Prebiotics Vs. Probiotics
We’ve seen a growing number of them on store shelves and advertisements ‒ probiotic food products and supplements promoted as good for your health. So, what are they, and how do they work?
Probiotics are the bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut. When eaten, the bacteria enter the gastrointestinal tract. Many probiotic food makers are careful about the health claims with these products, but usually the idea is that they provide bacteria that benefit the GI microbiome – the vast number of microorganisms and their environment in the gastrointestinal tract – in some healthful way.
Probiotics are generally considered safe to eat, though questions remain over what benefits they provide. For example, a diverse GI microbiome has about a thousand types of bacteria, while probiotic foods or supplements offer about a dozen. If your GI needs a particular kind of bacteria, is it even available through probiotics? Can the probiotic bacteria survive long enough to reach the large intestine? Can they colonize and produce healthful results, or do they pass through with no effect?
There are many clinical studies regarding probiotics. The results don’t always address many of those important questions. Besides, even if probiotic foods deliver bacteria to the GI microbiome, that’s not the whole story.
It’s important to understand the GI microbiome’s environment. It’s a microscopic jungle, teeming with an estimated 40 trillion individual microorganisms. That compares to about 10 billion contained in a typical probiotic – a small fraction of the bacteria already in the GI. As the probiotic bacteria pass through the GI tract, those that do survive must then compete for nutrients with all the other microorganisms.
It’s unclear, therefore, whether the probiotic bacteria survive for any appreciable time. If they do, probiotics are active ‒ at best ‒ on their way through the GI. If these bacteria don’t colonize, whatever benefit they might offer goes away as digestion cycles continue.
When modifying the GI microbiome, a key issue is the degree to which your natural bacteria are undernourished. The lack of sufficient nourishment and the GI’s environment have made it harder for beneficial bacteria to grow and metabolize in a healthy manner.
Prebiotics: Not your Average Fiber
Mass production of food over the past several decades has left the human diet with much less fiber. In recent years, researchers have begun to understand how and why that change has negatively impacted our health.
The makers of BiomeBliss, some of whom have been on the frontlines of GI microbiome research, have discovered the answer lies in prebiotics. What’s the difference between probiotic and prebiotic? While probiotics are living bacteria, prebiotics are nutrients that feed bacteria already in the GI microbiome.
Prebiotics are found in certain types of fiber. Since fiber isn’t digested in the small intestine, it passes into the large intestine, delivering nutrients to the GI microbiome. But not all fiber is prebiotic and not all prebiotics are the same.
We also know that the large intestine has a thick mucus barrier that serves as a perfect environment for microorganisms. Prebiotics feed those organisms and sustain their growth. In return, the organisms convert the nutrients into new molecules that serve as chemical signals for other parts of the body. These chemicals, for example, tell the brain that the intestines are getting full, and it’s time to stop eating.
That’s what makes BiomeBliss a breakthrough in supporting the body’s existing, healthy bacteria. In two published clinical studies, we measured the effect on the microbiome in our test subjects who used BiomeBliss, and we compared those result to what we wanted those organisms to do.
The studies concluded that BiomeBliss was effective in shifting the GI microbiome by feeding the bacteria that are crucial to healthy bodily functions. Our product also helped control hunger, promoted regularity and supported overall GI health.
These statements are not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any condition or disease.
Published: March 2, 2018