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Thread: Michael Pollan writes about bacteria page 3

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by otzi View Post
    Paleobird - I'm not interested in a debate...you may be entirely correct. Lots not known, that I DO know. But I have come across something that really got me thinking. It's a dual phenomenon known as the "SCFA Gradient" and "Carbohydrate Gap".

    Basically what is going on is that any fiber, whether RS or whatever, is fermented rapidly in the beginning of the colon, doing a good job of keeping the first third of the colon healthy, but starving the last third. This can only be corrected by eating more food that contains fiber so it can feed the entire colon. RS in conjunction with some fiber is the best source. The RS is more easily digested, so the fiber that's with it can travel further down the colon, reducing the SCFA gradient.

    So, ingested butyrate is certainly good for you, I just don't think it is ideal for complete protection of the colon. A fiber/RS free diet, even one high in butyrate, is probably a recipe for disaster in colon health.
    Sorry Otzi but all that paper says is that SCFA are produced by fermentation and that SFCAs are good for you. It says absolutely nothing about alternate and much more concentrated forms of SCFAs such as butter. It is my theory that SCFA production via fermentation is the body's Plan B, an adaptation that can fill the gap if hunting is not going well.

    And the Maasai who eat very little other than blood, butter and milk don't get colon cancer nearly as much as us All Bran eating westerners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omni View Post
    What you've shown through that paper is an association, there is no evidence that it is a causal relationship between Pathology and SCFA gradient.

    It may well be that a high fibre primal diet and a low fibre primal diet will show the same degree of pathology gradient and incidence, this has yet to be proven.

    All the studies I've seen always compare the value of increasing fibre intake to a conventional SAD, I have not seen any literature that suggests a ketogenic diet increases risk of bowel pathology through lack of fibre intake.

    Now I do believe moderate fibre intake is healthy, but I haven't seen any evidence that it is essential for good gut health.
    This. All those studies show is that "heathywholegrains" are better than Twinkies. We can all agree to that.

  2. #22
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    I still think you all are underplaying the role of the substantial amounts of fermented foods that Pollan consumes in the "health" of his gut biome.

    I am sure the fiber he gets keeps the bacteria in his gut fed, but without the fermented foods he doesn't even START by having that much bacteria to keep healthy in the first place. I'm betting it's the COMBO of the fermented food and the fiber together that give him the large gut population.

    This is why I was annoyed that he didn't even mention fermented food, probiotics, and his copious consumption of both within the article.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumroll View Post
    I still think you all are underplaying the role of the substantial amounts of fermented foods that Pollan consumes in the "health" of his gut biome.

    I am sure the fiber he gets keeps the bacteria in his gut fed, but without the fermented foods he doesn't even START by having that much bacteria to keep healthy in the first place. I'm betting it's the COMBO of the fermented food and the fiber together that give him the large gut population.

    This is why I was annoyed that he didn't even mention fermented food, probiotics, and his copious consumption of both within the article.
    I'm of the belief that the probiotics are only a small portion of the equation. Once a microbe population has established itself, it won't die out unless killed off by antibiotics or overgrown by 'bad' bacteria. Generally, the 'bad guys' are known collectively as enterobacteria, this is the family that contains e. coli, salmonella, and tetanus among others. These guys can even live outside the body in dirt or under fingernails. The 'good guys' are generally thought to be of the bifidobacteria strains, '...are considered as important probiotics and used in the food industry. Different species and/or strains of bifidobacteria may exert a range of beneficial health effects, including the regulation of intestinal microbial homeostasis, the inhibition of pathogens and harmful bacteria that colonize and/or infect the gut mucosa, the modulation of local and systemic immune responses, the repression of procarcinogenic enzymatic activities within the microbiota, the production of vitamins, and the bioconversion of a number of dietary compounds into bioactive molecules. - wikipedia'

    Anyway, believe what you like about the need for gut bacteria, but bifidobacteria feed on fiber and resistant starch.

    Look at this table:

    The ISME Journal - Figure 4 for article: Dominant and diet-responsive groups of bacteria within the human colonic microbiota

    Notice the headings: M - Maintenance diet, NSP - High Fiber Diet, RS - High RS diet, WL - Low carb diet

    In every case, the RS and Fiber diets caused bifido and other beneficial populations to expand considerably. The other bacteria that increased are all butyrate producing species. This isn't even an RS study, it's a study on dominant gut bacteria
    and their response to different diets. It also shows that it is dependent on the composition of gut microbes of the individual. You can follow links to the study from the link above to read more.

