Anti-Inflammatory Diet

All health care starts with diet. My recommendations for a healthy diet are here:
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle.
There are over 190 articles on diet, inflammation and disease on this blog
(find topics using search [upper left] or index [lower right]), and
more articles by Prof. Ayers on Suite101 .

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dr. Oz, Constipation, Soluble Fiber, Food Intolerance

--- all 200 posts here ---
The medical industry doesn't seem to understand the basics about the interaction of gut flora with food and the immune system.

I respect Dr. Mehmet Oz for creating a media personality to communicate medical information for public consumption and I know that there are many constraints placed on his freedom to discuss his personal and professional insights on health. That said, it seems to me that the public Dr. Oz, the voice of mainstream medicine and to some extent the food industry, fails to understand some essential features of the transformation of food to poop.

Dr. Oz has described on his television series, the impact of major disease on diagnostic changes in the color and appearance of poop, but he doesn't seem to understand that poop is mostly bacteria that have grown in the gut. The major implication of the predominance of gut bacteria in poop is seen in constipation. The pounds of bacteria in the colon provide the bulk and hydration of the poop, and when the bacteria are not abundant, the result is compacted, undigestible dietary fiber, which is the hard poop of constipation. That is why antibiotics, which have the major effect of killing gut bacteria, result in constipation. Chronic use of antibiotics, or frequently even a single use, can produce prolonged constipation.

The impression that I get from listening to Dr. Oz discuss soluble fiber, is that these food polysaccharides pass through the small intestines and then contribute to the texture/hydration of poop. This would be the case, if there were not bacteria in the gut, because the only polysaccharides/carbohydrates digested by human enzymes in the gut are starch and sucrose. Plants (and animals) produce hundreds of other types of polysaccharides that can only be digested by bacterial (and fungal) enzymes. All of the types of polysaccharides, abundantly present in fruits and vegetables, that can be digested by gut bacteria are called soluble fiber. (Undigestible fiber, such as grain fiber, is of no benefit.) Soluble fiber is the main source of food for gut bacteria and is also converted into the short chain fatty acids, e.g. acetic acid, that are the major nutrients for the human cells that line the colon. Thus, soluble fiber, such as the inulin in leeks or the pectin in apples, is essential for healthy poop and intestines.

Dr. Oz advises eating dairy and fermented foods with their live bacteria to supplement gut flora and to compensate for antibiotic treatments. This suggests that providing just a few different species of fermenting bacteria, probiotics, can produce a healthy community of gut bacteria. Unfortunately, each human gut requires hundreds of different species of bacteria that are not present in common dairy products, such as yogurt. The hundreds of different types of bacteria needed for a healthy gut are normally acquired from other people and animals, and from uncooked, raw vegetables. Cooking and excessive sanitation eliminates the exchange and acquisition of healthy bacteria. Exposure to antibiotics can lead to a lasting deficiency of gut bacteria that is unrecognized by modern medicine.

Dr. Oz recommends that people who have trouble eating certain foods or have good intolerances, should avoid the problem foods. This suggests that the problem is somehow in the intolerant person, even though there are no genes for food intolerance and very few cases of food intolerance result from an immune reaction. Food intolerance is actually the inability of an individual's incomplete gut flora to digest certain types of food. Antibiotics, for example, can kill off species of bacteria that are needed to completely digest certain types of soluble fiber or other plant products, phytochemicals, so instead of producing the needed short chain fatty acids, other irritating molecules are produced and the digestive system is upset. Simple intolerances, such as lactose intolerance, can be remedied by just eating small amounts of yogurt containing fermenting bacteria, probiotics, that have the genes for enzymes that can digest lactose. In a couple of weeks, most people are permanently able to tolerate lactose. More complex intolerances may require more persistent pursuit of the missing bacterial species by eating many different types of raw vegetables with clinging soil bacteria. The medical community has failed to acknowledge the need to repair gut flora compromised by antibiotics and to provide simple guidelines for reacquiring missing gut bacteria.

Dr. Oz provides a great service by promoting some healthy ideas, but it would be even better if he helped the public to understand how the gut and gut flora produce healthy poop.


mike said...


Great little post, I love you informative yet very digestible (no pun intended).

Keep it up!


mike said...

wow. I can't type......meant to say informative and very digestible material.

Brian said...

he's back! Great post as always. My favorite spot to read about poop bar none!

Anonymous said...

I've heard that stomach acid has an important function in destroying harmful bacteria. But how can it be that stomach acid would destroy harmful bacteria, but good bacteria would make it through the stomach into the intestines where it promotes gut health?

steve said...

thanks for the great info! your health suggestions have been leading to improvements in my Crohn's symptoms. i still have some lingering issues and am considering a home stool infusion, using my 8 month old's stool. my wife has excellent digestion. my daughter was breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and has been eating fruits and veggies (in addition to breast milk) for the past 2 months. her stool is still mostly of the yellow, breastfeed variety. is there any advantage in using this type of stool, versus waiting until she is eating a larger variety of foods?

Anonymous said...

Great post as usual!

I can't digest eggs properly, can this also be helped by getting different types of bacteria from unwashed vegetables?

Anonymous said...

i get whitheads on the face dandruff and hairfall when i consume dairy and also fall off to sleep.

why so?

i've tried re introducing dairy but give up due to the immediate appearance of above symptoms.


Dr. Art Ayers said...

Stomach Acid and Bacteria

Stomach acid will certainly kill most bacteria that are eaten. New bacterial species get into your gut from what you breathe and eat, because the acid does not kill all of the bacteria. Also new bacteria are actively created in gut biofilms, because the biofilms turn on the exchange of DNA (genes, by transformation) by release of DNA from live bacteria and uptake of free DNA (including DNA from acid-killed bacteria.)

The lasting cure for lactose intolerance, for example, results from the transfer of lactose utilizing genes from yogurt bacteria to gut bacteria. The yogurt bacteria are not retained in the gut.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Crohn's and fecal transplant donors.

Your question about the choice of a donor between a breastfed tot and your wife, is very complex.

If you read my articles about breastfed gut flora, you will note that exclusively breastfed babies have a gut flora consisting of just one bacterial species: Bifidobacter. Breastmilk (and all milks) aggressively kill most bacteria and promote the growth of a select few species. This suggests that milk of any source would be problematical for adult gut flora. Whey protein has many components, e.g. lactoferrin, that are potently antibacterial.

Crohn's disease results or is caused by the loss of half of the species of bacteria normally found in the gut. This suggests that the introduction of a new gut flora containing the 100+ species of bacteria required for health, would provide a potential cure. Breastfed babies don't have any of the needed adult types of bacteria. Other relatives may have their gut flora compromised by being close to people with Crohn's. Conversely, being around healthy people/animals/soil should provide some of the missing gut flora and help Crohn's patients.

It would seem to me that the best donor for Crohn's patients would be someone unrelated, eating the diet that will be subsequently used by the patient, and checked to eliminate pathogens.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Egg intolerance

Very few food problems are due to true allergies. Most are intolerances and result from missing bacterial species in the gut flora. To overcome these intolerances you need both food and new bacteria (from other people/animals/dirty vegetables.)

You can overcome food intolerances, including egg, by adding a source of new bacteria to your diet and then adding new foods. You can add a little egg occasionally to test for tolerance. You may also have such a compromised gut flora that the suppressive (Treg) part of your immune system is also compromised. If so, that will take additional time and persistance introducing new species of bacteria.

Food intolerances are indications of major problems with gut flora and a potentially compromised immune system. Just avoiding trigger foods does not address the much more severe problem with the immune system.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Dairy and skin problems

I think that the problem is all in your gut. Just eating a little dairy will not solve the problem, because you are missing necessary gut bacteria. The needed bacterial species are extinct in your gut. You need a new source of the missing bacteria and you need to figure out why your gut flora is so damaged.

