We already know that you need the right bacteria to keep your intestines healthy. However, these, like all living organisms, need nutrients that create an appropriate environment for microorganisms. This function is performed by prebiotics. These are substances that scientists divide into oligosaccharides (e.g. fructooligosaccharides, lactulose) and polysaccharides (e.g. inulin, resistant starch – i.e. one that is not digested and absorbed in the small intestine, cellulose or pectins). As a rule, they are contained in what we eat, that is mainly in plant products or in milk.
The most important features and tasks of prebiotics are: resistance to digestive enzymes in the upper gastrointestinal tract – so that the prebiotic can reach the intestines undigested; the ability to lower the pH of the intestinal contents; and finally – stimulating the growth and activity of selected bacterial strains having a beneficial effect on health.
What to do so that our “good” bacteria do not run out of prebiotics? As a rule, a healthy diet, rich mainly in vegetables and fruits, is sufficient. Prebiotics supplementation should be recommended by a doctor in situations where we suffer from constipation or diarrhea or when we have undergone antibiotic therapy, which may negatively affect the condition of the necessary bacterial flora in the intestines.