Archives for January 2016
This post is dedicated to the memory of Christopher Hitchens, a remarkable man; not for any idea he ever held, but that he was honest enough to change his mind and tell eveyone why.
This is a prelude, a foundation to a later post, where Tim Steele and I will call into serious question the value of 16s rRNA sampling of the gut microbiome, after some time of both of us being “fanboys.” See, we did science and changed our views accordingly.
What the fuck is science, anyway? In today’s politicized world, it’s a bludgeon. It’s too often what one invokes in order to smear, dismiss, assert, or otherwise look the other way. It has—in modern use for too many—become a sort of “authority” one references in order to lay claim to legitimacy. And too often, it’s motivated by laziness, or a reluctance to dump a bad investment in shit that’s just wrong or in need of serious critical evaluation.
Good science is hard to do. Few are up to the task, and that may simply be for the reason that, having solved a huge number of plaguing problems in human quotidian history, we’re quibbling at nipping at heels. I don’t know, but I do know what science is:
Observation and experiment.
That’s all, fundamentally. But unfortunately, today, the lion’s share of what’s touted as such turns on ad hominem, ad verecundiam, and ad populum. That is, a focus on the man, the institution(s) with whom he or she is aligned, and public opinion. This is not science. In fact, science done right and with discipline is such a value that its history is a vaulted one of slicing through such fallacies like a cold knife through super-cooled nitrogen under vacuum.
There are important additional elements. Perhaps most fundamental is that observations be re-observable, and experiments be reproducible. That’s no too much to ask, right? ‘Let me know what you observed and what the results of your experiments were. I’ll do the same, so will a lot of other guys & gals, and if we do the same and find the same, then the hypothesis you have derived has more confidence that it may be true.’
But if we can’t, that’s a problem, a BIG FUCKING RED FLAG.
I got a comment in a post from a couple of weeks back.
Hey Jackie, my point being that this wouldnt be a problem if it wasnt for the US gov involvement. But for you two to ignore the US Gov involvement is unbelievable to me.
You and Richard…are you both saying that our involvement has nothing to do with how big of a problem isis is today? If yes, then i say youre both fools. But hey, who im i to question you two…..after all you’re both on the ground witnessing it, and interviewing the people of the land first hand? Oh wait, you probably read internet articles like i do.
There was a time when Muslims weren’t fooling anyone.
Just for instance, see what John Quincy Adams and Winston Churchill had to say on the matter. So, no, U.S. meddling didn’t turn 20%+ of Muslims into 7th Century, goat-fucking, virgins-until-rapists males, all under a pig-vomit ideology.
They’ve been that way for 1,400 years and counting. The true and pure Muslims. And they admit as much, and multiculturalists refuse to believe they mean what they say and vow, which is just about as fucking stupid as you can get—particularly since it’s not like they’re vowing to only give you a manicure.
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity.
The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science—the science against which it had vainly struggled—the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”
— Sir Winston Churchill, The River War, 1899 (before he was Sir Winston, obviously…it’s free in the Kindle Store so fucking go get it)
John Quincy Adams:
“’The natural hatred of the Mussulmen towards the infidels is in just accordance with the precepts of the Koran. […]
‘The fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion is the extirpation of hatred from the human heart. It forbids the exercise of it, even towards enemies.’ — John Quincy Adams
“In the 7th century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab … spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. … He declared undistinguishing and exterminating war as a part of his religion. … The essence of his doctrine was violence and lust, to exalt the brutal over the spiritual part of human nature.”
— The annotated “John Quincy Adams: A Bibliography,” compiled by Lynn H. Parsons (Westport, CT, 1993)
In the context of history, nation states have always jostled and messed with each other, often resulting in wars. This is neither surprising, nor new.
So here’s the final post—and I had no idea I’d be doing it—of the 2015/16 Holiday Season. Vacation ended today and Beatrice went back to work, via a 6am session at the gym with her new personal trainer.
I’ve done a couple of other posts on this 2-week whirlwind, here and here, but this was all about me. Bea’s brother is a long time San Francisco 49ers season ticket holder. Way back, we took in a couple of games at Candlestick Park when he wasn’t going to be there. This time, it was for the new deal, and Bea thought: early birthday.
Wow, did Robert really up his game when he shifted his membership positon to the new Levi’s Stadium.
…Before I continue, allow me to wax digressive on the Keynesian-esque nuclear bombing of well-established urban delight that grew up organically from the 20’s through the 50s, destroyed in the 60s and 70’s, into the 80s. It was the idea of “multi-purpose stadiums” for football and baseball.
They were uniformly aweful.
