17

votes

What Are Some Non-Disgusting Ways to Seed Our Guts with More Biodiversity?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 13, 2011 at 7:13 PM

I don't have any digestive issues, but I like the idea of having as diverse a bacterial polyculture as possible in my gut if for no other reason than to (possibly?) offer resistance against food poisoning. Additionally, I routinely see people claiming that obesity etc. can be explained by gut bacterial differences between individuals. Thinking about it objectively, a fecal transplant makes perfect sense as far as introducing anaerobes into one's gut, but let's face it, most of us will never do this.

My understanding of the initial seeding of gut bacteria is that it originally occurred during birth and was historically aided by less hygienic conditions. People take probiotics, but I seem to recall reading that none of these species actually take root and that if there is a benefit, it's transitory and dependent upon the continued consumption of the supplement.

Are there probiotics that have been formulated from species that are known to inhabit the human gut and that would actually more or less permanently take root if ingested? There'd be the problem of laboratory strains being ill-suited for an individual's gut, but these populations evolve so quickly that I think it would take care of itself if given the chance.

Do these bacteria survive on their own? If I pick some wild berries and eat them, do I ever introduce new species into my gut or do the ones I want die when exposed to air or when they are not engaged in a symbiotic relationship with a host's gut? Do the bacteria I want ever form spores and chill out until I eat them? Did we used to get exposed to these bacteria via the butchery of other animals?

I'm mostly ignorant about this subject, so if any of you gut experts can weigh in at all, I'd appreciate it.

Edit: Reading that link offered by gydle below raises the important fact that bacteria non-sexually pass around genetic material at will and that it may not be an issue of having X# of species, but rather of having the proper genes in those species you have.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on January 02, 2012
at 05:52 PM

I read that cunninglingus gives you an increase chance for throat cancer. I don't think that is a good way of getting bacteria.

1145a340276b66b7765d7808128062ea

(80)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Good to hear you have tried it and drew a solid conclusion that it didn't help you. Maybe the best advice is as Bill says above - drink Kefir and eat other fermented foods on a routine basis. I actually consume (commercial) kefir regularly to replenish my flora. Its has about 7-8 bacterial species and a yeast, vs the 2 you find in yogurt, and the three in VSL #3. Maybe just start simple with Kefir?

Medium avatar

on November 21, 2011
at 08:50 AM

I've tried it myself, didn't notice any difference in my symptoms. Then again no probiotic I've tried has helped me. I would say vsl#3 has the best research to back it up, but it's very expensive, maybe that's why it wasn't mentioned.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 16, 2011
at 04:12 PM

So apparently, it is ok for mods to make inappropriate comments, but no one else???

Medium avatar

(3024)

on November 15, 2011
at 01:37 PM

Marie, you inspired me to start the mango chutney video I'd been thinking of putting together. Half done. Now if I only had time to finish it...

Medium avatar

(4878)

on November 15, 2011
at 03:50 AM

Oh, and Kewpie, I like my recipes from the source, not some random Google slut orgy.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on November 15, 2011
at 03:47 AM

Thank you Glither :)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 14, 2011
at 03:28 AM

Guys, please stop talking about bestiality. It's not OK for people to have sex with raccoons. See our FAQ for more information.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:31 AM

Don't forget water kefir! Does the same thing for those who don't like or can't tolerate dairy.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:24 AM

But it's for SCIENCE, Travis! lol

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:24 AM

But, but it's for SCIENCE Travis! Be science's wingman for the night!

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:06 AM

There are actually a lot of studies on this strain...thanks for the link.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:01 AM

There is some interesting research suggesting that we may each have a stable population of different bacterial viruses in our intestines.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:00 AM

There is some interesting research suggesting that we each have a stable population of different bacterial viruses in our intestines.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 14, 2011
at 12:53 AM

Matthew: Good point...I've never trusted those guys.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on November 14, 2011
at 12:46 AM

One factor that has so far remained largely unexplored is the populations of bacteriophages that live in our gut. These viruses infect the bacteria in our gut and are likely to play a major in shaping the bacterial ecosystem that exist there.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on November 14, 2011
at 12:43 AM

One factor that has so far been unexplored is the populations of bacteriophages that live in our gut. These viruses prey on the bacteria in our gut and are likely to play a major in shaping the bacterial ecosystem that exist there.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 13, 2011
at 10:37 PM

Stabby - don't forget to bring the cacao

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on November 13, 2011
at 10:32 PM

Then it's settled. Because mainstream science is sometimes lagging, paleohacks must turn to its own series of N=2 (3, 4...?) experiments. I wonder if The Quilt would do testing. Onward, science!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 13, 2011
at 10:06 PM

Melissa - sounds like a good self experimentation opportunity. I am happy to oblige. The things we do to advance science

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on November 13, 2011
at 10:03 PM

Melissa - sounds like a good self experimentation opportunity. The things we do to advance science!

