis and bloating, anything that happens with Metamucil fiber can also happen with raw RS2 whether it’s potato starch. That’s the common use or the maize. I think if you’re using the high-amylose maize, HAM.
These foods, if someone has … It depends on the dysbiosis going on. It could be a bacteroides overgrowth. For some people it’s klebsiella. Klebsiealla’s often implicated in different auto-immune conditions like [inaudible 00:16:07]. I used to have hashimotos so I pay attention to the different organisms that are implicated.
If someone has this growing into, either their joints or their body or their different organs where these organisms are translocated, when people eat a FODMAP or sugary food, whether it’s micotoxins or fungi or RS2, it could trigger these effects. It’s not a lot of people but that can occur.
Now, RS3, if it’s a cooked one, the same thing can happen as well in the ileum where we can get this fermentation going on.
Let’s say someone’s healthy, then everything just moves along. Then in the colon, these ferments and just provide a lot of energy for us. The end products are butyrate which is very similar to butter. It feeds the colon cells. We get vitamins produced, even CLA which is an anti-fat steroid hormone.
You get maleic acid which helps burn fat and improve our lean muscle mass. These are produced by different bacteria that all are good gut flora both in small intestines and colon.
When I looked a little more closely in this journey for the last few months, RS2 and RS3, they actually feed different flora.
Dave: We eat a resistant starch. Our saliva doesn’t know how to touch it. It goes into the stomach. The stomach doesn’t touch it. It goes into the small intestine. What happens to the resistant starch in the small intestine?
Grace: If it’s a healthy small intestine, nothing.
Dave: Then it goes to the large intestine. That’s where the good stuff starts to happen.
Grace: Yeah. There’s a winery, there’s fermentation, some really good, different lactic acid and buterates that give that buttering taste. All these things happen in the colon. It’s like the big fermentation in the composter.
Dave: In the rest of people, and I’m curious what percentage that is, but in the small intestine, you said the small intestine, what happens there?
Grace: RS2 can feed mainly 3 groups. Now, a lot of you buy your own Genova testing, Am Gut, American Gut. I’m sure you’ve heard of these. These are direct testing of the gut.
If you have bacteroides going in the small intestines, these can provide some thoughts. like some people with IBS or GERD and heartburn, sometimes there’s Prevotella or Klebsiella or other flora that get stuck.
Those are reversal. A lot of gram negatives end up … They’re supposed to be in our colon and then they flip then they end up in front, the fore gut which is higher up which is the small intestines and even our stomach and esophageal area.
Some people can trigger GERD in small intestinal fermentation. That’s why these people may avoid starches and even RS2.
Dave: How would I know if I was avoiding RS2? Because remember, people listening to this have no idea where to find RS2 or RS3 or RS4. This is the first time they’ve ever heard of this.
I’m trying to apply this for someone who’s listening who’s going, “How do I apply this to me?” How do I know if was eating RS2 again?
Grace: RS2 comes in raw starches and..
Dave: This is the potato starch thing, right?
Grace: This is the potato starch, right.
Dave: Got it.
Grace: Small amount in my pro biotic fiber. One benefit of it is in trying to restore and improve the gut, it can help to generate more fermentation if it can all get to the end.
It’s very important that people take a solid starch with it and an insoluble starch, either eating fruits or vegetables. Even better if they can eat something that has even more fiber.
I prefer lentils and whole grains so people can …
Dave: You’re actually eating whole grains again?
Grace: I haven’t since I’ve been in China. Yeah I eat rice. Its full of [Inaudible 00:19:59] arsenic so we don’t a lot of it.
Dave: Yeah, I watch my rice really carefully. I eat some rice but other than that I don’t do other grains. Are you doing other grains as well because whole grains, for most people it’s whole wheat, quinoa, spelt, all that kind of stuff. Are you doing those as part of feeding that bacteria in your gut?
Grace: Not very often, no, but I’m feeding the gut with eating soy probiotics and getting enough balance. I eat it occasionally. I don’t have bloating or other problems that I used to have.
That was a really good score when I got my gut better about a year ago.
Dave: Let’s talk about some of these other studies that are out there around kidney health and resistant starch. Have you come across anything there?
