Resistant Starch--discussion of benefits/adverse effects only

lizw118

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Hey everyone,
per Sushi's suggestion, I wanted to start a new thread for reports about resistant starch treatments. I would love to see how people are doing, how long they have been trying it, etc.
Thanks
Liz
 

Sasha

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Great idea! That main thread is huge and it's unclear who has ME and who has improved. I'd like to see a well-thought out poll, possibly - it's easy to set one up (harder to develop the questions).

@lizw118, @Ripley - do you think the title or first post of this thread should say that it's just for PWME, if that's the intention?

[Edit: also wondering if the title will stop people reporting null results - is that the intention? Are you only interested in benefits or adverse effects or trying to get an overall picture of efficacy?]

I have ICC/CCC ME with acute post-viral onset 27 years ago and am largely housebound.

I've been on 4tbsp potato starch + 1 tbsp psyllium powder + 1 scoop Amazing Grass since February (i.e. four months). My tendency to constipation has resolved but I haven't had any improvement in my ME symptoms.

I tried Prescript Assist for 11 days but had severe sinus headaches, my mouth became raw and inflamed and my lymph nodes came up. After I stopped I began a series of cold sores, which I've not had for a long time.

Vegas suggested that these might indicate a positive immune response but my doctor (who's trying LDN with me) doesn't want me to confuse the picture by experimenting with it at this point - I might come back to it later.
 
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ahmo

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I spent a couple hours on the long RS thread the other day, thanks for starting this one.

I'm on GAPS diet, 2.5 years, very limited due to histamine and sulfur intolerances. My chosen RS within these restrictions is 1Tb beans and small amt of rehydrated shitaki mushroom. I'm alternating these 2, taking them midday away from foods and w/ probiotics. I've only just started this routine, about 1 week. I have no signs or symptoms to report, but get an enthusiastic YES from body when I ask if this is a positive move.

W/ my histamine issues, I've settled on 3 probiotics which I've been alternating for some months. It's the RS that's the new addition. I'm using Prescript Assist, Orthomolecular Products Ortho Biotic, and Nature's Way Reuteri pearls.
 

Sushi

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I was having good results with RS--in summary: after about 3 weeks of increasing the dose to about 1 1/2 tablespoons, I got the butt-bite with some nasty symptoms. I stopped for about a week and then restarted at 1 teaspoon.

After a few weeks on this dose I noticed that OI was slowly disappearing and finally the OI was hardly noticeable.

Then I had to start a long course of antibiotics and was getting side effect from those so I stopped the RS so as not to confuse symptoms (that might have been a mistake :confused:). I have not restarted but I am thinking that I will try it again as the effect on OI was so impressive.

Anyone taken while also on abx?

Sushi
 

SOC

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Thanks @lizw118 for starting this thread. I'm considering trying RS, but the original thread is much too long and involved for me to read through and glean what I needed. This is much better.

I'm casting a Yes vote that this particular thread be limited to results from PWME simply because our illness could make a significant difference in how our bodies respond to this protocol. We could have significantly different side effects or appropriate dosage than healthy people or people with other illnesses. We are likely to be looking for different results from other people. Also, the fact that it helps someone with IBS only, for example, could be completely irrelevant to whether it will help a PWME.

Thanks also to all those PWME who have posted experiences and results to far. That's a big help to those of us still new to RS.
 

maddietod

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So should I not post here? I've got CFS, but I don't understand the distinction between CFS and ME for those of us who are relatively functional. I don't know if my experiences apply?
 

SOC

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So should I not post here? I've got CFS, but I don't understand the distinction between CFS and ME for those of us who are relatively functional. I don't know if my experiences apply?
Oh heck, madie, of course we want to hear from you. :hug: I'm thinking more about the healthy scientists talking about RS on the other thread, or people with completely different illnesses when I suggest that that we limit reports in this thread.
 

Ripley

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For those who are unable to read the entire RS thread, I am reposting a few things from that thread that I posted the other day, which summarized some of the findings from that large thread...

