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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 08, 2014

How to Conduct a Self Experiment: Resistant Starch

By Mark Sisson
129 Comments

90-Day JournalIt’s been well over a year since we last did a self experimentation post, and I think it’s time for one on that current sensation: resistant starch. Whether you’re an ardent low-carber, a carnivore, or a safe starch fanatic with dried up rice stuck to your lapel, the allure of improved sleep, better glucose tolerance, lower blood sugar, and solid digestion is universal. I mean, sure, there are probably some fetishists who prefer difficult toilet experiences and creative types who thrive on the weird headspace created by sleep deprivation, but the effects often attributed to resistant starch consumption are objectively beneficial.

Besides, with more and more science emerging every day, it’s becoming obvious that the gut biome is the next health frontier. If we can do something that might improve our gut health, it will probably have resoundingly positive effects throughout the rest of our body – our psychological health, our immune systems, you name it. What about the uncertainty factor? I mean, what do we really know about our guts? Is it truly safe to “mess” with them?

Naysayers worry about the mystery of it all. They suggest that we wait until we truly know what’s going on in our guts, until we know all the key players, all the strains, and all the interactions between host and microbe and health outcomes.

I think that’s a mistake. If mixing a little white powder or an unripe banana into a smoothie consistently correlates with better sleep, better digestion, better blood markers, and a better subjective impression of being and existing, it’s likely going to be safe and good and overall beneficial to the rest of the health markers the gut biome interacts with and which science is still investigating. That seems like a simple, safe heuristic. Doing nothing and ignoring the gut biome is far more risky. They can “wait for science” to finish. I’ll try some out myself. Since science is an ongoing process, you’ll be waiting a long time.

Today, I’m going to give you a few guidelines for conducting a personal experiment with resistant starch. I’m not going to spell it out for you in detail, because exactly how you conduct an experiment depends on the specific effects you’ve chosen to test. By the end of the post, you’ll know how to make that choice and test it. You’ll know which variables to consider and modify and which measurements to track.

How should the uninitiated go about trying it for themselves?

Choose a research goal for your experiment, drawing on the claimed and demonstrated effects of resistant starch for guidance. Check out the Definitive Guide to Resistant Starch for ideas. Make sure the effect is plausible and shows up in the short term. Don’t try to test, for example, if resistant starch consumption will make you taller or reduce all-cause mortality. Instead, choose something like:

  • Sleep – quality (how rested do you feel in the morning?), quantity (how many hours?), latency (how easy do you fall asleep?), dreams (vividness, ability to remember them)
  • Digestion – frequency, quality, consistency of bowel movements (Bristol rating system)
  • Body weight/composition – body fat lost, lean mass gained
  • Blood sugar – postprandial, fasting
  • Satiety – hunger between meals, spontaneous calorie intake
  • Gut flora populations – Have (generally assumed to be) beneficial bacteria increased and (generally assumed to be) bad bacteria decreased?
  • Food sensitivities – Are food intolerances, sensitivities, or allergies diminishing or changing due to improved gut health?

Your goal could be more cutting edge, too. Think of all the effects and conditions that preliminary evidence suggests are “somehow linked” to the gut, like cognitive function, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, or depression. You could see if resistant starch affects those, way before science confirms any causality.

As you can see, the breadth of anecdotal, empirical, and preliminary evidence means you have dozens of potential goals.

Come up with a hypothesis:

  • Resistant starch supplementation will make sleep more rejuvenating.
  • RS supplementation will improve my constipation.
  • RS supplementation will increase the proportion of bifidobacteria in my gut.
  • RS supplementation will reduce my calorie intake by increasing satiety.
  • RS supplementation will reduce my gluten sensitivity.

And so on.

Assemble any tools you’ll need:

Identify any variables that may affect the results of the experiment.

How might they modify the effect of RS? Keep these in mind, pay close attention, and tweak them as needed:

  • RS source – Different RS sources may target different types of bacteria, thus eliciting different effects. Also, whole food sources of RS, like green bananas, contain other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that may improve the experience when compared to refined sources, like raw potato starch.
  • Probiotics – Many people, myself included, have found that RS supplementation works better with concurrent probiotic supplementation. If you’re experiencing negative effects, adding a probiotic may ameliorate or reverse them. Soil-based probiotics (dirt, basically, which was a popular seasoning in ages past) are likely the most effective.
  • Dosage – This is food for your gut flora, and more food will have a greater effect. There’s also the ramp-up to consider; most proponents of RS recommend a low dosage to start with (1 teaspoon of raw potato starch). Is there an upper limit for RS consumption, even once your gut has acclimatized to the new food source?
  • Frequency of dosage – Does breaking up your RS intake into two doses change the effects?
  • Timing – Do you eat your RS with meals? The presence of food in your belly may change things. Do you take RS right before bed, in the afternoon, or in the morning?
  • Existing gut health – Folks with existing gut problems may experience unpleasant effects, like bloating, extreme gas, or even heart burn, especially at higher doses.

Figure out what you’re measuring:

  • Some measurements will be obvious and quantitative – Blood glucose readings, body weight, inches on waist/notches on belt, hours slept, calories eaten – and measuring them will be easy and intuitive.
  • Some measurements will be more subjective and qualitative – Restfulness of sleep, perceived energy levels, mood, vividness of dreams, stress levels, hunger – and you may want to devise a 1-10 rating system to effectively quantify them. For example, “today my feeling of restfulness upon waking is a 7 out of 10.”
  • Some measurements will require outside services – If you want to measure the changes in your gut flora populations, you’ll need to have your stool sequenced. American Gut is one place to have your poop analyzed.

And finally, but perhaps most importantly…

Give the experiment enough time to work.

Initially, negative effects do not necessarily imply intolerance or failure. Make sure the dosage is low (don’t start with four tablespoons of potato starch right away) and take it very slowly. Introduce probiotics. Be patient; a month should be sufficient for an honest try.

What do you think, folks? Feel like giving RS a shot? In my opinion, it’s absolutely worth trying. The implications of gut health are too great, too far-reaching to ignore.

