Gotta Catch ‘Em All… In my Gut – UBiome- The Great Gut Experiment Part 3

In earlier posts I’ve talked about my baseline gut profile and my gut profile after fasting. In my final post on gut microbiome, I dive into how to rebuild my gut flora into a more robust profile. It felt like attaining new bacteria was similar to tracking and catching Pokemon. While scrolling through my Pokedex (Ubiome results) and comparing them to the Pokedex of other people I realized I am deficient in quite a bit of bacteria! So the only way to stay in the game is to try to Catch Em’ All! So the plan is to lure them with their favorite treats and trap them in Pokeballs (my gut).

pokemon-biome

Actual names of gut bacteria… could be good stand-in names for Pokemon!

As I mentioned in my last post, we know we want to improve our ratio of Firmitcuties to Bacteroidities. The other bit of information we generally agree on about our gut bacteria is that we want more diversity. The better the diversity, the more robust our guts will be when they encounter times of hardship.

untitled-19percentile

So we can see my baseline diversity in the 19th percentile is lagging behind the rest of the population. Typical of my experience in Pokemon games, I find myself jealous of all those cool bacteria that other people have that I am deficient in. Just look at all these different family’s of bacteria that I am low in!

ratio-compare

Especially knowing those missing bacteria could give me access to cool powers like an improved immune system, brain function, and body composition. In Pokemon this would be a real issue, because not filling out your Pokedex can be a barrier to progress in the game! Also to really fuel my competitive side, UBiome proudly displays my “most rare” bacteria that few other people have. I only have 3 unique types, while it seems that other people may have much more!

uni

So how do we promote diversity in our gut? How do I increase my amount of rare bacteria? After reviewing this article and the book Brain Maker, I did the following:

  1. Prebiotics – Inulin Fiber, Acai Fiber, Aloe Vera Gel
  2. Resistant Starches – Raw Potato Starch
  3. Probiotic Food: Homemade Saurkraut made with Mercola’s fermentation starter.
  4. Probiotic Supplement: I chose Primal Defense Ultra
  5. Probiotic “Greens”: Athletic Greens

It took a few days for me to get into a rhythm with my new routine. I found that doing a morning “shake” with my prebiotics, resistant starch, and Athletic Greens worked best. Then ate probiotic foods at lunch and dinner, and take my probiotic supplement at night. I did that for about a month. I will say that month I had the most gas I’ve ever had in my life, luckily it wasn’t smelly (to my knowledge). I also found that the raw potato starch gave me super solid poo’s, unfortunately as I read deeper into the literature it tends to cause gut dysbiosis, so I stopped using it after a few days. It is still a handy thickener to cook with.

I also noticed that I tended to feel full most of the day, and delayed my lunchtime till around 2pm, compared to my normal lunch at noon. So this program was a powerful appetite suppressant, and I found I shed a few pounds through the process. Pretty nice!

Unfortunately, the UBiome results themselves indicate a significant loss in diversity! I believe this is an error in how I took the sample, and not a good representative of my entire gut profile. So the lesson learned here, without getting too graphic, is to do well to homogenize the sample before swabbing for UBiome. Yuk!

untitled-3percentile

That ends my trilogy of searching for all of the gut bugs in my body. Even though this part of the study was inconclusive due to poor data, I still plan on continuing to do probiotic supplements and foods, as well as occasionally adding prebiotic supplements to my regimen. Hopefully as the science develops I will be able to return to this data and learn more, or do more testing in the future (if there is another sale on the UBiome store)!

Happy hunting for your own gut monsters!

Thanks for Reading!

-Andrew

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2 thoughts on “Gotta Catch ‘Em All… In my Gut – UBiome- The Great Gut Experiment Part 3

  1. Hi Andrew,

    I thought likening the various bacterial families to Pokemon was very clever. I have also been tracking my gut microbiota through uBiome the past several months. Interestingly enough, my first and second biodiversity percentiles were also 19% and 3%, respectively (curiouser and curiouser, makes me question the validity of these numbers a little). In September 2015, I became deathly sick after a course of extremely strong antibiotics that are toxic to both bacterial and human cells and should only be reserved for only the most severe life-threatening cases. Turns out, I never had a bacterial infection, so the antibiotics caused extensive damage to nearly every organ system in my body. Only in October 2016 was I able to begin fecal microbiota transplantation to restore my gut health. I have tried 7 different donors so far, and have only responded well to one, but given the rampant inflammation, I suppose I shouldn’t be too discouraged. I still experience severe flares and relapses every few days, but life is somewhat more tolerable. Since we began FMT, I have gone from what Dante termed “separation from the source of all light and life and warmth” to Limbo, so that is something. Because insurance doesn’t cover the procedure, we’ve had to begin fundraising in order to continue treatment (https://www.plumfund.com/medical-fund/medical-fund-for-nita).

    Before the antibiotics crippled me, I was in my final year at university as a biochemistry major; the entire experience has been quite disillusioning. My uBiome results did indicate particularly low levels of bacteria that are commonly depleted after antibiotics, such as Roseburia, and absolutely no detectable levels of Lactobacilli or Bifidobacteria (although the former result should not cause too much alarm since Lactobacilli are native to the small intestine while Bifidobacteria are generally indigenous to the more distal large intestine/colon, stool samples being representative of the latter).

    Interestingly, the University of Colorado Boulder is offering a course on the microbiome called Gut Check on Coursera if you’re interested: https://www.coursera.org/learn/microbiome. Rob Knight, the course instructor, gives a good overview of the microbiome in general as well as its role in physical and mental health (nutrient absorption, brain-gut axis) and disease (allergies, autoimmunity, obesity, diabetes, metabolic disorders, susceptibility to infectious agents, etc.) I saw another one of your posts where you mentioned Dr. Blaser’s book, Missing Microbes. An Epidemic of Absence is another good resource. Recently, I came across Ed Yong’s book on the microbiome called “I Contain Multitudes.” He does a good job of dispelling a lot of myths concerning microbes, i.e. the idea that there are good and bad microbes since the same microbe can be both beneficial and detrimental depending on the context in which it is found, i.e. microbes in the gut live in harmony with human hosts unless the gut lining is compromised, causing microbes to leak into the bloodstream, which can lead to fatal sepsis infections.

    Best of luck on your continuing journey towards microbial biodiversity and better health! It does indeed, take a universe.

    – A fellow “human” ecosystem

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  2. Pingback: What Happens to the Microbiome after a Fast and Cleanse? – uBiome – The Great Gut Experiment | Sustenance Kaizen

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