Food Gut Product Reviews

Big Supplement List (Gut)

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Herbal Extracts






Bee Products




Apple Cider Vinegar



  • Symbiotics Colostrum Plus

Colostrum makes a strong foundation — and a potent first step — for any gut health protocol.

Colostrum Plus

One of the most gentle yet impactful supplements available, colostrum affects the gut in multiple positive ways — with very low risk of causing harm.

Colostrum boosts immunity, fights pathogens, feeds beneficial flora, and regulates the speed of motility in the gut.

  • Lactoferrin (powerful against viruses and bacteria)
  • Insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1, IGF-2) which help your tissues grow and recover
  • Immunoglobulins — (Antibodies, used to fight pathogens — IgA, IgG, IgM)
  • Prebiotics — Healthy fibers that selectively feed “good” gut flora
  • Proline-rich-polypeptidesShort proteins that boost immunity, increase cognitive performance, regulate cellular redox, and can even play a role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s

Colostrum is incredible for both constipation and diarrhea, as well as when fighting off an illness. Most products recommend a higher dose to knock out a bug when sick.

Colostrum is safe for nearly all people, with the only exception being those with sensitivity to dairy. That said, many lactose-intolerant folks have no issues with colostrum.


Herbal Extracts & Oils

Compounds with antimicrobial properties.
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Triphala
  • Peppermint
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric

Combine & rotate herbs to boost immunity and create hostility in the gut.


Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is a powerful full-spectrum natural antibiotic with antioxidant properties.

A main ingredient of oregano oil, carvacrol, has strong antiviral properties.

Because oregano oil is quite powerful, it should only be taken for several weeks at most, and then cycled off for at least month or two. In dire cases, it may be used a month or so for its immune-boosting, antiseptic properties.

Oregano oil is most effective when the body is sick, fighting off illness, or struggling with dysbiosis of the gut, but it should not be taken daily for long periods of time.

Oregano oil may even reduce pain perception and increase a sense of calm, although these should not be the primary reasons to take this supplement.


True Cinnamon

Cinnamon oil has potent antimicrobial properties against virtually all pathogens, even in drug-resistant strains.

Cinnamon oil is powerful stuff. If taken too frequently, it can kill off good gut flora in the gut.

Cinnamon oil can work against biofilms that allow hardy pathogens to resist antimicrobial compounds.

There are three main sources of cinnamon: ceylon, cassia, and burmannii.

  • Ceylon is the only variety with low levels of coumarin, a compound with known liver and kidney toxicity concerns.
  • Cassia has high levels of of coumarin.
  • Burmannii is the most commonly-sold in the USA, and has the highest levels of coumarin — higher than cassia.

Therefore, choose ceylon cinnamon to avoid liver toxicity.



Triphala is an ancient Indian blend of three ingredients: two fruits and a berry.

  • Amla — (berry)
  • Bibhitaki — (fruit)
  • Haritaki — (fruit)

Triphala is loaded with beneficial compounds: Vitamin C, antioxidants, polyphenols, and other ingredients.

Its biological effects have been studied quite extensively, with benefits discovered for oral health, weight loss, lipid peroxidation, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, diabetes, and, of course, gut health.

Triphala has potent antimicrobial properties and, therefore, it should be classified as a “killing” gut supplement, in that it will increase hostility in the gut against microbes. It also tends to have a mild laxative effect on the gut, helping to produce more complete and regular stools.


Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is a gentle antimicrobial, with varying rates of effect against different species of bacteria.

It’s got some antifungal properties and reduces the perception of pain in the gut. Topically, it can help grow hair.

Peppermint doesn’t kill all microbes equally, but it can absolutely support the immune system by making the gut more hostile. Peppermint oil is known to have good results in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s but it also has value as a general antimicrobial for ongoing gut health.


Ginger Root

The main active ingredient in ginger is gingerol, which has powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

Ginger is shown to significantly reduce inflammation and has some anti-cancer properties in the colon.

Ginger is beneficial for dyspepsia (which is related to GERD, ulcers, gastric reflux, and gastroparesis), improving the rate of gastric emptying.

When used as an antimicrobial, ginger greatly reducing the growth of bacteria and viruses. Gingerol absorbs into the bloodstream, exerting its anti-inflammatory and antmicrobial effects throughout the body.



Garlic has powerful antimicrobial properties that affect the full spectrum of microbe — including bacteria, yeasts/fungus, protozoa, and viruses.

It’s antimicrobial effects are due to sulfur compounds that form as the garlic is chopped. Allicin is the main example, and it exhibits powerful antiseptic effects against microbes. Allicin is unstable — it breaks down shortly after garlic is chopped.

In this Zhou garlic supplement, allicin is stabilized — so its benefits are available anytime. The sulfur compounds in garlic are absorbed and travel around the body, behaving as an antioxidant and killing pathogens.

Turmeric (Curcumin)


Curcumin is a legitimate antimicrobial compound with far-reaching benefits for the entire body.

Against bacteria, curcumin has the most severe effect against H. Pylori, but also has broad-spectrum antibacterial effects.

Curcumin is being considered as an antiviral drug, and has broad-spectrum antifungal effects — most especially against Candida.

Curcumin and turmeric are known to be anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and good for the liver, blood sugar, diabetes, and fat storage.



Repopulate the gut microbiome with broad-spectrum microbes.
  • RAW Women – 85 Billion
  • RAW Men – 85 Billion

Continually introduce good flora — and then feed them with prebiotic fibers.


Raw 85 Billion


Raw 85 Billion


This product meets many criteria for quality and has unparalleled results after years of experience.