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129 Comments on "How to Conduct a Self Experiment: Resistant Starch"

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Groktimus Primal
2 years 5 months ago

I’m only here thanks to Dr. Frankenstein.

Weasel
Weasel
2 years 5 months ago
Much of the research (animal and clinical trials) that has been done on RS over the years has been completed using Hi Maize. This is an RS2 made from nonGM corn that can be purchased on Amazon. The starch has a very high amylose content. It is heat treated (no chemicals used to modify it) and therefore completely natural and non GM. The heat treatment simply causes the amylose starch to crystallize and therefore become much more resistant to digestion. There are a lot of clinical trials that have been conducted using Hi Maize around the world over many years.… Read more »
bill
bill
2 years 5 months ago

Anything made from corn is not paleo or primal.
Corn did not exist before about 10,000 years
ago. There’s no fossil record of corn. It is
a human made thing. Corn is in no way natural
for humans to eat.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
2 years 3 months ago
Corn almost seems like it came from space as part of a slow culling and molding of the population and planet for aliens with long life spans. I don’t actually believe that but I do think it’s kind of a weird plant. I haven’t really been experimenting with resistant starch. I’ve just been being a bit more mindful of it. I’ve been eating greener bananas when I do eat them. I don’t think my life and dietary habits are regimented enough that I’d be able to notice enough effects from a little bit of rs to make documenting an experiment… Read more »
sootedninjas
sootedninjas
2 years 5 months ago

from what I understand that it was develop by the same great folks the develop high fructose corn syrup. right now I don’t trust “industrialized food”

unfrozen caveman guitar player
unfrozen caveman guitar player
2 years 5 months ago

Much research has also been done using raw potato starch. Why would you want to support a big multinational corporation that makes ingredients for processed foods when you can just buy unmodified potato starch from Bob’s Red Mill?

Bill
Bill
2 years 5 months ago

Why not raw russet potato?

Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago

Eating raw potato is fine. I eat several slices any time I am preparing potatoes. If you ever notice a burning sensation on your lips, stop eating it, that’s an indication of concentrated solanine. I’ve only had that happen once, an heirloom purple potato.

His Dudeness
His Dudeness
2 years 5 months ago

Interesting. I had that sensation a few days ago with a very small purple potato. That may explain why it felt like someone took hold of my midsection with two very large hands and twisted it all day.
Hard to tell when those things are green. I’ll be sticking to green bananas and Bob’s starch for now.

Joan
Joan
2 years 5 months ago

I find Russet Potatoes are more tasty raw than say red or yellow.

Cliff
Cliff
2 years 5 months ago
I started my own n=1 experiment a week ago after the last couple of articles and after reading up at Free the Animal, and so far my results are mixed. Patterning after Ucan’s superstarch, I mix some potato starch into soda water and drink it before exercise, and I think I have a little more endurance; I play hockey and I seem to get a little less tired by the end of the game [after an hour or so of exercise], though this is hard to quantify and I’ve only done it twice. I’ve also tried making a pre/pro-biotic “cocktail”… Read more »
Energy!
Energy!
2 years 5 months ago

My hubby can’t lay down after eating or he can get heartburn, so perhaps take the cocktail an hour or more before bed? I wouldn’t keep inducing heartburn, personally.

Also, the RS takes 4 hours to start being processed in the colon, so it won’t have an immediate effect. For my experimental phase, I took 1 teaspoon of PS in yogurt or water before meals, gradually worked up to 1 tablespoon. Good luck!

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 5 months ago
While “Free the Animal” and “Calories Proper” were batting resistant starch articles and research back and forth like a tennis match, I did my own N=1 on my husband–the one most in need of some resistance. The potato starch worked the first time we used it, but ceased to work after that. And yes, we used it cold. We also used all the other forms listed in the article except Hi-Maze–we have yet to do that one. They either never worked at all, or only worked the one time and never again. What did work for awhile was cold potato… Read more »
Jer
Jer
2 years 5 months ago

Just curious – how did you quantify what worked or did not work? If you were doing it to control blood sugar, according to Free The Animal blog: “Resistant Starch Ingestion Has No Effect on Ketosis But Blood Glucose Blunting Effects are Highest in A Normal Diet”.
http://freetheanimal.com/2013/10/resistant-ingestion-blunting.html

Allison
2 years 5 months ago

Resistant starch didn’t take me out of ketosis but shot my blood glucose up higher – the exact thing I’m trying to avoid. I was really disappointed because I had read that same article. That was with tapioca starch – maybe I’ll give potato starch a try. I did have the weirdly vivid dreams, with auditory hallucinations. I’ve never had anything like that before in my life.

Erin
Erin
2 years 5 months ago

crazy! I too have had really vivid dreams and auditory hallucinations since I’ve been doing RS supp. Like I briefly woke up in the middle of the night last night and thought I heard voices. so bizarre! I use tapioca starch as well.

sootedninjas
sootedninjas
2 years 5 months ago

yeah.. what Jer said. did you track your sleep ? FBG ? Post ? For how long ? Any other factors ?

fred
fred
2 years 5 months ago

you can’t get cheaper than homemade kraut and pickles. saltwater and shredded cabbage/baby cucumbers. watch ’em rot on the counter then enjoy.

Gabriella Kadar
Gabriella Kadar
2 years 5 months ago
The other week-end, ‘Marie’ and I did a head to head glucose curves eating black eyed peas. Great glucose readings. Have decided now to incorporate 1 cup of soaked, cooked beans/lentils into the daily diet. Along with 2 cups of cooked vegetables. Glucose readings are not spiking. Albeit I am not diabetic but some foods do spike it to levels I do not appreciate. The glucose comes down after 90 minutes but who needs spikes? Beans have a fabulous second meal effect. All this lectins, phytates business is moot when beans are soaked and properly cooked.
Chris
Chris
2 years 5 months ago

Doing your own Sauerkraut is easy to do an fun! And at least here in Europe the white cabbage is incredibly cheap.

