What You Need to Know
Like with any supplement, not all products are created equal. There are so many choices on store shelves that it may be confusing to know which ones will provide you the most benefit. Read below to help you choose the right prebiotic for you and your gut.
Prebiotics are in certain plant-based foods like fruits and veggies as well as supplements. Foods that contains prebiotics include:
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Whole-wheat products
When it comes to prebiotic supplements, you may see certain compounds in such products as:
- Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
- Galactooligosaccharides (GOS)
- Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOS)
These prebiotic compounds are non-digestible and soluble fibers. Since they’re not digested by the body, they pass through the gut so they can feed probiotic microbes. There is no recommended daily allowance for prebiotics, but most people benefit from 3 grams or more daily.
By feeding probiotics with prebiotic fibers, many symbiotic health benefits arise. In fact, research shows that prebiotics may help reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol. Not only that, but they may also improve bone health by increasing how much calcium is absorbed in the body. These fibers may also help strengthen the immune system.
Most people can benefit from prebiotics, but there are some people that may not tolerate them well. In fact, health experts report that prebiotics may worsen symptoms for those with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
People with IBS cannot tolerate FODMAPs, or certain sugars that aren’t completely digested or absorbed by the intestines. Consuming such compounds will cause them symptoms like abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. Prebiotics like onion, garlic, artichokes, chicory, wheat, and asparagus are high in FODMAPs.
How Women Uniquely benefit from prebiotics
Most people can benefit from prebiotics in their diet. However, women can reap unique health benefits. For example, many women can relate that yeast infections are the worst. They are painful, itchy, and uncomfortable. Having such an infection can really stop your day in its tracks.
However, recent research shows that nourishing probiotics with prebiotics may help balance the gut and in turn reduce such infections. Not to mention that they may lower risk of urinary tract infections, help manage osteoporosis, and reduce menopausal symptoms. Therefore, aside from just gut health, prebiotics can support other important aspects of health in women.