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Most Cost-Effective Probiotic Supplement/Food?

Commented on August 06, 2014
Created August 06, 2014 at 12:08 AM

I've been having weird, likely histamine-induced reactions to foods I love like avocado and tomato for a while. One of the ways I'm working on combating this is introducing beneficial strains of bacteria to my gut.

I'm interested in bifidobacterium strains like b. infantis, b. longum, l. plantarum, which have been proven to degrade histamine in the body (and likely quell the inflammation in the gut that's causing histamine disregulation).

The problem is that purchasing single strains of probiotics is expensive and doesn't seem like the optimal method. No one wants to rotate pills every month. Does anyone here make their own water kefir or have another method of introducing specific strains of probiotics in the context of a whole-foods, paleo diet? I find that the store-bought probiotics like kimchi are over-priced and probably only have several strains of lactobacilli strains anyway.

736662d9fd6314d426cc6de1896aa045

(175)

on August 06, 2014
at 07:30 PM

Sounds good. What's your airlock?

I've tried kimchi with salt layering and salt soaking. Neither great. Your method is a combination?

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on August 06, 2014
at 05:08 PM

more bacteria from manure. generally, at the market the guys with the smaller heads use the least chemicals. If you can see signs of worm activity (holes in leaves), too, get those heads. I do have small heads, too, but one head fills a quart jar and then some, and for freshness, you are better off doing a quart at a time. Place a layer of saran wrap between glass and jar, and secure it to the jar with a rubber band. That will insure liquid coverage without spilling. And salt it well, it is the most common beginner mistake.

83f300799b74f3b2aae3fa8c7ca2dfc2

on August 06, 2014
at 02:56 PM

This does seem like the cheapest method. I can get a cabbage for $2.50 at my local farmer's market, but I have no idea how they're handled (whether they use pesticides, manure, etc.) I'll be sure to ask when I stop by this Saturday.

Question: why is "manured heads" preferrable? I know very little about farming methods. Thanks!

83f300799b74f3b2aae3fa8c7ca2dfc2

on August 06, 2014
at 02:55 PM

Ah, you're correct there. Thank you. In both cases it's frustrating to me that you can't specify the strains (as it seems no two are exactly the same)

83f300799b74f3b2aae3fa8c7ca2dfc2

on August 06, 2014
at 02:53 PM

Unfortunately I'm not doing dairy at the moment. But thanks for the info, I think I'll look into the composition of water kefir strains some more to make sure they don't have any histamine-producing bacteria

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on August 06, 2014
at 04:57 AM

"Question: to what extent do you control the SCOBY content of the kefir?"

I think you are mixing up your kombucha with your kefir. scoby > kombucha. kefir grains > kefir.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on August 06, 2014
at 03:26 AM

I've seen / drank this (overpriced) at Whole Foods -- http://www.mytonix.com/Coconut_Water_Kefir.html I suppose you could splash that on your SCOBY. "Tonix Brand Coconut Water Kefir is bristling with numerous strains of highly beneficial bacteria and minerals. Lactobacillus acidophilous, Bifido bacteria and hundreds of synergistic naturally occurring organisms. This product is brisling with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, which creates awesome intestinal flora, digestion and production of B-6, B12, K, niacin and folic acid."

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on August 06, 2014
at 03:03 AM

I went with some random grains I picked up online (yemoos dried grains + keysands live grains) just to keep my diet interesting rather than for the specific strains. But, I've always been curious what exactly I've got brewing.. I've been tempted to try to send a sample to the human food project for testing (http://microbio.me/americangut/).

You could pick up a BB536 yogurt starter / yogurt maker if you're looking for specific strains. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=BB536 (But, overgrowth could be a risk http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/knowledge_... -- maybe less is more.)

83f300799b74f3b2aae3fa8c7ca2dfc2

on August 06, 2014
at 02:50 AM

Thanks for the response. I have no access to fresh coconuts unfortunately. Question: to what extent do you control the SCOBY content of the kefir? I'm assuming you just buy those "starter packs" on amazon? They never say what strains are contained which frustrates me.

Do you know of any way to ferment food that involves bidifo bacteria strains? Seems the lactos are so ubiquitous but if you're doing it for gut health it would be beneficial to get a broader variety.

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3 Answers

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on August 06, 2014
at 03:14 PM

The cheapest probiotic food would be sauer kraut.

Unfortunately this might be high in histamines, so YMMV.

