Volume 4 Issue 6

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Page 42 | Abby's Magazine - What are Prebio cs are substances that induce the growth or ac vity of microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) that contribute to the well- being of their host. The most common example is in the gastrointes nal tract, where prebio cs can alter the composi on of organisms in the gut microbiome. However, in principle it is a more general term that can refer to other areas of the body as well. For example, certain hand moisturizers have been proposed to act like prebio cs to improve the ac vity or composi on of skin microbiota. In the diet, prebio cs are typically non- diges ble fiber compounds that pass undigested through the upper part of the gastrointes nal tract and s mulate the growth or ac vity of advantageous bacteria that colonize the large bowel by ac ng as substrate for them. They were first iden fied and named by Marcel Roberfroid in 1995. As a func onal food component, prebio cs, like probio cs, are conceptually intermediate between foods and drugs. Depending on the jurisdic on, they typically receive an intermediate level of regulatory scru ny, in par cular of the health claims made concerning them. ? Definition Roberfroid offered a refined defini on in the March 2007 Journal of Nutri on sta ng: "A prebio c is a selec vely fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composi on and/or ac vity in the gastrointes nal microflora that confers benefits upon host well-being and health." Addi onally, in his 2007 revisit of prebio cs, Roberfroid stated that only two par cular prebio cs then fully met this defini on: trans- galactooligosaccharide and inulin. Other dietary fibers also fit the defini on of prebio cs as developed by Roberfroid such as Larch arabinogalac n (LAG), resistant starch, pec n, beta- glucans, and Xylooligosaccharides (XOS). Function The prebio c defini on does not emphasize a specific bacterial group. Generally, however, it is assumed that a prebio c should increase the number or ac vity of bifidobacteria and lac c acid bacteria. The importance of the bifidobacteria and the lac c acid bacteria (LABs) is that these groups of bacteria may have several beneficial effects on the host, especially in terms of improving diges on (including enhancing mineral absorp on) and the effec veness and intrinsic strength of the immune system. A product that s mulates bifidobacteria is considered a bifidogenic factor. Some prebio cs may thus also act as a bifidogenic factor and vice versa, but the two concepts are not iden cal.

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