It’s no secret that dietary fibre and probiotics are both vital in the enhancement and maintenance of a healthy digestive system. However, the power they hold when united is lesser understood: together, they may greatly improve gut function. Known as synbiotics, combinations of these two components have been found to aid with gastrointestinal ailments.
We’ve got a good gut feeling about the potential benefits of synbiotics — keep reading to find out why.
What are Synbiotics?
Synbiotics are supplements comprised of probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms that live inside the gut microbiome, while prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates (found in dietary fibre) that help to feed the aforementioned bacteria.
When probiotics and prebiotics interact, fermentation occurs. This releases a series of short-chain fatty acids, which influence a variety of physiological functions. Most importantly, these reactions may protect against digestive disorders, such as colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
When introduced to the gut, synbiotics may provide a variety of health benefits. As mentioned above, they may have protective effects against certain digestive diseases — but that’s not all. Other studies have found that these supplements can eradicate Helicobacter pylori, bacteria which may cause stomach ulcers. Additionally, when taken with antibiotics, synbiotics can reduce common adverse events and rebalance the gut microbiota (Pourmasoumi et al., 2019). Finally, other researchers have discovered that synbiotics may improve gut permeability (Krumbeck et al., 2018) and treat constipation (Lim YJ et al., 2018).
Go With Your Gut
With this in mind, it must also be noted that there are concerns associated with synbiotic use. In compromised individuals, pregnant women, newborns, and elderly people, synbiotics may cause probiotic infection, a potentially serious condition. What’s more, it is unclear whether bacterial resistance genes can transfer from probiotic strains to pathogen gut microbes. As such, certain populations must seek advice from their health professionals when it comes to these products.
One thing’s for sure: further study is needed on synbiotics. It has yet to be determined which immune mechanisms exert beneficial effects during symbiotic use; whether inter-strain interactions occur between probiotics; and in which ways probiotics may interact with prebiotics and the host. At KGK Science, we’re fully equipped to handle inquisitions of this sort — so, if looking more into synbiotics interests you, we’re your best bet. Simply put, we’ll work our guts out to meet your needs!
About Joseph Antony, PhD
A research scientist at KGK Science, Joseph Antony contributes to manuscripts, final reports, and protocols for clients. He has extensive experience as a researcher in stem cell biology, cancer, vaccines, and antibody development, and has worked as an evaluator for the federal government. Joseph received his PhD from the University of Calgary, his MSc in Biological Sciences from the National University of Singapore, and MFSc-BFSc in Fisheries Science from Bangalore.