As people become more concerned with nutrition, gut health is gaining considerably wide traction in the world of fitness and health these days, and prebiotics appear to be at the center of this public attention.
You may have heard of prebiotics before, or read about them a couple of times, but chances are you probably do not know a lot about prebiotics. So, you’ll definitely want to learn more about the role they play in keeping your gut healthy and happy.
In this guide, we’ll break down the basic things you need to know about prebiotics. We’ll discuss the science behind our tummy issues, how prebiotics work, and all the benefits of prebiotics.
What Are Prebiotics?
Classically defined, prebiotics is non-digestible food ingredients that are used in the gut to promote the increase of helpful bacteria. Due to its work, it significantly improves your gastrointestinal health, helping it in the part of digestion and strongly amplifies the production of important vitamins.
Although the recognition of the importance of prebiotics has been acknowledged both by researchers and scientists, there are still a handful of people who marginally do not recognize prebiotics and question whether or not these are necessary for health.
How Do Prebiotics Work?
Fiber is prebiotics’ cherry on top. But before understanding how prebiotics works, it is of utmost importance that you should know the two kinds of dietary fiber:
Soluble fiber, the one that gets fermented by the gut bacteria, is broken down in your colon and potentially gets to be metabolized.
Insoluble fiber, which leaves the gastrointestinal tract, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water or in fluids provided by your gastrointestinal. It persists to be more or less unchangeable as it moves down the digestive tract.
As a rule of thumb: all prebiotics are fiber, but not all fiber is prebiotic.
Prebiotics are the source of consumption for the gut’s helpful bacteria. Because they are carbs that cannot be digested, they immediately proceed to your digestive tract where they are used by the beneficial bacteria as a fuel helping them to grow.
In return, these good bacteria manufacture certain substances that acidify the colon which by the way is a very good thing. Furthermore, the substances produced will serve as a nutrition powerhouse for the colon’s cells.
The colon would then provide an environment that would help survive the bacteria and eventually grow. These are the marks of the mutual relationship between the colon and bacteria wherein they depend and promote each other’s function to higher serve their purpose for the body. Now tell me, isn’t that fantastic?
Benefits Of Prebiotics
The health benefits of prebiotics can be attributed to the short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) which increases its production over time. These SCFAs are the end-products of prebiotic fermentation and they have a major role in regulating your intestinal barrier. Now, let us tackle the benefits of prebiotics:
1. Effects On The Immune System
Prebiotics are responsible for the stimulation of the immune system. The microorganism found in the gut impacts the immune system by targeting multiple aspects of it. This, in turn, would result in an increased population of beneficial microbes or probiotics, most especially the lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. Prebiotics is also responsible for the stimulation of the gut-associated lymphoid tissues which work in the immune system to protect the body from the risk of diseases.
2. Colorectal Cancer Prevention
Colorectal cancer, the second most deadly form of cancer after lung cancer, can now be prevented through the help of prebiotics by modifying the activity of the colorectal microflora
Remember SCFA? Well, the production of it is very much responsible for the anticancer effects that would pave the way for this cancer to be prevented. As several studies have shown, a notable reduction of various biomarkers of colorectal cancer was observed after prebiotics administration.
3. Prevention Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The major cause of inflammatory bowel disease is the dysbiotic intestinal microbiota. Essentially, what prebiotics would do is improve the gut mucosal barrier and the microflora, nourishing the bowel wall through the production of, yes you guessed it, SCFAs. Through this, IBD is prevented and that is all because of the work of prebiotics.
4. Relieving Constipation
The major suspect for constipation is intestinal dysbiosis. Through stimulating the growth of helpful bacteria, prebiotics is able to relieve constipation. It always boils down to the start of the event—SCFAs in which the production of it by the prebiotics like bifidobacteria plays an integral role in modulation of intestinal motility. This would ultimately lead to prevention and constipation relief.
5. Prevention Of Obesity
The development of low-grade inflammation is caused by the gut microbiota which disrupts the activity of the glucose and also upsets fat absorption. These disruptions are indicative features of obesity. The function of prebiotics in this matter is to remarkably enhance the gut barrier and diminish intestinal low-grade inflammation. Upon enhancing, it then improves metabolic alterations and in the end, promotes weight loss.
6. Cholesterol-Lowering Effects Leading To Reduced Blood Pressure
Once again, the cholesterol-lowering effects of prebiotics are primarily because of the production of SCFAs. The produced acids are absorbed and metabolized by the liver which results in the lowering of blood pressure.
The work of prebiotics can be thought of as a domino effect: prebiotics absorb fats in the lower intestine; absorption of fats leads to decreased levels of cholesterol; decreased cholesterol increases LDL cholesterol that would potentially reduce blood pressure.
7. Improve Absorption Of Several Minerals
The SCFAs manufactured by prebiotics aid in the process of acidifying the gut lumen which is responsible for the increase in solubility of the minerals in the guts. Because of this, prebiotics can help improve the absorption of important minerals which are also vital in bone mineralization.
Here are the brands I would highly recommend in your journey in taking up prebiotics. These are popular in the market and are highly backed up by experts:
On top of the list is the 1MD PrebioMD. This supplement contains a mixture of strong ingredients including the highly-acclaimed PreforPro which promotes healthy digestion.GET THE BEST PRICE ON 1MD PREBIOMD
Performance Lab Prebiotic
Performance Lab Prebiotic is made with Inulin-FOS. What this does is support the bifidobacterium. When this bacterium ferments the Inulin-FOS, the end product is lactic acid. As a result, it reduces gut pH inhibiting the rapid growth of bacteria and pathogens while maintaining protection of the immune system.GET THE BEST PRICE ON PERFORMANCE LAB PREBIOTIC
Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Organic Prebiotic Superfood Fiber
This is an extremely good choice for those who are looking to feed their gut bacteria. Made from organic acacia, organic baobab fruit, this supplement is currently making trends in the market.GET THE BEST PRICE ON GARDEN OF LIFE DR. FORMULATED ORGANIC PREBIOTIC SUPERFOOD FIBER
There are lots of prebiotic supplements found in the market but these three seem to stand out. These three provided the most detailed prebiotic formula with ingredients that are verifiably patented to maximize results.
Are Prebiotics Safe?
Most of the prebiotics can be taken without any side effects. However, in some cases, here are the potential side effects:
- Chest and abdominal discomfort
- Abdominal bloating
- Gas Excretions
If you have preliminary disorders, it is best to seek medical advice and get personalized recommendations about whether or not including prebiotics in your diet is good or bad for you.
Final Verdict: Benefits Of Prebiotics For Your Health
You can decide for yourself, but we believe that adding prebiotics to your diet can be greatly beneficial to most. These easy to take capsules or powders can help boost your gut health, your overall wellness, and even your long-term brain health.