I’m talking about Prebiotics…what are prebiotics you may ask?
Most of us health minded people know how important our gut health is and the critical role which a strong microbiome plays in good gut health. Since the Human Microbiome Project Research we learned that taking in probiotics is temporary help. Most probiotics have a transient effect, encouraging a positive immune response. However, they don’t actually grow.
When it comes to encouraging long term beneficial effects for our microbiome, we want to make sure we are giving our microbes the best chance for growth and diversification.
That’s where prebiotics come in. Not only are people starting to talk about them, but they are starting to use them. Clinical researchers are using them in trials and publishing the findings supporting the efficacy of certain types of prebiotics.
Research shows that we are able to help our gut flora flourish, with long term as well as short term benefits. They are able to relieve IBS symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea. This research has physicians, scientists, dietitians and practitioners excited about it’s role in keeping our Microbiome in good shape.
What is the Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics?
Prebiotics are the relatively unknown. Yet, most people know about probiotics. Basically, a prebiotic is soluble fiber. The fiber is found in some common foods like chicory, garlic, and Jerusalem artichokes. This fiber feeds good bacteria and help them to flourish.
Probiotics are good bacteria. Generally speaking there are several strains that are included in each formula. When we take probiotics, we’re giving our gut more good bacteria. They are able to alleviate many digestive symptoms. Unfortunately, the relief may be temporary. The only probiotics that actually grow are those that are human strain because they are recognized by our human microbiome.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are not bacteria, but “food for your existing good bacteria.”
Here’s Why Prebiotics Are So Powerful
Good bacteria in our gut multiplies as a result of ‘feeding’ on this specific type of soluble fiber. That means, when we take prebiotics, we selectively help good bacteria in our gut to thrive and grow. This also helps to crowd out bad bacteria.
Why Are Prebiotics So Critical?
We now have a completely new understanding of how our 100 trillion gut bacteria contribute to emotional health, physical health and disease with the completion of the massive scientific undertaking called the ‘Human Microbiome Project’. The study provided quite a shock to the community at large.
There has been more research on the human microbiota in the past 8 years than in the prior 50 years. It’s an exciting time. This research has given us a completely new understanding of how our gut bacteria contributes to our physical health, mental health and disease.
Now we know that prebiotics act as fertilizer for our Human Microbiome. They are able to make their way through the stomach without being affected by acid or bile. They bring about positive changes in the digestive tract as they are the fuel for beneficial bacteria that live in our gut to thrive on.
Did you know that your gut houses between 500 and 1000 different species of microorganisms?
It turns out, it’s not a few species of bacteria that makes us healthier. It’s having many different species cooperating together that makes for a healthy microbiome. In other words, the more diversity of good bacteria we have, the healthier we are.
What types of positive change can taking Prebiotics bring about?
lower risk for cardiovascular disease
healthier cholesterol levels
better gut health
lower stress response
better hormonal balance
higher immune function
lower risk for obesity and weight gain
Yes, prebiotics work together with probiotics to encourage more significant changes to take place in the gastrointestinal system. They play a huge role in maintaining the balance and diversity of intestinal bacteria. They essentially increase the numbers of good bacteria which crowds out the bad bacteria.
Prebiotics ferment when they are ingested and that’s what the good bacteria in our gut feed on. This includes the microorganisms we already have in our gut as well as the new ones we introduce through supplementation or by including fermented foods in our diet. By feeding these microbes we increase the diversity and numbers in our gut.
How do Prebiotics help heal the Gut?
Once the good bacteria is increased and the bad bacteria is reduced in numbers, it encourages the correct ratio of good to bad bacteria, promoting an ideal environment for our gut to heal.
An inflamed gut or a leaky gut is a condition which may lead to IBS, Colitis or Crohns. If we can increase the health of our microbiome when we start to have digestive symptoms, we may be able to avoid these conditions completely.
Yes, you can heal an inflamed and damaged gut by feeding your microbiome and creating diversity.
What Are the Most Effective Prebiotics?
Historically, there have been several symbiotic formulas that included prebiotics called Inulin and FOS with probiotics. Unfortunately, these prebiotics are known to cause digestive symptoms like gas and bloating as a result of their rapid speed of fermentation.
This is the reason we prefer the prebiotic that is made from partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG). The process of hydrolyzation is very significant because it makes it far easier for your good bacteria to feed on it as the guar gum is already partially broken down with water.
The guar gum that is used is highly purified and extensively researched. It dissolves easily and fully in water and it’s easy for consumers to use.There’s no smell and no taste. Due to it’s ability to break down easily, as well as it’s slow fermentation time, it’s more effective than using inulin and FOS. PHGG doesn’t create the side effects associated with them.
In August 2016 the FDA confirmed that the guar gum ingredient contained in Perfect Pass Prebiotic is within their standard that acknowledges that it provides health benefits. The FDA singled out five types of isolated fibers that they believe have the clinical evidence for physiological benefit to back a dietary fiber type of claim. The 5 that met their standard were guar gum, locust bean gum, pectin, cellulose, and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose
What’s the Latest Research on PHGG – Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum?
Studies on the beneficial use of PHGG continues to be published world wide:
Bloating and Gas in IBS Patients
A randomized clinical study was published in ‘Nutrition and Metabolism’ on February 6, 2016 that was conducted by Niv, E et al. Suitable IBS patients were involved in an 18-week-long study. They were given 12-weeks of PHGG which resulted in a significant improvement in bloating and gas. What was really significant is that the effect lasted for at least 4 weeks after the last PHGG was given.
These IBS patients were given 6 g/day of PHGG
In March 2015, Russo L et al ‘s research on IBS patients with constipation was published in Gastroenterology Sixty-eight patients with IBS entered a 2-week run-in period, followed by a 4-week study period with PHGG. These patients had a significant improvement in constipation symptoms.
Pediatric Abdominal Pain
Ramano et al published their research in the World Journal of Gastroenterology in 2013. It was a randomized, double-blind pilot study that included sixty children (8-16 years) with functional bowel disorders, such as Chronic Abdominal Pain or IBS. All patients underwent ultrasound, blood and stool examinations to rule out any organic disease. The findings in this study show that PHGG fiber supplementation can be considered an important therapeutic option in pediatric IBS.
SIBO Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth
Furnari M, et al conducted a study on patients with SIBO. Where as several prebiotics have been contraindicated for people suffering with small intestine bacteria overgrowth, PHGG is perfectly safe and in fact, beneficial. The clinical trial published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 2010 showed that the combination of rifaximin with PHGG partially hydrolysed guar gum is more effective than rifaximin alone in eradicating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.