How Important are Probiotics and Prebiotics? Role of probiotics and prebiotics for gut health

By Amatul Ameen | 13th Feb 2023

How Important are Probiotics and Prebiotics? Role of probiotics and prebiotics for gut health

Microorganisms are micron-sized organisms. In human life, within the human body, good microorganisms have a positive purpose. Microorganisms, especially bacteria, are present in parts like skin, body fluids, and the gastrointestinal tract (gut).

The digestive tract has a fantastic array of microorganisms–the microbiome (“Microbiome is a collection of microorganisms, along with genetic information and environmental conditions they thrive in”) has over 100 trillion microorganisms of 500-1000 different species. This wide range of gut microorganisms has solid evidence of their use. While the idea of microorganisms doing good for the body is established, using artificial/synthetic bacteria supplements makes sense, especially for treating dysbiosis (imbalance between good and bad bacteria numbers within the gut).

Why probiotics & prebiotics? When the gut already has good microorganisms?

Why would we have to add more microorganisms to the existing pool of microorganisms in the body? Well, the answer is logical if there are an adequate number of microorganisms, we won’t need more, but when the numbers of microorganisms go down, it’s time when you have to replenish it. 

The best way of adding/replenishing good gut bacteria in your body is through probiotics and prebiotics.

So, what are probiotics? Probiotics are actual microorganisms with proven gut health benefits.

What is prebiotics? Prebiotics are a source of nutrition for the microflora or microorganisms living in the gut.

Read more Probiotics & Prebiotics: Your Guide to a Healthy Gut

Synergistic effect—probiotics & good gut bacteria

The good bacteria in the gut have a decent list of advantages for having them:

  • They prevent a “leaky gut”(intact intestine border)
  •  They help maintain a healthy body weight
  •  They offer protection from many metabolic diseases like diabetes.

What do probiotics do to this scenario??? Probiotics further add to this existing list of these good effects. Hence, we have probiotics and prebiotics supplements in the stores.

The most popular bacteria formulated as probiotics are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.

  1. Research says Bifidobacterium infantis can show a beneficial effect—on irritable bowel syndrome by helping ease abdominal pain, gas, and bloating.
  2. Lactobacillus strains have shown benefits in treating—diarrhoea in children, improving blood lipid levels, and preventing urinary tract infections, especially in women.

Probiotics can have a mix of strains of bacteria or even a single strain. Typically, probiotics have proven efficacy for a particular condition for which they are indicated.

Prebiotics-what are they & what do they do inside the gut?

Prebiotics are the food we provide for the bacteria already present in the gut. By giving the prebiotics to bacteria, we may populate and increase the gut bacteria numbers naturally.

The best food in the form of prebiotics for the gut bacteria is “Fibre”. Gut bacteria have a special liking for fibre, but the story does not stop here! The good bacteria eat the fibre and ferment it (breaks down the fibre) and give the necessary energy to feed and multiply the gut microorganisms.

Prebiotic natural sources

  • Apple
  • Barley
  • Beetroot
  • Berry
  • Chicory
  • Citrus
  • Garlic
  • Legume
  • Mushroom
  • Onions
  • Wheat
  • Oats

Probiotics natural sources

Milk Based foods Beverages Soy products Pickles 
YoghurtWater kefir MisoSauerkraut 
Soft & raw cheese’sKombucha (Fermented drink made with yeast, bacteria, tea, and sugar)Tempeh Kimchi 
Milk kefir 
Natural sources of probiotics

Probiotics for kids

The role of probiotics in kids has been satisfactory, but further research and evidence is being done to know their uses.

1) Colic treatment in children of 0-1 year (infants)

Colic is unexplained crying of infants for long durations. Infants cry for more than 3 hours a day in colic. There is a vast variation in the microorganisms & their distribution inside the gut of infants with and without colic. Treatment with Lactobacillus Reuteri showed a specific reduction in colic disease.

2) Sepsis treatment through probiotics

Infants are the most vulnerable group for sepsis. Sepsis is when the body reacts to an infection in a harmful way. Probiotics have been useful in handling sepsis.

Best probiotic supplements

The best probiotic supplements not formulated as dosage are—milk, kombucha, tempeh, etc.

Conclusion

The significance of probiotics and prebiotics has been proved to a small extent, but further research is required to know how much their use can be indicated for good health and diseases. Probiotics are more popular than prebiotics. This is probably due to the direct effect they bring on gut health. There is a popular range of probiotic supplements at Truemeds. Avail teleconsultation from our expert doctors on our online pharmacy when you place an order for medicines, or you can also download our Truemeds app to do the same. Get branded as well as generic medicines by uploading your prescription on Truemeds. When placing an order for medicines online, you may save more money by selecting an alternative or generic medicine advised by Truemed’s expert doctors. And also, save up to 72% on your purchase and get free home delivery pan India.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of taking probiotic supplements?

Probiotics are useful in treating eczema, treating allergies and asthma, treating and preventing UTIs, and Lactose intolerance

How do prebiotics and probiotics work together?

The combination of prebiotic & probiotic is called a synbiotic. Synbiotic is the combination of live organisms and fibre. They work together towards a healthy gut.

DisclaimerTruemeds’ sole intention is to ensure that customers have access to information that is accurate & trustworthy. However, the information here should not be used directly, and it cannot act as a substitute for the advice of a doctor. The information provided is only to stay informed. The information on side effects, drug interactions or warnings, and alerts are not exhaustive. Please consult your doctor for the right advice on diseases & medication information.

References

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