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Prebiotic Fiber: Benefits and Use

Baobab fruit powder on a table, apricot color, nutrient dense and naturally sweet and low glycemic. Baobab is naturally sweet and tangy is high in fiber and Prebiotic fiber for improved digestion and better gut health

What You Should Know About Prebiotic Fiber

The gut is an incredibly complex environment where trillions of microorganisms extract nutrients from our food and produce metabolites that influence the function of every single organ in our body. Research shows that gut health plays a key role in all aspects of our health, even our mental and emotional health.

Known indicators of poor gut health not only include gastrointestinal problems like heartburn, constipation, or diarrhea. But what you may find surprising is that gut microbiome imbalance is at the center of allergies, diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, cancer, depression, and anxiety.

Adding more fruits and vegetables to our diet, including probiotics, and increasing fiber intake and more specifically prebiotic fiber has been shown to improve gut health, and reduce the risk for numerous diseases.

What is prebiotic fiber?

"Think of prebiotic fiber as the food source for the good bacteria that naturally occur in the gut, Simply put, you need prebiotic fiber in order to feed your probiotics" says Dr. Luc Maes ND and founder of KAIBAE, a microbiome wellness company.

So, what is the difference between fiber and prebiotic fiber? Both can be found in fruits and vegetables in varying amounts and both benefit our health. But there is a distinct difference.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that naturally occurs in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. It passes through the gut undigested and is not broken down by bacteria and therefore has a low impact on the growth of beneficial bacteria. Fiber promotes regular bowel movements, improves blood levels of lipids and blood sugar, and keeps us feeling fuller longer. 

Prebiotic fibers on the other hand are fermentable fibers naturally found in fruits and vegetables, some are synthetically made. Prebiotic fibers are selectively utilized by gut bacteria to produce compounds such as short chain fatty acids which benefit the immune, hormonal and nervous system. [1]

Examples of prebiotic soluble fermentable fibers 

  • Beta-glucans - oats and barley
  • Guar gum - guar beans
  • Fructans - Inulin, oligo-fructose, fructo-oligosaccharides - onions, chicory root, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides - legumes and dairy
  • Pectins - apples, berries, and Baobab fruit powder
  • Resistant starch - legumes, unripe bananas

What are the benefits of prebiotic fiber?

Prebiotic fiber promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, alleviates digestive problems and improves metabolic health. Beyond immediate gut issues, prebiotic fiber has positive effects on immune health, weight loss, allergies, bone health, and stress-related behaviors.

prebiotic foods baobab and apples with organic fruits, vegetable and nuts.

Does prebiotic fiber help with constipation?

If you aren’t having full bowel movements (not feeling like you are completely relieved), experience pain or difficulty going, or don’t have regular bowel movements, you may be suffering from constipation.

Prebiotic fiber has been proven to help users achieve regular, strain- and pain-free bowel movements, and to reduce signs of gas and bloating. And because constipation can be a side effect of dysbiosis, taking prebiotic fibers to help rebalance your gut microbiome can help alleviate this digestive health issue.

Does prebiotic fiber cause gas?

As your digestive system adjusts to an increase in prebiotics in your diet, you may experience gas as a possible nuisance side effect. You can help avoid or alleviate symptoms by instead slowly increasing your intake of prebiotics. You can also reduce your initial intake as needed until your symptoms resolve.

Healthy individuals may experience increase (but minor) gas and bloating to begin with and is often resolved by gradually increasing your intake. If you have IBS, SIBO, or sensitivity to FODMAP foods you should consult with your doctor before adding prebiotic fiber into your diet. 

Does prebiotic fiber help you lose weight?

If you are trying to lose weight, prebiotic fiber might be the secret weapon you’ve failed to consider. It is a known fact that adding more fiber to your diet makes you feel full faster. Studies indicate that overpopulation of bad bacteria (like Firmicutes) in the gut contribute to obesity, suppressing satiety hormones, and interfering with communications between the gut and the brain. 

Prebiotic fiber increases the growth of beneficial microorganisms  including Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli, and certain anaerobic bacteria such as Akkermansia muciniphila and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii that are especially important for a healthy weight and the prevention of insulin resistance.  

Gut imbalances have been connected to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, which can affect your appetite, energy levels, and efficiency.

Altogether, this shows that prebiotic fiber supports a healthy gut microbiome and can help you lose weight by regulating your appetite, improving mood and mental health, and increasing energy and efficiency. [2]

Do prebiotics help depression and anxiety?

There might just be something about that gut feeling….. gut bacteria produce a great number of neurochemicals that the brain uses to regulate learning, memory and mood. 

An imbalanced gut microbiome has less of the good bacteria that produce calming neurotransmitters such as GABA and Serotonin. The daily intake of prebiotic fiber and probiotics strengthens the gut-brain axis and improves stress resilience.