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:50 PM

Yeah, that'd be a damned shame if I optimized my gut only to contract a bad case of cooties.

Medium avatar

(3024)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:43 PM

Tomato salsa http://www.ruthsrealfood.com/2011/08/tomato-salsa.html Dill pickles (with vide) http://www.ruthsrealfood.com/2011/07/delicious-dill-pickles.html Mango chutney and yogurt recipes coming soon.

13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:42 PM

How is it useless? Is your Google broken? http://bit.ly/vAxdHd

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:23 PM

Well you know that girls have cooties, right?

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:22 PM

How about, let's stock up on some vacuum sealed biohazard packs and open a shipping account with FedEx? lol

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:21 PM

I...I don't know what to say....

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:16 PM

I'm not going to mention putting unygienic things in your mouth. I'm waiting for someone else to say it.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:09 PM

@Marie - this isn't a cooking site. Glither answered the question. Try this: google.com

Medium avatar

(4878)

on November 13, 2011
at 08:55 PM

This comment is useless with out recipes.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 13, 2011
at 08:52 PM

Fecal transplant could be accomplished with turd lollies, like the way parents are paying $50 to have someone's chicken pox-slobbered lolly mailed to them lol.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on November 13, 2011
at 08:47 PM

Travis - Well if not that, maybe get some breast milk ;)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:52 PM

Tee hee! Not planning to do that. From what I've read, kefir provides a nice mix of friendly microbes. You can make carbonated, low-alcohol fizzy drinks in vanilla, fruit, etc. Also can be used to make real sourdough starter for slow-rise, gluten free sourdough bread.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:46 PM

You're reaching here... :)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 13, 2011
at 07:44 PM

I'm still waiting on someone to study transfer from sex. Whether or not that's disgusting depends on your personal views though.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Those firmicutes produce endospores....

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:39 PM

I wonder if...uh...interacting with vaginas in general might lead to exposure to these species....

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:36 PM

Thanks for the info!

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:34 PM

Wouldn't you have to put human waste into it in order to seed it with the correct species (not recommending that one)?

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:20 PM

@korion, I imagine it would be difficult to find someone with a healthy gut flora?

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:19 PM

Good question..

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:19 PM

I would love to do a fecal transplant, but I don't think my doctor will agree :D.

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11 Answers

9
Medium avatar

(3024)

on November 13, 2011
at 08:28 PM

I have made fermented foods a part of my everyday diet.

Right now I have really delicious mango chutney feremnting. Oh, lord. This stuff is so good, you'd eat it even if it was bad for you. (I should be posting a recipe someday soon).

I regularly have either dill pickles, salsa, sauerkraut, chileo, or one of a few other fermented veggies in the fridge, and I started making my own yogurt. I sometimes have homemake goat's cheese.

I figure by eating having a regular supply from a wide variety, I've got it covered.

EDIT: I finally posted my mango chutney recipe with video. http://www.ruthsrealfood.com/2012/01/seriously-delicious-mango-chutney-with.html

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:09 PM

@Marie - this isn't a cooking site. Glither answered the question. Try this: google.com

Medium avatar

(4878)

on November 13, 2011
at 08:55 PM

This comment is useless with out recipes.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on November 15, 2011
at 03:50 AM

Oh, and Kewpie, I like my recipes from the source, not some random Google slut orgy.

Medium avatar

(3024)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:43 PM

Tomato salsa http://www.ruthsrealfood.com/2011/08/tomato-salsa.html Dill pickles (with vide) http://www.ruthsrealfood.com/2011/07/delicious-dill-pickles.html Mango chutney and yogurt recipes coming soon.

13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:42 PM

How is it useless? Is your Google broken? http://bit.ly/vAxdHd

Medium avatar

(3024)

on November 15, 2011
at 01:37 PM

Marie, you inspired me to start the mango chutney video I'd been thinking of putting together. Half done. Now if I only had time to finish it...

Medium avatar

(4878)

on November 15, 2011
at 03:47 AM

Thank you Glither :)

8
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:34 PM

I think this article by Ed Yong is a good summary of the gut microbiome with some research references:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/08/03/you-are-what-you-eat-%E2%80%93-how-your-diet-defines-you-in-trillions-of-ways/

particularly his comment:

"In Europe, generic, uncontaminated food presents a blockade to bacteria from the outside world, which means that Western gut communities have become gentrified. They lack genetic diversity, and they have few ways of increasing it."

The best way to get a good functional microbiome from the start is to be born vaginally and get breast milk for a good long while. I'm sure putting unhygienic things in our mouths as children from time to time can't hurt, either.