  • Species Diversity — There are 31 strains in this blend, which is an extremely (perhaps remarkably) high number for a probiotic product. Results are always hit-or-miss when you go searching for “that one strain” that you need more of. Too, single strain products can cause imbalance over time (just like with nutrients). High diversity also reduces the likelihood of a bad reaction, due to diversification. Too, a healthy gut typically has more diverse species of microbes.
  • Vitamins, Minerals & Enzymes — Low-dose nutrient blends can be a major positive in poor gut health. Each time you take one of these pills, you’re getting not just the probiotic army, but a light dose of virtually all major nutrients and minerals you’d expect from a multivitamin — and in natural, non-synthetic forms. I would expect the small number of enzymes to possibly detract from the effectiveness of the probiotics, but this does not seem to be a concern, based on results.
  • Prebiotics — There are modest additions of potato starch and acacia fiber, which are both well-known prebiotics. This improves the effectiveness of the probiotics even when this product is taken alone on an empty stomach. It’s still optimal to take well-tolerated prebiotics with any probiotics, even if the probiotic contains some prebiotics.

It is perfectly acceptable to take one pill per day as a maintenance dose — meaning one 90-capsule bottle product can last 3 months. When we take probiotics with prebiotics, the numbers of the beneficial species can double in as little as fifteen minutes. This can be an efficient way of making probiotic supplementation more cost-effective.

The ability to take a single pill — rather than the full, 3-pill dose — also allows the user to test for tolerability when first starting the supplement.

After nearly a decade of taking probiotics and working with clients, this product clearly comes out the winner. Better results have been consistently achieved with this product than any others — even the outrageously-priced expensive brands like Metagenics (and other functional medicine probiotics).



Feed beneficial microbes in your gut.
  • Apple Pectin
  • F.O.S.
  • G.O.S.
  • Holigos
  • Inulin & Chicory

Prebiotics are always more safe and effective in multiple smaller doses rather than one larger dose.

  • When tolerability is confirmed, combine multiple prebiotics for maximum benefit.
  • Take prebiotics with another compound that will ensure optimal fermentation in the gut (such as antimicrobials or probiotics).

Apple Pectin

Apple Pectin

Apple pectin is a gentle prebiotic fiber that is quite well-tolerated and has many, many benefits for the gut.

Apple pectin can increase (and even double) butyrate levels, feed beneficial microbes and — surprisingly for a prebiotic fiber — actually reduce the number of harmful bacteria.

Apple pectin also increases the concentration of short-chain fatty-acids, acetate, propionate, and bicarbonate. Somehow, it also seemed to lower lactic acid in the stool (some folks struggle with lactic acid).

Importantly, the beneficial effects of apple pectin were not achievable simply by eating apples, apple juice, or apple puree — apple pectin alone was required.

When the apple pectin was removed from the diet, the improvements in gut began to retreat, suggesting that consistent pectin supplementation is a good idea.

A good, small starting dose is 250-500mg, with a large dose range being 1.5g/day.




Fructooligosaccharides are a natural fiber that occurs in foods.

FOS can be produced by breaking down inulin (usually from chicory root).

FOS is not absorbed into the bloodstream, and does not contribute to caloric intake or energy metabolism directly. However, FOS is metabolized by microbes into pro-metabolic short-chain fatty-acids (SCFA) and carbon dioxide.

Its effect on human health is as a prebiotic — selectively feeding beneficial microbes.

FOS may even suppress the growth of various pathogens such as clostridium and salmonella.

Taken properly, FOS can be a powerful tool to reshape the health of the gut microbiome. FOS is generally well-tolerated, except in certain more severe cases of gut dysbiosis, IBS, Crohn’s, etc. In these situations, FOS should be a later experiment, explored after other steps are in place (such as fixing the circadian rhythm, daily therapeutic light,




GOS is a fiber produced after lactose is digested, directly feeds beneficial microbes, and could be critical in the developing newborn gut microbiome.

Oligosaccharides resembling GOS occur naturally in human milk and may be one of the factors that protect human infants from gastrointestinal pathogenic bacteria.

In infants, the supplementation of formula with a mixture of GOS and fructo-oligosaccharides can modulate bowel function and stool characters in the same direction as does breast-feeding.


IBS Restore

Holigos uses human milk oligosaccharides to improve the gut microbiome and relieve symptoms associated with IBS.

Holigos has two products: “Restore” and “Maintain.”

  • “Maintain” has just the one ingredient (2′-Fucosyllactose).
  • “Restore” adds an additional ingredient (Lacto-N-neotetraose).

2′-Fucosyllactose (2-FL) is an oligosaccharide found in human breast milk that can provide protection from intestinal pathogens.

Infants consuming a formula with 2′-FL and LNnT had significantly fewer parental reports of bronchitis, reduced incidence of lower respiratory tract infections, reduced use of antipyretics and reduced use of antibiotics compared to infants fed a formula without HMOs (human milk oligosaccharides).

Inulin, Chicory

Chicory & Coffee

Inulin is the primary fiber in chicory root, long prized for its gut health benefits.

Chicory root has been shown to improve liver bile flow and fat digestion — with increases in short-chain fatty-acid (SCFA) production.

Many of the benefits of chicory root are attributed to inulin, although other helpful compounds are certainly in play, such as chicoric — which can improve blood sugar levels.

Inulin and chicory are longer-chain fibers and, therefore, may cause trouble in situations where gut health is weak. Coffee can have some minor benefits for the gut microbiota and can help relieve constipation — and makes a delightful pairing with chicory’s rich taste in this traditional New Orleans-style beverage.

Inulin is the least tolerable prebiotic on this list. It is not recommended in situations where gut health is sensitive to fiber. Instead, start with something more tolerable, such as pectin — or non-supplement approaches like the circadian rhythm, therapeutic light, and environmental health.


Bee Products

Antimicrobial + Prebiotic + Nutrients.
  • Manuka Honey
  • Raw Honey
  • Bee Pollen, Propolis & Royal Jelly

“Medicinal honey research is undergoing a substantial renaissance.”

Raw Honey

Raw, Unfiltered Honey

Honey is shockingly antimicrobial.

Yet, honey also contains prebiotics (oligosaccharides) which feed beneficial microbes — making honey a near-perfect food for gut health.

Honey is known to increase the populations of beneficial bifido- bacteria strains, while white sugar had no effect.

Researchers were able to completely eradicate antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the skin via topical medical-grade (standardized) honey.

When honey enters the digestive tract, it simultaneously feeds beneficial microbes, kills harmful pathogens, and provides nutrients and energy to the body.

