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Probiotics and Prebiotics Work Together in a Synbiotic Relationship

There is another product in the gut health section that may have caught your attention, called a Synbiotic. It is a relatively new term coined in 1995 by a group of scientists. But what is Synbiotic?


What is Synbiotic?


Synbiotics refer to a combination of prebiotics and probiotics all in one product. Scientists define them as a mix of live micro-organisms and substrates that confer health benefits to the host by selectively consuming them.

Although the term synbiotic is relatively new, supplements containing blends of both probiotics and prebiotics have been available for many years. As the name implies, synbiotics work synergistically. They combine probiotics and prebiotics to positively affect the populations of microbes living in our gut, known as the gut microbiome.


Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that serve as food for the friendly bacteria in our gut. They are found in foods like onions, garlic, and legumes. They are also available in supplement forms. A probiotic, however, is a friendly microbe that colonizes the gut. The benefits they provide include digestion, immunity, wound healing, and skin health, to list a few. Like prebiotics, probiotics are naturally found in fermented foods such as live yogurt and sauerkraut, but they can also be purchased as supplements.


How do synbiotics work?


Supplements that combine friendly bacteria with a food source for good bacteria, such as synbiotics, are always an attractive choice for improving gut health.

This is particularly important for gut health, as our environment strongly influences the bacteria in our gut, such as diet, medication use, stress levels, and exercise. A lack of beneficial bacteria caused by an unhealthy diet low in fruits and vegetables, or by antibiotic consumption, can upset the delicate balance of our gut microbiome and spawn more undesirable microorganisms. Imbalances in the gut are known as dysbiosis.


The use of synbiotic to support gut health can be very effective. Not only do these supplements provide nutrition for the probiotics, but they also nourish the natural, friendly bacteria inside our guts. However, it is important to consume a healthy balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables alongside the use of a synbiotic supplement so that the probiotics have a food source in the gut. Increasing the number of friendly bacteria in our gut has been associated with better health, so promoting the growth of our bacteria is an appealing idea.


Synbiotics in action


You probably don't realize how many synbiotics you encounter every day. They are a tasty and smart recipe that combines probiotics and prebiotics. An example would be a snack consisting of yogurt accompanied by some whole-wheat cereal or a piece of yogurt, which will benefit your health as well as provide a synbiotic.

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