Wednesday, April 16, 2014

And now, more waiting

The "after" swabs were sent at the beginning of the month. Now we wait. If the American Gut project stays on schedule we should have some interesting before and after comparisons by September.

I do have a few parting thoughts until then.

First, our blood glucose measurements marginally went up, especially for my wife and me who were taking the largest doses. Before beginning the experiment I measured our BG first thing after waking up across three consecutive days. These were taken on January 15, 16, & 17.

For myself:      96, 89, 88
For my wife:    89, 93, 101
For child 1:      96, 91, 109
For child 2:      84, 90, n/a

After six weeks of RS I repeated taking some morning measurements. These were taken on March 26, April 1, 2, and 4.

For myself:      97, 114, 94, 98
For my wife:    116, 95, 92, n/a
For child 1:      n/a, 92, 85, 89
For child 2:      87, 90, 79, 100

Also, I have no idea what would cause those seemingly random 110+ spikes. They happened to almost each person and practically in isolation compared with the rest of the family. Go figure. As they say, sometimes science is messy. It is amazing we're able to learn anything. It's also what makes frauds so easy to spot -- their data is too neat and tidy. Maybe I'll take some repeat measurements at the end of the month and see what we get. If anyone has an opinion feel free to share it in the comments.

The last thing I wanted to mention is we've backed down on the RS dosing since ending the study period. Things are much more pleasant. It's hard to describe the sensation exactly, but not taking it everyday, and for myself taking only 2 TBSP when I do take it, makes matters feel far more relaxed. Running a 1/4 cup of potato starch through one's system day in, day out, ends up feeling like a lot of work. (Not constipated work, metabolism ramped-up-and-running work.) Maybe some of it is psychological -- having this feeling like you have to take something everyday and the exact time no matter what, and you better never forget. But I also recall Richard mentioning feeling better once he backed off on his daily RS regimen and instead started taking it as the mood struck him. It kind of seemed weird at the time, and in a way it's no less weird now, except that I can totally relate. :)

So, we're all still taking RS, but not everyday and for myself only 2 T instead of 4 T. I'm also mixing mine with a bifido-cultured yogurt. Based on blog posts from Mr. Heisenbug, that seems a much better way to take it, though we won't really know if it matters until our results come back from Am Gut.

Psyllium I'm not sure we're going to stick with. No one likes the taste, and the texture is just as bad. It would take some very compelling study results or marked personal health improvements for me to want to take it on any regular basis. We shall see.

Again, thanks for following along. I hope you've found it a fun and exciting read. For the donors that made this experiment possible, especially I thank you. Everyone should have received their postcard by now. Even our friend in Australia! If you haven't please let me know. Unfortunately I didn't think to take any pictures for the blog before mailing them out. Admittedly as their Dad I'm biased, but a few of you got some really sweet artwork.

Best wishes,


  1. Hi Allen, its your friend from Australia, Sean. We got the post card. Thanks a lot! I had similar feelings about the mass doses of rs. Have backed off similarly. Look forward to the results. Keep fighting the informed fight.


  2. Thanks Sean. Glad you got the postcard. Funny how we both had the same response to the RS. How about the dream connection? Any effect there? I wonder if dreaming might be related to one's bacteria population and my family isn't particularly inoculated with it.

  3. Great job on your experiment, Allan! Can't wait to look at full taxa reports. What I expect to see are good numbers of bifidobacteria and very low numbers of total actinobacteria.

    I think your progression of incorporating RS is like most who try it. I'm also in the realm of taking potato starch only sporadically, eating instead dried plantains (which I love) and cooked/cooled/reheated rice, beans, or potatoes with every dinner. I doubt that long-term gut health requires a contant, perfect dose or well-timed potato starch.

    Psyllium...yeah. My sentiments exactly. Dr. BG even took it off of her protocol in favor of banana flour for reasons you noted as well.

    No idea on the FBGs. Like you said, who knows. I guess an A1C would have been the correct way to determine, but since none of you are/were diabetic it just ' is what it is'.

    Thanks again, and thanks again, too, to the young artists in your house!

    1. Thanks Tim. Poor psyllium... can't get no respect. :)

  4. Allan,

    I love your summary and thoughts!

    For the BG that is odd. Do you think that the potato starch was heated at any point -- like in storage, shipping or at your house? That would change starch to digestible carbs. No factors like poor sleep, change in carb diet, middle of the night hypoglycemia or stress factors raising the fasting BG?

    I like psyllium but it's imperfect. G banana flour is far more 'perfect' compared to potato starch in that it has the full range of fiber (oligosaccharides, antioxidants, stigmasterol and other plant steroids, serotonin, RS, etc), whole food (v refined full of sulfur, metals) and has additional properties that propel pathogens out of the gut.

    Thank you for your experiment!


    1. Thank you, Grace. I think it's very doubtful the PS was heated. I know neither the grocer nor I heated it. It's wintertime in Portland after all. Bob's is local to Portland too, though I don't think they manufacture the PS themselves. Still, wintertime... Unless it's coming from Arizona or Baja, I just don't see it having been heated.

      As for the other factors, no, not that I noticed. I wondered if a honey bolus, ice cream, or dark chocolate the night before could make a difference, but the few times I did those before the experiment even started and measured the next morning it didn't show any difference between the family member(s) that had the sweats and those that didn't. Numbers each morning were always pretty random. The kids would be less than the adults, unless one of them were spiking for some unknown reason. Also, the first time I saw a 100+ morning spike it was on myself. I re-measured a few minutes later wondering if it was a meter problem and got back the exact same reading.

      I suppose I'll have to look-up some green banana flour for us.

    2. HI Allan,

      Yes you had the controls prior so that is unusual if all the other factors were accounted for. Even though I don't think there is any p value for so few measurements, I think it's interesting to review.

      Were there any other subject or objective changes? Sleep, scale, clothes fitting, mood observed for you or children?

      (also I'll clarify -- sulfur and metals are likely 0.00001% in any starch)