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 .

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dr. Oz Diet and Gut Flora Myths

I just watched a Dr. Oz program on health myths, including corrections, such as recognition of the high fructose content of agave syrup (especially bad for diabetics.)  So I thought I would go ahead and correct some of the perspectives on his show that I don't think are supported by biomedical research.

The Big Truth about Diet and Gut Flora
Health results primarily from a matched Diet AND Gut Flora, with minor contributions by exercise, personal genetics, environmental toxins, etc.  You can eat the extremes of just meat or only vegetables or any mixture and be healthy, as long as your gut flora is made up of about two hundred different species of bacteria that can fully digest the soluble fiber in your diet.  Health requires a gut flora adapted to your diet.  Those bacteria, the gut flora, produce all of your needed vitamins, eliminate constipation, block inflammation and control the development of your immune system, which takes place in the lining of your intestines in response to gut bacteria.

Assorted Health Truths
Truth:  Saturated fats are healthy, but polyunsaturated omega-6 vegetable oils are inflammatory.  Oz can't bring himself to read the literature and acknowledge the heart benefits of saturated fats and meat.

Truth:  Soluble fiber, e.g. pectin in fruit or inulin in leeks or chondroitin in meat, is healthy food for gut flora, but insoluble fiber, such as in whole grains is a scam and just sucks out micronutrients.  Oz could really help the public by explaining that the hundreds of different polysaccharides produced by plants, i.e. soluble fiber, are digested by hundreds of different enzymes in gut flora.  Gut flora digest soluble fiber into sugars that are converted into short chain fatty acids that feed intestinal cells.

Truth:  GMOs have been studied intensively, are relatively boring and healthy, but organically grown veggies have not been shown to provide any additional health benefits over conventional.  Oz adheres to a very political line and attacks GMOs without any reasoned arguments and touts organic veggies without reference to supporting research.

Truth:  Grass grown beef has healthier fats with more omega-3 oils, but omega-3 plant oils, such as ALA in flax, provide only minor benefits and can't substitute for the long chain DHA and EPA in fish/algae oil.  Oz keeps pushing flax seed even though the benefits are minimal and the problems of high insoluble fiber have not been tested.

Truth:  Constipation is a sign of unhealthy gut flora and can lead to autoimmune disease, allergy or food intolerance, but laxatives such as magnesium only fix the symptoms and not the missing essential gut bacteria.  Oz is really confused about constipation and focuses on dehydration rather than the bacterial content of stools.

Truth:  Antibiotics may be essential for surgery or life threatening bacterial diseases, but antibiotic-damaged gut flora must be repaired (not just probiotics) or the immune system will be compromised.  Antibiotics are major contributors to autoimmune disease and I don't think that Oz realizes the damage that he starts or continues by not repairing gut flora after he repairs hearts.

Truth:  Dairy probiotics, e.g. Lactobacillus or Acidophilus, can provide a quick fix for some functions of gut flora, but these limited probiotic bacteria do not survive in the gut and do not substitute for normal gut bacteria.  I think that Oz still sends his patients home with yogurt after heavy antibiotic treatment and leaves his patients with damaged gut flora and long term disease risk.

Truth:  An Anti-Inflammatory Diet can reduce sources of inflammation that is the foundation for cancer, autoimmunity, allergy and most diseases, but adding new bacteria (not dairy probiotics) through social contacts and live fermented foods is essential for a healthy gut and immune system.

Truth:  All needed vitamins are supplied by healthy gut flora (as biofilm chemical signals) and healthy people do not benefit from multivitamin supplements, but people with damaged gut flora, e.g. because of antibiotic use or autoimmune disease, may require specific vitamins.

Truth:  Antioxidants are just plant defense chemicals, i.e. plant antibiotics, that are unimportant in general health, but they may alter gut flora in unpredictable ways.  Oz likes all antioxidants, but can't explain why these generally toxic chemicals are not used by plants as antioxidants.

Truth:  All of the vitamin D that we need is supplied by minimal skin exposure to sunlight, but most Americans are vitamin D deficient, because chronic inflammation blocks solar production of vitamin D in the skin.  Oz doesn't seem to understand the role of inflammation in vitamin D deficiency.

Truth:  We don't need Grains and other sources of starch, but grains also typically cause health problems, e.g. sensitivity, intolerance or celiac, for most people and can cause inflammation of the gut and disruption of the gut flora that can lead to autoimmune diseases.  Most thyroid disease and back problems are autoimmune diseases that start with celiac.  Oz still promotes whole grains even though added bran lowers nutritional quality and many people are healthier without grains.  He also seems to ignore the relationship between grain, antibiotics and autoimmune disease.

