arrow37 Comments
  1. M.C.
    Sep 05 - 2:38 pm

    I say bring on the smelly farts Ken!

    I think many of us have a sense that our ‘guts’ are playing some sort of pivotal role in our illness. One of my first major symptoms seventeen years ago was unceasing nausea and pain in my stomach that has stayed with me all these years. I have recently made some significant changes to my diet and am feeling for the first time in all these years that my digestive system is undergoing a shift which is very exciting. I turned to the ketogenic diet, very high in fats, and low in carbs (mostly low carb green veggies, sprouted almonds, berries) , under 50 grams per day, with only moderate protein intake (the Ron Rosedale diet essentially), have incorporated lots of coconut oil into my diet, and have also incorporated certain anti microbials (monolaurin, garlic, oregano oil), and 3-4 tablespoons per day of organic turmeric powder, copious amounts of fresh parsley and cilantro, and some specific vitamins and minerals that I feel I am not getting optimum amounts of in my diet, and whole milk kefir…….. and finally I feel that my gut is undergoing a major shift on this new protocol. I feel that the coconut oil (which is strongly antimicrobial via its medium chain fatty acids) the additional anti microbial agents, the turmeric, and the kefir are causing the shift. Though other foods and the high fat intake may certainly also be playing a role.

    Its interesting your mentioning the German Rye bread. Though I am personally no longer a grain consumer I do remember fondly the depictions of some of the classic and hearty ‘peasant’ breads that Weston Price mentioned in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and feel that, if one is going to eat grains, it makes a big difference which grain based foods you eat, how they are prepared and processed, and know that many of these ‘older’ recipes from old world Europe and around the world were both nutrient dense and lower glycemic, including the rye breads and the sour dough breads which research has also shown significantly reduce their glycemic index (if one is concerned about this).

    I feel as you do Ken that its important for us, being ill year after year, to try to change things up in order to try to ‘shift’ the body toward wellness, with hope using the idea of epigenetics partly. Trying to create a shift, any shift, through diet, is a good place to start.

    Also loved the point about the newer breeds of plants possibly having hidden deleterious characteristics and or reduced nutrient density. Very interesting.

    Thanks for the great Post Ken. Looking forward to the next one.

  2. Aravir
    Sep 05 - 3:11 pm

    Many people with CFS trying to radically change their microbiome through “human probiotic transplants” (fecal microbiota transplant).

  3. Pamela
    Sep 05 - 3:12 pm

    Any opinions on the Jarrow Femdophilus, which contains L Rhamnosus and LReuteri RC-148?
    Do you think this is a good combination?

    • Ken Lassesen
      Sep 05 - 4:56 pm

      IMHO, yes — my preference is alway a single species at a time. Just two species is the next best (especially if Lactobacillus Acidophilus is NOT one of them)

  4. Elaine Coffman
    Sep 05 - 3:14 pm

    “One of the contributing causes of my first remission was the removal of gluten from my diet. ”
    Boy, you really struck a chord with that comment. With the help of my ME/CFS doctor and multiple IV cocktails over the last 3 years I had gotten my CFS into remission. However my rheumatoid & osteoarthritis has been really acting up lately along with severe aches and pains so my doctor asked me to go gluten-free for a month. It’s been 2 weeks, and I feel like my chronic fatigue has reawakened with a vengeance. The arthritis has calmed down to be almost unnoticeable, and the aches and pains have subsided but the CFS has left me utterly wasted. At this point I am ready to try some high-quality non-GMO breads to see what effect they have. It’s interesting that in the barely 2 weeks we have been on the gluten-free diet, my husband has been exceptionally tired too, and he is in excellent health. It’s also interesting that I can consume both goat cheese frequently and small amounts of 85% chocolate and neither has a negative impact. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your research, and for such a timely article. I’m really looking forward to the next installment.

  5. Issie
    Sep 05 - 3:27 pm

    Interesting topic and one that I’m on board with.

    My diet change seems to have been one of the best things I’ve done for myself. Although, because of being low-fat, whole food vegan (which does not included any animal products), some of these suggestions are not an option. This can however be accomplished for us that are true vegans. There are ways we can do it with veggies, fruits and certain grains – and a few alternative supplements. I too am gluten free and rye, barley and wheat are not an option as these grains have gluten in them.

