A number of articles have been published recently reporting on the harmful effects of maltodextrin on Crohn’s patients. The articles say that maltodextrin increases bacteria’s ability to form biofilms and adhere to intestinal epithelial cells. “While dietary additives like maltodextrin are generally considered safe, these findings suggest that perhaps people who are prone to develop IBD should consider limiting their maltodextrin intake,” Dr. McDonald said.

Since maltodextrin is a glucose polymer (a sugar) this is not really surprising – since when are sugars ever good for you? But wait a minute, Absorb Plus, elemental diet shake, contains maltodextrin!

Well…. let’s take a deeper look at this. First of all, ALL carbohydrates are composed of sugars. And when you eat a complex carbohydrate like potatoes (a polysaccharide), the digestive process breaks it down into a simple sugar unit (a monosaccharide) for absorption to the bloodstream.

Monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, dextrose, galactose) are the smallest unit of carbohydrates. They consist of a single sugar unit. Glucose is the main molecule from which humans and animals get energy. We get this energy from eating fruits, vegetables, beans, etc. Plants make glucose by photosynthesis.

So now let’s take the scientific info and put it into practical terms. If you were a healthy person, or at least not suffering from a disease affecting your digestive system, I would say: Keep your carbohydrates (sugars) low. Eat lots of green, leafy vegetables (raw juice is great). Have beans and legumes rather than grains (rice, wheat, etc.). Eat a moderate amount of protein (grass-fed or organic) and eat lots of good fats (organic butter, coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil). Use stevia to sweeten wherever possible and definitely avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin. That’s how I eat today and that’s how my 9-year-old daughter got a solid, healthy body like this (my 2 sons also have strong, healthy bodies):

My daughter Zara, aged 9

Now, you’ve got Crohn’s disease. You’re malnourished, skeletal in appearance, your intestines are ulcerated and bleeding… how many of these raw, whole foods are you able to tolerate? And beyond tolerating them, is your gut able to extract and absorb the nutrients from them? Mine sure wasn’t, back when I was in that state. Any raw vegetables or raw juice gave me instant, copious diarrhea. By the time I developed The IBD Remission Diet, even one bite of solid food caused me to hemorrhage from my colon.

In severe cases of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the body loses tolerance and becomes super hypersensitive. The intestines are so inflamed and ulcerated, the GI tract is incapable of digesting or absorbing nutrients from regular food.

Why Use Maltodextrin?

And that’s where maltodextrin and a bowel rest (elemental) diet comes in. If you try to do a bowel rest diet using only whey protein (no carbohydrate component) you will quickly surpass your maximum daily protein limit whilst still feeling really hungry and tired. But more importantly, you will likely not gain any weight, so will remain very thin and weak, with low energy and lots of fatigue.

If you try to use only monosaccharide sugars for the carbohydrate component (and I did try this for weeks in one of my experiments) you can gain the muscle, but you end up with a “sugar high” after you drink each shake – because they hit the bloodstream so fast – followed by a nasty plunge that leaves you feeling really fatigued, depressed and anxious. Also not good.

Sports supplement companies really understand this, so they combine maltodextrin (glucose polymer) with monosaccharides to produce both a stronger and sustained burst of energy: “…glucose polymers alone can only deliver a maximum of 1g of sugars per minute. However, the combination of glucose polymers and fructose has been scientifically proven to supply an extra 30% energy compared to just glucose polymers alone. Statistically speaking this could make an enormous difference to athletes during competition, in fact it could be the difference between winning or losing.”

However, if you don’t need to gain weight, then you can certainly create your own elemental shake and reduce the amount of maltodextrin you use to suit your needs/goals. We sell elemental shake kits and here are the instructions for how to create/customize your own shake.

Why Not Increase The Fat Instead?

So you may ask, but why use maltodextrin to supply the necessary calories, why not just increase the fat component? Absorb Plus contains ZERO fat – on purpose. This is because many people with IBD have lost tolerance to fats. And so a cold-pressed flax oil (or Udo’s oil) needs to be added very slowly and gradually increased over time. Many can only start with 1/4 teaspoon of flax per serving.

Myself and many others find our body (in dis-ease state) tolerates cold-pressed flax oil much better than MCTs (medium chain triglycerides). So although you can add MCTs to a room-temperature product, you cannot add cold-pressed flax – and don’t believe anyone who tells you they can! Flax MUST be refrigerated and protected from light, or it will go rancid. You can mask the smell of rancidity in a product, but your gut will know and will not react favorably.

Some of my readers are so sensitive to fats that they must keep their flax or Udo’s in the freezer (the fridge doesn’t preserve well enough for them) and just use a bit at a time.

A Word About Proteins…

Another question I get asked is, ‘Why do you use whey isolate? Why not just use hypoallergenic free-form amino acids?’ Keep in mind, the whey isolate in Absorb Plus is both lactose-free and casein-free (the top allergenic protein in milk).

Well, if you try to use only free-form amino acids for your elemental diet, you will likely lose weight – since amino acids need to ‘piggyback’ on at least a di-peptide bond protein to be used for muscle-building. So now we have the conflict between the theoretical “ideal” and the practical reality.

