I am sure we have all heard of Probiotics and Prebiotics but what good do they do for our bodies and general well being? Well depending on what you need from a supplement and food they can help naturally increase the bacteria in our gut.
I have been taking Probiotic supplements for several months and found that they have indeed improved many issues (bloating and more!) added to that recently, I have upped my fibre intake via foods (finding which foods suit, that’s another issue though, I am definitely erring on the side of Spelt and wholegrains, some Veggies have had to go though) also I have added a supplement, which are composed of acacia fibre, and are beneficial for the balance of the intestinal flora due to their bifidogenic property which is promoting Bifidobacterium growth, (there’s a bit more about that further on!)
A helpful metaphor to understand the difference between a prebiotic and a probiotic may be a garden. You can add seeds—the probiotic bacteria—while the prebiotic fibre is the water and fertilizer that helps the seeds to grow and flourish.Dr. Frank W. Jackson.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics are health-promoting bacteria found in supplement form and some foods. Taking probiotics can help increase the number of beneficial bacteria that reside in your gut.
Definition: Probiotics are live microbes that can be formulated into many different types of products, including foods, drugs, and dietary supplements. Species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are most commonly used as probiotics, but the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and some E. coli and Bacillus species are also used as probiotics.
Prebiotics & Probiotics the Differences:
While PREBIOTICS and PROBIOTICS sound similar, these supplements are very different and have different roles in the digestive system….
PREBIOTIC FIBRE is a non-digestible part of foods like bananas, onions and garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, the skin of apples, chicory root, beans, and many others.
Prebiotic fibre goes through the small intestine undigested and is fermented when it reaches the large colon.This fermentation process feeds beneficial bacteria colonies (including probiotic bacteria) and helps to increase the number of desirable bacteria in our digestive systems that are associated with better health and reduced disease risk.
PROBIOTICS are live beneficial bacteria that are naturally created by the process of fermentation in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup & kimchi.
Probiotics are also available in pill form and as an added ingredient in products like yogurt and health drinks.
Kefir, a milk drink that has been fermented using kefir grains, is an especially potent source of probiotics. Kefir contains lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in high doses, and also helps diversity too – more than 50 different types of bacteria can be found in kefir. When you drink kefir (it has the consistency of a drinking yoghurt), these bacteria travel through the digestive tract to colonise the colon. I am loving the Kefir milk and really look forward to my Spelt Flakes and Oats in the morning!
While many types of bacteria are classified as probiotics, most come from two groups:
Lactobacillus – the most common probiotic found in yogurt and other fermented foods. Can help with diarrhea and may help with people who can’t digest milk sugar (lactose).
Bifidobacterium – also found in some dairy products and may ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and related conditions. Naturally present in the large intestine.
Bifidobacterium fight harmful bacteria in the intestines, prevent constipation and give the immune system a boost. Furthermore, evidence indicates that Bifidobacterium help reduce intestinal concentrations of certain carcinogenic enzymes. These beneficial bacteria also digest dietary fiber, help prevent infection and produce vitamins and other important chemicals.
Benefits of PROBIOTICS
Some find taking probiotics can combat gastrointestinal side effects of the medication and reduce the bacterial growth leading to yeast infections.
Since each body is different, it is necessary to determine which probiotics will be helpful to one’s own system. In addition, it is important to make sure the bacteria in probiotic supplements are alive.
Probiotic bacteria are fragile, and can easily be killed by stomach acid, time, and heat.
Benefits of PREBIOTICS
Researchers have found that prebiotics are helpful in increasing the helpful bacteria already in the gut that reduce disease risk and improve general well being. Prebiotic fibre is not as fragile as probiotic bacteria because it is not affected by heat, stomach acid, or time. Nor does the fermentation process differ depending on the individual.
Which foods help to boost PREBIOTICS and PROBIOTICS in our diet?Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt are rich sources of probiotic bacteria that go directly to populate the colon.
By boosting your total daily fibre consumption, you will also boost the prebiotic fibre you ingest to feed probiotic and other desirable strains of bacteria in the gut, for improved health and well being.
Don’t forget when adding more fibre to your diet, you must also drink more water to help the fibre to digest easier! (Dietary Fibre article: https://www.facebook.com/notes/holistically-yours/holistically-yours-nutritional-bites-pt-3-dietary-fibre/574959643006129/)
“The biggest influence you can have on the state of your gut lining, and a healthy microbiome, is your diet—which you control.”— Jeannette Hyde, Nutritional Therapist BSc. a leading nutritional therapist, regular BBC commentator, and author of The Gut Makeover and The Gut Makeover Recipe Book.
Many high fibre foods are also high in prebiotic fibre. The following includes a sample of foods high in total fibre—and prebiotic fibre.
Foods Rich in Prebiotic Fibre:
About 65% of the chicory root is fibre by weight and is an extraordinarily rich source of prebiotic fibre.
Onions and Garlic
2 grams of fibre per ½ cup – about 17% is prebiotic fibre
2 grams of fibre per ½ cup – very high in prebiotic fibre content.
Wheat Bread with Wheat Bran
About 1 gram of fibre per slice; nearly 70% of the total fibre in wheat bran is prebiotic fibre
2-3 grams of prebiotic fibre per 100 gram serving (about ½ cup)
4 grams of fibre per 100 gram serving (about ½ cup) – most of this fibre is prebiotic.
3-8 grams of prebiotic fibre per 100 gram serving (about ½ cup).
Apple with skin
2 grams of fibre per ½ apple (mainly in the skin) Pectin, which has prebiotic benefits, makes up about 50% of the total fibre in the apple.
All bananas contain fibre, and the amount varies with the banana’s size. A small banana of 6 to 7 inches in length contains 2.6 grams of fibre; a medium banana contains 3.1 grams of fibre; and an extra large banana — over 9 inches long — contains 4 grams of fibre.
Unripe (green) bananas are also high in resistant starch, which has prebiotic effects. The prebiotic fiber in bananas has been shown to increase healthy gut bacteria and reduce bloating.
Why take supplements when we can eat fibre-rich and fermented foods?
It is clearly vital to nourish a healthy bacterial mix in the colon. We can start with a foundation of healthy eating, focusing on fresh, organic vegetables and fruits, while avoiding processed food products and sugary foods and drinks.
However, we all find it is sometimes difficult with a diet that includes processed foods and high amounts of sugar and synthetic ingredients to eat enough fermented foods and foods high in fibre. Therefore, adding supplements may be a healthy addition to ones diet.
Suggested Fibre Amounts
Dietary fibre: 25-38g
Prebiotic fibre: 5g-20g
When is the best time to take Prebiotics and Probiotics?
The best time to take prebiotics and probiotics is regularly. Both can be taken at the same time, daily.
It is recommended taking them at the same time each day in order to establish a healthy routine. Your gut microbiome will be grateful!
Consuming prebiotics and probiotics together is known as synbiotics and is likely to maximize benefits.
The following chart compares Prebiotics and Probiotics…..
I do hope that this has shed a some light on the differences of Probiotics and Prebiotics.
As always, I would advise that you have a chat with your Doctor if you have stomach problems, especially if it is on-going and you are in pain and discomfort it is worth finding out if adding Probiotics and Prebiotics through supplements will help in addition to keeping a healthy diet of foods that suit your gut!