Intestinal Flora

Our intestinal flora . (Hopelessly incomplete primer) 🙂 .by Melchior Meijer 2013 Unauthorized translation


Healthy intestines provide permanent housing for a thousand billion bacteria. Joop microbe and his buddies enjoy room and board , but also pay a hefty rent . Therefore they make indispensable enzymes and vitamins. They put together every night a nice bolus for their landlord , so that in the morning the only thing he needs to do is sit down and enjoy the passing . They make short work of newcomers who want to demolish the house . And … they keep our immune system in check .                                                            Two kilos of livestock help you daily in the digestion of all the goodies that comes across your lips . Possibly it takes away your appetite for a moment , but it might still be nice to know that you would get nothing through your system anymore if that teeming horde on a bad day as a man would decide to head for the sewer . Not a bite your throat Luckily that happens only rarely . Our intestinal tract is too pleasant a place to voluntarily abandon. It is warm and humid , there is always something to tuck into , and contrary to what you might suspect from the number a trillion there no overcrowding in the least . The inside of our intestines covers thanks to the many creases and folds an entire football field. If all those trillion microbes would cozy crowd together, they fit well on the center spot .Like The Netherlands it seems . Together in Almere 🙂 . 

Spread over that ‘ football field’ live four hundred different species together as people in society . They make war over a Febo – croquette, inhaled by some ill informed loonies (this is a joke ) , closing a temporary alliance with a basically hostile crowd when they find out that they cannot handle the loot on their own to work it into a beautiful turd, they steal and conduct barter , kill each other after a job is done, in short, they’re all too human . 

Back to the Febo croquette or let us choose a paleo darling , a mixed salad with mussels and sardines . Without gut bacteria our intestinal wall might not at all be able to absorb many nutrients from the lunch fest. What would be a waste of money and also extremely awkward. Our digestive system would work its ass off, run into unsolvable problems all the time and what was initially such a warmly received delicacy would eventually be relieved, unused, as a pathetic puddle of diarrhea . The only thing that digestion without outside help can get is mother’s milk. Fortunately , our microscopic little friends assist us after every meal again and again. . Certain bacteria cut too large carbohydrate molecules to shreds , so that they can pass through the intestinal wall Other useful guys nibble the amino acids from the bile . Only then is the stuff in a position to cut fats into small , absorbable pieces Still other groups feast on what ultimately remains of the snack. As a thank you they shit , spit and sweat stuff which helps us further , such as folate , vitamin K , and perhaps even the “new” star in the sky , vitamin K2 . Oh yes, they are also generous with the gassy combination of carbon dioxide , hydrogen , sulfur and methane , which we may or may not consciously unload into our environment on average forty times a day . 

The collaboration between our body and its diverse inhabitants goes so far that they communicate with each other in an amazing way . Host Microbe Crosstalk , this phenomenon crucial for life, is called . Researchers already described in 1996 in Science beautifully how a ‘good’ bacteria colony wipes out an invading gang of , for the human body, dangerous competitors . The alarmed ‘ good guys ‘ report to certain cells in the intestine ( enterocytes ) and order some sugar . The intestinal cells do not hesitate and meet their request . They produce glucose . In exchange for this fine meal the members of the ‘good’ gang multiplyi like crazy and start as if on command to secrete a very specific poison . That kills the pathogenic invaders before they can harm the body. It is striking that intestinal cells “know” whether there is indeed danger. If the ‘good’ bacteria ‘just’ come begging for sugar the gut does not play ball (unless there’s WGA in the game , but that’s another story ) . The intestinal flora also is in a constant , insanely complicated communication with almost all parts of the immune system . And it even performs lengthy phone calls with brains , through the so-called gut -brain axis . 

The friemels in your stomach not only eat what your pot brings forth . They also eat you yourself. The intestinal mucosa renews itself continuously , similar to your skin that peels after a sunbath . An adult loses daily around two hundred grams of meat , as much as a reasonable steak. You can guess that our gourmets in there know how to deal with that . They give themselves over to a pigging out, stuffing their faces where Caligula would be sick to his stomach . Their heroic motto is ” eat steak and die .” After the feast , they create offspring and perish . That battlefield you can smell every morning . Feces consists for the most part of, with the Military William Order distinguished bacteria that have fallen for the Good Cause, and the sulfur-containing residues that they expelled just before their death throes . 