Truth:  Breakfast is not a necessary meal and there are health benefits to lengthening the time between the last and first meal of the day, but if breakfast is eaten, it should be low in sugar and starch, i.e. avoid cereal, since cereal causes a severe spike in insulin when eaten after a fast.  Breakfast makes you hungry, because even protein in the morning will raise insulin and cause an eventual abrupt drop in blood sugar that is experienced as hunger.  Why does Oz believe in breakfast?

Truth:  Food intolerances and allergies (rare) are due to missing species of gut bacteria, but these eating problems cannot be fixed by diet alone, since new bacteria (other than dairy probiotics) must be eaten.  Dairy probiotics are only useful to cure lactose intolerance.

Truth:  Hygiene should be minimal, because most people repair damaged gut flora due to antibiotics, for example, by intimate contact with friends and pets.  Antimicrobial soaps and sterile home surfaces prevent gut flora repair, because the vast majority of bacteria killed by hygiene are beneficial.  Appropriate hygiene is a real problem for Oz and he is obsessed with closing toilet covers.

Truth:  Cardiovascular disease starts with inflammation and is aggravated by fat deposits, but statins and lowered serum cholesterol only reduce heart attack risk, because statins have a weak side effect of lowering inflammation.  Diet changes and repair of gut flora, e.g. my Anti-Inflammatory Diet, fish oil supplements and wild fermented foods, are much more effective at reducing inflammation and curing cardiovascular disease without the severe risks of statins.  Oz is slowly becoming skeptical of statins, but still hasn't read the research literature critically.

Truth:  Poor health and most diseases have only minor genetic risk factors, but diet and gut flora are "inherited" directly and shared by the whole family.  When your doctor asks what diseases run in your family, she is asking about your shared gut flora.  Oz still gives the impression that genes are significant in disease and for example asks audience members if relatives have had heart disease.  He should tell them to repair their gut flora!

Summary Diet Truths

Truth:  There is nothing magic about healthy foods.  All that is needed are protein (meat, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, etc.; plant and animal proteins are equivalent), fats (from leaf and meat, not omega-6-rich seeds) and soluble fiber (to feed gut flora) from their original sources to retain naturally abundant micronutrients (vitamins, except C, are usually unimportant.)  That is my Anti-Inflammatory Diet and supplements should not be needed.  Natural, local foods are healthy, but there are no super foods and exotic does not mean better.  Variety does not compensate for low quality.  Your gut flora needs time to adjust, especially to new soluble fiber, so just change foods with the seasons, not daily, and make sure that you are sampling new bacteria in live fermented foods to make your gut community adaptable.


Raj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Art Ayers said...

Hi Raj,
You are too kind. I know that my prose is a little terse and twisted, because I try to pack too much into too small a space.

It is hard for people to see that the medical industry is not interested in causes or cures. All of the money and their business model is focused on treatment, management of terminal diseases and perpetually sick patients. Antibiotics insure return visits for treatment of more severe disease.

Fortunately, health is cheap and simple. All it takes is a basic understanding of biology.

Thanks for your comments.

TJ said...

Dr. - Just wanted to thank you for your blog, and particularly for this article!

Ashley said...

When it comes to the medical profession I think they've worked out there is no money in dead people and not much money in healthy people, whereas a longterm chronic disease they can manage with prescription drugs may not make much sense but it makes a lot of dollars.

Eirik Garnas said...

Good post as always!

You mentioned GMO as being relatively harmless. What are your thoughts on gene
transfer from gmo to the gut microbiome?

El Librero said...

Interesting article in Science on gut bacteria of Hazda hunter gatherers.

Leach's motivation is highly personal. Eleven years ago, at age 2, his daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. After digging through the literature and contacting leading scientists, Leach came to the conclusion that, in addition to a genetic predisposition, a lack of contact with bacteria caused her disease. Leach's daughter was delivered through a cesarean section, which prevented her from being exposed to the maternal bacteria that most babies encounter in the birth canal. She was breast-fed for a few months instead of the 2 years or more seen in traditional societies, and grew up in a rather sterile suburban U.S. home dominated by antimicrobial soaps and chlorine-wiped tables.

This led to an imbalance in her gut microbiota, Leach says, which caused the gut to become inflamed and leaky; that allowed bacterial products to enter the bloodstream and inflame insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, which were then attacked and destroyed by immune cells. (Several recent studies support this hypothesis.) "Realizing there was a causal relationship between my daughter's health and the environment my ex-wife and I had created made me feel guilty and angry," he says.

Unknown said...

this is interesting and informative. What are some good sources of "wild fermented" foods. I'm guessing fermented sauerkraut & kimchee.
Those are pretty high sodium. I'm low sodium renal diet and also for open heart/blood pressure. What are your thoughts about that amount of sodium? Thanks again for this post.

Anonymous said...

Why am I able to eat a certain food for years and then all of a sudden I get an intolerance even if I haven't taken any antibiotics in that time?

Puddleg said...

