I’m hoping to do two things with this post:
1.To explain why I think the Soylent community should be thinking about dietary microbes.
(2) To announce my own solution to this problem.
So without further adeu, here’s #1 from above:
Most nutrition information, and the probiotics commonly found in stores, were created before metagenomics and high throughput sequencing. Without metagenomics you are basically studying the gut strain by strain, with metagemonics you can take an ecosystem-level perspective, reasoning in terms of aggregate metabolic function rather than single strains.
This recent shift is largely why we’re seeing the an explosion of interesting research in this area.
Your microbiome is strongly correlated with your happiness, stress levels, nutrient intake, and immune system function. If we’re going to figure out what “optimal food” is, we must consider our gut flora.
Right now the soylent community is IMO doing a great job at nutrition, but is basically ignoring the microbiome. It’s being left to chance. I’m seeing reports of diahrrhea, and abnormal/unstudied microbial compositons, which are not good signs.
(edit: new users can only put two links in a post, I will try posting my collection of links in the comments)
Today I’m tossing my hat in the ring by launching the first modern probiotic.
It’s the first probiotic designed by reasoning directly about ecosystem-level metabolic function, and consequently the first to provide ecosystem-level fixes. This difference leads to a more robust solution than can be found using narrow-purpose strains, and is what I mean when I call it the first modern probiotic.
The product is non-prescription, as the best product I currently know how to create basically moves your bacterial intake towards those of your ancestors. We strongly considered naming the product PaleoBiotics, but decided this might accidentally make it a niche product.
We’ve been testing our product in a closed-beta for the last 45 days. Effects so far seem to be centered around 3 effects:
Increased mental and physical energy. Likely cause is simply better digestion.
Decreased stress levels. Jury is still out on cause, but this agrees with the papers currently making headlines about correlates between gut microbiome and mood.
Smellier turds… which I’ll go ahead and say is from better digestion
Want to learn more?
Our product page is http://www.generalbiotics.com/probiotics
If you’re interested in learning more about your microbiome, Coursera is running a Human Microbiome class at
https://www.coursera.org/course/microbiome, we have a science section at generalbiotics.com/probiotics, and if you ask quetions here I can get my co-founder to answer them (his disertation was on the metagenomics of these systems, and he did his postdoc with the NIH’s Human Microbiome Project).
Do you want to help? Get the word out!
Know a reporter? This story might interest them.
Run a blog? Perhaps this would make a fun blog post.
Have a HN/Reddit account? We’re posting there soon, upvote us if you see us
Thanks for being awesome!