He writes more about the microbiome here (just click from one picture to the next... prepare to spend hours...) http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/08/08/an-introduction-to-the-microbiome/

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:24 AM

But it's for SCIENCE, Travis! lol

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:39 PM

I wonder if...uh...interacting with vaginas in general might lead to exposure to these species....

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:24 AM

But, but it's for SCIENCE Travis! Be science's wingman for the night!

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:50 PM

Yeah, that'd be a damned shame if I optimized my gut only to contract a bad case of cooties.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on November 13, 2011
at 08:47 PM

Travis - Well if not that, maybe get some breast milk ;)

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:23 PM

Well you know that girls have cooties, right?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:36 PM

Thanks for the info!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:46 PM

You're reaching here... :)

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Those firmicutes produce endospores....

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:16 PM

I'm not going to mention putting unygienic things in your mouth. I'm waiting for someone else to say it.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on January 02, 2012
at 05:52 PM

I read that cunninglingus gives you an increase chance for throat cancer. I don't think that is a good way of getting bacteria.

7
Medium avatar

on November 13, 2011
at 11:36 PM

The majority of the bacteria in the colon are anaerobic and die immediately in the presence of oxygen, thus the need for fecal transplants since they can't be put into a probiotic. It's not just how many kinds of bacteria we have, but where they are. A major problem for many people is too much bacteria in the upper gut, which ferment sugars and cause all kinds of problems (brain fog, fatigue, gut pain, etc). Having sufficient stomach acid is important to prevent overgrowth of these bacteria as well. Probably the best things we can do to create a diverse group of bacteria in our guts is to drink and eat fermented foods and to eat foods with prebiotics as mentioned in this article http://www.drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Fermentation_in_the_gut_and_CFS. Probiotics can help people but it's not enough unless you have a diet high in prebiotics and low in sugar because they contain bacteria (in addition to the overgrowth you already may have) that ferment sugars, but you need to have a sufficient level of the ones that feed off of fiber and produce the short chain fatty acids your colon needs to repair itself.

6
Dfba14aa4980f091ebc9e99719efd2ef

(123)

on November 13, 2011
at 11:48 PM

My understanding of the whole deal is that after initial seeding at birth and breastfeeding, it is very environment dependent (as already aluded to). With over 1000 different gut species identified, the couple hundred in your gut depends on where you are, what/who you are exposed to and what you eat.

The species that you are more often exposed to are more likely to inhabit your gut, but you also need to feed them, and have a good gut environment in the first place. So taking a fecal transplant from someone with 'good' gut flora (??) but lives on the other side of the country probably wont work as you wont have the same diet, bacterial exposures, other external immune stimulants or detractors (such as parasites in a tropical environment.

Therefore the fews strains in a supp are kinda useless compared to the hundreds you need for good diversity, and they are usually the same few strains based on dairy that may help you digest lactose/dairy for a while if you keep eating it. Food grown around where you live (local/fresh/organic (if possible)) will have the appropriate bacteria needed to digest that food and natural to YOUR environment. As long as you dont wash it and eat what you can raw, then you will be ingesting the bacteria. Then its a matter of feeding it with same or similar foods (which is what would naturally occur eating a local diet anyway). Eating raw is just so you dont kill any of the bacteria clinging to the food.

Fermenting your own food is great as the local bacteria on the food/in the air etc. goes into the solution, ferments/grows, and then you eat it. So you are getting a higher concentration of the wanted/appropriate bacteria. Again, prebiotics such as fermentable fibres will ensure a 'food' supply for the critters.

I think once you have a bigger diversity of local/generic bacteria then you will be in a much better place to fight of illness as the 'good' bacteria can starve/'drown out' the 'bad' bacteria, as well as prompting the rest of the immune system: "...different species of bacteria in the gut stimulate the development of different parts of the immune system, which develop in the lining of the gut..." (Dr. Ayers)

I also agree that its not the amount of units you can get at once, but the variety. So the companys selling supps that put more and more billions of bacteria (of the same strain) arent doing much at all, because as soon as you stop taking the supp, the condition of your gut and the amount/type of other species will change the balance anyway. Some bacteria may only survive or be created/transfered if others are present.

please correct me if I am wrong, I am really interested in the subject from an immune/allergy/gut health point of view (melissa??)

3
Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on November 13, 2011
at 09:31 PM

Art Ayers suggests that more biodiversity will come from a combo of consuming bacteria and eating different raw prebiotics to feed them (apples for pectin, bananas for inulin, carrots, resistant starch etc etc).

So perhaps something like raw milk kefir + prebiotic foods probably the least disgusting way to repopulate. Raw milk kefir reportedly can have anywhere from 30-50 different species of bacteria and the count can be in the trillions.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:31 AM

Don't forget water kefir! Does the same thing for those who don't like or can't tolerate dairy.

