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How Probiotics and Prebiotics can improve your Gut Health

Studies over the years have shown that the Gut Microbiota (GM) has a great impact on the gastrointestinal tract, but also over the rest of the body. In recent years, research indicates that GM may help to regulate gut health, immunological function, mineral absorption, metabolic balance, hunger, brain health, and aging.

As we discussed in a previous post , the gut microbiome can be influenced by various factors, including:diet,age, quality of sleep, antibiotics, and other medications that can alter your inner ecosystem. However, it's worth noting that the gut microbiome can also be positively modified by various products and supplements that introduce and support the growth of beneficial microorganisms essential for a Healthy Gut.

This opens up the possibility of using nutritional or medicinal therapies to impact the GM by favoring some microbiological species, rejecting others, or increasing microbiological diversity. It does, however, provide difficulties in understanding processes, defining optimal intakes, finding acceptable health indicators and responder characteristics, and developing effective product restrictions.

What are probiotics and prebiotics?

Probiotics and prebiotics are two types of foods that have beneficial effects on health. Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits to the host. Prebiotics are foods that are not digested by the human digestive system but stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial gut bacteria.

Where are probiotics and prebiotics found?

We typically find probiotics in fermented foods and dietary supplements. such as:

  • Yogurt

  • Kefir

  • Sauerkraut

  • Kimchi

  • Miso

  • Tempeh

  • Kombucha

  • Sourdough bread

  • Some cheeses

  • Fermented milk

Prebiotics are found in a variety of foods, including:

  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables like oats, bananas, apples, carrots, and asparagus

  • Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans

  • Whole grains

  • Fermented roots like beets and kale

What are the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics?

Probiotics function in several ways to improve health. They can help to:

  • Reduce inflammation: When good bacteria digest prebiotics, they produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the body. Also, when you take probiotics, you are adding more good bacteria to your gut, which can help to improve the balance of bacteria and reduce inflammation.

  • Strengthen the immune system: The gut barrier is a thin layer of cells that lines the intestine and protects the body from harmful substances. Prebiotics and probiotics can help strengthen the gut barrier by making it more difficult for harmful bacteria and toxins to enter the bloodstream.

  • Improve digestion & Prevent constipation : Prebiotics and probiotics can help to improve the movement of food through the digestive tract by increasing the production of digestive enzymes and hormones. This can help to prevent constipation and other digestive problems.

  • Reduce the risk of infections : Prebiotics and probiotics can help to modulate the immune system, which means that they can help to regulate the body's immune response. This can help to protect the body from infection and disease.

  • Prebiotics function by serving as food for beneficial gut bacteria. This helps maintain the balance of intestinal microbiota, which is important for overall health.

What conditions do probiotics and prebiotics help?

Probiotics and prebiotics have been shown to improve various health conditions, including:

  • Colorectal cancer prevention

  • Diarrhea treatment and prevention

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) management

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptom reduction

  • Helicobacter pylori eradication

  • Hepatic encephalopathy prevention and treatment

  • Immune response improvement

  • Colic symptom relief in infants

  • Lactose malabsorption symptom improvement

  • Necrotizing enterocolitis risk reduction in preterm neonates

  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease management

How to take probiotics and prebiotics?

Probiotics and prebiotics can be consumed through supplements or diet. If opting for probiotic supplements, it's important to choose a product that contains strains of bacteria demonstrated to be beneficial for health, like: Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus licheniformis, and

Bacillus clausii.

What are the risks of probiotics and prebiotics?

In general, probiotics and prebiotics are safe for most people. However, some individuals may experience mild side effects such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea.

Who should not take probiotics or prebiotics?

Individuals with a weakened immune system, such as those with cancer or HIV, should consult their doctor before taking probiotics.

Our microbiota influence not only the gut but also the immune system, metabolism, and brain. A healthy GM is essential for overall health and well-being. Several factors can have a positive influence on our GM such as diet, exercise and the use of prebiotics & probiotics. Here at METSI Care we have a selection of prebiotic and probiotic products that can help you improve your Gut Health. Our Gut Health Program is designed to help you identify and address any gut imbalances that may be affecting your general well-being. If you are concerned about your gut health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Garrick. He will work with you to develop a personalized gut health plan that meets your individual needs.

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