Gut health issues such as indigestion, bloating, and irregular bowel movements are common concerns among individuals aged 25-65. These problems can significantly impact daily life, leading to discomfort, embarrassment, and an overall decreased quality of life. We understand the importance of addressing these concerns and promoting optimal gut health for overall well-being.
The most effective ways to improve gut health are to follow a healthy diet, and/or to supplement with probiotics, prebiotics or postbiotics. However, if you are going to supplement you need to understand the differences between pre-, pro- and postbiotics and how these essential components interact to create a balanced gut ecosystem or microbiome.
In this article, we’ll explore these key concepts, their unique benefits, and how they can help alleviate common gut health issues.
Prebiotics: Fueling the Good Bacteria
Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that serve as food for probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your gut.1 Think “pre” as in they come first by serving as the food source of the “pro” biotic. Prebiotics are naturally present in various plant-based foods such as onions, garlic, asparagus, bananas, and whole grains and come in supplement form.2 By including these foods in your diet, you provide the necessary nutrients to support the growth and activity of probiotics, which in turn helps maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Why are prebiotics important?
- Improved digestive health: By nourishing the good bacteria in the gut, prebiotics can help improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and prevent gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).8
- Enhanced immune function: A healthy gut microbiome, supported by prebiotics, contributes to a strong immune system by regulating inflammation and promoting the production of essential immune cells.9
- Weight management: Prebiotics have been linked to improved weight management, as they can help regulate appetite, promote satiety, and positively influence gut hormones related to weight control.10
Probiotics: The Friendly Bacteria
Probiotics are live microorganisms, often referred to as “good” or “friendly” bacteria, that provide numerous health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts.3 They can be found in fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, as well as in health supplements.4
Probiotics play a vital role in maintaining gut health by restoring the balance of the gut microbiome, enhancing digestion, and supporting immune function.5
Why are probiotics important?
- Reduced risk of infections: Probiotics help maintain a balanced gut microbiome, which can protect against harmful pathogens and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal infections.11
- Mental health support: Emerging research suggests a connection between gut health and mental health via the gut-brain axis. Probiotics may help improve mood, reduce stress, and support cognitive function.12
- Improved nutrient absorption: Probiotics can enhance the absorption of essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, by breaking down complex compounds and making them more bioavailable.13
Postbiotics: Beneficial byproducts of Probiotic Activity
Postbiotics are the bioactive compounds produced by probiotics as a result of their metabolic activities.6 Think “post” as in they appear after probiotics have done their job. These compounds, including short-chain fatty acids, proteins, and vitamins, provide various health benefits such as reducing inflammation, enhancing gut barrier function, and promoting overall gut health.7
Postbiotics can be obtained through the consumption of probiotic-rich foods and supplements such as Bettergut™, as well as through the fermentation of prebiotics by the gut microbiota. The production of postbiotics is largely dependent on the state of the individual’s gut microbiome, however, and thus the generation of postbiotics may vary largely.
Why are postbiotics important?
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Postbiotics, such as short-chain fatty acids, have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate symptoms of gut inflammation and improve overall gut health.14
- Gut barrier reinforcement: Postbiotics help strengthen the gut barrier, which is essential for preventing the passage of harmful substances and pathogens into the bloodstream.15
- Cardiovascular health: Some postbiotic compounds have been linked to improved cardiovascular health by regulating blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels, and modulating inflammation.16
In conclusion, prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics play crucial roles in maintaining gut health and addressing common gut-related concerns among many adults.
When looking for a quality supplement it is important to consider products that have sufficient research backing them as well as clinical testing to provide proof of stability. The gut microbiome is complicated and sensitive, and it is important to choose high-quality health supplements.
Terranova Probiotic Complex with Prebiotics, for example, incorporates a unique blend of Rosell microflora strains (which have been extensively studied and most heavily researched for their efficacy and stability) as well as specific soluble fibers, designed to improve the efficacy of beneficial bacteria. This product ticks both the prebiotic and probiotic boxes in that it contains live microorganisms (probiotics) and prebiotics in the form of “magnifood” fresh freeze-dried plants and botanicals.
Ceregut™ which contains the same ingredients as internationally renowned Cerebiome™ is another example of a trusted probiotic that contains a combination of two probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus Rosell®-52 and Bifidobacterium longum Rosell®-175. Both of these strains are well researched and have been commercially available since 2006.
Ceregut™ is an example of a specialized probiotic which works on the gut-brain axis and has been shown to decrease the cycle of everyday stress and general stress by 44%. In addition, in a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial with 110 patients suffering from major depression, Ceregut™ was shown to reduce depression scores after just 8 weeks.
By incorporating foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics (or supplementing them) as well as understanding the benefits of postbiotics (which can be supplemented too), you can alleviate issues such as indigestion, bloating, and irregular bowel movements. Making informed decisions about your dietary choices can promote a healthier gut microbiome, leading to improved overall well-being.
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