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Probiotics May Improve the Effects of Prebiotics

Prebiotics serve as food for probiotics, which are best known for improving gut health. A recent study suggests that taking a specific probiotic strain may boost the effects of prebiotics, compared to taking just prebiotics.

Gut populations of beneficial microbes show a marked decline as we age. For their study, the researchers recruited six healthy mature adults. They were given 10 million colony-forming units per day of BC30 probiotic supplements. The researchers then took fecal samples from the volunteers to test in single stage batch culture anaerobic fermenters. They were then exposed to two different prebiotics: galactooligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides.

The researchers found that beneficial bacteria, including Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Clostridium litusburense and Bacillus spp., increased more in the fecal samples of participants exposed to the prebiotics, when compared with the placebo.

Researchers from The University of Reading of the UK conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 16, 2014, in the journal Anearobe.

Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates that nourish probiotics. Probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, however they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including supporting a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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