    While this is not a smoking gun that everyone MUST HAVE RS, it is very interesting to me. I'm not trying to convince anyone to change anything they are doing, just pointing out the connection between prebiotics and probiotics.

    I would think if one was interested in maximizing gut microbes, they would eat a wide variety of fermented food, local or homegrown produce washed minimally, and eat a good bit of primal blueprint fibers and RS.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by otzi View Post
    I would think if one was interested in maximizing gut microbes, they would eat a wide variety of fermented food, local or homegrown produce washed minimally, and eat a good bit of primal blueprint fibers and RS.
    Sorry to not respond to your whole post, but I do wonder on just this. Why is "maximizing" microbes so great? I don't feel that MORE microbes in the gut is exactly healthier than less. You just excrete the extra anyways. Why on earth do you think all that fiber makes you go number 2 so well?

    As long as these gut microbes are of the correct proportions to get the most out of your current diet you will be healthy. As long as they are not the virulent strains that thrive on neolithic baked goods and excess sugar we should be healthy.

    Now this is built on the assumption that are bodies have the innate intelligence to monitor and allow the correct proportions of the proper microbes when we live on a basically all human diet. If you don't believe that is the case and feel that its our job to micromanage (haha micro) the proportion and makeup of these guys then you end up counting your fibers and RS's and maybe even weighting your poop to see if your producing enough bacteria! Thats not for me. I eat food and just figure my gut will know what to do with it.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    Sorry to not respond to your whole post, but I do wonder on just this. Why is "maximizing" microbes so great? I don't feel that MORE microbes in the gut is exactly healthier than less. You just excrete the extra anyways. Why on earth do you think all that fiber makes you go number 2 so well?

    As long as these gut microbes are of the correct proportions to get the most out of your current diet you will be healthy. As long as they are not the virulent strains that thrive on neolithic baked goods and excess sugar we should be healthy.

    Now this is built on the assumption that are bodies have the innate intelligence to monitor and allow the correct proportions of the proper microbes when we live on a basically all human diet. If you don't believe that is the case and feel that its our job to micromanage (haha micro) the proportion and makeup of these guys then you end up counting your fibers and RS's and maybe even weighting your poop to see if your producing enough bacteria! Thats not for me. I eat food and just figure my gut will know what to do with it.
    Neckhammer - You have it all wrong. Eating microbes only gives them a chance to establish a population in your large intestine. It's not that the ones you eat do any real work, they are just 'seed'. The microbes have to be established in colonies before they can do any good.

    Maybe this will make it clearer. Your's is a common misconception!

    Gut flora consists of a complex of microorganism species that live in the digestive tracts of animals and is the largest reservoir of human flora. In this context gut is synonymous with intestinal, and flora with microbiota and microflora; the word microbiome is also in use. Gut flora's primary benefit to the host is the gleaning of energy from the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates and the subsequent absorption of short chain fatty acids. The most important of these are butyrates, metabolised by the colonic epithelium; propionates by the liver; and acetates by the muscle tissue. Intestinal bacteria also play a role in synthesizing vitamin B and vitamin K as well as metabolising bile acids, sterols and xenobiotics. [1]

    The human body carries about 100 trillion microorganisms in its intestines, a number ten times greater than the total number of human cells in the body.[2][3][4][5][6] The metabolic activities performed by these bacteria resemble those of an organ, leading some to liken gut bacteria to a "forgotten" organ.[7] It is estimated that these gut flora have around a hundred times as many genes in aggregate as there are in the human genome.[8]

    Bacteria make up most of the flora in the colon[9] and up to 60% of the dry mass of feces.[10] Somewhere between 300[3] and 1000 different species live in the gut,[4] with most estimates at about 500.[5][7][11] However, it is probable that 99% of the bacteria come from about 30 or 40 species.[12] Fungi and protozoa also make up a part of the gut flora, but little is known about their activities.

    Research suggests that the relationship between gut flora and humans is not merely commensal (a non-harmful coexistence), but rather a mutualistic relationship.[4] Though people can survive without gut flora,[5] the microorganisms perform a host of useful functions, such as fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria,[3] regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host[citation needed] (such as biotin and vitamin K), and producing hormones to direct the host to store fats. However, in certain conditions, some species are thought to be capable of causing disease by producing infection or increasing cancer risk for the host.[3][9]

    Over 99% of the bacteria in the gut are anaerobes,[3][4][9][12][13] but in the cecum, aerobic bacteria reach high densities.[3] - wikipedia
    So, that number 100 trillion...when you eat sauerkraut or take a probiotic pill, you are getting like 1billion microbes--not enough to do anything by themselves--they need to gain a foothold and multiply.

