You've heard all about PRObiotics... but what about PREbiotics?

First, let's start with some definitions:

 adapted from http://fitandawesome.com

adapted from http://fitandawesome.com

PREbiotics= FIBER! Non-digestible (poorly-absorbed) fermentable carbohydrates that stimulate the growth/activity of beneficial colonic bacteria. All prebiotics are fiber but not all fiber is prebiotic. 

PRObiotics= Live microorganisms that benefit the host. 

SYNbiotics= PREbiotics + PRObiotics

Now that we got that out of the way, let's get to the point- in the end, probiotics and prebiotics work together to achieve the same goal-- a diverse population of beneficial colonic bacteria. Prebiotics have been ignored and forgotten about when in fact, they are JUST as important as probiotics! The key is to incorporate naturally-occurring prebiotics and probiotics found in food to strengthen and fortify your microbiome!

    Short-chain fatty acids are in control of body weight & insulin sensitivity. Adapted from  Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 2015

 

Short-chain fatty acids are in control of body weight & insulin sensitivity. Adapted from Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 2015

More on prebiotics: Prebiotics selectively stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial members of the gut microbiota. Lactosucrose, fructo-oligosaccharides, inulin, bran, psyllium, and germinated barley extracts foster the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species and stimulate production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), especially butyratewhich achieves the following:

- Restores a healthy balance of beneficial vs. harmful gut bacterial species 

- Stimulate protective lactic acid bacilli, which suppress harmful bugs by decreasing the gut pH and secretes substances that kill bad bacteria. 

- Gut bugs ferment prebiotics to SCFAs that have direct anti-inflammatory effects 

- SCFAs promote intestinal integrity through effects on epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation which may combat leaky gut and even possibly inflammatory bowel disease 

 

How exactly will YOU benefit from PREbiotics?

-       WEIGHT LOSS! Prebiotic treatments appears to be a promising “pharmaco-nutritional” approach to reversing the host metabolic alterations linked to the dysbiosis observed in obesity. 

 Adapted from  dietspotlight.com

Adapted from dietspotlight.com

-       INCREASING IMMUNITY! Taking prebiotics has even been shown to prevent infections before liver transplant, and that is a very ill, infection-prone patient population.

-       BETTER POOPING! Have you heard of lactulose? That sweet suryp is a synthetic prebiotic that works wonders to make your bowels move, specifically by increasing stool water content and accelerating colonic transit and increasing stool frequency. Better yet, avoid the icky flavor and cramping and use a wheat dextrin powder, which is the active ingredient in BENEFIBER!

 Jerusalem artichoke, a root vegetable. Adapted from     Bon Appetite  magazine

Jerusalem artichoke, a root vegetable. Adapted from Bon Appetite magazine

-       IMPROVING LACTOSE INTOLERANCE! The prebiotic RP-G28 increases lactose-fermenting bacteria and therefore has been associated with symptom improvements(abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, cramping or flatulence).

 

OK so prebiotics are amazing and JUST as important as probiotics. So what foods should you eat??? Enjoy the following (disclaimer- some of these foods are high in FODMAPS!):

 adapted from http://www.med.monash.edu.au

adapted from http://www.med.monash.edu.au