Charles
Charles
2 years 5 months ago

I’ve been adding RS to my diet for months. I have no idea why you are saying “after 50 you will see some sort of blood sugar spike whether diabetic or not.” I never say any blood glucose rise after potato starch. Ever. And what do you mean, “worked one time?” What worked and stopped working? RS isn’t a drug, it’s a prebiotic that taken over time will help rebuild a healthy gut. If it doesn’t “work,” then you probably do need to stick with the probiotics until your gut is healthy again.

Dr. Anthony Gustin
2 years 5 months ago

Does anyone really NEED to use RS? It seems to be going crazy over the paleo community lately, maybe unnecessarily.

Beth
Beth
2 years 5 months ago
I would whole-heartedly say yes, some of us do need resistant starch. My gut biome has been devistated over the years by rounds of antibiotics for dental issues and other infections. Now I look back at when I started to gain weight, and it was after I was on antibiotics for a bladder infection due to sexual abuse. The two combined wrecked havoc with my gut’s ‘second brain’ which wrecked havoc with my mental and emotional body/mind. Only now, after being on resistant starch since the holidays, can I say things are starting to come around 40+ years later. I’m… Read more »
Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago
Dear Doctor – See if your workplace has a sucscription service to full text medical studies. Do a search for Resistant Starch. Read a few of the hundreds of results you get. Further refine the search to something like ‘Resistant starch + metabolism, health, gut bacteria, prebiotics, etc…’ If you would have said, “Every benefit of RS can be found in inulin,” I would concur. If you had said, “Everyone needs to ensure they have a healthy gut, there are more ways than RS…FOS and OS for instance.” I would have applauded. ut to just come out and say “Does… Read more »
Dr. Anthony Gustin
2 years 5 months ago
Easy, paleo police. Here… Everyone needs to ensure they have a healthy gut, there are more ways than RS…FOS and OS for instance. I have looked at the studies. I do think it can be beneficial. I was trying to make a comment without writing paragraphs like so many people do. What I mean to address is the fact that every single person that reads a RS article now on any paleo website is enamored by it and feels like if they don’t incorporate immediately they are missing out on some magical way to heal the gut biome. In my… Read more »
sootedninjas
sootedninjas
2 years 5 months ago

you would not know until you try. n=1.

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 5 months ago

Hmmm. I don’t see anyone trying to center their nutrition on RS content. Just experimenting a bit.

Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago
I dread the day when I see RS on one of those ‘weird little trick’ popups. RS as ‘final stage tinkering?’ Nahhhhh. Needs to be one of the first steps. Then, if you have issues, you need to jump fully on the probiotics bandwagon. I would love to see everyone get a full gut taxa report or advanced gut testing like Genova Labs Metametrix GIFX testing to look for pathogens, overgrowths, and yeast, but not everyone can afford those. Absent this testing, all we can do is try to eat right. I’ve seen dozens of gut reports that show zero… Read more »
heather
heather
2 years 5 months ago

“What I mean to address is the fact that every single person that reads a RS article now on any paleo website is enamored by it and feels like if they don’t incorporate immediately they are missing out on some magical way to heal the gut biome.”

So you know and have talked to these people? Really? This is what every last person told you? They just had to do it because other Paleo folk said so?

I guess you just aren’t used to humans who aren’t “sheeple”.

Mary
Mary
2 years 5 months ago
I have to agree with you that everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon and, yes, we should all use caution and not just go throwing RS in ourselves just because it’s become the darling of the paelo/primal crowds (as well as many of the gurus). However, as someone who’s been battling increasingly debilitating asthma and exercise-and-diet-resistant weight gain in the last four years, combined with other issues (not to be discussed on here), I realize that sitting back and waiting for someone to come out and confirm all the brouhaha over RS is well warranted, is like waiting… Read more »
Michael
Michael
2 years 5 months ago
Anthony, seems we have a literal and especially sensitive group today. Probably should not have identified yourself as a doctor as many people here have had serious issues with doctors in the past. I agree with you that RS is a supplement to be used in specific situations to address medical issues and not as a food or macronutrient source. It is difficult for me to understand how people can conclude something we stop eating about a million or more years ago, raw tubers can be considered an every day need and be for everybody. RS, probiotics and prebiotics can… Read more »
Richard Nikoley
2 years 5 months ago

“It is difficult for me to understand how people can conclude something we stop eating about a million or more years ago, raw tubers can be considered an every day need and be for everybody.

Tim. Grace and I will wait until the book is published for you to understand the depth of your ignorance, off by about a million years or more.

Graham
Graham
2 years 5 months ago
In my case it’s not so much “heal” as “nourish.” I’ve always eaten plenty of probiotic rich foods, but it wasn’t until I started cycling RS a year or so ago that I truly controlled gas and variable “outcomes” from day to day. I guess initially that could have been some healing, but at this point I take some PS every so often to ensure I maintain a vibrant population down there. A couple of things that have stuck with me from listening to Richard and Tim on various episodes of Latest in Paleo: don’t just take probiotics without prebiotics… Read more »
Vince G
Vince G
2 years 5 months ago

Well-said. Humans can be extremely reactionary. This is how “fads” occur, etc. But one thing that has been overwhelmingly convincing and consistent within what I would like to call “our community” is that one size does NOT fit all. Everyone is different and should approach everything they do with caution and trial. It is this attitude that will make us all as healthy (and happy( as we can be. Find out what works for you! In the meantime I will simply be thankful that people like Mark and you help give us a headstart.

Trish
Trish
2 years 5 months ago

The unpleasant side effects of RS seem to happen most often in people whose guts are already pretty healthy. Everything works fine for me so you’ll excuse me if I don’t jump on this particular bandwagon.

Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago
Apparently RS also causes bad spelling (mine) sorry about that. I think if you stop looking at this as a ‘bandwagon’ and think about it quietly you’ll see that it is not just the latest fad. People will treat it as such, try it for a while, fart once too often, and stop. But one day, they’ll read an article about gut health, the gut-brain connection, immunity and the gut, or one of the thousands of reports on the importance of gut health that’s been written in the last couple of years and realize that maybe they do need to… Read more »
Webraven
Webraven
2 years 5 months ago

Well said, Tim, and so true. I think by focusing on single markers (BS, sleep etc) so much we’re forgetting what the underlying change actually (probably! 🙂 is – an improvement in gut flora leading to decreased inflammation, which is a HUGE deal.

ria
ria
2 years 5 months ago

Good! Don’t fix what’s not broken!