One source of new gut flora is kissing. Babies lack adult gut flora and they pick those bacteria up from adults through kissing, being licked by the family dog and sucking on their fists after crawling on the floor. It is important that all of those surfaces have not been cleaned with nastly chemicals. Lack of beneficial bacteria is much, much worse than the presence of occasional pathogens. Hygiene is dangerous. It is safer to just stay away from sick people and healthcare workers.

Anonymous said...


Quite an interesting blog you have here. I was recently having some problems with digestion, even on a decently strict paleo/anti-inflammatory diet. I think my gut flora may have been weakened by either a few cheat meals or perhaps even the lack of any bacteria on the veggies I eat. Hard to get that quality bacteria on store bought packaged veggies, which as they are quite cheap, are "perfect" for a college student.

Anyway, I always thought I was lactose intolerant, but in working to reintroduce some bacteria to my diet, I took your advice and introduced some yogurt with live culture. Despite it being non-fat, which I stupidly did not even notice, I handled it perfectly and seemed to improve my digestion overnight. I wanted to say thank you for opening my eyes to gut flora.

One question, how would you go about combating an inflammatory diet when traveling. Planning a trip to Italy, however silly of a place that might be for someone on a low carb diet to visit. Since I will be staying with an Italian family, I anticipate at times some heavy quantities of starch and gluten. A heavy supply of probiotics and/or digestive enzymes?



Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for answering:)

Quote from you:
"If you read my articles about breastfed gut flora, you will note that exclusively breastfed babies have a gut flora consisting of just one bacterial species: Bifidobacter. Breastmilk (and all milks) aggressively kill most bacteria and promote the growth of a select few species. This suggests that milk of any source would be problematical for adult gut flora. Whey protein has many components, e.g. lactoferrin, that are potently antibacterial."

So drinking milk as an adult will prevent one from getting a diverse gut flora?
I pretty much follow your dietary guidelines, but i do ingest kefir(from cow's milk) and fermented milk(with acidophilus and bifidobacteria). What's your opinion on this?

What is your opinion on candida?

simple constipation remedies said...

First of all thanks for your article. And yes, I agree that there may be limitations on what Dr. Oz can and cannot say as a media personality despite his personal beliefs.

But what I think the real value he brings to the table is making the medical information more accessible to the layperson. For example, while your points may be valid, there are too technical for the average person to comprehend.

After reading, you still don't get a gist of the do's and don''s easier for people to latch on to a concept when it can be simplified. That's not always possible in every instance but it aids comprehension and assimilation.

Anonymous said...

i would wonder if the genetically modified feed spiced with pesticides and insecticides being fed to factory farmed dairy cows injected with rBGH has more to do with my issues than my gut bacteria

Do you recommend all dairy or raw milk?



Dr. Art Ayers said...

I use only raw cream from a local dairy, full fat Greek yogurt, kefir and cheese. I don't drink milk.

If you have any kind of symptoms and haven't been following the Anti-inflammatory Diet guidelines that I recommend, then I think that removing the predominant sources of problems is the first step. Environmental toxins are a very minor contributor to disease. Bread and inappropriately used antibiotics cause far more disease. Disruption of gut flora is the basis for most autoimmune disease. Simply removing environmental toxins will have no impact. (I am not talking about outrageous contaminants, such as heavy metals.)

AntiInflammatory Diet Guidelines are at the top of my blog page, but very briefly:

Check and adjust your serum vit.D
Eat a high saturated fat diet with low carbs
Meat, fish, eggs, with plenty of vegetables
Avoid vegetable oils and use olive oil, butter and coconut
Don't get your raw veggies too clean (good bacteria)

Example day:

B Coffee with raw cream
L Full fat live yogurt with pesto
D Grilled steak, spinach salad with egg, sautéed carrots and parsnips, Cabernet.
Weight exercise 3x per week, daily walk 1-3 mi

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I agree that my posts are too complex for casual reading.

My objection with Dr. Oz's advice is not that it lack breadth or depth, but rather that it is incorrect (inconsistent with scientfic and biomedical literature) and contributes to making people sick.

Encouraging consumption of grain fiber is not healthy.
Use of laxatives, especially stimulants/irritants such as senna, to treat constipation, does not address the serious underlying problem of dysfunctional gut flora. Bowel cleansing damages gut flora. Most treatments for constipation ignore the basic problem with gut bacteria.

Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

ah kefir has many bacteria/yeast is that sufficient or should it try some geophagy via unclean fruits? is it safe?

i try to cycle regularly.

i'm following your diet, the vegan version of it with white rice in it, no plant fibre. i would like to make it lacto vegan/vegetarian.

i've been helping at the local hospital assisting mentally debilitated elderly for a year in my free time. May be i should give that a break?


Dr. Art Ayers said...

From whence gut flora?

Gut flora are prominent in the scientific literature, but their significance in commercial medicine is ignored.

This means that simple, cheap, safe, and mecically approved sources of bacteria for the healthy gut do not exist and can only be expected in the distant future.

Food is not inherently safe. Plants found at your local grocer contain many highly toxic compounds in potentially lethal amounts. That's no big deal, because humans have detox enzymes in the gut and liver to neutralize most plant toxins. There are few pathogenic bacteria and parasites, while beneficial microbes abound on untreated surfaces and through contact with healthy people.

Few people can stay healthy on a vegetarian diet and one of the major problems is that there is inadequate exposure to the diversity of bacteria needed to construct a healthy gut bacterial community. Hygiene and antibiotics are major problems for vegetarians and people who can't readily replace their gut flora, e.g. after appendectomy. Long chain omega-3 fatty acis are also rare in plants and short chain plant versions are not significantly converted to the EPA and DHA needed by humans, especially during pregnancy.

The bottom line is that I can't provide a safe source for gut bacteria. I can only provide suggestions of traditional sources, e.g. soil clinging to fresh vegetables. I have no way of avoiding rare pathogens or parasites without invoking still more hazardous approaches, such as inappropriate sanitation or use of toxic treatment/antibiotics, which eliminate healthful bacteria. Common food handling practices contribute to chronic diseases.

Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the splendidly long responses to my query, i really appreciate it.

here is a study i found i hope you'll find it useful.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Ayers,

I recently starting incorporating greek yogurt with live cultures as you suggested, in attempt to maybe "get past" lactose intolerance as you have suggested. I am starting to notice congestion, especially when I work out. Is this part of the two week transition you mention?

Should I keep with it, in a sense?


Anonymous said...

I have the same problem with the yogurt.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we are having a slight immune reaction to the new types of bacteria being added?

Maybe we added too much, too quickly?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

No, no, no.

You are missing the whole point of my post.

Poop is mostly large amount of hundreds of different species of bacteria, most of which are not introduced into the gut by eating probiotics.

Problems tolerating food have nothing to do with immune reactions. Food allergies are very rare and are usually misdiagnosed even if an allergist is involved in testing.

Most responses to foods are do to problems with gut bacteria, i.e. the species of bacteria that is need to digest one of the molecules in the trigger food is not present.

To solve the problem, the gut flora, a dynamic community composed of hundreds of different bacteria and fungal species, must be alter to include new species that can use the trigger food as nutrients. In the case of lactose intolerance, the new bacteria must be able to digest lactose with the enzyme beta-galactosidase. (This is independent of the related human enzyme.)