Elemental diets, where the protein and carbohydrates are pre-digested (broken down into smaller, absorbable units) are really like returning to breast milk. Have you ever tasted breast milk? Let me tell you, it is super sweet! The largest component in breast milk is… sugar (lactose). The next highest component is good fat (lipids). And this is not significantly affected/altered by the amount of sugar the mother consumes.

“The one thing that has evolved with humans, to nourish humans, is breast milk,” says J. Bruce German, a food science professor at the University of California, Davis. “It is the ideal evolutionary model for what nourishment should be.”

Now here’s where things get really interesting, did you know that ALL BUT ONE of the 10 most abundant proteins in human milk are glycosylated – where a sugar molecule is attached to the protein?

Breast Milk Proteins Are Bonded With Sugar!

Some medical doctors say this is a bad thing; that glycosylation of proteins diminishes their effectiveness and causes inflammation. But if that were true, why would this perfect food, that causes a baby to grow muscle and bone at an extremely rapid rate, have 90% of its proteins glycosylated?

Other scientists maintain that glycosylation as an enzyme-directed site-specific process has many beneficial effects, as opposed to the non-enzymatic chemical reaction of glycation… have I lost you yet? I’ve lost myself! This is where we’d need to bring in someone with a PhD in this specific area to try and get a clear picture of what we do know about this topic and what we don’t know, and then what that might mean for elemental diets… if you hear of one, please let me know!

SO then we have to bring things out of our patchwork, inadequate (and often incorrect) theoretical understanding and plunk ourselves back down in experiential knowledge; what actually works in real life? And here’s what I know, based on my own experience, and feedback from thousands of readers over the last 12 years:

If you can nourish yourself adequately by using raw pasture-fed milk (goat, cow or camel), or raw vegetable juice mixed with whey or veggie protein and good fat, to heal yourself, that is ideal and some people can tolerate that. I’ve written an article on using common foods to heal IBD, so definitely check that out. Absorb Plus is for people whose digestive systems have degenerated past that point; where they cannot digest and absorb nutrients from whole foods.

One of my readers is a raw foodist yoga instructor – but she cannot gain weight on these foods and was becoming skeletally thin and had no energy to look after her child. She has gained weight and is feeling good with Absorb Plus. No doubt once she has fully recovered, she will go back to her nut butter, hemp, banana shakes – and this is great for ongoing health. I eat this way myself.

I once received an email from a man who had been in the hospital for months, he was so underweight and ravaged by IBD that his doctors had told him they were very sorry, but there was nothing more they could do for him and he needed to get his Will in order. He then went on The IBD Remission Diet and at the point he wrote to us he had gained 40 pounds, was out of the hospital and just thrilled that he was getting his life back.

Healing In Layers

In The IBD Remission Diet, the bacterial (and Candida) components (that can be exacerbated by the maltodextrin) are addressed by using Jini’s Wild Oregano Oil Protocol (a broad-spectrum anti-pathogen) in combination with high dose Natren probiotics and in many cases, people use Jini’s Probiotic Retention Enema as well. In recent years, there has also been a lot of data published showing how elemental diets are effective in treating SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).

With IBD it is often a case of needing to heal the body in layers – from most severe to less severe. Malnutrition, intestinal bleeding, ulceration, inflammation are the more severe symptoms and The IBD Remission Diet (using Absorb Plus) works for the majority of people. As I outlined above, without the maltodextrin it is almost impossible to gain any solid weight (muscle) or have adequate energy. Absorb Plus has also recently switched to tapioca maltodextrin (from cassava root) as it is non-GMO and also less hydrophilic than corn maltodextrin.

The microbiota (including SIBO) throughout the GI tract is addressed during the Diet by using these protocols, but is also intensely treated after the Diet, with high dose oral probiotic supplementation for at least 6 months. Many people (especially if they are infected with mycobacteria) also continue on Jini’s Wild Oregano Oil Protocol for 2 – 3 more years (cycling on and off every few months).

This I know: If your body is seriously malnourished, you can throw all the supplements (or drugs) in the world at it, but it cannot use them very well. Receiving (absorbing, utilizing) nutrients and building muscle tissue are the foundation for the wholistic healing of the body – in my experience.

Maltodextrin and Crohn’s Gut Biofilm
54 Comments

54 thoughts on “Maltodextrin and Crohn’s Gut Biofilm

  • That link you provide to some of the new abstracts on inflammatory gut disorders has some real interesting tidbits. I was particularly intrigued with the high altitude/travel association with intestinal flares – as a couple of my relatives who were eventually diagnosed with Crohn’s started getting their symptoms after travel. I had assumed it was exposure to different microbes and the stress of travel that may have helped set off the trigger – but I never thought of the influence of alitude per se. I suppose hypoxia would serve to give an edge to anaerobic bugs which may have more of an inflammatory effect on the gut immune system. Have you ever experienced such a relationship? It is important (if it is true), as it would influence how people who are susceptible to inflammatory gut disorders should prepare for long-distance flights and their choice of destination.

  • Hi
    I have sibo and loose a lot of weight. Please let me know if this absorb plus is safe for me to use because look like it is high in carb. I was told to stay away from carb because of sibo. Thanks!

  • Thank you, Jini! I just ordered the vanilla flavour one. I was worried be because of the high carb and 7 grams of fructose per serving. Is it safe for sibo condition?

