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Fiber-based prebiotic. Contains PreforPro and Preticx Xylooligosaccharide, which feed only the good bacteria. Vegan and non-GMO, dairy- and gluten-free. Third-party tested for safety and efficacy. IBS sufferers found relief with this prebiotic. Helps balance natural flora.
Pills are on the larger side. As with many prebiotics, select users report gas, bloating, and GI upset with use, though some of these problems resolve after regular use.
Supplement provides both prebiotic and probiotic for a complete solution. Improves digestive flora. Designed to enhance digestion and motility. Aids digestion of fats, fiber, and other nutrients.
Gluten-free but not celiac safe. May not be vegetarian. Some experience gas and bloating when beginning to take these supplements.
Non-GMO, third-party tested. Fast-acting. No carbs. Formulated specifically to work in concert with probiotics. Goes after bacteria with host virus to strengthen the number of good bacteria. Helps improve digestive issues and other autoimmune conditions.
Some consumers report negative GI effects with use, such as gas pain or nausea.
Vegetarian, gluten-free capsules containing six strains of beneficial probiotics. Boosts immune support and calcium absorption. Features 25 billion cultures. Secure packaging preserves quality. Good value for 30 servings.
Should be carefully stored: exposure to elements can ruin tablets.
Capsules work to alleviate bloating, diarrhea, and gas while improving overall gut health. Features 10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs). May improve immune system, mood, and cognition. Free of gluten, dairy, soy, and gelatin.
Works better with continued usage: extra dosage may be required when traveling.
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When most people think of health supplements for the gut, they think of probiotics. Probiotics are packed with beneficial “gut-friendly” bacteria — live organisms that populate the flora of the digestive tract. Chances are you’ve never stopped to ponder what feeds those microorganisms. Well, the answer is prebiotics.
Prebiotics are a form of non-digestible fiber. Foods like under-ripe bananas and raw garlic are good sources of prebiotics. If the thought of eating a bunch of green bananas or raw garlic does not appeal to you, fortunately there are prebiotic supplements that contain prebiotic fibers that promote healthy digestion and have all sorts of wellness implications.
Pairing a prebiotic with a probiotic will maximize the health benefits of the probiotic. These benefits range from improved skin to higher immunity to better mood. Keep reading to learn more about prebiotics, also known as probiotic supplements, and how they work.
Prebiotics fuel the beneficial bacteria in your belly, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. As an indigestible fiber, the prebiotics found in food and in supplements pass through your digestive tract until they reach your colon. In your colon, the gut-friendly microorganisms mentioned above (as well as others) ferment the prebiotic fiber and turn it into a food source. This benefits the body in a myriad of ways.
Gut health is a hot topic as more discoveries are made about how important the gut microbiome is to the overall functioning of the body. Prebiotics play a co-starring role to probiotics.
Digestion, digestion, digestion
By increasing the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, prebiotics help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Overgrowth of bad bacteria, like candida (yeast), can lead to bloating, gas, indigestion, acid reflux, and even brain fog. You can help resolve or prevent digestive issues by keeping the balance of bacteria in check with a prebiotic.
In recent years, the gut has been said to be the seat of the immune system, and studies suggest that taking prebiotic-containing foods changes gut composition to improve immunity. Your body needs healthy bacteria to protect itself from viruses and pathogens.
Because prebiotics are essentially fiber, they help keep bowel movements regular. They provide a natural colon cleanse and detox in the process.
Fiber is proven to aid in weight loss, partly because it’s slow to digest and helps you feel fuller. Prebiotics also may suppress the “appetite hormone” ghrelin.
Probiotics increase our absorption of nutrients and minerals (like calcium) — and remember, prebiotics are needed for probiotics to survive. Efficient nutrient absorption may lead to healthier bones, better immunity, and improved mood and energy levels. Other reported benefits are clearer skin, fewer yeast infections, a reduction in allergies and eczema, and improved sleep.
Prebiotics come in a variety of forms.
A prebiotic powder can be added to your morning smoothie. These food-based powders are generally tasteless, though some come flavored, and will help get your digestion on track as you start your day. You could also add a spoonful of prebiotic powder to any beverage throughout the day.
If you don’t like taking vitamins or can’t swallow pills, prebiotic gummies may be right for you. Children love these, too — and they’re available in sugar-free form.
Capsules are the most common form of prebiotics. Unlike most probiotics, prebiotic capsules do not have to be refrigerated. Dosage is generally one capsule per day.
Pearls do away with the outer coating of cellulose or gelatin capsules and are generally easier to swallow.
Synbiotics combine probiotics and prebiotics in the same capsule. This cost-effective and highly convenient combination maximizes the benefits of both therapies.
The entry-level price for a container of prebiotic capsules, pearls, synbiotics, and powders is $17 to $21. Gummies fall below this range and can be found for $12 to $15. Mid-range prebiotics are priced from $22 to $40. Organic prebiotic powders fall in this price bucket as well. Top-of-the-line prebiotic capsules, which may include targeted features for different genders or beauty benefits, range from $50 to $70.
Though capsule prebiotics dominate the market, there are alternatives to consider if pills aren’t your preference. BeLive Fiber Gummie Prebiotic Supplements for Kids & Adults are a fun way to get in your daily dose. These apple-flavored gummies are sugar-free and vegan to boot. For children and adults with food sensitivities, these chicory-based prebiotics are free from common allergens.
If you’re a smoothie drinker or just looking for a prebiotic powder, Hyperbiotics Organic Prebiotic Powder is a high-quality powder sourced from organic Jerusalem artichoke and acacia fiber. This food-based prebiotic blend delivers pure, non-synthetic ingredients like inulin and resistant starch, and it is formulated with sensitive tummies in mind. We love that it’s actually tasteless and can be mixed into yogurt or applesauce.
Q. What are postbiotics, and how are they related to prebiotics?
A. Postbiotics are the byproduct, or waste product, of the probiotic fermentation process. When good bacteria metabolize prebiotic compounds, this produces short-chain fatty acids, which are believed to have health benefits. Butyric acid, for example, supports the intestinal lining. Other short-chain fatty acids help regulate electrolyte levels and support bowel movement regularity.
Q. Can I take prebiotics at the same time I take my probiotics?
A. Yes. In fact, some manufacturers combine the two in one convenient pill. If you’re taking antibiotics, be sure to take them apart from synbiotics, as antibiotics indiscriminately kill all bacteria, good and bad. We recommend a window of two or three hours, but you should consult with your health care practitioner.
Q. Should I take prebiotics with food or on an empty stomach?
A. It doesn’t matter. Prebiotics can be taken with or without food. Some people prefer to take prebiotics in the morning, and if taking more than one capsule, in the evening as well. Powders are best mixed with non-water beverages for taste and can also be taken on an empty stomach.