Cholesterol and My Gut Microbiome

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Self researcher(s) Richard Sprague
Related tools Excel, uBiome
Related topics Genome and microbiome

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Show and Tell Talk Infobox
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Date 2015/07/01
Event name Quantified Self Seattle
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Cholesterol and My Gut Microbiome is a Show & Tell talk by Richard Sprague that has been imported from the Quantified Self Show & Tell library.The talk was given on 2015/07/01 and is about Genome and microbiome.

Description[edit | edit source]

A description of this project as introduced by Quantified Self follows:

Richard Sprague has been using uBiome for the last two years. uBiome gives individuals access to sequencing technology to sequence their microbiomes and particularly their gut. In this talk, Richard discusses his biome and shares his data from uBiome. He also discusses some of the research he did about cholesterol and gut microbiome, and shares what he has learned from his study.

Video and transcript[edit | edit source]

A transcript of this talk is below:

Richard Sprague- Cholesterol and my gut microbiome

I’m Richard Sprague and I want to talk a little bit of my gut biome. If you are not familiar with some of the cool things that I want to talk about this as a quick introduction, you as a human being are about 99% of you is a human being. There’s about 1% of view of which has (unclear 00:39) all around you, but most of (unclear 00:44). Something like 90% of your cells are actually not human; they are bacterial cells. Those bacterial cells are much smaller (unclear 00:55) the DNA in fact, the number of genes inside you is just overwhelming (unclear 01:04) up to 99% of our genes inside of you are actually non- (unclear 01:11). So anyway, it all adds up to be something like between three and five pounds worth about the same as your brain and this is a really important aspect of your biome. And there is lots of organizations popping up. Now that will help you understand it (unclear 01:30). The two big ones is μBiome in San Francisco and the American Gut, which is a research project. I’ve been using μBiome for the last two years and I’ll talk a little bit about what I found. This is one of my data results from μBiome and it gives you an oversight of what types of organism, and in this case I have an overwhelmingly large number of Firmicutes and then Bacteroidetes is about 10% in this particular test. That, just knowing it all by itself is often not particularly excitable, so one of the nice things that μBiome the do and the other ones as well. Also let you compare yourself to other people. So in this case, because I happened to be a (neurologist? 02:26), it will compare my sample with all the other customers that μBiome has. It will assure me. For example, in this case my Firmicutes is a little bit higher relative to (others?), and my Bacteroidetes is a little bit lower, and that’s kind of interesting. One of the other cool things that I found actually is that I read a story that mentioned a particular bacterium that some scientific group had found that only occurred in the guts of Chinese people, and it enabled them to digests sushi, seaweed. So I looked it up and sure enough I have the same thing, so I thought that was pretty cool. So it turns out that I lived in Japan for many years, and so that was one of the cool things I found out when I did this investigation. Apparently, I have the same digestive immunities that only occurred in Japanese people, and resulting in their ability to fully digests (unclear 03:40). Then I read about this other idea in a book that came out last year about the fact that most of us that the melatonin, that regulate your sleep rhythm is actually produced by bacteria in your gut. It turns out that one of the precursors of those is is a bacterium that likes to eat potato starch (unclear 04:08) potato starch to see if we can increase the number of bacterium, have you tried it? And did it work? It works perfectly Anyway, so I tried this and I test it myself before and afterwards, and sure enough, the bacterium needs to be involved and I had a huge spike when I started taking this potato starch. Then I carefully measured myself with my sleep over time. So this is what I found. This is a chart showing the nights that I did have some potato starch and the nights that I didn’t and what my overall sleep was you will get a similar looking chart if you measure your REM sleep or your deep sleep. So, the answers to the question is no, I did not find out. What is the hypothesis and this is a night by night kind of measurement and like having more potato starch in a given day that would make a difference in your sleep, or is it that the buildup of that material over time would result in better sleep. I don’t know, all that I can tell you is that by taking it over time and measuring my sleep, and you can see that in some of these cases I was taking it regularly for several days, but in that result, I did not find anything. It was interesting to me that I did notice a pretty dramatic difference in the first couple of weeks, and that led me to Tweet about it and get all excited and I did have just some amazing sleep for a couple of days. But I don’t believe that it helps me. So this really