How can probiotics and prebiotics benefit gut health?

July 10, 2023 2 min read

How can probiotics and prebiotics benefit gut health?

Probiotics and prebiotics are two dietary components that have been shown to promote gut health by modulating the gut microbiome. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can confer a health benefit when consumed in adequate amounts, while prebiotics are non-digestible food fibers that promote the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut (1).

Probiotics have been shown to have a number of potential health benefits, including improving digestive function, enhancing the immune system, and reducing inflammation in the gut (2). Some studies have also suggested that probiotics may have a role in the treatment of certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (3).

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are a type of dietary fiber that is not digested in the small intestine but instead reaches the colon intact, where it is fermented by beneficial bacteria. This fermentation process produces short-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects in the gut (4). Prebiotics have also been shown to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can help to maintain a healthy gut microbiome (5).

Overall, the evidence suggests that both probiotics and prebiotics can play a role in promoting gut health.

References:

  1. Gibson GR, Hutkins R, Sanders ME, Prescott SL, Reimer RA, Salminen SJ, Scott K, Stanton C, Swanson KS, Cani PD, Verbeke K, Reid G. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Aug;14(8):491-502.
  2. Hill C, Guarner F, Reid G, Gibson GR, Merenstein DJ, Pot B, Morelli L, Canani RB, Flint HJ, Salminen S, Calder PC, Sanders ME. Expert consensus document. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Aug;11(8):506-14.
  3. McFarland LV. Systematic review and meta-analysis of Saccharomyces boulardii in adult patients. World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Feb 7;16(5):2202-22.
  4. Rastall RA, Gibson GR, Gill HS, Guarner F, Klaenhammer TR, Pot B, Reid G, Rowland IR, Sanders ME. Modulation of the microbial ecology of the human colon by probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics to enhance human health: an overview of enabling science and potential applications. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2005 Nov 1;52(2):145-52.
  5. Slavin J. Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 2013 Apr 22;5(4):1417-35.


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