In my last blog I went over some ways to improve motility by improving acetylcholine synthesis. Acetylcholine is a pretty important neurotransmitter in the gut and I have good reason to believe that it’s an area that I should pay particular attention to.
One of the primary indications for me that I need to make sure I’m making adequate acetylcholine is that I have multiple SNPs in my genome that make me susceptible to impaired acetylcholine synthesis. My issues are in the folate and choline cycles which can reduce my ability to make choline if I don’t get enough in my diet. If you want to dig in to your genome and see where there are some areas where nutrition may help you, I highly recommend 23andme as well as livewello.
My specific issues are polymorphisms in:
- Methyltetrahydrofolate reductase(MTHFR) which makes it more difficult for me to make methyl groups in the folate cycle.
- Phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase(PEMT) which impairs choline synthesis
- Choline dehydrogenase(CHDH) which decreases my ability to use choline as a methyl donor
When you get insufficient choline in your diet, you can synthesize it using PEMT. The problem is that you use up a lot of methyl groups to do so. Synthesizing a single choline molecule via PEMT uses up 3 methyl donors. This coupled with my somewhat sluggish ability to make methyl donors puts me at an increased risk of choline deficiency.
One way that people make up for sluggish methylation is by supplementing with methylfolate. This skips the step that uses MTHFR but once it’s used you still have to re-methylate it via MTHFR which brings the sluggish enzyme back in to the mix.
My approach is a little different, though. My goal is to lower methylation demands by providing things in my diet that would normally use methyl groups for synthesis. This includes creatine and choline, which I put in my motility shake.
In my mind, this workaround is much more effective than continually loading up on methyfolate. Since I’m not particularly good at using that pathway, I don’t see the point in loading all of my eggs in to that basket.
I have no issues on the acetyl CoA side of synthesizing acetylcholine. But thiamine is a necessary cofactor to make acetyl CoA from glucose and tends to be low in a diet low in processed food. I throw thiamine in sometimes and flip flop between different kinds as I see fit.
For most people, thiamine hydrochloride works just fine but there are fat soluble versions which can get your blood levels up quicker if you are deficient. These forms include sulbutiamine, benfotiamine, and allithiamine.
The final addition to my motility shake and one of the most important parts is fiber. I mix up a blend of 4-5 different types of fiber to get a diversity of fiber types in my gut. This increases acetylcholine synthesis by increasing activity of the enzyme that makes it from acetyl CoA and choline. It also functions as a prebiotic for my microbiome.
Now that I’ve gone over some of the rationale of what’s in my shake, let’s take a look at the recipe.
My gut motility shake
8oz of goat’s milk(You can substitute cow’s milk if you tolerate it or water if you don’t tolerate any dairy)
1-2tsp Now Foods Sunflower Lecithin Granules
1tsp fiber blend (Acacia fiber, inulin, glucomannan, larch arabinogalactin) Ratio of 1:1:(.5):(.5)
1/2 tsp creatine monohydrate powder
Optional-2mg Thiamine powder or tablet/capsule(This is an extremely tiny amount. High doses of thiamine are well tolerated but I’m more of a minimalist)
Optional-Amazing Grass Green Superfood High ORAC powder
Optional-Ahhhhlaska Unsweetened 100% Baking Cocoa Powder
Optional-Lactase pills for those that are intolerant
Note: I normally mix up the fiber blend once a month. This also makes it easier to add in the thiamine as 1/64 of a teaspoon is 30 days worth of 2mg doses. I put this in a tupperware and shake it up for a good while to mix it well. You can also add the creatine in to this blend but not the lecithin.
Directions: In my Nutribullet I add 8oz of goat’s milk, the lecithin, and the fiber/creatine blend with 1 lactase pill equivalent to 3000 FCC units of lactase. I blend it for 30-60 seconds and when it’s done I consume it. It comes out quite foamy but I’m a big fan of the texture. It tastes pretty good mixed with berries and a banana. You could also add the fruit before the blending process but I kind of like eating them whole.
- The best way to modify this is to split it in to 4 doses. The first day you take it drink 1/4 of it and see how you react. Do the same the next day. If everything was fine on both days increase it to 2 doses on the 3rd day. On the 4th and 5th day keep it at 2 doses and if you tolerate it fine move to 3 doses on days 6, 7, & 8. If that works out for you move up to 4 doses from there. Keep in mind that spreading out the doses is preferable to drinking it all at once to prevent gas. Also be aware that it may take you longer to get to the full daily dosage if you have gut issues.
- If you are sensitive to any of the ingredients in the shake, simply reduce that ingredient by half or eliminate it completely. Again, spreading it throughout the day can make it more tolerable to sensitive individuals.
That’s pretty much it. I typically eat mine following a meal so that the ingredients are diluted with food. I have no evidence to supp0rt this, but in my experience high doses of supplemental fiber are tolerated far better when they are mixed with food.
I go through periods of making this a daily thing and other periods where I may not take it for weeks. If you have any questions or you give it a try and would like to comment about your experience feel free to pop it down in the comments section.