    Also I saw in your link they suggested vivonex. What is the different between absorb plus and vivonex? Thanks!

    1. You can always use the Unsweetened Vanilla to avoid fructose – and then sweeten to your taste with Stevia.

      Re. Vivonex, the Nestle page:
      http://www.nestlehealthscience.us/products/Pages/VIVONEX%C2%AE-PLUS.aspx
      does not give the full ingredient list – which I find crazy, but anyway, the important specs to note there are that the maltodextrin (carb component) is 57 g and the protein is 13.5 g

      Whereas with Absorb Plus, the maltodextrin averages (between flavors) 53 g and the protein is 27 g

      The most expensive part of an elemental shake is the protein and amino acid components – this is where you’ll find most companies skimp – which is one of the reasons they’re cheaper.

      Here’s the ingredient list for Vivonex Plus from Walgreen’s Pharmacy site – this is for the Unflavored version (so only good for tube feeding) BUT you can see from the ingredient list and the forms of some of the vitamins that the flavored versions are probably going to be artificial flavoring (I’ve bolded the worst offenders – and the maltodextrin, cornstarch and soybean are likely GMO):

      Maltodextrin , L-Glutamine , Modified Cornstarch , L-Leucine , L-Arginine Acetate , Soybean Oil , L-Lysine Acetate , Magnesium Gluconate , L-Isoleucine , L-Valine , Calcium Glycerophosphate , L-Phenylalanine , L-Threonine , Potassium Citrate , L-Cysteine Hydrochloride Monohydrate , Citric Acid , L Methionine , L-Tyrosine , L-Histidine Monohydrochloride Monohydrate , L-Aspartic Acid , L-Proline , Sodium Citrate , Sodium Phosphate Dibasic , L-Tryptophan , Potassium Chloride , Choline Bitartrate , L-Serine , L-Alanine , Glycine , Ascorbic Acid , Potassium Sorbate , Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids , L Carnitine , Zinc Sulfate , Niacinamide , Ferrous Sulfate (Iron) , Alpha Tocopherol Acetate , D-Calcium Panthothenate , BHA-BHT to Preserve Freshness , Alpha Tocopherol to Preserve Freshness , Copper Gluconate , Pyridioxine Hydrochloride , Manganese Sulfate , Vitamin A Palmitate , Riboflavin , Thiamin Hydrochloride , Folic Acid , Biotin , Chromic Acetate , Potassium Iodide , Sodium Molybdate , Sodium Selenite , Phytonadione Vitamin K1 , Cyanocobalamin Vitamin B12 , Cholecalciferol Vitamin D3

  • Hi Jini, have you had any success stories eradicating SIBO with unsweetned vanilla Absorb plus? My doctor wants me to go on an elemental diet using vivonex because it was the one that was tested in the study. I would prefer to use your product but need to show him some proof. Can you help?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Robin,

      We have customers with SIBO who have told us that using the Unsweetened Vanilla worked well for them but I’m afraid we don’t have any “proof”. However, Jini actually wrote a blog post last week about this very subject where she compares Vivonex to the Unsweetened Vanilla directly, if that would help. Here’s a link to that post:

      http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/elemental-diets-are-highly-successful-with-sibo/

      Kind regards,
      Justin
      Customer Care

  • Hi Jini, (can she please try to answer this)

    I am still very skeptical and wary of using Absorb Plus because of the maltodextrin with my health issues. I have SIBO, Crohn’s, gastritis, stomach ulcers and that’s just my digestive system, I also have lyme disease and heavy metal toxicity, along with some genetic mutations that have made things a little more confusing.

    I have emailed your website recently and they suggested I speak with Dr. Paul Goldberg but you must see him in person and that’s not possible for me unfortunately. So I’m trying to piece together what I can do myself and it’s not easy.

    I am losing a lot of weight and my gut is burning all through the night and I am not sleeping, I have many food intolerances and blend all my food but nothing seems to really help. I’d like to try the Absorb Plus but am afraid of feeding pathogens and the systemic candida that is also a big issue for me. So do I use the oregano oil and probiotics at the same time as taking the Absorb Plus?. If you could email me and possibly point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Nate,

      Unfortunately, I am legally unable to provide personal health advice. However, I believe these articles will answer your questions – and introduce you to the “healing in layers” concept:

      http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/does-absorb-plus-create-a-candida-problem/
      and
      http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/why-am-i-not-seeing-results/
      and
      http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/the-emotional-roots-of-dis-ease/

      Don’t forget you can also make up your own Vegan elemental shakes using one of our kits, and this way you can control the amount of maltodextrin you add to each shake:

      http://shoppe.listentoyourgut.com/vegan-elemental-shakes/

      take care and hope that helps.

  • Hi Jini, my son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease he is 8 years old he lost a lot of weight. Someone told us about your program. I order the vegan vanilla kit. But in the mean I put him on a bowl rest. He alway asking for almond milk. I have it to him because it seem like the body is craving some nutrition. I also being giving him mesh potatoes with coconut gravy. Sunflower better with banana.

  • Has anyone doing a two week stint on Absorb Plus for SIBO tried taking it in concert with something designed to attack biofilms? Since there’s no Iron in Absorb Plus maybe that’s unnecessary. Considering doing two weeks on the unsweetened vanilla and taking Klaire Labs InterFase Plus at the same time, however it has cellulose in it, which would make the diet not elemental?