Grace: There are a couple of animal studies but we also have to be careful with the animal studies because sometimes they don’t translate, but yeah, the kidney studies, they look like …
Some of the RS2 studies, they look very, very impressive, but they’re a couple, for instance, Boddenham, recently in 2014, he gave a very high dose RS2, the high-amylase maize starch for 12 weeks to diabetic patients.
He saw some improvement in the insulin resistance. Everyone seems actually pretty good going into the study. It was something like 6.4% or 6.5. 6.4%, that was pretty big but there’s no body fat loss. There’s actually a higher triglyceride level in fasting.
Sometimes the studies, unfortunately, don’t translate, but yes, the animal studies do look really good.
Dave: When I did potato starch, I got the problems from potato lectins. I started getting a rash and some sore joint stuff. I quit doing potato starch a week or two after.
I handle the resistant cornstarch reasonably well. I can do tablespoons of that at night. I don’t get gas, I don’t get bloating, I take those probiotics but I don’t feel and I can’t measure any difference between doing that and eating some cooled and reheated rice with probiotics.
I feel like there’s this huge party going on about resistant starch. For some people, it really is transformative but it seems like if you’re taking the right probiotics and you take those with some form of resistant starch, one of those three, whatever tastes good to you and you do that at least some of time, you’re covering your bases. This is another kind of probiotic like inulin or fructooligosaccharide.
How important is resistant starch compared to all these other probiotics and compared to just eating some food that has some starch in it some which will be resistant?
Grace: It’s such a loaded question, Dave.
Dave: Well, I am a little bit skeptical there.
Grace: I love your experimentations because I know in the beginning, our first … I know a lot of your reader … Certain readers couldn’t, unfortunately, hear it all but we hacked your gut, remember?
I had the same problem as you. I had 3 things. I had yeast overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth and a parasite. Like you, once I saved my gut and fixed it all, then I could eat anything I wanted. I didn’t see much difference in the potato starch at all, like you.
Well, you had the rashes and different problems …
Dave: From potato starch, right?
Grace: Yeah. Once you healed everything, you were able to take a little bit, I recall, but then you do better with corn. You have huge improvements. When I took potato starch, I didn’t these huge improvements either. I was already semi … As ripped as I’m going to get.
I didn’t see huge athletic performance changes, but what I go down more with now because we have access to different testing like you’re testing with BioHealth or Doctor’s Data and now Genova has all these wonderful tests. We can drill down to commence all the bacteria now.
What I have had on and off is a high amount of Prevotella. It’s common in some autism spectrum, based on Hasimotos. Prevotella bacteroides is actually supposed to be really good.
I always thought it was a great soy probiotic because Burkina Fasso, kids that live in rural Africa, they have high amounts of it because they eat wholegrain [inaudible 00:23:59] and a lot of wholegrain foods and a lot of soy probiotics. I always saw it as a great sign.
Recently, I had a lot of menstruss. I think I lost some bifidobacteria which is the ultimate gut guard, in my opinion. I’m bring it up because RS3, the cooked rice like you’re eating, actually feeds bifido, the good ones, the bifido lungom which is one of our ancestral strains.
There’s so much research on bifido lungom. I can go into a little more detail later, but on the Genova Testing, they’re starting to look at that because it’s so important as part of our gut flora. It has to be there or they’re so many problems that can erupt.
With the stress, I think I lost all my bifido lungom. I was supplementing but then we moved and then I wasn’t supplementing as well. I don’t really talk about this bifido lungom that much because I just presume everyone takes them. It’s such a baseline …
Then I took an [inaudible 00:24:48] and it boosts bifido but when I have the stress, the menstruss, then it brought it all down. I actually developed heartburn when I tried potato starch again. I just didn’t take it because before I had immunosuppression with it so I just stopped. I just gave it up until I fixed my gut totally. I took it on and off and didn’t notice anything so I just stopped it.
I discovered that Prevetolla was my problem. This could be for a lot of people. They may not realize actually what’s going on.
Potato starch feeds a group of fiber … It’s a fiber for a group of characters in our gut but it’s a little different. RS3 is more like inulin, it’s more like other plant fibers.
Our body has probably harbored gut flora that have evolved, co-evolved to eat starches because we’ve only been cooking for almost 1.8 million years. Potatoes always creep me out in a way to eat a raw one.
Dave: Eating raw potato doesn’t seem very natural, for some reason.
Grace: Have you noticed that no livestock get potatoes.
