Combining Probiotics with Prebiotics Makes Synergistic Sense
Synergy—the bonus that is achieved when things work together harmoniously.”
Combining probiotics with prebiotics is the perfect example of the harmony that Twain refers to in this quote. The combination of these two substances means the impact is much greater than their separate effects. And that’s why this potent duo of probiotics and prebiotics is called a “synbiotic,” which represents the synergism of these two substances.
Some of the more commonly used probiotic organisms include Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, bifidobacteria and certain strains of Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus-group, Bacillus coagulans, and Escherichia coli strains. Probiotic products can contain one or more strains and can also contain prebiotics.
Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that help promote the growth, activity and viability of the probiotic organisms in the intestines. In addition to improving the potential efficacy of the probiotics, these non-digestible carbohydrates, fructooligosacchraides and oligosaccharides support health in a variety of ways beyond their probiotic influence.
Research is now indicating that when you combine probiotics with prebiotics to create a synbiotic, there is improved survival of the organisms as they pass through the upper intestinal tract. In addition, there is a more efficient implantation and improved stimulation of the probiotic organisms when they are combined with prebiotics.
While this combination makes synergistic sense, there are still many unanswered questions regarding the appropriate combination and sources of the probiotic and prebiotic organisms, as well as the amount that should be taken. When choosing a synbiotic product, it’s wise to ask for the manufacturer’s scientific rationale and any information that substantiates that rationale. This is an exciting area of research as synergism and science come together to provide viable patient solutions to support health in a variety of ways.
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