Honey is even a complete food, providing micronutrients, amino acids, Vitamin C and B-vitamins — and encourages the intestinal absorption of these nutrients while discouraging pathogenic activity.

Flavonoids, polyphenols, and organic acids also contribute to the digestive, immune, and metabolic benefits of honey.

Research in animal models even suggests that not only does honey provide calcium, but it improves calcium absorption into the body.

Honey is praised and valued in nearly every ancient religious and wisdom tradition as both a food and a healing topical balm and internal medicine — with known hunter-gatherer tribes utilizing it as 20% (and more) of daily calories, while commonly living into their 80s.

Honey even seems to directly interfere with cancerous cells:

“[Honey] has significant anticancer activity against human breast and cervical cancer cell lines.”

Locally-produced honeys possess excellent antibacterial activity comparable to the commercial honeys.

Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey has every benefit of raw — and more.

Known for its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant qualities, manuka honey has been used for centuries to heal wounds and improve oral health.

When compared to normal, local varieties, manuka honey has significantly more antimicrobial effects.

Manuka honey can even stimulate macrophages to release compounds such as TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 — which are critical for combatting microbial infections and wound healing.

The higher the UMF rating of manuka honey, the more potent the antimicrobial properties.

The only downside to manuka honey, for most locations around the world, is its expense — and higher UMF ratings can be extremely costly. On the bright side, even lower-UMF content seems to have profound antimicrobial activity.

I recommend buying what you can afford — don’t worry about achieving the highest UMF ratings. My results with various affordable manuka honey have been stellar.

Manuka honey has been widely researched and its antibacterial potential is renowned worldwide.

Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly, & Propolis

Triple Complex

There are over 2500 articles on PubMed concerning the benefits of propolis.

“Propolis has been reported to have various health benefits related to gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, and gynecological, oral, and dermatological problems.”

Twelve different flavonoids, along with most vitamins and some enzymes are present in propolis.

Over 185 organic compounds have been found in royal jelly.

Royal Jelly may even protect the skin from UVB-induced damage by improving collagen formation in the skin. Royal jelly also contains the unsaturated fatty-acid (10-HDA), which may have antitumor and antibacterial activity.



Enzymes kill microbes.
  • Digestive
  • Systemic

Enzymes “digest” microbes, which makes enzymes extremely antimicrobial.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are the array of enzymes released when food enters the digestive system.

They are designed to specifically break down carbs, proteins, and fats.

Pancreatin is a commercial name for these three enzymes:

  • amylase
  • protease
  • lipase

These three enzymes are foundational to human digestion. Supplemental pancreatin is sourced from pigs and will have different ratios from human pancreatic juices.

This does not mean pancreatin is of no benefit to digestion, just that it is not a perfect replacement for human pancreatic enzymes.

“PPE [pancreatin supplements from pigs] do not provide a full substitution of the lipolytic enzymes present in HPJ [human panctreatic juices].”

Other enzymes are often included in digestive enzyme products: cellulase (breaks down cellulose, or plant fiber), and lactase (breaks down the milk sugar, lactose). Invertase breaks down sucrose (table sugar) into glucose and fructose. Beta-glucanase breaks down beta-glucans, a sugar found in plants (oatmeal, barley), and the cell walls of microbes (making this enzyme an antimicrobial and anticancer compound).

All in all, digestive enzymes can slightly improve the risk of maldigestion, ramp up gut hostility during digestion, and increase the absorption of nutrients. They may especially play a minor role when gut health is truly struggling and food is not well digested.

Sometimes, enzymes can increase energy in the body to the extent that they interfere with sleep. Enzymes can also deplete minerals in the body, particularly sodium and magnesium. Enzyme products also tend to advertise large doses per capsule — when smaller doses would be more tolerable and effective.

If you have any negative symptoms, such as insomnia — or feel that sodium or magnesium levels are being depleted — reduce the dose or frequency or stop taking enzymes altogether. Discontinue enzymes if any pain is noticed after taking.

Systemic Enzymes

Systemic Enzymes

Systemic enzymes not only benefit the gut, but also enter the bloodstream and break down microbes, toxins, metabolic waste, and junk protein.

The benefit of systemic enzymes to the gut shouldn’t be overlooked, though. In fact, this is a critical component of why systemic enzymes seem to improve symptoms, performance, and quality of life so much.

The most popular systemic enzymes are all considered proteolytic — which means they break down proteins. This term is often used interchangeably (with “systemic”) to describe systemic enzymes, though it isn’t a perfect translation.

Systemic enzymes are quite popular — and for good reason. Taken exclusively on an empty stomach, they function in a more alkaline environment (the intestines and bloodstream) rather than an acidic environment (the stomach).

Attacking pathogens without the interference of food entering the digestive tract allows systemic enzymes to make significant headway — cleaning up the gut and bloodstream, and lowering inflammation as a result. Many folks notice more energy, better brain function, less joint pain, and improved mood as a result of systemic enzymes.

The most popular systemic enzymes are:

  • Serrapeptase — (from silk worms)
  • Nattokinase — (from Japanese natto)
  • Trypsin — (pancreatic enzyme)
  • Chymotrypsin — (pancreatic enzyme)
  • Bromelain — (from pineapples)
  • Papain — (from papaya)

It’s best to take these enzymes in a blend, together, to benefit from all of them simultaneously.

Too, the benefits of enzymes are possible in smaller doses than are often supplied in products. High doses can be jarring to a weaker system, and aren’t necessary. These products are often formulated to “impress” the average person — when the needs of those struggling with chronic digestive issues are very different.

As with any gut supplement, it’s common for a person’s response to systemic enzymes to be highly individual. Formulas change frequently — with the new ingredients being less effective than the old. Keep your wits about you; If you know why a product works you can be better suited to finding a replacement if a product changes or becomes unavailable in the future.


Apple Cider Vinegar

Antimicrobial acids + Prebiotics + Nutrients
  • Bragg’s ACV

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar w/Honey

Apple cider vinegar is incredibly popular — and for good reason. Its beneficial effects are many.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is known as a digestive tonic, and it can actually help overweight people lose weight. It also leads to more satiety after a high-carb meal and improves blood sugar stability. ACV may also lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce oxidative stress.