    1. That’s correct Alison – if you add cellulose it is no longer elemental. And yes, most people combine the elemental diet with Jini’s Wild Oregano Oil Protocol – high dose wild oregano (or you can use olive leaf) with timed use of high dose probiotics. Here’s another post you might find useful:
      http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/elemental-diets-are-highly-successful-with-sibo/

      And you can download my wild oregano eBook for free here:
      http://www.listentoyourgut.com/symptoms/21/a-mouth-ulcer-or-canker-sore.html

  • After having surgery, which of the natren products (and how much) do you recommend?

    Also, any suggestions for the prevention of scar tissue?

    1. Hi Donna,

      You could go with the Life Start product as it is fairly mild or you could employ the cautious/sensitive approach that Jini outlines on page 175 of her Listen to Your Gut book. If you don’t already own the book, you can purchase it at this link (available for immediate download if you get the eBook version):

      http://shoppe.listentoyourgut.com/books-and-ebooks/

      Regarding scar tissue, Jini does not have a protocol for prevention but she does have one for releasing and dissloving existing scar tissue. More details here:

      http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/how-to-release-and-dissolve-scar-tissue/

      Kind regards,
      Justin
      Customer Care

  • Please, can someone copy the link where altitude issues are discussed? It was mentioned by someone in the very first comment but I don’t now where the link is! Thanks. This is a real issue for me!! I live at over 8200 feet and have spent nine months in bed recovering from a broken coccyx and complete breakdown of my GI system.

  • On a side note, I asked to be notified when there was a comment posted and was not. Also, I paid for platinum membership half a month ago and have not been able to access it even once! It keeps saying to enter a valid email, which you obviously already have in your system. Quite frustrating.

    1. Hi Liana,

      Sorry for the trouble! I’m not sure what happened with the comment notification but we’ll sort the membership out for you today.

      Kind regards,
      Justin
      Customer Care

  • Hi Jini, I have attempted some of your products, the samples, and I appreciate you selling them in such small bundles to try out. I am one of those with IBS-C mostly and an occasional D when I am in a flare. My “holes” have gotten much more permeable in the last two years and I now have major food sensitivities. So I am one of the very few who cannot do your whey as of yet. I am trying the Vegan program and ordering a couple of your books. Sense, IBS is dependent on probiotics and the oregano oil and timing, I was wondering if you give a daily schedule in any of your books. I know you mention them casually, take this an hour before or two hours after and such, but I was wondering if there was a schedule. I know I am not absorbing many nutrients. I take an immune-stabilizer (vitamin B) transdermally. I also take many supplements including NAHS Oregabiotics for UTIs, which the candida causes a lot. I love North American Herb and Spice. It has kept me out of dr. office more times than I can count. But I am obese, I am 6′ and 220. I need to lose about 70 pounds and recently I have started having neuropathy (pre-diabetic issues) in feet and hands. My new integrative doctor was cured of Crohns by an elemental diiet, so she suggested I try one and that is how I happened onto your sight. She has me on blood pressure meds (this is my biggest manifestation of my flares HIGH blood pressure 220/120 down to LOW blood pressure 90/58 and everything in between. I also have other weird manifestations – nightshades make be have arthritis symptoms, carbs cause the neuropathy, stress is an issue and I have stopped teaching and went to an aide position until I retire in two years. I am a classic case in that I manifest symptoms from food within a 24 hour time frame. AND this is A LOT of food that I can not eat. So DO you have a schedule in one of your books? I have the IBS book and the IBD book. I finished the IBD, but I just got the IBS book two days ago. I am using the free summer and rest to do this program and the reintroduction of food.

    1. Hi Laura,

      Thank you for your question. Jini has a great blog post with information on when and how to take multiple supplements at: http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/confusing-supplement-schedule/

      The wild oregano oil, aloe vera juice, and MucosaHeal should not be taken with probiotics, since they have antibacterial properties and need to be consumed 2 hours away from any probiotics. I am unaware of any information in the IBS and IBD about a supplement schedule.

      We are not medical professionals and can not comment on the other supplements and medicines you are taking, but suggest you ask your doctor about that.

      If you have more questions please let us know.

      Kind Regards,
      Rachel
      Customer Care

  • I have IBD and IBS. I avoid maltodextrin like the plague. I also avoid processed foods as much as possible. The last time I had something with maltodextrin was a HUGE mistake. My colon flared. If you are looking for something easy to digest that is nutritious and contains all your amino-acids, then make (or have someone else make if you are too sick) homemade bone broth soup. Here’s the recipe: Two pounds of meaty bones (e.g. chicken wings, ox tail, chicken thighs, …). Water to fill a large pot. One tablespoon apple cider vinegar (gets the nutrients out of the bones). One teaspoon salt. One half teaspoon pepper. Bunch of green onions (green part only). Add everything to the pot. Make sure the water covers the bones by at least an inch. Bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer and heat for at least nine hours. (You can put the soup in the refrigerator over night.) Add carrots. Cook for another two hours. Add green leafy vegetable (Brussel sprouts, cabbage, …). Cook for another hour. Start enjoying the soup. The soup should be heated for at least 24 hours to get all the nutrients out of the bones. Much of the nutrients are out of the bones at about half that time.

