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The Resistant Starch Challenge: Is It The Key We've Been Looking For?

Discussion in 'The Gut: De Meirleir & Maes; H2S; Leaky Gut' started by Ripley, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Ripley

    Ripley Senior Member

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    As many of you know, when you eat vegetables like onions and Jerusalem artichokes and starchy tubers they compost in your colon and feed the beneficial bacteria that live there.

    And then there is Resistant Starch, which isn't a fiber and is harder to come by in the diet. It is totally undigestible by the gut, but it goes to your colon and feeds your microbiota — it's a prebiotic that is often overlooked because of its indigestibility. There are 3 different types of naturally occurring Resistant Starch (RS1, RS2, RS3) — and each play a role in feeding our microbiota. Most people already have plenty of RS1 — it's only found in found in seeds or legumes and unprocessed whole grains. RS3 isn't a challenge to obtain — it's formed when starch-containing foods are cooked and cooled for 24 hours, such as in legumes, cooked-and-chilled potatoes, pasta salad or sushi rice. The process of cooking starch and cooling it is called "retrogradation". Re-heating these foods converts some of the retrogradation back into starch, so eating them cold preserves the RS3.

    However, RS2 is actually quite difficult to obtain in the modern diet, as it is only found in raw potatoes, green bananas, and green plantains (green plantains are virtually impossible to eat raw unless you dehydrate them).

    Up until a 9 months ago, Resistant Starch — particularly RS2 — was considered nothing more than a curiosity and a waste of time. Scientists have known that certain raw starches were completely undigestible for centuries — and the conventional wisdom was to avoid them because they had no nutritional value. But it was only in the past few decades that a few researchers discovered that Resistant Starch has some beneficial prebiotic effects on the human gut and the body.

    And one day, that all changed, when a reader of a certain blog challenged the author of that blog to look into the scattered research about Resistant Starch and to start experimenting with it.

    Read the post that started it all:

    Prepare for the “Resistant Starch” Assimilation; Resistance is Futile >>

    The first thing they uncovered was that a good dose of resistant starch has the ability to control and blunt blood sugar spikes. You can literally take some Resistant Starch, eat a few hundred grams of carbs, and barely see any blood sugar spike. Read the next post in the series:

    Resistant Starch: 4-Letter Word? Nope. Goal: Create Mashed Potatoes A Diabetic Can Eat Every Day >>

    This led to further investigation. What they soon found was a treasure trove of research. Absolutely staggering data:

    Resistant Starch: Now We’re Getting Somewhere >>
    Resistant Starch: Now We’re Getting Somewhere, Part 2 (35 links to research) >>

    Among the many potential benefits of Resistant Starch:

    — decreased glycemic response (in both healthy subjects and diabetics)
    — increased insulin sensitivity
    — improved fasting blood sugar (10 or 15 point drops in many individuals, sometimes even greater)
    — increased satiety
    — improved metabolism
    — improved fat burning
    — improvement of adipose tissue patterning (body fat)
    — improved sleep (deep and "movie-like" vivid dreams)
    — improved digestion
    — improved regularity
    — improved blood/lipid profiles
    improved chelation/elimination of heavy metals
    — improved colon pH (acidic is better)
    improved uptake/absorption of vitamins and minerals
    — improved neurotransmitters (like serotonin)
    improved butyrate and Short-Chain Fatty Acid production (by feeding butyrate producing bacteria)
    — improved colon health (by the production of Short-Chain Fatty Acids)
    — improved previous damage to colonocytes
    — improved mucosal integrity (gut barrier)
    — protection against (experimental) colorectal cancer
    — increased nitrogen disposal and reduced blood urea concentrations
    — improved eye health
    — improved body temperature
    — reduced stress and improved well being (anecdotal)
    — potential treatment for ulcerative colitis
    — does not affect one's ability to maintain ketosis (if that's desired)

    (More details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resistant_starch)

    Additionally, Resistant Starch has been shown make your colon more acidic — which is considered to be a good thing since many opportunistic pathogens are pH sensitive and butyrate producing bacteria favor a more acidic environment. In other words, Resistant Starch feeds the good bacteria and gets rid of the bad bacteria by crowding them out and killing them off with a more acidic environment. Keeping your colon acidic through fermentation and frequent bowel habit is believed to improved gut barrier via improved butyrate production.

    and here's one that might interest a lot of you here...

    Resistant starch lowers fecal concentrations of ammonia and phenols in humans >>

    After digesting all this data, the experimentations continued. Readers of this blog began n=1 experimenting with some raw Bob's Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch (yes, it needs to be raw and "unmodified"). And over the last few months, the results have started trickling in. The results have been very positive — many have noticed dramatic improvements in their health.

