Your stomach is like an inhospitable canyon that good bacteria must get through without being destroyed.
Think of your intestinal tract as an inhospitable canyon fraught with many hazards, not the least of which is stomach acid. Don’t misunderstand: stomach acid does a lot of good. The acid breaks down your food so it can be absorbed by your body through the walls of your stomach and even through the walls of your cells. But stomach acid can be a problem when there’s too much.
It’s a miracle that some nutrients get through the acidic environment of the stomach. The benefits of probiotics, for example, which consist of good bacteria that overcome the damaging effects of bad bacteria that can be diminished by stomach acid. You want the good bacteria to stick around long enough in your intestinal tract to start seeing the benefits of probiotics. If the good bacteria doesn’t have some kind of defense, it could be rendered useless by the time it gets to the other side of the canyon.
Prebiotics to the Rescue
What if your probiotics had energy stations along the trail to your colon? Perhaps the good cells would stay stronger. Perhaps the energy your probiotics consumed at these stations would not only feed the probiotics, but improve their ability to be absorbed into the body? That is exactly what prebiotics do. This is a simplified version of the explanations you’ll find in scientific studies, but maybe it’s a metaphor that will help you understand the true benefits of the prebiotic.
Prebiotics are those energy stations. Scientists have described prebiotics as “food for probiotics.” Prebiotics have a natural defense against the digestive acid that resides within your intestinal tract. This allows them to do what they do best: stimulate the growth and activity of microorganisms—including probiotics.
The result, it is suggested, is an increase in the levels of good bacteria in your body, an increase in the absorption of nutrients, and aiding digestion, which can affect many health-related conditions in many positive ways.
Where to get prebiotics
Prebiotics can commonly be found in fruits and vegetables, such as artichokes, asparagus, onions, and bananas. However, it’s also possible to get prebiotics in capsule form, and if you are really lucky, you’ll find a supplement such as BioVi's Probiotic Blend that includes the prebioitc inulin from the chicory root.
New information is always coming out on probiotics and prebiotics, but studies have indicated that prebiotics make probiotics work better. Is it essential that you understand all those scientific details? No, just make sure you check with your doctor before trying probiotics and prebiotics—especially if you are facing a serious health condition.