Prebiotics and probiotics give the right nutrients for healthy bacteria to thrive in your digestive system, helping you to digest food properly, limit the growth of bad bugs, and get optimal nutrition from your diet for a healthy life.
You are what you digest, not just what you eat. Our digestive system needs healthy bacteria (and prebiotic nutrients they require) to aid in breaking down food and absorbing nutrients so that we can have sufficient energy and maintain wellness. The bacteria that are present in the lower intestine have important roles in both the prevention and development of diseases in the digestive system and elsewhere in the body. So, we need friendly, not harmful, bacteria in our digestive tract.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are substances containing healthy live bacteria, that when consumed, colonize our digestive tract. When an imbalance in healthy bacteria (also called flora or microflora) and bad (pathogenic) bacteria occur in the gut, symptoms in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and other parts of the body can appear.
Because antibiotics often kill both healthy and pathogenic types of bacteria in the gut, probiotics are needed to restore the healthy bacteria. According to Dr. Roberfroid and colleagues, a rise in a specific type of bacteria, bifidobacteria, is considered a sign of a healthy large intestine. (1) Also, the increase of lactic acid bacteria in the large intestine is viewed as beneficial to Gl health.
Some probiotics occur naturally in fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, and sourdough bread. Also, to restore and maintain healthy types of bacteria in the digestive system, probiotics are available as dietary supplements. (2)
What Are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are substances that, when consumed, encourage growth of healthy bacteria in our digestive tract, especially in the colon. Therefore, prebiotics are nutrients for healthy microflora in the gut.
In the past, prebiotics were thought to be limited to carbohydrates that the human body cannot digest, but serve as nutrients for healthy bacteria. However, current research is exploring the role of vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols as additional types of prebiotics.
Complementary Roles of Prebiotics & Probiotics
Prebiotics set up the right environment for healthy bacteria to thrive and function in our digestive systems. If you don’t consume enough prebiotics in your nutrition, eating or taking probiotics may not keep sufficient amounts of healthy bacteria in your intestines.
Foods or supplements that contain both prebiotics and probiotics, such as yogurt, are called synbiotics.
As an analogy to the way prebiotics and probiotics work together, you can think of prebiotics as the soil, water, and fertilizer that help plants to grow. In the analogy, probiotics are plants you want to grow in your garden. When nutrients are present in the right amounts, the desired plants grow, keeping out the unwanted weeds.
Symptoms of Inadequate Prebiotics
When there are inadequate prebiotic levels in the gut, an imbalance of the types of bacteria in the gut can occur, resulting in any of the following symptoms and medical conditions:
- Intolerance to certain foods
- Skin problems
- Abdominal discomfort
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Colds and influenza
Benefits of Adequate Prebiotics
According to Dr. Roberfroid and colleagues, clinical studies of prebiotics have shown advantages in many aspects of health in infants, adolescents, and adult men and women. (1).
Consuming enough prebiotics through food and dietary supplements has the following benefits:
- Raises your energy levels
- Encourages the right balance of your own bacteria in the digestive tract
- Does not introduce bacteria from outside the body into your digestive tract
- Stimulates healthy bacteria in your digestive tract to breakdown food into nutrients for your body
- Fosters absorption of key nutrients from your diet
- Stimulates absorption of other dietary supplements you may take
- Decreases GI symptoms caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the gut
- Helps you feel full after consuming the proper amount of food
- Helps in weight loss programs
- Helps in preventing cancers, including colon cancer
- Helps in preventing type 2 diabetes
- Encourages proper calcium metabolism and bone health in adolescents and postmenopausal women
- Decreases occurrence of allergies
- Results in better overall sense of well-being
Adding More Prebiotics to Your Diet
To stay healthy and if you have symptoms of inadequate prebiotics, add more of the following foods to your diet, according to the nutritionist, Dr. Zeratsky, at the Mayo Clinic and other expert physicians (3,4):
- Whole grains and oatmeal
- Onions and garlic
- Legumes, such as beans, peas, and nuts
- Kiwifruit. Eating the flesh, seeds, and skin of two fresh, naturally ripened, kiwifruit a day is suggested.
Taking prebiotic supplements is a convenient, easy way to enhance your body’s level of prebiotics.
Xtend-Life offers our breakthrough digestive product, Kiwi-Klenz, a powerful, natural, prebiotic supplement extracted from the flesh, seeds, and skin of delicious New Zealand kiwifruit. The kiwifruit extract, Digesten-K, in our Kiwi-Klenz is a proprietary combination of the following 4 types of important ingredients for dietary health:
- Prebiotic nutrients for growth of good bacteria
- Phenolics to help inhibit growth of potentially harmful bacteria
- Digestive enzymes that help break down dairy foods and meats
- Soluble fiber for regular, healthy elimination
This way Kiwi-Klenz helps support:
- Growth and maintenance of healthy microflora in your digestive system
- Suppression of growth of bad bacteria in your digestive tract
- Proper digestion of food
- Proper absorption of foods and nutrients that your body needs
- Normal bowel function to remove toxins and waste products from your body
For more information about Kiwi-Klenz, please visit the product page here.
Your tummy (and your whole body) will thank you for it.
Enjoy a fun yummy summer treat packed with both prebiotics and probiotics here "Kiwifruit and Greek Yogurt Popsicles"