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More Crazy Probiotics Stuff

People are really getting good at refinements. Including myself. I now ingest probiotics (when I do, which is occasional, high dose) first thing AM with water, and wait hours before eating anything. The reason is simple. Your aim is to get them to the colon to establish as floral community members. You don’t want them being held up by food in transit, nor sidetracked by meals en route. So, one of my favorite mega-dose probiotics that you only take from time-to-time for six day, is Elixa Probiotic. Here’s a back-&-forth between Elixa’s creator, and Wilber, a commenter who’s a fiber menace to society.

In all the time I have taken Elixa (which is hundreds of doses during development and hundreds in the past 1-2 years), I never once felt nausea. Even when I experimented up to 3 or 4 daily doses per day. Never felt it. Not once.

However…

Several weeks ago I decided to run a normal 6-day course alongside a slowly tapering up dose of Inulin. THAT was the first time I ever felt it. Very mild but I was in no doubt.

I stopped the inulin and it went away. I’ve taken inulin separately in the past (post-Elixa but not DURING an Elixa course) and was totally fine.

Even going all the way up to 90 grams per day. (yes, ninety grams of inulin!).

(As an aside – prior to developing and taking Elixa myself, even a bit of onion would give me intestinal pain. Now here I was taking a pint glass of *90* grams dissolved inulin with zero problems!)

And to re-clarify: I was only taking a mere 2 to 5 grams per day in the recent scenario when I experienced this sensation.

Anyway, my point is this: Before I started seeing the nausea mentioned on here, I had never heard from any users having that effect. When I saw it spring up on here a couple times, I thought there might be some ‘common thread’ that may be present in most readers of Richard’s site which could possibly predispose them. The only one that sprang to mind was the awareness and consumption of prebiotics (potato starch being a prime example on here).

The majority of my customers will come from elsewhere, some with no knowledge of what a prebiotic even is. That probably explains why I hadn’t heard that feedback before.

So this is what lead me to experiment with taking inulin in parallel with Elixa. And the result was some very mild… well… I wouldn’t say ‘nausea’. For me it was more like I wasn’t in the mood for food. Like someone could have put a big tasty deep-pan pizza in front of me and I would’ve preferred to push the plate away and reach for some water instead…

Not experienced it since discontinuing prebiotic consumption *during* Elixa courses.

Having said that, the majority of people who I know are taking prebiotics in parallel with Elixa, have been totally fine. But certainly something to be aware of and to inform people who may ask.

Elixa is potent stuff. It packs a punch. Disruption is caused. Usually beneficial. Sometimes (temporarily) disconcerting.

I won’t spin the old BS line: ‘It’s a sign it’s working!’ The question is only answered truthfully by the steady-state *results*, not words 🙂

Wilbur:

90 g of Inulin is amazing!

By way of introduction, I have been supplementing 120-150 g of prebiotics per day for a year and a half. About 30 g of that is pure inulin supplement. My philosophy is to get a broad array of types of prebiotics in hopes of getting a diversity of gut bacteria. I take about 20 different types of fiber every day. On top of this, I eat a high fiber diet, including lots of raw garlic, raw onion, beans, raw fibrous greens like collards and broccolini, etc. My supplement drink includes dandelion root and yacon root, also high in inulin.

I lost 40 lbs without trying, and my weight is unchanged over this time. I lost horrible seasonal allergies, hypoglycemia, many signs of autoimmunity, high blood pressure, and on and on. My bloodwork went from statin-worthy to beyond stellar. My bowel movements have been perfect every single day for months. I eat anything I want (pasta, bread, carbs) and as much as I want, but truthfully I only want the “bad” things occasionally. I never touch food preservatives or processed oils, except when unavoidable in restaurants.

Karl:

This is an extremely intriguing and informative post. Thank you for sharing your observations and thoughts on the topic!

I agree completely with all the points you have made.

Your health improvements sound phenomenal and it sounds like your gut microbiome is so robust you could drink a gallon of Clostridium Difficile and barely break a sweat. ?

You are indeed spot on with your observation of varying fructan length in the commercially available inulin. I myself happened to be experimenting with inulin derived from chicory root. However, I am not sure of the chain length in that particular product as it was also labelled as FOS which may imply they had degraded the fructan’s length during extraction.