    One food that I’ve found to be a pre-biotic is jicama.

    The soluble fiber found in jicama (and our old friend asparagus) is called inulin (pronounced IN-yew-linn). Inulin has been the subject of intensive research in recent years, and the news adds important reasons to eat plenty of foods high in this fiber. Inulin promotes bone health by enhancing absorption of calcium from other foods, thus protecting against osteoporosis. It promotes heart health because soluble fiber decreases LDL cholesterol, and your heart will be healthier when you are an ideal weight. Inulin functions in the intestine as a prebiotic, meaning it is a food for the “good” bacteria that keep your colon healthy and balance your immunity
    It’s wonderful in salads and to eat as a snack with say salsa or humus. Very good for the digestion. I use lots of lemon and that’s good for the health of the liver which helps our immune system and detoxes us. (Very tasty on broccoli and salads – instead of dressing. Also using vinegar on salads is good and helps with the gut ecology too – also helps with ph balance of the body. Is good as a natural type of anti-biotic. Raw apple cider vinegar with mother will kill strep within 24 hours – according to some researchers. And I’ve tried it and it worked for me.)

    The one thing we have complete control over is our diet. It’s one of the hardest things to change and because of habit is the one thing people refuse to change. Our eating habits is something that generations pass down and could explain some of the reasons for genetic mutations and why family generations of people have the same problems. (I know that’s a stretch of the imagination. But, think about it.)

    It’s the one thing we can do for ourselves that doesn’t require a doctor to help us with. Except for maybe having a blood draw every few months to make sure we are doing it healthy. (Especially for us vegans that may need to supplement B12, iron and iodine and probably Vit D.)

    I’m having wonderful improvements in my health and my list of ailments is long (but getting shorter). Best thing I’ve done for myself to date. Working on my immune system with diet and low-dose antibiotics and supplements. Win, win and winning!


  6. Penny
    Sep 05 - 5:22 pm

    What if you’re allergic to Penicillin? How would this effect me?

    • Ken Lassesen
      Sep 05 - 5:26 pm

      That is a question for a MD/ND to answer — ideally from actual studies and not speculative inference.

  7. Caledonia
    Sep 06 - 12:49 am

    Timely article, as I’ve been researching treatments for leaky gut recently.

    I found this amazing information regarding leaky gut in pigs fed genetically modified corn – “meat processors in the US typically import intestinal sausage casings from New Zealand, since the quality of the intestines in US livestock is too poor.”

    If this is what is happening to livestock, imagine what is happening to us. Between antibiotics, gluten and GMOs, as a nation, our guts are in terrible shape. Have you noticed the proliferation of tv ads for IBS medicines, yogurts which regulate digestion, proton pump inhibitors and other heartburn meds? Apparently there’s a great market for digestive treatments, but of course, these medicines only provide symptom relief and won’t fix the root of the problem.

    It all goes back to what Ken is talking about, which is our gut flora. My research is showing that a 4R gut rebuilding program is the best way to treat gut issues.

    • Ken Lassesen
      Sep 06 - 7:48 am

      Whenever I see “best way”, I automatically ask for the independently conducted studies comparing it against alternatives. There is a tendency to slip into idealogical best, which may not reflect actual results.

      I am interested in getting a URL for the 4R gut rebuilding program. I am doubtful that “one program fits all”, just as I am that “one antibiotic treats all bacterial infections”. There are massive complexities, which is hard for a healthy mind to understand, little more a cognitive impaired CFS mind.

      However, I am interested in knowing more about it, especially on doing a gap analysis.

      • Brent
        Sep 06 - 12:12 pm

        I also believe normalizing gut flora to be helpful in reducing symptoms and a corner stone in the overall recovery process. Like you, I agree that one program does not fit all and it needs to be individualized depending on ones current digestive issues. Dr Sarah Myhill has a good piece written on her website titled, Fermentation In The Gut and CFS, which I came across recently and may be helpful to some.

