I *heart* science and I love places like indiegogo which encourage all kinds of experimentation and projects whether it's techno or food-related. It's truly a brilliant evolution.
Allan Folz and his family of 4 are doing a gut microbiota study: Resistant Starch & Gut Biome Family Science Project for six weeks, testing pre- and post-microbiome. Allan cultures his own viili heirloom yogurt, a type of Swedish or Finnish yogurt. As we know yogurt that has live probiotics has many health benefits for us. One study in rodents showed that yogurt with live cultures improved 'rodent swagger', leaner body mass, and testicular size in males and improved fertility (brood size) and nesting instincts (successful weaning) in female rodents. "Mice That Eat Yogurt Have Larger Testicles", Scientific American, 2012.
Besides contributing to the first RS n=4 study with pre- and post-microbiome 16S rRNA pyrrosequencing outcomes, first-tier funding ($250) for this crowd-sourced experimentation includes a personal tour of Oregon Wine Country in Yamhill County and a hand written thank you.
(1) The goal of this project is to measure and compare the effects of resistant starch dose-responses on gut biome in as reasonably controlled a manner as possible by selecting an otherwise typical and healthy family that lives and eats together.
(2) A secondary goal of this project is to provide a proof-of-concept and, perhaps, a template for future crowd-sourced, small-scale diet and health experiments.
Purchased two "Microbes for Four" swab kits from the American Biome Project.
Provided a stool swab -- 2 children, 2 adults
Over the course of a 6 week study period food journal will be maintained for each participant and provide a daily diet supplement of resistant starch in the form of Bob's Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch. Each participant will follow a unique supplementation regimen:
a) adult 1 - 2 TBSP PS mixed in water, consumed on an empty stomach
b) adult 2 - 4 TBSP PS mixed in water, consumed on an empty stomach
c) child 1 - 1 TBSP PS plus 1 TSP whole psyllium husk mixed into yogurt
d) child 2 - 1 TBSP PS mixed into yogurt
At the conclusion of the study period the four test subjects will provide a second stool swab for comparison purposes. The lab results from both swabs will be shared publicly on the internet.
Allan: Our current diet is almost entirely home-cooked meals somewhere between primal/paleo-ish and WAPF. None of us has supplemented with potato starch previously. We do eat, a few times a week up to almost daily, an heirloom strain of viili yogurt that I culture myself. More details, including a fairly typical week of meals for us are recorded at the project blog.
Microbiome 16S rRNA pyrrosequencing Testing: PRE v. POST
Additional testing depends on several factors: funding, information garnered and availability. AmGut is wonderful and provides the bacterial and Archae enteroprofiling. On the other hand, functional medicine laboratory testing provides valuable information about the other gut ecosystem including profiling for fungi, parasites, worms and pathogenic overgrowths, as well digestive enzyme capacities and pH.
Disclaimer: I am working for Allan!
Sample food diary (follow up HERE)
Food Journal: Thurs, Dec 12
Child 1 - 2 eggs scrambled, melted cheese on top; yogurt w/ granola
Child 2 - ditto
Adult 1 - coffee & half-n-half
Adult 2 - coffee & half-n-half
Child 1 - don't know
Child 2 - don't know
Adult 1 - yogurt w/ granola; 2 egg omelet w/ deli ham; 1 corn tortilla
Adult 2 - ditto
All - roasted pork loin; brown rice, cabbage, onion, etc; sliced up fresh pineapple on the side
1 c Milk & 6 squares (~0.7oz) 85% dk chocolate