3

votes

Troubleshooting digestive issues.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 23, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Paleolithic People!

I need some help troubleshooting some digestive issues I've had the past year or so. I've been suffering from random bouts of loose stool and diarrhoea for a while now, and they seem to follow neither rhyme or reason. I need some input from others because all of my self-experimentation has yielded bupkis.

I've been Paleo coming up to two years now and although I feel better in myself than during my vegetarian days, I've never lost weight. I started getting into VLC dieting to shift my considerable bulk, but quit when it made me feel tired and irritable and it seemed to give me the squits. I now follow a whole foods, grain-free philosophy, ie mostly paleo, with the odd full fat milk treat or potato thrown in the stew. I eat neolithic foods perhaps once every three weeks and it tends to be sugary yoghurts, chips, chocolate and ice cream that I eat. I am just as likely to have a dicky tummy after a paleo meal as I am after a neolithic one.

I've read that coconut oil can cause loose stool in some, but after some experimentation, that does not appear to be it. I think.

It can also aparantly be caused by a lack of good bacteria in the gut. I've been taking probiotics now for around two weeks, with no effect. Should I keep going with them?

I thought perhaps it was my one decaf coffee a day that was doing it (I do not drink soda, coffee or other caffienated drinks), but giving up decaf coffee AND regular tea did not help.

The past few months I've increased my vegetable consumption because that's the way my body was pushing me, but that's the only significant dietary change I've made.

I go to the gym twice a week and walk for about 45 mins twice a week too.

I do use stevia to sweeten my drinks which mostly consist of tea and herbal teas.

I can't think of anything else that might affect my digestion so I can tweak it, which is why I need your help!! Please - can you think of anything or do you have some good suggestions on how to stop the random and infuriating trots?

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 18, 2011
at 10:00 PM

+1 for the brassica comment - they and any raw veges give me digestive issues. I did an elimination diet and found that I have problems with the veges I had thought were really healthy, and high fructose fruit. I, too, thought my problems were random, but it turned out that they were just compounding so apparently completely different foods seemed to be causing the problems when it was actually a mixture of long-standing damage, and medium-term to immediate reactions to what, when and how much I ate. Complicated, but the elimination diet sorted it out for me.

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 26, 2010
at 01:12 PM

That is one thing about Holland - old school sauerkraut abounds! :)

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 25, 2010
at 06:19 AM

Sa-weeeeet - thank you!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 24, 2010
at 02:16 PM

Yes, stomach acidity affects everything below it! Low stomach acidity means your food skips a whole step in digestion.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 24, 2010
at 10:52 AM

Yeah, the fermentation process generates an order of magnitude more probiotics than a pill :)

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 24, 2010
at 10:49 AM

Check out the book Wild Fermentation by Katz or Nourishing Traditions by Fallon. Pickled veggies, Kefir, anything that's aged

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on September 24, 2010
at 07:11 AM

why not simply order it from iherb.com or all the other supplement online shops that ship internationally? iherb's shipping cost is only 4$ for small orders! i do that all the time (to switzerland) with no problems at all. use code ZAM400 for 5$ off of your first order.

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:39 AM

I did have stomach flu around Christmas last year - this could just be a continuation! OK! Doctor here I come!

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:38 AM

It's looking like an elimination diet and quitting stevia for me - but tell me, what foods are lactofermented? I might also have to research some digestive enzymes. thank you!

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:37 AM

Right - now to find a place in the Netherlands that sells it! I REALLY wish the primal lifestyle would take off here, the Dutch are so SO *SO* into their bread, cheese and packaged food though and very wary of new things *sigh*. Now I just need a contact Stateside who can hook me up :)

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:34 AM

Hey - thanks! As I said above I am going to have to look at my Stevia use, which I'm not happy about but hey. It's better than what I'm dealing with. I don't really eat nuts. I find that I'll eat and eat and eat them utnil they're gone, even if I'm not hungry, so I don't really keep them in the house anymore. Thanks for your input!

