15

votes

Eating dirt for gut health?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 06, 2011 at 8:16 PM

So, I know this isn't a strictly Paleo question but...

After years of heavy antibiotics due to an immune deficiency, my gut was a mess. Paleo helped immensely (in curing the deficiency as well as my bloaty gassy constipated self)and VLC and ZC helps even more. But I still always have a 'large intestine bloat', and I've tried many probiotics- from Natren to kefir, the only thing that helps a little is Garden of Life's with HSOs (homeostatic soil organisms). But the bloat persists...

Now... All this talk of 'fecal transplants' (gasp!) has caught my attention- not so much because I want to do it but because it made me realize how many strains of intestinal flora you CAN'T get from a pill. What to do?...

Eat dirt? From what I've read, the cause of Geophagy is not fully understood, but a possibility is gut health. The little help that the probiotics with HSOs is has made me consider it even more. Does dirt have beneficial bacteria for humans? Has anyone done so? In what form? Can I go to the organic farm and grab some when they're not looking? Clay? Pills? Thoughts? Experiences?

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 14, 2013
at 11:00 PM

unfortunately, most soil is fairly inert due to the overuse of herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. A good solution would be to get outside and garden! Build your own soil, grow your own food - the activity of organic gardening slowly introduces healthy "dirty" microbes to your system via the soil under your fingernails, in your hair, and what inevitably gets in your mouth. It isn't fast (just like gardening) but it DOES happen. As without, so within, as above, so below.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on December 19, 2011
at 06:04 PM

What dirt do you eat? Do you just take a teaspoon out to the garden? Or mix it in other food? Please, more info!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on July 05, 2011
at 01:21 PM

I don't wash my organic veggies - but I'm not sure if that does anything for me. Not sure the tap water in DC does me any good if I did... Maybe a soil-based probiotic would help. Willing to experiment further on the topic - maybe the book and green clay recommended by TMS and others below is where to start. But, yes, macadamia and local green dirt crusted tilapia may soon be on the menu.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on July 05, 2011
at 04:04 AM

... So are you literally putting dirt on your food?? Since this post, I've stopped washing my veggies and don't wash my hands as much... but my diet has been a little wonky the past few weeks, so there are too many variables to clock progress. Maybe we could start putting dirt in the salt shaker and pebbles in pepper grinder!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on July 05, 2011
at 12:55 AM

+1 just saw this, but was going to ask a similar question. I have the same problem as you - paleo and VLC helps, but I still have bloating issues. I try to take photos of my stomach at good times of the day, but I'll have to do a before/after to keep it real... I'm working on dirt-flavored seasonings - its kind of pomo paleo. Kind of the anti-truffle oil ;)

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:17 PM

This sounds fascinating! I'd love to hear other hackers thoughts...

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:16 PM

I'll look into it- thank you!

05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on June 07, 2011
at 10:03 PM

i'm not a medicine man, but i assure you that someone out there knows (but probably not on this forum)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 07, 2011
at 02:33 PM

Green clay. You can get it at most health food stores. I have read about its medicinal effects, but I have no idea how or why it would work. It does make a nice facial though!

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 07, 2011
at 02:17 PM

What kind of clay? Healing from what? In what way do you take it? And where do you get it from?

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on June 07, 2011
at 08:44 AM

Well if the vegs had any tiny bugs, they would have b12. :)

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on June 07, 2011
at 08:05 AM

Also Ayers posted something new - http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/2011/06/contagious-health.html plus he was on Jimmy Moore so if the gut interest you, he might be your man.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on June 07, 2011
at 07:40 AM

There aren't testing for healthy bacteria in donors per se. The principle is to find someone with "healthy" gut flora. The way to do it ? Interview the shit (no pun intended) out of them. "Have you ever used antibiotics ? Do you eat probiotics ? Prebiotics ? How do you respons to x/n/z ? Allergies ? Food intolerances ? Diet ? etc". There is however a test (I think it's called Metametrix GI) that checks for bacteria in the stool although it's debatable how many gut bacteria makes to the stool, is there any breakdown on the toilet - lab relation, ...

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 07, 2011
at 04:01 AM

I'll check out the book- thanks!

