Probiotics & Prebiotics: What They Can Add To Your Fitness Journey - Written By Jennifer Dawson

May 21, 2018

Probiotics & Prebiotics: What They Can Add To Your Fitness Journey - Written By Jennifer Dawson

By 2024, the global prebiotic market will be valued at $7.11 billion. In 2017, a Global Market Insights Report estimated global probiotics additive feed sales are expected to surpass US$17.4 billion by 2027. There is no doubt: Americans are becoming more health conscious and pursuing metabolic efficiency.  By 2012, 1.6 percent of the US adult population were users of the supplement and North America retained the title of the largest probiotic market in 2017. As the interest in these supplements increases, let us take a look at exactly what they are and how useful they can be in your fitness journey.

Prebiotics Vs Probiotics: The Difference

In 2017 we saw the probiotics market hit the $40 billion mark and it continues to gain momentum. Although they can be often classified as similar, the relationship between these friendly bacteria supplements is more interdependent than identical.They both aid digestive health and growth but unlike probiotics, prebiotics are non living ingredients found in food and that help to increase the good bacteria in our digestive tract. Probiotics on the other hand are live bacteria and yeast that can be introduced into the body through the use of foods such as yogurts, kefir and supplements. According to Gibson and Roberfroid, prebiotics are defined non-digestible and therefore when consumed, they bypass the upper digestive tract and go to the large intestine. Once there, they help to fuel the good bacteria already there.

Probiotics & Your Digestive Health

The major benefit of including probiotics and prebiotics in your diet centers on your ‘gut health’.

Our intestinal tract plays a vital part in our wellbeing. It is responsible for not just digesting our food but also absorbing the nutrients from what is consumed. Therefore, keeping it healthy should be a priority. In 2000, researcher Gionchetti found that the inclusion of probiotics prevents inflammation of your digestive tract and other digestive issues along with aiding the digestion process.

It is often said that fitness begins in the kitchen. Without the body absorbing its needed nutrients, the work put in in the gym would be inefficient. As a bonus, research done by Mintel suggested that a happy gut could lead to higher levels of fitness and motivation levels.

Probiotics & Your Immune System

Finally, probiotics have also been shown to boost your immune system and increase the absorption of certain amino acids by the body. A healthy immune system and digestive system is able to quickly filter any toxic or harmful bacteria with which our bodies may come into contact. For those of us who pursue high-intensity workouts, this boost is important, as our bodies can feel stressed after such high levels of activities. This is particularly beneficial for endurance athletes.

Probiotic supplements can also aid in your workout recovery. A study carried out in 2015 and published in the JISSN Journal supported this, revealing increased recovery and reduced muscle incidences. These benefits are getting noticed, with more companies such as Yakult and General Mills investing millions into probiotics research.

Fueling Probiotics

Much has been said about the effect of probiotics on our overall immunity and digestive health. However, there is another part of the puzzle: Prebiotics. As they are digested through our bodies, they positively affect the digestive tract and organs by providing fuel for the beneficial bacteria surviving there. Research on prebiotics is still in its very early stages, and although there remains more research to be done, early studies have linked the ingestion of prebiotics to weight management in addition to digestive health.

Interestingly, most foods containing high prebiotics also happen to be termed calorie burning foods. If you are looking to shed some weight, these foods can help your metabolism and your body’s ability to burn calories. Naturally, we can find this quality in foods such as bananas, oats and other higher fiber foods. The synergy created by combining a prebiotic with a probiotic can provide the perfect balance for your body: introducing new bacteria through probiotics and nourishing them using prebiotics.

Choosing The Right One For You

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right one for your needs. One of those includes considering whether the source should contain an adequate amount of bacteria in order to do its job. The recommended range is 107 to 1010 probiotic cells per gram. Keep in mind that these ingredients are not a replacement for any food and should only be used in conjunction with a healthy diet. If you are thinking of including a supplement into your diet, it is best to speak to a healthcare professional or dietician for the best one for you. With the right information, probiotics and prebiotics can help you achieve all your fitness goals.

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