The opposite of an organic food is not a GMO, but a food produced with the use of hormones, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, sprout suppressors, and refined inorganic fertilizers such as nitrates and phosphates (which degrade water and soil quality). GMOs are just one aspect of this production, a relatively recent one.
Organic foods are going to be better for gut flora if pesticides impact on them. Why put a chemical on your food that you wouldn't want in your water, unless you need to use it to eat at all? Organic farming is when you don't have to.
I don't think it's a big deal (GMO foods are mostly foods you wouldn't recommend anyway, even if they were organic, like wheat, corn and soy). But there's more to it than you say here. For the rest, I do agree.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I know that all of those farm treatments are made to sound unnatural and harmful, but the carryover into food is not enough to make a health difference compared to organic food. Part of the reason is that plants produce very high levels of phytochemicals that are more toxic to bacteria than farm chemicals. Pesticides actually reduce production of natural toxic chemicals in organically grown plants in response to insects. Milk is naturally antimicrobial and only permits the growth of dairy probiotics and inhibits the growth of adult gut flora. Herbs and spices are antimicrobial and have been shown to be used in geographical regions matched to kill the bacteria in those regions.

I am supportive of sustainable agriculture and have in the past worked with Rodale to explore the breeding of disease resistant crops. I have also done research on plant phytochemicals that act as antibiotics. The point is that plants are naturally very toxic to microorganisms and adding farm chemicals doesn't seem to make much of a difference. Animals can only eat plants, because they have enzymes to detoxify most phytochemicals and gut bacteria specialize on producing enzymes that can digest plant polysaccharides (soluble fiber.)

There is no commercial GMO wheat available. All of the gluten problems occur with wheat varieties produced by traditional breeding ( which systematically removed disease resistance genes from all major crops in the search for higher yields.)

Thanks for your comments.

Kim said...

My 17 year old son has been ill since having antibiotics when he was 14. I have finally come to the conclusion today that the main part of the problem is that his vitamin producing bacteria have been pretty much destroyed, and some histamine producing bacteria might be making more histamine now, too. First we found he needed a lot of folate, lately I have realized that he is extremely low in pantothenic acid - his symptoms are caused by histamine (depression) and when he eats meals with fats he starts feeling worse after about 20 minutes when the fats have started reaching the blood and the coenzyme A is drawn away from acetaldehyde dehydrogenase into fat metabolism. At least that is what I think is happening because when I supplement a lot of pantothenic acid it relieves the-20-minute-after-meals increase in symptoms. I imagine he must be low in biotin too, and I am already giving niacin.

Anyway, this relates more to earlier posts, but we have given him one fecal transplant, from a 12 year old boy who has a good diet and is healthy and has never had antibiotics, but it didn't seem to do anything. It is usual to need to do multiple transplants to get the flora established? I just read in another post that it is a good idea to make sure your diet matches the donors so we will attend to that on our next try.

I did a FT on my husband a while back after he had diarrhea for 6 weeks following pneumonia with antibiotics (he went in the hospital when he had the pneumonia) and it was a complete success, but it seems to be harder to establish new vitamin producing bacteria in our son than it was to overcome the clostridium or whatever that was causing the diarrhea.

Do you have any advice on increasing the success with the FT's? He is taking a lot of supplements because without them he is VERY depressed. Would he have to stop taking the supplements for the FT to work? He takes about 9 grams of niacin and 1.4 grams of magnesium and about 10 grams of pantothenic acid, each day to support acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (to cut back on the feedback loop which inhibits DAO and histamine N-metheyltransferase, from the buildup of thier acetaldehyde products.) He also takes some vitamin C and zinc and a multi.

He was on GAPS and now he is off but he never has sugar or vegetable oils, and usually not even honey but he does like milk from our goats.

Any advice your might have would be appreciated.



Dr. Art Ayers said...

Gene transfer between GMOs and gut flora is irrelevant because genes expressed in plants can't be expressed in the bacteria and the GMO DNA is degraded and would have difficulty penetrating the gut biofilms where gene transfer normally takes place. In any event, the genes unique to the GMOs would provide no selective advantage and gut bacteria containing them would just be displaced. The GMO genes also don't produce anything which is toxic. Thousands of other naturally occurring genes in food would be much more problematical if transferred and they have not yet been detected.

The rampant DNA transfer in the gut creates new bacterial species daily by exchanging genes among the gut flora in the biofilms lining the gut. Food DNA is a rare contributor.

Thanks for your question and comments.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

El Librero,
Leach provides some interesting perspectives, but I think that his personal perspectives have some questionable assumptions about his daughter's diabetes.

I think that his daughter's gut flora may have been disrupted by Caesarian delivery and interrupted breastfeeding, but only if formula was introduced during the breastfeeding would there have been a problem. Absent formula, adult gut flora would have been excluded and normal baby probiotics would have been introduced and established by the breast milk.