    1. Hello Subduejoy,

      Yes, you are right that some cannot digest maltodextrin well. Which is why we teach to listen to your body and gut on what is best for you. That is great you were able to identity what did not work for you. We do use the best source of maltodextrin we can find from tapioca and that is non-GMO that the majority of our customers are able to handle. Thank you for the bone broth recipe. That is something we highly recommend as well and have a recipe for it here: http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/the-health-benefits-of-broths/
      We also strongly recommend no processed foods as well. Hope your healing continues to go well.

      Kind Regards,
      Rachel Customer Care

      1. Hello Rachel. Yes. People are different, and we should listen to our bodies. However, some ingredients are more harmful to the body than others. Scientific studies have shown that maltodextrin increases bad bacteria’s ability to form biofilms that adhere to intestinal epithelial cells. These biofilms 1) keep bad bacteria from being excreted and 2) prevent nutrient absorption. These are very good reasons to avoid maltodextrin even if you can’t sense what it’s doing to your body.

    1. Hello Jane,

      The soy lecithin we use comes from a plant-source lecithin, rather than an animal-source and is non-GMO. Please let us know if we can help with anything else.

      Kind Regards,
      Rachel
      Customer Care

  • I just noticed that the Absorb Plus Unsweetened Vanilla contains maltodextrin. How can this product be unsweetened when it contains maltodextrin? Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide. Polysaccharides are sweeteners.

    1. Subduejoy,

      The Unsweetened Vanilla means it does not contain the fructose or stevia leaf extract that some are concerned about in the French Vanilla flavor.

      Kind Regards,
      Rachel
      Customer Care

    1. I got a cold/flu in early January. My throat was all gunky, so I chewed on cough drops. It turns out the cough drops contained starch sugar from corn. In other words, they contained maltodextrin. My whole body started flaring. My boyfriend would have to help me get out of bed so I could use the bathroom. I was in excruciating pain. I was diagnosed with systemic inflammation of the soft tissues and Iritis–both of which may be external manifestations of my Ulcerative Colitis, triggered by the maltodextrin.

      It’s now early May. I’m still in pain although not nearly as much.

      So, sorry, not only am I not convinced, I’m also very angry, because maltodextrin has caused me so much pain. When it comes down to it, maltodextrin is a sugar. It tends to have a very high glycemic index, although the range can vary. It’s extremely pro-inflammatory. You have been notified. If anyone else suffers, don’t say you didn’t know.

      Moreover, you are selling processed food in a container.

      Real health comes from real food.

      Here are some examples of what to consume if you can’t consume solid foods:

      Consume bone broth soups for nutrients
      Juice vegetables in a juicer for nutrients
      Blend fruits in a blender for nutrients
      Break down nuts by processing them in a food processor for protein
      Break down meat by processing it in a food processor for protein
      Consume honey, maple sugar, or molasses instead of refined sugars
      Break down dates into date sugar by processing them in a food processor
      Add avocado oil, coconut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil (just make sure it really is 100% pure) to foods for fat

  • Jini:
    A common question I receive from both students and patients is: “Is so and so good for you?” Is soy good for you? Are probiotics good for you? Is fish oil good for you? Is taking a sauna good for you? Are oats good for you? Is_____good for you? (fill in the blank)

    In response I explain we are all individuals and there can be vast differences among us due to genetics and lifestyle factors determining what is or is not “good for us”. This was referred to as “biochemical individuality” by famed Nutritional Biochemist Roger Williams Ph.D. as far back as the late 1940’s.

    The other parts of the equation are timing and the individual’s health status. Exercise is good for a healthy person in the right amount…for a person with pneumonia it can be fatal. Probiotics need to be individualized to the person depending on the conditions of their intestines. Some individuals can be highly reactive to probiotics and should avoid them at certain times, yet later in a program might benefit from the right probiotic strain in the right amount.

    I appreciate your concept of” layering”. The sick person has to be looked at not only as an individual but as one who needs to get well a step at a time going through transitional steps based on their level of vitality, digestive efficiency, toxicity and other factors, including emotional ones.

    At our clinic we cannot give a chronically ill patient with significant gastrointestinal disease, malasorbtion and severe fatigue a full diet as one might a healthy person. We must work with them in steps and fit the program to the individual at the stage of health and disease they are in.

    We have found Absorb Plus to be a valuable semi-elemental nutrient blend for many patients to be used during certain time periods. It is recommended by us generally for patients who have wasting and absorptive issues and for these it can be a genuine asset of significant clinical benefit.

    There is a playoff in using maltodextrin but it is a reasonable choice for many considering the benefits of providing easily absorbed nutrients to get the patient “out of the woods.” For others in different conditions, fasting (water only), broth diets, juice diets, rice protein liquid diets, etc., might be more advantageous and we have used all these and other approaches over the past 40 years as part of a complete program. Your website offers good information on options your customers can choose from and then they must ‘Listen To Their Gut’ and/or their practitioner in making the best choices.

    Timing, Biochemical Individuality and patient condition are important considerations…For many patients with digestive issues, malabsorption and wasting, Absorb Plus with Maltodextrin as part of a rehabilitative program, provides significant benefits in a palatable form, not found elsewhere.