    I invite you all to read through each of the posts and comments as people experimented with Resistant Starch supplementation over the past eight months:

    HOW TO BEGIN:

    First, read through every Resistant Starch post here:

    http://freetheanimal.com/tag/resistant-starch
    (Yes, go back to the oldest RS post (April 2013) in that link and start from there).

    The author of the blog, Richard Nikoley, has no patience for those who don't read all of the posts and comments, so don't ask questions that have already been answered in previous posts/comments.

    For those who are interested in learning more about the importance of Resistant Starch in the diet — and its effect on gut health — listen to the following podcast with Jeff Leach of the American Gut Project:

    Chris Kresser: The Importance of Feeding Your Microbiome – Interview With Jeff Leach

    Next...

    START SLOW:

    A $4 bag of Bob's Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch (must be "unmodified") is actually a very powerful source of Resistant Starch. So, ideally you start slow (1 Tsp/day mixed in water, yogurt or kefir) and build up to between 3 to 4 Tbsp/day as you can tolerate it. Taking with or without foods is fine. Mixing the raw Potato Starch with kefir or yogurt will cause the probiotics to latch onto the starch granules and shuttle them into the colon unharmed — normally those probiotics would often be killed before they reached the large intestine. Thus, mixing RS with probiotic foods can be useful to repopulate the colon with beneficial bacteria — and may be necessary for some individuals who are missing keystone bacteria in their colons. (A quality soil-based probiotic — such as Prescript Assist — may help repopulate some of these keystone bacterial populations as well. Raw tubers/bulbs were perhaps eaten, by our ancestors, with some dirt on them).

    So, you can mix it into foods, but be sure to never heat RS above 130º F or the starch granules will burst and it turns into pure, digestible starch. Many people take RS split into 2 or 3 doses throughout the day. Some take it all at once. For most people, it takes 3-4 weeks of supplementation at 3 to 4 Tbsp/day to see the big changes.

    Remember that raw unmodified potato starch is entirely "indigestible" — it doesn't count towards your calories or carbs. It has a glycemic index of "0" and has zero carbs — until you cook it. It doesn't feed you, it feeds your microbiota.

    UNDERSTAND THE RISKS:

    If you are currently experiencing severe gut pain and/or your gut is in horrific shape, DO NOT attempt to take resistant starch at this stage. This probably isn't going to be for you until your bad gut pathogens are under control and your doctor says you are ready to rebuild your gut with "prebiotics".

    The biggest risk of supplementing with Resistant Starch is aggravating SIBO or IBS.

    Chris Kresser explains:
    Having said that, many with SIBO have reported improvement in their gut function, with the addition of Resistant Starch. Chris Kresser explains this paradox:
    For those who are concerned about this, you might find the following interesting... Resistant Starch doesn't stay in the small intestine for very long, so it may actually treat small intestinal bacterial overgrowth by “flushing” the pathogenic out of the small intestine as bacteria in the small intestine try to latch on to it for food.

    The next biggest risk of supplementing with Resistant Starch is GAS (TMI) and perhaps some bloating. Those of you with particularly bad guts will need to go very slowly. However, keep in mind that some gas is good and a sign that things are improving — 20 good farts in a day is believed to be "normal" (according to Wikipedia). And Jeff Leach explains in the interview, above, you aren't fermenting unless you are farting. So, flatulence isn't necessarily something you want to avoid. It can be fine and probably encouraged to some degree. In the comments on Free The Animal, you will find plenty of experiences where the flatulence subsided after a few weeks. Some have found that the type of food you eat — and when you take your Resistant Starch — will effect gas production. For instance taking RS with refined sugars and/or fructose tends to increase gas. Experiment and find out what works best for you.

    Finally, if you have a sensitivity to nightshades, and don't react well to unmodified potato starch, you may have luck with raw Bob's Red Mill Tapioca Starch (sold as "Tapioca Flour"), which has a similar RS profile to potato starch — provided it isn't heated.

    ASK QUESTIONS:

    Feel free to post questions on Free The Animal posts that are related to Resistant Starch. But, again, do not post questions that were already answered, in earlier posts on that blog (Richard will scold you appropriately). "Tatertot" is the Resistant Starch expert and reader who started this. And "Grace/Dr.BG" is also there to help with SIBO issues (including on her blog series, "How To Cure SIBO [w/ Resistant Starch]"). You can easily reach them by posting a comment there.

