We hear a lot about probiotics and their importance in keeping the gut healthy, but researchers find your gut may be hungry for something else – prebiotics.
Do you need prebiotics, probiotics, or both? What foods are they in?
Read on to learn what our guts need to be healthy and the important roles probiotics and prebiotics both play.
A Healthy Gut Relies on Probiotics
You may know that probiotics are live bacteria in the gut - the "good bacteria" we say. They're crucial to a healthy microbiome, a playground of trillions of organisms in your gut including bacteria, fungi and yeasts, viruses, and protozoa. Keeping the playground healthy requires some seesaw mastery - balance. When there's too many "bad bacteria" in the gut, probiotics step in, eliminate them, and restore the balance.
Because they keep the balance, probiotics support your immune function, control inflammation, and keep you from getting sick. They also help you digest food and medication.
When this playground of organisms gets out of balance in the gut, or anywhere in the gut-brain axis, our mental health and overall health may suffer. Eating more probiotic foods like yogurt, apple cider vinegar or sauerkraut helps.
If you have digestive issues, seem to be sick all the time, or have recently taken an antibiotic, though, you may want to add a probiotic supplement as well. Recommended doses range from 5-10 billion colony-forming units a day for children to 10-20 billion colony-forming units a day for adults. (Please talk to your health care provider if you have ongoing digestive issues or other concerns.)
Prebiotics Feed Good Gut Bacteria
However, adding a billion beneficial bacteria to your gut doesn’t help much if the bacteria have nothing to feed on! A billion more bacteria gnawing away may actually lead to more stomach distress.
That’s where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics are non-digestible plant fibers that feed the good bacteria in your intestinal lining. They’re like fertilizer for a garden. Prebiotics aren’t grown in the body; you must eat them. High prebiotic foods include onions, garlic, asparagus, barley, berries, and apples.
In addition to eating prebiotic foods, a prebiotic supplement can help stimulate the growth and activity of probiotics in the intestine. A prebiotic supports your health lifestyle by feeding the probiotics, helping you eliminate toxins through the colon, relieving constipation, and keeping your bowel movements regular.
To feel our best (and maybe live longer!) we need regular bowel movements. Studies show that “suboptimal functioning of the large bowel may contribute to oxidative stress and, therefore, to increased mortality.” Yikes.
Of course, we’re big fans of chewable Prebiotic Plus, which features Actazin™ cold-pressed kiwi fruit fiber. Not only does the kiwi fiber taste great, it also has swelling capacity 12 times greater than wheat bran to promote regularity. Plus, this prebiotic is rich in powerful antioxidant vitamins C and E. Studies show it can help you feel better so in many ways!
Prebiotic Plus also features PreticX™ Prebiotic Complex with 1000 mg xylooligosaccharides, prebiotic plant fibers derived from non-GMO corn. Prebiotic Plus complements a healthy diet, as supplements cannot replace nutrient-dense foods like those listed above.
If you’ve taken high-quality probiotics and were frustrated they didn’t seem to help, your gut may simply be hungry something else. Feed it some Prebiotic Plus and see what your gut has to say.