What are Prebiotics?

Monica WildeMonica Wilde
Research Herbalist

A prebiotic is a non-digestible food ingredient that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines. Fibre is a good example of a prebiotic.

Inulin

Inulin is a prebiotic fibre extracted from the roots of the herb chicory that helps to increase beneficial gut flora. This type of water-soluble fibre breaks down into short chain fatty acids that nourish your body, promote calcium absorption, reduce cholesterol, help to keep your gut healthy and promote the right environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive.  They especially support the right bacterial environment in your bowel. We include a small amount and suggest you start with one capsule, leading to three over time. This is because, if your gut microbiome has been out of balance for some time, your body may develop wind from the fermenting inulin until it is used to more fibre. Inulin from chicory is the most easily tolerated form of inulin. Studies show that inulin probably helps to assist weight loss, prevent diabetes, colon and bowel cancer, and may improve symptoms of IBS and constipation.

Fructoologosaccharides (FOS)

Fructooligosaccharides (known as FOS) are oligosaccharides that occur naturally in plants such as onion, chicory, garlic, asparagus, banana, artichoke, among many others. They are prebiotics that stimulate the growth of nonpathogenic gut microflora (lowering the incidence of gut infections), and increase the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Consuming FOS also improves the bulk, quality and regularity of bowel movements, decreasing the likelihood of constipation. 

© Napiers Herbals Ltd 2014 • Edinburgh and Glasgow • Herbalists and Medical Botanists since 1860
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