Prebiotics are the oft forgotten step-child of the microbiome. Even I’m guilty of over-looking them to proudly promote probiotics. Without prebiotics, there would be no probiotics, we’d all be screwed, our good gut bacteria wouldn’t thrive and our health would be kaput!
It can be tough to survive the rigidly acid environment of the stomach. Prebiotics boost survival rates of probiotics, repopulating good bacteria more beneficially than a probiotic supplement may be able to. Prebiotics nourish probiotics, they feed them the nutrients they need to grow into good bacteria and hard gut workers. They share the “biotic” and sound similar, but are very different and have unique roles in the gut.
The Pre’s & Pro’s of Biotics…
Prebiotics are found in fiber while probiotics are found in fermented foods.
Prebiotics nourish and feed probiotics, making them flourish and grow while probiotics are good bacteria living in your gut biome.
Prebiotics are nutrients while probiotics are bacteria that feast on these nutrients.
Note: You can load up on all the probiotic supplements you can get your hands on, but without prebiotics it won’t be of much benefit. A diet rich in fruits, whole grains, vegetables (foods with fructans, inulin, and oligosaccharides) will give your flora food to feed on and keep it thriving.
- Increase levels of beneficial bacteria
- Reduce levels of unbeneficial (bad) bacteria
- Increase mineral absorption (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium)
- Are nourishing nutrients for existing bacteria
- Can relive constipation and prevent diarrhea
- Increase bioavailbilty of minerals
- Can be found in supplement form, just like probiotics, in particular in fiber supplements
- All those amazing benefits of probiotics, like decreased anxiety, immunity system boosts, weight maintenance, reduced risk for disease, improved digestion…those wouldn’t exist without prebiotics either!
Prebiotic Boost Your Diet
For a person of average health, prebiotics are a must nutrient. Adding in prebiotic foods or a high quality prebiotic supplement will foster the happy family of bacteria that your gut needs to grow.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Soybeans (tempeh, edamame)
- Chicory root
- Dandelion Greens
- Endive and Radicchio
- Prebiotic supplements, like Pure Encapsulations
It is important to note, that for those with digestive issues such as SIBO, prebiotics can be a blessing or a curse, sometimes symptoms improve, but unfortunately sometimes symptoms worsen as the stomach can be aggravated by prebiotic rich foods.Check with your doctor before loading up on prebiotic foods or taking prebiotic supplements if you have any digestive concerns or issues.