What Did We Find Out?
A lot of you have been asking at the markets, so here are the results!
Blend11 was readily fermentable by bowel microbes during the ‘in vitro fermentation trial’ & subsequently raised production of the beneficial short chain fatty acid ‘butyrate’. Levels rose very quickly, significantly & stayed high for a much longer period than with both of the control fibres (psyllium & cellulose – see graph below). This is very exciting news, especially as research into butyrate continues to reveal more benefits!
What Is Butyrate?:
Butyrate is a well researched short chain fatty acid (SCFA). It is a by-product of fibre fermentation by certain gut microbes, and is the reason for all the buzz around ‘resistant starch’ (eating more resistant starch leads to an increase in gut microbial butyrate production).
- it is the preferred fuel source for the cells lining the colon
- it helps to nourish cells & support repair of damage to the bowel wall
- it helps maintain gut barrier integrity & thus regulate gut immunity & inflammation
- it helps to ‘switch off’ abnormally proliferating cells in the bowel ie polyps / precancerous lesions
- it lowers the pH of the colon (makes it more acidic), which helps stop pathogens (bad bugs) taking hold & also helps with mineral absorption into the bloodstream.
- it helps us feel full & satisfied & stabilise blood sugar / improve insulin sensitivity (particularly important for diabetics, those battling with insulin resistance or abdominal fat).
- it helps normalise muscular contractions & movement of the bowel (relevant to those with IBS, constipation, diarrhoea or irregular movements).
What Conditions Is Microbial Butyrate Production Important For?
From what we know about butyrate so far, it’s important to have high levels to help with:
- constipation / irregular movements
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
- leaky gut
- autoimmune issues
- any condition where gut integrity is compromised
- bowel cancer prevention diet / polyps
- prevention of travel bugs / overgrowth of gut pathogens
- insulin resistance
- abdominal fat
- osteoporosis prevention
- bone & teeth strength
- general health (through better mineral absorption)
…there are many other butyrate benefits & uses – this list is just the tip of the iceberg! But we know it’s a good thing for our gut microbes to be continually producing for us, & we now know that Blend11 is useful to help support that process :)
Soaking / Activating: Do I Really Have to Soak it?
Common question, one we really hoped to find the answer to!
Interestingly – soaking overnight had minimal impact on fermentation & microbial butyrate production! Dry mix was found to create a similar increase in butyrate production, nutrient levels weren’t impacted & FODMAP’s were decreased only by a little.
So it seems that from a fermentation perspective, soaking may not be important / useful! It does however, help with gut issues (anecdotally). We speak to customers every week (for the past 6.5 years) who find Blend11 useful to help manage their gut symptoms, & there is definitely a difference (almost always better results when used soaked vs dry). There is other research suggesting that consumption of pre-soaked seeds helps with absorption of micronutrients (even though similar levels may be present in dry vs soaked seed, absorption is what counts). Also – the enzyme activity in soaked seeds may provide further nutritional / digestive benefits.
To Soak or Not to Soak?
In the absence of any firm data…we encourage you to experiment on yourself! See if you notice any difference when eating Blend11 soaked vs dry:
- digestive comfort (how does your tummy feel throughout the day when you eat soaked vs dry Blend11)?
- best poos ever effect (does it create the same results for you soaked vs dry – is there a difference in your bowel function?)
- energy levels (any changes?)
- general wellness
- inflammation / swellings / aches & pains
- specific illnesses
Please let us know what your findings are!
We are now looking to move into the next phase of testing (a clinical trial with IBS patients). This will cost A LOT (for a small business – usually it’s only pharmaceutical companies who can afford these!) We’re eligible to use some government grants, but nowhere near enough to cover the entire project. So now we’re looking for help raising funds / an investor. With results from a trial of this nature, we’ll have scientific evidence that this food can act medicinally!
Your testimonials have played a huge role in getting the initial research done, we are now asking for anyone willing to come forward with their story, who would be happy to share it with the CSIRO gut research team, possibly even in a television interview (your face / name can remain anonymous, just an interview to tell your story. Any test results you may have will help, or if you have a health professional / Dr who can confirm results.
This is important for us to progress – so please, shoot me a reply with your contact details & a brief rundown of your story if you are keen to help out / think your story would be of interest! Even if you aren’t keen to get deeply involved, but you have a story or quick comment we can add to the collection, that would be very much appreciated too!