Pro- and Prebiotic Supplements to Support Digestive Gut Health
The importance of our digestive systems has been studied intensively over the past few decades. There are many connections between the digestive system and other organs and systems in the human body, including the skin, endocrine system, immune system, and central nervous system, suggesting that the gut is more intricate than was previously thought. Numerous studies have found a correlation between gut health and improved immunity, lower disease risk, clearer skin, easier digestion, and even weight loss.
What is Gut Health — prebiotics and probiotics?
Professor Rob Knight, the head of California’s Centre for Microbiome Innovation, says that the microbiome can be used as a predictor and influencer of traits and outcomes related to health and disease. But what is the gut microbiome?
The term “gut microbiome” is used to describe the community of 100 trillion microorganisms (or microbes) found in a typical human digestive system. it is comprised of a wide variety of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. Normal flora is a term for the “good bacteria” that fall into this category. There are approximately 500 different species of bacteria inhabiting a human’s gastrointestinal tract, making up nearly two million genes.
Although it is assumed that microbiomes are inherited, newer studies reveal that they are also heavily influenced by environmental factors such as diet. A healthy digestive system is characterised by microbial diversity. Having a diverse community of microbes in the digestive tract makes us more resilient to the effects of the outside world, which in turn improves our immunity, mood, and the functioning of other organs and systems. Approximately 70% of the immune system is located in the gut, making it crucial that we take good care of our digestive systems in order to deal with the wide range of health issues that can arise.
Good and bad bacteria continuously balance each other out in our body. Normal gut flora keeps harmful germs in check and produces vitamins like vitamin K and B vitamins. These gut microorganisms convert fibres into butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which nourish the gut wall and conduct other metabolic tasks.
Butyrate helps the immune system eliminate malignant colon cells and plays an essential function in glucose and energy metabolism. It maintains intestinal oxygen balance, preventing bacteria imbalance. Propionate regulates glucose in the liver and sends satiety signals, while acetate is important to bacterial development. It’s delivered by blood to peripheral tissues for cholesterol metabolism. Acetate may help regulate appetite.
Probiotics are healthy living bacteria. Live microorganisms, primarily bacteria and yeasts, are in various foods and supplements. Probiotics help by colonising the gut with healthy microbes. This involves balancing “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut and lowering the risk of antibiotic-caused diarrhoea. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are common probiotics. Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, and Bacillus are frequent strains. Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast.
Prebiotics are foods that promote the growth of probiotics. Typically, these are meals that are high in fibre, such as whole grains, including flaxseed and oats, green vegetables such spinach, asparagus, and leeks, and various fruits such as bananas, apples, and berries. These foods are high in carbohydrates that are not easily absorbed by the body. If you let these undigested carbohydrates pass into your digestive tract, they will serve as food for the “good” bacteria there.
The benefits of prebiotics and probiotic supplements
In addition to helping your immune system operate normally, good bacteria can also help keep inflammation under control. Some beneficial microorganisms can also:
- Aid your digestive process.
- Stop harmful bacteria multiply out of control and causing illness.
- Aid the gut-lining in preventing any harmful germs from entering the bloodstream via food or drink.
- Dissolve and absorb pharmaceuticals.
Side effects of probiotics and prebiotic supplements
- Gas and bloating are the most typical side effects of probiotic pills. Constipation and thirst may occur with yeast-based probiotics.
- Yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi contain biogenic amines. Biogenic amines arise when protein-rich meals ferment or age. Amines can stimulate the CNS, increase or decrease blood flow, and cause headaches in sensitive people.
- Some probiotic bacterial strains can create histamine in humans. Histamine is a chemical your immune system produces when threatened. Blood arteries dilate when histamine levels rise, bringing more blood to the area. Immune cells can easily enter the affected tissue through more permeable arteries. This causes redness, swelling, and allergy symptoms such itching, watery eyes, runny nose, and difficulties breathing.
- Probiotic supplements may contain allergens or sensitivity triggers, so read labels carefully. Some supplements contain dairy, egg, or soy. Many probiotic supplements contain lactose, or milk sugar.
The best digestive gut health products in South Africa
Rawbiotics Gut Correct
Rawbiotics Gut Correct balances the digestive tract and corrects imbalances that cause IBS, bloating, acid reflux, diarrhoea, and constipation. Rawbiotics Gut Correct contains herbal extracts that combine with live probiotics to address digestive disorders and restore GI balance.
Solgar Advanced 40+ Acidophilus
Solgar Advanced 40+ Acidophilus is a non-dairy formulation for mature adults, containing LA-5, LGG, L.Casei, BB-12, and TH-4. Each capsule contains 1.5 billion helpful bacteria that live in the lower digestive tract. Solgar’s Advanced Probiotics use polysaccharide matrix technology to preserve live bacteria from stomach acid before reaching the intestine.
Soaring Free Potent Plants – Lion’s Mane
This supplement breaks down hard-to-digest chitin and makes nutrients more accessible. It’s used to alleviate anxiety, promote digestive health, and boost the immune system.
A.Vogel Molkosan Original
Molkosan is a remedy that aids digestion, improves IBS symptoms. Made from organic milk whey, this prebiotic is rich in L lactic acid, which supports beneficial gut bacteria.
Amipro Colon Ecology
This contains herbs, enzymes, and probiotics. When paired with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and water intake, Colon Ecology Supplement promotes a healthy digestive tract.
Metagenics UltraFlora Balance
UltraFlora Balance provides a dairy-free base for a blend of highly viable, pure strains of “friendly” bacteria to support a healthy intestinal environment and immune health.