Benefits of Pre/Probiotics
By: Dr. Michael O’Leary PhD
Published on October 23rd 2018
What are Pre and Pro biotics? They have been a “hot” supplement for years now and the more research that is done on them shows how they can have a great effect on our body and overall health.
Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that the human body cannot break down after consuming and entering the digestive tract. Once these fibers have passed through the upper region of your digestive tract, they enter into the colon where more of your gut microflora can start to ferment them thus replenishing a healthy gut flora state. Once these have been fermented, they start to have a beneficial effect on your body. (1) One doctor has explained them to be “food” for your probiotics, as without the prebiotics to replenish, your probiotics would simply deteriorate thus leaving the gastrointestinal tract in a poor state of health.
Improved Digestion – Prebiotics can assist in improved digestion through the reduction of Candida colonized organisms in your gastrointestinal tract. Having a clean and well-functioning gastrointestinal tract clears the way for your body to digest Nom
- needed vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you should obtain from your food. (2)
- Stronger Immune System – Nearly 70% of our immune system cells are located within our gastrointestinal tract. Given that, ensuring that the we have a healthy and stable probiotic state through the intake of enough prebiotics is a key factor to boosting our immune system. (3)
- Brain and Mental Support – For years there has been a reference and research from prominent universities like Harvard to show that the GI tract is the “second brain” due to it being highly sensitive to your emotions. The healthier your GI tract is, the more positive effect it can have on your mental state. Poor gut health may influence negative emotions such as stress, anxiety and even depression. (4)
- Weight Management/Loss - There are numerous connections to weight management and prebiotics. Better blood sugar regulation, less hunger hormone production, and an increased feeling of satiety. A healthier and diverse number of organisms living in your gut determine to some extent how your body will store the food you eat.
More recently, the prebiotic A. muciniphila, which is linked with a fiber rich diet, has been found to be associated with lower levels of insulin, blood sugar, and fat, which would help reduce chances of obesity, and other diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Once specific study showed that those who had higher amounts of A. muciniphila had lower levels of blood sugar, smaller waists, lower insulin levels and fewer fat cells under their skin compared to those with lower levels of A.muciniphila. (20)
While today's western diet is low in prebiotics, and while most doctors will recommend to supplement with them, we can still choose many foods to eat that do contain prebiotics. Eating these foods in the raw form or quickly cooked will deliver a great amount of prebiotics to your body.
- Apples (w/ peel)
- Citrus fruits
While it’s difficult to obtain enough prebiotics from our daily western diet, a great way to make up the difference is through supplements that contain high quality prebiotics. You can find more of those within the Pure Life Select store.
Now what about probiotics, as these have been an ever so popular for the past number of years and rightfully so.
According to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) probiotics are “live microorganisms” or bacteria's that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat and fight infections within body. (5) (6)
We often think of bacteria as harmful to our body, but these actually keep us working properly and healthy.
Going back in time, not too long ago, our foods contained plenty of probiotics due to farming practices and fermentation that kept food from spoiling. However, with new agricultural practices and technology (refrigeration, much of our food is completely void of probiotics.
- Healthy Skin – Numerous meta-analyses have shown that the use of probiotics can be beneficial for dermatitis, eczema and acne. The specific probiotic L. casei has been shown to reduce antigen specific skin inflammation. Overall there is strong research to show the link between a balanced gut environment and healthy human skin. (10) (11) (12)
- Lowering of Blood Pressure – Medical researchers are now considering probiotics to be valuable prospects for treatment in those with high blood pressure due to their terrific results and minimal or non-existent side effects. One study showed that the intake of probiotics for at least 8 weeks improved the participants’ blood pressure, by improving their lipid profiles, reducing insulin resistance and regulating their renin levels. (13) (14)
- Weight and Fat Loss – Through numerous research studies the medical community has found that probiotics can work in a number of different ways to assist in weight loss. Some probiotics prevent the absorption of fats into the intestine, while others increase the level of GLP-1, a hormone that will have you feeling fuller longer. One study showed that in women who took Lactobacillus Rhamnosus for 3 months lost 50% more weight than those women who didn't take a probiotic (15) (16) (17) (18) (20)
- Dental Health – While more research is needed, one European study conducted in 2009 showed a direct link between the prevention of cavities and probiotic therapy. (19)
With all of these benefits, where can we naturally find probiotics? Again, similar to prebiotics, this is a difficult task to accomplish in our regular western diets. Fermented products are often high in probiotics, so eating foods such as sauerkraut or yogurt are best. Even making your own homemade yogurt is beneficial as you can control what it contains.
Supplements are again a fantastic way to add more beneficial probiotics and prebiotics into your diet. When selecting a product, be sure to look for a minimum of at least 1 billion CFU’s per serving. Most products on the current market will range between 1 - 10 billion CFU’s, and anywhere within that range is a safe and healthy choice.
A great selection of prebiotics can again be found within the Prima Pure Life Select store.