Ripley said:
What we've learned over at FTA (freetheanimal.com) from Tatertot, Dr. Grace, and others, is that a variety of fibers need to co-exist in the diet. RS alongside Inulin, FOS, GOS, MOS, etc. And this is because RS2 alone ferments quite rapidly in the caecum (although, interestingly, RS3 from cooked/cooled starchy foods ferment slow and more distally, which is what we want). In other words, it's rapidly fermented. But eating RS2 alongside other fibers helps move the fermentation more distally and helps slows its rate of fermentation down.

After seeing people having some mixed — or in some cases underwhelming — results with Potato Starch (PS) alone, I recommended people start experimenting with other prebiotic fibers like Larch Arabinogalactan (LAG) and Beta Glucans and other polysaccharides — and ideally some of those found in medicinal mushrooms like Turkey Tail, Reishi or chaga.

However, this is where caution needed to be exercised. The feedback I got on those who tried LAG and medicinal mushrooms is that some found them to be too stimulating to the immune system if they went too fast. So, I believe there has been some merit in going very slowly so as not to cause an overwhelming blowback of endotoxins.

[...]

I could be wrong, but I got the sense that some people were hesitant to try too many probiotics. I can't remember though. I believe Prescript Assist was popular, and AOR-Probiotic 3. Many people seemed to have their own favorites though.

[...]

I'd like @Vegas to clarify, but I believe most of his benefits are coming from small amounts of Larch Arabinogalactan (LAG). I know he used some PS as well, but the LAG seemed to be the key if I recall. I believe he said that LAG actually helped him tolerate PS better.

@Gestalt was very adventurous, at one point trying 20g a day of LAG (early in the day, as it is energizing) in addition to the 3-4tbsp of PS (taken 5 hrs before sleep). I don't even think I could tolerate that much LAG :) He had very good results if I recall, but he's had some regression due to an experimental stint with NAG/chitin (which we now know might apparently can feed candida).

So... I think LAG is showing some promise. And truth be told, LAG is actually advertised to help CFS patients (one of the reasons I mentioned it in the first place). The makers of LAG claim that it increases NK cells and enhances the immune response while supporting the lymphatic system, and this was believed to be beneficial for ME/CFS patients. (Here's a little layman's cartoon explaining how LAG works, for those who are interested). The amazing thing is that you don't need that much. But, LAG is a bit complicated in that there are different kinds of LAG with different molecular weights offering different kinds of targets.

I believe @Gestalt recommends a low molecular weight LAG (ResistAid or Thorne's Arabinex... they are the same thing) for dealing with immune issues. The larger molecular weight (FiberAid) LAG is supposedly a better LAG for general gut health. But if I recall, @Vegas is using FiberAid so whatever benefit appears to be found in both kinds of LAGs to some degree.

More info: http://www.nutritioninnovation.com/agpaper.pdf

I do recall @Gestalt saying he's tried a number of LAGs and preferred ResistAid for their quality (smells like fresh pine trees) and for its preservation of antioxidants. ResistAid is manufactured by Lonza, and they are just a supplier. If you want ResistAid, you need to find out which LAG products are supplied by ResistAid in your country. Thorne's Arrabinex is ResistAid, but it is $40 for 100g (a normal dose is 2g if I recall). NaturalDoctor ResistAid is the exact same product (again, it's also just ResistAid by Lonza), but sells for $20/100g and is only available in the US — though they seem to be out of stock at the moment. Lonza is a big Swiss company, from what I understand, so ResistAid products should be available worldwide.

FiberAid sells for under $20 for 250g, but the normal dose is supposed to be 4g I believe (though, I think @Vegas uses much less than that).

[...]

My guess is all these products are on a sliding scale based on their molecular weights (i.e. "polydisparity") and their individual quality controls.

It's probably best to experiment with different brands of LAG and see what works for you. But, don't automatically buy the cheapest one. The molecular weights are all different (each purportedly promoting different effects), the doses are different (skewing the cost effectiveness of seemingly cheaper products), and the potency is different. So, the best approach may be to experiment.

