Bulletproof has not released a supplement in a while that caught my attention or one that I believe deserve to be reviewed. Sad, Bulletproof was once releasing supplements that were the best of the best and cutting edge. I still recommend Bulletproof activated charcoal. Bulletproof once had the best formulation of glutathione on the market that was absorbed and worked. That all being said, when a company has a product that is worth giving praise, it is important to do so. When it comes to the shareholder meetings, sales are king. We should support companies when they release high-quality products and do not buy inferior products. We should “vote” with our wallet to try to help drive the market to produce higher quality supplements. Bulletproof InnerFuel is one such product, I take it and recommend it to clients to see if it improves their digestive health. So what piqued my interest in Bulletproof InnerFuel, and why do I believe it will improve most people’s digestive health?
What is Bulletproof InnerFuel, and How Can the Supplement Improve Your Health?
When I first heard that Bulletproof was producing a prebiotic supplement, I chuckled to myself and thought, “it will probably be made with cheap inulin, just like their bars,” and resistant starch. I was gladly mistaken. I am not a fan of large amounts of isolated inulin consumed separately in a ready-made product or supplement, because it is one of the most problematic prebiotics. Inulin is readily fermented by most colonic bacteria, probiotic and opportunistic, and for many people can lead to severe fermentation, frequent flatulence, bloating, and abdominal pain. A large amount of isolated inulin can cause these issues even for people with the healthiest of digestive tracts that can usually tolerate foods that naturally contain a large amount of inulin, including, for example, Jerusalem artichokes. However, Bulletproof did not decide to use the cheapest and most problematic prebiotic on the market inulin, they chose to use organic acacia fiber, partially hydrolyzed guar gum, and arabinogalactan, all prebiotics that I recommend. Finally, Bulletproof added no fillers to their InnerFuel supplement.
Acacia fiber is a soluble fiber that is obtained from the stems and branches of Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal trees. Both trees are found in central Sudan, central Africa, and West Africa. Acacia fiber has been found to increase significantly colonies of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria in supplemental doses around ten to fifteen grams daily. Studies have shown that acacia fiber supplementation man significantly increase the growth of both bacteria compared to inulin, sometimes as high as a ten-fold growth. Acacia fiber has also been found not to increase Bacteroides, which some people with dysbiosis might have an overgrowth of this symbiotic bacteria (if you bloat when you ingest large amounts of protein, you might be suffering from Bacteroides dysbiosis). Acacia fiber causes less digestive discomfort according to studies compared to other prebiotics, including inulin, because it ferments slower throughout the digestive tract leading to less bloating and flatulence. Finally, acacia fiber, when fermented by your gut bacteria, produces short chain fatty acids. Most of those short chain fatty acids are propionic acid, which can be metabolized by our body into succinyl-CoA, which is a part of the Krebs cycle which can be used by our cells to increase energy production.1 2
Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) is a prebiotic that has been studied for improving outcomes in the use of rifaximin to treat small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Guar gum is a water-soluble polysaccharide found in the seeds of guar, a plant indigenous to India and Pakistan. The main component of guar gum is galactomannan. Partially hydrolyzing (using water to break the bonds of a substance breaking the substance down into its components) guar gum makes the prebiotic completely water-soluble, invisible when mixed, taste-free, stable at a low pH, easily digestible, and heat tolerant. Bulletproof InnerFuel uses Sunfiber, a type of PHGG that has been studied and shown to improve your digestive health hopefully. In two clinical studies (one study being constipated women and the second one in healthy volunteers), several weeks of PHGG supplementation caused a large increase of the probiotic bacteria Bifidobacteria, Roseburia, and Lactobacillus and reduced colonies of opportunistic bacteria including Clostridium, Enterobacteria, and Streptococcus. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum has also been shown to produce less flatulence and bloating when compared to the prebiotic inulin. Finally, intestinal fermentation of PHGG results in active production of short-chain fatty acids, mainly butyrate, which is essential for colonic health as a primary energy source for colonocytes
Arabinogalactans are polysaccharides that are found in plants and the cell walls of mycobacteria. Arabinogalactan consists of chains or arabinose and galactose monosaccharides. You can either ingest arabinogalactans through your diet or prebiotic supplementation. Food and supplement sources of arabinogalactans include carrots, radishes, pears, corn, tomatoes, coconut meat, Echinacea purpurea, Curcuma longa, and Viscum album (mistletoe). Bulletproof InnerFuel uses ResistAid, a type of arabinogalactan supplement made from larch trees that has been studied and shown to improve your digestive health. hopefully. Arabinogalactan supplementation has been shown in studies to favor butyrate production (an important SCFA [short chain fatty acid] for intestinal mucosal integrity), increase production of the SCFA propionate, slightly increase production of the SCFA acetate, lower colonic pH, increase colonies of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, and decrease the generation/absorption of ammonia in the digestive system. The following is a link to a blog where I have written extensively about arabinogalactans and how the supplementation of the prebiotic can improve your health.