I agree with your final musing regarding different FODMAPs potentially having differing effect in parallel with an Elixa course. I should add that I have not seen a strong correlation between consumption of potato starch (plus Elixa) equalling the temporary odd effects – but my earlier hypothesis may certainly explain things IF it were the case. I’ve heard a very limited number of people report this (infact, as I recall, the 3 or 4 within the comment sections of this site are the only incidences I’ve heard about in total). I’m always looking for feedback though, and considering various theories to explain all the data.

Some side thoughts for us all to consider:

Another thing about ‘ease-of-fermentation’ may be that chain-length might not be the largest factor. Perhaps the bond-types, the tertiary structure, and/or the physical structures (in which the entire thing is consumed) are more/equally as impactful!

What I mean by ‘physical structure’ is, for example; refined inulin in a powder is different to inulin stored in a cellulose bound plant cell, that one would be munching down when you eat various root vegetables (inulin being a storage carb for many plants, ofc). While the former is a very simple solution of water and inulin (prime for bacterial consumption) the other one is a complex array of organic forms which inulin will slowly make its way out from, as mechanical action (and limited cellulase activity) gradually lower the structural integrity of that particular block of plant cells.

Alright, if you want to read the rest, click here. If you want to get on the train of periodic, high-dose probiotic on an empty stomach, click here.
 

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

24 Comments

  1. Jackie D on June 9, 2015 at 15:37

    I took my six day starter course of Elixa along with 4 TB raw potato starch every morning on an empty stomach. I do feel truly hungry in the morning, but will have to try next time to wait hours to eat. I have another six day course of Elixa on its way, so the timing of this post is great.

  2. Steve on June 9, 2015 at 18:02

    Who is Karl Seddon, and why should I believe that he knows his stuff? Who is making this stuff for him, and where is it made? Not trying to be a pain in the ass, but popping down capsules offered by some random guy on the Internet isn’t something I normally get excited about…..

    • Richard Nikoley on June 10, 2015 at 06:29

      Steve, this is all explained on the blog in previous posts, and on the Elixa site, and if you have more questions you can contact him directly.

      It is definitely a pain in the ass when some random guy on the Internet expects others to spoon feed him information that’s readily available.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 10, 2015 at 15:04

      Yea, I’m leaving all the proven shit to others because doG knows, questions are inconvenient.

    • Navin Patel on June 10, 2015 at 17:34

      Steve, I was an early adopter of Elixa and I have been in contact with the founder Karl many times even calling him from the US before I tried his product as it was relatively obscure at that time.
      I also had some reservations when I came to his site before there was much feedback floating around on the interweb.

      I am not sure what makes one man/woman more or less worthy of formulating a product, but I am a man who judges someone by their words not qualifications. Not everyone is like that and I am sure you can research his academic background which I imagine to be more than satisfactory.

      He certainly knows his stuff and he spares a lot of time for me and my endless questions (most of which are not related directly to Elixa). I have had tremendous benefit from Elixa and also his advice through email. He hasn’t ever needed to validate to me his qualifications on the topic beyond the first contact I had with him. I think if you read around you may see that he has the ability to explain things clearly even if they are complex subjects. Probably all the practice with me!

  3. jonw on June 10, 2015 at 12:08

    I tend to be pretty skeptical. Potato starch, for example, tried it and never did much for me… moved on. But this product definitely did something positive to my gut. For years I’ve had bad high pressure gas within an hour of eating garlic. Since a 6-dose pack of Elixa last week, no gas response at all to garlic. Have tried on two non-consecutive days, both powdered and raw. I can think of no explanation for this other than a change intenstinal bacteria.

    Something perplexing though. Given that this always happened so quickly after eating garlic, sometimes even as little as thirty minutes, I always thought it was an issue BEFORE the large intestine (which I believe is Karl’s target area). Karl, do you think your product affects gut health further upstream? Or was my garlic meal just hitting the large intestine rapidly on those occasions?

    • Wilbur on June 10, 2015 at 14:36

      The gut connects to everything, it seems. I do not know the specific answer to your question, but I would not be surprised that an improvement in your gut would improve conditions elsewhere.