I would encourage everyone to at least consider taking small amounts of Larch Arabinogalactan (LAG) perhaps even before trying PS. You only need a pinch of LAG to start feeling the effects, and it appears to be the kind of potent and intelligent fiber one needs to get the immune system moving in the right direction.

As odd as it may sound, consuming LAG is literally eating trees. Interestingly, the Sami people of Northern Scandinavia ate lots of tree bark.

Bark – healthy and tasty! (via Google Translate)

Bark - healthy and tasty! (via Google Translate) said:
A special status in elderly Sami cuisine consumed dried or roasted inner bark of pine. This part of the bark, i.e. the thin layer between the wood and the thick outer bark is rich in carbohydrates, vitamin C and minerals. It also has cholesterol lowering properties…

…The use of the inner bark as a food supplement has been all over the Saami settlement area, Sápmi. Bark has also been used as a foodstuff among Siberian peoples and of Native Americans in North America…

..The bark is harvested in large quantities during savningsperioden in late June and was put up in storage for the winter…The bark could be eaten fresh, and was perceived then as a delicacy. Dried and chopped into flakes mixed it in various dishes. Bark flakes were a common ingredient in fish, meat and blood soups and broths…

…Pine bark has in no way been nödföda but on the contrary been a coveted staple resource.[LINK]
Don't forget to consider probiotics. SBOs (Soil Based Organisms), we widely discussed in the RS thread and seem to be well tolerated by those who tried them, if I recall. Prescript Assist is excellent. AOR-Probiotic3 is quite good too (helps produce butyrate). Primal Defense Ultra is supposed to be good, but I personally didn't react well to Primal Defense Ultra (it gave me brain fog, and I don't even have ME/CFS).

Many people have reported taking a break from prebiotics for two or three days (or more) can be helpful whenever things don't feel right.
 
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Ripley

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Good sources to purchase LAG??
ResistAid™ seems to be very high quality from what I've gathered (hat tip to @Gestalt for his excellent work on this). They have a production process to preserve the antioxidants and it has a lower molecular weight than other products (which supposedly better targets the immune system). It also has a pine-fresh scent, indicating its quality. It is just an ingredient, manufactured by the Swiss firm, Lonza. You can follow their Twitter feed or ask them questions with their Twitter handle: @ResistAid

Thorne's Arabinex® is ResistAid™, but they are marking up the cost of the product a lot (~$40/100g !!).

I'm seeing two other products available that use ResistAid™:
I'm sure there are others, and their are different products in different countries. I assume you can contact Lonza and ask them.

Again, there is no difference between Thorne's Arabinex®, NaturalDoctor's ResistAid™ or Bricker Lab's ResistAid™. It's all Lonza ResistAid™.


Swanson's FiberAid™ uses a higher molecular weight (supposedly believed to target gut health, with less immune potency). After some time, @Vegas reported some good results with FiberAid™ in conjunction with RS (experiencing both ups and downs). This product appears to be cheaper, but the recommended dose is much larger. @Vegas initially used just a half a normal dose only once every two days or so and said it was quite potent. For experimentation, he has since switched to Source Naturals Wellness Larch Extract and takes just half a gram twice a day — breaking the tab in thirds. But, he can't yet say how it compares to other products.

Larix is another product, but it has a much higher molecular weight than the other two from what I can tell. Like all LAG products, it is advertised as immune-enhancing.

All Larch Arabinogalactan (LAG) products seem to offer immune benefits no matter what the molecular weight is, so there is no need to stress about buying the right one. Try a few and let others know your experience.

Truthfully, I am amazed at the potency of the immune-stimulating fibers (found in medicinal mushrooms, herbs like Echinacea, and LAG... many which are tree-based medicines, mind you). In fact, many immune-stimulating herbs, like Echinacea, contain Arabinogalactan compounds. With most traditional prebiotics, a healthy individual is recommended to consume at least 20g-30g of total fiber/prebiotics per day, preferably through food, (inulin, RS, FOS, GOS, etc). But, the immune-stimulating fibers (LAG, ß-glucan, PSK, PSP, etc.) have effects at tiny doses. The bacteria seem to process some of them into metabolites and they also appear to get persorbed into the blood, right into the immune system to do their work. Fascinating stuff.