A main benefit of apple cider vinegar is its acetic acid. Acetic acid is highly antimicrobial and its attributes align almost perfectly with the broad-spectrum benefits of apple cider vinegar. ACV’s acidity also may allow minerals to be absorbed more effectively, and improve the acidity of the stomach after a meal — leading to increased immunity from opportunistic pathogens.

Take 1 tbsp (15 mL) in a glass of water 1-2x/day before meals or on an empty stomach.

Is ACV a cure-all? No, nothing is. Instead, apple cider vinegar is a powerful tool, and one component of a well-rounded gut regimen.


Miracles don’t happen with any individual supplement.

Very, very few people will find a gut supplement that restores amazing gut health on its own.

Instead, gut supplements must be combined — with each other and with a greater approach (the circadian rhythm, therapeutic light, good air quality, gentle movement, & wise nutrition) — to achieve the best effect.

It’s important that we understand 1) how the gut works and 2) what restores its function over time:

  • Increasing hostility to pathogens.
  • Constantly reintroducing beneficial microbes and giving them proper nourishment through diet and prebiotics.

When these factors are in play, great things can happen and gut health can be systematically restored.

This completes Big Supplement List (Gut).
To continue, select Supplement Timing.

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The information on this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. All information is presented for educational purposes.

Food Gut

Intermittent Fasting


What Is A Feeding Window?

Time-restricted eating is all the rage in health communities and discussion groups, and for good reason: It offers benefits that go beyond the diet.

Time-restricted eating (which involves intermittent fasting and feeding windows) involves intentionally eating at specific times, and avoiding eating the rest of the time.


Rule #1

Eat only during the “window” of time.

Ex: You may eat from 9 AM to 5 PM.


Rule #2

Fast (don’t eat) outside the window.

Ex: Don’t eat after 5 pm until the next morning at 9 am.

There Are Many Variations

There are all sorts of odd methods, (such as “one meal per day” or “36 hour fast/12 hour binge”). The more extreme the approach, the larger the amount of risk.

However, the most popular approach is an 8-hour feeding window. All calories for the day are eaten between 9am and 5pm.

There are some variations to the 8-hour window, but 9AM-5PM is the safest, most effective option for most people.

Intermittent Fasting is eating within a window of time — and fasting the rest of the day.

This is often referred to as:
“Time-Restricted Eating.”


The Benefits Of Time-Restricted Eating

There are definitely some interesting effects when eating this way.

Keep these important questions in mind concerning time-restricted eating:

  • Are these benefits available to everyone?
  • Are they sustainable in the long-run?
  • Further, is time-restricted eating the only way to achieve these benefits?

Let’s look at some of the benefits.

#1 — You can lose weight

  • You’ll probably eat fewer calories. It’s difficult to eat as many calories in a short time span.
  • Going hours and hours without eating causes your body to burn through its glycogen stores and burn fat for fuel.

#2 — It can be convenient

  • Your whole day “opens up” when you don’t need to stop and eat.

#3 — Fasting Can Temporarily Benefit Gut Health

  • Microbes living in your gut largely determine gut health.
  • In poor gut health, bad microbes are fed at every meal.
  • When fasting, bad microbes are not fed — which means virtually zero endotoxin is released (by the bad microbes) for many hours of the day. This can represent a powerful relief from “systemic endotoxicity” caused by poor gut health for much of the day.

#4 — It can increase autophagy

  • Autophagy — When the body cleans up old, junk proteins inside cells.
  • Occurs when food is not being digested — beginning after about 12 hours of fasting.

#5 — You can avoid circadian mistakes

  • Eating is a signal to the brain that it is daytime.
  • Daytime eating tells the brain “It is daytime.
  • Therefore, eating at night confuses the brain’s clock, dysregulating the circadian rhythm.

#6 — Can improve NADH to NAD+ ratio

  • A higher NAD+ ratio (to NADH) is associated with better longevity and metabolism.
  • This research is in its infancy.


What Does The Science Say?

The science is actually quite scant about intermittent fasting. Not many studies performed on the subject of time-restricted eating. This may be surprising, given how much media attention this approach has enjoyed.

There is a 2018 study that demonstrated that time-restricted eating improved the following markers in prediabetic men, even though none of them lost weight:

  • insulin sensitivity
  • blood pressure
  • oxidative stress
  • appetite

The 6-hour feeding window these men followed was 8am to 2pm.


Time-Restricted Eating Options

Here are some examples of different popular approaches. Let’s start with the smallest of “feeding windows.”

2-Hour Feeding Window

This is essentially: “One Meal A Day” (OMAD). It’s quite popular and incredibly difficult to follow, long-term.

4-Hour Feeding Window

8-Hour Feeding Window

The 8-hour feeding window is extremely popular, though still somewhat extreme.

Two Common Options
  • 9am-5pm
  • 12pm-8pm

12-Hour Feeding Window

A much more relaxed, sustainable, feeding window.


Who Benefits From Time Restricted Eating?

The folks who stand to benefit the most from intermittent fasting are those struggling with:

  • Poor gut health (though the results might be temporary)
  • Control calories
  • Needing to “change things up”
  • Having a plan to follow
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight problems
  • Fatigue problems


The Risks Of Time-Restricted Eating


It can extremely difficult to consume enough calories for an entire day in a short window of time.

Over time, undereating can harm thyroid function, harm immunity, cause nutrient deficiency, interfere with sleep, and wreck hormone production.

In time-restricted eating, it’s imperative that basic caloric requirements are met, long-term.

Appetite Suppression

The appetite has been shown to be reduced in time-restricted eating.

This is often celebrated as a major benefit, but it can be a danger, too.

Throughout the health world, there are many undernourished dieters, following many restrictive dietary plans, who also notice a diminished appetite.

A diminishing appetite can be seen as a real problem for health, a sign that the body is shutting down and going into “starvation mode.” This is a real concern when inadequate calories are being consumed each day.

The metabolism slows and slows to adapt to the lack of fuel — while the dieter raves about his/her lack of appetite and cravings.