Dirk
Dirk
2 years 5 months ago

I do. Before PS + psyllium + soil-based probiotic I hadn’t had a fully formed stool in many, many years.

Sarah
Sarah
2 years 5 months ago

What are the chances that feeding RS to my 12-month-old baby will result in HIM sleeping better? Ha ha ha ha. Gonna try it anyway, the little bugger drinks half my smoothie anyway (or I listen to screaming while I do it) so he’ll get a dose.

Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago

As long as the baby is weaned, he will do fine. Babies CANNOT digest RS while still being breastfed. Once weaned, the start to very quickly develop a gut flora that thrives on RS.

Early in our evolution, the first solid foods for a baby were pre-chewed roots and tubers. The prebiotics in RS look almost exactly like the prebiotics in human breast milk.

Annika
2 years 5 months ago

You cautioned that the baby should be weaned before introducing RS. Sorry to nit-pick, but it believe you’ve just contradicted yourself. If breastfed babies don’t have gut flora that can handle RS, then how could their first foods be full of RS? Babies in traditional societies were breastfed for years; surely they were eating RS along with the rest of the family? I assume you meant “exclusively breastfed”, but still, what about the first solid foods? If chewed tubers are fine, why wouldn’t potato starch be fine?

Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago
Here’s a little something I read in an unpublished book: Why Should I Care? The next question we hope you’ll ask is, “Do I really need resistant starch?” The answer is, “Most likely!” As you’ve hopefully read the whole book up until this point and not jumped straight here, you may recognize yourself as having the modern, dyspeptic gut we’ve repeatedly described: Frequent heartburn, loose stools or constipation, indigestion, smelly gas, GERD, IBS, or worse. You may even have one of the many autoimmune diseases that are running rampant, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or cancer. Digestive diseases affect over 70 million… Read more »
Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago
HOW TO: Dried Plantains Buy the greenest plantains you can find. Cut the ends off, cut in half. Cut each half down the middle, lengthwise. Roll the meat out of the peel, takes some practice, a spoon helps. Slice each peeled section again, lengthwise, until you have several thin, tongue-shaped pieces. Lay these on a screen or wire mesh rack. Salt or spice as desired soon after slicing so it sticks. Lay the rack in the sun or a warm spot in your house. A fan blowing on them speeds drying. Don’t dry in the oven unless you can control… Read more »
Stephen
2 years 5 months ago

Do they taste good or are they just bearable?

John Es
John Es
2 years 5 months ago

IMO, they’re bearable. I find they form a paste in my mouth. Maybe that’s a good thing – it encourages me to drink more water. With a little salt, I wouldn’t say they taste bad.

I can vouch for Tim’s well written method, and while I don’t find the dehydrated plantains delicious, I think they may be one of the best sources of prebiotics available to me.

Kirsten
2 years 5 months ago

I toss mine with a bit of balsamic and melted coconut oil, then salt, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika.

I also slice v thin.

They’re addictive.

The vinegar is the secret. It adds tang.

Darcie
Darcie
2 years 5 months ago

I dried mine in the dehydrator at, I think, 135, because that’s what I’d read somewhere in the forums. They certainly came out white and crunchy, like cardboard. Do I have to start over because I dried them at too high a temp?

MJBrady
2 years 5 months ago

I have had profound amounts of gas generated for the last fifteen years and started Prescript-Assist three days ago with already-amazing results. I am starting RS this weekend in order to allow the SBO to be further effective by then.
I stopped wheat years ago and eliminated my GERD and very bad heartburn. So last month I had two of my beloved scotch/soda drinks and within two hours had
noticeable heartburn. ???increased wheat sensitivity or still some leaky gut?

Gabriella Kadar
Gabriella Kadar
2 years 5 months ago

Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Ethanol kills the cells lining the stomach. Eat something first. You don’t have to eat a lot, but you need something that will soak up the alcohol a bit.

Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago
A WARNING If you try eating high RS foods or a supplement like potato starch and experience heartburn, pain, bloating, diarrhea, joint pain, or any basic strangeness…go see a doctor! Get a full stool panel. RS and potato starch are FOOD. If you can’t eat them, something is wrong. I’m in close communication with a lady who experienced severe diarrhea anytime she ate 2TBS of potato starch…she got her stool tested and has one of the worst gut reports I’ve ever seen. 25% of her entire flora was composed of Morganella Morganii — google it, I’m surprised this lady is… Read more »
FrenchFry
FrenchFry
2 years 5 months ago

I googled it … amazingly bad …

Jer
Jer
2 years 5 months ago

Another way to screw up your gut is to get a colonoscopy – not usually talked about (TMI), quote:

“Each colonoscopy damages natural intestinal microflora, because this procedure requires a thorough lavage — a washing out of the large intestine with large doses of synthetic laxatives, followed by bowel irrigation with polyethylene glycol and hypertonic electrolytes. Both substances kill bacteria on contact just as reliably as a salt gargle kills bacteria in your mouth.
http://www.gutsense.org/crc/crc_side_effects.html

If you have had this procedure done, start with probiotics before starting R.S. – otherwise you have nothing to feed.

JacqsFlyingPrimal
JacqsFlyingPrimal
2 years 5 months ago

I have been wondering about colonoscopy. I question doctor about it, his response, “are you a fan of colon cancer” and other statements that shut me up. Fear mongering. Said he would be calling within 60 days to set it up. I have been thinking that I’m not going to do it as surely the gut biodome would be killed.
Anyone else with thoughts on this? Been meaning to ask Mark about colonoscopies and the need for and or safety of.

Erin
Erin
2 years 5 months ago

Right. I had a patient once that had to have a hemicolectomy because her GI doc perforated her colon during a standard, low risk outpatient c-scope. So yeah, there’s that.

