What are they- a substrate that is selectively used by the host microorganisms gaining health benefits. Or simply put, they are the food for beneficial microbes that live on or in us. They are eaten by the “good” gut microbes for a positive gut environment which helps lead us to better health. Prebiotics are naturally occurring, non-digestible food components that promote the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut. They are "good" bacteria promoters. Remember from the past weeks, that not all bacteria are bad!
What are their benefits- Prebiotics help improve gastrointestinal health. A majority of the prebiotics are in the CHO family, but not all. Prebiotics potentially enhance calcium absorption. Calcium absorption is stimulated by the chemical changes and increases in acid fermentation of prebiotic fibers by various bacteria. They also help in immune function by reducing pathogenic microbes. Prebiotics also have potential to improve bowel regularity, improve mineral absorption, regulate our desire to eat, regulate energy balance and glucose metabolism.
What are sources of prebiotics- 2 common ones are:
1- Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are composed of short fructose chains. They are a type of carbohydrate called oligosaccharides. FOS occur naturally in many plants, which include: blue agave, yacon root, garlic, onion, leeks, chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, bananas. Fructooligosaccharides are subtly sweet and low-calorie. They are nondigestible, so they don’t have an effect on blood sugar levels. FOS may also have multiple health benefits. They are used as a low-calorie, alternative sweetener. People can eat and drink products made with FOS instead of those containing sugar, which spike glucose levels in the blood, and cause weight gain. FOS may also be preferable to artificial sweeteners, some of which have been linked to everything from weight gain, to diabetes.
- Look on food labels for FOS, inulin and chicory root.
Chicory root- comes from a plant with bright blue flowers that belongs to the dandelion family.
Used for centuries in cooking and traditional medicine, it’s commonly used to make a coffee alternative, because it is similar in taste and color. The fiber from this root has numerous health benefits and often extracted for use as a food additive or supplements.https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chicory-root-fiber
2- Guar gum- used in dairy products, cereal and baked goods
3- Inulin-Fresh chicory root is composed of 68% inulin by dry weight. Inulin is a type of fiber known as a fructan or fructooligosaccharide. Plants naturally produce inulin and use it as an energy source. Today, it’s being added to more and more food products because of its benefits and adaptability. It acts as a prebiotic, meaning that it feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut. These helpful bacteria play a role in reducing inflammation, fighting harmful bacteria, and improving mineral absorption. Thus, chicory root fiber may promote optimal gut health in a variety of ways. Inulin can be found naturally in foods, such as: chicory root, artichokes, agave, asparagus, bananas, garlic, leeks, whole wheat, onions, wild yams.
Include more prebiotics in your day by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains such as the ones I just listed. Some more sources are beans, barley, oats, apples, cocoa beans, flaxseed, burdock root, yacon root, jicama root, wheat bran and seaweed. I provided a link for more information on these.
Prebiotics can be included in some reputable probiotic products, but not all are the same. Do your research before spending your hard-earned money.
What are they- Probiotics are live microorganisms- the “good bacteria” -that keep your gut bacteria balanced and provide you with health benefits including supporting your immune and digestive systems and optimal brain function. These active cultures help change or repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance gut flora. This may boost immunity and overall health, especially GI health. The most common are bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Probiotics are known by genus, species and strain. (Check your labels)
What are their benefits- Probiotics
-Help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms -keep harmful microorganisms in check
-Produce vitamins and aid in nutrient absorption
-Influence your body’s immune response.
-help reduce antibiotic- associated diarrhea, manage digestive discomforts, reduce colic symptoms and eczema in infants, help in digestion of lactose, treat infectious diarrheas,
- decrease risk or length of common infections- respiratory tract, gut or vaginal tract
https://isappscience.org/for-consumers/ link for more info.
Each person’s gut microbiome is unique just like your finger print.
Scientists think the factors that might influence whether a probiotic works for you could include your diet, the existing microbes in your digestive tract, and your unique physiology.
What are the sources-
Look to fermented dairy foods including yogurt, kefir products and aged cheeses (cheddar, mozzarella and gouda), which contain live cultures such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Also consider fermented, non-dairy foods with beneficial live cultures, including kimchi, sauerkraut (Make sure to choose unpasteurized sauerkraut, as pasteurization kills the live and active bacteria), miso, tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurts. Also look for dietary supplements and beauty products.
If you add a probiotic supplement, one strategy for figuring out whether that probiotic is right for you is to try a product for about a month. If you don’t see a benefit, then perhaps it’s not the right one for you.
Note: The probiotic should not be freeze dried- live and active are a must. If billions are good, would more be better? - more is not always better. Different strains have different health effects. Choose a probiotic that has research to have health benefits to match your needs. In this case- more is not always better.
What are they- This term refers to the waste left behind after your body digests both prebiotics and probiotics. Healthy postbiotics include nutrients such as vitamins B and K, amino acids, and substances called antimicrobial peptides that help to slow down the growth of harmful bacteria. Other postbiotic substances called short-chain fatty acids help healthy bacteria flourish.
What are their benefits- more research is needed in this area
-Support your immune system.
-Have anticarcinogenic qualities.
-Are antimicrobial and prevent infections.
-Can lower the risk of cardiovascular events.
-Can support oxytocin formation, which helps heal wounds and supports birthing functions.
Postbiotic supplements are not as widely available yet because they’re relatively new as compared with prebiotics and probiotics. However, you can buy them at certain health food stores and online. The easiest way is to incorporate the number of postbiotics in your body is by eating more prebiotic foods and probiotics because postbiotics are their end products.
Prebiotic foods feed your probiotics. The two work together to enhance your digestion and boost your overall health. Postbiotics are a byproduct of probiotics when they eat prebiotics. The gut microbiome science is still in its infancy in the role of prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics. Your individual gut microbiome is as unique as your fingerprint. You must find and feed the best fuel to your gut. Start slow and work toward healthy gut success!
Sheri’s Easy Tips to start rebuilding for a healthy gut:
1. Eat a small banana or 1/2 med banana first thing in the morning. Banana are easy to store and pack.
2. Purchase a prebiotic/ probiotic and begin taking that as directed. If it is a good one, you will start to notice bowel changes within a week or two. If you notice nothing, look for a new one. If you need a suggestion, I have tried many and have a good one.
3. Must hydrate with water and MOVE.
4. Include 100% whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
5. Start cutting down/out added sugars and sugar substitute.
6. Introduce Kefir daily. On an empty stomach- pre breakfast, lunch or dinner (1/2 cup)
can split it 1/4 in am and 1/4 before dinner.
7. Introduce Kombucha- on an empty stomach before Kefir and vitamins. 1/4 c twice daily. You have to find the flavor you “like”. (Sheri’s Kombucha Klub)