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:32 AM

Would stomach acidity have an effect on the bowels, though? Or is it all interconnected? I don't have problems with my stomach, it's the other end of the process that's the issue! Although you are probably right about the Stevia - although my life is looking bleak without a nice cup of sweet apple tea in the morning I'm going to have to give it up if it does cause issues in some. Dang it. I already use apple cider vinegar, it's the best in sparkling water!!

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:29 AM

No use of anti-biotics - and I don't think you would know the brand as I live in the Netherlands. There's a place here called 'Vitamin Store' and it's their own brand with 8 different probiotics including lactobacilli acidophilus, lactobacilli rhamnosus and lactobacilli bulgaricus. Mean anything to you? :)

C8521a858edd480815a55f683afff86a

(2065)

on September 24, 2010
at 12:01 AM

Probiotics will take awhile to work- not an instant fix. Also, the brand is very important.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 23, 2010
at 08:43 PM

Absolutely food log, I completely forgot!

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284

on September 23, 2010
at 08:27 PM

True- could be a bug in there... H Pylori is pretty common...

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284

on September 23, 2010
at 08:27 PM

Ooh, I said the same thing before I read this- great minds :)

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284

on September 23, 2010
at 08:26 PM

I agree on the elimination diet concept. I would also highly recommend detailed food logs for at least a week including your bathroom activity. That's the BEST way to track which foods you eat and when your movements respond. Food intolerances or allergies can cause problems for up to 72 hrs after consumption, so tracking over two weeks or so is ideal.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on September 23, 2010
at 07:46 PM

Yes, elimination should tell you definitively if it's an intolerance.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on September 23, 2010
at 07:44 PM

I second the saccharomyces boulardii. It can help with diarrhea from various causes, and assists in the establishment of good gut bacteria. I just used it to end a pernicious bout of D in my infant.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on September 23, 2010
at 07:34 PM

Antibiotics usage ?

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 23, 2010
at 04:37 PM

I'm not sure what kind of probiotics they are, they're made from milk I think and I'm 32.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 23, 2010
at 02:55 PM

I like shot of braggs ACV in a shortglass of water with a splash of lime. Feels like an alcoholic drink, classy method of acidity/probiotic

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 23, 2010
at 02:52 PM

Also stomach acidity- have you tried digestive enzymes/shot of vinegar type trials?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 23, 2010
at 02:51 PM

I'm a big fan of lactofermented food for digestion. Or probiotics/digestiveenzymes.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 23, 2010
at 02:46 PM

What kind of probiotics? How old are you about?

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

9 Answers

best answer

4
1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on September 23, 2010
at 02:50 PM

Two things spring to my mind:

  • Could be the stevia. Some people report diarrhea when they use that. Perhaps worthwhile eliminating that for a few weeks and seeing if it makes any difference.
  • Do you eat many nuts? Personally, when I eat a lot of nuts, I get diarrhea (especially when I haven't eaten much else). If so, try cutting back or eliminating temporarily and observing the effect.

Your question by the way was very useful in that it included lots of information. Good luck. Definitely a good idea to keep up the probiotics.

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:34 AM

Hey - thanks! As I said above I am going to have to look at my Stevia use, which I'm not happy about but hey. It's better than what I'm dealing with. I don't really eat nuts. I find that I'll eat and eat and eat them utnil they're gone, even if I'm not hungry, so I don't really keep them in the house anymore. Thanks for your input!

5
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 23, 2010
at 02:52 PM

Probiotics must be refrigerated and sometimes it can take several brands before you find the right one. Another thing I would recommend is betaine HCL and papaya enzymes. It's possible your stomach acid cells aren't producing enough. If you think HCL is too strong you can try vinegar tonic (ACV diluted in water) or kombucha.

This spring I was having the most frustrating stomach problems ever because they were while I was paleo. I blamed everything from kombucha to pork, until finally I realized it was brassica vegetables. No brassica (kale, broccoli, cauliflower), no problem. It took me forever to figure it out. I don't eat as much vegetables now because of it, mostly gentle stool firming ones like pumpkin. Squashes are probably the best vegetable for you.