EDIT: I'm seeing conflicting info on the molecular weights. Here's a quote from Thorne's own white paper (with references):

Thorne said:
Pharmaceutical-grade larch arabinogalactan is a fine, dry, off-white powder with a slightly sweet taste and mild pine-like odor. It dissolves completely in water or juice, is low in viscosity and therefore easy to administer, even to children. It is composed of galactose and arabinose molecules in a 6:1 ratio, with a small amount of glucuronic acid. Arabinogalactans are long, densely branched polysaccharides of varying molecular weights (10,000-120,000). Lower molecular weight polysaccharides typically exhibit an anti-inflammatory, anti-complement, antiallergy effect, while those of higher weights stimulate natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity and reticuloendothelial cells. In the case of larch arabinogalactan, molecular weights of the two major fractions are 16,000 and 100,000, perhaps accounting for its wide range of therapeutic properties.[2] [LINK]
[2] D’Adamo P. Larch arabinogalactan. J Naturopath Med 1996;6:33-37.

EDIT 2: My best guess is that each company is tweaking statements to suit their needs. At this point, perhaps it's wise not to discriminate between various molecular weights. Just experiment and report back.
 
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Ripley

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And if I can just say... for those just tuning in...

The reason why people are so excited about RS is simply because it's a cheap and easy solution for most people. (~$4/pound in every grocery store on the planet). It's easy and accessible. And RS creates a lot of butyrate, and it feeds bacteria that ramp up the activity of the gut and its role in keeping us healthy. For most relatively healthy people, it can do wonders. For people with ME/CFS, it can give positive results while stoking some side effects. It's not all roses. But, in general, we are observing some very interesting results.

Immune-stimulating fibers like LAG and those found in herbs (Echinacea) and medicinal mushrooms (turkey tail, reishi, etc) seem to be a safer choice in that they aren't randomly feeding whatever's in your gut — rather they are taken in small quantities and hook right into the immune system to modulate it.

So, don't get sucked into RS like it's a panacea. It's not like that. RS is like a staple food for your gut flora. In "theory" feeding RS to your gut bugs should make the good bugs flourish and the bad bugs diminish. But, if you don't have enough good bugs in play, you could be just feeding the pathogens. It happens. But even in those extreme cases, it can be a worthwhile diagnostic tool, tipping us off that we may have some dire infections that need dealing with.

And even if you have enough good bacteria, crowding out the bad bugs too quickly can cause endotoxins to flood your system and you might have trouble clearing those endotoxins (what seems like a honeymoon period, followed by a regression).

That's why the observed lessons from the RS thread seem to be to go slowly and perhaps try small quantities of the immune-enhancing fibers to tune the immune system and make it more intelligent.

Conversely, you can think of RS as a "dumb" fiber — it just feeds whatever is there and we hope the good bacteria flourishes to create a better ecosystem as SCFAs are generated and colonic pH is lowered slightly. This in turn does stimulate the immune system, but not necessarily in a focussed and intelligent way for people with really bad guts or chronic infections. RS works best in conjunction with a diet that balances other good fibers and antioxidants that play an important role in eliminating pathogens on the gut wall. See Dr. Grace's excellent posts and recommendations.
 
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maddietod

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This is what I posted on the other RS thread:

I worked up to 4T potato starch pretty quickly a few months ago, also rotating Prescript Assist, Probiotic-3, and Primal Defense Ultra.
My notes show that I immediately got significantly more energy and excellent mood, which continued for 2 weeks until I got very sick overnight. This virus lasted for 6 weeks, tried to get into my lungs and sinuses, and ended up lodging in somewhere in my ear canals; I've had 2 different kinds of vertigo for over 3 months. I also had to take antibiotics, so that set my whole experiment back.

After a month on 4T of RS I found I was clearing my throat literally all day long, and stopped the starch in case this was an allergic reaction (I have trouble with nightshades). I continued with the probiotics and a somewhat higher than normal amount of fiber in my diet (e.g. I take flax and chia for my omega-3s). I did try plantain starch, but any quantity made me nauseous.

