What is Prebiotic Fiber?
There are two basic types of food fiber – insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water and is not fermented by the gut’s bacteria, and soluble fiber, which does dissolve in water and is fermented by the colon’s microorganisms or bacteria. Almost all plant food, which is where fiber comes from, will have some of each but in different proportions. For instance, wheat is about 90% insoluble fiber. Oats are 50/50 and the psyllium plant is mostly soluble fiber. All of the above have been well-known for some time. In addition, it has been long known that in societies that consume large amounts of plant foods each day, such as in many rural African societies, that the general bowel health of the population is very good, and that the incidence of many disorders of the lower GI tract are almost non-existent. These include bowel irregularity, diverticulosis, colon cancer and polyps, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. We did not know exactly how or why this was occurring although it was obvious that the plant based diet was important.
Then in the mid 1990’s, medical researchers and nutritionists began to discover something quite remarkable about some soluble fibers. They found that certain soluble fibers such as inulin, oligofructose and FOS (fructo-oligosaccharide) caused some remarkable changes in the bacterial mix of the colon. They had discovered prebiotics.
Prebiotic fiber comes from plants such as the Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, onions, whole grains, bananas and garlic. These essential soluble fibers do more than help people who ingest them in adequate amounts stay regular; multiple studies demonstrate that prebiotic fiber can favorably change the bacterial mix in the lower gut. For most of the 20th century, medical schools taught doctors that the bacteria that live in the human body were harmless; we now know that some of these bacteria actually perform important health functions. These functions include strengthening the bowel wall, improving the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients such as calcium, producing the hormones that control appetite and anxiety, and more. The fact is, medical science is just at the beginning of a new world of exciting lower gut health discoveries.
Unfortunately, many people won’t or can’t eat enough of these prebiotic-rich foods to gain the health benefits bacteria offer. For these people – including vegetarians, vegans and those who are gluten-intolerant – an all natural prebiotic supplement can offer a lifeline to better overal wellness. A prebiotic supplement such as Prebiotin provides an easy, low calorie way to get all the fiber you need – without having to eat difficult-to-find and potentially unappetizing meals.