    BONUS:

    Consider helping the research on Resistant Starch by submitting a sample to the American Gut Project before and after your own n=1 experiments with Resistant Starch and sharing those results publicly (either here and/or at Free The Animal). You can order a few AGP tests for a discount. An even better test is the Metametrix/GDX GI Fx Stool test for a complete profile. Very few people have ever documented such a change, and Dr. Grace will assist you if you are interested.

    Good luck. And be sure to keep the window open! :)

    -----------------------------------
    DISCLAIMER: The information in this post should not be regarded as health or medical advice. I am not qualified to provide either. Consume this food at your own risk!
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
    aaron_c, Aerose91, RosieBee and 19 others like this.
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    On a possibly related note, 4 out of 18 ME/CFS patients are homozygous and at least 1 is heterozygous for a rare mutation at rs12703419 on MGAM, a starch-digesting gene. Normal prevalence is 0.25% homozygous and 9.7% heterozygous.

    Two of us (the only ones for whom we have parental data) are homozygous for the rare version even though we each have at least one relatively healthy parent who is homozygous for the common version. This shouldn't happen - if my mother has TT, I should have either TT or CT, since I must get one of her T alleles. But I have CC instead. So it might be the result of spontaneous or similar mutation.
    ahmo likes this.
  3. Ripley

    Ripley Senior Member

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    I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that gene just affects the rate of converting starches to glucose. Starches are typically absorbed rapidly and slowing down starch digestion can be advantageous (less blood sugar spikes).

    In any case, you don't need a gene to digest Resistant Starch because you can't digest Resistant Starch — it's indigestible. Resistant Starch isn't food for you, it's food for the bacteria in your gut (it's a prebiotic).
  4. South

    South Senior Member

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    Ripley, thanks much for starting this thread: I have studied so many factors related to digestion and slow gut motility and yet did not run into this info until you posted it. I have to say, your post is the best, most efficient summary of all of those links.
  5. South

    South Senior Member

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    Notably, the blogs in the first post on this thread (the links in the post to outside blogs), have several mentions of people who did poorly on OTHER kinds of fiber: people who failed with inulin and failed with psyllium, and yet got improvements with this special kind of resistant starch.

    That got me - my eyes usually glaze over when people talk about soluble fiber because every form of it I have tried actually slows down my already-too-slow gut. But apparantly the special resistant starch mentioned in Ripley's post may be different.
    AbbyDear likes this.
  6. Ripley

    Ripley Senior Member

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    Correct. Resistant starch and pectin / water soluble fiber (berries) are particularly gentle and well tolerated by the gut.

    In fact, Resistant Starch was often (and is still) used as a placebo because people used to believe it didn't do anything. I still would recommend going slowly for the reasons explained above.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  7. South

    South Senior Member

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    But Resistant starch may be different than pectin or fiber from berries is. One of the big blogs (outside of phoenix rising) that is discussing resistant starch describes its structure as different from soluble fibers, even pectin or fiber from berries. I just wanted to mention that for people who stumble on your thread midstream Ripley, so they don't make the mistake I made in the past when skimming info on fiber - I used to dismiss anything about fiber after I'd been through too many failed trials on myself with yet another kind of fiber.

    I have a bag of the special raw potato starch, which apparently is one of the highest sources of the special resistant starch, sitting on my counter. Am getting up the nerve to try some tomorrow, uncooked to preserve its specialness ;-)
    Ripley likes this.
  8. Ripley

    Ripley Senior Member

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    Excellent point. RS isn't considered to be a soluble or insoluble fiber — it's actually its own classification of fiber.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  9. Vordhosbn

    Vordhosbn

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    I have noticed there is a discussion in the comments of a Bob's Red Mill blog post about whether or not their potato starch has been heated. It seems even the company rep isn't sure. Has anybody figured out yet if "unmodified" does in fact mean raw? And if not, has anyone compared other brands?

    I'm sadly past getting hopeful about new diets and their accompanying anecdotes, but this seems reasonable enough to consider trying.
  10. South

    South Senior Member

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    The people on the big forum who are experimenting with it reported actual results with the Bob's Red Mill brand, so I have to believe that it is raw and the resistant starch in it is still resistant. Someone in another forum said they got ahold of someone at Bob's Red Mill who said the process is that they use steam just long enough to peel the peels off the potatoes, not to cook the inside, then they turn the still-raw insides into a powder.
    Important, do NOT buy the other Bob's product, called potato flour, it is not the same thing as the unmodified potato starch they sell.
    Lukey likes this.
  11. Ripley

    Ripley Senior Member

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    Bob's Red Mill UNMODIFIED Potato Starch is the one you want. Tim "Tatertot" Steele got in touch with the company and was able to confirm it is isn't heated:

    It's a pretty common process that has been around for quite awhile:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starch_production#Potato_starch_production

    Bob's Red Mill Potato Starch is technically 80% RS by weight and 20% water (the water is trapped inside the starch granules). Often the easiest way to tell if its RS is to put it in water and if it mostly sinks to the bottom, even after stirring, it's high in RS.