Dave: They don’t actually get raw kale either, come to think of it. I wonder why that is.
Grace: Well, kales are expensive for feeding but potatoes are cheap.
Dave: No, but if you try and feed kale to a horse, the horse won’t eat it.
Grace: Oh really?
Dave: Yeah, it’s because of the oxalic acid.
Grace: Yeah. Potatoes have a lot of Trypsin. The best way we want to get sarchopenic will be to eat a raw potato over time. They always cause protein malnourishment. In livestock, it eventually pancreatic adenoma, routinely cancer.
Dave: Interesting, so maybe raw potato starch isn’t such a good thing either or is potato starch safe because it doesn’t not have all the other stuff in it?
Grace: Because starch is isolated off, I don’t think it has a problem unless you have a huge problem with sulfides. I noticed, at least, that was my problem but I can drink a bottle of wine. I couldn’t figure out what it was.
Then other people, I talked to them … Not enough people do testing so I didn’t know it was actually the bacteroides.
Raw starches like tapioca or the raw rice like risotto, maize and potato starch, what they feed is really a distinct group in our gut. They’re almost, I consider like bottom feeders. They feed animal bifido strains, not normally the human ones. We have very few human ones that eat raw starch. They feed bacteroides. Bacteroides, as you know, a lot of you people have huge amounts of it because they’re omnivorous, they eat everything. They’ve been around for millennia.
We co-evolved with them for so long that they’ve co-evolved with us and they eat everything. Prevotella, speeds everything.
That’s the problem. If someone has GERD, you have to cut back on all starches to really heal. This is why AIP, strict paleo, all these lower carb diets I think are very healing for people with these conditions.
When we talk about cooked starches … When I looked up a study for RS3, I was shocked. Cooked starches eat everything. RS3 alone, there are some forms of … I’m not going to talk about their names but there are a couple versions of corn, they ground them up and then they make them into a supplement but they’re not really available for the general public right now.
RS3 can’t be all our ancestral human strains, all the good bifido, the bifido lungom that are really needed to [inaudible 00:28:01] you can break down [inaudible 00:28:02].
Dave: If you wanted to simplify all of this and you want to say, “All right, I’m eating foods that I like that make me perform well but I’d like to make sure I have an optimal number and type of gut bacteria” you can just take a scoop of RS3, Type 3 resistant starch, You can mix it with water, drink up probiotics and you would achieve that goal?
Grace: Hypothetically thinking, yeah. I’m a former pharmacist, I’m retired now. I am functional medicine practice. I love potions and supplements. If I tried it out and I thought it was safe, I would definitely test it out thoroughly and then see and look at the studies.
Dave: Can you buy RS3 to do that with today?
Grace: I haven’t seen it commercially on the market yet.
Dave: Okay, got it. That would be useful. I guess we want to test that a little bit more but …
Grace: Too bad. It acts … They’re so tiny, the granules. They may to be carried all the way to the end of the colon. That’s the problem, initially, too I had with potato starch. Some people would even complain of Cecum pain. How do you know you have Cecum pain?
Sometimes, I think some people’s correlations can be correct because animal studies, they burn out the Cecum. They can have problems. They do high protein feed. It’s not a bad thing, high protein feed, but it gets too big.
Carrying out this fibers to the end is only possible is someone takes insoluble fiber with it. Something like metamucil, that’s why in my probiotic fiber I include the metamucil because it will carry fermentation all the way to the end.
Plus, it feeds all the bacteria that we need. All the bacteria co-feed each other because it’s such a community. It like these little creatures.
Dave: It’s a community but let’s just say that your community has gang members which at this point is more likely than not. You dump a bunch of resistant starch and other things to feed the community but you’re feeding everyone there.
The idea there is that somehow we’re going to hopefully feed the good guys and the bad guys are not going to be there, but it seems like many people who try sugar or starch or resistant starch, they’re feeding a fungus in the gut, they’re feeding yeast, they’re feeding whatever bacteria and even whatever parasites are present.
I find that when I keep my overall starch consumption reasonably well, I keep my sugar consumption even lower. Some days, I really don’t have any starch, when I do, I have starch only in the evening that my energy levels, everything works really, really well.
If I eat starch 3 times a day and take probiotics like I was doing when I experimented with more resistant starch, I would eventually start to gain weight and my energy would fluctuate.