Isn’t biology fun 🙂 . Those waiting for Honig potato starch still have to continue scrolling down . 

In the cauldron of your stomach a constant battle takes place between beneficial and potentially pathogenic bacteria .Even the latter are needed , they just must not get the upper hand . The in the stomach pouch living Helicobacter pylori for example, can in large quantities cause an ulcer , but as long as the population remains within certain limits , it is only beneficial . In exchange for that nutrient-rich place in the stomach it produces a targeted antibiotic that eliminates bacteria that like to have us looking green and yellow hanging over the toilet within twenty minutes . 

Beneficial bacteria are naturally found in large quantities in the intestines of people who , like our ancestors, come into intense daily contact with the earth and the therein Soil Based Organisms ( SBO ‘s ) . Modern people have them too, but probably in much smaller quantities . And now we come at last , that is, bit by bit , at Honigs potato starch. These for metabolic flexibility necessary SBO are incredibly dependent upon carbohydrate compounds which amylase can not be break down and cut into individual glucose molecules, and of absolute necessity for a properly functioning immune system and a tip- glucose tolerance Such carbohydrate strands have (therefore ) no glycaemisch effect, but go unchanged into the intestine there to serve as a delicacy for those bacteria.

In the first place, there are so-called fructo- oligosaccharides such as inulin. These are plant ( fructo ) sugars ( saccharides ) with few ( oligo ) connections. Inulin (has nothing to do with the hormone insulin ) is naturally found in bananas, beans , chicory , onions , garlic , but also in unrefined sugar. Another non-digestible carbohydrate chain is called resistant starch . This show up in places like raw potatoes and very immature (fry) bananas. It is this kind of Resistant Starch what this post is ultimately about . Potato starch . Honig . 

People co – evolved with the bacteria in their environment and thus the bacteria in their gut . Anybody who has followed my communication with the lovely Anna Archeonova , knows that I consider strong glycemic starch as a potential pathogen. Hunter / gatherers probably ate very little glycemic starch. However resistant starch, in contrast, they were probably quite likely to get, even though the Honig family was not in business (as yet) . From paleontological research we find that our paleo -ancestors from the Low Countries in the time that the river delta between Rotterdam and Dover was not yet flooded, had more on their menu than mammoths, fish and shellfish . There were also cattail roots ( stinky cigars ) on their menu Cattail roots, but also other ancient roots and acorns and chestnuts, bursting with the RS . Our ancestors gave their menagerie behind the navel presumably -with in their low glycemic diet – also a relatively large RS . Today we generally eat relatively little RS . To make a long story a little shorter too, more and more studies and a swelling tide n = 1 suggest that even people who are already paleo can, along with their Paleo / LCHF often already improved intestinal flora, also benefit from a dose of RS . The best and easiest source of RS in the Netherlands? Bring on the music, blow the horns , light the fireworks , … Honig potato . 

By far the most outspoken proponents of potato starch are the American blogger Richard Nikoley , his buddy Tim Steele ( aka Tatertot ) and blogging pharmacologist Dr . B. G. (first name Grace ) . They and their readership have collected a fairly consistent range of effects . One teaspoon to one tablespoon ( Honig!) potato starch daily ,three times a day in cold water and drink it , and you may notice the following: 

Flatulence ( usually odorless , usually temporary ) 

Decreasing fasting blood sugars, and less high postprandial glucose excursions

Strongly damped appetite, falling blood pressure

Loss of excess body weight, Better , more even temper

Disappearance of pathological anxiety ( gut -brain axis ? )

Lively , often ‘ romantic’ dreams ( gut -brain axis ? )

Increased exercise tolerance

Spontaneously stop biting your nails ( nail biting may be a way to get inside SOBs ) .


