Prebiotic Fiber in maintaining the health of gut bacteria

Prebiotics are soluble fiber compounds that pass undigested through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the growth of microorganisms that colonize the lower intestinal tract. Although indigestible in humans they create an environment that is optimal for probiotic bacteria to grow on, acting as a kind of substrate fertilizer for the microflora. When consumed, prebiotic fibers are fermented in the large intestine by the bacteria that live there. The fermentation produces byproducts in the form of small chain fatty acids that the good bacteria feed on to grow and proliferate. Not only does the prebiotic fiber strengthen and significantly increase the good bacteria. It helps suppress the disease causing bacteria, promoting an optimal environment for good digestive health.

They have found that bacteria that call the colon home are incredibly important to wellness. The healthy microflora that live there help digest food, strengthen the bowel wall, improve mineral absorption, boost immunity to viruses and aid in regulation of hormone production.

In some ways probiotics are unnecessary for healthy individuals who consistently ingest prebiotics. For this reason eating foods rich in prebiotics are better than taking probiotics for most people. In research and clinical studies many people find that prebiotics gives them satiety by making them feel fuller, faster. Therefore people trying to maintain a healthy weight or loss weight should take or eat prebiotics with their meals.

According to the Institute of Medicine it is recommended that female adults 50 years and younger should consume 25 grams of fiber and men 38 grams of fiber daily. Over 50 years old, women should consume 21 grams and men 30 grams of fiber daily. While there is no broad consensus on the ideal daily serving of soluble prebiotic fiber in this dietary fiber total. Recommendations typically range from 4 to 8 grams of this to be in prebiotic form to support digestive health.

The difference between the two fibers is, Insoluble fiber isn’t broken down by the gut and absorbed into the bloodstream. It adds bulk to waste in the digestive system, which helps keep you regular and prevent constipation.

Soluble prebiotic fiber is soft and sticky, and absorbs water to form a gel-like substance inside the digestive system. Soluble fiber helps soften stool so it can slide through the GI tract more easily. It also binds to substances like cholesterol and sugar, preventing or slowing their absorption into the blood. That’s why it’s known to help regulate blood sugar levels, and protect against heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol. This is in addition to feeding the microflora that live in the lower digestive tract.

The top ten foods containing prebiotics in dry form are. Gum Arabic 85%, Chicory root 64.6%, Jerusalem artichoke 31.5%, Dandelion greens 24.3%, Garlic 17.5%, Leek 11.7%, Onion 8.6%, Asparagus 5%, Wheat bran 5% and Whole Wheat flour cooked at 4.8%. Many other foods contain prebiotic fiber as well including Bananas, Apple skins, Beans and even Honey.

SPI Group carries several prebiotic fibers including an organic inulin from Intrinsic made from Jerusalem artichoke and another inulin from Beneo called Orafti GR made from chicory root. We also have one from DuPont called Litesse Ultra made from polydextrose.

Please contact your local SPI representative for specification sheets and a sample. Or call our office at 510-351-8012.

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