It seems like there’s a timing component, there’s a probiotic … It’s complex. We barely know what’s going on in there. Do you think it’s advisable for people to just go out there and buy resistant starch and start eating a lot of it without doing a test of their gut or without taking probiotics or should they just be eating buckets of sauerkraut?
It seems like there’s a lot of stuff we don’t know about this but we’re all taking steps to do something about fermentation.
Grace: Yes, we still all want a better gut. I know everyone wants … You know everyone’s striving for that because now it’s actually possible. We know all the studies. It’s starting to translate to human studies. We also hear all the stories.
Some of the stories, I don’t know which ones to believe sometimes because we don’t hear all the factors like what else did they do?
I hear your hesitation. Now that this journey has been … I’ve had a full year to contemplate, I really believe in the testing because we don’t know what we’re feeding.
I thought I was great all along. This time I didn’t get immunosuppression from potato starch but then weeks into it, bam! I don’t know where I got this heartburn.
Nothing else changed. I was on 80/20 Im kind of low-ish carbs. I eat 200 grams of carbs a day but it’s higher fiber for me. I do 5-10 mile runs occasionally …
Dave: You’re on a moderate carb diet?
Grace: Yeah, I can’t go too low. I can’t even take some of the really wonderful supplements like cumin which is so good for AMPK and telomeres but it lowers my blood sugars too low so I have to be careful.
Even if I eat too much high fiber like my pro-biotic fiber, it lowers my blood sugar so much. All the inulin and green banana gets my gut. Good that I can get low sugar too.
Testing is really ideal because to know what we’re feeding, we have to understand that if there’s any vipers or gang members like we talked about, and we can see some of it.
Unfortunately, the testing won’t give us the yeast. We have to do more of a medical functional or medicine test to do that with BioHealth, Doctor’s Data, Genove Testing or Great Plain, then we really can see what is going on in there.
We’d love to see different things with digestion. Just not getting enough acid will produce a lot more yeast, [inaudible 00:33:00] and bad bacteria in the gut.
Dave: I’ve been recommending for more than a decade that people take Betaine HCL especially as you age. I’ve been taking Betaine HCL with every meal, I think since 1996.
I used to have really terrible heartburn back then and I don’t and I haven’t in so long that I just trying to remember what it’s like except that one time when I took too much Betaine HCL which causes heartburn so, not enough?.
Grace: I’d like to know what’s your dosing though because it can fluctuate. When we have more stress, we might need a little more to boost digestion because bifido goes down.
Bifido makes the lactic. They’re wonderful. They make the lactic acid that keeps the upper gut more acidic.
Dave: They don’t do that in the stomach itself where the stomach acid is right?
Grace: No, but they work in conjunction because it’s such a community. Other things can flourish like H. pylori acid. It’s H. pylori , you know they don’t have acid because it’s non aggressive because it’s trying to keep everything acidic for itself.
Dave: About two years ago I did have some H. pylori and I got rid of it with mastic gum and things like that. Also, I think we talked about that when you were in the podcast last time, I had a single cell parasite that comes from eating, probably in Asia, we’re guessing is where I got it because I’ve been travelling a lot last couple of years.
I ended up taking a prescription, an anti-parasitic for it which helped quite a bit and solved that problem.
Grace: It solved it and I remember you got your six pack back.
Dave: Yeah, exactly. It was …
Grace: That’s a great story.
Dave: it was really weird too because people are looking … You want to feel good. Now, all of a sudden, there’s something driving you down. Then for years, it’s been, “Oh my God, maybe it’s parasites.”
A good number of people do have parasites and then a good number of people maybe don’t have any problems with parasites, and there’s a group of people that say maybe they’re even good for you, if they’re the right kind of parasite. They’re just another kind of probiotic.
I think we can generally say, some species of parasites are definitely harmful. Others, we think are harmful and some others, I don’t think we really know that much because just thought they’re harmful. We never studied it.
That one definitely would slow me down, making me not have the weight loss results I expected but then if you’re at home right now you’re going, “Okay, I have an extra 15 lbs. I could try cutting carbs. I could try the Bulletproof diet. I could go vegan. I could eat a lot of potato starch. I could take probiotics.
