Prebiotics are food for the bowel friendly bacteria. Typically, prebiotics are carbohydrates (such as oligosaccharides), but the definition does not preclude non-carbohydrates. The most prevalent forms of prebiotics are nutritionally classed as soluble fibre. Prebiotics can strengthen the immune system and so reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis during the first months of life.
Prebiotics – what are they?
This is a for probiotics and prebiotics for the treatment of a number of clinical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, diarrhea and candida albicans. Most medicines that we use today treat existing ailments symptoms and only serve a reactive role when we are in poor health. Prebiotics are non-digestible food components that stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial bacteria (known as probiotics) in the colon.
One possibility is to use prebiotics made from natural complex sugars that are already known to improve gastrointestinal health. Whereas FOS prebiotics are often referred to as a "food" for specific bowel bacteria that have important functions in the gut, FOS are of benefit because they stick to pathogenic bacteria. Growing consumer awareness of probiotics is also fuelling an interest in 'synbiotic' products, which combine both probiotics and prebiotics to deliver optimum digestive health benefits.
Bacteria In The Bowel:
Consumption of probiotics, particularly certain species of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, can help "balance" the flora, increasing the number of helpful, and reducing (inhibiting the growth of) harmful bacteria, in the intestine. For those whose natural friendly bacteria have been disrupted by antibiotics or by some other trauma to the gut lining there is a clear benefit in getting the balance back to normal and there is a lot of evidence with IBS sufferers that good Probiotics supplementation can help. More fully the definition for prebiotics is "a non-digestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one of a limited number of bacteria in the colon". Because of the availability of improved technologies, detailed studies of the two principal kinds of probiotic/prebiotic bacteria, members of the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, can be made.
You've probably already heard of probiotics, which are the 'friendly bacteria' that help promote a healthy gut. Probiotics are being heavily marketed through magazine and TV advertising particularly in yoghurt type drinks which are normally full of unwanted sugar. The most common type of probiotics are strains of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, which are found in yogurts and other cultured dairy products. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria which, when consumed in adequate amounts, provide a health benefit as the result of their presence in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Probiotics are also added to a variety of fortified foods and beverages and are available as dietary supplements in capsule or tablet forms.
The Human Gut:
The prebiotics found in breast milk support your baby's immune system and promote the development of healthy gut flora. Prebiotic fibres also act to increase the 'good bacteria' in the gut. Therefore, prebiotic foods are vital to encourage probiotic organisms to survive and thrive in the human gut.
The growing awareness of the relationship between diet and health has led to an increasing demand for food products that support health above and beyond providing basic nutrition. Food scientists and nutritionists have accepted the concepts underlying the use of probiotics and prebiotics in the promotion of health. In fact there is evidence for health effects beyond nutritional value of such products, eg, anticarcinogenic and immunomodulating effects have been exerted by yogurt fractions and cell-wall components of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Inulin is a natural prebiotic that forms part of our normal diet. German research into inulin has shown that it is effective in improving the composition of the gut flora and reducing the severity of colitis symptoms when tested in rats. Foods high in inulin include dandelion leaves, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, bananas, garlic, onions and leeks.
Inulin extracted from chicory roots, where Inulin forms the plant's carbohydrate store, is added to many foods. Alternatively, if you want to follow the prebiotic diet you will need to eat roughly 7g of inulin a day to get your good bacteria working more efficiently.
Prebiotic Foods: Prebiotic carbohydrates are found naturally in such fruit and vegetables as bananas, berries, asparagus, garlic, wheat, oatmeal, barley (and other whole grains), flaxseed, tomatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, onions and chicory, greens (especially dandelion greens but also spinach, collard greens, chard, kale, mustard greens, and others), and legumes (lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, navy beans, white beans, black beans).
The various oligosaccharides classified as prebiotics and added to processed foods and supplements include Fiber gums, Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), Inulins, Isomalto-oligosaccharides, Lactilol, Lactosucrose, Lactulose, Oligofructose, Pyrodextrins, Soy oligosaccharides, Transgalacto-oligosaccharides (TOS), and Xylo-oligosaccharides.
Taking probiotic supplements enhances the chances of these new colonies being made up of beneficial bacteria rather than more pathogenic types. The most common types of prebiotics available in supplements are fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin and galactooligosaccharides. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, that possess health promoting properties and can be defined as live food supplements which beneficially affect the host by improving the balance of intestinal microbial flora. We offer a range of high quality probiotic and prebiotic supplements at great prices in our web store.
Prebiotics should be taken with probiotics as they encourage the growth of these beneficial bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics also encourage healthy digestion, which can mean your baby will have softer stools, more like a breast fed baby. Prebiotics are also know as FOS or MOS, work synergistically with probiotics.