I agree with the negative impact of hygiene, diet and the poor gut flora of the parents. He appears to have missed the defects in Treg development in the gut. Other contributors could have been grains and antibiotics.

There is no need to hypothesize a leaky gut, because low dietary fat that decreases bile production can lead to gut bacteria migrating into the gall bladder and pancrease to produce pancreatitis, which would cause presentation of pancreas antigens including proinsulin, which has localized basic amino acids that enhance autoimmunity. Inadequate Treg development would permit antibody production to pancrease antigens. Note that the histocompatibility genes that provide enhanced genetic risk to diabetes are involved in antigen presentation.

My initial impression of microbiome work that focuses on rRNA taxonomy, is that it will miss the importance of genes involved in soluble fiber digestion, which are rapidly transferred among different species of gut flora bacteria. Thus, trying to associate health with taxonomy would seem to be problematic, as has been observed. What is important is the full complement of genes present in the gut flora, and not the species/rRNA. The species concept has been shown to not be valid in gut flora.

Thanks for the comments.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Low potassium or a low potassium/sodium ratio is the actual contributor to blood pressure problems, even though a more relevant problem is premature death of capillaries. In the case of fermented, brined veggies, I guess that I would probably give them a quick rinse and maybe add back some potassium salt substitute. You may also use the fermented veggies to some other part of the meal, such as unsalted meat, so that the whole meal is still low in salt.

Thanks for the questions/comments.

Unknown said...

Dr. Ayers,

I've been reading several of your post for a while. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

You often advise people taking fish oil supplements, but I've found information elsewhere stating that the anti-inflammatory effects of Omega 3 fats on humans remain inconclusive.

This study ( example came to the following conclusion:

Observational studies in healthy adults support the recommendation that a diet rich in n-3 fatty acids may play a role in preventing and reducing inflammation, whereas intervention studies in healthy adults have yielded inconsistent results. The majority of intervention studies in adults with features of MetS have reported a benefit for some inflammatory measures; however, other studies using high n-3 fatty acid doses and long supplementation periods have reported no effect. Overall, the data reviewed herein support recommendations for regular fatty fish consumption and point toward health benefits in terms of lowering inflammation in adults with one or more features of MetS.

I'm wondering what is your opinion on this,and if you still recommend taking fish oil supplements even if having a fish-rich diet.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to ask your opinion about antioxidant supplements and their role in reducing inflammation. For example, I take a supplement containing Vitamin A, Vitamin C,Vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium, and Niacin. The proprietary blend for the supplements contains several herbs (e.g. milk thistle).

I suffer from stomach problems and adult acne which is why I'm trying to reduce inflammation and it is very difficult to find reliable information on the subject.

Thank you for your time!

dabney rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred Hahn said...

What is the best way to populate the gut with the proper bacteria?

Anonymous said...

Enjoy reading your blog.

1. I've read that fish oil supplements are more than likely rancid. Do you think this is the case?

2. Nobody with a brain pays any attention to DR OZ so you can relax on that front.

I no longer fear the toilet flush.

Anonymous said...

Has it been determined what specific bacteria are missing in the gut when one has food allergies?

Matt said...

I know there is much debate on whether we should eat our foods raw or cooked. The late Aajonus Vonderplanitz recommended a raw meat diet including raw honey and butter which he claims to have used to cured many cases of cancer with.

I know that meat prepared at high temperatures using dry heat is highly inflammatory because of AGE formation and that steamed or boiled meat is much less inflammatory.

What do you think?
Will raw meat be more easily absorbed that cooked meat?
And is it more beneficial than cooked meat?

Teresa said...

Dr. Ayers,

Just a heartfelt HURRAH! and THANK YOU! that you have started posting again. Your blog is hands-down THE most valuable source on gut flora (and thus human health) accessible to a layperson. Nothing else comes remotely close. The information you provide is invaluable, and I believe it will transform many lives.

Yes, your written manner may be terse at times. This is not a negative; many of us appreciate the brevity. Regardless, writing style is vanishingly unimportant when contrasted with the importance of what you are doing.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Sorry to be so slow in responding, but you provided a lot of biochemistry to sift through. I understand the biochemistry that you invoke, but I think that essentially none of it is applicable to your family's cases, and don't seem to me to justify your interventions. Remember that vitamin supplements disrupt healthy gut biofilms, since they are quorum sensing signal molecules.

I think that your son has severely simplified gut flora that does not support immune system development and produces vitamin deficiencies. Multiple extreme diet changes have maintained the dysbiosis. I think that the depression is more basically rooted in chronic inflammation. Also, milk can be tolerated, but kills adult gut flora, since that is its function. I wouldn't recommend milk to anyone trying to repair gut flora.

Some people with simplified gut flora seem to respond better to resistant starch than other soluble fiber. I would ignore the prohibitions to live fermented foods, because homemade fermented foods have lots of gut adaptable bacteria other than the acid fermenters.

