What’s the difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic? Read on to find out.
So what is the difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic?
If you have read my most recent blog on probiotics and their use (read it here) then you know all about the importance of taking probiotics at certain times in your life. Here in this blog I’ll explain what prebiotics are and why they’re useful. In addition, you don’t even necessarily need to buy them as an extra supplement; you can eat them as part of your normal diet.
Prebiotics are substances that are not able to be digested by the human body, but that within the body stimulate the growth and successful multiplication of beneficial probiotic bacteria.
This all happens within the intestine and colon, where digestive probiotics mainly reside. The prebiotic substances are usually dietary fibres and non-digestible sugars (by humans) that give probiotics a good ‘boost’ by providing them immediately what they need to be successful. This allows the probiotics to thrive and take up residence on the gut lining so they can do their work and help with your digestion and immune system function. By providing this probiotic-nurturing environment in the colon and small intestine it encourages the healthy bacteria to proliferate, which in turn means there are less pathogenic bacteria in the gut. There is only so much space, after all, and if it’s being taken up by probiotics then bacteria like E.Coli and Salmonella have less chance of thriving.
Another benefit of prebiotics is that they aid with removal of cholesterol from the body.
This occurs because they bulk up the volume of indigestible fibre passing through the intestine, increasing the amount of waste solids you pass and therefore the cholesterol that is removed along with it. This helps keep your intestine and colon healthy because it doesn’t allow carcinogenic toxins or waste products from digestion to sit too long in contact with the gut wall – it flushes them through your body the same way that water flushes out your renal system. In addition, high fibre diets are correlated with lower bodyweight.
Whole grains (for example flaxseeds, wheat germ and oats) have prebiotic chemical properties, because they are not absorbed in the gut but break down by fermentation into short-chain fatty acids which are used by the beneficial bacteria to survive. Probiotics sources also include Spirulina, raw chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic and leeks, banana, wheat bran and flour, and fermented dairy products like kefir, cheese and sour cream. So add them to your shopping list!
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, please ask your chiropractor next time you come in to see us in Eastbourne.
Probiotics; What Are They and How To Use Them
Your intestines hold from 500 to 2,000 species of micro-organism.
These include bacteria, yeast, viruses and parasites. In fact, there are 10 times as many cells of OTHER species in your body that there are your own human cells! Many of these are probiotics.
Probiotics are bacteria that live on the intestine lining and have beneficial effects for our health and function.
They help assist the immune system, aid digestion, and are involved in the production of certain vitamins in our intestines. They aid digestion by helping with absorption of fatty acids, glucose, magnesium and vitamins. They accumulate in large numbers on the gut lining where they out-compete pathogenic bacteria, making us less susceptible to opportunistic infections. They also help control the inflammatory response and are involved with production of B-vitamins and enzymes.
We inherit probiotics from our mothers during childbirth as we exit through the birth canal (C-section babies unfortunately have less at this young age). Lack of probiotics, or an imbalance, can lead to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other autoimmune diseases, poor digestion, and candida.
Two of the most widely used probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, both of which can be found in huge numbers in a single probiotic table. For example, Biocare’s branded BioAcidophilus tablets contain 10 billion viable bacteria, which is 20 billion per daily recommended allowance of two tablets. This includes Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum & Bifidobacterium lactis.
Most people don’t need to constantly take probiotics, particularity if they already gave a healthy gut flora.
However, an occasional course can be useful if you have recently improved your diet and wish to improve your gut function too (e.g. if you cut down on your sugar intake); if you’ve been on antibiotics (which of course also destroy your natural ‘good’ gut bacteria; if you’re travelling abroad and are likely to encounter food and pathogens your body is not used to; if you’ve had diarrhoea, which again removes your healthy bacteria.
When buying probiotics always read the label, look for the quantity of bacteria present and go for the best quality that you can afford. This is because the best brands will properly encapsulate their tablets so that the pills reach the intestines before the outer layer breaks down to release the probiotics inside; if they are poorly protected by the capsule then they can be released to early and destroyed by the acidic stomach environment, rendering them useless. For this reason, it’s best to avoid the probiotic yoghurt drinks – research has shown that many of the probiotics inside can be destroyed immediately in the stomach.
Do you use probiotics? How have you found them useful in your own experience? Let me know next time you visit the clinic in Eastbourne.
Thanks for reading.
Do carrots have great health benefits?
Of course they do. You will never look at carrots in the same way again.
They are amazing.