    Regards,

    Paul

    1. Paul I totally agree with what you’ve written here and thanks for illuminating it so well by giving numerous examples. And as you pointed out, rather than putting ourselves in a box about what we will and won’t eat/do – it is far better to just tune into our bodies and see what our body needs AT THAT TIME. And then (as you described) as the body heals and strengthens, we need to tune in again, and adjust accordingly. This individualized approach is one of the things I like best about your clinic!

  • Hi Jini,

    Have you done any research on Low dose Naltrexone being used with Crohns to induce remission. I know there are several studies but most doctors will not prescribe and it’s so inexpensive from what I have read there will be no more funding because there is no gain from pharmaceutical companies. They research on the small studies was pretty promising in conjunction with a great diet paired with good supplements it showed 89% responded favorably to it with little to no side effects. Just wanted you thoughts on this?

    1. Hi Erin,

      As Jini is not a medical professional she is unable to comment on prescription medication but we would be interested in checking out the studies that you mentioned if you have links to them.

      Kind regards,
      Justin
      Customer Care

  • I have found this thread so useless and it is a relief to know I am not the only one who also sees a problem with maltodextrin. For years I have suffered with stomach problems and I finally went and my doctor said I have IBS and I should try following the FODmap diet. I follow this lightly as the main foods on their to avoid is onion and garlic which surprisingly I am fine with. After a while everything was going well until I tried a new cereal and I started taking vitamins and again all my symptoms came back. Both of these contained Maltodextrin and when I stopped having both of these I have been fine. I have researched and looked into this a lot and I am surprised to see that Maltodextrin is allowed on the FODmap diet and have seen that this is a huge irritant for people with bowel problems, there is so many risks having this in your diet I am shocked it is still being used. I now have to check everything I have now but I agree I definitely avoid this substance.

  • I am slightly confused by the use of maltodextrin as well, it has a really high GI of between 105 and 130, so wouldn’t you see the same massive spike in blood sugar levels as the ones you are trying to avoid using monosaccharides .

    1. Hello Ian,

      Maltodextrin is not used as sweetener. It is the carbohydrate component of Absorb Plus. If you want to know more about it, click here:

      http://www.absorbplus.com/diet/ingredients/carbs.php

      And if you’re wondering why Absorb Plus contains any carbohydrates: ALL carbohydrates are sugars. Even the most complex carbohydrate, vegetable matter, plant matter, etc. when broken down (during the digestive process) is turned into a sugar. Therefore, it is not possible to remove the sugars from a nutrient shake, unless you remove the carbohydrate component – and then you might as well save yourself some money and just consume straight whey protein. You may wish to do this and it is possible to buy unflavored, unsweetened whey protein.

      The reason Absorb Plus has a carbohydrate component is to provide balanced nutrition for people who are often malnourished and underweight. You need the carbohydrate component to be able to gain weight to your normal weight – this is very difficult (if not impossible) to do with whey protein alone.

      Kind Regards,
      Cris B
      Customer Care

      1. Average glycemic index and calories in one teaspoon (rough estimates).

        Maltodextrin, 110 GI, 15 calories
        Sucrose 65 GI, 16 calories
        Honey, 50 GI, 20 calories
        Fructose, 25 GI, 15 calories
        Brown rice syrup 25, 25 calories
        Agave syrup, 15 GI, 20 calories

  • That hasn’t answered my question. I am well aware of the properties of carbohydrates. My question was about Jini saying she avoided glucose because of its high gi it would create an insulin spike. Maltodextrin has a higher GI and therefore I higher insulin spike.

    1. Hi Ian,

      If you go to this site, from Sydney University:

      http://www.glycemicindex.com/

      Glucose has a GI ranging (depending on the study) from 96-114

      This study of 205 different articles puts Glucose at 103 and Sucrose (table sugar) at 65
      http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/31/12/2281.full

      HOWEVER, glycemic index and glycemic load are only part of the story of how the body responds to and utilizes different food substances.

      This article:

      https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/resistant-starch.html

      is a good listing of the types of Resistant Starch (RS). A number of articles I found list maltodextrin as an RS3

      However, I have also been unable to find a scientific source listing the GI of tapioca maltodextrin. There are lots of claims (by websites and docs), but none substantiated with actual research/testing.

      The closest I could find was this article by K. Burrington who has an M.S. in Food Chemistry:

      “Development of the RS3 and RS4 types allowed the use of starch sources other than highamylose corn. “RS4 types are some of the highest in total dietary fiber, lowest in calories and most stable to thermal processing,” says Peterson. “They also can be added at higher levels than highamylose products, due to the extremely low water-binding properties.” Resistant-starch labeling differs for each type, with RS2 typically labeled starch or corn starch, RS3 as maltodextrin, and RS4 as modified food starch.

      Tapioca-based RS provides a bland flavor profile and smooth mouthfeel, which makes it easy to formulate into foods. The RS3 types are nongelling and less viscous than high-amylose derived products. They are heat stable up to 120°C, depending on the application, stable at low pH and have a low water-binding capacity. They are produced by enzymatic debranching of tapioca maltodextrin and retrogradation. The amylose crystallites have a particle size of 10 ìm, which contributes to a smoother mouthfeel.