I would also recommend that all members of the family fix their gut flora and respond positively to the soluble fiber in the family diet.

I hope that this is a start. Let me know how it works out.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

Fish oil and Dr. Oz critiques,
I don't worry about fishy fish oil. It just isn't a big deal. I just don't store extra.

I can't help correcting Dr. Oz, because he makes many of the same mistakes as the general public and I have to remind myself that neither spend the time to understand basic biochemistry. I have, however, started to limit my rather infantile display in front of others, especially my wife. Dr. Oz is simply a foil to facilitate discussion of the actual science behind health, and to provide a reminder that medicine is authoritative and not scientific.

Thanks for the questions and comments.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I think that a diet rich in fatty fish is better than taking fish oil supplements. Supplements should not be needed and most vitamin supplements may be counterproductive for people with healthy gut flora.

Assuming that you have tested your serum D and found it high, I would suggest seeing if you could just gradually start increasing your fish oil until your acne is suppressed.

That said, I still take C, D and DHA/EPA.

Thanks for the questions and comments.

Kim said...

Thank you so much for your response. I started a gallon batch of sauerkraut yesterday. Our son loves it and I didn't like to stop using it but I read so much conflicting information that I couldn't decide what to do.

We are going to a diet that is more in between, with less fat and more beans and rice (than GAPS), but with some meat and fat in it. (Actually we are going to try to match our FT donor's diet pretty much, I don't think he drinks milk so we are cutting that out.) Are beans and rice along the lines of what you mean by resistant starch? We have eaten a lot of beans and rice in the past.

I didn't know about switching diets and how it could hinder the gut flora from recovery until the last day or two as I have been reading your blog. I think it makes sense.

I still think I am right about how histamine is causing his symptoms and I didn't have the chance to say all the reasons why I think so, because it would take too long, but the exact mechanism doesn't matter because it doesn't really change the solution.

It is only in the last few days that it has dawned on me that the reason he has been so ill has been because he has lost his vitamin producing bacteria. He got mono at the start of his symptoms and that threw me off for a long time, because I thought the fatigue he was having was from the mono, and at first it was, but later it was from vitamin deficiencies, mainly folate at that time. I thought that the problem was from too much of some bacteria or candida instead of not enough different bacteria.

I will wean him off most of the vitamins. I expect he will be very depressed for a few days.

Is yogurt and cheddar cheese OK? I make both from our goat milk.

Kim said...

I have been reading about the quorum signaling and biofilms and I was wondering how long it takes after fecal transplants for biofilms to form, or do the new bacteria get incorporated into existing biofilms? When FT's are done from a healthy person how long does it take for vitamin production to improve? I suppose there are a lot of factors involved.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

As best I can tell, there aren't actually foods with high or low histamine content, but rather people with food intolerances release histamine, heparin, etc. from their intestinal mast cells in response to particular food. That is why there is poor agreement on high and low histamine foods. The point is that the discussions of histamine are actually discussions of food intolerance, which are actually discussions of missing bacterial species needed to metabolize critical food molecules, such as particular plant polysaccharides/soluble fiber.

The bottom line is that the histamine issues are just symptoms of gut dysbiosis. Fix the gut flora and all of the more complex problems go away.

The gut is an ecological system with rapid transit of nutrients and microorganisms. With adequate meals, some of the bacteria double in numbers every hour, with 24 doubling same day and a million fold increase as they are all swept along. New species are continually brought in and in the stationary biofilms on the surface of the intestines, quorum sensing signals trigger transfer of DNA, so that new hybrid species are continuously produced. That means that E.coli in Idaho is only vaguely related genetically to the "same" species in London. That is also why people now know E. coli as a toxin producing, drug resistant pathogen, whereas it was the most studied bacterium fifty years ago, because it was a common, innocuous member of the gut flora?

Did the FTs that you tried include PEG pretreatment?

Unknown said...

Dr. Ayers, I am so glad I discovered your blog as I have been reading more about inflammation as a significant issue for most of us and more recently about the role of gut flora. I took antibiotics to prevent Lyme after finding ticks and didn't know about probiotics until later. I took a number of different ones without any lasting success until I came across a soil based one specifically for after taking antibiotics and it was the only thing that worked. Are you familiar with Prescript-Assist? Short of FT it might help a number of people. Let us know if you think it could be useful.

Kim said...

Hi Dr. Ayers,

I am already convinced that the answer is to restore the gut. The vitamins alleviate symptoms to a certain extent, but they are not making him well.

We just did home low tech fecal transplants. I did do a saline enema first to clear out some fecal matter, but that's all. With my husband I didn't do any pretreatment because he was already cleaned out.

We also put some into capsules, a double layer, to take orally, but that seems to have lead to my son burping a lot more when he eats, so I don't know if that was a good idea or not. Do you think that the PEG pretreatment is necessary?