      • Caledonia
        Sep 08 - 12:42 pm

        I’m having trouble finding a definitive version of the 4R program. Everyone seems to have a little different take on it, but the basics are:

        Remove – remove gluten and other offending foods from the diet, do a stool test and remove any bad bugs or parasites which show up

        Replace – replace things out of whack like stomach acid or digestive enzymes, start rebuilding the mucosal lining

        Reinoculate – put the good bacteria back in, again guided by stool testing. It’s possible to get an overgrowth of good bacteria too. What you want is a balance.

        Repair – repair the gut lining, this will fix leaky gut

        There seems to be a lot of flexibility in how long to do each step and whether or not to combine steps. Different people recommend different supplements to accomplish the same thing. You may have to repeat stool tests several times and use a couple different types of stool tests to detect all the bad bugs.

        Here are a couple of pretty good links:
        Metametrix Interpretive Guide: The 4R program is described on page 2. It also has great info on what herbs/meds will kill what bugs.

        2001 Deann Liska paper: This one is older information, but it’s nice because it has references to studies to back it up.

        I’m trying to get hold of the latest Institute of Functional Medicine textbook via interlibrary loan to see if they’ve updated the program.

        I can personally attest that if you don’t remove the bad bugs, and do all the other steps, it’s not going to work. This is what my naturopath had me doing for years and it was a giant FAIL. My leaky gut is worse than ever and I still have candida. So now I have to go back to square one and figure this out myself.

  8. Stephen in Atlanta
    Sep 06 - 6:24 pm

    I am glad to see that cheese still has a place in this food list! A lot of these things recommend ditching the cheese all together, and it’s not that I can blame them. In any case, that was certainly a surprise. On the other hand, I was also glad to see that probiotics were listed in here. I’d say that these are a good thing to add to your diet regardless of your level of health. Studies have shown that probiotics can help lower high cholesterol in a safe and natural way, essentially replacing the need for statins and other drugs. There are a number of good articles on this research:

  9. Judy
    Sep 06 - 7:03 pm

    I can’t find any of the probiotics without acidophilus. But I did find one that has both l infanis as well as l reuteri. The bad news is that it’s $54! Only one capsule a day, but still.

    • Ken Lassesen
      Sep 06 - 10:30 pm

      I will put together a list of available (via Amazon or other sources) that are available that do not have Lactobacillus Acidophilus in it. One of them is available in many pharmacies in both Canada and the US: “Align Digestive Care Probiotic Supplement”. It’s around $30-$35 for one month. Mutaflor is $70 /month (excluding shipping that usually run $10+ depending on volume) if you can navigate the logistics of getting it. are the ones that has significant research with appropriate results.

      I will attempt to get a list (of both documented beneficial, and not documented) blends and singletons by the end of the weekend.

  10. Issie
    Sep 08 - 11:22 am

    I just got this update from LifeExtension on gut bacteria being linked to obesity and diabetes. More reasons to get our gut ecology into better balance.

    Also, mentions that a high fat diet – creates more problems. If you eat a low-fat diet it helps to repair some of the damage to the gut bacteria.

    Interesting read.


  11. Pam
    Sep 09 - 8:25 am

    Very interesting articles. I can tell something is wrong but can’t explain what it is. Just a gut feeling. Thank you for all this information.

  12. Selma
    Sep 09 - 7:12 pm

    I’ve been thinking of the gut brain connection-and the idea that the gut is the culprit. But, what if the brain is the culprit and healing the brain, heals the gut? This could also explain the healing success of Ashok Gupta’s amygdala retraining and Annie Hopper’s DNR program. Heal the limbic sytem, and the gut heals. We all know how emotions affect our GI system. I think about that lately when I read the 10,000 ways to heal the gut.

    • Ken Lassesen
      Sep 09 - 7:25 pm

      The thing to remember is that direct line causality is rarely the case with biological systems. Stress increases certain chemical, those chemicals encourages certain bacteria, those bacteria releases other chemicals that may impede cognitive levels, resulting in more stress. Thus the bacteria got a kick-start and is now milking your system for all that it is worth.

      Cognitive programs that reduce stress results in less of those chemicals, which can eventually cascade into remission for some. For others, appropriate probiotics or antibiotics may be needed.

