Are you wasting money on your probiotic?
How does the gut microbiome affect your overall health?
Did you know that your body is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi? They are known as the microbiome. Without the gut microbiome, it would be very difficult for us to survive. The microbiome has been identified as an important modulator of human health, to the extent that it has been classified as ‘essential organ’ of the human body. 1
The gut bacteria metabolizes nutrients from food and certain medications, helps with digestion of dairy and fiber, enhances nutrient absorption, produces vitamin K, and serves as a protective barrier against intestinal infections. The human gut microbiome is also associated with a variety of diseases includes inflammatory disorders, cancer, and depression. 2
What are prebiotics and what do they do?
Prebiotics are naturally non-digestible food components that function as the “foods” for gut microbiota. Prebiotics feed good bacteria and promote the growth and balance of helpful bacteria in your gut.
In addition to promoting good bacteria in the gut, prebiotics also provide other benefits. Most prebiotics are dietary fibers, which can be fermented in the colon into short-chain fatty acids, especially butyrate, acetate, and propionate.3 The short-chain fatty acids provide fuel for colon cells, decrease cancer risk, help to maintain a healthier gut barrier, and regulate the immune system and inflammatory response. 4
The benefit of prebiotics 5,6
- Keep your gut healthy by feeding and supporting the growth of good gut bacteria.
- Help with weight loss by making you feel satisfied and feeling fuller, longer.
- Maintain normal blood pressure by balancing the body’s mineral and electrolyte levels.
- Help with blood glucose control by changing how quickly the body can process carbohydrates.
- Manage stress via the impaction of the body’s ability to create and release stress hormones. Consuming prebiotics can spur positive cortisol changes in the event of stress.
- Help with regular bowel movements.
- Improve calcium and magnesium absorption.
- Keep the cells that line your gut healthy.
Prebiotics or Probiotics? Eating right and smart.
It is very easy to confuse probiotics with prebiotics. Simply said, probiotics are good bacteria and prebiotics are the foods of the good bacteria. You've probably heard a lot about probiotics before. Now, it’s time to give more attention to prebiotics.
Prebiotics are essential for gut health because the good bacteria need access to prebiotics to work effectively. Consuming probiotics alone without prebiotics may not achieve the desired health benefit. In fact, it may be a complete waste of time and money.
“Without a healthy dietary pattern rich in prebiotics to nourish healthy gut bacteria, optimal benefits of even the most effective probiotic may be limited,” says Moul Dey, PhD, a professor of health and nutrition at South Dakota State University.
Gut microbiota favors a fiber-rich, plant-based diet. That is why you not only have to eat probiotics to reap their corrective benefits but also prebiotic foods: food for your gut bugs! Prebiotics can do more for your gut than probiotic foods alone.
Do you even need probiotics?
The reality is that not everyone does. If you find that you do not have gastro-intestinal issues and feel close to 100% healthy right now, then you probably do not need to supplement with excess probiotics. It’s likely that you already have the necessary bacteria in your microbiome. So at that point, you just need to feed it, and as mentioned above, you do that with prebiotics.
Now, if you are having GI issues and feeling unhealthy you should indeed consider a probiotic supplement to restore your gut microbiota. You will also need prebiotics to feed the newly flourishing probiotic bacteria. As you can see, they truly work hand and hand.
So, if you are feeling healthy already you might want to take something like PureHMO Prebiotic, which is under $20 per bottle and provides the best form of prebiotics available: human milk oligosaccharides.
However, if you believe that you need to repair your microbiome, you would want to take both a probiotic and a prebiotic like HMO Probiotic Prebiotic, which has 100 Billion CFU of probiotics inside plus 1000mg of HMO prebiotics. It’s shelf-stable (very important) and contains these clinically proven strains of good bacteria: Bifidobacterium bifidum UABb-10, Bifidobacterium lactis UABla-12, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus UALa-01, Lactobacillus casei UALc-03, Lactobacillus gasseri UALg-05, Lactobacillus paracasei UALpc-04, Lactobacillus plantarum UALp-05, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
One benefit of skipping the probiotic if you don’t need it is that you’ll save some money! Probiotics can be quite expensive with some supplements priced over $50 per bottle that will last for just one month. Prebiotics tend to cost less.
Find Prebiotics ... in your diet
There are many types of prebiotics. The majority of them are oligosaccharide carbohydrates. Common examples of prebiotics include fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), trans-galacto-oligosaccharides (TOS), polydextrose, lactulose and lactitol.
Don’t be scared by the lengthy words. Lots of prebiotics can be easily be consumed by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The most popular healthy food options rich with natural prebiotics are bananas, apples, cocoa, garlic, onions, asparagus, beans, barley, oats, wheat bran, and flaxseeds.
Babies can get prebiotics from the aforementioned human milk oligosaccharides present in breast milk. For adults, that’s not an option. But again, you can reap the benefits of HMOs by getting them from a supplement like PureHMO Prebiotic or HMO Probiotic + Prebiotic.
- Wang, Baohong, et al. "The human microbiota in health and disease." Engineering 3.1 (2017): 71-82.
- Ding, Rui-xue, et al. "Revisit gut microbiota and its impact on human health and disease." journal of food and drug analysis27.3 (2019): 623-631.
- Davani-Davari, Dorna, et al. "Prebiotics: definition, types, sources, mechanisms, and clinical applications." Foods 8.3 (2019): 92.
- Esgalhado, Marta, et al. "Short-chain fatty acids: A link between prebiotics and microbiota in chronic kidney disease." Future Microbiology 12.15 (2017): 1413-1425.
- Al-Sheraji, Sadeq Hasan, et al. "Prebiotics as functional foods: A review." Journal of functional foods 5.4 (2013): 1542-1553.
- Slavin, Joanne. "Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits." Nutrients 5.4 (2013): 1417-1435.