Prebiotics & Probiotics
Pre and probiotics are referred to as “functional foods”; foods that provide some health benefits beyond traditional nutritional values.
What are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics, sometimes known as fermentable fiber, are non-digestible bits of food that we eat. Why would we even consider eating something that is non-digestible? Simply put, because prebiotics have immense benefits for our digestive system.
Think of the humble flax seed that everyone is consuming these days. In seed form, it comes out the same way it went in, but provides all sorts of benefits on its way through. On top of being a prebiotic, it acts like a little wire brush, scrubbing away all the stuck-on gunk as it makes its way along your intestines.
First identified in 1995 by Marcel Roberfroid, his definition in the 2007 Journal of Nutrition stated:
“A prebiotic is a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in thecomposition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon host wellbeing and health.” 1
In order for a food ingredient to be classified as a prebiotic, it has to be demonstrated that it:
- Is not broken down in the stomach or absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract (G.I.);
- Is fermented by G.I. microflora; and
- Most importantly, selectively stimulates the growth and/or activity of intestinal bacteria associated with health and wellbeing. 2
Consuming prebiotics allows for the growth of bio-cultures, (living, “friendly” bacteria probiotics) in the intestine. A prebiotic effect occurs when there is an increase in the activity of healthy bacteria (bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) in the human intestine. The existence, and good health, of friendly bacteria in the intestine help combat invading pathogens (unwanted bacteria) that could, if left to their own devices, cause disease.
It is also believed that consumption of prebiotics may improve calcium absorption by the body.
Where are prebiotics found? Some of the best sources are in wheat and whole grains, artichokes, bananas, barley, berries, chicory, dairy, flax, garlic, greens (dandelion greens, chard and kale), honey, leeks, legumes, onions, oatmeal, and fortified foods and beverages.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are also friendly bacteria that support our intestinal flora, occurring naturally in our stomach and bowels. Increasing the amount of friendly bacteria naturally helps combat harmful bacteria and promotes good digestion, boosts immune function, increases your resistance to infection, helps with stool regularity, and creates a much-needed balance between the good and bad bacteria in your system.
It is important to replenish your healthy bacteria on a daily basis.
“We used to eat a lot more fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria, but now we are getting hardly any,”猀愀礀猀 䬀愀爀攀渀 䴀愀搀猀攀渀Ⰰ 愀渀 䄀猀猀漀挀椀愀琀攀 倀爀漀昀攀猀猀漀爀 漀昀 䜀愀猀琀爀漀攀渀琀攀爀漀氀漀最礀 愀琀 琀栀攀 唀渀椀瘀攀爀猀椀琀礀 漀昀 䄀氀戀攀爀琀愀⸀ ᰀ丠漀眀 眀攀 愀爀攀 猀琀愀爀琀椀渀最 琀漀 瀀甀琀 椀琀 戀愀挀欀 椀渀⸀ᴀ Madsen specializes in researching the causes and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She has found that some IBD patients respond positively to probiotics. 3
Snacking on items such as yogurt (containing live bacterial cultures) and milk beverages provides significant benefits to the digestive system. If your diet begins to lack in natural or supplemented sources of beneficial bacteria such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, they disappear very quickly from your body. At least one serving per day is recommended to maintain the positive effects of probiotics.
What is Synbiotics?
Just to throw you a curve ball, probiotic bacteria taken together with prebiotics that support their growth is called “synbiotics”. Both work together in a synergistic way, more efficiently promoting the probiotics’ benefits. You may have noticed food products appearing on your store shelves lately which incorporate both pre & probiotic components for this very reason.
Prebiotics feed probiotic bacteria, helping probiotics grow and reproduce. However, prebiotics have little to no benefit unless there are probiotics around to eat them since the human body does not absorb prebiotics as nutrients. The only real benefit of a prebiotic on its own is in its value as fiber.
A Quick Recap of the Differences Between Prebiotics and Probiotics
|Prebiotics are non-digestible dietary fiber.
Prebiotics trigger the growth of friendly bacteria.
Prebiotics are active in the intestine.
|Probiotics are live bacteria.
Probiotics supplement the already-present friendly bacteria.
Probiotics are active in the stomach and bowels.
