Prebiotics Help “Good Bacteria” in
Probiotic Supplements to Flourish in the Gut
Prebiotics are nutrients which selectively feed the friendly bacteria in the gut. Research has shown that supplementing with both a prebiotic and probiotics can significantly increase populations of beneficial microflora. If effect, they’re an immediate food source to nourish good bacteria.
Some research shows supplemental populations of friendly bacteria residing in the colon help to improve diverse health issues from diarrhea to gout.
What are prebiotic supplements
A quality prebiotics supplement should be a pleasant-tasting drink mix that contains at least three grams of dietary fiber and features additional nutrients that selectively feed the friendly bacteria. These include fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a family of short-chain carbohydrates that deliver an immediate food source to nourish friendly bacteria; and inulin, long-chain carbohydrates that also provide nutrients for beneficial microflora.
Other nutrients in good quality prebiotics include Jerusalem artichoke, a vegetable containing a natural source of inulin and FOS, as well as gamma tocopherol (related to alpha-tocopherol, the most well-known member of the vitamin E family), found in relatively high levels in colon cells. Studies have shown that dietary intake of vitamin E, and particularly gamma-tocopherol, may reduce levels of potentially toxic oxidation products in the colon.
What are probiotics
Probiotics are dietary supplements of live bacteria or yeasts thought to be healthy for the host organism, such as the human intestinal tract. By definition, probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.
Most probiotic supplements are good bacteria similar to those naturally found in people’s guts, especially in those of breastfed infants (who have natural protection against many diseases). Unfortunately, as we age, an imbalance occurs in the body between good or friendly bacteria and bad bacteria. When that balance is tipped too far towards the bad bacteria side, health issues arise, some of which can be serious, such as colitis, Crohn’s disease, gastroenteritis, stomach cancers and colon cancer.
Many environmental factors can contribute to this imbalance: antibiotic drugs (especially in children), age, steroidal and hormonal drugs, pain-killing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pesticides, fertilizers, toxins such as excess uric acid from gout, chemicals such as fluoride, chlorine, preservatives and additives, typical “Western Diet” high in meat fats, low fiber intake, carbonated drinks, colas, excessive alcohol/coffee/tea consumption, stress and traveling outside the country to name just a few.
Prebiotic supplements are regulated as foods, not drugs
It should be noted that prebiotics products taken by mouth as dietary supplements are manufactured and regulated as foods, not drugs. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for overseeing the public safety in both areas.
Unlike drugs, there is no requirement that a dietary supplement prove its efficacy. Foods are not regulated as rigidly as drugs. Thus, the quality of both prebiotic and probiotic supplements on the market can vary widely from one manufacturer to another.
How to find a nutritional supplement company you can trust
It is of utmost importance to choose supplement manufacturers carefully. Find a company that has a large staff of scientists and voluntarily does clinical studies and pre-market testing on its products to ensure their efficacy. Natural supplements are often tried for many conditions based on tradition, anecdotes, or marketing, but not all of these uses are supported by reliable or credible scientific research.
To help with the process of how to choose the best dietary supplement company, a list of questions has been prepared by our website. To view these, click on the following link: 30 questions.
Featured prebiotic and probiotic supplements
As probiotics are mainly active in the small intestine and prebiotics are only effective in the large intestine, the combination of the two may give a synergistic effect. Appropriate combinations of prebiotics and probiotics are called synbiotics.
Synbiotic components work together with probiotics to help beneficial bacteria flourish in the intestinal tract to support whole-body health. To optimize “friendly flora” a synbiotic (two product supplement) is recommended.
However, a high-quality prebiotic supplement is available separately.
Prebiotics Supplements Disclaimer: Health statements on this prebiotics page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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