Prebiotic, not to be confused with probiotic, is a form of fiber that aids in the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics and probiotics work best together because prebiotics extend the life of probiotic bacteria in the body. The majority of prebiotic fiber is made up of carbohydrates that cannot be digested so it stays in the (warning: anatomical terminology ahead) colon and is fermented.
So where does prebiotic fiber come from? Soybeans, oats, whole grain wheat, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and food additives, such as wheat dextrin, psyllium, acacia gum, inulin, and polydextrose are common sources of prebiotic fiber. Studies have shown that most Americans consume several grams of this fiber every day, although most of us probably do not realize this type of fiber exists. Prebiotic fiber not only increases the efficacy of probiotics in the gut, but it has been shown to enhance immune function. Research on prebiotic fiber is only just beginning, but it shows promising results.
So where does that leave us? Probiotics have shown incredible health benefits, but how can we effectively and safely get these benefits? If choosing to take a supplement, look for varieties that contain prebiotic fiber, often called fructooligosaccharides (FOS), in addition to live, active strains of bacteria. I have recently started taking a new probiotic supplement from Silver Fern Brand that meets these standards. The supplement has been tested by a third party lab and cites a great deal of literature supporting the supplement’s formulation. I am thrilled to try it out and I will report back after taking the Silver Fern Brand Probiotic for two weeks–I want to make sure I take it long enough to see the true effects!
Do you take a probiotic supplement? Have you had any results?