This can be a dangerous sign, and a major reason I do not recommend most time-restricted diets.

People may have serious gut health problems that are indirectly addressed by eating less and fasting — but is undernourishment the only answer?

In the study above, the subjects were only followed for 5 weeks — a very short time to fully understand the long-term implications of a dietary practice.

Poor Sleep

Undernourishment can be very bad for sleep.

So can eating too late in the day, which can slow the metabolism and confuse the circadian rhythm.

On the other hand, beginning a fast too early in the evening can leave one quite hungry and unable to fall asleep at night. For many people, even a supper as early as 5pm can cause sleep to suffer — especially if a caloric deficit is occurring.

The body’s solution to extremely long fasts (and undereating) is for the metabolism to slow, which is not a good solution for long-term health.

Added Stress

While some enjoy having “rules to follow,” strict rules can add a lot of unnecessary stress for some people. Therefore, this approach may not be for everyone.

If you want to improve your insulin sensitivity, lose weight, sleep better, and curb your appetite, there are more logical and sustainable options. Extreme time-restricted eating is not the only choice.

No Proper Meal Times

The body doesn’t work very well when it grazes for much of the day, for several reasons: it’s bad for gut health and it ignores circadian rhythms controlling the digestive, endocrine, and adrenal systems.

For those longer feeding windows (such as a 12-hour feeding window), you shouldn’t “graze all day.” You should eat designated meals.

On the surface, feeding windows offer a step toward structure. Sometimes, that structure isn’t attainable, helpful, or even all that clear to begin with.

Underfeeding Almost Always Causes Overeating Later

It can be very difficult to eat enough calories while intermittent fasting.

In fact, a potent criticism maintains that many benefits from intermittent fasting are largely due to simply eating fewer calories.

Unfortunately, eating less is not a long-term strategy — especially if you’re undereating and not meeting your daily caloric requirements.

Undereating will always result in a rebound — days and even weeks of overeating to make up the difference. This becomes truer the sicker we are.

On any diet that fails to supply adequate calories two things are guaranteed to happen: a rebound (where weight lost is quickly regained) and a slowing of the metabolism.

Now, all of this can be avoided if you meet your daily caloric requirements. Again, that’s very difficult to do for many people.

“Skipping Breakfast”

Skipping breakfast is extremely common with an 8-hour window.

It usually results in a 12-8 feeding time: Lunch & dinner. (This typically includes lots of afternoon snacking, too).

While this isn’t a huge deal for most average people who just need to control caloric intake, it is still far from optimal. There’s actually a good bit of research suggesting that eating earlier in the day is better for all sorts of health metrics: weight, circadian rhythm, inflammation, and more.


The Best Way To Time Your Meals

The best meal timing for health is tried and true, old as the hills and, well, perhaps a bit boring.

But it works — in any situation, no matter your health goals or challenges.

Three Meals Per Day

To take advantage of the health benefits of time-restricted eating, look no further than our immediate ancestors: Our grandparents.

When did their generation eat? Oftentimes, their schedule looked something like this:

A traditional “three square meals” is actually close to a 12-hour window.

Eat Dinner As Early As You Like

The best feature of eating three square meals: You can nudge dinner earlier — creating a larger fasting window, overnite — while still sustainably achieving high-performance throughout the day. How? Simply finish dinner by 5PM or 6PM instead of 7PM.


3 Meals Is A Very, Very Solid Method

Benefits Of “Three Meals” Per Day

You Eat Early

Take advantage of the metabolism-boosting effects of a solid, early breakfast.

You Eat Often

The metabolism doesn’t slow due to extremely long fasting periods.

You Eat Enough

You aren’t trying to squeeze an entire day’s food into a small window, just so you don’t fall short on calories.

It’s Sustainable

You can eat this way the rest of your life. No gimmicks, it just works.

Eating shortly after waking is best for your metabolism and your circadian rhythm.

Eating dinner at 6:30PM is perfect for sleep.

  • You’ll have plenty of time for digestion to begin before bedtime.

No approach solves as many problems as well as “3 meals” (and its “12-hour feeding window”).



Experimentation is usually a good thing. Especially if you need “something different,” feeding windows can be a great way to change things up.

The main risk with diet experimentation is that you’ll learn bad habits, and keep them after the experiment is over. A major bad habit? Orthorexia — and it’s as common as air in health groups, these days.

For the long term, don’t forget that eating “three meals a day” — at proper timing — does the following:

  • Represents a solid “feeding window”
  • Enables good sleep
  • Promotes strong metabolism
  • Allows for a “fasting” period (both at night and in between meals — when you don’t snack)
Learn More:

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Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

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Food Gut

How To Fast

Why does fasting help some people?

Even healthy food can feed bad microbes in the gut.

Because there’s a big problem with eating during poor gut health: Your microbiome poisons you after meals.

Even healthy microbiomes do this to a small extent. But an unhealthy gut overloads your entire system with endotoxin after every meal — causing you to feel lethargic, unfocused, and uncomfortable in your body. In response, inflammation rises, nutrients are depleted, and you feel worse: cold and tired.

It’s the opposite of how you should feel after eating: warm and energized.

Eating food feeds and nourishes the microbes in your gut. If you’ve got dysbiosis, your GI tract is dominated by lots of bad microbes. In dysbiosis, more and more foods eaten will overwhelmingly feed bad bugs — even healthy foods.

Enter: fasting.


Can Fasting Be Improved?

Fasting gives your gut a break, and therein, gives your body a break from the onslaught of endotoxin it receives after each meal. The body can even activate its autophagy, cleaning up the bloodstream and cells.

Fasting Is A Somewhat Temporary Solution

However, simple fasts — or, eating nothing — may lack the firepower to cause a more permanent shift in one’s digestive health.

“Bad microbes” can be incredibly hardy; they can survive in the gut without food easily for a couple of days.

Therefore, besides temporary relief and a brief uptick in immune function, the results of a traditional fast may be short-lived, leading folks to fast repeatedly… or indefinitely.

There are also some long-term risks to frequent fasting: a slowing of the metabolism.

Make The Benefits Last

Can we improve on the concept of fasting? Yes, we can.