      Beyond adding dietary fiber, these tapioca-based RS ingredients have potential health benefits. They are fermented more slowly than oligosaccharides, which means some fermentation occurs lower in the colon. This usually translates into a higher tolerance (up to 120 grams per day of the RS ingredient) and less gastrointestinal distress. They might stimulate the growth of beneficial bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. They provide an excellent substrate for the bacterial flora in the colon and produce a 60% yield of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) with over 20% of n-butyrate, a colon-cell nutrient. This butyrate production can help maintain a healthy colon and overall good digestive health. Tapioca RS contributes to bileacid reduction and increases stool weight. After consumption, it also reduces blood glucose and insulin levels, resulting in a low glycemic response.”

      https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/2007/08/no-resistance-to-using-resistant-starches.aspx

      The gold standard though for ‘knowing’ something is to test it in your own body. When I made my first elemental shakes using the body-builder carb supplements, which were straight glucose, I had a very unpleasant reaction. When I used maltodextrin (corn at that time) instead, it was much easier to handle.

      If you want to experiment to see how your body responds, then you can purchase one of the Vegan Elemental Kits – with all the ingredients separate.

      – Jini

      1. Resistant starch feeds gut bacteria. Many people with digestive conditions have too much bad bacteria, which love to feed on resistant starches. This is why the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a diet for those with digestive diseases, does not allow resistant starches.

        Most healthcare workers have no idea what they are recommending to their patients. They will recommend Ensure products to people with digestive diseases without even knowing the ingredients. They will recommend the product to the elderly, who often have diabetes, not knowing that maltodextrin can have such a high glycemic index. It’s sad.

        As for me, I tried maltodextin. I ended up with extra-intestinal systemic inflammation of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, joints, right eye, and kidneys). I was housebound/bedridden for six months. It took me two and a half weeks to realize what was happening, and six months to recover after removing the item containing maltodextrin. Thank goodness I found out before the inflammation damaged my kidneys.

  • I still believe that what is said in this article is misleading, Jini says quote
    “Sports supplement companies really understand this, so they combine maltodextrin (glucose polymer) with monosaccharides to produce both a stronger and sustained burst of energy: “…glucose polymers alone can only deliver a maximum of 1g of sugars per minute. However, the combination of glucose polymers and fructose has been scientifically proven to supply an extra 30% energy compared to just glucose polymers alone. Statistically speaking this could make an enormous difference to athletes during competition, in fact it could be the difference between winning or losing.”

    If you actually walk into a supplement store and look on the internet, the reason they use maltodextrin is to spike insulin because of its High GI, which is exactly what Jini say she trying to avoid. Here is an excerpt from a fitness website explaining just that.

    Maltodextrin is derived from corn and is technically a polysaccharide or complex carbohydrate; that is made up of weak bonded long chain monosaccharides.

    Maltodextrin is a common component in many protein shakes and sports performance drinks, with many products claiming that they are ‘sugar free’ because technically it is not classed as a sugar.

    It is used as a ‘filler’ in many supplements because it is cheap, tasteless and does not appear on the nutrition label as a ‘sugar’.

    Carbohydrates have had bad press, with many fad diets such as low carb and ketogenic gaining huge popularity. Many weight trainers are armed with lots of protein and essential fatty acids with carbs tending to be left out/neglected.

    This is a huge error and when used in the right manner carbs boost muscle growth, prevent muscle loss and even rev up your metabolism. To use maltodextrin to your advantage, you must initially learn how it utilised by the body for energy.

    Maltodextrin is quickly broken down into glucose after consumption; this causes a rapid spike in the blood insulin levels.

    Whilst the body can use fat and proteins for energy, glucose is needed so that the body can perform at optimal levels when training.

    Glucose is the preferred fuel source for the working muscles and the brain, and surplus glucose is stored in the liver and muscle to be used at a later date.

    If the energy stores are full in the muscle and liver, the glucose is then converted into body fat. This is why consuming the right amount of maltodextrin/carbs is essential for building muscle, fuelling your gym schedule and metabolism.

    Too many carbs is the issue due to its adverse effect on increasing your percentage body fat but the right amount is absolutely paramount in you achieving your physique goals. The question is ‘how does maltodextrin boost your muscle mass?’

    Personally I believe the real benefit of maltodextrin is that it is not fermentable by yeasts which as Jini explains and so do many others can be a major problem in Crohns. Which has been highlighted by recent research that says they believe Candida Trropicalis might be one of the culprits in causing crohns disease.

    I have also started using palatinose which is a naturally occurring substance in honey which has a low GI because it takes a lot to break down in the body but acts like glucose ones it gets into the blood stream. So no insulin spike, more natural and I believe non fermentable by yeats.

    1. I’m currently training for an upcoming triathlon which will take place in early November. It’s my first every triathlon. I have gone from not being able to walk a year and a half ago due to muscle atrophy (this includes the six month setback for the first half of this year from systemic inflammation) to exercising two to three hours a day most days. All of this, I’ve done following diets low in sugar and carbohydrates and high in good fats and protein. I’m following both the Autoimmune Pale Diet and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

      Protein heals the body and builds muscles. Fat is good for reducing inflammation and boosting brain health. Sugar and carbohydrates give a quick energy spike. Even I don’t need quick energy spikes. Having an energy level that is stable throughout the day works.

