T Nation

Gut Health! Sort of a Log


Had a thread about this in John Meadows' subforum but I've started this one so I can keep updating it without annoying John.

So I suspect my gut health is not great, based on the quality of my bowel movements. Too much information? You betcha, but I'm willing to bet a lot of physique enthusiasts are in my position due to the way we eat. It's not something we talk about, but I reckon gut health should be one of the things we put highest on our agenda as health conscious, physique minded individuals.

Apparently force feeding, and high protein diets can lead to us producing less digestive enzymes, so we won't absorb all we eat. Also, certain lifestyle habits (alcohol, sweet, sweet alcohol) can really damage your gut flora, and I was quite a heavy drinker in my younger days so I suspect my guts are all fucked up.

So I've decided to get my gut sorted. The protocol I am following is of my own devising, but borrows heavily from Berardi, Poliquin and Meadows. Every day I will consume:

-Probiotic and Glutamine (20g) in the morning on an empty stomach
-10g inulin fiber with meals
-Digestive Enzymes with meals
-Psyllium Husk before bed

I am also loading the glutamine at 80g for 5 days before moving to the 20g/day maintenance dose. Poliquin recommends this and Berardi recommends something similar so I figure why not?

I started a couple of days ago, so still got a few more days loading the glutamine. Only thing to report is that since I have started the digestive enzymes I have been on the toilet pretty much constantly. Apparently that's due to the enzymes breaking down food residue that's just been sort of gathering dust in your gut, and is to be expected. It's not nice, and I figure it'll probably get worse before it gets better, but I will ride it out in the quest for the greater good.

So there we go. I'll update this thread every now and then so people can see whether or not it's worked.

Anyone who has done a gut cleanse, gut health protocol or whatever feel free to chime in with their experiences.

I realise this thread is a little gross, but I think it's worth talking about. Considering 80% of the immune system is found in the gut, it makes sense to get it healthy.

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I'll be following along :slightly_smiling: Hope it works out for you!

Having stomach issues myself, I decided to go to a doctor 2-3 months ago.
Diagnosed me with IBS and hypothyroidism (although a second check up at a proper endocrinologist showed I didn't have hypo).

While I haven't done a gut cleanse, I have tried sorting out my stomach issues through probiotics and some liquid consisting of Escherichia Coli and Enterococcus Faecalis bacteria...(They may be called something different in English, it was written in German)

The stool sample results said I had (in case anyone cares or knows anything about this):

elevated IgA levels
reduced Escherichia Coli levels
reduced Enterococcus
reduced Bifidobacterium
reduced Bacteroides

I hadn't heard of the glutamine thing, do you think it could help with IBS?
My gut is fine if I eat chicken and rice all day, however spicy food (I looooveee spicy food) doesn't go down too well anymore!

On a side note, a friend of mine who also suffered from serious gut issues went to a natural healer who told her to eat sugar free for a month. She eliminated all sugars and can now eat anything without gut issues...Can anyone chime in on this before I try this approach?


nice to have you aboard Shimmy!

Apparently glutamine does indeed help with IBS. It certainly couldn't hurt and it's not an expensive supplement.

are there any supps you feel have benefitted your situation?

I do try and limit sugars but every now and then I'll eat some crap (not more than once a week usually), I'm only human!


Good Idea rds(thread).I use probiotics and digestive enzymes as well and have for a long time now.No issues really,like clock work every morning.I eat a lot of lettuce,veggies and your fav. rds CELERY haha,couldn't resist.Any way I've started not to long ago eating sauerkrout,kimchi,and chewing raw ginger before my meal and it has made a big difference for me.I thought digestion was pretty good before but now It's even better.


having recently dealt with gut issues myself, i've focused very heavily on improving my gut health over the last few months. By issues, I mean excessive bloating (looking "pregnant" despite being fairly lean) and discomfort, but fortunately no problems with bowel movements. I guess by that standard, it's not too bad but I'd prefer no issues at all. I'm taking glutamine (20g) in the morning, psyllium (1 tbs) before bed and digestive enzymes (a cap or two depending on meal size) with each meal and I've been feeling a lot better.

I also started making my own yogurt, and eating two cups in the morning as the very first caloric meal i consume has helped big time too. As jppage pointed out, fermented veggies such as kimchi and sauerkraut are great and have helped me the most out of anything else I've done. i just started making my own fermented veggies (mix of cabbage, carrots and onions). so far so good, my stomach has never felt better when I eat a 1/4 or 1/2 a cup of fermented vegetables with or before a meal. besides having the peace of mind that the food we're eating is actually being digested and absorbed, it's nice just to feel good with no discomfort.


Interesting thread. Without posting pics, would you go into more detail about the quality of your bowel movements?

Like you I eat a good diet, but still have digestive issues (had an anal fissure due to lack of fibre/hard stools) so I have introduced more green veg (200g of green beans of peas with every solid meal) as well as psyllium husks. This helped for a while but still having some issues.


Hey buddy.

I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and with that a lot of gut issues.

I had a G.I. Test like yours and also had elevated IgA levels which is a sign of inflammation in the gut. So avoids whoch irritate the mucosal lining would be a good place to start (gluten etc). Also Omega 3 can hlp with the restoration of the gut and glutamine is an absolute must!

Regarding sugar-it is a wise idea to limit this as it is exactly what pathogens/'bad' gut flora feed on. Seeing as you have low levels of reduced Bifidobacterium (good) you may wan to take a good probiotic too to help restore levels.