I only have $300 to spend on lab testing which is actually large amount of money. Do I poop in a tray and send that off to get looked at to know what’s going there or do I get my blood test and see my inflammation is?”
It’s getting to be a huge amount of testing. How do you think about prioritizing all of these different things you could try or things you could test?
Grace: I look at someone and see what their health goals are. Number 1, what is their health goal? How aggressive they want to get? 2 – What conditions they’re trying to improve? Is it brain-gut? Is it just brain? Is it gut?
Dave: Most people want to be full of energy and they want to look good naked, right?
Grace: That’s just like me. Great.
Dave: There you go.
Grace: Before that, you might want to look at neurotransmitters and the gut, for sure. There’s 2 tests, urine and stool testing. The stool testing is useless without the urine testing because you want to know what’s going over.
Dave: You test the urine for neurotransmitters?
Grace: No. The neurotransmitters, I haven’t done it recently so …
Dave: The saliva, you like the saliva one?
Grace: There’s different ways and there’s different testing … NeuroScience is one company that does it.
Dave: You like the NeuroScience’s saliva panel for neurotransmitters. You like a urine organic acid test and you like …
Grace: For sure.
Dave: Then you like the poop test to look at what bacteria and other fungi and potentially parasites that are living in the gut.
Grace: Potential parasite, and also with three day collection because then you can really see if the parasite is really there. It’s hard to catch actually.
Dave: Hard to catch would be a literal term. It’s not that fun if you’ve ever done … Collect your poop for three days and urine for 24 hours. I can probably say that the last time I did a 24-hour urine collection, I was actually travelling in New York.
In my backpack, I had a little jug of pee. It was very exciting. Let me just tell you.
Grace: All around New York.
Grace: One hand bulletproof coffee… in a jug.
Dave: Like, don’t drink out of the wrong bottle. It’s kind of funny but that’s what happens when you’re going to do a test like that because I live in Canada, I wanted to work with a US company. I didn’t want to be shipping pee over the borders.
Grace: Oh yeah. Its hard in China too. Then you can also get into hormones There’s really simple … Precision Analysis is the one I like right now. They do a really good urine test. You just pee on a stick.
You get so much information. All the cortisol, the turnover cortisol Sometimes you don’t see cortisol normal numbers but actually it’s turning over….
Grace: For body fat reduction, the [inaudible 00:38:18] I found to be super helpful. I actually have to stop it sometimes because it gets my sugars down too low but inulin is one probiotic because it feeds all our ancestral co-strains.
When you’re doing this testing, it’s really awesome because you can see on the urine, organic acids changes. Inulin is of the few prebiotics that can give us changes rapidly if someone doesn’t have a lot of intolerance for it. Sometimes intolerance is really high.
But, urine organic acids, we’ll see inflammation go down, the pathogen move that’s sufficient for the dysbiosis markers go down, even some of the yeast markers go down.
Dave: Taking a prebiotic like inulin can help? My whole takeaway from having spent a good 9 months really experimenting with different resistant starches and taking on it is that resistant starches are important for prebiotic and that different people need different amounts of them depending on what’s going on in their gut and what they want to be going on in their gut and all the other stuff they eat.
It’s like you’re bouncing 45 things all at the same time. I think there’s a lot more science feed on there and it’s all very multi-factorial. It’s cool to come up with protocols like the stuff that you’ve been working on that says, “Try this to get these results and try this to get these results.”
Are you familiar with the research about collagen and butyric acid formation in the gut?
Grace: No, I didn’t know there was a relationship.
Dave: It turns out that …
Grace: I learn so much from you, Dave, I love it.
Dave: Oh, likewise. Thank you, Grace. I put this in the Bulletproof Diet Book. By the way, I have to waive this around, this just came. I just got it yesterday. This is a picture of the Bulletproof Diet book. If you’re listening, sorry you missed out. I’m holding it in front of my face right now.
It turns out that right after resistant starch, within about, I think it was about 90% as efficient at forming butyric acid is collagen in the gut.
Grace: You eat collagen.
Dave: You eat collagen. It’s basically animal starch.
Grace: Yeah, it’s animal prebiotic.
Dave: Right. When you do that, the bacteria in your gut can also form butyric acid from that. Then I found another set of studies that showed there was a marked difference between consuming butyric acid, i.e. eating butter, in the upper part of the gut versus forming it in the lower part of the gut.
