Can prebiotic supplements be taken with probiotics?

May 12, 2023 4 min read

Can prebiotic supplements be taken with probiotics?

Prebiotic supplements and probiotics are two types of supplements commonly used to promote gut health. While prebiotics are non-digestible dietary fibers that stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut, probiotics are live microorganisms that confer health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. While both supplements can be beneficial on their own, there is growing interest in the potential synergistic effects of combining them.

Here are 6 reasons why prebiotic supplements can be taken with probiotics:

  1. Enhance probiotic survival: Prebiotics can act as a food source for probiotics, promoting their growth and survival in the gut. In particular, some prebiotic fibers have been shown to increase the survival of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, two common types of probiotics, in the digestive tract.
  2. Boost colonization: Prebiotics can also enhance the colonization of probiotics in the gut. By providing a favorable environment for the growth of beneficial bacteria, prebiotic fibers can increase the number of probiotic organisms that take up residence in the gut.
  3. Increase diversity: The combination of prebiotic supplements and probiotics may lead to an increase in gut microbial diversity. This can be beneficial because greater microbial diversity has been associated with a lower risk of certain diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease and type 2 diabetes.
  4. Improve immune function: The use of prebiotics in combination with probiotics may also have positive effects on immune function. Some studies have shown that the combination of prebiotics and probiotics can enhance the production of immunoglobulin A (IgA), a type of antibody that plays a key role in the immune response.
  5. Reduce side effects: Probiotics can sometimes cause digestive discomfort, such as bloating and gas. The use of prebiotics in combination with probiotics may help alleviate these side effects. Prebiotic fibers can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which can help regulate gut motility and reduce bloating and gas.
  6. Synergistic effect: Finally, the combination of prebiotics and probiotics may have a synergistic effect on gut health. By working together, prebiotics and probiotics can enhance the overall health of the gut microbiota and promote a healthy gut environment.

Overall, prebiotic supplements can be safely taken with probiotics and may provide several potential health benefits. However, it is important to note that the effects of combining these supplements may vary depending on the specific strains and types of prebiotics and probiotics used. For example, HMO prebiotics are more selectively for Bifidobacterium, Akkermansia, Faecalibacterium, etc.

References:

Holscher, H. D. (2017). Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. Gut Microbes, 8(2), 172-184. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1290756

Kellow, N. J., & Coughlan, M. T. (2015). Reid's paradox revisited: new insights into bifidogenic effects of glycan-derived prebiotics. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, 26(1), 26391. doi: 10.3402/mehd.v26.26391

Gibson, G. R., Hutkins, R., Sanders, M. E., Prescott, S. L., Reimer, R. A., Salminen, S. J., ... & Scott, K. (2017). Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 14(8), 491-502. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2017.75

Singh, R. K., Chang, H. W., Yan, D., Lee, K. M., Ucmak, D., Wong, K., ... & Liao, W. (2017). Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. Journal of Translational Medicine, 15(1), 73. doi: 10.1186/s12967-017-1175-y

Plaza-Díaz, J., Ruiz-Ojeda, F. J., Vilchez-Padial, L. M., Gil, A., & Gómez-Llorente, C. (2019). Prebiotics and probiotics in maternal dietary intervention and its impact on pregnancy outcome and infant health: a review. Advances in Nutrition, 10(suppl_1), S37-S45. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmy080

Kleessen B, et al. Inulin and oligofructose modulate gut microbiota, lipid metabolism and mineral absorption in rats. J Nutr. 1997 Jul;127(7):1435-41. doi: 10.1093/jn/127.7.1435. PMID: 9202073.

Kim CH, et al. Modulation of microbiota by dietary fiber reduces colitis-associated colorectal cancer in mice. Gastroenterology. 2015 Feb;138(2):162-75.e1-3. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2014.09.067. Epub 2014 Oct 9. PMID: 25305523.

Bindels LB, et al. Resistant maltodextrin and fructooligosaccharides promote gut health and prevent microbiota dysbiosis in a rat model of antibiotic treatment. ISME J. 2015 Jul;9(7):1665-78. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2015.1. Epub 2015 Feb 3. PMID: 25646594.

Qin J, et al. A metagenome-wide association study of gut microbiota in type 2 diabetes. Nature. 2012 Oct 4;490(7418):55-60. doi: 10.1038/nature11450. Epub 2012 Aug 8. PMID: 22859206.

Pascal V, et al. A microbial signature for Crohn's disease. Gut. 2017 Apr;66(4):813-822. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309990. Epub 2016 May 19. PMID: 27196596.

Iwabuchi N, et al. Effects of oral administration of Bifidobacterium breve on fecal lactic acid and short-chain fatty acids in low birth weight infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2007 May;44(5):252-7. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3180319a5a. PMID: 17460500.

Van der Aa LB, et al. Supplementation of a dairy-based infant food with probiotics and prebiotics: formulation, preparation, and storage stability. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Aug;80(2):441-4. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/80.2.441. PMID: 15277163.

Gibson GR, et al. Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: updating the concept of prebiotics. Nutr Res Rev. 2010 Jun;23(1):65-85. doi: 10.1017/S0954422410000077. PMID: 20565999.

Kechagia M, et al. Health benefits of probiotics: a review. ISRN Nutr. 2013 Dec 22;2013:481651. doi: 10.5402/2013/481651. PMID: 24959531; PMCID: PMC4045285.


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