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August 21, 2019

Tell your patients these 4 things about prebiotics

Prebiotics are growing in public interest. AGA offers tips to help you in explaining this unique type of dietary fiber to your patients.
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Stephen R. Lindemann, PhD, assistant professor of food science and nutrition science, Purdue University, shares four talking points to use when your patients ask about prebiotics.
  • Prebiotics serve as food for specific microbes in the gut but their health benefits are likely due to broader changes in the function of communities of microbes.
  • Prebiotics can lead to a durable change in overall function of gut microbial community with potential for long-term health benefit while probiotics are live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts can confer a health benefit even in the short term.
  • Prebiotics ferment to short-chain fatty acids known to positively influence human metabolism and immunity. Commercial prebiotics may be beneficial in some individuals but intolerable in others.
  • Further research is needed to determine the specificity of prebiotics in terms of their biological effects. Other dietary fibers/proteins may have similar health benefits that have not yet been determined.

These tips are from “Prebiotics 101,” the first of a four-part CME series in AGA University titled, “The Microbiome and Digestive Health: A Look at Prebiotics.” Part two, “Diet vs. Prebiotics” is also available.

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