Probiotics are prepared live micro-organisms usually sold in supermarkets or pharmacies in the form of capsules. The most common species being Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
In contrast Prebiotics are fibres that stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria that are already present in your gut. So increasing your fibre intake is a really easy and cost effective way to improve your microbiome and overall gut health too.
However Postbiotics is where you really see the benefits. This is where you combine the use of probiotics and prebiotics.
Gastroenterologist Dr Will Bulsiewicz describes it like going to a great restaurant. The ingredients are the probiotic and the chef is the prebiotic. Without both, there is no meal which is the whole point of why you came to the restaurant in the first place! Both have to come together to provide you the full benefit to your gut.
WHY DO THIS?
Your gut is responsible for 70% of your immune system. It's common knowledge now in the scientific community that the gut is basically the second brain.
So what we eat has a direct impact on our health. That is a fact.
Without caring for your gut properly you may experience Dysbiosis which is a microbial imbalance where the bad bacteria outweigh or take over the good bacteria. Most people do not understand or care about the microbes in their gut but dysbiosis is far more prevalent than you think. You may be experiencing it now and not realise.
Intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome) is also very common. It's a digestive condition where bacteria and toxins pass or 'leak' through the intestinal wall.
Many health issues can actually be attributed to dysbiosis or leaky gut and often get misdiagnosed.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DYSBIOSIS OR A LEAKY GUT
- You get colds or flu's often
- Experience chronic fatigue, like you've been hit by a bus even though you get adequate amounts of sleep at night
- Have abdominal pain or bloating
- Deal with constipation or bowel issues
- Live with skin allergies such as eczema
- Experience brain fog
- Have trouble with your memory or have learning difficulties
- Have high blood pressure
- Notice inflammation in the body
- Have nutrient deficiencies
- Stubborn weight issues that have been hard to manage despite multiple diets and exercise
If you experience any one of these, it is possible you may have destroyed your gut through poor nutrition habits and will need to go on a journey to heal it. The good news is it can be fixed but it will take a long time to build up a good microbial community in your gut again so be patient.
HOW YOU CAN FIX YOUR GUT
A combination of introducing probiotics and prebiotics to your diet as well as eliminating certain trigger foods from your meals for a controlled amount of time can get you back on your feet.
See the post on Detoxing Your Diet to learn more about the elimination diet and how this can help you fix your gut.
Anne-Sophie Rayment, Nutritional Advisor.
- W. Bulsiewicz, Fiber Fueled, (2020), Penguin Publishing Group, Australia
- C. Oates, The Beauty Chef, (2016), Hardie Grant Books, Australia