As Robb Wolf put it "stevia is for people who don't have problems." It can possible mess with your insulin. Try some more savory teas that don't need it like Lapsang.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 23, 2010
at 02:55 PM

I like shot of braggs ACV in a shortglass of water with a splash of lime. Feels like an alcoholic drink, classy method of acidity/probiotic

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:32 AM

Would stomach acidity have an effect on the bowels, though? Or is it all interconnected? I don't have problems with my stomach, it's the other end of the process that's the issue! Although you are probably right about the Stevia - although my life is looking bleak without a nice cup of sweet apple tea in the morning I'm going to have to give it up if it does cause issues in some. Dang it. I already use apple cider vinegar, it's the best in sparkling water!!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 24, 2010
at 02:16 PM

Yes, stomach acidity affects everything below it! Low stomach acidity means your food skips a whole step in digestion.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on June 18, 2011
at 10:00 PM

+1 for the brassica comment - they and any raw veges give me digestive issues. I did an elimination diet and found that I have problems with the veges I had thought were really healthy, and high fructose fruit. I, too, thought my problems were random, but it turned out that they were just compounding so apparently completely different foods seemed to be causing the problems when it was actually a mixture of long-standing damage, and medium-term to immediate reactions to what, when and how much I ate. Complicated, but the elimination diet sorted it out for me.

4
5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on September 23, 2010
at 03:04 PM

paul jaminet has an excellent multi-part post on his http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=215 blog about healing the gut.

in my experience, the most likely causes are either gut disbyosis (bacterial or fungal), a gut infection, intolerance to some food you eat, fructose malabsorbtion, or chronic stress.

quite often, all these factors can go together, or cause each other, unfortunately. so your approach should be multi-faceted to cover all needed areas simultaneously.

for me (i recently had similar problems), a food elimination diet was needed to recognize that i was intolerant to pretty much all i ate up to recently lol. most problematic was all dairy, all grains, eggs, most raw fruits, most raw vegetables, and most nuts.. (bc of cross-reactions to my pollen and grass allergies).

wrt to gut disbyosis i recommend to try several different products, as it seems to be different from person to person what works and what doesn't. "primal defense ultra" from garden of life seems to be quite effective, and all probiotics containing saccharomyces boulardii and/or bacillus coagulans (those can also be bought separately). the higher the potency of the product, the better.

an approach that i had success with just recently was do a fasting day (with only some macadamias during the day), while pouring 1-3 capsules of primal defense ultra into each glass of water i drank. this of course is much more than the recommended dosage, but wrt to "resetting the colon" such extreme measures can be helpful from time to time. my chronic bloating and diarrhea was cured the next day!

also very helpful is the #102 digestive formula from kyolic (odorless garlic + ginger). helps fight bacterial and fungal overgrowth in the small intestine. as above, take as much as you can tolerate.

i hope this helps. keep us updated how it goes..

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on September 23, 2010
at 07:44 PM

I second the saccharomyces boulardii. It can help with diarrhea from various causes, and assists in the establishment of good gut bacteria. I just used it to end a pernicious bout of D in my infant.

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on September 24, 2010
at 07:11 AM

why not simply order it from iherb.com or all the other supplement online shops that ship internationally? iherb's shipping cost is only 4$ for small orders! i do that all the time (to switzerland) with no problems at all. use code ZAM400 for 5$ off of your first order.

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:37 AM

Right - now to find a place in the Netherlands that sells it! I REALLY wish the primal lifestyle would take off here, the Dutch are so SO *SO* into their bread, cheese and packaged food though and very wary of new things *sigh*. Now I just need a contact Stateside who can hook me up :)

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 25, 2010
at 06:19 AM

Sa-weeeeet - thank you!

3
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on September 23, 2010
at 02:50 PM

Paleo is very broad, food allergies are very broad.

We need a list of all foods you eat

Common Food Allergens while still paleo include:

  • Dairy
  • Egg White
  • Nuts
  • Fructose
  • Shellfish
  • Nightshades

And more.