Evolution of Myth

The Evolution of a Myth 
“Along with the unjustified and unscientific saturated fat and cholesterol scares of the past several decades has come the notion    that vegetarianism is a healthier dietary option for people. It seems as if every health expert and government health agency is urging people to eat fewer animal products and consume more vegetables, grains, fruits and legumes. Along with these exhortations have come assertions and studies supposedly proving that vegetarianism is healthier for people and that meat consumption is associated with sickness and death. Several authorities, however, have questioned these data, but their objections have been largely ignored.
As we shall see, many of the vegetarian claims cannot be substantiated and some are simply false and dangerous. There are   benefits to vegetarian diets for certain health conditions, and some people function better on less fat and protein, but, as a   practitioner who has dealt with several former vegetarians and vegans (total vegetarians), I know full well the dangerous effects           of a diet devoid of healthful animal products. It is my hope that all readers will more carefully evaluate their position on      vegetarianism after reading”   Stephen Byrnes, PhD, RNCP 
Some vegetarians have claimed that livestock require pasturage that could be used to farm grains to feed starving people in Third World countries. It is also claimed that feeding animals contributes to world hunger because livestock are eating foods that could      go to feed humans. The solution to world hunger, therefore, is for people to become vegetarians. These arguments are illogical and simplistic.
The first argument ignores the fact that about 2/3 of our Earth’s dry land is unsuitable for farming. It is primarily the open range,   desert and mountainous areas that provide food to grazing animals and that land is currently being put to good use .
Furthermore the argument that cattle are inefficient converters of energy conveniently glosses over the fact that cattle produce more than food, they also convert grass into manure and thus improve the soil instead of depleting, which is what cash cropping does.
That’s not to say we would approve of feedlots…. or pig factories….. or chicken or egg factories. 
With corporate hog factories replacing traditional hog farms, pigs are being treated more as inanimate tools of production than as living, feeling animals.  
You don’t want to know too much about how the pork chop came to be and how much animal cruelty was involved and the total environmental cost. You can find out more about factory farming by simply Googling.
Consider this:
Over 40% of all the antibiotics produced in the world are fed to animals, to increase their rate of growth and prevent bacterial diseases because of the terrible conditions under which they are raised and the wrong diet they are on..Cattle are free range foragers
Antibiotics given to animals can produce serious problems in humans. Over time they will destroy the “friendly” bacteria, which are needed by the body for our protection.
Female hormones fed to cattle are the culprits behind the increases in female disorders like severe hot flashes,painful menses, breast lumps and cancer of uterus and breast, not as so often is suggested the consumption of animal fat or saturated fats in general.
There is an argument that  meat is hazardous to our health because we humans have a relatively long digestive system.
Carnivorous creatures  have a short digestive system (approx.3 times the length of their body), to prevent the meat from rotting in the digestive tract and thus poisoning the bloodstream.
In humans on the other hand the digestive tract is twelve times the length of the body. The human anatomy of the digestive system does not appear to be well suited to a diet of red meats .According to some the meat rots before it is digested and expelled. I am not completely sure whether that is any different from the regular processes of break down and decomposing. 
This argument fails to note several human physiological features which clearly indicate a design for animal product consumption. 
First and foremost is our stomach’s production of hydrochloric acid(HCL), something not found in herbivores. HCL activates protein-splitting enzymes. Further, the human pancreas manufactures a full range of digestive enzymes to handle a wide variety of foods, both animal and vegetable.
While humans may have longer intestines than animal carnivores, they are not as long as herbivores; nor do we possess multiple stomachs like many herbivores, nor do we chew cud. Our physiology definitely indicates a mixed feeder, or an omnivore, much the same as our relatives, the mountain gorilla and chimpanzee (who have been observed eating small animals and, in some cases, other primates).
Physiologically we are Not Carnivores, but neither are we Herbivores!
In other words there is something to be said for a moderated approach. Recent research in the UK indicated that a complete vegan diet may not be something you want to depend on  Vegan followed over a seven year period showed a significant brain shrinkage. But there is more: “The ‘carnivore connection’ postulates a critical role for the quantity of dietary protein and carbohydrate and the change in the glycemic index of dietary carbohydrate in the evolution of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia.
You can read all about it in the European Journal for Clinical Nutrition.
the New England Journal of Medicine reports on a six year analysis of more than 88,000 women. Those who ate animal fats were nearly  twice as likely to develop colon cancer. Women who ate meat as part of the main course every day were two and a half times as likely to develop the disease.
However many of the reseach done at the time quite often was strongly biased against a diet based on animal products. What this means is that they were designed to find cause and effect through mostly epidemiologial studies. Those kind of studies show that certain things happen concurrently, from which one can then only really draw one conclusion: that they happen at the same time. Overzealous researchers, often with their own agenda are eager to make causal connections which may not necessarily be there at all. Other variables not tested or questioned could and often do play a role of more or lesser importance. The simple fact that the diets contained other foodstuffs that may have constituted a variable of considerable influence , may not have been reported. A diet in refined carbs, gluten and wheat bran covered with lectins (a natural occurring toxin on wheat) is now known to be highly questionable, The meat cooked in polyunsaturated vegetable oils adds another questionable value.
Fact remains that our ancestors did quite well on a diet that heavily favoured meats and saturated fats and our present day health problems did not arrive on the scene until some major shifts had happened in the processing of our grains etc.
By now most people are aware of the detrimental effect of transfats in our diet.”Margarine was made out of animal fat before 1915. Hydrogenated vegetable shortening (Crisco) was introduced in 1911. Before that our intake of trans fat was very low, coming chiefly from dairy and meat (not the same as synthetic trans fats).Hydrogenated vegetable oil wasn’t widely eaten until 1920.During the 1930s the use of hydrogenation worldwide took a quantum leap forward, as production increased greatly.
Rizek et al. (1974) estimated that in the period from 1937 to 1972 per capita annual consumption of trans fatty acids increased by 81%, from 6.3-11.4 gm. During the same period per capita consumption of vegetable oils and fats increased by only 64% (from 36-59 gm).
Death from coronary heart disease was rare until 1925. It peaked in the 1950s, remaining high through the 1970s and diminishing only due to modern medical interventions. Coincidence? I don’t know, but I would consider it suspect.
In 1956, an American Heart Association (AHA) fund-raiser aired on all three major networks. The MC interviewed, among others, Irving Page and Jeremiah Stamler of the AHA, and researcher Ancel Keys. Panelists presented the lipid hypothesis as the cause of the heart disease epidemic and launched the Prudent Diet, one in which corn oil, margarine, chicken and cold cereal replaced butter, lard, beef and eggs. But the television campaign was not an unqualified success because one of the panelists, Dr. Dudley White, disputed his colleagues at the AHA. Dr. White noted that heart disease in the form of myocardial infarction was nonexistent in 1900 when egg consumption was three times what it was in 1956 and when corn oil was unavailable. When pressed to support the Prudent Diet, Dr. White replied: “See here, I began my practice as a cardiologist in 1921 and I never saw an MI ( myocardial infarction )patient until 1928. Back in the MI free days before 1920, the fats were butter and lard and I think that we would all benefit from the kind of diet that we had at a time when no one had ever heard the word corn oil.” 
You can read more about this at