    I'm always surprised when people who speak against fiber and RS are completely sold on probiotics. They are actually a waste of time if you already have that strain thriving in your gut. Also, most won't make it to the gut, but get killed in your stomach acid.

    Resistant Starch has another property: Probiotic microbes adhere to RS and this helps them on the journey through the digestive system. See if this link will open, it explains it pretty well: http://thescipub.com/pdf/10.3844/ajassp.2013.313.321 You just have to overlook their 3rd grade translator!
    Last edited by otzi; 05-19-2013 at 07:55 AM.

  6. #26
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    Microbes you consume orally are not necessarily killed in the stomach by acid. First of all, many bacteria are extremely adept at surviving acidic environments. Second of all, you can eat small amounts of say fermented veggies on an empty stomach and not trigger stomach acid which is used to digest protein. You can also hack the system by, say, consuming some psyillium fiber containing probiotics and prebiotics (inulin say), which will in fact travel into the colon more or less intact. (That's what the article just mentioned discusses in fact.)

    Colonies of bacteria quickly exchange genetic material and develop into bacterial films. It stands to reason that these films can coat the interior of the bowel and may create huge problems in terms of leaky gut.

    Mechanical damage and chemical damage can also result in a leaky small intestine and bacterial films there as well.

    I think the role of diet can be to break up these films and replace them with more beneficial bacteria.

  7. #27
    otzi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richard View Post
    Microbes you consume orally are not necessarily killed in the stomach by acid. First of all, many bacteria are extremely adept at surviving acidic environments. Second of all, you can eat small amounts of say fermented veggies on an empty stomach and not trigger stomach acid which is used to digest protein. You can also hack the system by, say, consuming some psyillium fiber containing probiotics and prebiotics (inulin say), which will in fact travel into the colon more or less intact. (That's what the article just mentioned discusses in fact.)

    Colonies of bacteria quickly exchange genetic material and develop into bacterial films. It stands to reason that these films can coat the interior of the bowel and may create huge problems in terms of leaky gut.

    Mechanical damage and chemical damage can also result in a leaky small intestine and bacterial films there as well.

    I think the role of diet can be to break up these films and replace them with more beneficial bacteria.
    I agree. The probiotics used mostly in commercial foods are Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. These are preferred because they can survive the digestion process. Most can't.

    From: Probiotics: determinants of survival and grow... [Am J Clin Nutr. 2001] - PubMed - NCBI


    Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli are purportedly beneficial to human health and are called probiotics. Their survival during passage through the human gut, when administered in fermented milk products, has been investigated intensely in recent years. Well-controlled, small-scale studies on diarrhea in both adults and infants have shown that probiotics are beneficial and that they survive in sufficient numbers to affect gut microbial metabolism. Survival rates have been estimated at 20-40% for selected strains, the main obstacles to survival being gastric acidity and the action of bile salts. Although it is believed that the maximum probiotic effect can be achieved if the organisms adhere to intestinal mucosal cells, there is no evidence that exogenously administered probiotics do adhere to the mucosal cells. Instead, they seem to pass into the feces without having adhered or multiplied. Thus, to obtain a continuous exogenous probiotic effect, the probiotic culture must be ingested continually.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    Why is "maximizing" microbes so great? I don't feel that MORE microbes in the gut is exactly healthier than less. You just excrete the extra anyways. Why on earth do you think all that fiber makes you go number 2 so well?

    Now this is built on the assumption that are bodies have the innate intelligence to monitor and allow the correct proportions of the proper microbes when we live on a basically all human diet. If you don't believe that is the case and feel that its our job to micromanage (haha micro) the proportion and makeup of these guys then you end up counting your fibers and RS's and maybe even weighting your poop to see if your producing enough bacteria! Thats not for me. I eat food and just figure my gut will know what to do with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by otzi View Post
    I'm always surprised when people who speak against fiber and RS are completely sold on probiotics
    Neither Neckhammer nor I said anything about being sold on pro or pre biotics. We just said eat real food and relax.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    Neither Neckhammer nor I said anything about being sold on pro or pre biotics. We just said eat real food and relax.
    I totally think some people are taking this shit a little too seriously.
    *see what I did there*
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche
    And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.


  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by cori93437 View Post
    I totally think some people are taking this shit a little too seriously.
    *see what I did there*
    Hehehehe.............

    Yes, and I think the manufacturers of stuff like Himaize are manufacturing a "need". In other words you convince someone they have a deficiency and then sell them the solution to that deficiency.

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