Pre and probiotic supplements have risen in popularity over the last few years. They are sold to us as a means of supporting and maintain that “good gut” bacteria to help promote digestion. But what is the difference between the two? What benefits do they provide? And who should be taking them?
So, What’s a Probiotic?
Probiotics are live bacteria created during the process of fermentation. These bacteria have been directly correlated to the population of microorganisms in the gut. Probiotics have been linked to better digestive health. There are also studies being done that have shown probiotics can also improve mental health by alleviating certain symptoms of depression. Numerous researchers have noted links between gut and brain health.
Other general health benefits may include:
- A decrease in the need for antibiotics
- Fewer colds
- A decrease in gestational diabetes
- Improved eczema
- Fewer vaginal infection (mainly yeast infections)
*Please note that further studies need to be done to confirm all aspects of probiotics and their effects in specific instances.
While supplementation is available, the best way to ensure you’re getting enough is through the food you eat. Probiotics occur in a number of fermented foods including:
- Miso soup
- Fermented buttermilk
- Fermented cheese
- Other health drinks
And What’s the Deal with Prebiotics?
We don’t hear as much about prebiotics as we do their pro counterpart. And that’s because in most cases, we get enough prebiotics from our diet. Prebiotics are a fibrous part of certain foods that the body just can’t digest. This kind of fiber then become food for those organisms in the gut.
Prebiotics have been linked to benefits similar to probiotics. They can support a healthy gut and increase digestion. But there is less research done on prebiotics when compared to probiotics. This means that the effectiveness of prebiotics is still unclear. With the little research that has been done, studies suggest prebiotics may:
- Improve calcium absorption
- Quicken the process to digest carbohydrates
- Support the growth of gut bacteria which may enhance digestion and metabolism
The food we consume is always the best way to get the vitamins, minerals, and other food parts we need. Prebiotics occur in a number of fiber-rich foods including:
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Apples (with skin)
- Chicory root
Prebiotics, Probiotics, and the Microbiome: The Takeaway
To make things a bit simpler, think of prebiotics as food for probiotics. Aka, nondigestible fiber for our live bacteria to munch on in the microbiome. Studies have yet to show that increasing your prebiotic intake truly affects the effectiveness of the probiotics in your gut.
For most healthy people, there is no real need to take (or spend money) on pre and probiotic supplements. Our first recommendation would be to make sure your diet consists of a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fermented foods. If you are concerned about your diet, consult in a trusted healthcare provider.
Pre and Probiotics with Zock Chiropractic
Part of achieving our best physical and emotional health is through chiropractic care and massage therapy. Chiropractic care is focused on allowing our spine and nerves to work to their potential. This results in not only allowing our organs to function but for them to function to their best ability. Dr. Zock would love to discuss your concerns in regard to resetting your health. Her vast knowledge of natural supplementation and body processes make her a great guide in helping you make the best choices for your body. Contact our office in Cranberry today to schedule an introductory chiropractic treatment session. We can discuss your pains and needs as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice!
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.