Prebiotics & Probiotics in your Diet
You should try to include whole grains and dairy products which contain live bacteria cultures in your diet every day. It’s as simple as choosing whole grain breads & fermented cheese for your sandwich, washing it down with a cup of kefir, and having a container of yogurt for dessert. Just be sure to read the labels of the products you choose to ensure they’ve had probiotics added or contain live bacterial cultures.
If you’re in a hurry, there are many types of probiotic drinks to choose from, or you can make your own smoothie with yogurt containing live bacterial cultures. Sipping one of these drinks will get you back on your way quickly, and give your digestive system something to fight with in the process. Good deal, eh?!
Nutter’s Can Suggest…
Nature’s Way Primadophilus Fortify helps maintain a healthy balance of “good” bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract in order to 1) promote proper digestion, immune function and colon health, and 2) protect against periodic digestive distress such as gas & bloating, constipation, and irregularity.
Primadophilus Fortify has a guaranteed potency of at least 8 billion active cultures (CFU) per capsule through to the expiration date stamped on this box.
L. rhamnosus is probably the most important probiotic strain for health from the mouthto the small intestine. It protects by coating the mucus, preventing toxins from reachingthe blood. It even results in better smelling breath. L. rhamnosus survives temperature extremes and is resistant to bile salts and stomach acid, ferments 23 sugars and inhibits negative bacteria and yeast growth. It is hardier and keeps better without refrigeration.
