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Company News Microbiome

Prebiotics and Gut Health: Expert Insights for Global Prebiotics Week

Company News Microbiome

Prebiotics and Gut Health: Expert Insights for Global Prebiotics Week

Woman, nature fitness or hands on stomach in diet wellness, body healthcare or abs muscle growth in workout training or sunrise exercise. Zoom, sports athlete or person, belly digestion or strong gut

Welcome to Global Prebiotics Week! This dynamic week-long campaign aims to educate the public about prebiotics, their benefits, and their role in promoting a healthy digestive system.

To help you explore prebiotic-rich foods and make informed choices for better gut health, we speak with two experts in the prebiotics arena.

Erik Altmann ND is a licenced naturopathic physician and has supported SFI Health as a Technical Product Specialist and Medical Writer since 2019.

Tricia Griffin RDN LD is a registered dietitian and has been supporting SFI Health products as a Medical Science Liaison since 2020.

What would you like everyone to understand about prebiotics?

Prebiotics are compounds in food that act as a food source to selectively feed the trillions of beneficial bacteria and other microbes in your gut. For a compound to be classified as a prebiotic, it must be utilised by a gut microorganism thereby creating a beneficial physiological effect for the person (host). They’re essential to a healthy, balanced microbiota.

If you compare your gut microbiota to a rich, colourful garden, prebiotics would be the fertilizer you add to your garden to keep it lush and thriving.

How important are prebiotics?

Probiotics tend to get all of the attention. They’re the live bacteria and yeasts that support gut and immune health. But like all other living organisms, probiotics need fuel to survive and thrive.

Prebiotics are the primary fuel source that stimulates the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria. Your gut bacteria rely on prebiotics to keep them healthy and active.

The power of prebiotics is attributed in large part to their ability to increase short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. Although humans can’t digest many prebiotic compounds, gut bacteria can break them down by fermentation. SCFAs are an important end-product of bacterial fermentation. These SCFAs help nourish and support cells in the gut lining, thus helping to maintain intestinal integrity. They also play a crucial role in regulating immunity and inflammation, which can potentially influence your metabolic health and disease risk.

How can people make sure they get enough prebiotics from their food?

Prebiotics occur naturally in many plant foods. Underripe (green) bananas, chicory, oats, wheat, rye, barley, jicama, asparagus, garlic, leeks, and onions are especially good sources. Eating a wide variety of these foods and a plant-based diet can provide plenty of prebiotics.

However, most of us don’t eat these foods daily, and people with sensitive GI tracts (who may be on a low FODMAP diet) tend to avoid these and other prebiotic-rich foods because they can be gas-producing.

If you have dietary restrictions or don’t regularly eat the above foods, we recommend working with a nutrition expert to see if there are other prebiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet. You can also take a prebiotic supplement or a synbiotic supplement, which contains probiotics and prebiotics in one convenient product. Ther-Biotic® Synbiotic pairs seven effective strains of probiotics with the low FODMAP-certified prebiotic Sunfiber®.

How does SFI Health raise awareness and provide education about prebiotics?

There is a wealth of information on the SFI Health – Home of Klaire Labs website for healthcare professionals and consumers. In addition, we offer a range of services for healthcare professionals to help educate yourself and your patients, including:
• Educational webinars to keep you up to date on microbiome research and
    implications for your practice and patients.
• Technical data sheets for our products.
• Evidence-based health condition protocols to guide you in patient care
• Patient handouts and educational materials.

What role do supplements play, and how can one choose the best option?

In a perfect world, we would all get exactly what we need from food. But that rarely happens because of less-than-ideal eating habits and declines in food quality.

Prebiotics, probiotics, and other nutritional supplements are an excellent way to close the gaps most people have in their diet. Additionally, many people can benefit from a nutrient boost because of diet restrictions or certain health conditions. Even chronic stress, which almost everyone occasionally encounters, puts extra nutrient demands on your body. Stress can also wreak havoc with your gut, immune system, and microbiota, so most people can benefit from prebiotics and probiotics to support their gut and overall health.

When choosing supplements, look for brands that place a high priority on:

Research and evidence-backed product development
• Quality and safety in ingredient sourcing, namely testing for
    Purity, Potency   & Identity
• High-quality manufacturing processes verified by cGMP
    certification. cGMP stands for Current Good
    Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the FDA.
• Customer satisfaction and consumer education

What are some important factors for people looking to boost their prebiotic intake?

It’s important to note that while most prebiotics fall under the category of carbohydrates/fibre, not all fibre possesses prebiotic properties. To enhance your prebiotic intake, it’s crucial to select the right foods or supplements.

Additionally, prebiotic fibres with a short chain-length molecular structure that undergo rapid fermentation are more likely to cause gas and bloating in individuals with IBS or sensitive digestive tracts. Inulin is an example of a short-chain prebiotic. Longer chain prebiotics like partially hydrolyzed guar gum (Sunfiber®) are often better tolerated for those who are sensitive.

Before we go, could you offer your key take-away for individuals looking to prioritise their overall well-being and health?

Good health requires an integrative approach and that includes getting quality sleep and plenty of exercise, taking steps to manage stress, eliminating exposure to environmental toxins as much as possible, eating a healthy diet, and supplementing where necessary. Your body works best when everything is in balance.

It’s also important to remember that each person is unique, so it’s essential to follow the diet, supplement, and lifestyle plan that meets your (or your patient’s) needs.


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