When you were younger did your parents ever say to you that you need to eat all your vegetables to grow strong and healthy? My parents did and my dad always told me to eat my carrots so I can see in the dark.
I loved these and bonus they would make me see in the dark.
I was going to have super human carrot power!..
I would wake up at night and check if I could see in the dark. I would look around my room and try really hard to see something, but couldn’t see a thing. I thought I just needed to eat more carrots! I would munch my way through raw carrots, just like bugs bunny I used to love watching.
Disappointingly I never did get the super power of night vision, but I do thank my parents for introducing me when young to a healthy balanced diet. I also enjoy all my vegetables now even cabbage!
I have found that there is however some seed of truth with eating carrots and vision.
Carrots have a good source of vitamin A which is important for healthy eyesight. Carrots contain Beta-carotene that helps to protect vision, especially night vision. After beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the liver, it travels to the retina where it is transformed into rhodopsin, a purple pigment that is necessary for night-vision.
Do you know other carrot powers and where the myth originated from about seeing in the dark?
I came across this article which tells you about the origin of the myth and had no idea it was British gunners in world war 11 spreading a rumour – read more. Truly fascinating.
More carrot powers-
Carrot oil is really good for chapped and dry skin and can also make the skin softer, smoother and firmer? Has also been used in Europe for decades in baby oil, night creams and body lotions.
Carrot face mask give it a go.
Good fibre source, help reduce appetite, increase fullness, control high blood sugars and can help to reduce risk for developing diabetes.
There are so many benefits with carrots for your health, some of which are natural antioxidants, cardiovascular and anti cancer. Amazing how great the carrot is read more
Almost all carrots were originally purple check out how they turned orange as we know them today….
Hope you enjoyed reading some of the amazing powers of carrots. I will always have happy memories as a kid of waiting for my night vision and I am sure I am not the only one!
Discovering an all-new you through acupuncture
Could you be saying hello to an all-new you this year with the help of acupuncture?
January is always a good time of year to reflect on what has gone before, as well as setting a course for the New Year. For many people it is the time of year to focus on their health and look to effective treatments such as acupuncture.
It’s not unusual for people to succumb to seasonal bouts of coughs, colds and flus during these post-Christmas winter months. But why is it that some people are affected more or less than others?
For an acupuncture practitioner this is due, not solely, to the many germs and viruses around, but largely to the relative deficiency of one’s own vital energy or Qi. When one’s energy is low this can result in a weakened immune system, allowing colds and flus to flourish.
There are many factors that can deplete your energy and consequently weaken your overall health. These may include diet and nutrition, stress, lack of exercise, lifestyle, overworking and many external factors.
By tackling these issues it should be possible to increase one’s energy reserve and bring the body’s inner landscape into better balance. The result of this is typically a stronger immune system and an increased sense of wellbeing.
Acupuncture works on balancing and increasing this energy throughout the body and I find it interesting to note that people who receive regular acupuncture treatments suffer much less with colds and other minor illnesses.
So what else can we do to improve things as we start the New Year?
After the rich foods and revelry of December, January is the perfect time to take an interest in one’s diet and begin to choose healthier options – ones that bring us closer to vibrant health. Choosing an exercise that is stimulating and keeps you interested will also help to keep you going throughout the year.
Finding ways to lead a better work/life balance is vital and will enable you to avoid burning out and will enable you to enjoy more fully your leisure time. Stress and emotions are two huge factors that drain energy and are well worth considering.
Like all of the team members at Lushington Chiropractic, I believe in the importance of self-care, and I encourage clients to be aware and vigilant of the stresses and strains that impact on their daily lives. It is a well known fact that constant worry and anxiety have a dramatic effect on the body. They act like a leaky tap, constantly draining our vital energy. Understanding where and why this is happening will have an immediate effect. It is a topic that I am passionate about as an acupuncture practitioner, so expect some more blog articles on this in the near future.
Finally, there is one more way you can rev up your energy reserves. It is one which has had the most powerful and enduring effect on my own life and the one I now teach to many students in my classes around the local area. Tai Chi and Qigong are gentle, yet thorough, therapeutic exercise systems which have stood the test of time. They were specifically developed hundreds of years ago to not only work on the musculo-skeletal system but also to enhance the body’s natural energy reserves through specific movements, breathing techniques and internal awareness.
If you would like to find out more about how acupuncture could help you please drop the clinic a call or email, contact us via our Facebook page or come and have a chat with me at the clinic.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this and look forward to your comments.
Have a great New Year