Baseball takes place in a ball park, along with all the traditional trappings and meanings only fans know, which assemble to make it a summer park of a flavorful delight that’s especially prescient for young boys and their fathers, who want them to know all about it. Football takes place on a gridiron, ought always be outdoor—because this is a fall and winter game, and the elements ought test both fans and players alike.
Who but a bunch of economic theorists, bean counters, and “urban planners” could manage to suck every ounce of essential delight out of two things at a time, and ignore all important distinctions? Fuckin’ commies always strike again.
Levi Stadium is quite a wonder. No, I don’t care all that much about the rent seeking that surely took place to get the deal done. At least they came to do good, and did very well, as the Hawaiians say incessantly of the Baldwin’s. Pick your battles.
Gut Microbiome – I have been quite disappointed that the research and discussion still revolves around identifying the bacteria responsible for different diseases and less emphasis is placed on the diet. I think it is becoming apparent to all that each person is unique and carries a unique set of gut microbes. Fecal transplants get little mention anymore, despite the great promise shown. For each of us, I think all we can do is experiment with the foods we eat and try to find a great mixture of fruits, veggies, fungi, nuts, seeds, grains, etc… foods that keeps our digestive system working well. I have not lost my passion for using potato starch and inulin as a supplement when fiber intake is low, but they should not be a sole source of fiber. I keep trying to expand my repertoire of fibrous foods as I come across new sources (my latest is spelt).
Yep. You are either feeling good, sleeping well, performing well and pooping well…or you’re not. All this fixation on special “boutique” strains some people stress, is pure bunk. BTW, two of three of my American Gut test results came back and I have significant
Angel… Akkermansia! So there! You can click the image for the readable version.
Fine print: “Your sample contained 90 rare taxa, including the following: Unclassified Class ABS-6, Unclassified Order iii1-15, Unclassi- fied Family Acidobacteriaceae, Genus Edaphobacter, Unclassified Family Koribacteraceae.”
Speaking of gut tests…
Those who’ve been around for years recall some of the more elaborate stuff I used to do. I haven’t managed to get a lot up on Pinterest (a project that’s a few minutes here, a few there), but a good bit so far, including some fairly creative though simple stuff.
Remember when KFC came out with the Double Down sandwich? I did it way better.
I love this completely whacky creation, an “Over-Easy Omelet,” in honor of warm, runny egg-yolk lovers everywhere.
So here’s the last few days. The theme? Stop going to restaurants all the time. Dump the fast food. Get decent stuff and make it at home. Simple is usually better for most. Keeps you in the game.
So here’s some recent stuff.
Well, I did have to tell him.
It’s lovely to deal with ignorance. First, you have the cowboy I gave mention to in my end-of-year post. Apparently, those who just take other people’s word for stuff don’t fall far from the tree and so Eric posted this:
I was 250lbs. 1 year ago, now I am 190….my secret….a blendtec blender. I never ate my greens and did not get enough fruit and i was relying on meat as my only good source of protien. Ate too much dairy and cruddy sugary snacks.
Well…I cut dairy down to rarity and I cut out cane sugar all most completely , and than replaced 1 to 2 meals a day with 60 oz. Fruit and or veggie smoothie, with legumes or nuts.
Worked great. People even say I look younger, my complexion cleared up and I don’t look pasty anymore. I have muscles where I didn’t have muscles before. And I actually have abs….I did not for this, they just came out of nowhere…I have read that abs and or muscle in general is mostly created by your diet… (scientific stuff told me so). And take that to the bank……fresh food.
So in conclusion, I call BS on elixa.
Bold words, but unwittingly, he only demonstrated how feeding the gut microbiome (which Elixa and other things do too) is very important. Of course, it’s also important to focus on real food, cut out the crap; so admittedly, there is confounding variables here. But, since he and his apple tree saw fit to attack me, Elixa, and my promotion of a great product, I have no problem pointing out how they are being plausibly hoist by their own petard.
Oh, so now you want my critique. OK then.
First of all, there’s no need to call BS on any high-end probiotics, ones that actually get to your gut. But they can, depending, be beneficial. For example, for people not as fed-up as you got to be (my weight loss from 240 to 175 is similar), they can really help smooth appetite and cravings (gut-brain connection, and do realize that you are being dismissive from pure ignorance).
You toughed it out. Me too. I used Intermittent Fasting and very heavy lifting for my age and lack of experience (i.e, 325# deadlifts for reps at near 50 yoa, squats 250#, etc). Lots of stuff works and as a fairly prominent “paleo Diet” blogger since 2008, who has changed position many times due comments from my own readers in my own posts (how elegant is that?), I’m kinda almost left with only the fact that it’s the “spirit” that counts.