My takeaway from this is you got to eat something that the bacteria in your gut can eat because when I went through my … I want to be like an Eskimo face and give myself food allergies by eating essentially one serving of broccoli a day and nothing else for …
One serving of broccoli a day and no other vegetables and no other carbs, and lots of meat and tons and tons of fat. I really didn’t … That actually damaged my immune system. It was not a good idea.
I couldn’t make enough mucus to line my gut. My gut bacteria got off and that was just a bad experiment. Don’t try that at home.
That said, I know some people seem to thrive on very, very little carbs. I’m just not one of them but what you can learn from all this is that you can choose different templates for what you’re going to do.
That’s what I like about your work is that you’ve done the Paleo thing. You’ve lost 50 lbs. You’re getting a lot of lab data and you’re one of the people who’s at the cutting edge of figuring out …
These are the universe of things or the galaxy of things you could do that are going to have this type of influence on the gut. The edges of that are very mushy.
A lot of bio-hacking like that. We know, even the Bulletproof Diet, this spectrum. This is the top. I can’t tell you for sure that Sockeye Salmon is better than King Salmon because there might be differences in EPA and DHA ratios. We know they’re both better than tofu. We can all agree on that.
I believe that the resistant starch you’re working on can get us in the right quadrant of where we want to be, but that for person A and person B, the results could be pretty different and you have to honor those results.
Grace: Yeah, That’s why we have the testing because it’s because of recent testing in the people that I’ve seen over the last months, in my own experiences in talking to people. Some of you can’t hear these experiences because we talk one-on-one like on email.
Characterizing out gut, we’re getting so much better at it. I talk about inulin because inulin feeds something called Akkermansia. You’re going to hear a lot more about it in the next few years because it basically burns fat.
Grace: You deplete it over time. Two main species elderly deplete over time. This probably would affect the telomeres, I believe, but the bifido bacteria and Akkermansia completely depleted in elderly as they get older.
The centenarians have lots of bifido lungom. Bifido lungom is our ancestral strain which I talked about in my NHS talk this year. Inulin is what feeds it and a couple of other things but they …
Dave: Inulin only feeds it if it’s there, so you have to supplement or hope it’s there if you’re going to take inulin, right?
Grace: It’s part of the Paleo diet – onions, leeks, garlic – if people can tolerate. These are FODMAPs. It’s not to the point where it’s stored … The tips of our bili have the enzymes to break down these foods.
When they’re not there, then they just ferment then things grow or there’s enough acid or not enough bile. When I got the GERD incident the moment I took betaine I was fine. I also added a couple of other things to bulk up digestion.
I started walking with every meal and added in Ox Bile, Ox Bile is actually really critical for Prevotella. A lot of people …
The gall bladder gets all congested or you’re not digesting protein then the whole pancreatic tree gets congested so we need to add some enzymes if necessary besides the pepsin. It’s to get the juices that get the chymotrypsin and the trypsin going.
When the upper gut gets broken. Akkermansia can’t grow in the lower gut and we really need that because Akkermansia is really the key for longevity, I’m thinking, bifidal bacteria and the Akkermansia.
Dave: When are we going to be able to just buy a can or a bottle or a capsule of all of these various strains? I say this as a guy who takes handfuls of pills. I have no problem with this stuff.
I take 4 or 5 different strains of probiotics, or not strains, 4-5 different capsules. I started taking in 2007 the probiotic 3 from Advanced Orthomolecular Research. I quit it after 3 years. Then you reminded me, “You should keep taking it.”
I’m like, “All right. Yeah, that’s a good idea.” The research is awesome on that. I just fell off that wagon.
Grace: Yeah, too many other things to do.
Dave: The soil based, the probiotic thing, since about 1987, I’ve been on Soil-based Organisms.
Grace: Yeah, you were so ahead of the curve, Dave. You have no idea how ahead of the curve…
Dave: Weighing 300 lbs. and having your brain turn off, makes you really pay attention to these things. Okay, so I’ve been doing those things and I just added a Align GI which is from a major company. It’s actually a really good probiotic with great research on it. I don’t know if you’ve come across it.
Grace: What’s the name of it, Line GI?
Dave: Align, A-L-I-G-N. I’m forgetting the species right now but …
Grace: That’s a bifido but I’m not sure … Is it just one strain in there?
