My article on Probiotic was also a learning experience for me.
I was able to bust 3 Myths about Probiotic in this video ,which confuse most consumers.
Following up today I will be discussing Prebiotic and what their role may be in your daily health plan.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE PREBIOTIC?
Prebiotics are chemicals that induce the growth or activity of microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) that promote well-being of their host.
The effect of prebiotic food on gut bacteria is a common example.
But role of prebiotic in skin formulations to help in growth of healthy skin bacteria is also under research.
Prebiotic with respect to your gut are the food material that, themselves remain undigested in the upper part of your gut and stimulate healthy bacterial growth in your colon.
They may finally be partially digestible or even indigestible.
Prebiotic and Probiotic are friends. Prebiotic is the food material or support media for the beneficial, good Probiotic bacteria in your colon.
Together they are part of a group called functional foods.
SO WHY ARE THEY CALLED FUNCTIONAL FOOD?
Both Probiotic and Prebiotic are considered functional foods.
Their health benefits are more than just their nutritional quotient .They offer greater value than just the nutrient ,when used by themselves or together.
When prebiotic containing fibres are included in the diet ,it not only gives you all the goodness due to its fibrous content. But additionally the chemicals present in it appears to help improve gut flora and overall health .
WHAT ARE PREBIOTICS ACTUALLY MADE OF CHEMICALLY?
Mainly Bifidobacteria promoting , non-digestible dietary fibres composed of oligosaccharides (particularly inulin, its hydrolysis product oligofructose, and (trans)galacto-oligosaccharides) are able to, fulfill all the necessary guidelines to be called Prebiotic.
SO WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF PREBIOTIC?
- Naturally present fibres in several types of vegetables
Food containing Inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides:
Prebiotic Fiber Content by Weight & amount needed to get 6g of prebiotics
- Gum Arabic 85%-optimal dose 10g
- Raw, Dry Chicory Root 64.6% -9.3 g
- Raw, Dry Jerusalem Artichoke 31.5%-19g
- Raw, Dry Dandelion Greens 24.3%-24.7g
- Raw, Dry Garlic 17.5%-34.3g
- Raw, Dry Leek 11.7%-51.3g
- Raw, Dry Onion 8.6% -69.8g
- Raw Asparagus 5%-120g
- Raw Wheat bran 5%-120g
- Whole Wheat flour, Cooked 4.8%-125g
- Raw Banana 1%-600g
Source of GOS or galacto-oligosaccharide
Enzymes within in your body can make GOS from lactose (complex sugar ) present in cows milk.
Other non dairy source of GOS:
- cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, radish .
HOW DOES PROBIOTIC AND PREBIOTIC HELP EACH OTHER?
When the prebiotic food material travels through your small gut, they are not digested.
These after reaching the colon, stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria, which is one of the beneficial bacteria normally present in your large gut.
HOW IS PREBIOTIC GOOD FOR YOU?
- By helping grow , good friendly probiotic bacteria in your gut.Bifidobacteria promoting bacteria , are mainly given prebiotic status.
- They also help in calcium absorption in the large gut.
Their role in inflammatory bowel disease is being researched
Indirect effect due to promotion of probiotic growth:
- Prevention of diarrhoea or obstipation
- Modulation of the metabolism of the intestinal flora,
- Cancer prevention(reduction of colorectal cancer risk
- Positive effects on lipid metabolism
- Stimulation of mineral adsorption (calcium and other mineral absorption.
- Immunomodulatory properties .
Preliminary research has demonstrated potential effects on calcium and other mineral absorption,immune system effectiveness, bowel acidity, reduction of colorectal cancer risk,
inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
Scientific research demonstrates that prebiotics lead to increased production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA).
But more research is needed before a direct causal connection.
Prebiotics may also be beneficial to inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease.
The beneficial effect is thought to occur through production of SCFA.
This helps in relieving ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Prebiotics may also be effective in decreasing the number of infectious episodes needing antibiotics and the total number of infections in children aged 0–24 months.
There is increasing practice of addition of prebiotics mainly oligosaccharides to infant feed.
It has potential to
- prevent sensitisation to dietary sources of allergens
- Decrease eczema
- Decrease asthma
Though there is some evidence that children susceptible to eczema may be helped.
So should you be getting on the Probiotic and – Prebiotic bandwagon?
This is where things get tricky.
Some studies suggest Prebiotic added to infant formula may help.
Research indicates prebiotics decrease allergic diseases(asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema) and food reaction.
The evidence is more clear in case of food allergies as prebiotic promote the growth of helpful probiotic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
There is also some evidence that children susceptible to eczema may be helped.
This brings forward 3 Questions:
1)Should infant at risk of food allergy eczema be given prebiotic ,enriched Formula?
2) Should all infants be given formula with prebiotic to possibly protect against asthma and allergic rhinitis?
3)Should prebiotic be given to immunocompromised people?
1)Cochrane meta analysis data recommends more research before routine addition of prebiotic in all formula.
2)Till further research is made it’s better to avoid usage in premature infants.
3)Its better to avoid prebiotic and probiotic usage in severely immunocompromised patients.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
Probiotic and Prebiotic are naturally occurring, pocket friendly mostly safe.That’s why they are currently the favourite of the health community.
Research in this field is going on but there is no easy answer.
Probiotic and prebiotic seems to have tremendous potential in terms of improvement of gut health.
Their immunomodulatory power, also cannot be ignored .
But all of this needs to be taken in the rightspirit.While not a miracle cure, they are also not just a fad.
Showing promise and needing more research are totally doable objectives.
Disclaimer:The information provided here is strictly meant for educational purpose and is in no way a substitute for professional medical advice.
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