What Is A Prebiotic

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why is prebiotic important in your life.
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PRE – [before]
BIOTIC – [life] 

As you might have guessed from the word, Prebiotic means something that is existing or occurring before life.


PRE – [before] BIOTIC – [life] 

 In simpler terms prebiotics are nothing more than compounds in food that induce the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, etc.

Our gastrointestinal tract acts as home to most of these healthy bacteria, This is also where you can find a majority of our microbiome.

Dietary prebiotics can pass through our upper gastrointestinal tract without being digested and end up in our large intestine, Where our beneficial bacteria start using them as a source of energy.

Categories And Differentiation

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Soluble or Insoluble

Prebiotics fall under the category of soluble fibers.

Soluble fibers get broken down in the large intestine but insoluble fibers pass through relatively undigested. It’s important to not mistaken one for the other.

The Saccharides story

oligosaccharides are the main source of prebiotics.

oligosaccharides are then further divided into two categories known as fructans and galactans. Which have been found to stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria colonies in the gut.

Fructans are further categorized of carbohydrates consisting of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulins, while galactans consist of galactooligosaccharides (GOS).

There are other dietary fibers as well that fit the definition of prebiotics such as xyloosaccharides, beta-glucans, pectin and resistant starch.

Benefits Of Prebiotics

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Defend Against Pathogenic Microbes

Besides stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria, prebiotics have also been shown to inhibit the growth of pathogenic microbes in the gut such as clostrida.

Increases Friendly Bacteria

There are around 100 trillion bacteria in our gut. When we eat the regulated amount of prebiotics our gut bacteria thrive and work the way they should.

Helps With Synthesis of Vitamins And Minerals

Prebiotics help the bacteria thrive and in return the bacteria help the host absorb vitamins and minerals better. This really helps in the long run especially when you combine it with other helpful benefits.

Enhanced Immune System

90% of our immune system resides in the gut. A healthy functioning gut helps with the right immune responses. In turn these right immune responses help a little bit with autoimmune disorders.

Lowering The Risk Of Colon Cancer

With the help of enriched fiber the gut microbes produce Acetic acid and Butyric acid. While metabolizing bile acids, Sterols and xenobiotics.

All these create a better environment for the cells, thus making it very hard for any kind of mutation to start.

Helps Control Insulin Levels

Being soluble fibers. Prebiotics help reduce down the insulin spike we experience while eating food.

 Heavy insulin spikes are not considered good for the body. This can really help people who have diabetes. 

Besides these benefits there are many more advantages to using prebiotics which can be found here in our PDF.

How Do Bacteria Use Prebiotics?

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Prebiotics are fermented inside the large gastrointestinal bowel.

A large majority of bacteria consists of bifidobacteria and lactobacillus which break down the substrate by breaking down the prebiotics.

Bifidobacteria also produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) as a byproduct. Which have positive physiological benefits on the host.

The bacteria also produce other different chemicals and enzymes to help the host.

In this symbiotic exchange both the bacteria and the host benefit each other.

Sources Of Prebiotics In Nature

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Endogenous Sources

The best endogenous source of prebiotic in humans is human breast milk, which contains oligosaccharides structurally similar to galatooligosaccharides.

This is also referred to as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs).

HMOs increase the bifidobacteria population in breastfed newborn infants. Not only that but, HMOs also strengthen the immune system and help create a healthy microbiota composition in newborns.

Exogenous Sources

These can be categorized as indigestible carbohydrate compounds which are fermentable fibers.

In broader aspect these are also known as dietary fibers, although it is important to note that not all dietary fibers can be considered as prebiotics.

Down below are some of the best foods that contain prebiotics

A bar graph showing top 10 natural food and the percentage of prebiotic in them

Although there is no universal recommended amount of prebiotic that you need to consume each day.

The recommended daily intake of prebiotics range from 4 to 8 grams. While the daily average recommended amount comes to around 6 grams.

This range can go upto 15 grams per day for those with active digestive disorders or people who are trying to increase the population of healthy gut microbiome.

A bar graph showing the amount of food that must be consumed in order to get 6 grams of prebiotic

The chart above shows the amount of food that would be needed to consume in order to reach the daily recommended average 6 grams of prebiotics.

Prebiotics are naturally abundant in plants and vegetables such as Chicory Root, Jerusalem Artichoke and Dandelion Greens to name a few.

As you can see it’s pretty hard to get the recommended amount of prebiotic in the diet if you aren’t eating the right foods.

To help you get the right amount of prebiotic each day we have made chlorofiber. You can find more about how chlorofiber works here.

Conclusion

Prebiotics are usually not the point of focus when considering a healthy diet but as you can see from the data, The benefits of getting enough prebiotics can help ward off many health issues.

Prebiotics can help you and you family live a healthier life much more easily. Creating a healthy microbiome has long term benefits and advantages.

So the next time you are eating your food, Think about the amount of prebiotics it might have in it.

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