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Biohacking the Microbiome with a Kimchi Inspector

David Perlmutter’s new book “Brain Maker – The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life” provides a plethora of reasons to look closer at which probiotics you are consuming. David provides a list of the top five probiotics which can be taken in supplement for or found in specific foods. I found this list to be the most valuable of the book as he describes the specific attributes each bacteria can offer in terms of wellness optimization.
The top five types of bacteria that Perlmutter recommends in his book Brain Maker are the following:
  1. Lactobacillus plantarum – Found in kimchi and sauerkraut this bacteria is most beneficial for protecting the gut lining through reducing inflammation and controlling pathogenic bacteria.
  2. Lactobacillus acidophilus – Found in yogurt this bacteria helps with cholesterol, milk digestion and the production of vitamin K.
  3. Lactobacillus brevis – Found in sauerkraut and pickles this bacteria boost BDNF, combats vaginosis and can inhibit certain gut pathogens.
  4. Bifidobacterium lactis – Found in fermented milk products this bacteria has been shown effective in boosting immunity and disabling pathogens such as salmonella.
  5. Bifidobacterium longum – This one we usually pick up at birth. It is associated with improved lactose tolerance, reducing diarrhea and food allergies. Just like L. brevis this one enhances BDNF production.

These probiotics can be sourced commercially in powder and pill form. Here are three off-the-shelf options which contain at least four of the five of the recommended bacteria strains from above:

  1. Garden of Life – Primal Defence ULTRA – Recommended by Labdoor as a top pick based on independent laboratory testing this is the most affordable option. This is the only one which contains all five of the recommended probiotics. (90 pills – $33)
  2. Physician’s Choice Probiotics 60 Billion – Includes prebiotic fibers. Slightly more expensive (30 pills – $20)
  3. Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic 100 Billion CFU – Relatively expensive for this high strength powdered version. I like that it can be added to smoothies or used for enemas in this form. (60 servings – $76).

Finally, the DIY method is to make your own sauerkraut or kimchi at home to produce lactobacillus plantarum and lactobacillus brevis. This provides some gut lining protection, BDNF (brain growth) and can inhibit some bad gut guys. There is no shortage of fermentation assistant devices on the Adafruit Blog. Almost all of these are using heating elements, a temperature sensor and a controller. However,  the thing to be concerned with when fermenting something as easy as a kraut is mold. Here I’ll describe the steps to setup a Raspberry Pi with a microscope so that the ferment can be monitored and screenshots easily taken.

Setting up the USB Microscope – 5MP 220x 8 LEDs

  • plug in microscope to a Raspberry Pi running the latest Raspbian
  • run the command lsusb which should show the following device:
  • “Z-Star Microelectronics Corp. Venus USB2.0 Camera”
  • install these packages to take snapshots, view the photos and stream the data
    • sudo apt-get install fswebcam fim motion
  • to take a still run fswebcam with these arguments:
    • fswebcam -r 1600×1200 image.jpg
  • to view the image run:
    • fim image.jpg
  • to setup streaming of a USB CAM on Raspbian we need to customize the /etc/motion/motion.conf
  • sudo nano /etc/motion/motion.conf
    • daemon on
    • stream_localhost off
    • output_pictures off
    • ffmpeg_output_movies off
    • stream_maxrate 100
    • framerate 100
    • width 1600
    • height 1200
  • sudo nano /etc/default/motion
    • start_motion_daemon=yes
  • daemon control
    • sudo service motion start
    • sudo service motion stop
    • sudo service motion restart
  • connect from another machine on your network to the pi’s webstream – paste the IP address followed by :8081 into your web browser:
    • http://<YOUR IP>:8081
    • http://10.0.1.55:8081

 

 

 


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