      Most people who are drinking products such as Ensure are bedridden and unable to consume regular food. They definitely don’t need to be having energy spikes. Healthy bone broth soups would be better. They are easy to digest and highly nutritious.

      There is a very good reason that mothers and grandmothers used to make bone broth soups for their children and grandchildren when they were ill. They are very easy to make and are healing. But if you don’t want to spend the time making them yourself, then you can buy them at a local health food store or online.

    2. I think it’s important to keep in mind that this site – and the reason I use maltodextrin as the carb component in my elemental shakes – is SPECIFICALLY for healing from gut diseases.

      I am not referencing optimal weight gain/maintenance, nor body-building, nor endurance sporting events.

      And YES when healing from any dis-ease, if we can avoid carbs and grains, that is BEST. No question. Hands down.

      So if you CAN eat lots of good fat, pastured protein, organic veggies, raw veggie juice etc that is IDEAL.

      The elemental diet is specifically for people who can no longer eat ANY normal foods. If they do they will bleed from their intestines and suffer massive nutrient loss through diarrhea. The closest analogy is that it is a return to breastmilk.

      As someone who has been in this place – a couple decades ago – of severe malnutrition, and intestinal hemorrhaging, I must trust my own body wisdom and body experience, regardless of any current nutritional science info, or the latest food trend.

      And in that place, my body could NOT handle glucose, dextrose in the amounts needed to gain the 30 pounds I was missing. But it could handle maltodextrin. And in 6 weeks I was back to 130 lbs, working out at the gym 3x/week. I also drank bone and vegetable broths between shakes.

      So until a better alternative to maltodextrin comes along – we switched to Tapioca maltodextrin, from corn, as soon as it was available – that is what I will offer to my readers.

      We also offer Vegan Elemental Shake Kits, where you can adjust the amount of maltodextrin according to your particular needs/wants. And to get around the issues caused by maltodextrin (healing needs to occur in layers):

      http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/bowel-issues-on-an-elemental-diet/

      1. You mean people like me.

        I have Ulcerative Colitis. I’m 5’7″. I had a severe colon flareup that lasted for one year. I went from 130 pounds to 90 pounds. I was housebound and bedridden for at least six months of that year. I lost so much muscle that I had trouble walking without collapsing. I could not get off the ground without assistance. I was hospitalized three times. My colon was so swollen that at one point I was throwing up everything. The third time I was hospitalized, I was put on an IV and given all medications through the IV for a week because I was even throwing up water. During my colon flareup, my GI recommended elemental shakes. That’s when I found out about the product and its list of ingredients. My GI was shocked when I told her.

        I listened to many health summits during my flareup and started trying diets, such as the SCD and Autoimmune Paleo Diet. I was recovering for six months from my flareup when I started consuming a product that contained maltodextrin without being aware of it. That’s when I got the extra-intestinal systemic inflammation of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, joints, eye, and kidneys). I had that for about six months from mid-January to mid-June (although I still need to see my doctor to make sure I no longer have kidney inflammation). I now avoid maltodextrin like the plague.

        It’s now early October, and I’m exercising two to three hours a day. I will be doing a triathlon in early November.

          1. When I was in the hospital for the third time, I was given IV fluids. When I got home, my partner made me homemade bone broths. My Ulcerative Colitis flare started improving. Soon afterward I was able to consume the meet, carrots, and cabbage that were cooked in the bone broth (i.e. bone broth soups). As my symptoms improved, I continued adding anti-inflammatory foods back into my diet. I followed and continue to follow both the Autoimmune Paleo and Specific Carbohydrate diets. I will consume bananas with homemade nut butters to get more carbohydrates. At first, I consumed only homemade macadamia nut butter because this nut is low in omega-6’s, which are pro-inflammatory. I will now consume other kinds of nuts, which are an add-back item on the Autoimmune Paleo Diet. I balance the high levels of omega-6’s in some of the nuts by consuming fatty fish, which is high in omega-3’s.

            I was lucky in that my partner could cook for me when I was ill. However, healthy bone broth and bone broth soups can be bought online or at certain health food stores if you don’t have someone to cook for you.

            In regard to exercise, my partner would drive me to a neighborhood store once a day. I would walk into the store and out of the store. That was my exercise for the day. Getting up the curb was a big part of it. I steadily increased that to walking around the store, which was difficult because I was severely anemic. I then started attending a chair exercise class for older adults, then a water aerobics class for older adults, a yoga, Pilates class, aerobics, … I’m still gaining muscle and I’m gaining it quite easily.

            In regard to processed “nutrition” drinks, they are also marketed to the healthcare workers who take care of the elderly. These patients typically need more healthy fats and less sugars in their diets. In fact, about half of all patients with Alzheimer’s actually have Type 3 diabetes. They are in great need of healthy fats to feed their brains. Consuming coconut, avocados, and small, fatty fish have been shown to help these patients. You can make shakes with coconut or avocados (in there varies forms) for those who have trouble swallowing whole foods.

  • Yes it appears that the resistant maltodextrin is not an option for people with bad gut bacteria because as you say it is fermented in the large intestine, so just feeding the bad bacteria more.

  • Interesting though you mention fats though, as most people with compromised guts can’t digest fats. My body doesn’t seem to like coconut oil, at first I thought it was herx, but after four weeks of worsening and continues diarrhea I gave up on it and things improved immensely.

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