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Prebiotics, Probiotics & Why You Need Both

What are prebiotics and probiotics? 

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can bring health benefits to humans when consumed in appropriate quantities. Prebiotics are compounds that drive beneficial bacteria in humans gastrointestinal systems. These compounds include vitamins, cofactors, minerals and enzymes. 

Various types of beneficial bacteria are found in the gut and throughout the area body. Some exist to create an unfriendly environment to distract harmful bacteria. Others help in the breakdown of larger molecules that may be difficult to digest. To understand prebiotics and probiotics better, you must first understand where all this bacterial activity occurs. 

Research on the microbiome is still at an early stage, but at present the literature defines the microbiome as all microorganisms that live inside and outside the host. Researchers use this term for reference of all genes and bacteria in each of the individuals. 

The advantages of probiotics and prebiotics 

For our intestinal microbiota to function correctly, people need a healthy combination of many compounds (pre) and bacterial strains (pro) to drive them. While an investigation is limited, healthy microbes are known to offer diverse benefits, including improved immune function and gastrointestinal health. In cases that disrupt the microbiome (e.g., excessive exposure to antibiotics) symptoms such as diarrhea and discomfort in the abdomen may occur. 

Probiotics, in adequate amounts, are often included in treatment regimens for patients with various gastrointestinal systems disease states, including lactose intolerance, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers, among others. The application of probiotics and prebiotics to sustain a healthy microbiome is crucial for human health, and further research is carried out to establish more practical solutions. 

Sources of probiotics and prebiotics 

After the bacteria are grown into large colonies, purified and found safe for commercial use, they can be added as probiotics in the following way: as a cultural concentrate added to food, inoculated in dairy products as a supplement in the form of powders, tablets or capsules in various doses or left to grow or as a concentrated dietary supplement. It is also possible to get prebiotics supplements to support the probiotics. Dairy products tend to be a good source of probiotics. Also, vegetarians tend to eat more significant amounts of prebiotics, eating foods such as bananas and asparagus more fuel for probiotics. 

Who should consume probiotics and prebiotics? 

Although further research is needed, recent data suggests that people with digestive problems such as lactose intolerance, IBS, and stomach ulcers may benefit from taking both prebiotics and probiotics. Probiotics may be a relatively inexpensive method of treating specific gastrointestinal complaints. 

Is there a risk of over-consumption? 

An overdose of probiotics may lead to side effects such as bloating diarrhea, and nausea there are several available strains of bacteria sold as probiotics. In healthy people side effects excessive intake of probiotics will be low, if at all, but in immune-compromised individuals systems, infections and other complications may occur. It is best to consult with when deciding whether to supplement the diet with probiotics.

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