A fast is an opportunity to directly tackle the health of our gut microbiome.

By augmenting a fast with gut-restorative supplements and foods, it can represent a chance to truly “reset” the gut’s microbiome.

In more severe situations, it is also beneficial to “prime the pump” by clearing out the gut with a short liquid fast (2-3 days) of raw, pressed fruit & vegetable juices. Be sure to include lemon and herbs (such as garlic and ginger) with your fresh juices.

In the big picture, an augmented fast (which includes gut-healing supplements and foods) represents a last resort before considering antibiotics & antifungals to address pathogens in the gut.


Liquid Fast

(Optional Pre-Step)

The Goal:

To Clear Out An Unhealthy Gut

When the microbiome is dominated by unhealthy flora, it may be best to clear out the gut. This will allow gut-restorative foods and supplements to work more directly inside the gut.

Warning: It is possible to “strip” the gut with too much “colon cleansing.” This should — at most — be done rarely, with caution, and with consult of your doctor.


The Gut-Healing Fast

Follow steps 1 & 2 simultaneously.

Gut-Restorative Foods

Part 1

Eat Exclusively “Gut Healing” Foods

Some foods are so healing that they directly improve gut health when eaten. These are the foods that should be eaten during this period.

Three qualities make a food “healing for the gut.”
  • Antimicrobial (kills pathogens)
  • Probiotic (supplies new good microbes)
  • Prebiotic (fibers that feed good microbes)
Healing Foods List:
  • Raw or Manuka Honey
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Coconut Water
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil (high quality, extra virgin)
  • Celery (whole or juiced) or Carrots (whole)
  • Any “Bee” Product (Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen, etc)

For the most part, these foods will be raw and unheated to preserve enzymes. However, not all raw foods are equally helpful to the gut. Furthermore, a “raw diet” is not a magical solution to heal the gut. Stick to only the best foods best results.

A small amount of meat may be tolerable in some people.

Gut Supplements

Part 2

Choose Any Gut Supplements

Antimicrobial Herbs

Oregano is a powerful antimicrobial.

Other options: Peppermint, ginger, garlic, clove, etc.


Colostrum has multiple benefits for the gut: it kills pathogens, boosts immunity, and feeds good microbes.

Prebiotics — (Pectin, FOS, etc)

Prebiotics feed beneficial microbes in the gut. Not all prebiotics are equal.


Probiotics populate the gut with healthy microbes. The Garden of Life probiotic is the gold standard, in my opinion. You may need to work up, start with one pill (or even half that).


Enzymes are a main factor in the gut’s immune system, attacking and killing pathogens by “eating” through their cell walls. Enzymes also digest your food for better nutrient absorption.


How Many Calories Per Day?

Eating gut-restorative foods provides much-needed fuel for the body during a fast while also improving gut function.

Just as I’ve found that eating “gut supportive” foods is superior to a true fast, I’ve found that eating more calories (from gut-healing foods) is usually better than severely undereating.

Eating enough calories will enable better sleep, provide needed nutrients, and keep the metabolism higher. This is superior to having insomnia due to hunger pangs and insufficient fuel.

That said, it’s common for sleep to improve — even during a true fast. However, this is rare, and not sustainable. You’re better off eating foods that improve gut health AND provide fuel to the body.

After all, your body needs ample energy to recover and fend off illness.

Minimum: Half The Calories

Do not go below 50% of your normal caloric needs.

Ideal: Eat 75+% Of Caloric Needs

If you can eat 75-80% of your caloric needs — you can extend the fast longer, even to several weeks.

The main goal here is to eat enough to enable good sleep. A secondary goal is to give you enough energy to be active during the day, keep the metabolism up, and have energy to improve, heal, and recover.

You might be surprised by how well-nourished you feel, even at only 80% of your caloric intake, when the gut is digesting foods well. (This might especially shock people coming from a pro-thyroid background). I’ve seen many hypothyroid people sleep great when undereating — particularly while doing an “augmented gut fast.”

Obviously, as the fast comes to a close, we transition to more normal foods and higher, proper caloric intake.

Find Your Caloric Needs

You don’t need to be precise with calories. There is no correct amount of calories during this time. Remember, we are trying to fix the gut, here, because its dysfunction is holding you back more than anything else. Whatever supports gut restoration is best, so listen to your body and your gut. If you feel more (restorative) food is a good thing — go for it.


How Long Should I Fast?

Eating less than 50% of your daily caloric needs?

1-2 Days, Max

One or two days might be the longest you should fast when eating very little.

Eating 75+% of your daily caloric needs?

5-10 Days

If you get enough fuel — with exclusively or mostly gut-healing foods — you can extend the “fast” for quite a bit longer.

During this time, we seek to shift the gut microbiome’s population as much as possible — away from dominance by pathogens and toward healthy, diverse populations of beneficial microbes.

Anytime we eat below our caloric requirements there’s a risk of malnutrition and slowing the metabolism. Therefore, the more calories you can eat during this time, from gut-supporting foods, the better.


Frequency Of Fasting

How often should we fast like this?

Not Often

You don’t need to be doing this process frequently. You may be able to incorporate an abbreviated version of this fast once per month (for 1-2 days).

A more intense version of this fast should only be done a few times per year.

Of course, after the fast you should continue a wise gut routine while returning to eating normal, healthy types and amounts of food.


Fasts + Fiber

Fiber Soaks Up Liver Toxins

The liver constantly filters and purifies the blood, removing metabolic waste, endotoxin, and other harmful substances.

However, once the liver removes toxins from the bloodstream, a long trek awaits toxins before they can leave the body — they must transit through the entire intestines before they’re excreted with a bowel movement.

For this detoxification to work, toxins, upon entering the intestines, need to be soaked up by fiber.

Without fiber, liver toxins (in your bile) will not stay in the gut — they’ll be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This reabsorption of toxins can wear out the liver over time.

Trap your liver’s bile toxins with fiber, and keep harmful substances inside your gut where they belong until they can be eliminated.

Fasting Fiber — Choose A Prebiotic

Fiber can be difficult to digest, therefore it’s wise to take a gentle fiber that won’t be fermented by “bad” flora — hence, a great prebiotic.

