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Comphensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils


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Meschino Health Comprehensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Prebiotics (FOS and other Oligosaccharides)
General Features
Prebiotics is a term used to refer to short-chain polysaccharides (carbohydrates) that are not completely digested by
the human intestinal tract, but rather serve as a food supply for the friendly bacteria of the large bowel (bifodobacteria
and lactobacilli), enhancing their growth and cell division rate.1,2,3
The official definition of Prebiotics is stated as “nondigestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by
selectively stimulating the growth and activity of one species or a limited number of species of bacteria in the colon”.4
Human studies show that supplementation with FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) increases bifodobacteria and lactobacilli
populations in the flora of the large intestine while simultaneously reducing the colonies of detrimental bacteria. The
same has been shown for supplementation with two other Prebiotics; namely inulin and galacto-oligosaccharides
(GOS).5-9
Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin consist of short chains of fructose molecules. Galacto-oligosaccharides
consist of short chains of galactose molecules.1,2,3
The estimated average daily intake of FOS from food sources (mostly vegetables) is 800 mg.10 Supplementation
studies demonstrate that 2,000-3,000 mg a day of additional FOS can favourably alter the bacteria populations of the
large bowel.5-9 Higher doses may help to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and help better regulate blood glucose in type
II diabetics.11,12
From a standpoint of general wellness, supplementation with Prebiotics or probiotics have been shown to improve
digestion and absorption of some nutrients, enhance detoxification by intestinal mucosal cells, reduce the
concentrations of large bowel mutagens and carcinogens, aid elimination processes and favorably affect the immune
system of the gut and the systemic immune system. These effects are related to favorable changes in the
concentrations of friendly gut bacteria resulting from pre- and probiotic supplementation. In regards to immune
modulation, these positive effects extend to include reduced hypersensitivity reactions secondary to food sensitivities,
improved control of autoimmune conditions and a lessening of skin reactions secondary to food-induced
hypersensitivity reactions.4,13,14
An important feature of prebiotic supplementation is its potential impact on reducing risk of colorectal cancer, which is
the second leading cause of cancer death in North America (combining statistics for men and women), after lung
cancer. Human studies demonstrate that supplementation with Prebiotics (and probiotics) encourages the growth of
lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Experimental data and some epidemiological evidence indicate that increased LAB protects
against colon cancer development. Experimental data demonstrates that Prebiotics increase the proliferation of LAB
which also, through fermentation of Prebiotics and other fiber sources, gives rise to the production of short-chain fatty
acids and lowers the pH of the colon; making it a more acidic environment. Lower pH in the colon is associated with a
reduced risk of colon cancer in various studies. This appears related to an inhibition of certain enzymes that are
known to produce bowel carcinogens. Human studies have shown that prebiotic supplementation reduce
concentrations of components that are genotoxic in human colon cells. Butyrate has been shown to increase the
proliferation of normal cells, while inhibiting the proliferation of cancerous cells. This short-chain fatty acid also induces
apoptosis (programmed cell death) of colon cancer cells, under experimental conditions. It is an important fuel for
colon cells and evidence exists to show that colon cells exposed to various carcinogens are less inclined to be
transformed into malignant cells in the presence of adequate butyrate supply. Butyrate has also been shown to
increase the concentrations of glutathione transferase enzyme in colon cells. “Thus, enzyme induction by butyrate, or
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