What Are Prebiotics
Whether you realize it or not, your digestive system is host to a wide range of bacteria.
Some of these bacteria are beneficial. They are critical to the healthy development of your immune system and they fight off germs (pathogens and microbes) that would do you harm.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s call the healthy bacteria the “good bacteria” (see upper left) and the bacteria they are fighting the “bad bacteria” (see upper right).
Prebiotics are food ingredients that stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the gut and thereby increase resistance to bad bacteria and invading germs.
In short, prebiotics promote digestive health by feeding the good bacteria that resist the bad bacteria. And a balance between the good and bad bacteria is essential for optimal digestive health.
A Brief History Of Prebiotics
American Glenn Gibson, a professor of food microbiology, and Marcel Roberfroid, a Belgian biochemist, introduced the term “prebiotic” in a 1995 article which appeared in the Journal of Nutrition. (If you are technically minded, you can read Gibson and Roberfroid’s article here.)
Gibson and Roberfroid defined prebiotic as “non-digestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, and thus improve host health.”
Prebiotics are non-digestible. That means they escape digestion in the upper gastrointestinal tract and are released in the lower tract where they are used as “food” by good bacteria in the colon, mainly bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
Prebiotics are also “selective.” This means they only feed the good bacteria, not the bad bacteria.
How Are Probiotics Different From Prebiotics?
Probiotics and prebiotics come from different sources and are used differently in the digestive tract.
As we have discussed, prebiotics feed good bacteria.
Probiotics are a form of good bacteria.
Prebiotics come from non-digestible carbohydrates such as are in fruits and vegetables, from any form of whole grain such as legumes and from supplements.
Probiotics come from fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and yogurt, and from supplements. From whichever source, the most common strains of probiotics are Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillis bacteria.
Sources of Prebiotics
Here’s a more complete list of the foods that are prebiotics: fruit and vegetables such as bananas, berries, asparagus, garlic, wheat, oatmeal, barley (and other whole grains), flaxseed, tomatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, onions and chicory, greens (especially dandelion greens but also spinach, collard greens, chard, kale, mustard greens, and others); and legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, navy beans, white beans and black beans.
In addition to these natural sources, prebiotics are now being added to various processed foods.
For those who want to be sure that they get sufficient prebiotics to keep their good and bad bacteria in balance, supplements such as Xtend-life Natural Products’ Kiwi-Klenz are available. You simply take 1 or 2 vegetarian capsules a day and your prebiotic needs are met.
Health Benefits of Prebiotics
A report published in the August, 2010, edition of the British Journal of Nutrition listed the multiple health benefits of prebiotics.
According to the authors, who included Professor Roberfroid and 20 other international experts, these positive health benefits from prebiotics have been established:
- 1. Increased calcium absorption and enhanced bone density and strength.
2. Enhanced immune function in both the gut and body.
3. Stronger and healthier bacterial balance in the gut.
4. Improved bowel regularity, bulking and softness.
5. Leaky Gut and Toxins. Prebiotics strengthened the bowel wall and reduced permeability (leaky gut) with reduced toxin absorption.
6. Appetite suppressant due to increased blood hormones that reduce the sense of hunger.
7. Reduced risk of intestinal infection.
In addition to these 7 health benefits which have been established, these 3 additional health benefits are suggested by the evidence, but require further proof:
- 8. Reduced risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
9. Reduced risk and/or improvement in digestive inflammation-Crohns Disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
10. Reduced risk of colon cancer.
What Is The Best Prebiotic Supplement?
In our opinion, the best prebiotic supplement is Kiwi-Klenz which is produced by Xtend-life Natural Products.
An extract derived from kiwi fruit, Kiwi-Klenz has been shown to substantially increase the amount of good bacteria in the digestive tract within as little as 48 hours.
And Kiwi-Klenz has more benefits. It also is a concentrated source of soluble fiber, provides significant enzymic activity and contains phenolic compounds which inhibit the growth of bad bacteria while promoting the growth of good bacteria.
To learn more about Kiwi-Klenz or to buy it, click here.
And remember, Xtend-life is so confident that Kiwi-Klenz will help you that they offer a 6 month money back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with Kiwi-Klenz for any reason, simply return the unused portion of the product within 6 months of the date of purchase and you will receive a full refund. What could be more fair than that?