While continuing my Carb Back-Loading experiment (results at 4 weeks, results at 8 weeks), I was a bit disheartened after receiving my latest NMR cholesterol results. Despite losing almost 5 lbs and 1.25 inches off my weight, while increasing the amounts I was lifting on Stronglifts 5×5, my LDL-P particles were still high (LDL-C was high as well).
I had heard a couple podcasts where Robb Wolf mentioned that he was able to get his cholesterol in check while using resistant starch and a few other reports I’ve seen around the internets of people with a smiliar response that I wanted to try it out again.
I experimented with this stuff before in the past for a 2 week span, primarily to see if it would help me with my sleep (which is pretty crappy, especially on the weeks when I’m working over night). After titrating up to the recommended 4 tbsp of Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch, I didn’t detect any real difference in my sleep quality… which was still crappy. I did however develop pretty terrible gas, and for the sake of my coworkers, my wife, and my own olfactory bulbs, I aborted the experiment.
This time around I hypothesized that the combination of resistant starch AND the increased carb intake with Carb Back-Loading would provide the answer to my continuously high LDL-P.
Background on Resistant Starch
The basic idea is that resistant starches are carbohydrates that ‘resist’ being digested as it passes through our stomach and small intestine. Once they reach our large intestine, they encounter our colonic bacteria which actually have the tools to digest resistant starch. When they break these down, the products they release (such as butyric acid) are beneficial to both our good gut bacteria and our intestinal cells.
Here is a video that does a good job of summarizing it:
If you want to read a little more here are few more resources:
- Mark Sisson’s Definitive Guide to Resistant Starch
- Richard Nikoley’s Primer on Resistant Starch for Newbies
- Andreas Eenfeldt also has a nice short summary
- Bulletproof Exec Podcast with Richard Nikoley and Tatertot Tim
One more thing I wanted to add before moving on is that Kiefer has stated multiple times that he doesn’t buy into he whole resistant starch thing, and that if he DID want to try to improve his gut flora, he would use fructo or galacto-oligosacharides… but he mainly believes that your gut flora will change with you. If you get healthy, your gut flora will then get healthy, if you are unhealthy, then your gut flora will be unhealthy.
In a few of Kiefer’s podcasts, Dr. Rocky Patel has also mentioned that he’s played around with resistant starch and didn’t notice any difference. He uses a continuous glucose monitor and didn’t detect any differences in his blood sugars, (one of the purported benefits is supposedly improved blood sugar control).
I also started taking the Garden of Life Primal Defense Probiotics which is one of the recommended brands.
I started off with 2 tbsp of Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch, seemed to do ok, then upped it to 3 tbsp the next night and then 4 tbsp the day after that. Well it seems that I acclereted the dosage a bit too fast because I developed pretty bad bloating and gas, so I had to cut things back down to 2 tbsp for a while, slowly titrating back up to 3 tbsp.
It’s interesting to see that my blood sugars stayed in the 90s the entire time.
I had a bit of bloating and some pretty stinky gas the entire time, not unlike my first foray with this stuff. You can see that my abdominal circumference increased from 34 to 34.75, which I primarily attribute to all the bloating.
Things were just not comfortable for me all around… I imagined that I was surrounded by this malodorous, farty, cloud that followed me around everywhere I went. The BJJ Cavewife and I once again agreed that it was time to pull the plug on this experiment.
It was a big fat NO CHANGE. LDL-C remained the same (I opted not to repeat the NMR for the sake of cost. NMRs cost $100 while standard cholesterol tests cost $29 on requestatest.com).
Doesn’t look like resistant starch was the answer to my cholesterol woes… at least not in the span of 2 weeks.
Not sure what I can conclude from this especially given the limited duration. Perhaps it’s something that I needed to stick to longer. Maybe it’s because I didn’t take the full spectrum of probiotics that Richard Nikoley and Co recommend:
- Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra Ultimate Probiotic Formula
- Prescript-Assist Broad Spectrum Probiotic Prebiotic
- Advanced Orthomolecular Research AOR, Advanced Series, Probiotic-3, Natural Probiotic Formula
In retrospect it’s clear that I probably shouldn’t have been so aggressive in advancing the dosage of the RS… not sure why I felt the rush to do it, but I guess part of me really wanted to reach that ideal 4 tbsp that everyone keeps talking about.
Maybe I’ll mess around with this stuff again in the future… but as of now I’m going to give my microbiome and my nose a break.