Are There any Drawbacks When Using the Prebiotic Supplement and Do we Recommend It?
For some people with severe digestive system, dysbiosis, supplementation of any prebiotic may exacerbate symptoms including increased gas production, abdominal pain, indigestion, bloating, belching, and flatulence. However, the prebiotic fiber in Bulletproof InnerFuel is less likely compared to other prebiotics like inulin. I recommend most people with digestive issues start with a lower dosage of InnerFuel, for example, a half of a scoop or a scoop in the morning in a glass of filtered water with breakfast to see how they react to the prebiotic supplement. If you do not develop severe digestive issues from InnerFuel supplementation, then increase your dosage to the full recommended two scoops daily mixed well in a glass of filtered water with breakfast. If you are on a no or low fiber diet (like a carnivore diet) before starting Bulletproof Innerfuel, make sure that you start with a small serving, for example, one half of a scoop and work your way up to a total of two scoops over a period of weeks. Ingesting too much fiber in a short period of time after you have not been ingesting fiber for awhile can shock your digestive system and microbiome, causing severe constipation or in some cases, intestinal torsion (when the intestines twist around themselves causing severe pain and bowel obstruction). Finally, when ingesting any fiber supplement, make sure that you stay well hydrated, exercise frequently, and use a Squatty Potty when defecating to prevent constipation if your microbiome and digestive system are not used to increased amounts of fiber.
Arabinogalactans are also a component of Mycobacteria cell walls. The mechanism of action for the antitubercular drug ethambutol might occur from inhibition of Mycobacteria arabinogalactan synthesis. Ethambutol reduces Mycobacteria concentrations by counteracting the enzyme arabinosyl transferase, reducing arabinogalactan synthesis, and increasing cell wall permeability. It is unknown if ingesting arabinogalactans while suffering from Mycobacterial dysbiosis, especially if you are suffering from for example Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis dysbiosis (the cause of both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), would cause any issues or increase in Mycobacterial virulence or concentration. That being said, there are probably different arabinogalactan receptors between what the Mycobacteria produce and what we ingest. I would caution anyone with Mycobacteria infections to reduce their consumption and do not supplement with this prebiotic fiber until more studies can be performed.
There are not many studies on what opportunistic organisms may use arabinogalactans for energy. We know, however, through studies that opportunistic bacteria including Clostridia, E. coli, and possibly Klebsiella do not prefer the prebiotic and that it may reduce their colonization in our digestive tract. Some yeast strains can ferment arabinose for energy, so if you have yeast dysbiosis and react negatively to arabinogalactans, I would reduce or eliminate the amount of the prebiotic you ingest.
Overall, Fix Your Gut recommends Bulletproof InterFuel as a prebiotic supplement. We would suggest that most people that want to supplement with it start with a scoop in the morning with breakfast mixed well in a glass of filtered water, smoothie, or juice. You can increase the dosage slowly to two full scoops over a few weeks as your body adjusts to the prebiotic. If the prebiotic supplement is working positively, you should see an increase in bowel movement frequency (if it gives you diarrhea or constipation reduce your dosage), increase in bowel movement volume, make your bowel movement more brown in color, and overall improved digestive health. I do believe that for some people with poor digestive health, the prebiotics galactooligosaccharides or 2′-fucosyllactose might have a lesser chance of causing digestive discomfort since they are milk oligosaccharides. Since those prebiotics are oligosaccharides they might be easier for your body to digest unless you are severely lactose intolerant (Bulletproof InnerFuel might be better for you since it contains no lactose) and have been shown to be the prebiotics that are least likely to cause bloating and digestive discomfort. InnerFuel is also ketogenic diet friendly because it contains no added carbohydrates or sugar and has zero grams of net carbohydrates. Bulletproof Innerfuel is an excellent prebiotic supplement with no added fillers and is recommended by Fix Your Gut to improve your microbiome and your digestive health.