Supercharge your Gut with LactuloseJuly 17, 2022
Lactulose to Supercharge your GI Tract
You have never heard about lactulose before. That's amazing because you probably should be on it for the rest of your life! This is interesting.
What is lactulose? It is an undigestable sugar made of galactose and fructose linked together. We have no enzymes to digest it. It passes right through our gut where our colonic biome loves it. Just plain love it. They have a party and the desirable lactobacilli and bifidobacter families, the really good ones, proliferate like crazy. And when that happens, your stool gets softer, you absorb more calcium and magnesium, and your immune system gets happy.
We have used lactulose for some 60 years for folks with end-stage liver disease who were getting mental confusion from too much nitrogen buildup. Give them lactulose and their brain fog gets better. And constipated kids have much better bowel movements. It works super well to help with severe constipation. But other than that, it has had little medical use, despite its proven safety. The discovery of our colonic biome as a really valuable organ has opened up the door to more investigation and lactulose has now emerged as a very powerful prebiotic. Good food for your colonic biome.
Here is what happens. It passes through your gut to your colon. In your colon, you chop it up into short-chain fatty acids, acetate, propionate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Said otherwise, that is a two-carbon, a three-carbon, and a four-carbon fatty acid. Your colon mass increases. Those short-chain fatty acids are the principal food for the cells of your colon, so first of all, your colonic wall gets fed. With increased biome mass, you pass on a lot of beta-hydroxybutyrate to your body. That is the principal ketone you make when you are fasting. It turns on all the good things we have been talking about in the prior several weeks. You increase brown fat. You uncouple mitochondria to burn off heat and help with weight loss. You activate your immune system. You renew your mitochondria. This is all good. (We know that gorillas, eating a pure vegan diet and munching for 7 hours a day convert the green leaves they are eating into beta-hydroxybutyrate with the net effect of getting some 55-70% of their calories from beta-hydroxybutyrate. That implies that a high vegetable diet is a short-chain fatty acid with tons of healthy BHB in it.)
But it's not just ketones (BHB) that you get with lactulose. You get increased calcium and magnesium absorption. That study took 24 young men and gave them a diet with 0 grams of lactulose, 2 grams or 4 grams a day. In a dose-dependent fashion, their absorption of both calcium and magnesium increased. In aging mice, lactulose reverses the bone loss of menopause by this effect. You want to build better bones? Start with building a better colonic biome with lactulose! (Hasn't been proven in humans, and may never be. Not enough money behind it. It's generic and too cheap.)
What is the dose and how can you get it? Oddly, it is prescription only because of its use in liver failure, where it is dispensed in 15-gram packets. That's not how much most of us otherwise healthy folks need. Two grams a day, split into two doses may be enough for some petit, slender women. Four grams a day, six grams a day....we don't know your dose until you try it.
www.What will Work for me. We have here the introduction of a prebiotic that encourages the growth of the most desirable colonic species, lactobacilli, and bifidobacteria. You make it easier to have soft, easy-to-pass bowel movements. Your immune system has a cross-talking conversation. Your body gets more ketones. Your bones get more calcium. This stuff should be on your dining room table and sprinkled on all your food.
References: Frontiers in Nutrition, Drug and Therapy Perspectives , Jr Applied Microbiology, Jr Nutritional Sci, Aging Disease,
1. What is lactulose? Answer: An indigestible sugar that works as a powerful prebiotic to nourish your colonic biome. That helps the probiotic bacteria you are taking to take hold and multiply. (Other good prebiotics are Jerusalem artichoke and chicory root - two hard-to-find substances.)
2. What fatty acids are made as a result of taking lactulose? Answer: Just count. 2-carbon, 3-carbon, and four-carbon fatty acids, clumped into the acronym SCFAs (short chain fatty acids.)
3. What role do those SCFAs have? Answer: they are the principal food for your colonic cell walls, and represent the form of energy flow from your colon into your body.
4. What happens to bone metabolism with lactulose? Answer: Well, proven in mice to help. Not yet studied in humans.
5. If I'm constipated, do I have a healthy colon? Answer: NO! America has a runaway problem with diverticulosis because we are way too constipated, leading to higher pressures in our colons, leading to "hernias" in our gut wall called diverticula. That's just one sign. Constipation means your colonic biome is really damaged, and that has emerging huge implications for general immune health.