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The NatureCity Guide to Prebiotics and Probiotics

Table of Contents:

Introducing the gut microbiota:

Sometimes you just have to listen to your gut, am I right? But, what is your gut actually saying? Well, it might sound more like an arena full of adoring fans waiting for the big show to begin because our gut contains A LOT of microorganisms! They are collectively called the “gut microbiota”. The total number actually exceeds 10 to the 14th power, that’s almost 10 times the total number of human cells found in the body1, making us more microbe than human! So, that would be one REALLY loud concert if the gut was on tour! Well, technically, it would be more of a world tour since there have been 25 different classifications (or phyla), ~2,000 categories (or genera), and 5,000 distinct species identified to date making the gut one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world2. The gut microbiota is considered the most important collection of microorganisms in the human body!1

Gut microbes are active in digestion with subsequent nutrient absorption and are mainly found in the colon. They help decompose proteins, degrade bile acids, break down resistant carbohydrates, transform undigested macronutrients and help create vitamins and other bioactive compounds. This makes the gut the biggest digestive, immune, neurological, and endocrine organ of the human body!1,2 A real multi-talented rock star!

What are prebiotics?

Our gut microbiota does not suddenly appear, but rather experiences gradual growth from birth and ultimately evolves into a complex system as you age being influenced by your environment, diet, and many other factors along the way.1 Our diet shapes the gut microbiota since our gut microbiota essentially “feed” from our diet. Each macronutrient affects the microbial profile in the gut differently depending on the type, amount, and ratios we consume.1,2

Prebiotics are nondigestible dietary components that are selectively used by host microorganisms which create a health benefit2,3,4. Most prebiotics can be classified as dietary fiber but not all dietary fibers are prebiotics. Prebiotics are fermented components, which is not true for all dietary fibers.2,4 Prebiotics include pectins, inulin, oligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), soybean oligosaccharides (SBOS), lactulose, unsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols, etc.1,2,4

Why are Prebiotics beneficial?

Prebiotics have a high potential for modifying the gut microbiota by increasing bacterial diversity and growth of “good” beneficial bacteria (aka probiotics) (like Bifidobacterium sp., Lactobacillus sp., Akkermansia sp., Faecalibacterium sp., Roseburia sp., Bacteroides sp., and Prevotella) as well as decrease the number of potentially pathogenic or “bad” bacteria.2,4

What are probiotics?

The word “probiotic” was derived from the Greek meaning “for life”4 so it’s fitting that probiotics are defined as live microorganisms or microbes that create health benefits when administered in adequate amounts.1,2,4,5,6,7 The most widely used bacteria that are shown to have probiotic properties are the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains.6

Why are probiotics beneficial?

Our gut’s walls are very important to our health, they act as a shield from the outside world aiding in immunity as well as facilitating the absorption of nutrients. If this wall, or lining, gets compromised or becomes “leaky” then it increases the chances of infection, disease, and disorders.1,2,3

Probiotics assist in maintaining the status quo or homeostasis in our gut lining by enhancing the integrity of the gut barrier, increasing the production of butyrate (a short-chain fatty acid), and strengthening the junctions.2

Probiotics boost immunity by reducing intestinal pH, and influencing immune and other host cells directly by producing antimicrobial compounds, and competing with pathogens as well as indirectly via different signaling and expressions. Probiotics also help strengthen the integrity of the gut lining.2,3,4,5,6

What are CFUs?

Since probiotics are live microorganisms they are typically measured in colony-forming units or CFUs3 which represent the number of live and active microorganisms present in a sample or serving8.

Can you take prebiotics & probiotics together?

YES! In 1995, the term “synbiotic” was introduced to describe a combo of probiotics and prebiotics that interact together to produce a combined, or synergistic, effect as opposed to using them separately.2,4,5 There are two types of synbiotics: synergistic where the prebiotic selectively favors or feeds a probiotic microorganism or complementary which influences the host’s natural microbiota.4,5

How to choose the best probiotic & prebiotic supplement for you?

Supplying the gut microbiota with probiotics and prebiotics, or synbiotics will provide a favorable intestinal environment with bacterial diversity. They can be incorporated into the diet as fermented pickles, raw vegetables, fruit, or dairy products as well as supplement formulas and functional food.4,5

When looking for supplemental probiotics, prebiotics, or synbiotics always be sure to choose one that is rooted in research.

Since probiotics are most beneficial when they are alive3,6 it is important to take a probiotic that can survive the treacherous journey to your gut. NatureCity’s TrueLife PB™ are pre- and probiotics that are encapsulated in special DRcaps® that wait until about 52 minutes after ingestion to release the six different strains of probiotics found within which is typically when the capsule is leaving the stomach and about to enter the area of the intestines where the gut microbiota live. The probiotics found in TrueLife PB™ have been cultivated to adapt and survive in harsh environments which further allow them to settle in the gut’s lining even if they were to encounter the body’s harsh stomach acids or bile salts.

All six strains found in NatureCity’s TrueLife PB™ have a sample size of 30 billion CFUs which originate from non-GMO vegetable or plant products (and they’re gluten-free)! 

NatureCity’s TrueLife PB™ has six probiotic strains (Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14®, Bifidobacterium lactis BI-04®, Lactobacillus paracasei Lpc-37®, Lactobacillus plantarum Lp-115®, Lactobacillus casei Lc-11®, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus Lr-32®)  and two prebiotics: fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and ACTAZIN™ – a high-quality extract of New Zealand green kiwifruit shown to support bowel transit time, help soften stool without gas or bloating, offer antioxidant protection and act as a synergistic prebiotic.

As you can see, incorporating prebiotics and probiotics into your health and wellness routine is a nearly effortless way to support your gut health each and every day!

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142822/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8321864/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7838004/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5297585/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622781/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8412098/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926461/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023332/
- Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, LDN
Maryann is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist and a Certified Personal Trainer. Maryann pursued the study of dietetics and nutrition because from a young age she became conscious about making healthy decisions and how they can affect our overall health and happiness. Maryann wanted to become a dietitian in order to share her passion and enthusiasm for all things health and wellness with others and to help guide individuals on a path to a healthier lifestyle. Maryann possesses bachelors degrees in Biological Sciences and Dietetics as well as a masters degree in Food and Nutrition. Read more from Maryann!
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