Yogurt provides both a source of the trigger food and the new bacteria. Until the new yogurt bacteria have transferred their lactose utilizing gene to other gut bacteria, eating certain amounts of yogurt will cause other gut bacteria to cause symptoms. It usually takes a few weeks of eating small amounts of the trigger food (too little to produce symptoms) along with new bacteria in order to eliminate intolerance. Simple cases can eliminate lactose intolerance in a week. Whereas, severe cases involving long term use of antibiotics or constipation may take much long, because dozens of different species of bacteria are missing.

Let me know how it works out.

Anonymous said...

Love your post. However, my personal experience is not consistent with your comments on lactose intolerance. I am extremely lactose intolerant -- from birth. I have tried eating small amounts of yogurt, but alas, I remain stubbornly intolerant of lactose. I cannot eat yogurt without feeling the requisite symptoms. I am a 27-yo female, Caucasian, 115 lbs, 5'6". I also have psoriasis, which has become progressively expressive over the past five years.

I wonder if part my problem with yogurt stems from the production process of commercial varieties; they seem to skimp on the fermentation step and add milk solids. This ups the sugar content of the final product; which remains predominantly lactose. Heck, one serving of ricotta (i.e., whey cheese) has less sugar/lactose than any yogurt I have seen on store shelves.

Having said that, I have made my own yogurt but I still get bloated from eating this. I wonder if I also have some casein intolerance? I also wonder whether my psoriasis might be exacerbated by damaged intestinal tissues from years of on/off yogurt consumption?

Incidentally, I have since developed some symptoms of IBS. I read the article "Altered profiles of intestinal microbiota and organic acids may be the origin of symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome" (DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2009.01427.x) and integrated some of the hypotheses therein with some success! That is, I have eliminated vinegar from my diet and reduced my consumption of probiotics and capsaicin-containing foods, thereby lessening my symptoms. However, bloating is still a problem.

I now wonder whether the combination of high probiotic consumption coupled with soluble fiber precipitates bowel irritation through excess bacterial growth. I was raised on soy formula as a baby, because I could not tolerate my mother's milk. Wonder what my intestinal flora situation is . . .

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

C. (codayvon "at"

Anonymous said...

codayvon soy formula = bad gut flora. you probably couldn't tolerate mothers milk because she was consuming cows milk the proteins of which were being passed onto you via breast milk. start geophagy to replenish the gut flora :)

@Dr. Ayers you mentioned in your last comment to me that you do not consume milk. i'm curious about why you do not consume milk while still eating other dairy products?


Anonymous said...

Congestion is an immune reaction, no?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Congestion = immune action?

In this context I would say that congestion in response to a foo trigger is not based on a cellular (T cell) or humoral (antibody) reaction and is therefore not immune system-based.

Food intolerances result from food interacting with gut bacteria and cells lining the gut to produce signal molecules that cause the symptoms. This is in contrast to an immune reaction in which the food would interact with antibodies on mast cell to release congestion-causing histamine.

Persistent dysfunction in gut flora causing intolerances may eventually cause the inflammation and presentation of antigens to result in simultaneous production of antibodies to food. Even in this extreme case, a primary component of treatment should include repair of the gut flora to reduce the immunological reaction.

Thanks for your comment.

Codayvon said...

Dear Jake and Dr. Ayers,

Could you recommend a practical and relatively "safe" means of practicing geophagy for this city-dwelling girl who lacks access to a garden? Is there a soil I can buy that I might integrate into my diet?

I failed to mention that I notice my facial psoriasis tends to clear up (or, at least, appears less visible) when I don't eat -- in fact, this has only happened twice; when I was so possessed by my work that I ate and drank nothing (except water) for an entire day. The next day, my forehead was pretty clear. Sure enough, as soon as I began eating again, it returned.

I am interested to know if you can recommend or direct me to any other strategies, short of a fecal transplant, for re-establishing needed gut bacteria?

I can attest that adding digestive enzymes to my routine has made no dent in the psoriasis; although it does reduce my tendency to bloating . . .

Many thanks,
C. (codayvon "at"

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ayers,

I have major constipation issues. Paleo has not helped, been eating low carb high protein high fat. Dairy and me do not mix at all. No yogurt, no creams, not whey, no butter, get terrible terrible bloating. Actually, am constantly bloated. Bowel movements have increased from 1 a week to 2-3 week with help of a weekly colonic to retrain my colon. Any other advice?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ayers. love having you back.

I have, over the course of two years, lost the rash that had been bothering me. Following your guidelines led to an immediate decrease in problems, but it took until just recently for the problems to go away.

I have two questions.

1) You have mentioned in the past tumeric as an example of a food that has anextrodinary effect on the body. Are there other super foods you may reccomend after we have established our baseline diet that removes the bad stuff?

I would like to suggest beets due in part to the pigment betalain. This pigment remains intact throughout the GI tract and colors stools red. Any thoughts on how much this can benefit the GI tract?

2) You mention fungi as an important part of the GI flora. Do fungi play exactly the same role that bacteria do? Where can we get fungi? Eating raw mushrooms?

J said...

Dear Art, love your blog, thanks for doing it. My question is about Hirschsprung's Disease. Have you heard of it? I was diagnosed with it at age 3, received 3-4 surgeries for it, and now, at age 27, have a few questions for you about it. My parents have told me that maybe a foot of my intestines (and maybe colon too?) were surgically removed, because the nerve endings there weren't moving food along in my stomach. Sometimes I'd go 5-10 days without a bowel movement, they said, and when I did go, it could be huge. My parents think I had Hirschsprungs as far back as the womb, i.e. was basically born with it. My appendix was removed as well, because supposedly the Hirschsprung's had led to an infection in my appendix.

What are your instincts about how this would affect my health? What can I do to counter it? Can I fully overcome having lost this much of my gut? I'm very passionate about finding answers to these questions, and would to hear your best guesses about them.

I'm also curious if you think it possible that stress, first in my mother and later in me once I was born, could have led to the failure of the nerve endings at the end of my gut to function. Thanks a huge amount, and best,


Teresa said...

Dr. Ayers,

Thank you for returning to posting. I was so, so happy to see your post in my reader after several months.

I have learned so much from your blog. Your work has had a hugely significant impact on my health, and that of my second child.

I find it incomprehensible that the information you are sharing, which has helped us so much, was not available from the top gastroenterologist at the Children's Hospital, whom we saw several times over the course of two years seeking treatment for my daughter's digestive issues.

I do not understand why it is so. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing in this work. I hope that you know you are impacting many lives.

(Most of us never even comment. I never did before, because I always had a nursing baby in my arms and could not. But I gobbled up the information, and read and reread where needed to understand what what being said. :-))

Thank you again for helping my daughter.

Teresa said...

Dr. Ayers,

Thank you for returning to posting. I was so, so happy to see your post in my reader after several months.

I have learned so much from your blog. Your work has had a hugely significant impact on my health, and that of my second child.

I find it incomprehensible that the information you are sharing, which has helped us so much, was not available from the top gastroenterologist at the Children's Hospital, whom we saw several times over the course of two years seeking treatment for my daughter's digestive issues.

I do not understand why it is so. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing in this work. I hope that you know you are impacting many lives.

(Most of us never even comment. I never did before, because I always had a nursing baby in my arms and could not. But I gobbled up the information, and read and reread where needed to understand what what being said. :-))

Thank you again for helping my daughter.

Anonymous said...

