Prebiotics are insoluble fibres which the human body cannot break. They cannot be digested in the small intestine as the body lacks the enzyme that breaks them down , so they travel to the large intestine where they are fermented thereby producing a byproduct which serves as food for the good bacteria (Probiotics). In other words, prebiotics serve as food for probiotics and make them grow and multiple.
FOODS (fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and wholegrains) and SUPPLEMENTS are the sources that can provide the body with prebiotics.
Foods with prebiotic properties include apples, garlic, bananas (especially green bananas), legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans), leeks, chicory roots, cocoa, honey, flaxseed, oats, Jerusalem artichokes, chia seeds, onion, seaweed, leafy vegetables and barley. Consuming varieties of prebiotics foods create diversity of microbiome.
Prebiotic supplements can be in the forms of powders, capsules and liquids. These include Rugby’s Reguliod, Major’s Fibre Therapy, QC’s Fibre Therapy Capsule, Biohm, just thrive precision prebiotic, Activated You, Daily greens, routine, Benefiber, Prebiothrive and Biostile Liquid Prebiotic.
SOME BENEFITS OF PREBIOTICS
- Help keep the gut healthy by increasing the presence and diversity of good gut bacteria.
- Reduce the risk of cancer by decreasing the number of free radicals and cancer cells in the body.
- Help manage stress
- Help maintain good pressure levels by balancing the body’s minerals and electrolytes levels.
- Help maintain healthy hormone levels.
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Increase immune function and lower inflammation.
- Prevent hair loss by promoting healthy scalp and hair growth.
- Help create satiety and promote healthy weight thereby preventing
- Enhance absorption of minerals like calcium and magnesium thereby helping with issues like bone health.
Underconsumption of prebiotics can cause an imbalance in good gut bacteria leading to gastrointestinal issues. Prolonged imbalance can cause obesity, depression, dementia, type 2 diabetes, fatigue (especially for athletes), joint issues, inflammation, high bad cholesterol etc.
Effects of overconsumption of prebiotics may include abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas and diarrhea. However, the digestive system adjusts itself with time. Prebiotics are usually safe to consume without side effects. Seek medical advice if suffering from any gastrointestinal problems before consuming prebiotic supplements.
There is no official recommended daily requirement unless if taken as fibre supplement whose recommended intake is 25g -38g/day for adults. Most prebiotic supplements recommend a dose of 4-6g per/day. Consult a doctor before adding any supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for you and to be sure of the dosage.