Deb
Deb
2 years 5 months ago
I got appendicitis about 5 months after colonoscopy. I have wondered if it was the killing off of my carefully curated good bacteria (and I have read they really can’t get that equipment totally sterilized – so maybe bad bacteria was also introduced). Although a well known GI doc I know says the bacteria are still adhering to the cell walls (i.e. aren’t all washed out) and then re-populate. My digestion is NOT the same 9 months after all the antibiotics needed for the perforated appendix. Doing RS experiment now to see if I can improve gut biome. I’m going… Read more »
Kt
Kt
2 years 5 months ago
I know a doc who says that recent studies indicate that a stool test is as effective as a colonoscopy. I think it is called a fecal occult blood test. Check it out — I don’t have my computer so can’t find you the evidence right now. If you had a worrisome result they would follow it up with colonoscopy but otherwise you’d keep your flora. One problem with the FOBT is that since it is a low overhead test and not a ‘procedure’ it gets thousands of dollars less in reimbursements from insurance! You may or may not see… Read more »
Erin
Erin
2 years 5 months ago

fecal occult just checks for blood in your poo. it doesn’t show the health of your gut or less obvious problems like diverticulosis or polyps that would increase your risk of infection and/or colon cancer.

Janknitz
Janknitz
2 years 5 months ago

Since my dad died of colon cancer, skipping colonoscopies is not an option for me. But there’s a “saner” way to do it.
1. Plenty of probiotics before the procedure.
2. Don’t drink sugary, crappy Gatorade. I drank homemade bone broth, kombucha, and green tea during the liquid diet days. When it came time to mix up the copy fluid (Polyethylene glycol) , I mixed it with electrolyte water, not sugary crap.
3. As soon as the test was over, I started back on probiotics, broth and gelatin to heal and feed the gut.

JacqsFlyingPrimal
JacqsFlyingPrimal
2 years 5 months ago

I read the link above, Death by Colonoscopy, http://www.gutsense.org/crc/crc_side_effects.html and was even more concerned about this procedure.

Mark could you do an article about the “ins and outs” of the benefits and risks of doing a colonoscopy?

Martha
Martha
2 years 1 month ago
I was worried about this, too. But it worked out fine for me. I made my own bone broth and used coconut water to keep my electrolytes in line, ended up eating a little bit of honey, then afterwards loaded up on probiotics and then prebiotics and my regular diet, pretty much. I have also seen a recent study that measured effect on gut biome and it did not support the “colonoscopy will kill everything” argument. Also, there are a lot of different bowel preps out there. Mine was not the horror story that I have heard from other people.… Read more »
Bill
Bill
2 years 5 months ago

Just to clarify…the goal here is to fart, correct?

I eat Jerusalem artichokes all the time and fart like a madman. I have no gastrointestinal distress otherwise. Has been similar, but not to the same extent, with the raw russet.

My understanding is that the gas is a byproduct of the fermentation, along with butyrate, propionate etc.

sootedninjas
sootedninjas
2 years 5 months ago

the farting dies down. after a month. at least for me it did BUT still experiencing great results like wayyyyy better sleep and FBG lowered by 10 points.

Bill
Bill
2 years 5 months ago

I need an explanation.

If gas is the byproduct of the fermentation, when there’s no gas, is there no fermentation?

Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago
In a fully stocked gut, you’d have microbes that break apart fibers like RS and inulin, then microbes that eat the scraps left behind by them, and also microbes that eat the gasses produced at each step. These are known as ‘methanogenic’ ‘sulfurogenic’ etc… Usually, most people have all of these, and they will grow in response to increases fiber in diet. Eventually, you are producing all these gasses, but they are being used internally and produce no flatulence, or at least just oderless, airy farts. If you are consistently clearing buildings with nasty, foul gas, something is amiss. Eating… Read more »
Bill
Bill
2 years 5 months ago

I’ll need some references on this.

Find it hard to believe that all the gas from inulin fermentation is consumed by microorganisms.

I eat raw sunchokes 3-4 times a week, chopped up with carrots, celery, maybe jicama.

http://chriskresser.com/you-are-what-your-bacteria-eat-the-importance-of-feeding-your-microbiome-with-jeff-leach

That says if you’re not farting, you’re not fermenting.

sootedninjas
sootedninjas
2 years 5 months ago

not sure what the answer to that question. maybe Tim or Dr. BG can answer that question for you. the gas is still there BUT not as often as before. when I first started it was like every hour or so. also, not as foul smelling as before. 🙂

sootedninjas
sootedninjas
2 years 5 months ago

well I guess tatertot did answer. hmmmm… now I know too

Bill
Bill
2 years 5 months ago

(I posted a comment from Kessler where JD Leach says farting = fermentation, taking forever to get approved b/c of the link).

Find it hard to believe that all the gas from fermentation is consumed by the gut microbiota. I’ll need a reference on this.

I eat a ton of inulin, raw chopped veggies (sunchoke, jicama, carrot, celery) for lunch, raw salads (onion, garlic, kale, spinach) at dinner.

Started eating raw russet. Eat plenty of fermented food.

Gas is normal. A lot of gas is probably normal with that fiber load.

Gabriella Kadar
Gabriella Kadar
2 years 5 months ago
True. Gas is a product of fermentation. But gases are also consumed by some bacteria. I feel like I’m totally missing out on the fart business. Haven’t farted for ages. I don’t count the pre-turding toots here which don’t even happen every time. In fact, since being on the probiotics, there’s really no fart satisfaction happening around here. I used to be a famous farter. My kids tell stories about it. Unfortunately hundreds of people know about the farting in the bathtub. It would resound throughout our home. No more. Either my gut bugs are eating each other’s gases or… Read more »
Bill
Bill
2 years 5 months ago

Hey Tim,

This guy has methanogens and sulphate reducing bacteria competing for hydrogen (from fermentation) to form other gases.

http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/may/wind/

You have anything else to read?

Still trying to work through the “zero gas” proposition.

Thanks

Sharon
Sharon
2 years 5 months ago

Does anyone know how fermenting effects RS? I recently fermented a raw red lentil-rice mixture, then baked it. It tastes really great cold. Like a sour dough polenta sorta thing.