The authors demonstrated significant curative effect of bile acids (Suprachol; Acidum dehydrocholicum) in 551 psoriatic patients. The clinical efficiancy was evaluated by means of PASI-score (Psoriasis Area Severity Index). During this treatment (1-8 weeks) 434 patients (78.8 per cent) became asymptomatic. However, the traditional therapy resulted in 62 patients (24.9 per cent) of 249 sick persons a recovery (p < 0.05). In acute form of psoriasis (184 patients) this curative effect of bile acids was elevated (95.1 per cent). Two years later 319 patients (57.9 per cent) of bile treated 551 people were asymptomatic in contrast with 15 people (6.0 per cent) of 249 traditional treated patients (p < 0.05). In same time among the patients which were treated in acute form of psoriasis 10 (7.2 per cent) of 139 controls and 147 (79.9 per cent) of 184 bile-treated individuals were asymptomatic (p < 0.01). On the basis of their clinical observations (digestive disorders, ultrasonical confirmed gallbladder complaints, etc.) authors supposed that the deficiency of bile acids and the consecutive endotoxin translocation might play a role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. In normal conditions the bile acids as detergent (physico-chemical defense) can protect the body against enteral endotoxins while split them to atoxic fragments and so preventing consecutive cytokin liberation.

PMID: 10827473 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Anonymous said...


You've previously discussed the downfalls of "good" hygiene. I have problems cutting back on hand washing.

- Having a damaged gut flora made me even more scared to get some "bad" bacteria from my hands so I have been overwashing my hands and using hand sanitizer for a long time. If I make an effort to reduce the wahing/sanitazion, will my body get abck the right bacteria on the hands?

-What kind of "soap" would you recommend that does the least amount of "damage". For washing hands!

- Do you recommend never washing hands with anything else than water? I would like to do this, but it still feels wrong f.ex being on the computer and touching the keyboard and then eat without washing hands.

- If I use hand sanitizer(with alcohol). Will this cause "permanent" changes to the bacteria flora of the hands?

Thomas said...

Dr Ayers:

It's great to get to read a new post!

In light of some of your comments, I wanted to share a technique we've used in raising our children: as they began to add solid foods to their diet and didn't rely exclusively on breast milk, we would chew their food for them. It made life so much easier. They could eat what we ate without requiring any additional food grinding or preparation -- just a little extra mastication.

I've always assumed that this was good for them (despite some warnings about possible dental problems). I also assume that this practice must have been widespread before commercial baby foods, though I could be wrong on both counts.

I'm curious why I've never heard anyone suggest or talk about parents chewing a baby's food. Maybe it's too gross. Maybe it's a bad idea. But, it seems that it would help a toddler begin to get the necessary bacteria.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on eating so called 'high meat' - raw meat which to most would be considered off. I see a lot of mention of folks finding it much more easily digestible.

I wish it were the case that my constipation had improved on LCHF but sadly no. I've tried increasing fruit and probiotics. I don't have access to veg with soil (besides eating raw veg gives me gas) and alas it has been many years since I was hugged, let alone kissed. I've had several courses of antibiotic treatment over the years and I've been constipated for as long as I can remember.

BTW so glad you're back.

Anonymous said...

BTW Konstantin Monastyrsky considers fibre a huge problem. I'm not sure about downing copious amounts of supplements to remedy the problem but wouldn't eating more raw veg aggravate constipation because of too much bulk?

pat said...

Glad to see you back, Doc!!!

pat said...

Doc, someone else mentioned candida and I thought I'd chime in. I've been dealing with it for quite some time, and it has caused a few food intolerances for me due to Leaky Gut: eggs, dairy, chocolate, to name a few. Also perioral dermatitis on my chin.

Are you suggesting that even high quality/million of strains probiotics are not enough to recolonize?

Is it possible also that the gut gets used to a type of supplement and I may need to change up my probiotics?

Candida sucks, doc. Would love to read your thoughts on it one day :)

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I don't understand most diagnoses of Candida overgrowth. The symptoms usually just seem to by dysbiosis or a total disruption of normal gut flora by antibiotics.

There seems to be a lot of confusion by medical practitioners and patients about replenishing gut flora with probiotics. Probiotic preparations do not contain millions of different species of bacteria, but rather they contain a small number of individual bacteria cells of each of several different species of bacteria.

Probiotic bacterial species are those that grow in milk, the unique food for newborns that lack a functional immune system. Probiotics cannot persist in the human gut and wash out after a couple of days. They are useful only if artificially administered each day. Probiotics are not normal.

Lack of adequate gut flora is frequently called a Candida overgrowth. Symptoms include food intolerances, which can be fixed by reinstating a normal gut flora of hundreds of different bacterial species. A million bacteria stacked together is smaller than the period printed on a page (a millionth of a gram.) The colon has a pound (500 grams) of bacteria -- that is waaaay more.

I think that the common human yeast, Candida albicans, does not compete with the typical gut flora and biofilms and so it only grows in the gut when nothing else will, e.g. after antibiotic treatment. Simply introducing lots of candidate gut bacteria will displace the yeast. Prolonged absence of the gut bacteria may cause significant compromising of the immune system.

Thus, I think that common medical use of antibiotics produces a significant population of profoundly Immunocompromised people who are excellent patients, because they will constantly return for treatment.

My impression is that use of antibiotics and probiotics, without actually repairing gut flora causes profound harm and makes people sicker.

Thanks for the questions.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Konstantin Monastyrsky is one of my heroes and is referenced on my first discussions of constipation. I agree with his reservations about grain fiber, but I don't think that he excludes reasonable amounts of vegetables. He also assumes that you have a normal gut flora that contains diverse species of bacteria that have the genes needed to produce enzymes to digest the soluble fiber that is present.

The problem occurs in the strange practice of eating whole grain products with bran added back. This is just unhealthy and just adds to the problems of the gluten contained in modern flour. I just avoid most products with wheat flour or any thing that says whole grains.

Thanks for your comments.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

High meat

Meat is easily and naturally digestible. People who have not eaten meat for a while cut down on there normal production of pancreatic enzymes and also starve out the gut bacteria that grow on the equivalent of soluble fiber in meat, proteoglycans, such as chondroitin sulfate and heparans. Lacking these normal digestive components, these people might feel the same distress as lactose intolerance, for similar reasons.

The gut produces all of the enzymes to digest meat proteins, fats and starch. All of the rest, which includes most of plants, is digested by gut flora. The stomach and pancreas is adapted for meat consumption. Meat is much easier to digest and is more completely digested than vegetables. Vegetables contain large amounts of toxic phytochemicals that plants produce to avoid herbivory and humans are only able to tolerate small amounts of domesticated plants that have been compromised by breeding to make them edible.

Thanks for your questions.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Premasticating food for toddlers

It has been a while since I thought about how my three college-age daughters got their first solid food.

I would recommend that all parents ignore the peculiar baby food present in grocery stores in little bottles and feed them whole foods. We just used a simple hand grinder, but just chewing it up yourselves makes a lot more sense and should be a lot healthier than the processed stuff. The only thing that I think is less healthy than baby food is formula. I don't think that either of these types of products would survive scrutiny for damaging the gut flora of babies and toddlers.

Thanks for evoking happy thought of yore.

constipation remedies said...

Hi Dr Art, a few questions...

1. What are your thoughts on finding a quality organic biodyanamic soil and adding it to some water and drinking it to start to re-balance out ones gut flora?

2. What are your top 3 ways to re-balance gut flora?

3. What are your thoughts on using Milk Kefir to replenish beneficial flora?


pat said...

Doc, thanks so much for your reply!

I had a theory that linked my food allergies backwards to Leaky Gut, to Candida. I was tested for food allergies by a naturopathic doc, and it found two strains of candida in my system.

I'm still hunting down a powerful probiotic to use once my candida dies out completely.

I don't typically buy organic vegetables, and wouldn't want to consume dirty non-organic veggies! How else may we replenish gut flora?

Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

In the past you have mentioned how beneficial it is to have FRESH herbs as opposed to dried. I was never able to get fresh herbs because I live in an apartment with no room for a garden, and also hate buying fresh herbs because much of it gets wasted.

