What Are Prebiotics?
Again, this is an area where the definitions vary. It seems most prebiotics are referred to as compounds (fibers and non-digestible sugars) that we cannot digest. One of the most common compounds you'll find are fructooligosaccharides, or FOS. The "fructo" stands for fructose, as sugar found in many fruits. It is often used as a sweetener in commercially processed foods. They are naturally found in onion, chicory, garlic, asparagus, banana, artichoke, and several other foods. "Currently FOS are increasingly included in food products and infant formulas due to their prebiotic effect stimulate the growth of nonpathogenic intestinal microflora." (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20119826).
"It is a starchy substance found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, including wheat, onions, bananas, leeks, artichokes, and asparagus. The inulin that is used for medicine is most commonly obtained by soaking chicory roots in hot water.
Inulin is used for high blood fats, including cholesterol and triglycerides. It is also used for weight loss, constipation, and as a food additive to improve taste." WebMD: Inulin
How does inulin work?There are other known prebiotic compounds: Galacto-oligosaccharides , Soya-oligosaccharides, Xylo-oligosaccharides, Pyrodextrins , Isomalto-oligosaccharides. For more information on these, please see:
Inulin is not digested or absorbed in the stomach. It goes to the bowels where bacteria are able to use it to grow. It supports the growth of a special kind of bacteria that are associated with improving bowel function and general health. Inulin decreases the body's ability to make certain kinds of fats." WebMD: Inulin
S. MACFARLANE, G. T. MACFARLANE & J. H. CUMMINGs: "Review article: prebiotics in the gastrointestinal tract".
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