You’re missing a piece of the puzzle. Gut bugs feed primarily on fiber, from fruits and vegetables. The sorry reality is that so many get themselves into a false dichotomy where it’s either a high meat/fat, or vegetarian.
Both is better. Animal foods are very nutritionally dense (4 oz of beef liver = 5 pounds of mixed fruit & berries in terms of micronutrient density; and oysters, mussels, and clams are crazy dense with low calories on the ocean front), but generally lack the stuff that feed gut bugs, and they actually synthesize many vitamins, given proper substrate. They also influence hormones, pre-hormones, and can even synthesize fatty acids like butyrate, a principle food for colonocytes.
So, long story short, you stumbled on a great strategy. I’m presuming you didn’t stop eating highly nutritionally dense animals, but you made the gut-bug food more palatable and wow, you demonstrated that the gut is hugely important, because your enzymatic digestion doesn’t get tons out of fruits and vegetables. It’s your 100 trillion bacteria, 10 times more than your human cells, in upwards of 1,000 species, in perpetual chemical warfare with each other, who do.
Basically, we’re all arms suppliers.
Cheers, and great job. I love success stories like that, where a person’s own level of outrage has been reached. I have tons and tons of them on my blog, in pictures, always unsolicited.
So, as always, I will absolutely use anything I think might help people with their struggles and in point of fact, I’d never really totally connected the dots (never really thought about it…I have many faults too) that if you find an important quantity of gut food unpalatable because whatever (there is no shame in being a meat/fat addict), then just tossing in the towel and asking “will it blend,” just might work for you (do note he didn’t add dairy or sugar—could be a critical variable)
But, please understand how. I followed up in a subsequent comment.
Most people who have been paying attention to the important and rapidly emerging science of the human gut microbiome (see draft Chapter 1 of my book here for a primer on its enormity: The Great Gut Bug Book, Chapter 1: Meet The Whole You) have some understanding the the role diet plays, and beyond that, both probiotics and prebiotics.
My journey began by means of over 100 posts on prebiotics (foods that feed beneficial and commensal gut bacteria, with an emphasis on Resistant Starch). Those who have appropriate Google Alterts know that there’s now articles coming out daily on resistant starch. PubMed indexes 2,409 studies that mention Prebiotics, and 1,785 studies that mention Resistant Starch.
While I also did a number of posts on probiotics (supplemental bacteria in colony forming units to seed your gut), the focus was mainly on HSOs (homeostatic soil organisms, or “spore formers”) for one simple reason: much of the probiotic supplements on the market don’t escape the digestive process, so offer no colony seeding or forming benefits. However, HSOs can and do, because the very purpose of a spore is to survive inhospitable conditions, such that they can re-emerge when conditions are ripe, such as in the colon or large intestine. PubMed indexes 13,487 studies with a mention of probiotics. Hardly a fringe fraud.
But, that doesn’t mean that HSOs are the only viable probiotics. For an extreme example, a fecal transplant is a probiotic intervention with an over 90% initial positive response rate, still over 80% at 18 months followup, for the treatment of C. difficile infection—that kills 15,000 Americans annually. But this introduces the bacterial colonies directly into the colon via rectum, or via a tube down the throat. However, there’s another technology using encapsulation where the capsule itself resists digestion long enough to break apart in the colon. And this is where Elixa Probiotic comes in. Indeed, purchasers in comments here have attested to seeing the two undigested capsule halves in their stools.
The other reasons I work with Elixa are:
- It’s a very small company in the stringent legal atmosphere of the U.K., with an inventor-founder-principal-operator, Karl Seddon, who answers all emails and is active in all relevant comments here. He never dodges anything.
- He has invested all capital himself for all manufacturing equipment. He himself calibrates the sensitive equipment (some bacterial strains are very sensitive to oxygen, for example) and oversees all manufacturing personally. It’s essentially manufacturing in a laboratory. This is unlike a multitude of labels on shelves that are, essentially, just that: different labels on the same bulk stuff available from a catalog that a supplement marketer orders and has packaged, labeled, and drop shipped, then spends 80% of revenue on marketing.
- Elixa and Karl are in complete control of the entire process until it leaves in a package addressed to you.
Since I began working with Karl early last year, I see a total of 1,554 separate sales. I have never personally received a single complaint for touting it. There have been a small handful of reports in comments in the posts I’ll link to (you can see yourself) where people either noticed no change, or had some mild adverse side-effects, such as headache or nausea (and Karl has addressed each of these reports personally). Searching all 1,154 rows of the spreadsheet, I find 27 rows with a ‘-‘ by the sales figure. I’ve not asked Karl (I’m sure he’ll be happy to enlighten us in comments) but I assume these are returns, so that’s 27/1,554=0.017, less than 2%. Pretty decent, I’d say.