Dave: I think it might be one of the infantile strains.
Grace: Yes, yeah.
Dave: I noticed that there’s actually good studies on inflammation. I’m always trying to work on inflammation because I grew up with inflamed body so I tend to get information more than the average person thus I know a lot about inflammation so I noticed the difference on that one.
Then I take the other, the Primal Defense Ultra as well as Prescript Assist. That’s my handful of probiotics. I also sometimes take liquid this and sometimes I take a dairy based that.
I’m an extreme example and I read everything and I still don’t know exactly what to take. I poop in things and I test all this stuff. What is someone who’s listening to this podcast, what’s their takeaway?
I’m going to do one thing, maybe two things, what would they be?
Grace: One thing, just know what’s in your gut. I mean, yeah, there’s so many great testing, find a good practitioner. I think the Genova Test eliminates a lot because it’s the actually one test that goes down to the species level to give us bifido longum and Akkermensia there right now.
Dave: You want people to get the Genova poop test.
Dave: Got it.
Grace: 200, yeah. If you …
Dave: What’s the name of the test again?
Grace: The 2200.
Dave: The 2200. How much does that normally cost?
Grace: If they have a non-HMO insurance, it’s only $99, but from Canada, I don’t know what the …
Dave: $99 …
Grace: $443 right now. If it’s paid cash, yeah, without insurance.
Dave: $99 isn’t a lot of money for a lab test, to be honest. It’s pretty cool. You cannot order that online. You have to go through a doctor now, right?
Grace: I believe so, but there may be some outlets online.
Dave: If I can find one, I’ll put that either in the comments or in the show notes because it’ll be really, really nice for people to do that. I always thought it was more.
I always go through one of my various doctor friends but I could see doing that once a month for a year just to see what would happen. That’s a lot of collecting of poop though which is not so much fun but [cross-talk 00:47:42]
Grace: When you get a really great restore gut, I found that the poop actually doesn’t smell. It will be like a compost dream when you get to that point and then you’ll know because I know when I’m 80-20 on my diet.
On my weekends, my sister’s a wonderful baker so we have good goodies occasionally. Then it’s like, “Oh!” It’s very immediately. That’s what we know about the gut bio marker now. You have to change within hours.
Dave: I can tell you with the Bulletproof Diet, my poop doesn’t smell very much at all. I don’t get BO and even morning breath. All of those went away after a while and they just stayed gone.
If I go out and I eat a bunch of sugar and some bad fat that I didn’t know was in some restaurant food, I’m not going to like the next morning. I’m going to smell bad. I’ve got a bad breath and my poop is going to smell again.
But then you’re right, if you have to burn candles every day in the bathroom, you probably don’t need a $99 poop test to know that there’s something bad going on in your gut.
Grace: But then you can tailor it. Just like a good mechanic, you can do the diagnostics and then start over. We have the steps now. Then it can go a lot faster. For me, it took years to figure out what’s going on.
I even worked with some of the experts in the field. It was still a little slow, a little struggle.
Dave: I believe you know Donna Gates as well, right?
Grace: Oh yes, I just met her. Yeah, thank you. [Cross-talk 00:49:09]
Dave: Yeah, Donna Gates is one of the original people who paid attention to this even long before I did. I’m not, by any means, a gut researcher the way she is but 25 years ago, she was working on this.
Grace: Way ahead, right?
Dave: Yeah, and that’s just amazing. I was amazed you got the chance to meet the woman who basically started what’s become the guts diet, was Donna Gates. That’s amazing.
Grace: When I got the GERD, I was really shocked. I was eating fermented foods and I still got ill. You don’t know what you’re feeding sometimes especially based on your previous history.
The second thing I would do, if people can tolerate inulin. Inulin is my favorite prebiotic. I won’t even call potato starch a prebiotic because it actually doesn’t feed our human strain except for bacteroides, the one at the bottom feeders, which we need but it doesn’t feed akkermansia it doesn’t feed [inaudible 00:50:04] which is very, very important for peanut allergies, gluten and dairy allergies, it doesn’t feed bifidal lungom. It feeds animal the bifidal strains.
In my opinion, inulin is far superior. Our paleo ancestors probably were eating onions, garlic and these things well and safely through the millennia. We still do. Every culture still embraces these
Dave: Now, this is an interesting question here. I actually recommend that people, unless they’re using it medicinally, that they don’t eat garlic because there’s a whole body of research on what garlic does to alpha waves in your brain.