Modified citrus pectin and apple pectin are by far my favorite prebiotics (with FOS being a close second). Pectins have an ability to trap toxins (so much they’re called “binders” in the detox and mold communities for their ability to “bind” to toxins in the gut), yet they also behave as prebiotic fibers to feed “good” microbes in the gut. Pectins are also quite gentle on the gut.

Charcoal is an average-at-best option, in small doses. It can be constipating, though, and generally does very little to improve the long-term health of the microbiome.

You do need fiber during this “fast.” Fiber will soak up toxins excreted by the liver, which will help you feel a lot better.

Fiber will also encourage your stool to keep moving through your gut — which is essential for recovery of your gut health.


Should I Eat Meat?

(or other proteins)?

Protein can be good during a fast — it facilitates liver detox, healthy metabolism, hormone production, sleep, and more. It can also keep your energy level up throughout the day — so you don’t have to become a hermit while you fast.

However, if you don’t digest meat (or other proteins) well, you should probably skip it.

If you digest meat well (or feel pretty good on a low-carb, high-meat diet), eating some meat during your “fast” could be beneficial. Be sure to make it high-quality meat: fresh, organic, grass-fed, cage-free.

Protein powder could be an option. However, the only protein powder I feel comfortable recommending is a whey (cow or goat’s milk) such as:

Plant proteins (and some whey) are being found to have high levels of heavy metals. Use protein powders sparingly.


Become Well-Rounded

The Following Topics Will Optimize Your Fasting

Get to know the following areas of health. Chances are, if you don’t understand them, a fast will not be as effective.

Why? Because gut health is a symptom of your lifestyle. Your circadian rhythm, light exposure, and nutrient status greatly affect it. Without that foundation, the results of a fast will likely be short-lived, or worse, a failure.

The principles outlined in these topics can save you much headache, help you sleep while eating less food, and help you come out of the fast ready to capitalize on the progress.

This does not mean you need complete expertise in these areas before you should fast. However, when you feel somewhat comfortable with these topics, you’ll have a better chance of success with a gut health fast. There’s no silver bullet when it comes to fixing your health, and this holds true for your gut.

Your Environment Controls Your Gut

A last thought? If you’re struggling with gut health, there could be something wrong with your environment — either currently or in the past.

Long-term mold exposure is a direct recipe for disastrous gut health and can absolutely derail any attempts to restore digestive wellness.

EMF (from wireless technology) is becoming a big problem in the developed world, too. It can directly disturb blood sugar levels, sleep quality, and the microbiome of your gut. If you’re quite ill, you’ll likely benefit from mitigating your exposure to it, as well.

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

(return home)
Food Gut

MY DIET: How Do I Eat?

Dietary extremes used to be necessary.

Poor Gut Health

My digestion used to be terrible.

At my lowest point, my diet was so restricted that I could only tolerate raw vegetable juice.

Common online advice insisted this was a “sign of healing.”

Removing the “bad” foods was “revealing” how my body was transforming into a better version of itself. Poor tolerance of food (and my environment) was a sign of health. If that were true — I was a superhero of health, who also felt terrible 24/7.

They were wrong.

I now have zero dietary restrictions.

Now, there are some general rules I follow, but I don’t have to overthink my diet anymore. Simple rules:

  • Avoid artificial sweeteners or flavors.
  • Limit low-quality foods.
  • Eat organic whenever it’s possible and convenient.
  • Balance my macros intuitively at each meal.

My Progress

Restaurant meals used to waste me. After eating out, I was inoperable and non-functional. Even home-cooked meals at a friend’s house were prone to disaster.

The challenge when ordering food was to choose foods that made me feel “less bad” rather than enjoying the time with friends.

This is no longer true. A wide range of foods is now tolerable. Gut health — and overall health — can improve. Dramatically.


Macro Balance

High Carbs, For Years

Throughout the healing process, my diet was high carb, low protein, and high fat.

Fiber was low-to-moderate due to low tolerance of most fiber.

During this time, I often ate five times more carbs than protein (a 5:1 ratio), to keep my blood sugar up. This is not the case anymore.

When I was high carb, low protein, and high fat, the macro ratio was something around 5:1:4 (C:P:F). This ratio is not perfect for everyone.

A 2:1:1 macro ratio (carbs : protein : fat), by calories, is a good, middle ground.



Carb Sources

Carbs are a main source of fuel.

  • Starches (wheat, rice, potatoes, oatmeal).
  • Sugar (milk, honey, some fruit, some maple syrup).
  • Some whole grains, periodically. Whole grains are not a focus due to high insoluble fiber and antinutrients.

Starch makes up about 60% of my carbohydrate intake — with the rest from sugar sources like honey, fruit, milk, and some sweets.

Nearly all gluten intake is organic. This reduces exposure to glyphosate (RoundUp) — which interferes with the role of glycine in the body, impairs liver detoxification, kidney function, and manganese absorption.

Fiber shouldn’t count toward carbs because fiber does not provide metabolic energy in the form of sugar (although via fermentation in the gut, it does provide chemicals that are necessary for metabolism, like butyric acid and B vitamins.

Not Much Fruit

Ever since a fruitarian phase that lasted several months, fruit has not been high priority (although I did try loads of orange juice on the Ray Peat diet for some time, and it did not yield results). The fruitarian diet is known to cause serious gut issues that can be difficult to overcome. Folks on the Ray Peat diet can have this happen as well from high fruit juice and high white sugar intake.



Various Sources

Roughly 1/4 of daily protein comes from muscle meat, 1/4 from Greek yogurt, 1/4 from cheese, and 1/4 from eggs, milk, or Naked Whey protein.


Some bone broth and gelatin is helpful in most cases, but there’s no reason to go insane with it. A little here and there is enough. More than 5g per day of gelatin or collagen powder can cause gut problems in some people, as well as glutamate issues and sleep problems.

A Variety Of Protein Sources

Mix up protein sources so that you’re not eating the same amino acid profile day after day. Doing so could lead to slight imbalances in your amino acid profile over time. I rotate through the week with muscle meats, dairy protein, eggs, and a small amount of gelatin.