      • Anne
        Sep 10 - 12:33 pm

        I agree with Ken on this. I don’t know anyone who has fully healed on Gupta’s programme. The people I know who say they are better seem to all have horrible gut problems that they still think they are the fault of their brains, even when they have religiously done the program for years.

        I think it is likely impossible to fully heal without re-balancing the gut biome.

  13. Pamela
    Sep 10 - 2:58 pm

    Hi Ken,

    Do you think while you are making up the list of probiotics without
    acidophilus, you could recommend a reliable source of piracetam?
    Sorry, know this is off topic, but when I tried to click on a link in one
    of your previous articles for piracetam, it seems like amazon is no
    longer selling it, not available on iherb either, my other choice.
    I did order phenylpiracetam from Liftmode, its made in China, so
    don’t know if that’s o.k. would prefer made in US if possible.

    Also, ordered the prescript assist from Amazon, the product description
    says it breaks down toxic chemicals, do you think this might cause
    a severe herx in someone with possible mold exposure? It’s for my
    daughter, who has cfs, and is in her last semester of a nursing major,
    so I’m kind of worried about that,

    Thanks for everything your do!

    • Ken Lassesen
      Sep 11 - 1:40 pm

      The model that I am using has everything being a potential herx inducer. I have seen severe herx in a few people from every probiotic I have suggested. The herx is caused by the chemicals being dumped by what is being eliminated.

      Given what she is doing, I would suggest Haritaki, Neem and Tulsi. They are used in Indian native medicine for cognitive issues — and had a dramatic impact on my cognitive issues.

      Piracetam is generally manufactured in China — look at fitness websites for it. We have a 10lb container of it that we are slowly working thru — there have been constant rumors of it being removed by the FDA, so we stocked up on it a few years ago. The other nootropics are also good, but more expensive. Each nootropic tend to have slightly different effects.

  14. Allan Balliett
    Sep 11 - 6:53 am

    Great article.

    I’m concerned that the recommendation for ‘heirloom foods’ doesn’t go far enough. What’s an heirloom technically? A food over 20 years old? Regardless, the process of domestication required intensive breeding of most food stuffs Few foods aren’t larger, more productive, more filled with sugar than they were in nature. Purslane and Lambs Quarters are two exceptions, of course.

    But, what, really, is the deal? Take take the potato: even the heirloom varieties have had thousands of years of selective breeding and god-knows-what happen to them.

    are they really REAL FOOD?

    On the other hand, heirloom plants, generally, bring more nutrients out of the soil and into the food.

    Just askin’ ;-)

    • Ken Lassesen
      Sep 11 - 1:34 pm

      No argument from me. Everyone must balance their beliefs against costs etc. It is very much a personal decision (and there are no **good** studies backing the decision).

  15. M.C.
    Sep 11 - 7:27 am

    Hello Ken,

    I have a couple of questions for you if youre still reading the comments section which would be helpful if you could answer them:

    1. You mention in the “Encouraging Ecoli” Section two Ecoli Strains used to treat Gastro Infections, Nissle 1917 which is in the MutaFlor I believe and then you Mention Colinfant………I was a little unclear as to whether the Colinfant is another Nissle 1917 Probiotic or if the Colinfant is in reference to a second Ecoli strain. Could you clarify?

    2. In reference to Mutaflor after doing some research, the Company in Canada which manufactures it no longer will ship to the US due to an FDA ruling on this product. Do you have any insight on how I might be able to get some into my hands regardless? I have friends in Canada who might be willing to order it to them and then ship it to me in the mail. Do you have any insight as to whether its possible to ‘sneak’ it through via mail from Canada? I also live in Massachusetts three hours from the border. Do you know of anyone who has purchased it in Canada at a brick and mortar location and then tried to ‘drive’ it through customs?

    3. Also in the “Encouraging Ecoli” Section you mention Quercetin and Zinc as E coli Killers. I was a bit confused by this. If we want to encourage the growth of Healthy strains of Ecoli are you suggesting avoiding zinc and quercetin or were you referring to possibly using them as anti microbials if one feels that one has pathogenic strains of E Coli?