    If you live in a country that doesn't have Bob's Red Mill, read through the comments on Free The Animal for other product recommendations in other countries. There's also references to making your own if you have no way to purchase any.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
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  12. Ripley

    Ripley Senior Member

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    This is absolutely fascinating.

    http://drbganimalpharm.blogspot.com...showComment=1387306734937#c407314586984267648

    Helps to read Tim's comment directly above that one and Dr. BG's response after that comment to get a sense of how the SBO probiotics played a role with RS.
    Crux likes this.
  13. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

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    Thanks for this thread, Ripley;

    This is such a simple,inexpensive experiment; I've decided to give it a try.
    It's only been a few days, so I don't really have much to report other than feeling warmer.

    Since I agree that gut health is critical for general health; I have a reserved hope for this trial.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  14. Ripley

    Ripley Senior Member

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    You bet Crux,

    I wouldn't expect to see a significant difference until your dosage increases closer to 3-4 Tbsp/day and you've been there for 3 weeks or so. Vivid dreams were the first thing I noticed.

    If you, or anyone else, has challenging gut issues, I highly recommend considering Dr. Grace/BG's Resistant Starch recommendations particularly in taking some soil-based organisms (SBO) probiotics — alongside your Potato Starch — if you're missing keystone bacteria and not seeing any benefit soon. Keep us posted!
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  15. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

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    Thanks Ripley,

    I've read through it, and will consider the Bacillus Licheniformis the Doc recommends. ( I've taken various probiotics and naturally fermented foods and drinks for years, but I'm not sure I've had that one.)

    I started with 1 Tbl on day one, and only felt some fullness. On day 2, I went up to 2 Tbl, and had some uncomfortable flatulence. I tend to overdo, so I'll increase more slowly. This will require some time...

    I feel cautiously optimistic...mood is up. I'll keep on posting, thanks!
    South and Ripley like this.
  16. Ripley

    Ripley Senior Member

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    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
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  17. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

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    Hi Ripley;

    It's been a week now, early still, but I thought I would write that I've learned a little something.

    It has been suggested that Resistant Starch 2 may be involved with the conversion of lactic acid to butyrate, in the lower gut,which is beneficial ( immunity, anti-inflammatory). Elevated lactic acid is seen in many health conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, even cancer.

    Personally,in the past, I've had some negative side effects from large amounts of fermented foods, probiotics, etc. I've begun to suspect now that resistant starch 2,RS2, may alleviate some of this.

    When I began taking the RS2, potato starch, I also increased fermented stuff, and probiotics. There were side effects,in my case.

    Now, I've reduced the probiotic and fermented food, and ,all is better.

    In the coming weeks, I'll better be able to notice the changes, and describe them.
    Lukey likes this.
  18. South

    South Senior Member

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    For any readers who find this thread, who are dealing with candida, there is a post on another thread that talks about Ripley's experience with resistant starch and candida. It is post #46 at this page:
    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...ilms-theory-protocol.25472/page-3#post-417698

    Hope you don't mind Ripley! People with candida, like me, often wonder if a treatment that works for non-candida sufferers might be ok for us, and I like how you commented on it on that other thread.
  19. Thinktank

    Thinktank Senior Member

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    @Crux, how's your experiment with resistant starch going?
  20. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

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    Hi Thinktank;

    It's been 3 weeks now, and I'm improving slowly. It looks like I'm going to need some months to heal this gut. ( I've had IBS most of my life.)

    The science behind it is so compelling, and reading comments on the 'freetheanimal' website keeps me motivated.

    I'm taking 2 TBL of the raw potato starch,( Bob's Red Mill), daily. When I try to take more, there's just too much gas and discomfort... insomnia too.

    The good news is, I'm having less fatigue and PEM.:woot:

    There must be a changing of the bacteria population going on.

    Resistant Starch 2 feeds bifidobacteria, which in turn cross feeds lactate utilizing bacteria. This may help with people, such as myself, who have negative effects from too much lactic acid.

    I would suggest to folks here to start low, say 1 tsp daily, since so many of us have gut trouble. It seems like a benign substance - what - potato starch?, but it is powerful.

    I also realize I haven't been eating enough starch these past months: legumes, rice, potatoes, etc. I believe this has also contributed to my increased fatigue.

    In all, there's progress.... It's a slow process.

    Many thanks to Ripley for bringing this information!
    Lukey, merylg, cigana and 6 others like this.

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