In a world full of fast-food and manufactured food options, giving our body the optimal resources to digest and utilize our nutrients is key for digestion.
There are lots of digestion buzz words thrown around these days— terms like gluten-free, keto, enzymes, microbiome, even intermittent-fasting. Two unlikely terms worthy of discussing are prebiotics and probiotics. Again, most of us have at least heard these terms but might not know the importance of them. Let’s explore and understand what these terms mean and how they support the digestion system.
Probiotics are live organisms that enhance the natural good gut bacteria. There are trillions of different microorganisms residing in the gut. Sub-optimal gut flora can open the door to lots of health issues. Promoting a healthy gut will help you maintain a healthy weight, ease bloating, support healthy skin, and reduce the feelings of stress. Probiotics are naturally occurring in fermented foods like sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi and pickled veggies. We always suggest a trusted probiotic supplement to ensure the best strands of beneficial bacteria are getting into the system regularly. Most people can benefit from taking a probiotic.
Some signs that you might be a candidate for taking a probiotic:
- You have been on antibiotics frequently or long-term in the past
- You have had frequent diarrhea or constipation bouts
- You have frequent sugar and salt cravings
- You have a general digestion disturbance every time you eat
Generally speaking, taking a probiotic regularly is a good idea and could easily be a part of a preventative measure like taking a multi-vitamin.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are key to making probiotics function properly. Examples of prebiotics are inulin and fructooligosacchrides, or nondigestable carbohydrates. These occur in foods like asparagus, garlic, onion, artichoke, chicory root, banana, and many others. The combination of prebiotic and probiotic foods, or food-based supplements, is key.
It’s important to remember that a bad diet can never be out-supplemented. Taking top of the line vitamins daily doesn’t give you a free pass to eat fast processed foods. The right nutrients, like prebiotics, need to be present in the diet for probiotics to be used to their full effect.
Standard Process® offers a variety of probiotic supplements, the first one being ProSynbiotic. ProSynbiotic is a synergistic blend of four research-supported probiotic strains and two prebiotic fibers to support gut flora and overall intestinal health. It contains inulin and galactooligosaccharides (non-digestible carbohydrates), both of which are used by probiotic bacteria as food. We use ProSynbiotic to maintain a healthy gut microbial environment, support the natural absorption of magnesium and calcium, support bowel regularity, and support the body’s natural immune system response function.
Lact-Enz® is the another great probiotic supplement that combines digestive enzymes to support healthy digestion and even immune system function. The health of your gut flora can determine your body’s level of defense against infection. Lact-Enz® is also great because it provides support during the gastric and intestinal phases of digestion.
Our last amazing probiotic supplement is GI Stability™. GI Stability™ supports the GI(gastro-intestinal) tract by delivering targeted probiotic action, supporting a healthy gut microbiome, and feeding the growth of beneficial bacteria. It’s designed for everyday and acute GI needs. If you’re looking for an everyday probiotic supplement, these options are my go to supplements for my patients.
Standard Process® also has a prebiotic specific product call Prebiotic Inulin. Prebiotic Inulin encourages a healthy intestinal environment to benefit probiotic intestinal flora.
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