Personally I recommend an Elimination Diet, strike all potential allergens for 30 days, then slowly reintroduce to determine which it might be

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on September 23, 2010
at 07:46 PM

Yes, elimination should tell you definitively if it's an intolerance.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 24, 2010
at 10:49 AM

Check out the book Wild Fermentation by Katz or Nourishing Traditions by Fallon. Pickled veggies, Kefir, anything that's aged

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:38 AM

It's looking like an elimination diet and quitting stevia for me - but tell me, what foods are lactofermented? I might also have to research some digestive enzymes. thank you!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 23, 2010
at 02:51 PM

I'm a big fan of lactofermented food for digestion. Or probiotics/digestiveenzymes.

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284

on September 23, 2010
at 08:26 PM

I agree on the elimination diet concept. I would also highly recommend detailed food logs for at least a week including your bathroom activity. That's the BEST way to track which foods you eat and when your movements respond. Food intolerances or allergies can cause problems for up to 72 hrs after consumption, so tracking over two weeks or so is ideal.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 23, 2010
at 02:52 PM

Also stomach acidity- have you tried digestive enzymes/shot of vinegar type trials?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 23, 2010
at 08:43 PM

Absolutely food log, I completely forgot!

2
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 23, 2010
at 03:07 PM

Have you done a food log? SOmetimes you dont think there is a pattern but there is if you really track your food intake. ANd SOmetimes it's more than one thing doing it so that also complicates it.
-Eva

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284

on September 23, 2010
at 08:27 PM

Ooh, I said the same thing before I read this- great minds :)

1
8564091e3cf82ea53843c0dbcf57857a

(990)

on September 23, 2010
at 08:22 PM

  1. It could be that something you're eating is still causing problems. Elimination or rotation diets can help identify it. Sugar and grains are the worst, but some people have problems with eggs (usually the whites), nuts, dried fruit etc. Also check the labels of any supplements you are taking, or try going without them for a couple weeks and re-intro them one by one.

  2. Try adding in foods that will help heal your gut. Bone broths are essential. High vitamin A foods like liver, butter, and egg yolks. Good saturated fats from pastured lard, tallow, butter, ghee, and coconut oil.

  3. If the probiotics you are taking aren't working, try upping the dose or trying a different brand. I've tried so many probiotics that did nothing. When you find one that works, you will notice a difference. If you're eating dairy, consider making some raw milk kefir or yogurt.

  4. Consider testing for parasites or doing a parasite cleanse. Some people might be skeptical of this but I have done it and it helped a lot.

  5. Stomach acid supplements can be very helpful. Look for Betaine HCL with pepsin and play around with dosage. http://www.modernherbalist.com/betaine.html

Lots of things to try. Keep tweaking your diet and trying new things until you find what works!

1
52cae90a114ca8f0404948e2b7ccb7ef

(1595)

on September 23, 2010
at 03:41 PM

Lots of good suggestions here. You should mention what kind of probiotics you are using. And I would suggest you try giving up the tea completely and see how you do. You could also try not drinking at all when you eat.

0
Cb2415c2aef964ab499a09dc92ae7e01

(783)

on September 23, 2010
at 10:24 PM

There is one more thing to consider and that is if you are taking any supplements, specifically magnesium. Magnesium is commonly recommended in paleo spheres but some forms (magnesium citrate) don't absorb well and can have this kind of effect. FYI.

Second unrelated point is that I think I've heard Robb Wolf recommend natural foods like sauerkraut or kimchee over probiotics for helping gut bacteria.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on September 24, 2010
at 10:52 AM

Yeah, the fermentation process generates an order of magnitude more probiotics than a pill :)

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 26, 2010
at 01:12 PM

That is one thing about Holland - old school sauerkraut abounds! :)

0
E41dc220589a5d6a1fc6e606019e9391

on September 23, 2010
at 03:18 PM

If this seems to be a frequent problem, I would also suggest a visit to your doctor. There is the possibility that there is something going on more than just your food.

4a1966b5bc00a9aefd3abd63b9913284

on September 23, 2010
at 08:27 PM

True- could be a bug in there... H Pylori is pretty common...

344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

(451)

on September 24, 2010
at 06:39 AM

I did have stomach flu around Christmas last year - this could just be a continuation! OK! Doctor here I come!

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!