I’m sure that this month you’re curious to know a little more about pre & probiotics, now that you know that they help to maintain your happy and healthy gut.
Remember that probiotics are live bacteria that live in your intestinal system. Keeping your immune system balanced, working well and, therefore, your health in tip-top shape. Prebiotics support the growth of your natural bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. As well as maintaining your natural gut flora and balancing the ‘good and the bad’ bacteria.
Why you need both
You may be wondering, “Is it necessary to have both?” “Isn’t having healthy probiotics enough?”
Well the answer to your first question, is YES. It is important to have both probiotics and probiotics, as they support each other. Even though they may have different functions in your gut, you need to have both in order to have overall good health.
Prebiotics help to protect you from bacteria that can cause you harm, or fungal overgrowth – such as in Candida. This is because they support the growth of your commensal gut bacteria.
They are important in reducing inflammation that occurs in Irritable Bowel Disease (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis); which affects your ability to absorb nutrients and digest food properly.
Probiotics help reduce inflammation within your body, that can cause you to develop other health issues. Problems such as eczema, food allergies, intolerances and constipation.
What foods are they in?
You are able to get good sources of daily prebiotics, mainly in fruits and vegetables. These give you soluble fibre – inulin, pectin, beta-glucan; natural sugars – fructooligosaccharide, galactooligosaccharide, oligosaccharide. These are the compounds which ferment in your gut, producing the SCFA’s; these are your cell’s and gut microflora’s ‘fuel’.
The best sources of these compounds are found in
- Raw salad vegetables
- Psyllium husks
- Legumes, beans and peas
- Wholegrain cereals
- Partially hydrolysed guar gum
Probiotics are found in fermented foods
- Pickled vegetables (unpasteurised)
When to use them
You can use pre & probiotics during and after antibiotics, helping to restore your delicate microbiome. This is because antibiotics do not discriminate between the good and bad bacteria. Which is why you can get stomach upsets and/or diarrhoea while taking them, or even after having antibiotics.
If you suffer from intestinal illnesses, such as IBD, IBS, Coeliac’s, it is important for you to have the right strains to maintain your gut health balance and working well. This is where I can help you, in finding the right probiotics for you.
If you have an autoimmune disorder such as eczema, rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis. There are specific strains that are likely to be beneficial, as studies have found low levels in those with autoimmune conditions.
If you are going overseas, there is a particular strain that can help to prevent you from getting ‘traveller’s tummy”. Or, should you get that dreaded bug, to help shorten the severity and length of the gastro.
If you are constipated, you need both pre & probiotics.
If you have bacterial or fungal overgrowth you will need support from the right probiotics to bring these ‘back into line’, to maintain the delicate and natural balance of your microbiome.
There are many other situations where specific strains and doses of probiotics can really help.
When not to use prebiotics & probiotics
There are also times when you should not be taking either pro & prebiotics. This is because you may be sensitive to components within the food source.
- Lactose intolerance, or milk allergy – no dairy, or milk based probiotic strains. However the right strain, if dairy free, can help.
- FODMAP intolerance – some prebiotics are highly fermentable and if you have a FODMAP intolerance can make bloating worse.
- Coeliac disease, gluten intolerance/sensitivity.
- SIBO – if SIBO positive many prebiotics can make symptoms worse at the beginning of treatment. Certain probiotics can also make some people feel worse.
- Histamine intolerance – specific strains can provoke a histamine response where as others can be helpful.
Osieki, H. (2014) The Nutrient Bible, QLD, Australia, Bioconcepts Publishing