A wise man once told me, “if you’re not assessin’ your guessin’.”
It’s tempting to read studies, draw conclusions and change your behavior. I must admit, I do this all the time.
To better measure the impact of an intervention testing is important. Read part 1 of 3 my gut microbiome series here – “Poop: how to Create a Good Poop” to get the back story. This is part 2. In this post I will reveal my initial microbiome results.
This is the most complex and interesting biohack I have done yet.
My Microbiome Needs a Major Adjustment
Today my microbiome test results arrived from Ubiome. As I suspected, my phylum do not match a healthy exterior. Below are my pre-intervention Phylum:
This shows the bacteria at the highest level of organization. Because of the complexity of the microbiome and how the species reproduce, scientist created an ordering system. Ubiome slapped some code and graphics on that, so weirdos like me can examine their microbiome. Needless to say, it’s a very complicated system. There are thousands of strains of bacteria in our guts, which are made up of around 100 trillion cells. Some estimate the bacteria on and in our body out weighs our brain!
The thousands of bacteria strains commonly found in our colon are arranged by Phylum, Order, Class Family, Genus. They are categorized correlate to species, many which have been identified as particularly harmful or helpful.
Compared with normal healthy samples, my Proteobacteria are not optimal. I have 18% compared to the norm of 3.35%. These bacteria are typically pathogens. The Bacteroidetes phylum measure stood out too. I have 8.11 % compared to the healthy norm of 24%! What is odd is this phylum is associated with diets rich in meat and fat (mine). These guys are generally more helpful. It doesn’t take a microbiologist to see that when compared to healthy samples, I am more than slightly askew.
The further down the line you go the more complicated this gets. Many individual strains correlate with specific functions in the body. That is why I have enlisted the expert help of the “Gut Goddess” Dr Grace Liu. Dr Grace is a pharmacist with an eye for specific modification of gut flora. She takes a unique adventurous approach to intervene on all things related to the gut. She blogs extensively on this topic here. It’s pretty advanced but I love it.
Because she cured her owned ailments (including 50lb weight loss. Go Grace!) by focusing on the gut, Grace has first hand experience dealing with dysbiosis. Combined with her penchant for medicine, Grace is a force to be reckoned with. Dr Grace has appeared on famous Biohacker, Dave Asprey’s Bullet Proof radio twice. There she discussed resistant starch and the implications it’s consumption has on the microbiome. I began a protocol she designed immediately after I submitted my initial test.
Grace gave me a prebiotic and probiotic regimen meant to restore what she calls the “ancestral core“. These are a collection of bacteria strains that have been identified as protectors from pathogens and helpful with the assimilation of nutrients among other benefits. These bacteria aid in the management of blood sugar, activation of fat burning enzymes, production of neurotransmitters and more. Of course it is important to have a good balance of these commensal bacteria. If I can increase the proliferation of these beneficial bacteria, then in theory the bad stuff will decrease. There is only so much space for bacteria in the colon. That is why you can see big swings in the composition of the flora in short periods of time. As I write this, I am 19 days into the protocol Grace designed for me.
Grace’s protocol is called the “weed and seed” plan. Weed out the pathogen and plant seeds of the beneficial strains. The seeds are probiotic strains. The “weed” is a cocktail of “detoxifiers”. The seeds are fed with prebiotics including: 1 tspn of the following: larix root, Acacia, Inulin Fructan, modified citrus pectin, and glucammanon (1/4 tspn).
Observationally, I have noticed several changes so far. First and best, is that my sleep has been incredible. I fall asleep easily, sleep through the night and wake up with a pep in my step. Second, my appetite is lower. I feel full all the time. My energy levels are good. There is marginal fluctuation throughout the day. Third, my poop is more regular both in consistency and frequency. It looks very well digested with minimal food stuffs in there. I’m not sure whether these are atypical results for the protocol I am on. Proponents of gut health tout these as improvements to expect when you heal your gut.
After 30 days on this protocol, I will submit another sample to Ubiome. Grace and I will parse over this data to see if the balance has shifted. The next step is to reintroduce foods I have typically been sensitive too and see what happens. I’ll personally observe for adverse symptoms etc. I will test a final time after a period of reintroduction to see if any of these foods that typically bothered me created an adverse shift in my microbiome.
Read part one of the Gut Microbiome series: “Poop: How to Create a Good Poop”
Also, if you are completely new to this topic don’t be scared. Here is a fun video done by NPR health explaining the Invisable Universe of the Human Microbiome. Enjoy. Please like my post!!!