6+ Years Of High Fat

After being raised on a low-fat diet (it was the ’90s in America), for the past 6-7 years I’ve eaten much more fat in the diet.

Every few months, I’ll lower my fat intake to see how it affects me. Every time I do this, I’m able to go longer and longer feeling okay.

Fat has helped my tummy feel full and more comfortable. It’s also long helped me fall and stay asleep — with its long-lasting energy and calming effect on the gut.

Fat Sources

When I eat fat, most of my fat intake comes from:

  • Milkfat
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Cocoa butter (some)
  • Beef fat

These days, olive oil has become more prevalent in the diet. It’s often a staple at dinnertime.

I strictly avoided PUFA for many years, but now I don’t fear from quality sources like fish and high-grade olive oil. While I believe PUFA intake should be kept lower, I also believe the omega-3 to -6 ratio does matter, even though I don’t eat a ton of PUFA. When I go too low in PUFA, I feel better incorporating some back into the diet — from quality sources, of course.



Formerly, Low Fiber

It’s common for folks with poor digestive health to struggle eating much fiber.

This was true for me — for years fiber came from a few bites of raw carrots at each meal. This small amount of good, quality carrot fiber kept my tummy happy and kept me regular.

Fiber is super important to soak up toxins in the gut from liver detoxification and metabolic waste.

Another way to get more fiber in is to eat your fiber in-between meals.

Currently? Lots Of Fiber

As gut health has improved, tolerance for fiber has really risen. I now feel best when I eat a very normal, high amount of vegetables. Cooking vegetables makes them slightly more tolerable in the gut for many people.

Excellent, digestible sources of fiber include raw carrots and celery, any cooked vegetable, and fiber supplements such as apple pectin and FOS.


Variation & Improvement

Progress = Less Restriction, More Variety

As we get healthier, we begin to feel our best eating healthier food.

This means that as we heal, we’ll actually feel better eating a more varied diet — rather than the restrictive diets we were forced to rely on in the past.

This has absolutely been true for me. As my health has improved, so has my inclination & desire for more varied foods — as well as my results after eating said diversity.

Simply put, I would now feel much worse eating my old restricted diets. My new, more balanced diet produces better results than the old restricted diets ever did. Of course, the limited diets had a place. When my digestion was poor restriction was the best I could do.

Ultimately, however, fixing my gut allowed me to move beyond my restricted diet — and with better results, more freedom and less stress in my daily life, and better health overall.


Tracking Foods vs Intuition?

After years of tracking, I don’t track macros or calories anymore.

I do recommend people track as an educational tool, though. If we’re clueless about “macros”, it’s a no-brainer to learn what food is made of, and how it makes us feel.

After some time balancing macros, it’s easy to transition to a more intuitive style of eating. That said, it’s always a good idea to have an understanding of your macro ratios, whether you’re tracking or using intuition.

The Cronometer app makes it super easy to learn the nutrient quality of food.



No Appetite? No Health.

Appetite can be a great signal of gut health.

A higher appetite is a good thing. Ideally, we eat to satiety and then we digest the meal and find ourselves hungry again in time for the next meal. That’s a sign of a functioning metabolism and digestive system.

I actually wasn’t hungry for many years.

It wasn’t until I fixed my circadian rhythm and ate on a schedule that real, raw animal hunger seemed to kick back in. Even these days, a late breakfast can disrupt hunger all day.

The Circadian Rhythm And Meal Timing

Your circadian rhythm is of utmost importance to your appetite — and gut health in general.

Eat early in the morning — within 30 minutes of waking up. Eat lunch early instead of late (say: 11:30am). Dinner? Make it a nice, comfortable time — not too late.

When daily activities — especially sleep times and meal times — are aligned for your circadian rhythm, appetite can really pick up.

This is, in part, because the metabolism is being seriously boosted — but also because the gut is working on the schedule it is designed to work on, with appropriate ON/OFF periods of eating and digesting food.

A strong appetite is a sign of a healthy metabolism and digestive system. Having a weak appetite is not a recipe for long-term health. We’ve got to stimulate the digestive fire.


A Typical Meal


Always have staples handy. Quick sources of carbohydrate, protein, and fiber that can get you through in a pinch.

Worse comes to worse, I know I have standbys that I can depend on to build out a balanced meal.

A typical meal looks like this:



This is the main staple of my meals.

  • SOURCES: Sourdough toast, rice, potatoes, pasta, or oatmeal.
  • Around 75-100g of starch.

About half as much sugar as starch.

  • SOURCES: Milk, jam, honey, maple syrup.


For most meals, I’ll get 25-40g protein per meal, either from Greek yogurt, meat, eggs, cheese — or a combination of the above. A glass or two of whole milk with most meals adds a bit of protein.

  • SOURCES: Meat, Greek yogurt, milk, some cheese
  • 25-40g protein per meal (I’m 6’4, you may need more or less protein than me).


  • SOURCES: Butter, dairy, olive oil
  • For some, less fat earlier in the day gives more energy. More fat at night then helps sleep.


  • 1 carrot or 2-3 celery stalks (both raw)
  • 4-7g fiber per meal


  • A glass or two of whole milk is typical with meals.



The Big Picture

Healing the gut is not a 2-week process.

It’s a many months-long and certainly a “rest-of-your-life” endeavor.

This isn’t unique to the chronically ill, though. Losing gut health is a natural part of aging. But it doesn’t have to be. Especially if we can become masters of our gut health after we’ve been challenged.

The first step is always paying attention, exploring how foods make you feel. Find the foods that provide more benefit than discomfort.

It’s good to try various combinations and macro ratios — ever experimenting as gut health changes and improves.

Find a strong gut health regimen that can, over time, greatly influence how well the gut performs and tolerates foods. Combine excellent supplements to synergistically support your gut microbiome.

It’s also important to focus on things that seemingly aren’t related to gut health: the circadian rhythm, light cycles, nutrient balance, movement, and air quality all greatly impact the health of the gut.

Over time, we can find ways to improve gut health and, before long, the best, most helpful tactics will become second nature.

Read more.

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

(return home)