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 5 months ago

After 5 months on resistant potato starch: Much better bowel movements, consistancy and ease. My satiety has definately increased adding the starch to my twice a week protein drink. Used to get hungry 3-4 hours after my drink, now 4-5 hours. Have seen absolutely NO change in my sleep patterns. Eating potato salad a few times a month has no effect on weight.

Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
2 years 5 months ago

Perhaps RS and probiotics need to combined together for optimal effect? I finally have a liquid culture so my pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut fermentations are consistent from batch to batch. I also recently found a coconut based yoghurt with live cultures which to me is better than the dairy stuff. I never applied the RS component to my food based probiotic regimen. However, a kosher dill pickle potato salad sounds like a good place to start.

Does glucomannan or konjac powder classify as an RS?

Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago
+100 The combo of RS rich foods and probiotic rich foods is the real winner. Glucomannan and konjac powder are not RS, but another type of oligosaccharide very similar to RS. RS is the storage carbohydrate of certain plants. Inulin is another storage carbohydrate, so is glucomannan. There’s also arabinogalactins, oligofructans, and galactooligosaccharides. All of these are excellent prebiotics, just like RS. However, in real life, RS is the only one found in great concentration in plants we eat. For instance, the amount of RS found in one cooked and cooled potato is equivalent to the inulin found in 3… Read more »
Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
2 years 5 months ago

Thanks Tim

I use the konjac powder on fruit salads. it jells the juice to make a glaze but the intent is to lower the GI and add more fiber to fructose ratio for my pineapple vice

Jo
Jo
2 years 5 months ago

So… sorry if I am a bit slow to catch up, but does the mashed potato which has cooled down on the side of my dinner plate count as resistant starch? Seems too good and too easy to be true…

Energy!
Energy!
2 years 5 months ago

No, it takes a lower temperature and more time for the retrograde type of RS to form. In the fridge overnight will do it!

Deb
Deb
2 years 5 months ago
Is there more RS in a raw (never cooked) potato or one that has been cooled with the RS allowed to re-form overnight (and not re-heated prior to eating)? Plantains- do they still have RS when sort of ripe? Unlike bananas (my understanding is that all that starch turns to sugar as it ripens). Have been dehydrating both green bananas and green plantains into chips – but wondering if I should be cooking them first. I read that native cultures even boil them in the skin. Am a little concerned that in raw form they may be high in something… Read more »
Tim
Tim
2 years 5 months ago
Example: Raw Potato, 100g – 10g RS Cooked/Hot – 0g RS Cooked/Cooled – 3g RS Cooked/Cooled/Reheated – 4g RS Cooled again – 5g RS Plantains will have more than bananas always, for biggest bang, they need to be as green as possible. Uncooked will have way more RS. Cooked and cooled is similar to potatoes example. No harm in eating a raw plantain or green banana or two daily. Your plan of diversity is perfect! Also consider the aspect of not only different sources, but also different types: RS2 from raw potato, potato starch and planatins/bananas RS3 from cooked and… Read more »
Kelda
2 years 5 months ago
After a week of n=1 and now up to two heaped teaspoons in spring water with breakfast and with dinner I can report increased wind and discomfort/flatulence for the first 3-4 days which has cleared. Biggest positive so far, normal bowel movements after 5 days – with an adult history of anything but normal that is really encouraging. I would dearly love for the sleep aspect to work as I’m also a life-long insomniac which I now find super-fascinating since I’ve also always had ‘unpredictable bowels’ too and science seems now to be making a link! Who would have thought.… Read more »
John Myers
John Myers
2 years 5 months ago

I was doing 4 tablespoons first thing in the morning since late January. I should have eased into. I had bad bloating and gas. Now I’m doing 2 tablespoons in the morning and then 2 more before bed. That fixed the stomach trouble. I did notice from the beginning though that my sleep is much improved.

Michelle
Michelle
2 years 5 months ago
According to Dr. Loren Cordain potatoes have rather harmful antinutrients such as saponins, lectins and protease inhibitors. Quote,” when rodents, large animals, including humans eat glycoalkaloid-containing tubers such as potatoes, these substances frequently creat holes in the gut lining, thereby increasing intestinal permeability. Quote, ” At least twelve separate cases of human poisoning from potato consumption, involving nearly two thousand people and thirty fatalities have been recorded in the medical literature.” He states that raw potato is especially problematic. He has written extensively and in great detail about the adverse effects of consuming potatoes. It makes me a bit wary… Read more »
Michael
Michael
2 years 5 months ago
I agree. Using traditional fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kim chi, cultured dairy provides all the healthy bacteria a person on a primal diet would need. The exceptions are the many people who are seriously ill with preexisting digestive disease. In certain populations supplementation with RS in the right amount for a specific time may be of value. To leap from that situation and suggest RS should now be a staple of every one’s diet is absurd. A healthy biome works in harmony with the food you eat and the bacteria forms as the result of what you eat. The… Read more »
Gabriella Kadar
Gabriella Kadar
2 years 5 months ago

Nobody is suggesting that anyone eat raw potato. In fact, quite the contrary.

Raw potato starch is not the same as eating a raw potato.

A person can sick from eating half cooked kidney beans too.

That’s why we cook these things.

Michelle
Michelle
2 years 5 months ago

According to Dr. Cordain’s research all potatoes are problematic but especially raw ones. Other that the “starch” in raw potato starch is it 100% free of all other antinutrients?

Gabriella Kadar
Gabriella Kadar
2 years 5 months ago

It’s just starch.

Richard Nikoley
2 years 5 months ago

Sir Mark Sisson:

This is gold and you will know it soon enough. No, not every single person will feel it. 90%+ will. The other 10% are probably going to need specific therapeutic help, and soon enough it will be available. Docs are gearing up around the world, but they have a learning curve just like anyone.

High, solemn salute in your specific direction.

golffish
golffish
2 years 5 months ago

Hi Richard, I can’t wait for your book. This is going to be huge! A revolution even perhaps! Can’t wait man. Good health and best of luck.

Richard Nikoley
2 years 5 months ago

Thanks golffish. It is a labor of love. It’s OUR book; that is, myself, Tim and Dr. BG. The great news is that the three of us really work great together, better all the time.

p01
p01
2 years 5 months ago

Eat tubers (not the bags of glucose type). And roots. Lots and lots to chose from and enjoy. Expensive, yes. But then abundant food makes for an abundant number of people. Crap food makes for a lot of sick people. Crap abundant food…well..that one is pretty obvious.