Who should take prebiotics?

Prebiotics are safe for most people, but may be used with caution in individuals with conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS), people suffering from Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or those on the FODMAP diet unless they have cleared this with their doctor. In general, healthy individuals should consider using a prebiotic daily to help achieve optimal gut health.

7 Signs You Need Prebiotics:

So far, you’ve learned that prebiotics are important for supporting gut health by feeding beneficial gut bacteria. You’ve also seen how far-reaching gut health can be to your overall health and well-being. So noticing the obvious (and sometimes not-so-obvious) signs of poor gut health will help you decide if you should start trying prebiotics.

Here are the common signs and symptoms that indicate possible gut health concerns, and serve as your notice to start increasing prebiotic fiber in your diet:

  1. Gas & bloating
  2. Cramping
  3. Indigestion
  4. Diarrhea or constipation
  5. Allergies/asthma 
  6. Frequent illness
  7. Mood disorders
  8. Skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and dry skin

How to increase prebiotic fiber in the diet

Because prebiotic fiber occurs naturally in a good selection of foods you could potentially get plenty of prebiotics from having a varied diet. However, research has already shown that less than 5% of people are actually meeting their daily fiber needs!

Include a selection of:

  • Vegetables: asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, onions, garlic, leeks, chicory root, jicama
  • Fruits: apples, berries, tomatoes, avocado, bananas, baobab 
  • Grains: oats, brown rice, barley 
  • Legumes: lentils and beans 

What about prebiotic fiber supplements?

It is certainly true that having a wide and varied diet may provide you with the amount of prebiotic fiber you need for your diet. But studies have shown that more than 95% of Americans don’t consume enough fiber in their daily diets.

This is where prebiotic fiber supplements can help. Taking a prebiotic supplement such as baobab fruit powder is an easy way to make sure you’re meeting your daily fiber needs to help support good gut health.[3]

How much prebiotic fiber to take per day?

The general recommended amount of fiber for women and men to have in their diets is 25 and 38 grams, respectively. While there is no recommended intake or daily allowance for prebiotics in healthy people, taking 8 grams of Baobab powder per day has been shown to have a beneficial impact on digestive health.

How long does it take for prebiotics to work?

Depending on the quality of the source of prebiotics, and the amount of prebiotics you are taking, you can typically expect to see improvements in a couple of weeks. Some people have even reported seeing improvements in just a few days after starting prebiotics.

What about probiotics? 

Probiotics are live bacteria that help keep your digestive system healthy. They are essential for gut function, the conversion of food to essential nutrients, and transport into our body. Supporting a healthy gut microbiome starts with a carbohydrate rich diet,  fermented foods, and complex carbohydrates. Probiotics can be taken to target specific healthcare needs. Despite the fact that trillions of microorganisms reside in the gut, research shows that certain probiotic strains impact our mood, metabolic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory needs in very specific ways.

Can you use prebiotics and probiotics together?

Taking prebiotics and probiotics together is referred to as synbiotic. Because prebiotics support probiotic bacteria, it can be very effective to include both in your diet. KAIBAE gut/skin resilience combines soil-based probiotics and prebiotic baobab powder to accomplish this symbiotic benefit.

Baobab fruit powder, the prebiotic superfood

Baobab Fruit Powder is an ancient African Superfood rich in prebiotic fiber, polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It tastes sweet and tangy and can easily be added to smoothies, yogurt, granola,  water, baked goods and more. Baobab is enjoyed by all ages!  

 

KAIBAE gut health supplements and skin care for probiotic balance and microbiome wellness from inside.
KAIBAE Microbiome Wellness shopping button to the Gut Health  Collection page
KAIBAE is a microbiome wellness company, a B-Corp committed to preserving biodiversity and promoting social good by establishing direct partnerships throughout Africa harvesting wild crops such as Baobab. KAIBAE Baobab is harvested in northern Ghana and is USDA Organic, Non-GMO verified. 

 

References

[1] Davani-Davari D, Negahdaripour M, Karimzadeh I, et al. Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications. Foods. 2019;8(3):92. doi:10.3390/foods803009

[2].Gérard P. Gut microbiota & obesity. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2016;73 :147-162. doi:10.1007/s00018-015-2061-5

[3].Foltz M, Zahradnik AC, Van den Abbeele P, Ghyselinck J, Marzorati M. A Pectin-Rich, Baobab Fruit Pulp Powder Exerts Prebiotic Potential on the Human Gut Microbiome In Vitro. Microorganisms. 2021;9(9):1981. Published 2021 Sep 17. doi:10.3390/microorganisms9091981

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Use as directed

 

 

 



     

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