Your ultimate guide to prebiotics

Around the world, health and nutrition brands are looking to the next generation of product formulations.

Naturally, these new products must connect with the needs of today’s health-conscious consumer audience. For many brands and their formulators, this points towards gut related health.

There is rapidly expanding interest in gut health as an aspect of wellbeing, which can be attributed to a growing awareness and understanding of the connection between gut health and overall health and wellbeing.

The gut, part of the digestive system, plays a crucial role in the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. It contains a community of microbes such as bacteria, known as the gut microbiome. Thought to number in their trillions, certain types of these bacteria are considered beneficial to health and wellbeing, known as beneficial bacteria. Bifidobacteria is one example of these advantageous bacteria.

What are prebiotics?

What do prebiotics do?

What are the benefits of prebiotics?

Looking to explore the exciting advantages of prebiotics?


What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are a class of nutrients, and importantly, a type of fibre. All prebiotics are fibre, but not all fibres are prebiotic in nature. These nondigestible short-chain carbohydrates pass through the first part of the human digestive tract into the large intestine where they are fermented by gut microbes, including the beneficial bacteria that are understood to support physical and mental health. The process of gut microbiota fermenting prebiotic fibre produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are important metabolites for the body.

Prebiotic fibre can be found naturally in small amounts in some fruits and vegetables, including onions, garlic, chicory root, bananas and leafy green vegetables. However, increasingly, they are specifically manufactured and utilised as a standalone functional ingredient, such as Bimuno® GOS, for health and nutrition products. As a result, there are a number of new product categories emerging alongside prebiotic supplements, such as prebiotic cereals, prebiotic snack bars and prebiotic yoghurt and dairy based products.

What do prebiotics do?

A good analogy for prebiotics is as a fertiliser for good gut bacteria. Prebiotic fibre acts as food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut, and in turn, promotes a health positive balance of these microbes which can play a role in positively influencing our health and wellbeing.

Beneficial and non-beneficial bacteria in the gut co-exist in an ever-shifting composition. When talking ‘gut health’, it is often this balance that is being referred to. When the composition of the gut microbiome is balanced unfavourably, this is sometimes referred to as ‘dysbiosis’.

Prebiotics are not to be confused with the similarly named category of probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are added to the gut microbiome. They must account for ‘survivability’ through manufacturing and the digestive system, which can make probiotics less versatile for formulation, which points towards prebiotics as a preferable option for gut health product development.

What are the benefits of prebiotics?

As the science behind gut health advances and the importance of gut bacteria becomes better understood, the advantages of prebiotics become clearer.

Prebiotics are associated with a wide variety of health benefits, demonstrated through controlled studies. As well as supporting the health of the gut microbiome and its balance, research connects prebiotics, through the mechanism of nourishing advantageous bacteria, with supporting an expanding list of health areas that help to improve quality of life, ranging from digestive and gastrointestinal health to immune health and cognitive health.

As a result, prebiotics make an ideal fit for products designed to support these key areas of health, and their stability and versatility means they can be used in a diverse range of product applications.

Galactooligosaccharide ingredient Bimuno® GOS is a great example. The multi award-winning functional ingredient is supported by over 100 scientific publications detailing its safety and efficacy, including more than 20 clinical trials.

The stability of prebiotics means that ingredients such as Bimuno GOS can be added to formulation recipes at practically any point. The ingredient also benefits from a low efficacious daily dose beginning from just 1.37g, adding further flexibility.

Looking to explore the exciting advantages of prebiotics?

There are many key advantages to utilising prebiotics, and for many consumers around the globe, prebiotic fibre represents an opportunity to improve the quality of everyday health and wellbeing, backed by science.

Developing one of the most scientifically backed ingredients of its kind, Clasado Biosciences makes it easy for health and nutrition brands to develop the next generation of health supplement, functional foods and beverages.

Explore the many advantages of Bimuno GOS and get in touch with our team today.