Can You Take Probiotics and Prebiotics Together?
You can take both probiotics and prebiotics together. Probiotics are live microorganisms that benefit the gut. Prebiotics are plant fibers. They feed and strengthens beneficial bacteria. The combination of prebiotics and probiotics can boost the efficacy of probiotics. We call this microbiome therapy.
Probiotics versus prebiotics
Probiotics are live beneficial microorganism that benefit the gut. They are naturally found in the gut. Sometimes their numbers are being outnumbered by harmful ones. So, you need to replenish them by consuming foods, drinks, and supplements with beneficial bacteria. Probiotics support many functions in the body, including:
- Immune function
- Absorption of nutrients
- Enhanced memory function, and a lot more
There are so many species and strains of probiotics. Each strain performs a different task in the body. There is an increasing amount of evidence that shows probiotic strains work together in the body. It is, therefore, crucial to maintain a healthy balance and diversity of bacteria in the gut.
Prebiotics are plant fibers that are non-digestible. They are the foods sources of the trillions of good bacteria inside your GI tract. Inulin is among the most common prebiotic fibers, and it's produced in over 36,000 different kinds of plants. Fibers are also found in leafy vegetables, cereals, legumes, and whole grains.
What are synbiotics?
Synbiotics are mixtures of prebiotics and probiotics. They work together in the digestive tract. It’s a new term given to probiotics and prebiotics in one product. It may be new, but it has been available in the market for many years.
The benefits of prebiotics
- Production of short-chain fatty acids: Short-chain fatty acids are metabolites. They are produced in the large intestine through the fermentation of plant fibers.
- Immune function: Some prebiotic fiber provides the beneficial bacteria in the gut with nutrients that support immune function.
- Better digestion: Prebiotic fibers are insoluble, meaning they cannot be digested. This helps waste products move out of the body. They also encourage normal bowel movements.
- Weight loss: Fiber aids weight loss by making you feel full and curbing your appetite. Fibrous foods take longer to chew which increases saliva and gastric acid. This causes the stomach to distend and triggering a full feeling.
The benefits of probiotics
- Brain-gut support: Gut and brain are directly connected. The good bacteria in the gut play an important part in this communication process. Also, it helps produce several hormones and neurotransmitters.
- Healthy digestion: Probiotics support proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and normal bowel movements. They’re also effective in reducing the symptoms of digestive problems like IBS and IBD.
- Immune function: Like prebiotics, probiotic bacteria are essential for a strong immune system.
The benefits of taking probiotics and prebiotics together
- Optimal gut support: Combining probiotics and prebiotics enhances gut support by:
- Aiding the survival of probiotics as they make their journey into the intestine and colonizing the intestine.
- Support anaerobic bacteria that can’t be made into dietary supplements.
Fiber and probiotics should be taken separately if you're taking them both. Make sure that the added prebiotics are specifically selected for the probiotic bacterial strains in the formulation.