Probiotics have been all the rage in recent years, as research continues to uncover the gut health and digestive benefits they provide. Health enthusiasts are purchasing tons of yogurt from store shelves and ordering probiotic supplements by the crate online, but many are still forgetting a very important prerequisite.
Before taking daily probiotics, you should get to know about prebiotics, and how they can support probiotic activity for optimal digestive, immune, and overall health.
Probiotics are living, healthy bacteria that thrive and flourish in your gut flora. Like us, they need nourishment, support, and energy to survive. Prebiotics are the fibers that nourish probiotics to support a healthy microbiome in your gut.
Most prebiotics come in the form of an indigestible fiber called inulin. Our system can’t process it, but the “good” bacteria that live in your intestines can. After the bacteria in your gut ferments the prebiotic, it continues to travel to the large intestine to nourish the colonies living there in a healthy cycle of digestive support.
The more prebiotics we ingest, the more nourishment becomes available to our supportive digestive bacteria. There are a wide variety of bacterial strains in your gut. Some of these help you and some do not. Prebiotics help nourish the “good” strains while crowding out the bad strains.
Having enough prebiotic support can keep the gut microbiome nourished and allow beneficial bacteria to flourish. These work synergistically with daily probiotics to support a healthy microbiome and can promote digestive, immune, and overall health.
It’s important to take a prebiotic supplement with the right amount of prebiotics to best support gut microbiome diversity, which in turn promotes gut lining health. This allows beneficial nutrients to pass through while keeping other molecules out. As a result, prebiotics can help reduce common digestive problems such as bloating, swelling, and upset stomach.
By encouraging the growth of the good bacterial strains, you enjoy the benefits of good digestion, proper nutrient absorption, regular bowel movements, sustained energy, and healthy weight management. For optimal digestive health, pair your prebiotics with a daily broad-spectrum probiotic.
Prebiotics also indirectly support your immune system, by promoting microbiome balance and strength. The gut microbes make up 70% of your immune system, and with prebiotics, the bacteria are better able to fend against everyday toxins. Prebiotics also promote the growth of lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria, two bacteria known to support immune and digestive health.
You can find inulin naturally in bananas, garlic, and onion, among other sources. Expert opinions differ on the amount you need to take to see quantifiable benefits, but the consensus is accepted on the importance of high-quality supplementation.
A premium-quality probiotic supplement will usually have prebiotics in carefully selected servings as with 1MD Nutrition’s Complete Probiotics Platinum®, which includes added NutraFlora prebiotic, 11 powerful and comprehensive probiotic strains, and over 50 billion live cultures in every single serving.
While prebiotics may not be as widely known as probiotics, they’re just as essential for helping to support digestive function and promote gut health. They support, nourish, and encourage the growth of healthful probiotics in the gut, so a regular digestive routine with prebiotics and probiotics is an effective way to promote your health and wellbeing.