The family that the donor is from has 8 children, the only one of them that has had antibiotics had to have them due to needing heart surgery as a baby, and the donor is the youngest. None of the family is overweight and they have a good diet and are in good health.

We stopped the vitamins yesterday evening. Luckily he doesn't have school today because I expect that he wouldn't be able to go but we shall see how he does. It takes a few days for the neurotransmitter levels to adjust to changes. At least I believe that's what happening.

I didn't know about the quorum sensing before so I can see now that the vitamins he was taking might have prevented the FT from working. We also didn't know anything about matching the diet and our son was drinking milk at the time so that was probably another negative. Yours is the only site online that I have found that talks about these aspects, and I have looked at a lot of them.

I really appreciate your taking the time to give all of us this information. Just out of curiosity, why are you doing this? I can see that you aren't out to get money. Are you just helping people, or are you also gathering more information from people's responses? Whatever it is, Thank you very much!


Kim said...

Did you see my question about if beans and rice are along the lines of what you mean by resistant starch? If not then what do you mean?

MnMark said...

Kim, this guy writes a lot about resistant starch. Here is one recent post of his on the topic you may find interesting. Ignore his occasional macho bravado nonsense. Search his blog for "resistant starch" and you will see lots of discussion of sources of it.

Kim said...

Hi MnMark,

I have been looking this up on the internet this morning and I already read one of this guy's posts about resistant starch. I think I have a pretty good understanding about it now.


Marybeth said...

What I have read on resistant starch in beans,rice and potatoes is that they must be cooked and refrigerated over night.They must not be reheated above 140 to retain the highest amount of RS. There is a lot of information on RS in specific blogs.

Iris said...

I love your blog. I have been gluten free for about two years it has helped me lose all my migraines and chronic fatigue I used to have. I feel the fatigue was brought on by chronic sinus infections I got when working somewhere where mold was very bad (allergic now) and the dr. prescribed a ton of antibiotics. I think I was up to the strongest one. That was when my girls were very young and they are 21 and 22 now. Generally, since I gave up wheat and flour I had no sinus problems and was is basically in great health and happy……Until around last Easter when I developed a cold sore and felt a little under the weather. I had been reading health blogs and read a book on iodine and they were recommending Lugol'ssolution taken internally with juice. Well, at first I felt better but soon thereafter I developed eczema like lesions on my eyelids and behind my ears? The Dr. thought it was contact dermatitis since I have never had eczema in my life. I cleared out and shampoos with offending ingredients thinking it could be the hydrolyzed wheat protein. No help – not topical. I get some relief from Manuka honey applied topically. After reading your blogs on gut bacteria I feel maybe I killed off some good gut bacteria using the iodine internally? I basically eat organic meats and veggies I try to avoid fluorides. I quit using vegetable oils around the time I gave up the gluten. Generally, I feel I eat right. I recently added kefir and sauerkraut (Bubbies & Farmhouse) and kombucha, recently and I feel I am seeing some improvements with that but still not clear. I only wash with oil and honey. I was wondering if you could offer any additional suggestions for me. I am on no medications and generally try to avoid taking any. I try supplements at times (not using any now) but have been on magnesium citrate, Jarrow MK-7 vit k2, L-glutamine, L-lysine (if I got cold sore), cod-liver oil, and Solar Advanced Multi-billion dophilus. I live in Florida and I do think the sun and beach help. Should I take vitD?
Any advise would be helpful. Thanks!

DrDelGrosso said...

Another awesome article. Love the part about breakfast! Fasting can have so many benefits, and if someone feels like skipping a meal, why force it down their throats?

Iris said...

I wanted to also ask which of Dr. Ohhira Probiotics do you recommend for me? I also think I may be pre menopausal since my periods aren't as regular. I am 47 but have no hot flashes or any other current health issues other than the eczema.

Dr. Art Ayers said...

PrescriptAssist is a combination of about 30 different species/strains of bacteria and fungi that are used in the industrial production of enzymes used in detergents and the food industry. Also included is the wood rotting fungus that I used to produce the enzyme, cellobiose dehydrogenase, that I discovered and purified. I don't think that any of these organism or the typical dairy probiotics will persist in the gut.

I think "probiotic" has been deliberately confused to include all manner of microorganism that can be tolerated in the gut. A distinction should be made to designate bacteria that can be members of productive gut flora. None of the commercial probiotics become part of the gut flora and they do not help to repair gut flora after antibiotic treatments.

PA and dairy probiotics are temporary species of microorganisms that release wall fragments and/or metabolic products that can trigger the normal function of the gut and immune system. Newborn babies exclusively fed breast milk grow dairy-like gut flora which orchestrates normal gut and immune system development. A single bottle of formula produces inflammation and a shift to adult gut flora that compromises immune development and produces lasting disease risks. So, probiotics can replace some of the functions of healthy gut flora, but they are patches and not repairs, and they may block natural repair of gut flora communities.