Tiff
Tiff
2 years 5 months ago

I was wondering if it would be okay to get my resistant starch from white rice, cooked and cooled 24-48 hours and then put in a smoothie that is blended with kale, blueberries, 1/2 an avocado. I know everyone says get the potato starch, but I would prefer to use cooked white rice, but only if it will be a sure way of getting what I need. Also, how much would I need to put in the smoothie?

annabelle
annabelle
2 years 5 months ago

If you’re planning a serious n=1 and writing things down, don’t forget to take solid baseline measurements! If you want to track hours of sleep (or number of farts, or whatever), monitor yourself for a week or two before you change your diet, so that your measurements of “before” and “after” are not so subjective.

George Regal
George Regal
2 years 5 months ago

I just added (last Saturday) Bob’s Red Mill unmodified potato starch to my ranch dressing mix (I also use Bob’s whey protein concentrate) as a thickening agent. I already take New Chapter’s probiotic so I dove in head first and started with a table spoon and a half. (12 gms of RS)

I experienced bloating and lots of farting the first few days, but my system seems to have adjusted. I already sleep well, so I’ll have to give it some time to see if I notice any benefits.

Sialia
Sialia
2 years 5 months ago
@ Beth, you’ve had a rough time. And I apologize for the understatement. But I am glad RS has helped your physical and emotional recovery. As for the probiotic, have you checked into the primal flora? And no, I am not getting a commission, nor can I provide a testimonial – yet. But my order is on the way and I am looking forward to trying it along with the PS. Anyway, I followed the link in today’s post, and it says “in stock”. Whatever you decide, best of luck in your current journey!
Jon
Jon
2 years 5 months ago

I tried taking Bob’s Red Mill a couple of weeks ago. I started small and worked up to a tablespoon with no ill effects.

However, and this is exactly what happened with Kefir, I gained weight. I’ve gained 6 pounds over approximately 10 days. It has to be water weight because the gain is so fast. But doesn’t water weight mean some kind of inflammation?

Anyone else have this problem?

Tracy
Tracy
2 years 5 months ago

Jon, I gained 7 pounds over a couple of weeks too, and have been taking a tablespoon of RS every couple of days along with cooked and cooled potatoes and rice for two out of three meals a day (previously having been pretty low carb and high fat for 2-3 years)so not sure if it’s just the RS or the increased carb intake overall. Also at the moment feeling hungrier than previously (I’ve also stopped adding fat to EVERYTHING) but don’t want to take in any more calories in case I add on even more weight.

Energy!
Energy!
2 years 5 months ago

Have you been adding probiotics and/or eating fermented foods with live cultures? I got a bottle of the AOR Probiotic-3 to get the soil critters plus 2 other probiotics we already had, plus Bubbie’s pickles and sauerkraut, and other fibers like the konjac noodles, psyllium, etc. because I love the idea of optimizing my gut since the results are so great. It’s all a treasure hunt for me.

Jon
Jon
2 years 5 months ago

I’ve noticed a growing hunger, too. I don’t think the weight gain is from the increased calories, however. Maybe the increased bacteria require more water?

Michelle
Michelle
2 years 5 months ago

Could it be because each 1TBS of the potato starch has 10 grams of carbohydrate and 0 fiber? Pure starch. If your diet is VLC and you add that in could that be a problem? Does anyone know?

Richard Nikoley
2 years 5 months ago
“Could it be because each 1TBS of the potato starch has 10 grams of carbohydrate and 0 fiber? Pure starch. If your diet is VLC and you add that in could that be a problem? Does anyone know?” Dealt with way back (on my site). That 10g figure is when cooked (because presumably, it will be used in either baked goods or sauce thickening—which I did last night, actually). Raw, it’s essentially zilch. And it has no effect on ketosis. On the other hand, VLC and ketogenic folk get less benefit from it, because they are physiologically insulin resistant in… Read more »
Energy!
Energy!
2 years 5 months ago
After starting PS, I gained a few pounds at first (which could have been for other factors going on) but also felt better energy, etc. To me it meant my body was saying, “Keep taking the RS, adjust your macros and move more.” I made various tweaks over a couple of weeks such as reducing the amount of coconut oil in my tea and am more active. It is also known that you gain weight in gut microbes if you are feeding them consistently. I could tell things were different after starting the RS and probiotics because I wasn’t having… Read more »
Richard Nikoley
2 years 5 months ago

Jon,

initial weight gain, 5-10 pounds is pretty common. We suspect it’s a combination of factors:

body recomposition
gut bacteria blooms
increased colon mass

(these are all supported by the literature)

See here:

http://freetheanimal.com/2014/02/resistant-balance-maintenance.html

Jon
Jon
2 years 5 months ago

Thanks for the info. I’ll continue on since I have no adverse reactions such as bloating or gas. I’m remembering more of my dreams and am sleeping a bit harder, but that is a good thing.

Inchokate
Inchokate
2 years 5 months ago

Yesterday, I stepped on a scale for the first time since starting RS supplementation in mid February and was startled to be about 10 lbs heavier than appareance or the fit of my clothes would suggest. Interesting! But, I confess, also a little bit alarming to the part of me (female, 43, just 5’2″) conditioned to think weighing more is always a bad thing.

If this is RS-influenced “intial weight gain,” I wonder: will it eventually reverse itself, or is this heavier-without-looking-heavier weight a new normal?

Meagan
2 years 5 months ago

I am amazed at how we “just have” to nit-pick everything about our diets… whatever happened to real food??

Jon
Jon
2 years 5 months ago

Meagan,

I sympathize with you. I enjoy good and simple food, but just have an urge to “biohack”. It must be ingrained in us, we can never leave good enough alone!

Shelley Chaudhry
2 years 5 months ago

I love to eat potatoes,and i used to eat everyday but am feeling burning sensation on your lips but i neglected it and continued eating potatoes.But now am facing real trouble doctor advised me not to take potatoes anymore.