L. acidophilus produces lactic acid which keeps a proper pH balance in the small intestine, inhibiting yeast growth. Studies have shown that L. acidophilus is effective in reducing lactose intolerance, inhibiting undesirable organisms in the intestine, reducing cholesterol levels and controlling diarrhea. B. bifidus helps maintain health of the large intestine in both children and adults, promoting regular bowel movements, giving protection from yeast and bacterial pathogens such as E. coli, Clostridium and Shigella infections.
2. Gibson GR. “Dietary Modulation of the Human Gut Microflora Using the Prebiotics Oligofructose and Inulin.”䄀洀 匀漀挀椀琀礀 一甀琀爀 匀挀椀⸀ 㤀㤀㤀㬀㈀㤀㨀㐀㌀㠀匀ⴀ㐀㐀匀⸀ 㰀戀爀㸀㰀戀爀㸀㌀⸀ 䠀攀愀氀琀栀礀 唀Ⰰ 䄀氀戀攀爀琀愀㰀戀爀㸀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀栀攀愀氀琀栀礀愀氀戀攀爀琀愀⸀挀漀洀⼀䠀攀愀氀琀栀礀䔀愀琀椀渀最⼀㜀㜀㜀⸀栀琀洀㰀戀爀㸀㰀戀爀㸀㰀戀爀㸀㰀昀漀渀琀 昀愀挀攀㴀∀吀椀洀攀猀 一攀眀 刀漀洀愀渀∀ 猀椀稀攀㴀㌀㸀㰀戀㸀㰀椀㸀䌀愀爀漀氀 刀漀礀 椀猀 愀 一愀琀甀爀愀氀 䠀攀愀氀琀栀 倀爀愀挀琀椀琀椀漀渀攀爀 眀栀漀 爀攀挀攀椀瘀攀搀 栀攀爀 搀椀瀀氀漀洀愀 昀爀漀洀 琀栀攀 䄀氀琀攀爀渀愀琀椀瘀攀 䴀攀搀椀挀椀渀攀 䌀漀氀氀攀最攀 漀昀 䌀愀渀愀搀愀 椀渀 䴀漀渀琀爀攀愀氀Ⰰ 儀甀攀戀攀挀⸀ 圀椀琀栀 ㈀ 礀攀愀爀猀 攀砀瀀攀爀椀攀渀挀攀 椀渀 栀攀爀 愀爀攀愀 漀昀 攀砀瀀攀爀琀椀猀攀Ⰰ 渀愀琀甀爀愀氀 栀攀愀氀琀栀 愀渀搀 眀攀氀氀渀攀猀猀Ⰰ 䌀愀爀漀氀 栀愀猀 愀氀猀漀 琀爀愀椀渀攀搀 琀漀 戀攀挀漀洀攀 愀 昀甀氀氀礀 焀甀愀氀椀昀椀攀搀 刀攀椀欀椀 䴀愀猀琀攀爀Ⰰ 儀甀愀渀琀甀洀 吀漀甀挀栀 倀爀愀挀琀椀琀椀漀渀攀爀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 刀攀昀氀攀砀漀氀漀最椀猀琀⸀㰀⼀椀㸀㰀⼀戀㸀㰀⼀昀漀渀琀㸀㰀戀爀㸀㰀戀爀㸀㰀挀攀渀琀攀爀㸀吀栀攀 猀甀最最攀猀琀椀漀渀猀 戀礀 一甀琀琀攀爀ᤀ猠 䈀甀氀欀 ☀ 一愀琀甀爀愀氀 䘀漀漀搀猀 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 挀漀渀琀攀渀琀猀 漀昀 琀栀椀猀 愀爀琀椀挀氀攀㰀戀爀㸀愀爀攀 爀攀挀漀洀洀攀渀搀愀琀椀漀渀猀 漀渀氀礀 愀渀搀 渀漀琀 愀 猀甀戀猀琀椀琀甀琀攀 昀漀爀 愀渀礀 洀攀搀椀挀愀氀 愀搀瘀椀挀攀 漀爀 愀 㰀戀爀㸀爀攀瀀氀愀挀攀洀攀渀琀 昀漀爀 愀渀礀 瀀爀攀猀挀爀椀瀀琀椀漀渀猀⸀ 匀攀攀欀 洀攀搀椀挀愀氀 愀搀瘀椀挀攀 昀漀爀 愀渀礀 栀攀愀氀琀栀 挀漀渀挀攀爀渀猀⸀㰀戀爀㸀䌀漀渀猀甀氀琀 礀漀甀爀 栀攀愀氀琀栀 挀愀爀攀 瀀爀漀瘀椀搀攀爀 戀攀昀漀爀攀 甀猀椀渀最 愀渀礀 爀攀挀漀洀洀攀渀搀愀琀椀漀渀猀 栀攀爀攀椀渀⸀㰀⼀挀攀渀琀攀爀㸀㰀戀爀㸀㰀戀爀㸀㰀⼀琀搀㸀㰀⼀琀爀㸀㰀⼀琀愀戀氀攀㸀㰀琀愀戀氀攀 眀椀搀琀栀㴀㠀 㸀㰀琀爀㸀㰀琀搀 眀椀搀琀栀㴀㠀 㸀㰀椀洀最 猀爀挀㴀∀搀愀渀挀椀渀最戀愀渀渀攀爀⸀樀瀀最∀㸀㰀⼀琀搀㸀㰀⼀琀爀㸀㰀琀爀㸀㰀琀搀 眀椀搀琀栀㴀㠀 栀攀椀最栀琀㴀㐀 戀最挀漀氀漀爀㴀∀⌀䌀㘀㈀䄀㈀㤀∀㸀㰀挀攀渀琀攀爀㸀㰀昀漀渀琀 昀愀挀攀㴀∀䄀爀椀愀氀∀ 猀椀稀攀㴀㈀ 挀漀氀漀爀㴀∀⌀䔀 䔀 䔀 ∀㸀㰀戀㸀一甀琀琀攀爀✀猀 䈀甀氀欀 ☀ 一愀琀甀爀愀氀 䘀漀漀搀猀 㰀⼀戀㸀 㜀Ⰰ 㘀 䐀甀渀洀漀爀攀 刀漀愀搀 匀䔀⸀Ⰰ 䴀攀搀椀挀椀渀攀 䠀愀琀Ⰰ 䄀䈀 吀䄀 娀㠀 ⠀㐀 ㌀⤀ 㔀㈀㤀ⴀ㘀㘀㐀 㰀椀洀最 猀爀挀㴀∀琀爀愀渀猀瀀愀挀攀爀⸀最椀昀∀ 栀攀椀最栀琀㴀㈀ 眀椀搀琀栀㴀㈀ 䄀䰀䤀䜀一㴀∀愀戀猀洀椀搀搀氀攀∀㸀㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀猀琀漀爀攀猀⸀栀琀洀氀∀㸀㰀戀㸀㰀昀漀渀琀 挀漀氀漀爀㴀∀⌀䔀 䔀 䔀 ∀㸀䰀漀挀愀琀攀 䄀 匀琀漀爀攀㰀⼀戀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀㰀昀漀渀琀 猀椀稀攀㴀㈀㸀㰀⼀琀搀㸀㰀⼀琀爀㸀㰀⼀琀愀戀氀攀㸀㰀⼀戀漀搀礀㸀㰀⼀栀琀洀氀㸀