Immune response and Inflammation

Is an immune response always an inflammation response?

Or is there an ‘immune’ response, or defense mechanism that does not trigger an army of T-cells to come out for combat. With usually the annoying accompanying symptoms.

For the prevention of systemic diseases, most pathogens that gain entry into our bodies must be met with an effective immune response, yet in the gastrointestinal tract it is equally important that commensal bacteria and a diverse collection of dietary proteins and peptides be recognized without eliciting an active immune response or constant activation of the inflammatory pathway. This phenomenon of hyporesponsiveness to food antigens is known as oral tolerance..” Prof. Dr. Aristo Voydani, Dr Tom O’Bryan, Dr G.H. Kellermann

If you’re even remotely interested in gluten sensitivity, this is a must read paper.

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English-Dutch Translations

For several translations of English research see

Michael Eades on Gary Taubes, Good Calories, Bad calories

Enterotypes of the Human Gut Microbiome

There is something fishy about Human Brain Evolution (Cunnane)

DHA and EPA have differential effects on LDL levels?

Interview Wendy Meyers with Tom O’Bryan

Extend the life of your memory (Kohlstadt)

TV watching and diabetes

Calcium and weight loss

Increase in diabetes risk with statin use

Diabetes and Vitamin D

Interview William Davis (Wheat Belly)

Wheat gluten and Inflammation (De Punder and Pruimboom)