Prebiotics and Probiotics: what are they and why do you need them?
Posted on 19th Dec 2017 @ 6:09 AM
With over 60 million of the US population suffering with digestive issues (National Institutes of Health, 2010), we are constantly trying to find ways to reduce, or eliminate, this problem. It’s a lot easier said than done, and with the large variety of products and advice available, it’s hard to know which treatment options to try. Here at Digestive Advantage, we wanted to cover off some basic questions around prebiotics and probiotics: what are they, and what are the benefits?
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live, healthy bacteria found in yogurts and other dairy products, and are also available in pill form. The good bacteria found in probiotics is thought to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut. One thing to consider with probiotics is that they are delicate, and therefore heat and stomach acid may kill them, so that less of them will reach to the lower intestine alive, where they are supposed to reside in. While probiotics have been shown to be effective in managing certain gastrointestinal conditions when consumed alone, adding prebiotics can promote good bacterial and confer some health benefits.
What are Prebiotics?
While probiotics introduce good bacteria into the digestive tract, prebiotics act as a fertilizer for existing good bacteria. Essentially the prebiotics feed the natural good bacteria in the digestive tract by acting as a ‘food’ for them (Food Research International, 2010).
By combining both probiotics and prebiotics together, there is a higher chance of multiplying and maintaining good bacteria in your gut.
The benefits of prebiotics and probiotics working together
There are many benefits of probiotics and prebiotics working together to support the digestive system. Our new product, Digestive Advantage® Prebiotic Fiber + Daily Probiotic, available Spring 2018, includes both prebiotics and the Digestive Advantage probiotic that survives 100x better than leading probiotics‡. When these are combined, they work naturally together to promote overall digestive health*.
Probiotics add to the natural good bacteria lost due to contributing factors such as poor diet and stress. Prebiotics act as a food for the good bacteria, allowing it to flourish and grow. When these are combined, they can help support the health of digestive and immune system.
Why it’s important to maintain a balanced digestive system
Your gut can be thought of as your body’s ‘second brain’ (Scientific American, 2010), and the effects of gastrointestinal difficulties can impact on other parts of the body. Studies show there is a strong correlation between our digestive health and mental health, and that excessive levels of bad bacteria in the digestive tract can contribute towards depression and anxiety (Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 2014). Gut bacteria also plays a part in looking after the immune system, and sends signals to the intestines and vice versa. Therefore, if your digestive system is hosting too much bad bacteria, your immune system will also suffer.
Using both prebiotics and probiotics will help you maintain a healthy balanced digestive system by feeding the natural good bacteria and supplementing it with further good bacteria. Maintaining a healthy gut can have huge benefits for your body and mind; Digestive Advantage daily probiotic supports overall digestive and immune health*.
Food Research International (2010) Importance of Food in Prebiotic Efficacy
National Institutes of Health (2010) Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States
Neurogastroenterology & Motility (2014) Correlation Between the Human Fecal Microbiota and Depression
Scientific America (2010) Think twice: How the guts “second brain” influences mood and well-being