Are prebiotics different from probiotics? Should I have both or either one will make me healthy? Which foods contain both? Which is more important for my gut? Let us find out the science-backed answers to these and more questions.
Back in the 1970s and 80s, Yale laboratories conducted a study to understand the relationship between the gut bacteria and liquids that entered the gut. They found that the ecology inside our gut is made up of microorganisms that live there and the nutrients that these organisms feed on, i.e. microecology = dietary fiber + probiotics + prebiotics. This microecology is very dynamic, always active, and constantly changing based on the food ingested by the person.
For example, if a person ingests large amounts of the prebiotic inulin (found in 36,000 species of plants), they can stimulate the growth of some bifidobacteria, which are essential to intestinal health and affect bowel movements, particularly constipation.
All this science talk means that we are what we eat and eating foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, which in turn has a positive impact on the functioning of the whole body, protecting it from pathogens and keeping us in a good mood.
Let's delve deeper...
- It is a naturally occurring, non-digestible food component, mainly non-digestible carbohydrate. Note that all fiber is not prebiotic, and all prebiotics are not fiber; the common element between them is that neither is digestible by human enzymes but are fermented and digested by the microbiota of the intestine.
- Upon ingestion, it moves through the GI tract untouched, until it reaches the colon where it is fermented, resulting in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which feed the colonies of gut bacteria.
- In addition to feeding the gut microorganism, they also help in absorption of minerals like calcium.
- Most common prebiotic types are a subset of carbohydrate groups and are mostly oligosaccharide carbohydrates (OSCs). For example: fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), and trans-galacto-oligosaccharides (TOS).
- Supplements – Good option as it is easier to formulate and produce for a diverse population, has negligible side effects, and does not need cold storage.
- They are the good bacteria or live cultures living inside the human gut.
- They help repopulate or change the composition of gut bacteria to balance gut flora. This function boosts immunity and overall health, especially the GI health.
- Human diet is the chief source of energy for their growth; quality and diversity of foods in the diet has a major impact on the balance of the gut flora.
- Common species of probiotics are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. Food labels usually abbreviate them and combine with common strains: B. animalis, B. breve, B. lactis, B. longum, L. acidophilus, L. reuteri.
- Supplements – Hard to develop effective and diverse probiotics to satisfy the needs of gut microbiota in various populations in various countries, and even in different individuals. Also, cold storage is necessary to keep it alive.
Common natural sources of:
The effects probiotics and prebiotics have on the human body is undeniable. Numerous scientific studies have proven their ability to fight against cancer, vascular diseases, obesity, and mental disorders, and have a positive impact on our general well-being. So get in touch with your gut bacteria today, feed it some tasty kombucha and ferments and feel the best you can feel!
Booch offers several fermented products in addition to our signature kombucha and jun drinks to help you strengthen your gut biome, and they are all made with fresh, organic ingredients sourced from local farmers.