So in summary:

1.) Glutamine
2.) Omega 3
3.) Probiotic
4.) Limit sugar intake (including fruit)

Just my 2 cents. (Nutrition student).



so did you ever have any kind of digestive issues that made you want to start taking the supps, or was it just as a pre-emptive, keeping you healthy sort of thing?


that's good that it's worked for you, I'm hoping it'll do the same for me. I get a bit of bloating from certain foods and it pisses me off. I'm a 27 year old man, not a god damn old lady.

man EVERYONE keeps telling me about sauerkraut and fermented foods. I'm slowly coming round to the idea that I'm going to have to try it


lol @ posting pics! You're not a coprophile are you?

They're just looser than all hell, and that makes me think that food's just passing through my gut without getting broken down. I want thick, stodgy yule logs.

If I was more confident that I was absorbing all my food, I believe I could get away with eating a little less which would mean less force feeding to hit macro targets (something which I also suspect is hurting my gut).


I'v been on this train for a long time - diagnosed with IBS at 18, cleaned up my diet and saw some improvement but it's always been hit or miss especialy if I'm under stress - eating a lot - not sleeping enough etc. Problems can range the gamut from bloating, to constipation to clearly underdigested food etc.

I've been on a powdered, high strength probiotic for about 8 weeks now along with a liquid calcium/magnesium(1:1 ratio) supplement. Both of these things seem to help a lot with general regulation.

Other things that I've found have helped:

COOKED green veggies - raw veggies tear me up, lightly cooked (steamed, stir fried etc.) greens, broccoli, cabbage seem to help keep me regular and keep bloating down. The only green stuff I eat raw is romaine lettuce and avocado which seem to help as well.

Limiting eggs to one serving a day - it doesn't seem to matter if it's one egg or a half dozen, I can handle one serving a day with no problem - if I go for a second egg based meal I've got bloating and heart burn.

Limiting sugar and alcohol

Backing off on nuts/nut milks if I'm experiencing problems - I typically consume these every day, but if I start to feel "off" I'll lay off for a few days, otherwise they seem to make things worse

No casein - casein does NOT work for me, including casein/whey blends. Cheese and yogurt are usually fine, but casein based protein powders are absolutely no go. That said, I tend to limit dairy all together, it's fine in small doses infrequently, but when I rely on it I can expect bloating or worse.

I've never had good experiences with fiber supplements, but I definitely feel better with more fiber from natural sources, especially from a lot of different sources - flax meal, apples, oats, brown or black rice, cooked broccoli/spinach/kale etc.

Hope some of that helps, good luck!


^good post there atg, I'd be keen to hear a bit more about your high strength, powdered probiotic though?


I had some very very serious GI issues that lasted about 8 months. During this time I was given a probiotic prescription by a nutritionist. THey came in a glass bottle and had to be kept refrgerated, it was also a powder. I was told by the nutritionist and a GI doctor that many of the probiotics you buy over the counter simply don't work.


Without posting product specifics the one that I use is made up of two strains each of acidophilus and bifidobacterium in equal measure. The company provides lab tested assurance of 9 billion total CFU (colony forming units) per gram. A 60 gram tub runs about US $30, and should be refrigerated once opened ( a lot of places will even ship it with an ice pack).

I believe there is a capsule available as well with comparable dosing, but I take enough caps from other sups that I prefer something I can just mix in to a glass of water. I typically take 1 gram daily at this point, but if I do have a serious reversal in gut health symptoms I'll go up to 3 for a few days. It does contain a "fructo-oligo-saccharide" at 450mg per gram, so probably something like inulin as a base for the bugs.

I've taken cheaper probiotics before and never noticed an improvement in GI health, this one seems to do the trick.


It was awhile ago with the probio and enzymes but ya just bloating,gas etc.They helped quite a bit,but would still get some bloat.So I started the krout,ginger before my meal and that was a big difference no bloat at all really unless I overindulge on something.Also rds I IF like you and eat alot for my main meal after lifting.I think that has something to do with it as well.I will have semi loose stools myself but I contribute alot of that to the lettuce,coleslaw that I consume cause when I don't include these It's more firm and formed I guess you would say.Sorry to get all in depth on my poo but this stuff is important like you said.And lots of good info being shared guys,keep it up.


Thanks for the reply. My problem is the opposite, then: hard, mean stools that feel like they have sharp edges. It's weird because even after a particularly high fibre day the situation is the same.

That said, since I added the green veg and husks it has improved so I suppose it's just a dietary issue. I'll follow this thread and see if I can pick up some tips.

And no, I certainly am not a faeces loving organism, although I think I have a mate who is: he has a "best of" gallery on his phone!


I think you could probably get away with naming the product, as far as I'm aware Biotest doesn't make a probiotic so there'd not be a conflict of interest. I could be wrong about that though...


heh, yeah poo chat is pretty gross but it's precisely because of that grossness that it's rarely discussed, despite being a fairly solid (I'm sure there's a pun in there somewhere) indicator of intestinal health.

In the UK we recently had quite a successful campaign to promote screening for bowel cancer with the tagline "Embarrassment Can Kill"


apparently that can also mean that you're not drinking enough water. Might be something to consider.

As a slight aside regarding your mate: Remember when Bluetooth for phones first came out? A friend of mine would play a game where he would scan for other Bluetooth devices active in the pub we were in and send them a request for a video download. Every now and then a poor sap would accept and he'd send them some HORRIFIC pornography, I mean really unspeakable stuff. You'd be sitting in the pub and some girl at another table would scream and he'd be like "ah, she must've got the video." It was great fun.


Yeah, I won't post a link since any page that sells it is going to sell stuff that could be seen as competing, but the brand I use is Genestra HMF powder. They make a few other varients, mostly with additional prebiotics that I haven't tried - but I swear by their basic probiotic.