Tariq Hussain
2 years 5 months ago

Thanks Dr. Frankenstein

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
2 years 5 months ago

I am wondering what experiences people have had using RS to treat SIBO?

I am on my 3rd (or 4th?) round of Xifaxim (standard protocol), and am taking LDN 1.5 in morning, 2.5 before bed. I am hypothyroid (taking armour), and supplement with betaine/pepsin at mealtimes. Have been LC paleo 1 1/2 years, SCD since last September, largely improved but far from symptom free. Am now underweight, BMI about 17.

sootedninjas
sootedninjas
2 years 5 months ago
Caria
2 years 5 months ago

Mark,

When you mention tracking your sleep it reminded me of something my naturopath advised me of. She advised me: not to sleep with my cell phone in the room. She stated cell phones disturb sleep. What do you think? Have you done any research regarding this? I would be very interested in your thoughts. Thank you!

I love your site. I have recently started reading it daily.

Charlie
Charlie
2 years 5 months ago

“In his new book, ‘Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues’, Blaser argues that while antibiotics have saved countless lives, they’re an assault on our microbiome. His experiments have linked the resulting extinctions to disorders from asthma to obesity. wired spoke to Blaser about the need to look at our bodies less as battlefields to be conquered and more as gardens to be tended.”

Yeah…nothing to see here…just move along…it’s just another silly “paleo” bandwagon…ha

JacqsFlyingPrimal
JacqsFlyingPrimal
2 years 5 months ago

“about the need to look at our bodies less as battlefields to be conquered and more as gardens to be tended.”

Love that! Resonates with me.

Algebra Grok
Algebra Grok
2 years 5 months ago

Just has my first green plantain this morning. I was able to eat the whole thing, but it sure was chalky. I think I’ll go with a smoothie approach in the future.

daz
daz
2 years 5 months ago

anyone have any ideas/theories on why feeding out gut bacteria RS has an affect on dreaming…?

daz
daz
2 years 5 months ago

typo, should have read,
anyone have any ideas/theories on why feeding our gut bacteria RS has an affect on dreaming…?

Sabine
Sabine
2 years 5 months ago
Deb
Deb
2 years 5 months ago
Tim – thanks for the RS clarifications – very helpful (there was no ‘reply’ after your comment, so I hope you see this). So far, the RS has helped satiety (although not reflected in weight loss yet, perhaps due to more bacteria). Have better energy for workouts (I think I have been too low carb). Temp was 99.1 fairly early in the day (typically I am below 98.6). My glucose test strips have all expired, so have to order some new ones. Doing Dr BGs RS, greens and psyllium drink when I dont have dehydrated foods. It is easy to… Read more »
Jeremy
Jeremy
2 years 5 months ago

I started adding RS to my diet a couple weeks ago. I’ve suffered from chronic constipation my whole life and pretty much over night it disappeared.

Still testing concerning other health markers, but just that is enough for me to endorse it.

(I’ve been doing Potato Starch, green bananas in smoothies, and cooked-and-cooled potatoes and cassavas.)

Margie
2 years 5 months ago

I am going to start it too

Margie
2 years 5 months ago
I printed out the article and will start this experiment, due to constipation issues. I am a nurse and work 12 hours shifts, 3 times a week, and it is difficult to be regular when your schedule is NOT. In regards to having a colonoscopy, I would like to chime in that the doctor sees and can remove polyps that can turn cancerous. My uncle died of colon cancer, my mom has had a positive polyp for cancer, and a man at work is dying of colon cancer right now, and wishes he had had a colonoscopy. Colon cancer is… Read more »
Meghanne
2 years 5 months ago

Can’t you just eat some cold (cooled for 24hrs) boiled potato instead of supplementing with a starch?

David
David
2 years 3 months ago

Yes, I was wondering the same thing about boiling potatoes and then cooling them.

GGinPG
GGinPG
2 years 4 months ago
Anybody have insomnia GET WORSE after beginning RS? I have been a poor sleeper all of my life, but lately, while trying to achieve ketosis, my sleep has improved somewhat. A few weeks ago I started taking Prescript Assist and when after a few days had no issues with it, began taking increasing amounts of green banana flour. I haven’t really noticed ANY side effects except that my sleep is radically disturbed and I’m waking up HOT many multiple times at night. I’m taking 30g in cool water in the a.m. with the Prescript Assist. I don’t notice much of… Read more »
Laurie
Laurie
2 years 4 months ago
I had a little trouble sleeping but more than that, I was very, very hungry all the time. I used about a Tablespoon of raw potato starch in the evening. I hung in there with it for over a week and tried decreasing the amount, but I must be super sensitive to carbs/starch, of any kind because I stopped using it and have returned to normal (not hungry all the time and when I do get hungry, it’s a mild thing). Why don’t you try stopping the RS for a week or so and see how you feel? Everyone reacts… Read more »
Abhi
Abhi
1 year 11 months ago
Hi, I have been long time sufferer of SIBO/IBS-C (15 years and counting). Have tried everything from antibiotics to fermented veggies. From Paleo to FODMAP. My most troublesome symptoms (until recent past): Vague pain in the limbs after fruits,milk or something processed (biscuits, chips etc) Can’t watch TV for more than 5 minutes, my computer screen is set to least brightness accompanied with a black transparent sheet to further reduce glare. Migranes (After high carb diet/being in the sun/PC glare) Sebo Dermatitis Thining Hair Sensitivity to cold and hot whether Lack of good quality sleep (I thought this to be… Read more »
Michele
Michele
1 year 10 months ago
I was trying potato starch because I thought it would help my gut, although I don’t feel any pain any more since low carb. All my problems were solved on low carb but it ruined my sleep. Great to hear PS might improve my sleep. I started out with 1T, then 2T, then jumped right into 4T at night in about 3 oz of water. I forget and don’t take any for a while but just started again, tonight is my 3rd night in a row. I like the dreams and remembering them even though most of them are nightmares.… Read more »
Renato Padilla
Renato Padilla
1 year 6 months ago

how much and for how long do I have to take the potato Resistant Starch.
Thank you

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