I hope all of you is healthy and fine in these hard times.
Let's talk about prebiotics. Maybe they can help you overcome those difficult times by boosting your immunity.
I guess most of you heard prebiotics many times in health magazines or daytime TV shows.
If we want to briefly explain them, we can say "a non-digestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, and thus improves host health" according to Gleen R Gibson(1).
If it sounds a bit complex, let's call them "feed of good bacterias of gut" :)
So how we can find them, is it from top of Everest mountain? No, just look your daily foods.
High-fiber foods, including some fruits, vegetables, whole grains and breast milk naturally contains prebiotics. Some of probiotic supplements and infants foods includes them too. Garlic, onion, banana, barley, oats, flax seeds, bran and seaweed are just a few examples of them. Opps Vegan foods :)
By the way, not all high-fiber foods are prebiotics.
There are some criteria to accept them as prebiotic;
1) resistance to gastric acidity, to hydrolysis by mammalian enzymes, and to gastrointestinal absorption
2) fermentation by intestinal microflora (probiotics, we talk about them too, later ;))
3) selective stimulation of the growth and/or activity of those intestinal bacteria that contribute to health and well-being(1)
In short, they must be able to pass through the digestive system without being digested and reach the intestines and be fermented by the good bacteria in the intestine. So there are many challenging stages waiting for our heroes. Good luck prebiotics!
When I starting I mentioned that they boosting immunity with them, but how?
Okey let's go a bit scientific and more detailed. Sorry, but I should do it.
Actually probiotics makes main work. They prevents pathogen infection to the host, and in turn the host provides a niche for survival (2). Several studies have reported that probiotic administration can prevent or treat immunemediated diseases, such as gastrointestinal infections, allergic disorders, and autoimmune diseases, both in experimental models and humans(3).The mechanism is still has secrets, studies continue to explain how it works with all details. As a result, probiotics keeps you healthy and their fuel is prebiotics.
Another important point is the amount! In general, women should be getting 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should be getting 38 grams per day. Don't forget, dosage is everything. As Paracelsus explained " Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy." Therefore, be careful not to consume more or less than you need. Overdose or inefficent taking prebiotics causes many problems, for example, abdominal discomfort, bloating and gas (5).
I tried to inform you about prebiotics as clearly and briefly as I could. I hope it has been useful.
If you are interested in this topic, you can find many research about their effect on preventing several illness like eczema, cancer and depression.
See you in my next article :)
2500 years ago Hippocrates said;
Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.
Value Hippocrates words and take care of yourselves <3
1.Gibson GR et al. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 14: 491–502.
2.Rinaldi E, Consonni A, Guidesi E, Elli M, Mantegazza R, Baggi F. Gut microbiota and probiotics: novel immune system modulators in myasthenia gravis? Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2018 Feb;1413(1):49-58. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13567. Epub 2018 Jan 17. PMID: 29341125.
3.Gallo, A., G. Passaro, A. Gasbarrini, et al. 2016. Modulation of microbiota as treatment for intestinal inflammatory disorders: an uptodate. World J. Gastroenterol. 22: 7186– 7202.
4.Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020