PROBIOTICS, PREBIOTICS AND SYNBIOTICS
The role of our intestine is to be both a barrier and an entry point.
It is important to know that 95% of the bacteria in our body is located in our intestines, which means about 100 billion bacteria of 400 different species. The intestinal microbiota is seeded in our human body from birth and it influences the type of childbirth (vaginal delivery or caesarean section) and the type of feeding (breast-feeding or formula feeding). At the age of two, the microflora that has been established in our body is almost definitive but it can be temporarily altered by taking antibiotics or even by the diet itself.
After digestion, nutrients pass into the bloodstream through the intestine that also works as a barrier to toxins and pathogenic microorganisms. When the mucosa is altered, the intestinal permeability is also altered, so maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosa is essential for our body to prevent pathogens from entering into the bloodstream.
In a healthy intestine, population of beneficial bacteria (bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, etc.) coexist in perfect balance with other pathogens (Campylobacter, Listeria, Clostridium perfringes…). The factors that most influence intestinal integrity are the intestinal microbiota and the state of the mucosa itself, both of which are highly conditioned by our diet. Imbalances in the intestinal flora, known as intestinal dysbiosis, can cause or encourage the development of certain diseases. For example, when someone suffers from dysbiosis, potentially carcinogenic agents, such as aflatoxins, pesticides or nitrates, can be enzymatically bioactivated by the bacteria.
Due to all of these reasons, it is essential to combine our diet with prebiotics and probiotics.
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a non-digestible food ingredient that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines.
Some examples of prebiotic substances are: dietary fibre, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin and lactulose.
These substances can be part of the composition of food (artichokes, legumes, potatoes, garlic, onions, leek, wheat, oats, barley, bananas, honey, etc.) or they can be added to food.
Prebiotics reach the colon intact resisting enzymatic hydrolysis by human salivary and small intestinal digestive enzymes, and as a consequence of not being digested; they ferment in the colon having positive effects such as:
- Maintenance of the intestinal integrity, with an increase in the number of beneficial bacteria in the colon (Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus).
- Better absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc.
- Maintenance of a healthy immune system.
- Prevention of diarrhoea and constipation.
- Help to lower cholesterol by increasing cholesterol levels in the faeces and as a consequence they also lower blood lipid levels.
In the specific case of fructooligosaccharides (FOS), it has been shown that a high intake of this prebiotic can reduce the activity of the Beta-glucuronidase enzyme that is involved in the synthesis or activation of carcinogens (1). Other prebiotics, such as peptine, inulin and hemicellulose, stimulate the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that work as the fuel of intestinal cells.
What are probiotics?
The term “Probiotic” is a Greek word that means “for life, in favour of life”. According to a guide published by FAO and the WHO (World Health Organization), probiotics are “live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health effect on the host”.
They resist the passage through the digestive tract to improve the balance of the intestinal microflora. In the intestine, they compete for nutrients and, as a consequence, they inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms. These beneficial species can also produce organic acids that reduce the gastrointestinal pH and, subsequently, slow the growth of pathogenic pH-sensitive bacteria.
The most commonly used bacterial genera in probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. To recognize a probiotic, the strain is named based on its genus (Lactobacillus), species (plantarum) and alphanumeric strain designation (Lp-115). Many studies have been carried out on the beneficial effects of probiotics but we must bear in mind that not all probiotics are suitable for everything, so that beneficial effects depend on the strain. Probiotic concentration is measured in CFUs (Colony Forming Units) which is the unit used to estimate the quantity of probiotics in a nutritional supplement. For example: 25 billion CFU or 25×109 CFU.
Most probiotics normally survive in the acidic gastric environment of the stomach, so they do not require regular refrigeration maintenance.
Numerous studies support the beneficial functions of probiotics:
- Improve lactose intolerance.
- Regulate the intestinal transit.
- Help to boost the immune system.
- Help prevent diseases.
- Regulate cholesterol values.
- Modulate atopic diseases.
- Displace microorganisms that are harmful to our health and prevent their proliferation.
- Contribute to produce essential nutrients such as vitamins, digestive enzymes and short chain fatty acids, to stimulate the formation of lactic acid by lowering the pH of the digestive tract and to enhance the absorption of calcium, magnesium and iron.
What are synbiotics?
They are nutrients that contain both prebiotics and probiotics. Synbiotics create a synergistic effect between them to improve health. Their function is to help bacterial flora colonise the intestine for further reproduction. The prebiotic works as “food” to the probiotic, and like that the intestinal flora is balanced.
BACIDOFILUS with MIXLAB
AMOUNT PER CAPSULE
MIXLAB** (containing at least 5x1010 CFU)
Green tea (containing at least 7’% of EGCG)
Curcuma (containing at least 95% of curcumin)
400 µg RE (50% of NRVs*)
0,7 mg (50% of NRVs*)
8 mg de NE (50% of NRVs*)
25 µg (50% of NRVs)
*NRVs: Nutrient Reference Value
**MixLab04: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus salivarus, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus lactis, Bifidobacterium animalis lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Streptococcus termophilus.
Directions for use: take 1 capsule twice a day, preferably 30 minutes before meals.
AMOUNT PER CAPSULE
Mix15STR (containing at least 15*1010 CFU/g)
5 mg (50% NRVs*)
0,7 mg (50% NRVs*)
0,7 mg (50% NRVs*)
*NRVs: Nutrient Reference Value
**Mix15STR: Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum , Bifidobacterium longum, Bactobacillus acidophilus, , Lactobacillus casei, , Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactococcus lactis, Saccharomyces boulardii, Bacillus subtilis.
Directions for use: take 1 capsule per day, preferably 30 minutes before meals.
OFFARM- Alimentos probióticos y prebióticos. Vol 23, Num 5, Mayo 2004
OFFARM- Inmunonutrición. Vol 30, Num 4, Julio-Agosto 2011
Prebióticos, prebióticos y simbióticos . Mª José García Abad, Francisca Agustín Layunta, Mª Lusa Morales Marina. Ediciones i. 2017
Guía de la alimentación funcional : los probióticos en la alimentación humana. Javier Aranceta Bartrina. Elsevier España, 2008
1. ( 2012 Mar;28(3):901-8. In vitro fermentation of prebiotics by Lactobacillus plantarum CFR 2194: selectivity, viability and effect of metabolites on β-glucuronidase activity.).