Doctors should recommend initial use of probiotics to affect the damage of antibiotic use, but then provide a systematic program for gut flora repair. Absent repair, there is a high risk of autoimmune and other diseases due to dysbiosis.

Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ayers,

But still, PA contains "exotic" soil organisms that are found in food that comes from the earth, i.e. minimally washed veggies.

This goes in line with what you recommend to repair gut flora - eating veggies with soil bacteria.

How is PA different from consuming minimally washed veggies?

From what I can think, the difference is that you will find a larger variety of species on veggies vs a supplement.


Kim said...

Dr. Ayers,

I have a whole new idea about what has caused my son's problems. I stopped giving the vitamins, except a zinc/copper supplement and yesterday he wasn't as bad as I expected. But today he was considerably worse. At dinner I decided to give him 200 mg of magnesium, and in two hours he was feeling MUCH better. Yesterday I gave him 100 mg at dinner and he seemed to feel better in the evening that day, too, but today the difference was much more pronounced.

I am considering whether most of his problems could be due to magnesium deficiency. When we first moved into our home, over 6 years ago, the water neutralizer used magnesium oxide. Somewhere along the line we couldn't get magnesium oxide locally and we switched to calcium carbonate. Could that have interfered with his magnesium? Then three years ago he started getting one cold after another, and during that time he was on antibiotics several times for secondary infections. He was not taking any supplements at that time. Then he got mono, although we didn't know that until a few months later, and he became very fatigued. Could his immunity problems have been caused by low magnesium?

He developed leaky gut after a few months and the fatigue continued until after over a year more an ND put him on 5 mg of methylfolate and within a few hours he felt considerably better, but he still had some fatigue which took several months longer to resolve, but by then he was starting to have depressive symptoms; feeling that things were futile, and I had taken him off of GAPS and when he went back on GAPS within 24 hours he was in a deep depression. (I should say that we had switched to drinking distilled water a few months after he started being ill, so he wasn't drinking the water with calcium any more.)

Now as far as I can see, all of the vitamins that I have found to be helpful for his symptoms are dependent on magnesium, so perhaps the magnesium was the real problem all along. For instance, I understand that without magnesium the MAT enzyme for making SAMe will not work, which would lead to a slowdown in the methylation cycle, and the folate cycle, too. By giving a large dose of folate I was pushing the methylation cycle and further depleting available magnesium, right? Then wouldn't raising the fat content of the diet further strain the availability of magnesium, since it is used in fatty acid synthesis?

He did have a hair mineral test 5 months ago that showed pretty normal levels of magnesium, though. Can a person be low in magnesium and still have a hair test come out normal? I have read that it is possible.

So my guess is that the vitamins I was giving him were exacerbating the problem, although they helped his symptoms by pushing the magnesium dependent enzyme reactions. Then everything got out of whack, so to speak, and he couldn't absorb enough magnesium for all the enzymes that were wanting it, even when I gave him lots.

His leaky gut resolved a couple of months after starting the folate, and as long as he takes zinc he no longer has a leaky gut.

What do you think of my new theory? Does it hold water?


Maggie said...

Are your gut bacteria in some way connected to your sinus bacteria? I developed severe digestive problems two years ago. After several GI tests, I was diagnosed with mild gastritis and IBS. Now after taking an antacid for a few weeks, my sinuses flare terribly every time my stomach issues do, which is often daily. I feel defeated. I've tried everything, changed diet, vitamin D, etc and even eating dirt but I can't solve either health issue. (I was healthy until I became sick two years ago. Problems started after a mycoplasma infection caught from relative and treated with heavy antibiotics.)

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ayers,

What do you think of the use of oil of oregano as Dr. Oz seems to continually recommend to fight flu? I admit, my family has used it for years during cold and flu season (none of us has ever had a flu shot) but now I wonder if it could be killing good bacteria as well as the not so good.

Also, do you view tree nuts with skins such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds with the same negative view as vegetable oils? I'm a nut lover in case you hadn't guessed and I have no digestive issues from consuming them raw without soaking or any other prep. Plus they are darn good with dark chocolate on the side.

Also, any thoughts on modified citrus pectin as a source of soluble fiber or are berries, coffee and onions etc better?

Fred Hahn said...

Dr. Paul Jaminet argues that humans NEED starch in their diet. You say that we do not. What makes you think that we do not need starch in our diet?

Christie said...

Hi Dr. Ayers,

I am 32 and have Celiac. I have been on a mostly grain-free diet (I do eat rice sometimes) for the past 8 years. Overall, I feel much better but have noticed more food intolerances creeping in.. eggs, dairy, etc. My main symptom is facial inflammation that has never gone away 100% since I was about 13. I was also not breast fed as a child.

