Prebiotics “more beneficial” for gut microbiome than probiotics, Health-Ade exec details
25 Apr 2022 --- As gut health continues to remain at the center of overall health, emerging insights into the benefits and effectiveness of prebiotics and probiotics have surfaced. NutritionInsight speaks with Daina Trout, co-founder and chief mission officer at gut health company, Health-Ade, who says: “Probiotics are particular, and what one lacks – and therefore needs – differs from person to person.”
“Taking a probiotic pill will only support the gut if it’s the one you’re lacking, and you’d need to take a stool test to know. Prebiotics, in contrast, are non-specific. They create a very healthy environment for all good bacteria to grow.”
Therefore, science demonstrates that having a diet rich in prebiotics drives microbiome abundance on the whole more than anything else. Prebiotics are more beneficial for a healthy microbiome than probiotics as the latter are specific and prebiotics are non-specific and can be personalized for the consumer, Trout explains.
Onus in mass production
Prebiotics are suitable candidates for scale and mass production, as they are safe, easy to isolate and produce and do not degrade easily. This is different from probiotics, which are very hard to keep alive and don’t easily make it into the digestive tract, she notes.
“Prebiotics are hard to compromise. Even the digestive system can’t break them down. Conversely, probiotics are sensitive and die easily. When thinking about mass production and adding gut health attributes to F&B and supplements – prebiotics make more sense than probiotics to me,” says Trout.
“Prebiotics are not finicky – they are strong and withstand all kinds of environments and temperatures, so it holds a lot of promise from a manufacturing standpoint,” adds Trout.
Also highlighting the benefits of prebiotics, PharmaLinea recently entered the burgeoning gut health market with the launch of its >Your Prebiotiq brand, which focuses on quality prebiotics rather than probiotics.
Fermented foods “superior” for gut health
Health-Ade’s Kombucha is fermented and fermented foods have prebiotics, probiotics and post-biotics, Trout explains.
“This ‘trifecta’ is unique to fermented foods, and it’s a reason studies show such an impact on the gut and health when one regularly includes fermented foods like kombucha in a diet.”
Additionally, the company’s Health-Ade Pop is a soda replacement that contains prebiotics from proanthocyanidins (PACs) and fiber sources.
“The prebiotic soda does not contain any sucralose, aspartame or stevia. In many trials, these sugar substitutes have been directly linked to a compromised microbiome. This is a critical attribute since these products claim to support the gut,” says Trout.
“As a nutritionist, I would suggest these products cannot be good for the gut if they contain these sugars, period, and they should change their claims on the can as soon as possible. The easiest way to gut health is to eat fermented foods most days of the week.”
“Fermented foods, like kombucha, are far superior to other products marketed for gut health support,” Trout explains. “I am glad when consumers realize how superior fermented foods are compared to any pill or other F&B that one can take, eat or drink,” adds Trout.
Are prebiotics better than probiotics for microbiome?
Probiotics can make a real impactful benefit to a microbiome. However, Trout explains it is a lot more complex than just taking a pill.
“Probiotics are bacteria you ingest and two things have to be true for them to have a beneficial impact on your gut: firstly, they have to make it to the gut, and secondly, the gut has to need it.”
“On the first point, probiotics are live organisms – they’re finicky. It is estimated that as much as 80% of probiotics die on the shelf and even if they’re alive by the time of ingestion, they may die in the digestive tract on their way to the gut, “says Trout. “Lastly, they need specific foods to eat when they get there, or they die.”
“On the second point, a healthy gut is estimated to have 3,000+ different strains. When one strain is low or off-balance, it can wreak havoc on health. To get ‘better,’ one would need to take the specific strain that is lacking and knowledge of the strain is needed.”
Therefore, taking a “general” pill is not likely to be very impactful. Gut health experts tell consumers to think about probiotics as something that should only be taken if they know the particular one they need – something a stool test or gut health HCP could provide, Trout explains.
“Prebiotics, on the other hand, are food for gut bacteria. When consumers eat a variety of prebiotics, the chances are high that they are eating the ‘food’ a struggling-out-of-balance bacteria would need to get back to normal levels.”
Health-Ade previously released its Kombucha-based beverage line to offer a “healthier” alternative to sodas. The Kombucha drink is a blend of gut-friendly ingredients – cranberry husk prebiotics and minerals from seaweed.
By Nicole Kerr
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