A tip for everyone is to buy an aerogarden. I have this running in my apartment and have seven different herbs growing quite well. I use whenever needed with no worry about spoilage since it is still alive.

Josh Almanza said...

I second these questions, Thank you!

"Hi Dr Art, a few questions...

1. What are your thoughts on finding a quality organic biodyanamic soil and adding it to some water and drinking it to start to re-balance out ones gut flora?

2. What are your top 3 ways to re-balance gut flora?

3. What are your thoughts on using Milk Kefir to replenish beneficial flora?"

pat said...

I actually found some soil-based probiotics online after doing some research.

It's called Primal Defense HSO Probiotics. I don't want to link it in case I get flagged for spam. But it definitely has my curiosity peaked. I may buy some in a little while.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

The soil-based probiotics that you mention are just a dozen more species of random bacteria that are easily supplied. Some may be helpful, just like those from fermented dairy products, but these suffer from the same problems as other commercial probiotics, e.g. too few species that are not adapted to growth in the human gut and low numbers of live bacteria.

Functional, non-fastidious, personal and eating hygiene is more important than use of commercial probiotics.

My goal is to eat well and cultivate my inner garden of gut flora, so that I do not need any daily supplements.

Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr Ayers

i think your comment on high meat requires a whole post, especially the differentiation between meat digestion and plant food digestion in humans especially for non meat eaters.

Medjoub said...

Dr. Ayers-

I follow your anti-inflammatory protocol fairly tightly, though I include whole food starches like potatoes and bananas. I strength-train 3 or 4 times a week and remain lean. However, I still have persistent IBS symptoms. I realize that you are unable to give medical advice, but what is a suggested total quantity of raw veggies for an average day, for a person looking to try to improve his gut flora?

I've read carefully your comments about organic/commercial varieties of veggies, but I'm still unclear as to whether you think a person should eat veggies liberally even if they're mass-produced. In other words, could one theoretically improve gut flora by eating widely from Wal-mart produce?

Thanks for your important research.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Hi Medjoub,
I always enjoy your comments.

I think that you probably already eat enough veggies to feed your gut flora. The problem with inflammatory bowel disorders is that they disrupt the normal communication between the gut and adjacent bacteria/biofilm communities.

It is possible to just replace the unhealthy gut flora with a fecal transplant and that is a useful cure for Crohn's. It is also possible to change the unhealthy response of the gut to the disjunctional gut flora with low dose Naltrexone. Peppermint does that for IBS.

Unfortunately, just changing the food for the dysfunctional gut flora does not compensate for the lack of missing bacterial species that are needed to fix IBS. You need to eat the missing types of bacteria. There are probably a thousand different species of bacteria in a cup of soil and 150 different species in each person's gut. With IBS, you probably have several dozen fewer species and as a consequence, you are expected to have many food intolerances.

Commercial sources of vegetables have to be cleaned up to meet various public health requirements. That is good for the community to reduce communicable diseases, which are rare. Unfortunately for you, and beneficial to the medical industry, the associated absence of clinging soil bacteria, which could be converted into gut bacteria to heal your gut, are absent. Supermarkets with clean produce cannot provide the healing bacteria that your gut needs. Organic produce may be better/dirtier, because there is less tendency to wash and sanitize to remove pesticides and pathogens. Most studies have shown no health benefit to eating organic vegetables.

If I were you, I would look into peppermint, LDN, probiotics (for temporary use), fecal transplants, outdoor pets and gardening. Avoid antibiotics. Interact with healthy friends and dirty kids/pets. Avoid washing hands and bathing. You are probably to clean. Enjoy contact with everyone, except sick people and healthcare workers. I think that the gut flora of healthcare workers lowers the health of the community.

Thanks for your questions.

Medjoub said...

Dr. Ayers -

Thanks for your insight. I probably don't actually eat enough raw/dirty vegetables to be introducing any new bacterial species. It's difficult to find them, of course, without gardening -- though local produce is often dirtier and thus more useful (we have pretty good farmer's markets around here).

I certainly hope I don't have Crohn's, but I guess it's a possibility. My one recent experience with a GI doc went something like, "Well, you probably have IBS. I get a dozen like you every day. Your gut function will never be normal." Thanks for the help, doc.

Do you recommend peppermint tea?

Nick said...

Hi Dr. Ayers,
You recommended to the poster above me the following: "peppermint, LDN, probiotics (for temporary use), fecal transplants, outdoor pets and gardening. Avoid antibiotics. Interact with healthy friends and dirty kids/pets. Avoid washing hands and bathing."

I was wondering if think with these techniques one can "cure" the gut. That is, if these techniques can restore the gut to a more "normal" condition (e.g. if one was breastfed, vaginally born, never taken antibiotics, etc.). I understand it may take time, but is such a recovery possible?

Thanks, Art. Love your writings on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Art!

You've talked a lot about fecal transplants. If a person has a seriously bad gut(missing bacteria, candida) is it necessary to "flush" everything out before getting the transplant from a healthy donor or will it often be enough only getting the transplant?

How would it be possible to get rid of/flush out "everything" before doing a transplant?

How do you think missing bacteria and leaky gut might be linked to acne? If you think it is!

At this point I think the biggest problem for most people is that there isn't an "easy" way to get the good bacteria back into the colon. Do you think there would be possible to identify "all" the bacteria in the gut and make a probiotic supplement(or something) with most of the species. And would this work?

Thank you so much for this blog. I'm not sure if you're doing this only out of the kindness of your hearth(haha), but I would be happy to donate!

pat said...

Hi again Art,

The HSO probiotics I mentioned early sounded good...until I read something about soil-based organisms containing spores? Which are hard to kill and worse than a fungal infection (like candida). What are your thoughts on this?

I understand that probiotics are not the best way to re-colonize my gut. a re-introduction...I think I may still have to go that route. I'm not getting someone's poop transferred through my nose.


Anonymous said...

Hi, wondering why when antibiotics kill gut bacteria it causes constipation--wouldn't the system need to poop out the dead bacteria?

Anonymous said...

It worked! I can now eat yogurt without a lot of congestion; it took about 2 weeks. Thank you very much!

Are there any permanent intolerances?

Now I am wondering if DH's extreme reaction to tiny amounts of casein can be eliminated or ameliorated?

And what about nightshades? His joints flare up with potatoes but he seems ok with tomatoes, even cooked.

As for gluten, that bothers him a lot and I am not willing to risk experimenting with that one as it affects his sleep, digestion, mood, headaches and joints.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Gut flora and antibiotics

Antibiotics have historically been isolated from fungi, which produce antibiotics to kill bacteria that would otherwise consume their food. Fungi have adapted to eliminate competitors by synthesizing antibiotics.

Similarly, plants use phytochemicals to eliminate pathogens and herbivores, such as humans. Phytochemicals are anti-human.

Each antibiotic is only able to kill some species of bacteria and as a result of differences in the gut flora and variable protection provided by biofilms in each individual, the impact can be diarrhea or after a couple of bowel movements, constipation.

Live and dead bacteria are treated by the colon in the same way. Depending on the impact of antibiotic treatment, the remaining gut flora may regenerate so that bowel movements become normal, but the immune system is damaged. Alternatively, the immune system may remain mostly intact, but the bowel movements are altered.

Gut flora are incredibly robust, but antibiotics are incredibly destructive.

Thanks for your question.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Lactose, milk and gluten intolerances.

I am happy that you got your gut flora to adjust to lactose. That just took a couple of weeks, because your gut bacteria just had to adopt a single gene and you could easily provide lots of bacteria with the needed gene, i.e. yogurt.

