Prebiotics To Boost One’s Health, Naturally

For the health-minded person, maintaining a balanced diet to positively influence one’s overall health is an established approach and over 70% thinks that “maintaining a balanced diet” is an important contributor to their overall health. Taking that balanced nutrition approach a step further, people consider “Gut health as key to achieving holistic wellbeing” and they appear strongly interested in the gut microbiome – i.e. how good and bad bacteria in the gut can impact one’s overall health. These consumer beliefs are confirmed by the opinion of various food authorities and industries, who have promoted the importance of a fibre-rich diet and taking care of gut health for many years. 

Gut microbiome

Prebiotics are superfoods, nourishing the good gut bacteria

The latest scientific consensus definition for prebiotics, elaborated by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), describes prebiotics as:

“A prebiotic is a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit.” Put simply, prebiotics are the favourite food of the good bacteria, already living in our gut or elsewhere in our body, helping them to grow and multiply, for the benefit of the person’s health.

For a person’s food, this means that prebiotics support the selective growth of beneficial bacteria (such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) that are naturally present in the gut and by doing so providing additional health effects in the gut ecosystem and beyond. Thanks to the communication lines between the microorganisms in the gut and other organs, e.g. the so-called gut-brain axis, health effects are related to the whole body.

In BENEO’s ingredients range, Orafti® Inulin and oligofructose from the chicory root are dietary fibres AND plant-based proven prebiotics at the same time, which gives them a unique positioning.

Prebiotics positively influence the gut microorganisms, which play an important role for overall health

Infographic on positive influence of prebiotics on gut

With a small intervention in the diet you can influence the gut microbiota and your overall health 

The gut microorganisms, also called the gut microbiota, build up a universe in itself. The composition of the microbiota has a major influence on our health and well-being. There are beneficial bacteria as well as neutral, potentially harmful bacteria or pathogens. The majority of the gut microbiota is situated at the lower end of the gut, the large intestine.   

Chicory root fibres are the preferred nutrients for the beneficial bacteria, such as bifidobacteria, that naturally live in the large intestine, and these are specialized to metabolise these prebiotic nutrients for example Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose. These broken-down prebiotics bring energy for the beneficial bifidobacteria to grow and increase in population. Besides this growth of these good gut bacteria, the metabolites and break down products (e.g. short chain fatty acids) are also transported to other organs of the body. Thus, these bifidobacteria have an outreach to the whole body and can positively influence a number of metabolic situations: (1) starting with the gut environment improved digestive health aspects like improved bowel functions and an improved gut barrier function – see EFSA approved 13.5 health claim; (2) and reaching far beyond that, as elaborated on in the following paragraph. 

Want to learn more about how chicory root fibres can support the healthy gut microbiota and more? Read this paper 

Prebiotic chicory root fibres for your health

In recent years, a growing number of research studies have focused on the link between human microorganisms and health. It has become clear that the role of the gut microbiota goes far beyond improved gut barrier function and gut health alone, it supports a variety of health factors e.g. weight management, blood glucose management, increased calcium absorption and bone health, mood and cognition, immune system – prebiotics might also be helpful in dealing with systemic inflammation situations or autoimmune diseases.

With prebiotic chicory root fibres, like Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose, consumers have a superfood in their hands with which they can positively support their microbiota and their overall health. 

Want to learn more about how prebiotic chicory root fibres can support the inner defence system? Read this paper

Chicory root fibres are real prebiotics and have the science to prove it 

Chicory root fibres are real prebiotics and have the science to prove it 

After more than 25 years of scientific research on the prebiotics inulin and oligofructose, a unique database of knowledge has been established. 

Intense research related to the gut microbiome over the past 10 years and its importance for human health helps to add to the prebiotic knowledge database and new innovative research is continuously emerging. 

The wealth of scientific data for chicory root fibres include numerous high quality research (randomised controlled trials) allowing for systematic reviews and meta-analysis which is the strongest level of robust scientific evidence. The highest level of scientific evidence confirms chicory root fibres are proven prebiotics, selectively increasing the bifidobacteria from 3g/day onwards and improving the bowel function. 

