Why Resistant Starch Is Probably Not Enough

This is for those interested in resistant starch, which I posted about awhile ago as a source for butyrate production. Not fast reading but fascinating. Remember, though, resistant starch is NOT the only way to increase butyrate in the gut. I try not to get hung up on one path, and I hope you don’t either. Butyrate then resistant starch really helped my GI motility–until pregnancy in its typical fashion assumed all control of all functions. Regards~~Terri

Mr. Heisenbug

Lately I’ve been turning my attention back to one of the original lines of inquiry here on this blog — the question of what effect high dose Resistant Starch (mostly in the form of raw potato starch) is having on the gut bacterial profile in individuals. I think it’s an important question for a few reasons. Despite the many reports of positive effects gained from this experiment — digestive, sleep, mood, metabolic, etc. — I still believe it’s necessary to keep some healthy skepticism. After all, it isn’t like we’ve cured cancer just yet. Having a bunch of people who have normally been on a low fiber Western diet all of a sudden throw in high doses of one very specific type of fermentable fiber is a pretty novel thing. And there are many examples of this or that protocol having great effects at the outset, only for things to…

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16 thoughts on “Why Resistant Starch Is Probably Not Enough

  1. Ozgal

    Hi Terri. Saw your comment on Mr Heisenbug’s blog, and hopped on over here to check out your blog. I am considering home-schooling my son who we think may be on the autism spectrum. Not sure yet – about the diagnosis or the home-schooling, really.
    I digress. What I would like to ask you is – did you have any significant morning sickness in earlier pregnancies, and if yes, have any dietary or lifestyle changes eased the morning sickness in this pregnancy?
    I ask because 1. I had utterly debilitating morning sickness in my first pregnancy, and 2. I have been taking raw potato starch for three months and it has been spectacularly successful in controlling my blood sugar swings. Some people hypothesise that hypoglycemia may make morning sickness worse, so my thinking is that resistant starch MAY be helpful.
    Very interested to hear your thoughts on this as a currently pregnant woman! Congratulations, by the way 🙂

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi, Ozgal!

      Homeschooling is absolutely tops. Love it! (And think you would too! If I can do it and love it, anyone can!)

      But to the matter at hand! I did have “morning sickness” with all of my pregnancies. With all the others I was eating a very bad diet. Lots of processed foods. Eating foods I had no idea I had intolerances to. Lots of sweets. Etc. I hate being pregnant because I hate being sick.

      For the last year and a half or more, I’ve been eating pretty darn “clean” for me, following a modified GAPS/SCD/Paleo type diet–with lots of veggies, too! YUM! In about October I started butyrate for GI tract issues–great success. Moved to potato starch for natural bacterial butyrate production and weaned off the butyrate supplement. Great success still!!! Yay, resistant starch! After about 6 weeks on potato starch, I found out I was pregnant. I took it as long as I could–until about the 8th week of pregnancy.

      At 8 weeks of pregnancy, I was as sick as all my other pregnancies. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d been on potato starch with success before conception, and pregnancy illness still raised its ugly head and wiped me out. Just as bad as all the others.

      So I’d wanted so badly to say that my diet eliminated/reduced pregnancy illness, but it didn’t. (It has helped SO many other things, though.) I’d like to say that potato starch took away the illness, but it didn’t either. (BUT that does NOT mean it might not help you!) After about 8 weeks, I was way too sick to even see the bag of white potato starch. So I fell off the wagon with it.

      Does that help explain my experience with potato starch and pregnancy illness (in way too many words!)? Nothing helped me with this issues ever. Bummer for sure!

      Thanks for commenting! Appreciate it! Have a great weekend, and I wish you luck with all!

      Terri

      Reply
  2. JenH

    Terri,

    I know you are so busy and pregnancy does not = productivity (I was never so exhausted/bloated/constipated in my life – I was the grouchy lady cursing in her birthing class when everyone was sharing how amazing/beautiful/sexy they felt – nothing says sexy like swollen feet). Honestly though, I cannot wait until you have time/energy to direct toward the gut stuff. I so appreciate your insight (and helpful translations for those of us who don’t have the ability to read a science research journal). Still, I feel good just knowing you’re reading Heisenbug’s blog. This one really knocked me over. Of course, I’m having to print it out and read it multiple times but I’m getting there!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      WHO is Heisenbug? Don’t you wonder? Oh, well. I like the information shared and the comments generated there. Never fear, I have to read them slowly and re-read them too. (Let’s blame it on the writing style…LOL!) Did you send me the Heisenbug link? I can’t remember, but if so, thank you so much again. (If not thanks to the person who did!)