Adapting your gut flora to proteins or glycoproteins, is a lot more complex. It may also involve true allergies, which would mean that your suppressive immune systems is weakened. The suppressive immune system, Tregs, requires interaction with particular species of gut bacteria, Clostridium spp. These bacteria are not present in most probiotics or fermented foods. Absence of the bacteria also make people susceptible to hospital infections of C. diff. These bacteria are usually acquired from environmental sources, such as other people, animals or fresh vegetables.

Gluten intolerance is another separate category. Gluten is directly toxic to the lining of the gut and small amounts can be tolerated. I think that some gut bacteria can provide increased tolerance. Most people lack these bacteria and should avoid gluten and wheat.

Thanks for your comments and questions.

Nick said...

Dr. Ayers,

While reading your last comment a question popped into my mind.

If a celiac individual increased his/her intestinal biodiversity (e.g. through kissing, eating dirt, etc.), could, that person potentially begin eating gluten again?

More generally, I'm still wondering about how possible it is to recover gut health. That is, to undo the mistake of antibiotics, no breast feeding, c-sections, no playing in the dirt, etc.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Hi Nick,
Is damage to gut flora reversible?

I think that it should be possible to change gut flora gradually or suddenly and reverse most of the consequences of dysfunctional gut flora on the gut and to the immune system..

If only diet is changed, I think that gut flora can be persistently resistant to alteration. Introduction of new bacteria, combined with treatments to purge existing bacteria can produce dramatic changes with major impacts on the symptom and progression of diseases. I am optimistic that most autoimmune diseases can be cured or at least substantially remediated. Gut flora alterations will probably be much more effective with fewer side effects than drug-based treatments.

Thanks for the questions.

Seth Roberts said...

I'm puzzled by two things.

1. Why do you believe "The hundreds of different types of bacteria needed for a healthy gut are normally acquired from other people and animals, and from uncooked, raw vegetables"? In other words, what is the evidence behind this?

2. The idea that "there are no genes for food intolerance" seems to ignore the vast literature on the spread of a lactase gene. For example

You don't know about this? you don't believe it? or what?

Nick said...

Thank you for answering my questions Dr Ayers. It helps me quite a bit.

Just one more question: what do you mean by "treatments to purge existing bacteria"?

Also, I find Seth's question #1 to be interesting.

Thanks for your time, Dr Ayers.

Ian said...

Hello Dr. Ayers:

You mention Konstantin Monastyrsky as a hero of yours. Isn't he against all fiber, and particularly soluble fiber in things like leeks because he claims it promotes malabsorption?

But your writings mention inulin and leeks as a good thing. Could you please explain where Konstantin wrong with his logic regarding soluble fiber?

Thanks a lot.

Ian said...

I should provide a reference:

The section titled 'Soluble fiber: A killer food, literally' here:

, appears to be totally at odds with what you wrote in your blog post.

Ramsay said...

Art, I am very grateful for the time you spend educating us on the largest organ of our body! Thanks!

My question is about GMOs. (Genetically Modified Organisms - in 80% + of processed foods)

Can healthy gut flora protect us from some/most/all of them?

By the way, we're trying to get on the ballot in CA.

For those that don't know, a study was done feeding them to baby rats. The rats got very sick. The tenured researcher got immediately canned.


NOTICE: If you're honest, rich and reading this, and want to invest in a company that gets folks healthier you should contact me. Then we should ask Art to be our adviser.

We'd have to sign a 'never sell out' agreement. My website is

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I would say that KM and I are in agreement.

Gut bacteria digest soluble fiber and these bacteria have the genes that code for the specialized enzymes that convert these carbohydrates into various byproducts. The byproducts are used to support the growth of other members of the gut flora, e.g. hydrogen that feeds H. Pylor, or to feed the cells that line the colon, e.g. Short chain fatty acids.

In the absence of a complete gut flora, e.g. after treatment with antibiotics, partial digestion of soluble fiber can result in byproducts that are irritants. This is how many laxatives work. Continual use of the laxatives with access to new bacteria will eventually repair the gut flora community and the laxatives will contribute top the growth of colon bacteria and normal stools. Unfortunately, people are constipated because of bad eating habits and use of antibiotics, so new bacteria are not acquired and constipation is maintained.

KM describes the consequences of eating soluble fiber with damaged gut flora and provides the obvious example of cattled being fattened by treatment with antibiotics and fed grain. The cattle get fat and sick just like the average American given the same treatment.

A healthy person has a gut flora that is adapted to digest dietary soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber contains plant polymers, such as lignin, that cannot be digested by gut flora. Insoluble fiber is the organic component of soil humus. Insoluble fiber, just like humus, binds minerals and transports them out of the body.

Thanks for the questions.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I support most of Mercola's perspectives.

I think that most discussion about GMOs is political. People only want to prove their prejudices. GMOs come down to inserting genes into organisms. This is a natural process that is aggressively occurring continuously and rapidly in every human gut. Biofilms make new species of bacteria. Crown gall is an example of plants naturally taking up bacterial genes.

Plant breeding based on GMOs should produce plants with any desired genetic composition. If unhealthy plants occur, it is because of the evaluation procedure, not because of the gene insertion technology. After all, traditional breeding by crossing plants and selecting for desired traits, is a much less controlled process than genetic engineering and it has been much more destructive to plant species.

So, I can't get very excited about the hazards of GMOs. The potential hazard is from the genes that are incorporated, not in the method of incorporation. If the genes are safe, then it should be possible to make a safe GMO with that gene.

Plants are inherently toxic and varieties and products from plants must be demonstrated to be safe, regardless of how the plant was created. Organic, natural, etc., do not mean safe, but rather they mean the usual toxicity. Most plants will kill baby mammals, that is why women have morning sickness to make them avoid eating plants. Phytochemicals are dangerous to fetuses.

I would say that GMOs are safer than the industries and politics that support and oppose them.

Thanks for your comments.

Ian said...

Thank you for the answer. I guess Konstantin never really addresses how it works in a healthy gut, which is what you were doing. Hence my disconnect.

I was wondering if I could ask you to give your opinion on something? Many of your readers, clear from the posts here, would love more actionable steps they could take to improve their gut health. There is very little practical information available. I was wondering if you might comment on this piece, entitled 'Fermentation in the gut and CFS' by Dr. Sarah Myhill out of the UK:

I am confident that many of your readers would love to know if you think she is correct, or at least, which parts are correct and worth pursuing.

Thank you so much for making your thoughts available to us.

Anonymous said...

Dr Ayers you've got me curious on why no milk but other dairy products are ok? Kindly to consider my curiosity :)


Asim said...

Glad your back fully swinging Dr. Ayers. A thought just crossed my mind, which is:

Why don't you have sleep as part of the Cooling Inflammation diet?!?!

Dr. Art Ayers said...

OK, Milk

Milk is a problem for some people, similar to gluten.

Milk is powerful, because it contains nutrients, antimicrobials, prebiotics, (probiotics?), growth factors, maternal antibodies and maternal lymphocytes. All of those components are adapted for the development of neonates of a particular species. Thus, cow's milk may be problematical for young and old humans.

Pasteurization and homogenization alter milk in major and subtle ways. Removing fat from milk provides additional problems, especially for girls.

Fermented dairy products are much less powerful, but retain many nutrients.

You can see that drinking milk is, for me, unnecessarily complex. Even milk in my morning coffee is a problem, because it gives me a morning insulin spike that subsequently leads to a decrease in blood sugar, hunger and carb craving.

It is just much easier for me to have cream in my coffee. There are no nutrients in milk that I can't easily get from other foods. Eggs, for example, are much less problematical, because their antimicrobial proteins are easily inactivated by cooking.