isn’t a time series, you have got dates along the X axis. Those are each day and this is the nine and 10 November and I just had about five hours of sleep that night and this is the day that I had (unclear 06:20) (unclear question 06:27) So you will get the same thing. If you (unclear 06:33) (unclear question 06:39) I don’t know, I don’t trust my personal objectives. I think I sleep pretty well every night. That’s my experience when I take potato starch. Do you dream more and you always sleep better and you are dreaming… In your trials did you ever tried it once a week instead of doing consecutive days or with some of that regulation. (Unclear 07:23) Usually between two and 4 tablespoons, and I did a number of experiments, and usually between two and 4 tablespoons and I tried it at different times of the day. So somebody had told me that what is called transit time; how long it takes to get to your gut, and in my case, that was taking it sometime in the afternoon. So I tried that and usually I would take it several days in a row, or maybe a weekend at a time and then notice a difference. Then I started taking it randomly. (08:16 unclear question) I couldn’t find any correlations. (08:30 unclear question) I don’t deny that there are a lot of people that like this stuff and take this and swear by this and think it’s the best thing. In my case, I don’t think potato starch (unclear 08:45) my sleep. I noticed more vivid dreams when I have (brown rice cool down for at least 24 hours) I may try the rice thing. I have tried cooled down potato, which is a slightly different starch. But maybe I will try this and if it affects the same bacterium I don’t think it will change. So, then I read about this fascinating study by (unclear name 09:23) and I think he is in some southern college. He had done a wonderful study of two individuals who had taken microbiome tests daily. And one of the people, this person here had (unclear 09:47) for a couple of weeks and you can see the shift, and in the other individual he had a period of time where he was a some sort of gastric distress and ended up with food poisoning, so that you could just watch the change (10:04 unclear) so this was pretty cool. So this time I decided to be a little systematic with my test. So I got myself a kit and I took a test on April 21 and then another test exactly one week later. This time I was pretty rigourous about measuring exactly what I ate, and I’m using MyFitnessPal now, so I recorded every single piece of food that went into my mouth and I measured it. And I also decided to track specific (unclear 10:32), and I try to see if I could find any kind of pattern there. In a week I found this difference, so my Firmicutes level, the one that you saw the one that was 80% was down to 70% and the other numbers are just (unclear 11:03). My macro nutrients, when you have a closer look at this, it just turned out that I was eating more calories that week, for whatever reason. So during the test period, you can see that my (choleric? 11:17) intake went up a fairly significant amount (compared to where it was before?) If you look at that point was that all of my numbers went up in accordance to my increased overall eating, except for one thing which was dietary cholesterol, so what forever reason that week I was eating less dietary cholesterol. So I had to Google and I looked up cholesterol and biome, and I found this interesting study had been done, related to somebody with gallstones. And I found out that these particular species were linked to cholesterol. So I looked it up and hear it is specifically at the genus level the species that the or the genus that changed in my case (unclear 12:20), low and behold, they were exactly the same ones that were mentioned in that research study, so I found out to be pretty interesting. I couldn’t find any other research study that looked at specifically dietary cholesterol, but I thought wow, this is kind of interesting. And maybe I should do more studies like this and eventually, book my trip to Stockholm, because maybe I found something really interesting. So this is essentially (unclear 12:54) the first one is I think it’s really useful, so rather than just giving one guy a kit to check to see whether your snapshot looks like. I think it’s not that useful (unclear 13:15). It definitely tried to make a lifestyle change in me. I did one once when I was (unclear 13:21) before and after. Another time I did it. I was on vacation in Central America. So I would really encourage people. The second thing is, that if you download the data and there is simple instructions I can give you to import that into Excel. I find that if you use specialized tools, it’s just a lot harder to get along. This kind of stuff can be analyzed in Excel and you can just search for the (unclear 13:49) species level, and sort by you know, current and filter out the ones that don’t apply. Then just track a couple of key species and I won’t go into any details about which particular ones, there is like six or seven that a lot of people that seems to correlate something about health. And it’s nice to know what those are and what ones are changing.

Then finally my advice is (unclear 14:21) people share information about it. Because I really think my in conclusion about all of this. (Unclear 14:33) cannot work

About the presenter[edit | edit source]

Richard Sprague gave this talk.