All you need is a jar with an airlock, a head of cabbage, some salt (about 2 tablespoons), and some clean chlorine free water. You'd sanitize the jar and airlock, then finely shred the cabbage, tightly pack down layers of alternating cabbage and salt, fill the gaps with water all the way to the top, close the lid, put a bit of water in the airlock and wait a week. (I'd also put the jar inside a large basin/plastic container as the pressure would build up and overflow liquid through the airlock, this is on purpose so you prevent a gap at the top where fungus could build.)

To fit the airlock on the jar, you'd punch a hole in the lid of the jar until it's large enough to fit the nib of the airlock, then seal it with something. Someone here suggested using a grommet ($0.25 at a hardware store).

I used chewing gum to seal the airlock to the lid. I microwaved the already chewed gum to melt it down (and sterilize) and then once it cooled enough smeared on both sides of the jar to form a seal and waited overnight until it hardened (it's almost stone like once hardened).

You could probably use some silicon sealant, but I'd be worried about the VOCs and other toxic crap. At least gum is non-toxic and if you use enough of it and wait for it to harden it'll be airtight. (Not that it matters, but I used glee gum for this as it's free of crap like aspartame.)

Alternatively you could pay a ridiculous amount of money for a "special" jar to make kraut that you'd have to weight down so it pushes down on the cabbage. What works really well is to use a bunch of the same size jar - from whatever you bought from the store, preferably it shouldn't have a white (or other plastic) coating on the lid to avoid BPAs. You'd throw out a couple of the jars and keep their lids, and attach the airlocks to those lids. Once your ferment is ready put a normal lid on the jar and place it in the fridge. I have 3 such lids, so I can always be fermenting one batch while the others in the fridge.

Also try to keep a bit of the liquid from the previous batch for the next batch, this will help ensure that the right bacteria is what ferments your new batch.

You can also try making some beet kvass, also very easy. See:

http://thenourishingcook.com/how-to-make-fermented...

So far my usual rotation is kimchee, kraut, kvass and occasionally pickles.

736662d9fd6314d426cc6de1896aa045

(175)

on August 06, 2014
at 07:30 PM

Sounds good. What's your airlock?

I've tried kimchi with salt layering and salt soaking. Neither great. Your method is a combination?

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on August 06, 2014
at 11:42 AM

sauerkrauts costs only the cabbage, the salt, and the equipment. I use a quart jar to ferment and a full glass of water as weight. So it is very cost effective. But the exact flora can not be controlled. You can increase the diversity by mixing different cabbages from different producers (I use my own cabbage, but you should consider only farmer market, unsprayed, manured heads).

83f300799b74f3b2aae3fa8c7ca2dfc2

on August 06, 2014
at 02:56 PM

This does seem like the cheapest method. I can get a cabbage for $2.50 at my local farmer's market, but I have no idea how they're handled (whether they use pesticides, manure, etc.) I'll be sure to ask when I stop by this Saturday.

Question: why is "manured heads" preferrable? I know very little about farming methods. Thanks!

0
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on August 06, 2014
at 02:43 AM

I just cracked into two coconuts 20 minutes ago and put a new batch of coconut water kefir on the counter. I've got some mango+cherry+peach+strawberry vinegar in the pantry that's about a week from being ready, then I'm looking to pickle some veg up in a couple days and get my kimchi / cucumber / kraut on. Fermented salsa is a good one too. I'm thinking about starting up milk kefir, but I don't drink a lot of milk so that could be a bit of a waste / short experiment. Right now, my water kefir is happy, doubling every few days with large grains. I say go for it.

For a minute, I was taking ohhiera's probiotics, they seemed pretty legit, but pricey. (then again, coconuts aren't cheap.)

I saw this the other day and thought it looked pretty awesome:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1412648491/kr...

I use pickl-it jars.

Sandor Katz has good info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i77hU3zR-fQ

83f300799b74f3b2aae3fa8c7ca2dfc2

on August 06, 2014
at 02:50 AM

Thanks for the response. I have no access to fresh coconuts unfortunately. Question: to what extent do you control the SCOBY content of the kefir? I'm assuming you just buy those "starter packs" on amazon? They never say what strains are contained which frustrates me.

Do you know of any way to ferment food that involves bidifo bacteria strains? Seems the lactos are so ubiquitous but if you're doing it for gut health it would be beneficial to get a broader variety.

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