MicrobioME Snapshot Week Ending February 10, 2019

MicrobioME Snapshot Week Ending February 10, 2019

Week One of the Prebiotic-Probiotic Testing Period

February 4, 2019 through February 10, 2019

New to the MicrobioME Project? If so, you are encouraged to check out our introductory post, “The MicroboME Project” for a thorough explanation.

In short, the MicrobioME Project is a personal experiment in supplementation, diet, exercise, sleep, and other variables intended to track changes in my own microbiome and the general state of my health, and in doing so, provide readers with a reference point they can use to make more informed decisions about their own health.

This past week was the beginning of my “Prebiotic-Probiotic Case” testing period.

Not to be confused with my “Probiotic Case” testing period completed the week before. Probiotics are living organisms while, in its most simple sense, prebiotics serve as their food.

What kind of food do probiotics eat? Fiber. Not all fiber (the definition of which is undergoing review), and not only fiber, but any prebiotic regimen is going to include a lot of fiber, and that’s exactly what I’ve been adding to my diet.

Prebiotics 20190210The tables below lay out exactly what I’m taking and in what quantities, but my basic approach is to supplement my diet with a diverse selection of prebiotic supplements.

My daily intake of fiber was already pretty high (captured in the “diet” section of these updates) so I no doubt was already ingesting a fair amount of genuine prebiotic foodstuffs, but the purpose of this test is to see what will happen, both in terms of my subjective observations, and the objective test results when that time comes, if I were to add a healthy dose of prebiotic supplements that are readily available to consumers.

Will I “feel” better? Will my test results show greater diversity in my microbiome, or larger proportions of “good” probiotic bacteria compared to before I started taking these extra prebiotics? That’s what this case is all about.

I’m still waiting on the test results of my “Probiotic Case” from prior weeks, and will post a full report on that once those are available. In the meantime you can examine the results from my “Base Case,” the very first test I took following a period in which I was taking neither probiotics nor prebiotics.


I did a reasonably good job this past week keeping the other variables such as diet, activity, probiotic supplementation, etc., constant, while at the same time increasing the variable I did want to test, prebiotics. To that end I added four new prebiotics to my diet totaling just shy of an additional 15 grams of daily fiber.

That alone, if I were to consume no other fiber, would put me on par with the average fiber intake of an adult in the United States. But even considering my already high-fiber diet (over 60 grams of fiber a day prior to the beginning of this Prebiotic Case) that is still a lot of fiber.

So, to answer the question you don’t want to ask but know you need to…

Yes, gas was involved.

Nothing completely over the top, nothing that would make me a social pariah (and keep in mind I teach group fitness classes as part of my wellness business), or anything uncontrollable, but it was noticeable and frankly completely expected. Any material increase in fiber is going to produce excessive gas for a period of time as your microbiome adjusts.

I probably ramped things up a bit too quickly this first week and plan to introduce additional fiber (both in variety and quantity) a little more gradually going forward.

Otherwise, my health is fine, I feel good, and have to admit am having some fun trying out all these new fibers, many of which I’m sure I’m getting in my diet already, but many that I’m sure I am not, and certainly not in this concentrated a form.

Two to three weeks to go before I have my microbiome tested by Ubiome. I have not set a firm date as it will be a function of how well I continue to tolerate the new levels of fiber intake.

On to the details…

Probiotic Supplementation

Brands, CFUs (number of live organisms, see my post, “What Should I Look For in a Probiotic” for an explanation), and days of the week together with averages.

I kept these constant as I want to be able to directly compare my Probiotic Case test results (still at the Ubiome labs being analyzed) with what will be my Prebiotic-Probiotic Case test results. Note I missed a couple of doses here and there. It’s still early in this particular phase of the experiment, but I will endeavor to be less sloppy going forward.

Probiotics 20190210

(Interested in trying some of these out for yourself? Please check out our Resource Page. All items are listed by category and available for immediate purchase through Amazon.)

Note that I provide CFU totals both at the time of manufacture and at expiration (estimated in cases where the manufacturer does not specify). I don’t typically take probiotics too close to their expiration and so you can assume my actual intake is closer to the date of manufacture, so for the past week I would assume my CFU count is probably at least 100 billion CFUs a day.

I also consume around 8 ounces of Greek Yogurt a day pretty reliably and while that would add CFUs the numbers can vary and it’s not always clear how many survive the trip to the colon and for those reasons, I do not include them in the supplementation table above, but note it here to be thorough.

Prebiotic Supplementation

For my total fiber intake, see “Diet” below. This is specifically for prebiotic supplementation. Not all dietary fiber is considered prebiotic.

This is the variable I’m testing for next, and so added four new sources of prebiotics for a total of 14.7 grams of prebiotic fiber a day. Some of these are in single-fiber products (such as inulin and pectin) some are proprietary blends and are noted as such with my best guess as to their contents given the ingredients.

Other than the extra gas noted above (which should subside as my system adjusts) my experience with these products has been good. I will have full reviews of each in the future.

Prebiotics 20190210

(Interested in trying some of these out for yourself? Please check out our Resource Page. All items are listed by category and available for immediate purchase through Amazon.)


Diet 20190210

The macro percentages continued with only modest changes with the notable exception of fiber, of course, as that is what I am testing for in my Prebiotic-Probiotic Case study.

Otherwise, fat intake remains majority plant-based, nuts and seeds and plant oils for the most part. Close to half my protein comes from shakes and bars, and are primarily whey, casein, and plant based. I should note that I do eat meat most days. A fair amount of seafood this past week and beef a few times.

I continue to eat about a cup of blueberries a day, plus some blackberries. I also have at least one large salad and vegetables with dinner, sometimes lunch.

Fiber is starting to tilt more heavily towards the soluble as I add the prebiotics.


Sleep 20190210Came up a little short this past week, as I like to get closer to 6 hours and 45 minutes. And do note this is not the average my Fitbit recorded. I frankly messed up wearing it two nights (partial nights, really) and so had to do a manual calculation, but it came out to around this number which happened to be my sleep amount that Wednesday. My apologies for the oversight.

Activity Level

Activity 20190210

I’m switching to a new graphic this week so I can more precisely reflect my activity level.

I teach regular group fitness classes as part of my wellness business so my activity level is usually pretty high. This week was typical, although a little higher than the running average for the past month by about 80 calories.

Weekday caloric expenditure averaged close to 3000 Calories a day, weekends closer to 2300, hence the average.


Weight 20190210


This is a new data point I began including last week. I am pretty successful at keeping my weight within a tight range, but weight can affect your microbiome so I include it here for both completeness and to make sure I remain mindful of it.

This is particularly important this time of year as I often put on a few pounds during the winter. I’m making a conscious effort to watch it this time, so this will provide further incentive to do so.

Please note I often don’t take my weight on weekends because my schedule is less structured so it is more difficult to get a good weight measure at the same time, under the same circumstances, so I just don’t bother as it might be misleading. Rest assured, you would notice any huge changes the following Monday.


That’s it for this week. If all continues well, this next week will include some new prebiotic supplements and some increases in the ones I’m already taking.

JonI’m of the mind to get up to 100 grams a day, but we’ll have to see. That’s a level not uncommon among certain indigenous populations still living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean it makes any sense for someone who neither hunts nor gathers, unless you count a trip to the grocery store gathering.

Thanks for stopping by, and please feel free to drop any comments or questions below.

Take care!