Nuts and Seeds for CFS?

A reader forwarded me a link to a paper and from some of his questions, I thought that I should explain the model that I am assuming for Lactobacillus

  • Supplementation with Lactobacillus probiotics is generally a poor choice….
    • Almost all probiotics with be 100% gone within 24 hours.
    • They do not take up residence — they are in transit only
    • They produce chemicals that are effectively natural antibiotics… unfortunately, the targets are often E.Coli and Bifidobacteria.
  • Taking supplements that encourages Lactobacillus (i.e. your own natural) and also biodiversity is assumed to be good.  Both criteria should be satisfied. The concept is that these lactobacillus are friendly to your specific strains of E.Coli and Bifidobacteria.
    • nut types that increases Firmicutes and decreases Bacteriodetes should likely be avoided[For new readers: CFS/IBS/FM have major increases of Firmicutes  and collapse of Bacteriodetes. See this post for background and studies].

Mediterranean/Greek Diet

This type of diet seems to be well suited for CFS/FM/IBS, I will review the literature in another post.

“Excesses of any component of the diet were typically avoided and consequently over-consumption was rare. Sugar, sweet desserts, and salt were rarely consumed, and animal products except for seafood and yogurt and cheese were less frequently consumed. In addition, olives and olive oil, nuts, and seeds were parts of daily intakes, as wine and spices often were. Balanced eating patterns of the macronutrients greatly reduced the development of overweight or obesity and metabolic diseases resulting from excessive caloric intakes. Intake percentages of fats and carbohydrates were fairly high, but total calories were not higher than maintenance requirements.” [2016 – full text]

Note: Beware of “mediterranean-like” diets that just tosses in some elements on top of a basic western diet.


  • “Changes in the Gut Microbial Communities Following Addition of Walnuts to the Diet” [2017]
    • “Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals and antioxidants making them unique compared to other foods…Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linoleic acid. “
    • “Walnuts increased the abundance of Firmicutes and reduced the abundance of Bacteriodetes.” – this is the opposite of what we hope to do. See this post for background.
    • “The animals that ate walnuts had a significantly greater (>1.8 fold) ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteriodetes when compared to the replacement diet.”
  • “Prebiotic nut compounds and human microbiota. [2017]”
    • “After 6 weeks, significant increases in Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp. were observed in the almond and almond skin groups, although the populations of Escherichia coli showed little change, and the growth of Clostridium perfringens was significantly repressed.”
  • Effects of almond and pistachio consumption on gut microbiota composition in a randomised cross-over human feeding study.[2014]
    • “The effect of pistachio consumption on gut microbiota composition was much stronger than that of almond consumption and included an increase in the number of potentially beneficial butyrate-producing bacteria. Although the numbers of bifidobacteria were not affected by the consumption of either nut, pistachio consumption appeared to decrease the number of lactic acid bacteria (P< 0·05). Increasing the consumption of almonds or pistachios appears to be an effective means of modifying gut microbiota composition.”
      • Excessive lactic acid is a CFS characteristic, see this post.
  • Dairy and plant based food intakes are associated with altered faecal microbiota in 2 to 3 year old Australian children [2016].
    • “Dairy intake was positively associated with the Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes ratio, and in particular Erysipelatoclostridium spp., but negatively associated with species richness and diversity. ” – in other words, dairy shifts in the wrong direction — i.e. Yogurt may not be helping you
    • “In contrast, vegetarian protein (soy, pulses[Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses] and nuts) serve intake (FFQ data) was negatively associated with the relative abundance of the phylum Firmicutes” — so nuts (excluding walnuts cited above) shifts in the right direction.
    • “data revealed that the relative abundance of Bacteroidetes was negatively associated with dairy serve intake while the relative abundance of Firmicutes was negatively associated with vegetarian protein serve intake. “
    • Note that the full text associate certain foods with certain bacteria groups (plus and minus), and is worth reading if you have your uBiome done.
  • Prebiotic effects of almonds and almond skins on intestinal microbiota in healthy adult humans[2014].
    • ” Significant increases in the populations of Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp. were observed in fecal samples as a consequence of almond or almond skin supplementation. However, the populations of Escherichia coli did not change significantly, while the growth of the pathogen Clostridum perfringens was significantly repressed. “
  • “a moderate intake of almonds improves diet quality in adults and their young children and modulates microbiota composition.” [2016]

Bottom Line

Consumption of soy, pulses[Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas] and whole nuts should assist correcting the microbiome shift seen with CFS, in general.

  • Do not include Walnuts.
  • Include pistachios daily
  • Almonds (Almond milk is not the same)
  • Restrict Dairy Intake
  • Peanut is NOT A NUT (see wikipedia)
    • Nothing found on peanut intake impact on the microbiome. Many studies on peanut allergies.
    • I am neutral if it is good or bad… no evidence to work from.

For the rest of the nuts, we do not have studies on specific varieties.