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    • Gut bacteria... sounds like a big deal. Pretty sure mine could use some improvement. Now what?

      Just starting to learn about it and i'm wondering if taking a priobiotic supplement makes sense or if I should add / modify something in my diet. I don't take any medication or supplements currently which I'd prefer to keep that way.

      Supplements: I checked out a list of probiotics on for their safety and quality rankings.

      More Fruit / Fibers: The atlantic the published a piece suggesting fruit was better than taking supplements:

      "In April, researchers at Tufts University posed a nutrition riddle. They compared people who took vitamin pills with people who got the same nutrients the old-fashioned way, by eating food.

      Tracking intake of vitamins A and K, magnesium, and zinc, the scientists found that people were less likely to die of heart attacks and other diseases when these nutrients occurred in their diets. As the Tufts researcher Fang Fang Zhang said at the time, “There are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren’t seen with supplements."

      Any bacteria, fiber, probiotic enthusiasts here?

      Any experts or thoughts?

    • Regrettably, my impression (which may be wrong) is that "nutrition science" is less about causation and more about correlation. Furthermore, (and again this is just my impression) the signal to noise ratio seems very small. There is so much garbage published claiming to be legitimate that it is hard for the no-professional to separate the wheat from the chaff.

      I know that I used two metaphors but at least I didn't write of the "signal to chaff ratio." 🤪

    • In speaking with some real life MD's they all seem to point out how hyped up we have become due to all the associated nutrition/health propaganda which all of a sudden inundates us with so much "knowledge" of things we never even knew about. The difference between real professionals, and the ones playing so, is huge. And all they manage to cause is confuse the heck out of simple persons - at best. At worst, we can only imagine the effects. Honestly, I'd rather trust more some archaic empiric voodoo, than modern media when it comes to what's best for my nutrition.

    • There is a philosophical difference between MDs and DOs. (There are, I am sure, exceptions.)

      My understanding is that in some countries DOs are treated as if pseudo-scientific but in the USA many medical clinics have both MDs and DOs.

      DOs, tend to focus more on a wellness or holistic approach to medical care while MDs tend to focus more on a curative approach to medical care. In recent years, I have seen fewer and fewer MD general practitioners. In my experience, the general practioner field is being staffed with DOs.

      I am skeptical regarding the efficacy of some of the wellness therapies for the same reason that I mentioned previously. I know that correlation has been established in certain areas of wellness concern but I am ignorant as to whether causation has been established.

      For example, does lowering one HDL cholesterol through a pharmaceutical product truly affect one's cardiological health or reduce one's chances of a stroke. I am certainly aware that there is a correlation between high HDLs and strokes and cardiological issues but whether causation has been established to the degree that the practioner can be certain that lowering the HDLs pharmaceutically causes a change (?)—I simply don't know.

    • I’ve obsessed over this for a long time and concluded it’s a case of an avalanche of misinformation burying the simplest of verifiable truths.

      The supplements industry is very wealthy, largely unregulated, and their success is fueled by the human desire to believe we can indulge and make it okay with a supplement.

      Probiotics, like vitamins, mostly don’t work. There are exceptions, like if you get scurvy because you live on rice, a vitamin C supplement will save you. Scurvy is not a thing in most countries.

      Gut bacteria feed off the fiber found naturally in all plant foods where it was not stripped: grapes, not grape juice, for example.

      Anyone can check their microbiome by sending a poop swab to the American Gut Project, as I have done. If you send multiple swabs at different times, what you find is it’s dynamic, depending on what you ate lately and whether you took antibiotics.

      If you kill off certain essential bacterial strains like c diff completely through sustained bad diet and antibiotics, they will not come back via food or supplements. The only cure then is a poop transplant from someone healthy. It has saved the lives of many thousands of people.

      If you want a real expert, here’s Rob Knight’s TED talk:

    • Gut bacteria feed off the fiber found naturally in all plant foods where it was not stripped: grapes, not grape juice, for example.

      What are the most efficient sources of fiber? Is an Apple better than a banana etc?

    • I think of food as having 4 macronutrients, not three, the fourth being fiber. Unlike the other three, it’s non caloric and there are no unhealthy types.

      The fiber in apples and oatmeal is water soluble and seem particularly capable at lowering blood fats, but all the data I’ve seen is variety wins: greens, colorful berries, beans and seeds probably top the list, but all foods with the fiber in tact are healthy, and variety seems to win.

    • That’s a seriously great question. Justin and Erica Sonnenberg are professors at Stanford who specialize in gut bacteria and wrote the book The Good Gut. I read it and attended a lecture Justin gave and spoke to him after.

      In the book and lecture, he recommended yogurt. If I recall, the Blue Zones book pointed to yogurt-eating populations that live a long time.

      He made it clear in his 2017 lecture that he’s been eating a much more plant based diet as the role of fiber has become clearer, but he hadn’t given up yogurt. I asked him about that.

      I made the points that there are cultured plant foods like kimchi and tempeh and that yogurt is usually loaded with sugar and dairy has generally been acknowledged to be unhealthy. He said yes, those points were causing him concern, in addition to the environmental problems of dairy.

      So. Justin and I agree on 99%, but he eats yogurt and I don’t. The difference is he’s the world-renowned expert and I’m not.

    • With regards to yogurt, I used to have a yogurt making set. It is true that one used some commercial yogurt for the starter for the first batch but after the first batch, one could use one of the cups from the previous session as starter. As long as you kept the warmer going and the cups supplied, you could make yogurt indefinitely without adding any sugars to the cups.

      For the lactose intolerant, goat's milk with lactase added (an enzyme which breaks up lactose) is a healthier alternative. This article from 1997 discusses some of the differences between cow's milk and goat's milk.

    • I used to culture yogurt too, and sourdough for bread and pancakes. Sometimes I buy the almond milk based yogurt. I like it

      Cow’s milk has a very unusual amount of the protein casein in it, which can be very carcinogenic to humans and rats. Long story not related to conversation title, but maybe google liver cancer children casein.