I've recently been taking 2T potato starch, and haven't noticed any changes, good or bad. However, something profound has shifted in this 3-month period. I can now eat potatoes and tomatoes without getting arthritis the next day, and occasional wheat doesn't bother me at all.

I had trialled the RS originally to see if it would improve sleep. It didn't, not at all. But sleep has improved in the last few weeks, from 5 wakings to 2-3, and I'm tempted to attribute it to changes in my gut microbiome. The shift happened after stopping the 4T dose, and before starting the 2T dose, while continuing probiotics and somewhat increased fiber.

Also, I had tried LDN last fall, and had no response at 0.5, but got angry when I tried to increase it. 5 days ago I started again at 0.25 and decided to stay at this dose and see what happens. Immediately and every day since, I've got more energy, more periods of mental clarity, increased sociability, and motivation to do things.

EDIT, add: At 4T bowel movements got regular with normal transit time. 2T does not provide this benefit for me.
 
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lizw118

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@madietodd Do you think the virus could have been from prescript assist? I got a sinus infection after loading up on that probiotic for a while. I don't know if there was a connection between those two things, but P A does have some different strains of things than the normal probiotics. I am taking it again now and so far I am okay. I guess moderation is the key?
I am on ABX too and it is tough to get my gut into shape during this treatment. I am only doing one tablespoon or so of potato starch now.
 

maddietod

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@madietodd Do you think the virus could have been from prescript assist? I got a sinus infection after loading up on that probiotic for a while. I don't know if there was a connection between those two things, but P A does have some different strains of things than the normal probiotics. I am taking it again now and so far I am okay. I guess moderation is the key?
I am on ABX too and it is tough to get my gut into shape during this treatment. I am only doing one tablespoon or so of potato starch now.
I have no way of figuring this out. There was a 6-8 week virus going around at exactly that time; the doctor was unsurprised when I first went in. But did I compromise myself by feeding bad bacteria with the PS - having insufficient quantities of good ones? Did I overload some system with the PS itself? Did I bring too many changes on board all at once? Or did I just get a really tenacious virus that ended up settling in the balance centers of my ears?

I have no idea.
 

Aileen

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And if I can just say... for those just tuning in...
Immune-stimulating fibers like LAG and those found in herbs (Echinacea) and medicinal mushrooms (turkey tail, reishi, etc) seem to be a safer choice in that they aren't randomly feeding whatever's in your gut — rather they are taken in small quantities and hook right into the immune system to modulate it.
I started on LAG (Swanson's FiberAid) 1/4 tsp Seemed to tolerate it ok. I was trying several probiotics so haven't tried to up the dose. I have some PS but haven't yet tried it for fear of feeding the wrong bugs.

I find it very interesting that LAG may possibly be able to directly modulate the immune system. Would be nice to have some proper studies done to see if this is really the case. At any rate, something I have been doing pre/probiotic-wise seems to be starting to shift my immune system.

There are just tiny hints so far. My hayfever disappeared completely when I got sick and I got weird MCS stuff in its place. The MCS has not improved but I do notice little hints that the hayfever might be thinking about making a reappearance. It's like its dipping its toe in the water but hasn't made up its mind about jumping in yet. I'm hoping that may be the beginning of a shift in the Th1/Th2 balance.

And even if you have enough good bacteria, crowding out the bad bugs too quickly can cause endotoxins to flood your system and you might have trouble clearing those endotoxins (what seems like a honeymoon period, followed by a regression).
Yup, that's what happened. I was surprised at the way I was tolerating the pre & probiotics and was seeing some tiny improvements. Then, after taking them each day things deteriorated and got headaches. The past couple nights I ended up in severe migraine territory. (a very familiar place for me)

I've decided to completely stop all pre & probiotics for a few days (until I return to baseline). Then I think I will just try the LAG and no probiotics for a few days and see what happens. I'm considering re-introducing the probiotics in a different order than when I started on them (Aline, Florastor, Mutaflor, Prescript-Assist).