2
D7b01bbfd0b91a12c4aea43fb20adf15

on November 13, 2011
at 11:02 PM

http://www.iherb.com/Jarrow-Formulas-Ideal-Bowel-Support-299v-30-Veggie-Caps/23209?at=0

Ideal Bowel Support 299v contains a clinically documented human origin probiotic strain, L. plantarum 299v, that resists stomach acid and bile salts and demonstrated specific adherence properties for colonization of human intestinal mucosa. L. plantarum 299v has been used in human clinical studies for intestinal health and function.

Have not researched their claims, but it seems that they claim this particular strain would be able to colonize human gut as opposed to the other transient strains that require constant supplementation.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 14, 2011
at 01:06 AM

There are actually a lot of studies on this strain...thanks for the link.

1
D400bbb1c5b3b874b8334a268c854c62

(120)

on March 17, 2013
at 11:59 AM

Here is a list of shelf-stable probiotics that contain human origin strain bacteria:

wakunaga-kyolic, kyo-dophilus 9. http://www.iherb.com/Wakunaga-Kyolic-Kyo-Dophilus-9-90-Capsules/3954

Thorne Research, FloraMend Prime Probiotic http://www.iherb.com/Thorne-Research-FloraMend-Prime-Probiotic-30-Veggie-Caps/41208

Nature's Way, Primadophilus, Reuteri, Superior Probiotic http://www.iherb.com/Nature-s-Way-Primadophilus-Reuteri-Superior-Probiotic-5-oz-141-75-g/4676

Jarrow Formulas, Ideal Bowel Support http://www.iherb.com/Jarrow-Formulas-Ideal-Bowel-Support-299v-30-Veggie-Caps/23209

if you want it from iherb I have a coupon code for 5% off-- fuw548.

Hope that helps.

Anecdotally, the aboriginals in Taiwan consume the contents of the stomach and the intestinal tract of wild boar, mountain goat, flying squirrel and a miniature deer indigenous to the country. The feces is consumed raw immediately after the animal is killed during a hunt. This would be a great way to expose yourself to a whole bunch of bacteria...and probably a lot of parasites as well. They also eat the deer liver raw with some wasabi. I've been on hunts and seen it done but was never able to stomach it myself...no pun intended. I always carry my share home and cook it thoroughly.

1
9225c8e3ea353a2c604cacd62506047d

on November 14, 2011
at 10:47 PM

Agree with many of the answers offered regarding fermented products and prebiotics as perhaps preferable ways of facilitating certain bacterial species to bloom. There are perhaps a few issues that science needs to sort out. So whether or not once seeded with our bacteria in those early years (dependent on things like your route of entry into the world - vaginal birth vs c-section and your preferred early nutritional intake) our immune system starts to recognise those colonies as 'self' in some kind of immunologically-mediated homeostatic mechanism. Starting to 'supplement' at later stages in life... what effect might that have??? Also acknowledging that the gut is not only home to trillions of bacteria but also other things hence the discussions starting on the gut virome for example and how those viruses might influence health and disease and interact with one and another. End result: it's complicated.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:28 PM

I'm going to try homemade water kefir; it's a long-standing probiotic drink used in many countries.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:52 PM

Tee hee! Not planning to do that. From what I've read, kefir provides a nice mix of friendly microbes. You can make carbonated, low-alcohol fizzy drinks in vanilla, fruit, etc. Also can be used to make real sourdough starter for slow-rise, gluten free sourdough bread.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 13, 2011
at 07:34 PM

Wouldn't you have to put human waste into it in order to seed it with the correct species (not recommending that one)?

0
1145a340276b66b7765d7808128062ea

(80)

on November 20, 2011
at 11:30 PM

I am surprised no one mentioned VSL #3. I believe this is the only probiotic definitively shown to reduced bowel inflammation (pouchitis post colectomy) in a clinical trial.

One of my Russian buddies just took it routinely to feel better, even without a strict medi

I have no interest or affliate linking to this, but seems it can be bought without a prescription.

http://www.vsl3.com/

Medium avatar

on November 21, 2011
at 08:50 AM

I've tried it myself, didn't notice any difference in my symptoms. Then again no probiotic I've tried has helped me. I would say vsl#3 has the best research to back it up, but it's very expensive, maybe that's why it wasn't mentioned.

1145a340276b66b7765d7808128062ea

(80)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Good to hear you have tried it and drew a solid conclusion that it didn't help you. Maybe the best advice is as Bill says above - drink Kefir and eat other fermented foods on a routine basis. I actually consume (commercial) kefir regularly to replenish my flora. Its has about 7-8 bacterial species and a yeast, vs the 2 you find in yogurt, and the three in VSL #3. Maybe just start simple with Kefir?

0
D2e54178d2a8277289ab8b6e00d68b3c

on November 13, 2011
at 11:28 PM

We do sauerkraut, homemade kim-chi, and just started kombucha.

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