Facing an abundance of prebiotic-containing products on the market, when looking for true prebiotics you will come across a variety of ingredients using the term “prebiotic” without the necessary scientific backing. Resistant dextrins, such as soluble corn fibre or soluble tapioca fibre, resistant starch, tapioca starch, polydextrose, gum acacia – while some may be considered “candidate prebiotics,” others fall short. They are using the term incorrectly, contributing to the confusion currently existing in the market. To date there are only 3 proven prebiotics: inulin, oligofructose (FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). 

Clearing up the confusion about prebiotics

Dive deeper into the truth about proven prebiotics. Watch as we break down the science, present the facts, and navigate through the sea of misinformation.

3 grams a day makes all the difference 

People can support their microbiota and overall health by consuming just 3g of BENEO’s chicory root fibres per day. Inulin and oligofructose are naturally present in many fruits and vegetables, like banana, onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes but typically only in low levels. Chicory root on the other hand, have relatively high levels and as such make an ideal natural prebiotic source. 

With Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose, the intake of one’s daily portion of proven prebiotics becomes a lot easier for consumers. These can be added to a wide range of common foods people already have in their daily diet, like cereals, bread, yoghurts, biscuits or drinks. BENEO’s Technology Center specialises in formulating tasty, healthy products for our business partners in a wide range of food applications.  

Not all dietary fibres are prebiotics, which is a common misconception 

Dietary fibres are a complex group of substances, which can be soluble or insoluble, and can be found in many whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. They are not all the same but have one thing in common: they are non-digestible carbohydrates and are thus not absorbed in the small intestine and reach the large intestine intact, where they may or may not be used by gut microbiota. So dietary fibres may or may not have a prebiotic effect – the vast majority does not, where chicory root fibres are one of the positive exceptions. 

Prebiotics on the other hand are not digested, reach the large intestine intact and can only (i.e. selectively) be used by the beneficial gut bacteria as their preferred food. Prebiotics can potentially be different types of substances, but to date all proven prebiotics are specific types of soluble fibres: inulin, oligofructose / fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). 

Inulin and oligofructose from the chicory root are dietary fibres and at the same time the only plant-based proven prebiotics, which makes them truly unique! Generally, they are identified on product packaging with one of the following descriptions: 

• Chicory root fibre
• Chicory inulin
• Inulin
• Oligofructose
• Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)

Prebiotic dietary fibres for holistic health

Prebiotic dietary fibres for holistic health

Looking to differentiate your product from all others on the market? Then read this article that pinpoints the difference between prebiotic dietary fibres and the ‘wannabes’ on the market.

Are prebiotics and probiotics the same? 

Both terms stand for the support of digestive health and beyond, but they are fundamentally different. While both need to be eaten, prebiotics are nutrients for the consumer and the beneficial bacteria while probiotics are live bacteria that are directly eaten as such. ISAPP explains them as follows:  

  • Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when taken in sufficient amounts, can provide health benefits. Sometimes, but not always, they are similar to microbiota that normally colonize our bodies. They rarely stay permanently in the gut, they are in transit and excreted with the faeces. 
  • Prebiotics are food for beneficial bacteria that live on or in us. They are metabolized by the ‘good’ gut microbiota, positively impacting the gut environment, with an overall health benefit. They feed our natural gut microbiota as well as the ingested probiotics. 

When one product delivers both pro- and prebiotics, it is called a synbiotic

‘Biotics’ are defined as “related to or resulting from living organisms”.  Another term sometimes seen is Postbiotic. Here, the prefix ‘Post’ expresses ‘after’ or ‘after life’; according the ISAPP Consensus Statement, a “non-living organism”. It is a preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that deliver a health benefit on the host.  

In-depth information about prebiotic chicory root fibres

Chicory root fibre, healthy gut microbiota and more

Chicory root fibre, healthy gut microbiota and more

The prebiotic concept with Orafti® fibres (inulin, oligofructose/FOS): – A healthy gut flora and the physiological benefits.

Inner defence support with prebiotic chicory root fibres

Inner defence support with prebiotic chicory fibres

How do prebiotic oligofructose and inulin help to strengthen our inner defence system? The support of beneficial bacteria is key!

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