The stereotypical Italian housewife, agitated, hard to be calm, hard to be focused, you can replicate that. Eat 6 cloves of raw garlic when you don’t eat any garlic and watch what it does to your brain.
You can see that in brain waves. You’ll get Jainism, you’ll get various stuff like Hindu things. You’ll get some Chinese medical text. There’s a whole body of research about how it’s ungrounding and stimulating in a way that isn’t positive.
I love garlic but I don’t eat garlic on a regular basis. I do it occasionally. When I do, I develop body odor but when I do, I also can feel a difference in my meditation for 3 days like my brain isn’t calm and focused as it should be and I can see it on neuro feedback.
It’s interesting that those … I mean, it has the same chemicals as garlic but much less of it so I’ll use spring onions which have so little but it doesn’t really matter.
Essentially, with those foods, are there other ways to go about basically feeding those probiotics without using medicinal herbs which is what I would classify those.
I’m not opposed to garlic and onions but they have affects that we aren’t accounting for.
Grace: Have you heard of sunchokes
Dave: Yeah, I used to grow them, yeah.
Grace: They’re like par snips but they’re actually really, really rich in inulin and other oligosaccharides. Probably, the rutabaga would have a lot of oligosaccharides also that’s why I like beans and lintels.
I know they can be offensive for people with [crosstalk 00:52:05] but they have oligosaccharides. I actually did research as an undergrad on the raffinose oligosaccharides.
Gram for gram, inulin as well as RS3, they feed our gut and they produce way more butyrate actually than gram for gram food, RS2. I’m not sure why that is. I’ve seen this observed in just a few studies, not very many, but inulin might be a little more ancestral.
Other foods that are rich in it are …
Grace: Chicory, yeah. The roots of … The top part is actually built in endive. When you disrupt the plant, they get stressed, so it’s actually a stress response what inulin and what the oligosaccharides do.
They protect the plant and serve as a buffer against cold or mechanical stress and heat stress and different stressors. They would actually enrich tryptin routineby disrupting them a little bit.
Dave: That’s awesome. It’s funny what stress does to plants. We assume all the plants are the same. Even something like coffee. If there is insect stress or any kind of infestation of the plants, they’ll make more caffeine in response. It’s a protective thing.
Dave: Well, let’s see here. We’re coming toward the end of the show. I’m just looking at how long we’ve been chatting. Last time, I got the chance to ask you the top 3 recommendations you have for people who wanted to perform better based on all the thing you learned.
I’d like to ask you the question again, when we have good recording. Your top 3 recommendations for people.
Grace: It might have changed a little bit. I’m even more into the gut. Now, we see such a great connection. I just would love for just people to talk more about different things that are coming out in the news.
Every day there’s more and more novel ideas coming out. We don’t know everything. Everything is almost shifting. I’m the first to tell people, “Okay, I was wrong. I’m learning new things as we go along.”
Be more Bulletproof. I think you have such great ideas, Dave. So many people, new products, they’re just so awesome. I love the glutathione that you have. It’s one of the best on the market.
It helped my sister and our family for a overall health and removing heavy metals and so it’s just really great for your products.
Third, maybe just get more zen. I think I brought it up last time. I still struggle with it.
Dave: It’s all that garlic, I got to tell you.
Grace: Yeah, too much garlic.
Dave: I’m just kidding. Basically, some form of calmness and using stuff that makes you perform better, feel better and just paying attention to your gut. It’s great advice, Grace. Thanks for coming on.
I really think that you’ve been doing a service on helping to just talk about the strange interaction between all these different forms of starch which we’re really just paying attention to.
We released different forms of fat now, different forms of protein so different forms of starch, obviously would matter. Then looking at all those complex interactions between accommodations of those in your gut and what comes out.
This is probably the less of an advanced nutritional space than approaching metabolism or fat metabolism but it’s up and coming. Keep doing the experiments you’re doing and keep writing about it because it’s adding real value for people. Thank you.
Grace: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for having me on.
Dave: You’ve probably heard me talking about whole body vibration on one podcast or another, but if you haven’t, check out the Bulletproof whole body vibration platform called the Bulletproof Vibe on www.upgradedself.com.
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