The Whole Scoop About Prebiotics
Probiotics get loads of positive press from a many sources, some reliable and others, unfortunately not. It’s actually an area of nutrition that’s gaining momentum now, because many different health professionals support their use.
As you may already know, I feel very strongly about probiotics and the very significant role they play in not only our digestive health, but health in general. Our new Perfect Pass Probiotic fits the requirement of what I think is an excellent ‘therapeutic’ probiotic. One that is human strain, which consists of therapeutic doses of bacillus strains that survive stomach acid 100% of the time.
However, today I wanted to focus on our ‘sister’ supplement, ie. Perfect Pass Prebiotic PHGG.
From the questions that I am constantly asked, I’m beginning to understand that few people actually know what prebiotics are, what they do and why they are different to probiotics.
So what are they? What Are Prebiotics? Simply put, a prebiotic is an indigestible food ingredient that encourages the growth and also the maintenance of our gut‘s beneficial and friendly flora, now know as our ‘microbiota’.
Actually, it would be better to say that prebiotics are “indigestible by HUMANS” because, in fact, they ARE being digested. They are being digested by the friendly flora, the microbiota in our gut. That’s what our good bacteria thrive on. So, when we take prebiotics on a regular basis, our natural microbiota gets fed. The prebiotic is food for our natural flora, which are the living organisms that live abundantly and happily in our gut when we’re healthy.
Prebiotics are classified as soluble fiber. This is very different from insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber creates bulk and does help digestive action but insoluble fiber does not feed the microbiota the way soluble probiotic fiber does. Yes, insoluble fiber may speed up elimination but it doesn’t really add anything, nutritionally, in the way that soluble fiber does, particularly when that soluble fiber has ideal prebiotic properties as well.
The particular soluble fiber I’m talking about here is Perfect Pass Prebiotic PHGG. This prebiotic is called a galactomannan. It’s not the same as inulin, oligofructose or fructooligosaccharides (FOS). The great benefit of this galactomannan type of prebiotic is that it ferments slowly and that way it doesn’t result in any side effects that are often associated with inulin and FOS. The other big plus, is that this guar gum does not feed pathogenic bacteria in the way that other prebiotics have been found to do.
Why are Prebiotics so Healthy?
The type of prebiotics used in Perfect Pass have many research studies to validate why this is the type of prebiotic of choice. Here are just a few examples of clinical trial results:
- Improves symptoms in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- increases gastrointestinal flora
- increases fecal bifido bacteria.
- increases magnesium and calcium absorption
- there is an inhibitory effect on precancerous colon lesions in rats
reduces fasting glucose in Type 2 diabetes patients.
We think that prebiotics have a long history of use. How do we know that our ancestors consumed prebiotic foods? Well, as a start, we know from cave deposits found in North America, that there was inulin and oligofructose agave, wild onion, and other bulbs. There’s also evidence of massive cooking stones and big ovens.
Similar cooking pits have been found in other places in the world as well, some of them date as far back as 30,000 years ago. They could have been roasting fibrous tuber. We do know that wild roots, tubers, and other fibrous foods were available almost everywhere and that they were eaten by the local populations.
For instance, the Maoris use almost every part of the cabbage which is high in inulin content and they think of cabbage as a natural aid for diarrhea, colic and other gastrointestinal disorders. The Hadza tribe of Central Tanzania eat tubers year round and all of them are known to have high fiber content. So it’s really possible to postulate that early humans got a fair amount of prebiotic fiber in their diets.
Did you know that Galactooligosaccharides are present in human breast milk? Yes, breast milk contains both probiotics and prebiotics for the bacteria to feed on. Since it’s in breast milk, it seems like there is a precedent for prebiotics in the human diet by design.
A common question asked is … How much Prebiotic fiber should we consume?
Consuming soluble fiber, that is prebiotic fiber, is actually very important. I’m not referring to the insoluble fiber like bran. Because now we know that there’s an entirely unique digestive function happening in the colon. So it’s not just happening in the small intestine. The human colon contributes in a big way to maintaining a strong digestive system, particularly when it gets the prebiotic fuel it needs.
If you find that you can’t eat a fair amount of the foods that are high in natural prebiotics, then think about taking a couple if scoops of Perfect Pass Prebiotics PHGG on a daily basis.
Give it a couple weeks, start with low doses, and gradually increase to about 4 gm (1 tablespoon) twice daily. Be sure to mix it in water. There’s no taste and no smell. And then just watch as your digestion improves.
Here are the Foods that are high in Prebiotics.
Think about introducing some prebiotic foods into your diet. The numbers in the brackets give you the weight of the prebiotic fiber, followed by the amount of food that is needed to get 6gm of prebiotic fiber. Inulin content is altered by cooking but not a lot.
Raw chicory root (64.6%) – 1/3 oz
Raw Jerusalem artichoke (31.5%) – 3/4 oz
Raw dandelion greens (24.3%) – 1 oz
Raw garlic (17.5%) – 1.2 oz
Raw leek (11.7%) – 1.8 oz
Raw onion (8.6%) – 2.5 oz
Cooked onion (5%) – 1/4 lb, or 4 oz
Raw banana (1%) – 1.3 lb
Here’s to a healthy digestive system.