You must have heard a lot about probiotics. But do you know what prebiotics are and what the difference is between the two? Prebiotics are
non-digestible carbohydrates and fibres that are fermentable. They stimulate the growth of good bacteria in our digestive systems, such as
the Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacterium species. When prebiotics are fermented by microflora in our gastrointestinal tract, they produce
short chain fatty acids, or SCFA. These fatty acids feed and nourish the cells along the intestinal lining.
Prebiotics are an integral part of the diet, as it has been shown to benefit the gut microbiota the most. Microbiota include a vast number
of microbial organisms and live within the gastrointestinal tract. The help digest food, balance pathogens and modulate the immune system.
Often in chronic diseases these changes in balance of microbiota can be seen within a comprehensive digestive
The microflora, the immune defenses, and the physiological structure all work with each other, communicating in a symbiotic relationship, to
protect the whole body. Prebiotics and probiotics together work to strengthen the internal terrain of the GIT and assist in the balancing of
the system. Probiotics improve gastrointestinal health, by supplementing the body with good bacteria strains, and the prebiotic help feed
the probiotics to support their work.
As prebiotics are fermented, resulting to SCFA, these acids become an energy source and improves the pH of the gastrointestinal pH. In turn,
pathogenic organisms are reduced as the internal environment is modulated with optimal balance. SCFA can also reduce inflammation which
exists in many autoimmune conditions, inflammatory bowel disease and even allergies.
Prebiotics have also been known to help in mineral absorption, especially of iron, calcium, vitamin D and magnesium.
What are Larch Arabinogalactans?
Larch arabinogalactans are a complex carbohydrate, and a helpful prebiotic. They have been shown to help with the fermentation process,
increasing the growth of good bacteria, or microflora, particularly, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Enterobacteriaceae.
They assist probiotic microorganisms in adhering to the gastrointestinal wall. Larch arabinogalactans also promotes SCFA production in the
bowel which is used for fuel by the cells in the GIT.
Slippery Elm As A Prebiotic
Slippery elm is a herbal medicine is is taken from a bark of a tree. It contain high levels of mucilage, and is often used for its
restorative and inflammation-relieving properties inside the gastrointestinal tract, and protection against gastric acid. Slippery elm
promotes the secretion of mucous within the tract by stimulating nerve endings, in turn, decreasing irritation. Since mucilages are made up
of saccharide that protect the digestive enzymes from degradation, these compounds, the mucilages, may be considered as a partial prebiotic.
Often slippery elm is combined with probiotics to give a better result for gastrointestinal conditions.
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