Thanks for your persistence.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Hi Asim,
You are of course correct in including sleep as an essential component of a healthy life style. It is more important than exercise and an integral part of circadian cycles. Sleep, vitamin D, melatonin, etc. make up a very large discussion.

Thanks for the reminder. I will update my diet and life style guidelines to include sleep.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the reply Dr. Ayers. Perhaps caffeine is what is creating the false hypoglycemia for you since it works as a vaso-constrictor and has glycogen sparing effects which is what is causing the carb cravings by reducing glucose in the blood and further preventing the remaining glucose from reaching far enough into the brain.

From your description i find milk to be exactly that - powerful! :)


TCO348 said...

Art, I'm still wondering if you think that consuming a little bit of soil here and there would be effective. I'm talking about just putting a quarter teaspoon of soil in a couple of ounces of water and swigging it down. Maybe take it from different places around town (away from chemically treated lawns and away from roadways of course) from different types of soils and fora stands and just eating it? Seems to me that would introduce a huge variety of bacteria into the gut flora.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I think that eating a variety of soil,especially compost, would provide good input for the development of versatile, healthy gut flora, except that it would also,provide exposure to lots of parasites and pathogens.

The bottom line is that healthy sources of gut flora have not been explored, prolly because they would be an economic disaster to the medical industry. Medicine is only expensive and required in bulk, because gut florals hard to repair in a medical context.

Thanks for your comments.

Sarah said...

hello Dr. Ayers,

Along the same lines as the poster who wondered if adequate sleep should be added to the anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle list, I was wondering about stress reduction. Perhaps this is what you were getting at with the vagal stimulation suggestion, since you noted in another post that the efficacy of stress reduction and acupuncture both point to the vagus nerve being stimulated.

Is this what you were getting at with the vagal stimulation bit?

Also, do you have any thoughts on varicose vein pain "flaring up" during the first couple of days of the female cycle (think pelvic cramping and burning, aching leg pain along the large varicose veins) and whether or not this is inflammatory or not, and should using the anti-inflammatory suggestions help with that kind of pain as well. What causes varicose veins in the first place? In my case, they started with pregnancy and got progressively worse with each of 4 pregnancies, to the point where I ended up with a horrible case of thrombophlebitis after the birth of my 4th child. Just wondering if the inflammation came first or whether the vein relaxation and increased blood volume(from pregnancy) caused injury and then inflammation.

Just wondered if you had ever looked at any study regarding this and had any thoughts on it.

Anonymous said...

dr ayers

thanks for your help previously now
i have started with yogurt just yesterday and getting stinky/green diarhea is my gut bacteria changing?

how long before i can stop with this?
i hope i wont need any fecal transplants?
i'm on a lacto veg diet (adventists) and low vit d (already got a heat stroke this summer) and no fish oil(adventists rule). i thought i'll remind you and take advise on the next steps i need to be taking.

yogurt has stopped my anxiety too and sudden onset of low sugar symptoms like fatigue and sleep.

i'm in my late twenties.

margaret said...

I read through your post. I was wondering if premature babies, who are in NICU given all sorts of drugs may have their gut flora gone by the time they go home. We foster a 15 month old who has had constipation since coming to us at the age of two months. I am now wondering what to do since every doctor has pushed Mirlax and no one has talked about the flora. What do you think?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I think that NICU's frequently ignore research that clearly shows that using only feeding products derived from human milk via mother or milk banks greatly reduces complications. Nursery nurses also contaminate otherwise exclusively breastfed babies even against instructions to save effort on their part. Many hospital staff mistakenly think that a single bottle of formula will make no difference. Milk banks are also the sensible and cost effective choice instead of formula for young babies that can't breastfeed.

So, there are easy ways to make sure that the specialized gut flora of newborns is established in hospital settings. The question you pose is what to do after the hospital has botched the gut flora as revealed by constipation.

Hygiene is the biggest problem. A clean home is hard on toddlers with constipation. The biggest threat is the kid's compromised immune system due to its dysfunctional gut flora. Babies ingest thousands of different species of bacteria from soil tracked on to the floor. Those bacteria are needed to establish a healthy gut flora. Only a minuscule fraction of the bacteria can cause a problem and it is much more unhealthy to be around people if the kid has only been exposed to sanitized places. Clean day cares are much less healthy than playing in the dirt in the back yard. Antibiotics are always a risk for gut flora and probiotics are good temporary help.

I have dozens of articles on this site on related topics. Let me know how you do.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

As I see it, the mensrual cycle is a cycle of inflammation. Inflammation is highest when the uterine lining is shedding and lowest when progesterone is highest. The start of your period is inflammatory and that is when bodywide inflammation will be greatest.

I would expect that all of your symptoms are aggregated by inflammation and can be reduced by the anti-inflammatory diet that I recommend on the top of this page. I expect that you are vitamins D deficient and many of your symptoms can be controlled by eliminating vegetable oils and supplementing with fish oil. Sleep and stress reduction will also help.

I think that contributing factors for varicose veins are inflammation-based compromise of connective tissue, extra weight and inadequate exercise.

Let me know if this helps.

Sarah said...

Dr. Ayers,

Thanks for your comments. I just saw my family doctor for a physical and asked for my vitamin D level to be checked. You were right in suspecting my vitamin d level to be low. It was 24. :-/ And that was after a couple of months of regular sun exposure and daily doses of 2000 units of D3 per day. I am hopeful that getting my levels up will help alleviate some of my inflammatory symptoms. I'm taking 6000 units per day now.

The vein thing continues to be an issue, and I'm still in the process of having the dysfunctional veins removed, but I would love to prevent reoccurance in the future. Just yesterday I saw an allergist for some ongoing sinus issues. They are NOT allergy based, but definitely inflammatory for unknown reasons. I believe I have "vasomotor non-allergic rhinitis". Doc gave me the non-allergic rhinitis diagnosis, but after reading a bit about that, there are a few different kinds, and mine seems to fit very closely with the "vasomotor" type. Interesting. Of course, I was prescribed a steroid nasal spray, which I don't intend to use.

I have been quite faithful with the fish oil and will continue, so hopefully with ramping up my adherence to your anti-inflammatory diet, and getting my D levels up, I'll be feeling better. Some joint pain I was having in my thumb joint has already greatly diminished.

Thanks again for the comments.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I am glad that you are addressing your vitD deficiency. I am not an MD, but my impression is that a D deficiency can sometimes only be reversed by doses of 10,000 IU per day or weekly prescription doses of 60,000 IU until inflammation is lowered enough to restart skin production. I think that you will have to check again to make sure that your treatment is working. The D3 supplement is only used until your inflammation is under control. It is not routine.

One of the best treatments for sinus problems is humming. Humming is more effective than antibiotics for sinus infections, for example.

Keep me updated.

Sarah said...

Dr Ayers, thanks for the info on the vitamin d supplementation dosage. I do intend to have my level checked again at my follow up with the doctor in a couple of weeks. If it remains unimproved, I will think about taking the higher dose for a while and then recheck.

I lost a nice 6 pounds and trimmed my middle nicely on the 6 week cure this past spring. I've gone back to my old habits and have gained half of the weight back, but look just as fluffy in the middle as before. Argh. Low carb has always worked well for my general well being...if I could just stick to it... I have not used any veg oils except olive and coconut for many years now.

So it is really the low carb thing and the exercise/stress reduction stuff I really need to get on. Both my vein doc and my cardio doc (currently having a workup for frequent pvcs...hopefully nothing more...we will see later next week) say I need cardio exercise, which I have never done regularly at all (excuse being not enough energy or time with 4 kids and a busy life). If you have any opinions about cardio or not for circulation and palpitation problems (or opinions about exercise in general), shoot away.