      I’ve read stuff like the following:

      “Furthermore, changes in diet also result in altered respiratory microflora, suggesting a link between nutrition and development of microbial communities in the respiratory tract.”

      http://mbio.asm.org/content/3/4/e00251-12.full

      Another study I read, which I cannot find now, suggested the generation of short-chain fatty acids by the gut can influence the microbiomes elsewhere. So maybe improving your gut can improve your stomach? FWIW, I haven’t had any heartburn at all in over a year. I used to get it frequently and ate a lot of Tums. And I love intensely flavored foods.

      I understand your skepticism. I wouldn’t believe it if it hadn’t happened to me. But there is a lot of evidence suggesting that a healthy gut is key. The question is how a person with a random initial condition can get there.

    • Wilbur on June 10, 2015 at 14:43

      I wish someone would combine Karl’s recovery advice (low fiber, high dose prebiotics) followed with a large diversity of fiber types (including and especially from food) that add up to a significant amount. PS is fine, but do small amounts of lots of types that add up to a large amount overall.

    • Wilbur on June 10, 2015 at 14:52

      Here we go. Not the same one I read before, but similar.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24390308

      “The gut microbiota metabolized the fiber, consequently increasing the concentration of circulating short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Mice fed a high-fiber diet had increased circulating levels of SCFAs and were protected against allergic inflammation in the lung, whereas a low-fiber diet decreased levels of SCFAs and increased allergic airway disease. “

    • MPlant on June 11, 2015 at 08:13

      There are are lot of really great takeaways from all the posts and back and forth discussions. Here is what I have so far. Maybe we are ready for a protocol to follow? ( I know everyone is different so YMMV should be applied).

      • Small doses of probiotics similar to picking up spores from eating foods in the dirt but negligible/ineffective in restoring balance to someone with a screwed up gut
      • Mega doses may be the key
      • Mega doses not meant for every day, just periodically and only if you have a screwed up gut or for periodic up-keep or after antibiotics
      • Mega doses can’t be administered willy nilly, if they get caught, slow down, or accumulate in the upper/small intestine instead of lower/large you could end up with SIBO
      • Refined/simple sugars break down fast and can provide energy for bacteria too soon, stick to more complex carbs especially when dosing
      • Mega doses will never have all the strains but they don’t have to, they lower the PH creating an environment that kills all the bad guys and allows all strains of good guys to proliferate on their own
      • Don’t feed either the good or the bad during mega-dosing; it gives the bad guys an advantage so hold off on prebiotics then
      • When balance is restored (how do we know?) feed the good guys fermentable fibers and a variety
      • Feeding good guys (might?) increase SCFA’s which (may?) improve immune response (to gluten too?) and (might?) provide energy to repair mucosal lining/leaky gut. (can we supplement SCFAs?)

  4. Julie on June 10, 2015 at 14:40

    I thought it would be worth sharing my experience with Elixa here because I can’t seem to find any amazon listing to write a review or any other place to discuss it. I also am very thankful to Richard for posting the article on prebiotics and hosting such a productive comment section.
    For several years I have been battling a deep fatigue. It came about after I had a long period of emotional stress in my life. To finish it off I got seriously ill and required antibiotics. Doctors said the illness was due to my stress and depression being so chronic.

    After this all passed I was left in a mental state of lethargy. It felt so different to the stress I was experiencing before but everyone told me it was just the same thing but getting better. I knew that I was no longer stressed and that this low motivation and unwell feeling had started after the antibiotics.
    After 2 years passed almost all my friends and family thought of me as a hypochondriac. This was deeply upsetting. The doctors didn’t say as much but I knew that was what they thought, since they bounced me from one doctor to another. All of them said it was just ongoing stress.

    I searched the internet as my last resource and found hundreds of other people suffering from this type of conditon and it no doubt affects thousands or tens of thousands. I am sure there are many different causes but many people talked about the gut flora.

    By this time I was very desperate. I was even starting to doubt myself and think that maybe people were right about me being a hypochondriac. But the fatigue was so bad that even doing simple things like getting my laptop charger from another room were such an effort that I’d end up procrastinating even little things like that.

    I tried every supplement recommended. I felt a mug by the end of it and lost a lot of faith in the supplement industry. I was sick of the promises and the months and months I needed to wait to see some benefit, which never came..

    I heard about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and that started me on my research about GAPS diet and eventually to fodmaps. I came across Richard and Karl’s article about fodmaps in the African diet and it deciphered a lot of the concepts I was struggling to understand. Thank you Richard!