6869a1f2294b3a717a53645589a91d18

(1689)

on June 07, 2011
at 03:14 AM

a recent study http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602162820.htm

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:38 PM

sage_, have been busy will get round to writing soon :)

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:35 PM

i figured as much- she was a whack job, part of her appeal :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:31 PM

Not true. Not B12 in dirt :)

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6 Answers

4
93b5fc3a75c76817eed3f43831471cec

(140)

on June 27, 2011
at 11:29 AM

I'm interested in this too. I've been working on rebuilding my gut flora in the ways Dr Ayers suggests- not being too scrupulous about washing organic veg, etc. Also as much probiotic foodstuffs as possible. Logically though it does seem like soil should be the richest and most diverse source of organisms. However, the issue with going out the back yard with a spoon is that you don't know what else is in the soil, ie parasites, pathogenic bacteria, etc. I must stress that I haven't tried this and it is pure speculation, but I've been wondering if, given that bacteria in soil would be dynamic and parasites might tend to be static, a way round the parasite issue at least could be to innoculate some 'clean' soil (maybe heat treated in the oven?) with some fresh organic compost, leaving it to repopulate, and then eating the resulting dirt. The mixture obviously could not be stirred and you would have to put the culture at the bottom of the container and eat from the top, otherwise you might still be ingesting the parasite eggs. Once again this is total speculation and maybe would not work, but I'd be interested in anyone's opinion!

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:17 PM

This sounds fascinating! I'd love to hear other hackers thoughts...

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:30 PM

I hope someone here has the background to answer this intelligently. I do not. First of all, even with fecal implants, how do they determine that the donor has all the healthy bacteria? A lot of good bacteria comes from mother's breast milk (I made sure that my children got breast fed for 3 years of their life) however, what if the mother does not have a broad array of "good" bacteria.

I suspect the science on this is rather new. I read a book about a two months ago, called Bacteria for Breakfast, by a Professor of Pharmacology at Penn State. It was very enlightening and basically she suggests rotating different probiotics, not using anti-bacterial soaps (etc), and, of course, avoiding antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on June 07, 2011
at 08:05 AM

Also Ayers posted something new - http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/2011/06/contagious-health.html plus he was on Jimmy Moore so if the gut interest you, he might be your man.

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 07, 2011
at 04:01 AM

I'll check out the book- thanks!

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on June 07, 2011
at 07:40 AM

There aren't testing for healthy bacteria in donors per se. The principle is to find someone with "healthy" gut flora. The way to do it ? Interview the shit (no pun intended) out of them. "Have you ever used antibiotics ? Do you eat probiotics ? Prebiotics ? How do you respons to x/n/z ? Allergies ? Food intolerances ? Diet ? etc". There is however a test (I think it's called Metametrix GI) that checks for bacteria in the stool although it's debatable how many gut bacteria makes to the stool, is there any breakdown on the toilet - lab relation, ...

1
05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on June 07, 2011
at 06:44 AM

long history of using clays to heal, also bathing in hot springs, lakes etc with very fertile soil, old growth forests, etc...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 07, 2011
at 02:33 PM

Green clay. You can get it at most health food stores. I have read about its medicinal effects, but I have no idea how or why it would work. It does make a nice facial though!

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 07, 2011
at 02:17 PM

What kind of clay? Healing from what? In what way do you take it? And where do you get it from?

05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on June 07, 2011
at 10:03 PM

i'm not a medicine man, but i assure you that someone out there knows (but probably not on this forum)

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:16 PM

I'll look into it- thank you!

1
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:29 PM

i had a vegan friend who never washed the vege she grew herself because dirt was suppose to have b12 in it. i have no idea if that is true.
i guess if it was your own dirt and you knew it was contaminant free; lots of kids have survived eating worms.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on June 07, 2011
at 08:44 AM

Well if the vegs had any tiny bugs, they would have b12. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:31 PM

Not true. Not B12 in dirt :)

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:35 PM

i figured as much- she was a whack job, part of her appeal :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 06, 2011
at 08:38 PM

sage_, have been busy will get round to writing soon :)

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on March 08, 2014
at 12:04 AM

Sure, manured soil is quite rich in B12. How would you explain all those ancestral vegetarian populations that show no sign of deficiency?

0
874d4a5ffd3546733256c81bcc7de4b4

on May 14, 2013
at 10:50 PM

To answer above B12 can be found in soil: "Only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes required for its synthesis, although many foods are a natural source of B12 because of bacterial symbiosis. The vitamin is the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin and can be produced industrially only through bacterial fermentation-synthesis."

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12#Synthesis_and_industrial_production

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on May 14, 2013
at 11:00 PM

unfortunately, most soil is fairly inert due to the overuse of herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. A good solution would be to get outside and garden! Build your own soil, grow your own food - the activity of organic gardening slowly introduces healthy "dirty" microbes to your system via the soil under your fingernails, in your hair, and what inevitably gets in your mouth. It isn't fast (just like gardening) but it DOES happen. As without, so within, as above, so below.

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