This was my very first post of more than 100 by now, April of 2013, that began my evolution in thinking about the gut microbiome: Prepare for the “Resistant Starch” Assimilation; Resistance is Futile. Yes, the narrative was initially somewhat hyperbolic, silver-bullet, miracle cure and all. I’ll cop to all of it.
I am primarily an integrator, synthesizer, and promoter of things that make evolutionary sense to me and I always kick off with a bang. But I’m also the least intransigent blogger you’ll ever meet. I expect being half or more wrong from the outset. Rather than spend endless hours, days, weeks and months checking all my jots and tittles in a self-deluded effort to not be wrong about anything (completely futile, because you’re always wrong about something), I go full shotgun and brace for the criticism and constructive critique:
THESIS —> ANTITHESIS —> SYNTHESIS —> NEOTHESIS (WRR)
(^ Wash, Rinse, Repeat—ad infinitum)
This manner of dialectic saves time, teaches more people faster—in fact, we all learn together, collaboratively—is an honest process, and seems to me to be the most natural way to build increasingly complex and closer-to-truth hierarchies of quality* knowledge (* See my AHS12 presentation: Paleo Epistemology and Sociology).
It is for this reason that in terms of most of my posts, I do not delve into “excruciating” detail. For instance, I’m typically not talking about a specific 1-in-1,000 species of a gut bacteria, unless it’s a well identified pathogen run amok like C. diff, after a round of antibiotics (the antibiotics being the general issue—specific, to highlight general). Similarly, I don’t dwell on deeply dysfunctional guts but rather, on the vast majority of guts, some better than others, but always with the idea of improving whatever you begin with—never achieving perfection.
Shotguns usually hit the bullseye, too.
I’ve done a number of podcast interviews over this last year or so, most about Resistant Starch. The truth is, I didn’t have any idea at the outset whether RS would pan out at all, be the Next Big Thing, or more likely, be a very important specific piece of the general puzzle. I now believe it’s the latter.
So, with that, here’s my latest podcast interview. It’s with Will Barron of Upgraded Ape, one of of those biohacking folks. Upgrade your gut biome for improved brain performance. Talking resistant starches and fish with Richard Nikoley. While RS is in the title, I can assure you that I took a far more general track with it.
- I take pains to emphasize that whatever devils are in details, it’s the enormous complexity of the gut microbiome that’s the important thing.
- That focussing on very specific things in terms of specific pathogens, overgrowths, etc., is the province of clinicians with clinical experience that builds with practice and is applied to more and more specific and identifiable problems.
- That while experimenting and supplementing with RS and dirt-based probiotics is fine, not generally harmful (suggestions that it is, are bullshit), it is nonetheless likely best to get most prebiotics from various foods, and probiotics from being less sanitary, a bit more dirty. But supplementation, while not ideal, is better than nothing.
Alright, take a listen, and if you’ve heard some of my earlier interviews that focussed primarily on resistant starch, tell me if I haven’t upgraded my specific views in general.
Now, let’s squint some more. This post was formulated only an hour ago, when I read Jeff Leach’s account of taking it up the butt for science, over morning coffee and an American Spirit ciggie: (Re)Becoming Human: what happened the day I replaced 99% of the genes in my body with that of a hunter-gatherer.
When he announced his planned DIY fecal transplant some while back on the Human Food Project’s Facebook, I thought he was deeply confounding variables. I suggested that a better first step would be to bed down and swap bodily fluids and microbes with a Hadza woman for some months as a first step (interest of science, y’know?) and only then take some Hadza guy’s shit up his butt. ‘Butt’ it is what it is.
Anyway, take a good read at that post. I was going to do some excerpts and comment on them, but I don’t want anyone to miss the forrest through the trees. In short, I’m now a much bigger fan of Leach, and it’s this bit of writing that did it for me. Take particular note of the vast differences between a Hadza gut and an American gut.
Keep squinting, Jeff. Good work, anxious to see the ultimate results.
…To wrap it up, it’s easy, in hindsight, to say that supplementing RS in forms like potato starch is “bad.” It’s complete bullshit, and I’ll tell you why.
- It’s not harmful. How can it be harmful to ingest a real food fraction?
- People in general Paleo/RealFood have been talking about prebiotics for-fucking-ever. Onions, Garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, bla bla bla.
- Nobody really listened and when they did, it was chest beating over a coupla grams. It was only ever predominately about bacon, grilled meat, and added spoonfuls of coconut fat and grassfed butter.
- SAD dieters get way more fermentable fibers than “paleo” peeps (which isn’t saying a lot in an H-G scenario not even ridiculously and fantastically focussed on the way outlier Inuit). And H-Gers get way more than SAD.
But for my last point, it goes back to the way above. Nobody has any tolerance for being only half right. This is always a mistake. Always. Prebiotics have been jerked off about forever, but nobody paid real attention.
Until fucking potato starch and suddenly, there are many thousands worldwide doing so. But that’s a specific thing. What’s the general thing they learned is that when they took some isolated RS2, they observed first hand that:
- It had profound effects that cut through the signal/noise ratio on many gut levels.
- Results for the vast majority were positive, over time.
Sorry, I have this quirky fault where I think that giving folks valid generalities, they run with it and create their own specifics. I’m no hand holder. Fucking annoying, time wasting, and manufactures and maintains dependence.
So, some will doubtless stay with the potato starch supplementation forever and call it a day. Optimal? Probably not. But, some folks will always just supplement vitamin D rather than get out in the sun. Optimal? No, but only a stupid fucktarded miscreant would suggest that they ought not then supplement with vitamin D.
Potato starch supplementation in isolation has changed the landscape in many ways. That’s a simple fact. But you watch. There will be many coming on line to tell you it’s not a good idea and that all the foods they used to shun are the way to go—as though they came up with the idea.
Well, biting feeding hands has always been the province of latching-on leeches.