      Pregnancy does not=productivity, but I’m feeling more and more productive every day now. Starting to read and want to share stuff I’m learning again. Just wish I had more time to do so!

      Have a good weekend and Happy Friday! ~~Terri

      Reply
      1. JenH

        I did send the Heisenbug link, so glad I did! He’s like a masked microbiology super sleuth (superhero maybe?). Tim told me that he & Heisenbug do some heavy duty collaborating/experimenting behind the scenes – wish I was a fly on those computers. Now I’m going to try and read that post again to see if I can’t glean anything more. I was going to post a comment there but haven’t gotten around to it yet, but it is interesting that since I started with the RS (combo of potato and plantain as well as whole food sources) I very suddenly and dramatically developed serious eczema – the really thick, scaly, crusty, oozing kind with horrible itch – over 90% of my body. I have never in my life had eczema (or even acne really) though I have a family history on both sides. With an elimination diet (including the removal of potato starch which I think maybe was the main culprit in combination with some other stuff), acupuncture and a few other remedies it is finally calming down. Does make you think, especially in light of the stuff Dr. BG linked to about genes being switched off and on. Food is serious stuff, as serious as any pharmaceutical. I am definitely motivated to be more attentive to adding a broader variety of fibers.

        Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better, the end result is just so incredibly more than worth it but being pregnant sucks! You have a good weekend too; YAY spring!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Couldn’t be that potato is a nightshade and you were taking concentrated doses? What else did you take out on your elimination that helped the eczema? (Just curious to learn which foods have a predilection for what–don’t feel like you have to say!)

        Regardless, sorry that happened! Food IS a drug!

      3. JenH

        I’m happy to go into more detail. I do think the nightshade thing was an issue. I just can’t figure out if it was that alone or some kind of compounded effect. PS was the first thing I knocked out but my condition did not improve. Then I took out potatoes altogether. Still nothing.

        I began to wonder if it was the starch/fiber all around. Up until late Jan./early Feb. I was still pretty low carb from being AI Paleo for several months. I had very little complex carbs in my diet because in the past they had either triggered digestive discomfort or food cravings. So I started to wonder if I had just introduced too many carbs too quickly in the form of cooked/cooled potatoes, rice and soaked/cooked legumes (although interestingly this time around they did not cause food cravings in the slightest & generally did not bother my digestion which seemed miraculous to me) as well as fiber/prebiotics from other new foods I was eating like raw garlic, onions, leeks, burdock, j. artichokes, etc. As well, I had begun using parboiled rice based on some of the stuff I’d read over at FTA just out of curiosity and wondered if the fact that it was enriched and likely GMO was playing some part (been eating fairly strict organic, non-gmo for some time now). To add to the mix I have also been eating more eggs and diy fermented dairy recently after being violently intolerant to them for a while. Also added some supplements like fos and was trying the psyllium. Add into the mix that in the last few weeks my family made the decision to make across the country this summer (what is the rating for moving on the scale of stressful things?). Take your pick!

        Honestly, it is really hard for me to tease out because I have great difficulty being methodical and disciplined regarding when and how I introduce foods or supplements. Food intolerances and chronic health issues are a disaster for someone like me (I’ve had an ADD diagnosis for a long time & from several different doctors, I’m not sure what I think about that condition but I do know the symptoms are there and have not been even slightly relieved by dietary changes). I just haven’t figured out how to be organized about it all. It seemed to me that the easiest thing to do might be to fast. So for two days I ate very little and what I did eat were just a few things that I had long been eating (a few vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, etc.). That seemed to make a big difference although I also began acupuncture at the same time – so maybe it was that? My main mission was to get relief so being scientific about it (not my strength anyway) was taking a back seat. Either way, I was definitely getting some serious relief. I talk about this like it was a while ago instead of just 36 hours!

        Yesterday I continued my fast during the day but at night decided to eat with my family. I made lentils (I had soaked them, cooked them, and froze them for 48 hrs.) sauteed with a little bacon, onion, red pepper (a nightshade that has never bothered me even when I was reacting terribly to tomatoes), and carrots. I put a sunny side up egg on top and used the parboiled rice. Had an awful night of itching and insomnia.

        I will definitely try the fast again today and keep it much simpler when I eat again. This is a good illustration of why we need more medical professionals who are aware/informed/open to this stuff. I need serious guidance because I’m just not good at being my own doctor; I know just enough to get myself in trouble! I would love to work with someone I just don’t have access at the moment.