Will eating the fermented veggies / soluble fiber eventually "cure" the additional problems I've had, or is there no way to completely repair the gut? Will I need to stay away from most grains my entire life?

Also, can I copy / paste some of your blog articles to my own blog? I think all Celiacs need this info! Will make sure to site you and link to your page. It's been extremely helpful to me the past few years.

Thank you so much.

P1 said...

I'm loving 99% of this post. The 1% that is confusing me is the statement: "...if breakfast is eaten, it should be low in sugar and starch, i.e. avoid cereal, since cereal causes a severe spike in insulin when eaten after a fast."

What do you see as the harm in spiking insulin? To me that is maybe too generic a process to speak about as good or bad in such an abstract way.

I think one should look at how glucose behaves after a meal, and does it either escape control or rebound to a hypoglycemic condition.

When I was on the pure "Paleo" diet, I was downing dairy cream like water and my fasting glucose exploded. I would take carbs together with dairy and my glucose would explode.

Having been alerted to this problem, I substituted dairy fats for monounsaturated. (I still get plenty of saturated fats.)

I now use a glucometer constantly, and for breakfast I am eating one cup of rice after a big protein meal. Fasting glucose is now 85. If I eat that with monounsaturated macadamia oil, my one hour glucose is around 110. If I eat that with MCT Oil instead, my one hour glucose is 80!

Without getting into details about why MCT Oil does this, my point is I no longer guess about what my glucose does. I measure measure measure, and then I custom tune my diet to keep it controlled. I adjust the amount of carbs in one meal, and I custom tailor the types of fats I eat with those carbs to help further control the glucose rise.

Fats are generally hyperinsulemic as well. There are many studies showing these effects with saturated fats (particularly dairy) and MCT Oil. Is your objection to high insulin in the morning exclusively about preventing a hypoglycemic episode, or are you objecting to high insulin by itself?

One of my frustrations with all of this is that we have no good home-based test for measuring insulin. The disease of prediabetes is NOT about glucose. High glucose is really the side effect of being insulin resistant, and what you really want to measure is insulin and see when high insulin isn't having an appropriate effect on glucose. It seems really strange to me that we have no instrument for measuring the thing that is actually more closely related to the disease.

Anonymous said...

Truth: Saturated fats are healthy, but polyunsaturated omega-6 vegetable oils are inflammatory. Oz can't bring himself to read the literature and acknowledge the heart benefits of saturated fats and meat.

I understand that Dr. Oz's wife is a vegetarian, so that might impact his views also.

Anonymous said...

Truth: Saturated fats are healthy, but polyunsaturated omega-6 vegetable oils are inflammatory. Oz can't bring himself to read the literature and acknowledge the heart benefits of saturated fats and meat.

I understand that Dr. Oz's wife is a vegetarian, so that might impact his views also.

Denise said...

Your blog is pretty amazing. There is a lot of valuable information. Couple questions - you say that food intolerance and allergies (rare) can be healed - can you elaborate on what has 'healed' food allergies? We have them - to multiple foods, and find that food allergies are not rare anymore - and so I'd love to know what you would suggest to heal the gut and subsequently food allergies.

Anonymous said...

The breakfast part does not sound correct. A high protein breakfast will provoke an insulin response, true enough, BUT also a glucagon response! And that one happens BEFORE insulin lebel starts to increase. The reason is that in the absence of carbs, the insulin response to proteins would make us hypoglycemic were it not for the counter-action of glucagon. In fact, talking about insulin without glucagon only provides a partial picture.

Moreover,there are studies showing that insulin sensitivity in different tissue types (muscles, fat stores) follow a circadian rhythm: muscles are IS in the morning but become resistant to insulin in the evening. Fat stores do the opposite! So in absence of a high intensity resistance training session in the evening, it is BETTER to eat carbs in the morning, and have a very light low glycemic dinner early in the evening. I know it sounds counter-intuitive when we all experienced the high of skipping breakfast and even lunch (I did this for almost 2 years!). If you want to dive into this, have a look at Bill Lagakos' blog Fascinating topic!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I totally agree with you that grains aren't necessary and sugar isn't good, especially in the morning. I am currently trying to bulk and have started going to the gym, training first in the morning. I have been taking some BCAAs with dextrose and a protein shake after my workout. i really look forward to recommendations

Anonymous said...

Skipping breakfast comes naturally to me, but aren't you just transferring the negative aspects of breaking a fast to the next meal? How is that better? I eat 1 small sausage and 1 egg scrambled in butter for breakfast.

Unknown said...

Dr. Ayers,

I love the blog! I have a question about UHT treated coconut milk. Was happy to find c milk without guar gum or other additives, but when it maintained a smooth texture at 2-8c, I became skeptical. I found out it's UHT treated. I understand that coconut fat is heat stable, but should I worry about unfolding and/or disulfide shuffling, and should avoid?

Biomedical researcher