    I went on to try Elixa just because the article was so informative and it was a short course so I didn’t feel I had weeks of misplaced hope to lose.

    From the second day of the course I woke up with a much clearer head than usual. I put this down to chance. I felt much less grogginess and it took me a shorter time to fully wake up. The rest of the second day was my normal unwell self. I noticed some slightly loose stools on both the first and second day I did feel an urgency to use the bathroom on occasion. This did not bother me too much because I also had constipation and it’s not a bad thing for me to be able to use the bathroom more than once a day! The rest of the day was as normal (usual yoyo-ing of mood and energy levels). From the third day onwards I felt much better during the day. My mood was improved and I had less fatigue in the late afternoon and early evening. Some people commented that I seemed more upbeat which I put down to being hopeful that it was working more than the actual improvement in mood.

    I also had a coworker comment on my skin looking better, although I personally have not noticed a difference because I feel my skin has always been good. It looks slightly brighter, shall we say. By the end of the 12 days (I had bought 12 days of Elixa) I felt like a new person. The best way to describe it is that I used to feel ‘OK’ for a very brief period during the day. Maybe two or three 20 minute spans. Now this has extended to the entire day and the fluctuations have gone. My constipation has improved also but I am not sure how much of that is going to be permanent because I am starting to understand from Richard’s previous post that it may have been something to do with the capsule coating that triggers the bowel movements. I don’t know but I will know soon enough.

    I don’t usually post on public forums but I felt like I have been vindicated by this experience. I’m not sure what was worse, suffering from this mental and physical fatigue or having my family and doctors think I am imagining it all. It still upsets me but maybe I would have thought the same in their position.

    My coworkers and family are amazed by the difference. I feel somewhat bitter still about the whole thing. But I always have a smile on my face because I had proved people wrong.

    I’m sure many people out there may be in that position. I’m not sure if Elixa or other probiotics are going to be your solution but if I help one person then it was worth writing this comment. I think that the gut flora are responsible for a lot of things.

    Thanks Richard.

  5. Wilbur on June 10, 2015 at 19:27

    Julie –

    This is a great post. There is a lot of research showing connections between gut health and mental well-being. Between gut health and a lot of stuff. It’s not well understood, and often not believed.

    You do not mention what your diet was before you started. It is my opinion (as a random dude on the Internet) that what you’ve accomplished should be followed by lots of veggies. Eat what you like, but just add lots of veggies.

    From Ameican Gut Project:

    “No. 2. Eat more plants. This is not a hard one. I don’t mean to give up meat, but I mean to eat a greater diversity and quantity of whole plants. This is the single most important (in my opinion) dietary strategy for improving the diversity and health of your gut microbiome. In short, your gut microbes thrive on a diversity of fermentable substrates (aka dietary fiber). But not all fiber is the same (physically or chemically), so consuming a diversity of whole plants will assure a steady flow of substrates for your resident microbes. And make 2013 the year you eat more of the whole plant, not just the soft and tasty parts. Consume the entire asparagus, not just the tip; consume the trunk of the broccoli, not just the crown; consume all of the greens at the top of the leek, not just the bulb. By doing so, you will guarantee that the harder-to-digest portions of the plant will extend the metabolic activity of your microbiome deep into your bowels. Also track how many species of plants you eat in a week – shoot for 30-40, or more.”

    Constipation is not normal. Again, I do not know your normal diet. But I find, for instance, that a standard restaurant meal is very inverted from what I’d consider the optimal meat to veggie ratio. My plate at home is mostly veggie with a bit of meat. I often laugh when I go out because the plates have almost no veggies. A giant piece of meat with a couple of cauliflower florets. At home, I’d have 1/3rd the meat with half a head of cauliflower!

    Anyway, I hope this helps you find continued success. Good luck!

    .

  6. edster on June 12, 2015 at 19:59

    A bit of an aside, have any women experienced changes (good or bad) in relation to the menopause from taking probiotics — especially something like Elixa? Why wife suffers terribly with night sweats, migraines, hot flushes, etc. Conventional medicine hasn’t really been much help and she’s concerned about taking large doses of synthetic hormones for extended periods. What role could pre/probiotics play with hormone regulation, and are there any good strategies to try?