        So there it is in a nutshell! I’m just going to try and keep it simple and be positive for the time being. My hope is that maybe once we move (back to Portland, OR where I grew up; my impression is that there are a lot more open minded medical professionals there – they license ND’s and they are covered by insurance) I will have better odds of finding a helpful doc. That will have to do until you open your clinic! My hope is that your kids will decide to become doctors and integrate all of this great stuff you’re exposing them to into their practice so that they can treat me when I’m old! No pressure 😉 Apologies for the long comment – not good at being brief! Thanks so much for commenting.

      4. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Yep! Be positive! I’ll bet there are some great diverse doctors/practitioners in Portland! It’ll go great! But, um, yup, that’s an awful lot to bring on in a month or so (starches, shifting off AIP, prebiotics which will change bacterial flora, a moving decision, etc)! But no matter! Sometimes at the elimination game I work slowly forward and then, when I go crazy (stupid) and add too much in at once, I work backward. And slowly and surely, a pattern emerges. It’s a patience game because so much is involved: how much did I eat, was it grain fed, what did I eat it with… Wishing you patience, endurance, and staying-power! That’s what it takes. And I always tell myself when I start adding in things and it starts not going well, “It’s okay. You know how to get back there, Terri [to the feel-good place]. Just do what it takes to get there again.”

        My kids have taken to rolling their eyes at me and saying, “Do you know how many times I’ve heard that?” But one of them listens and soaks it up, maybe too much! I’ve got lots and lots to learn then maybe the kids will be old enough for me to hang out a shingle. 🙂

        (BTW, interesting that the ADD didn’t respond to food changes. Good to hear, as you read some people’s do and then evidently, some people’s don’t! And obviously magnesium didn’t help either. Or omega-3s which should be fairly high on AIP. Got good sources of zinc? Good sources of selenium? Just read about those peripherally. Just thinking aloud. Sorry. Haven’t read about it really. )

      5. JenH

        The ADD thing is interesting, not sure what I think because my “gut” still tells me that food is still part of the puzzle (maybe it can only do so much if there is a certain amount of damage or missing puzzle/microbe pieces?). I have a family history; my brother has same diagnosis and I’m certain my father had it as well as all of his siblings in the extreme. Maybe genetics but maybe also family culture?

        I’m glad you asked about zinc and selenium. I think I remember you writing about your reservations regarding supplements. I’m pretty sure I am overly reliant on them. It sort of developed out of my fears that I wasn’t absorbing much of the nutrients from my foods (so even though I eat pretty well a good portion of the nutrients might just be passing through). I got this idea from the two different doctors, MD’s but they would probably describe themselves as functional/non-mainstream, who separately diagnosed my leaky gut. Probably from reading GAPS book as well.

        I try to be very selective about the brands I use – mostly Thorne, Pure Encapsulations, a few NOW and Jarrow. I also take FCLO/BO, desiccated liver, and New Chapter prenatal (probably crazy but we’d like to have another kiddo so right now I’m just trying to get myself into a decent, stable place and see if my body will let it happen, I would love to have all this stuff figured out before hand but at 40 I’m not sure I have that much time). I supplement with NOW OptiZinc and Thorne selenomethionine. Reviewing my supplements is definitely one of the top things on my list of things to evaluate once I find a healthcare provider I trust. Do you supplement at all or do you feel you are mostly able to get what you need through diet?

      6. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I’ll keep my eye out for ADD as I read!
        I do have supplement reservations, but I know that there are times when they are needed. Perhaps when initiating new changes and treatments and/or when changes and treatments won’t ever be enough. I just worry about contaminants and also our lack of awareness of how all the vitamins/minerals/nutrients work in concert with each other, the forms they need to be in, etc. I have a cabinet full of half-used supplement bottles, so don’t think I’ve never tried them on this journey! When I started, I did use the GAPS recommended supplements, and I have eventually tapered off of most except the fermented cod liver oil in the deep winter here and magnesium for my GI. I’d take them in and out at various intervals to see if I was getting anything or if they were causing side effects. I have experimented here and there to try to gain GI motility with other things. Once I got pregnant, I was too sick to stomach any supplements really of any kind or some of the foods needed to get them. I think my diet is pretty good, barring like you say, poor absorption.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I didn’t. Thanks for a new blog to check out. Will head over there.

      On my blog, if you have any questions, let me know. Doesn’t have to be on the pertinent post or anything. Some people left constipation comments on my “About me” page which may contain something useful for you. I always learn so much from blogs’ comments! Thanks for stopping by. Wish you luck!

      Reply

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