I really look forward to knowing what a low-inflammation life feels like. I feel like I'm finally on the right track. Thanks again for your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

my toddler seems to be lactose intolerant (for lack of a better word), otherwise he is healthy. I have been trying to give him yogurt to help, and recently started giving him a little bit of milk. he does fine with yogurt, but the loose stools have returned since i tried to give him milk.

You mentioned yogurt with live culture, (is this a yogurt you get at the grocery store, or do you have to add something to the yogurt as well?) Is there a type/brand of yogurt you recommend?

My son received formula (we adopted him) and then he has had almond milk since he stopped formula as I was under the impression that dairy milk was bad, (after watching some food documentaries etc), so we felt it best to not have him on it, but it seems that may have led to his lactose intolerance.

Any suggestions you have as to help him tolerate milk would be appreciated.

Also, I started exercising a lot and trying to eat healthier, and ever since then, I can't even enjoy an occasional treat like cookies or cake. I have always been fairly healthy and exercised, so I don't know why all of a sudden I get bloated and feel crummy afterwards.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to heal my leaky gut on the GAPS diet, using a bunch of supplements and eating fermented foods, bone broths etc... however I'm pretty positive I'm histamine intolerant, should I be worried that fermented foods (being naturally high in histamine) will prevent the leaky gut from healing? I'm paranoid the release of histamine damages the gut lining, as I've heard some other people are.

Raj said...

Dr. Art Ayers you are GOD. I started reading your post like 8 months back after finding out from doctor after endoscopy that I been suffering from h.pylori colonization from childhood. At the age of 30 I was almost like an Autistic kid my body was so inflamed that I can not even look in to peoples eye. I was repeatedly given anti biotics because of growing up in India with all the water born pathogens. Result was I lost all the good gut flora to teach my immune system how to operate.

Let me share my story. To cure H pylori doctor gave me antibiotics nothing happened for 2 days still I can feel burning sensation and on third day after reading your post went to Walgreen for very first time in life took a probiotic with lacto bacillus. That night slept like a baby and next day woke up with zero fibromyalgia.

Past year has been humbling experience for me. I owe you a gratitude for educating me about gut flora.All the modern day doctors seem to look only for your insurance money and not your functional well being. The force that caused me the illness has also sent me you to solve it. Please help other ignorant people too.Kudos!!

lauren said...

Hi Dr. Ayers,

I have been following your blog for quite some time now, you have helped me greatly in my journey to debunk my health problems. My worst symptoms right now are constipation, fatigue and hair loss/bad skin. I am aType 1 Diabetic (since I was 12, I am now 25) which was always very well controlled. I contracted a staph infection last year, was on mass amounts of IV/oral antibiotics and my health spiraled downhill since then. To the point where I had to quit working and move home with my parents because I can't manage the symptoms. I have never had digestive problems in my life. I now have a diagnosis of IBS-C, suspicion of Fibromyalgia, no energy or appetite, insomnia, muscle pain, depression/anxiety, etc. I am just totally in the dark.

My question for you is that I have been eating yogurt, fermented food, bone broths, etc. and take probiotics daily(PB8 and Raw Women) but it doesn't make a difference at all. I was about 70% raw vegan before this ordeal, exercising every morning 6 days a week. Now I am totally debilitated. I try to eat a clean whole balanced diet with some meats but I never feel any better. I am considering fecal transplants since absolutely nothing is helping my constipation and related symptoms.

Do you know why I am having such a hard time from the antibiotics almost a year later, why diet and probiotics are not helping, and if a fecal transplant is really my only chance at recovery?

Thank you so much for all you do. If you are not able to answer my question I will follow up with all of your many suggestions.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

You should be able to fix all of your problems by repairing your gut flora.

Your medical treatments/antibiotics ruined your gut flora. Since bacteria make up most of your stools, it is expected that you will have constipation and since those bacteria are directly involved in the development of your immune system, it is expected that your health will be compromised by autoimmunity.

Medical people know that healthy gut flora consists of hundreds of different species of bacteria and that typical probiotics grow only on milk and do not survive in the gut. Hence, probiotics will not fix constipation, because constipation indicates a severely compromised gut flora with a hundred different species missing.

Most people return to health after antibiotics, because they have other sources of bacteria, e.g. other healthy people, pets, dirt floors. That is why people with mates, pets, farm animals and sloppy food preparation are healthier. Hygiene can prevent healing from antibiotic damage.

What is a clean whole balanced diet? You need to be eating "muddy" raw veggies. The bacteria that you need for your gut health are commonly found in soil and feces. I think that you are too good at avoiding both sources.

Let me know how you do.

Anonymous said...

Hi there I came across your blog searching for a remedy for my four year old son's chronic constipation. I plan on implementing your diet suggestions (as much as possible with my carb loving kid). Anyway your ideas stuck a familiar cord to a lot of research I've done on organic gardening and the soil food web, specifically Jeff lowenfels book teaming with microbes. I got me wondering if compost tea might be a safer alternative to consuming actual soil as it might have less of a risk of parasites while still getting the bacteria. Wondering what your thought are on this.

Anonymous said...

On second thought the tea is much more potent than compost and probably contains the same parasites- bad idea. So when you suggest eat soil clinging vegetables are you suggesting the benefits of the bacteria outweigh the risk of the chances of contracting a parasite. I'm trying to reconcile this idea with my paranoia of parasites. In another post you advised a commenter not to sample small amounts of soil around his community because of the risk of parasites (if I understood your response correctly). Where then is the fine line and what is the difference between eating soil clinging vegetables and small amounts of soil. Just trying to understand.

Anonymous said...

I have bookmarked your site and plan to read more. My gut problems started with c difficile toxin and a suspected case of giardia caught from a child who caught it at kindergarten. Resulting lactose intolerance and now suspected histamine intolerance rules my life six years later. Will your methods work to replace gut flora after such problem? I believe the bacteria in my gut may produce too much histamine because of the destruction of others. I am more concerned about curing the histamine symptoms than lactose and wonder if it's possible.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. I had 7 healthy babies & only had morning sickness with 1 of them; consumed many plants per my usual diet with no adverse effects. I feel the morning sickness with my 1st baby was due to poor diet during my college years.
From the little study I've done on GMOs, the issue seems to be that much of it has been done for the purpose of creating plants that can withstand more pesticides & remain healthy. Therefore, the health risk isn't really the GMO, it's the addition of toxic levels of pesticides.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

The purpose of GMOs is to make money by selling seed, herbicides and pesticides to farmers. The farmers buy the seed/herbicide package only if it is cheaper, provides greater yields and is safer. Selling Roundup resistant soybeans along with roundup does increase sales of Roundup, but it reduces use of other more toxic herbicides. The net result is less gasoline use, less total herbicide use and less total herbicide in soy products. It is also clear that using molecular techniques to make new GMO varieties is less harmful to the plant genetic diversity and safer than traditional plant breeding that has beed responsible for tremendous damage to crop plants, e.g. loss of disease resistance. Pesticide use is dramatically reduced with Bt GMOs. GMOs in general contain lower residual herbicides and pesticides than traditional farming using other herbicides and pesticides. One may not like the business models of companies producing GMOs, but the GMO soybeans and corn are not a problem.

My point in discussing morning sickness, was to identify it as a healthy, natural reminder not to eat plants and their teratogenic (birth defect causing) phytoalexins during the first sensitive trimester. Lack of appropriate morning sickness is an indication of an aggressive detox system to eliminate phytoalexins leaking into blood or reduced health that dulls the vomit reflex. Morning sickness is inconvenient, but normal.

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