Microbiome Snapshot Week Ending March 3, 2019

Microbiome Snapshot Week Ending March 3, 2019

Week One of the Prebiotic Case Testing Period

February 25, 2019 through March 3, 2019

New to the MicrobioME Project? New to Microbiome Bulletin? If so, you might want to check out, The MicroboME Project, our About “Us” page, and a recent post I wrote, “Microbiome Hype.”

And you can check all the MicrobioME Project posts in the MicrobioME Project Category.

I had hoped to post the results of the “Probiotic Case” test results last week, however other obligations intervened. I am very excited to share those results with you, and so am committed to getting them done no later than this weekend. Having spent some time with the data, I can tell you there is no doubt that my ingestion of 100 billion-plus CFUs a day in probiotics was measurable, both subjectively and objectively.

The seven days ended March 3rd marked the first week of my “Prebiotic Case” testing period in which I am weaning myself off of all those probiotics I had been taking leaving just the prebiotics.

This might be a good time to review where we’re at with the MicrobioME Project as I know it can get confusing, particularly with the delay between conducting the actual experiment, sending in the sample, awaiting the results, and then finally writing up those results:

Base Case

No supplementation, just my regular diet and lifestyle habits (I even gave up yogurt as that is considered a probiotic). Read the post here.

  • Testing Period COMPLETED
  • Sample Collection COMPLETED
  • Ubiome Laboratory Results COMPLETED
  • Case Results Posted COMPLETED

Probiotic Case

Adding roughly 100 billion CFUs a day of a variety of probiotics.

  • Testing Period COMPLETED
  • Sample Collection COMPLETED
  • Ubiome Laboratory Results COMPLETED
  • Case Results Posted IN PROCESS

Prebiotic-Probiotic Case

Adding approximately 24 grams a day of various prebiotics to the probiotics I had been taking for the Probiotic Case.

  • Testing Period COMPLETED
  • Sample Collection COMPLETED
  • Ubiome Laboratory Results IN PROCESS
  • Case Results Posted:

Prebiotic Case

Removing the probiotics from my supplementation leaving only the prebiotic supplements in place.

  • Testing Period IN PROCESS
  • Sample Collection
  • Ubiome Laboratory Results
  • Case Results Posted

On to the current week!

Overview

I have been feeling so good about the probiotics I was taking, particularly the Genuine Health Probiotics and Great Oral Health Probiotics, that I found myself hesitant to give them up.

I decided it made sense, both for me personally, and for the validity of the experiment, to wean myself off them over a week or two. I was concerned what would happen to my system, which has grown accustomed to their presence, if I were just to do a hard stop. This could create some unnecessary disruption in my microbiota and actually prolong how long this period would have to last to get a representative sample.

I have been doing three-week testing periods which might seem brief but the microbiota adapts quickly and I can say I feel the difference pretty quickly too, so unless some other event intervenes, I’d like to try to stick with the three-week approach for now.

The details are all laid out below, but I did eliminate all but two probiotics, the Genuine Health Advanced Gut Probiotic, which by itself makes up more than half of what I take anyway, and the Great Oral Health Probiotic. As I mentioned above, those are two favorites and will be the last to go! Those will get phased out the following week (and are being phased out as I write this).

Probiotic Supplementation

The table below includes 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.

(Note that the CFU counts at manufacture and expiration for the Life Extension Foundation “GI With Phage” and “Heart Health” probiotics were both provided directly by the company in response to an inquiry I had made and are not yet reflected on their packaging. I have made a similar inquiry about the Immune Health and will update the chart if and when necessary.)

Probiotics 20190303

(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 75 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. Still, based on a preliminary look at the results from my Probiotic Case laboratory tests, it appears it can make quite a difference. I eliminated yogurt when I was creating my Base Case, and will do so again for this Prebiotic case to make sure I’m getting as pure a look as I can at the effect prebiotics by themselves can have on my microbiota.

Prebiotic Supplementation

No changes here. This is the one I want to hold steady in terms of the products, brands, and quantities I had settled on for the Prebiotic-Probiotic Case. The intent is to compare how taking the prebiotics alone fares against the previous Prebiotic-Probiotic Case in which I took both, and to the Probiotic Case prior to that when I was only taking probiotics, and ultimately, to the Base Case, when I took no supplementation at all.

This can only work if I hold the variables I am not testing for as constant as possible.

As a reminder, the comparison will include both my own personal subjective observations, and objective results as derived from Ubiome laboratory results.

(As I’ve mentioned in earlier updates, green banana flour contains a prebiotic known as “resistant starch” which only recently has been granted “fiber” status by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is an important development as resistant starch (often referred to as “RS”) has not before been permitted to be listed as a fiber on nutritional labels in this country.

I reached out to the company to find out what the new labels might look like, and they gave me some preliminary feedback which is now reflected in my prebiotic tables. The tables include this RS only as the other fiber is not considered prebiotic.)

Prebiotics 20190303

(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

Diet 20190303

Very little change from last week, which is good as I’m not testing for diet changes (that’s coming later). My protein was down a couple percentage points, though. I’m not sure why, so that’s something I’ll want to keep an eye on.

My fat intake remains majority plant-based (if only by a little), nuts and seeds and plant oils. Close to half my protein comes from shakes and bars, and are primarily whey, casein, and plant based. I do eat meat most days. This week was a mixture of pork, beef, and chicken. No fish this past week.

Going back to my Base Case, you will notice that my carbohydrate intake remains elevated, but that should not be surprising given the 30 extra grams of fiber I’m consuming as part of the Prebiotic-Probiotic Case (fiber is counted as part of total carbohydrates).

I continue to eat about a cup of blueberries a day, plus some blackberries and have recently added raspberries to the mix. I also have at least one large salad in the afternoon and often vegetables with dinner and lunch.

Sleep

Sleep 20190303

I finally got back to my target of 6 hours and 40 minutes. I wouldn’t mind getting more, but I can barely achieve this level as recent MicrobioME Snapshots have revealed. Regardless, it’s probably best I keep it close to this target so the various scenarios I’m testing won’t be invalidated by wildly changing sleep patterns.

Activity Level

Activity 20190303

My activity level returned to normal from lower levels the prior couple of weeks. I’m still keeping it pretty steady, averaging between 2700 and 2900 calories per day every week and that will remain my target for now.

As a reminder, I teach regular group fitness classes as part of my wellness business (mostly during the week) and do some personal training so my activity level is usually pretty high. In fact next week’s Snapshot might show elevated activity levels as I am subbing a couple classes this week. We’ll have to see!

Weight

Weight 20190303

I’m still keeping my weight within a pretty tight range. This has historically been a challenge for me this time of year as I typically put on a few pounds during the winter. I’m watching it very carefully this time given the effect it can potentially have on the microbiota and thus my test results, and I’m trying to keep the potential variables as constant as I can while I test.

Please note I don’t usually weigh myself on weekends in part 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. Regardless, any material changes show up Monday morning, in fact, the pattern you see here isn’t that uncommon, a couple pounds gained over the weekend when I’m less active (usually don’t teach any fitness classes) but I usually whittle that down during the week.

Thanks!

Jon

As a reminder, I should have the final results of my Probiotic Case up by this weekend, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. It should be of great interest to anyone contemplating taking probiotic supplements.

I did get confirmation that Ubiome received the sample I sent in for my Prebiotic-Probiotic Case, so I should be less than two weeks away from getting those results.

Thanks for joining me on this journey of supplementation and the effect it can have on the microbiota. It’s been an interesting ride so far!

Comments, observations, questions? Leave them below, I’d love to hear from you.

Take care!

Jon

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