    • MachineGhost on June 23, 2015 at 05:59

      You need to look into bioidentical hormones as well as DIM, black cohosh, blue cohosh, wild yam, etc. and other female herbs.

  7. mart on June 15, 2015 at 18:21

    Just bought a 6-day pack via your affiliate link Richard, and will try to report my own anecdotal results here. Thanks

  8. Mike Wismer on June 21, 2015 at 09:38

    I started my second 6-pack or Elixa today. I’m doing them back to back as is suggested for first time users. Taken in the morning with water as recommended.

    A little about me: My diet is about 70% whole foods and 30% SAD. I take potato starch on a cycle. 28 days with potato starch followed by 14 days without. I’ve been doing the potato starch cycle for just over a year in that matter. I do not eat breakfast (never really have).

    Results/changes experienced since taking Elixa:

    Day 1 – no noticeable change
    Day 2 – Extremely hungry at lunch time. Really hungry again at dinnertime. I probably consumed twice as much food as is normal for me
    Day 3 – appetite normal again. Very good sleep. Higher energy levels. (I often have difficulty getting to sleep and am lethargic during the day)
    Day 4 – appetite normal. Another great night sleep. High energy levels – increased sense of well-being. Noticeably better mood
    Day 5 – appetite lower – only ate one meal at mid-day. sleep, energy, well-being, mood all at improved levels
    Day 6-7 – same as Day 5.

    So far a success. Now to work on lowering the 30% SAD part of my diet…

    • Richard Nikoley on June 21, 2015 at 10:05

      Good thing you didn’t bag it at day 2 and write a scathing review.

    • Mike Wismer on June 21, 2015 at 10:33

      I found that day to be quite interesting actually. There are just so many unknowns involved.

      I conceptualized a battle going on for gut real estate and someone was low on supplies. Silly to make a judgement before the battle was over..

    • Mike Wismer on July 18, 2015 at 09:00

      Update:

      It has been 22 days since I finished my 12 run of Elixa, and I have lost 8lbs. I’ve been making better food choices though, so how much did the probiotics contribute? Who knows, but my experience has been an overall success.

      The next change? Today is my fourth day without a cigarette…

      Mike

  9. George on July 5, 2015 at 15:05

    I bought it. 6 days worth of porobiotics. Took it on an empty stomach. Nothing! Nada! Zilt! Sent buy it again! Not for me!

    • Richard Nikoley on July 5, 2015 at 19:46

      Did you have problems you seek to correct?

  10. Michele on July 6, 2015 at 04:48

    Hello everyone. So, I wanted to report back on the Elixa course I just did. Please keep in mind, these are my personal observations only and not me trying to tell everyone that it is BECAUSE of Elixa that x, y or z was observed.
    For a little background – I have no thyroid, take replacement thyroid hormone and am “recovering” from some nasty fertility treatments and 4 miscarriages which all finished in November 2014. My biggest complaint was the weight gain and hormonal roller coaster (SUCKS big time). Here’s the observations which mainly kicked in on day 5. I DID NOT change my diet as the Elix FAQs suggest and even tested the waters with a tick more gluten than usual:
    – Very little hunger
    – Surprising tolerance for alcohol (just drank the usual but felt practically nothing after 2 glasses of wine)
    – I haven’t weighed myself but I REALLY feel as though I look slimmer and less puffy
    – Feeling rather emotional – almost like PMS
    – TMIs took a few days and I already thought mine weren’t bad but now they’re even better
    – Eating some bread really doesn’t seem to blow me up and mess with my TMIs like before
    There you have it. My second course is on its way. I was too much of a wuss to order two at once but I don’t mind the extra 10 Euros. I would tell everyone just to go ahead and order the 2 courses from the get-go. Thanks Richard, Karl and all the commenters for all the info. You are all just great – big bear hugs to everybody! Comments welcome.

  11. michael goroncy on July 6, 2015 at 20:49

    Early days still….just finished first 6 day course a week ago.
    Reason for taking ‘Elixa’ was to improve my long term bowel habits (constipation).
    At this stage, there is a marginal improvement. However no noticeable feelings in stamina or well being.

    Will restart the RS trick for a period and then take a second course of ‘Elixa’.
    Was hoping to report a more favourable result.

  12. […] More Crazy Probiotics Stuff (23 Comments) […]

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