  16. M.C.
    Sep 11 - 1:45 pm

    Thanks Ken for the reply. Just a quick follow up to ordering Mutaflor. I did call them (Medical Futures Inc. located in Richmond Hill Ontario) and they told me flat out they would not ship it to a US address. So Im wondering how did you get it shipped to a UPS depot in the United States I wonder? Did you place an order with Medical Futures? And do they somehow allow shipment to the US if you ship it to a UPS depot rather than a home/business address? Or did your daughter order it within Canada and then shipped it to you to a UPS depot. And if your daughter shipped it to you via the UPS depot did you ship it that way so as to avoid detection in some way, as opposed to your daughter shipping it to your home, which might make them ‘check’ the package at it moves through customs? Sorry for all the questions, it just seems the devil is in the details ;)

    Thanks for the other answers and thanks for all that you are doing!


    • Ken Lassesen
      Sep 11 - 1:49 pm

      UPS Depot in CANADA. If your Canadian friends are at home, (shipment must be signed for), have it sent there. Have them unpacked it and put in the fridge until you can get up and visit them (and leave with it).

      Trying mail risks warm-mutaflor and too many questions….

      • M.C.
        Sep 11 - 3:14 pm

        Ok Ken great. Thank you!

  17. Ken Lassesen
    Sep 14 - 9:03 am

    By popular request, I have started a page on probiotics that do no have Lactoacillus acidophilus in them. I will be updating the page regularly:

  18. Sandra
    Sep 17 - 10:56 pm

    My Doctor told me to get a juicer.
    Betroot, Celery, Ginger, Lemon, Spinich. Small amount Orange, works wonders.
    Avoid Wheat, its just for cows. So go gulten free. Have a drink everyday it helps a lot.

    • Cort Johnson
      Sep 18 - 7:39 am

      Sounds yummy.. thanks for the tip :)

  19. Leandra A.
    Nov 17 - 8:24 am

    I developed in 2009 (age 59yrs), secondary trimethylaminuria (or TMAU) the short version). TMAU is a metabolic disorder that can be inherited or acquired. TMAU1 or TMAU, is derived from intestinal bacterial degradation fo foods rich in choline and carnitine and is normally oxidized by the liver to odorless trimethylamine N-oxide what is then excreated in the urine.

    So, foods rich in choline exacerbate the condition. Also, foods high in sulfur will cause symptoms of fish odor or other unpleasant noxious odors.
    In my case I will smell of dirty gym socks or sewage. I went on a gluten, dairy and red meat free diet and seem to have the symptoms under control. I

    I wanted to order the gut flora supplements but because it contained fish oil and choline it was a no-no for me. I was wondering if you have any suggestions what else I could take for this problem which is psychologially taking a huge toll on my mental status.
    Thank you,

  20. […] are left to discovery and salvage, rather than safety and prevention. It seems GM foods may have a direct impact on our bacterial ecosystems […]

  21. dn0999
    Apr 07 - 4:14 am

    Thanks for sharing this, it’s gonna help me a lot, I’m currently at war with e-coli.
    Do you know how would one get a e-coli dysbiosis fixed?
    Here’s the context : Mutaflor was great for me for a while, then I found out I was fatigued and had fool smelling loise stools. I stopped taking pills and my symptoms went away in a few days. Somehow it must have given me dysbiosis. It got worse : I was taking enteric coated capsules so I tought, well, maybe if the capsule releases late in the small intestine, just before the colon, then it avoids being balanced by the small intestine flora thus creating a dysbiosis in my colon. So I tried mutaflor’s liquid solution product. Bad idea : Now the symptoms are back and they wont stop even after I stopped Mutaflor. So I guess the dysbiosis has moved to my small intestine :/
    I’ve been trying to rebalance it for the last 4 days, using probiotics,  homemade fermented vegetables… No change… I’m gonna try switching my diet to beets + turnip as you suggested, hope I’ll find a way before I get too exhausted!

    • Ken Lassesen
      Apr 07 - 5:17 am

      Perfect timing to ask, I am starting a series which deals with HIGH E.Coli which typically gets a IBD diagnosis: UC and Crohn’s disease being common progression from IBD and CFS in my opinion.

      However, be sure that you have E.Coli overgrowth be getting appropriate testing to measure your level.

      As a FYI — having foul stools implies die off. I have experienced the same and just kept going, **rotating** probiotics weekly.

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