I am also considering taking them every other day instead of everyday to give my body time to clear the toxins. Maybe even 1day on, 2 days off. We'll see. Has anyone else tried this on/off approach?
 

Aileen

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ResistAid™ seems to be very high quality from what I've gathered (hat tip to @Gestalt for his excellent work on this). They have a production process to preserve the antioxidants and it has a lower molecular weight than other products (which supposedly better targets the immune system). It also has a pine-fresh scent, indicating its quality.
Has a pine-fresh scent!! :eek: Horrors! I do not tolerate pine-smelling anything, including actual evergreens. So glad you mentioned this. I would not have wanted to waste my money on this. This type of info is very important to those of us with sensitivities.


Truthfully, I am amazed at the potency of the immune-stimulating fibers With most traditional prebiotics, a healthy individual is recommended to consume at least 20g-30g of total fiber/prebiotics per day, preferably through food, (inulin, RS, FOS, GOS, etc).

But, the immune-stimulating fibers (LAG, ß-glucan, PSK, PSP, etc.) have effects at tiny doses. The bacteria seem to process some of them into metabolites and they also appear to get persorbed into the blood, right into the immune system to do their work. Fascinating stuff.
I am unable to eat much food due to sensitivities. I am hoping the pre/probiotics can help with this. Am I correct in thinking that, for the time being anyway, I should avoid inulin, RS, FOS & GOS and instead focus on the "immune-stimulating" ones? I take LAG, but I don't know what the others you list are.

I am also wondering about digestive enzymes (without Betain HCL)
 

Ripley

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I find it very interesting that LAG may possibly be able to directly modulate the immune system. Would be nice to have some proper studies done to see if this is really the case.
Brochures for LAG typically reference these studies, among others, for the immune-enhancing effects of LAG. I haven't looked at any of these, but there are definitely proper studies out there:

D’Adamo P (1990). J Naturopath Med 6(1):33-37

Roxas M et al. (2007). Altern Med Rev 12(1):25-48

Albers R et al. (2005). Brit J Nutr 94:452-481

Currier NL et al. (2003): Phytomed 10:145-153

Vos AP et al. (2007). Immunol 27(2):97-140

Classen B et al. (2006). Phytomedicine 13(9-10):688-694

Choi EM et al. (2005). J Medical Food 8(4):446-453
 

maddietod

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I noticed increasing brain fog, and stopped the 2T potato starch. The next morning the brain fog was gone, and this improvement has stuck. Since I have a history of problems with potato, I'm giving up on this form of RS.

I'm trying to work out how to get good amounts of RS without potato or banana/plantain flours (which make me nauseous), while avoiding weight gain from too much carbohydrate.

At the moment I'm eating a cup of lentils and 100g parboiled rice, all properly cooked/cooled, which I think gives me 35 grams RS a day.
 

Ripley

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I noticed increasing brain fog, and stopped the 2T potato starch. The next morning the brain fog was gone, and this improvement has stuck. Since I have a history of problems with potato, I'm giving up on this form of RS.
Probably a wise idea to give up RS2 right now. But that's a clue. I get brain fog from taking Primal Defense Ultra and then taking RS2 with Primal Defense Ultra makes it worse. Once the Primal Defense Ultra species clear out, or diminish, RS2 clears my brain fog. So, my guess is certain species are eating the RS2 and increasing their metabolites (such as D-lactate, perhaps) giving you brain fog. If that's true, not much you can do about it unless you can modulate that gut flora. Other fibers have been known to help people here tolerate PS, so in theory, other fibers might help you modulate your gut flora.
 

maddietod

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I'm taking 1/2 teaspoon of latrix, which is a tiny amount, but I'm testing things slowly and individually. I don't want to try high amylose corn because of gmo issues. I could test this idea with green bananas, but if they have to be really green, rather than green-tipped, I can't digest them. Are there other sources of meaningful amounts of RS2?

I'm intrigued because I took Primal Defense this morning (I rotate a bit haphazardly) with yogurt and cherries, and got mild brain fog.

Or is the easiest test to stop using Primal Defense for a while, while resuming PS?