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Prebiotics and Ulcerative Colitis

7 6mins

By acting as food for helpful bacteria in the gut, prebiotics can contribute to a healthier digestive system.

People who have ulcerative colitis (UC) commonly known as stomach ulcer generally know about probiotics, but they seldom know about prebiotics supplements.

Prebiotics found in food or supplements can also help you to maintain a healthy digestive system, especially if you suffer from ulcerative colitis.

They help in developing and maintaining diverse and balanced population of gut bacteria which are important for people with ulcerative colitis commonly known as stomach Ulcer.

Prebiotics

According to The Journal of Biomedical Science prebiotics are generally categories of dietary fibers which are not broken down by digestive juices and enzymes of human digestive system and become food for good bacteria in the colon tract. According to William R. DePaolo, “Prebiotics help us to colonize and grow probiotics. They act as fertilizers for probiotic seeds

The Relationship Between Gut Bacteria and UC

Our intestines have trillions of microorganisms including bacteria, fungi etc collectively known as gut microbiome. Some of them like lactobacilli are helpful while other like proteobacteria have adverse health effects. In a , severity of UC, its progression and its response to treatment directly related to composition of gut bacteria .

According to DePaolo, people with ulcerative colitis have an out-of-balance microbiome, a condition known as dysbiosis. This cause deficiency of compound produced by healthy bacteria called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and contribute to disease activity in UC.

SCFAs regulate inflammation in gut and body at large and enhance the effects of Regulatory T cell of immune system. Fewer SCFAs simply mean higher inflammation. Prebiotics supplements can increase SCFAs to reduce inflammation.

has shown clinical responses of prebiotics in colonoscopy and also indirect effects that benefit UC people.

Good Source of Prebiotics

According to  Current Developments in Nutrition  following are categories of prebiotic dietary fibers that support digestive health.

 

Category

Constituent

Common Example

Fructans

fructose

onions, jicama, wheat

Inulin

natural polysaccharides

garlic, onions, leeks, bananas

Beta-Glucan

complex sugar

edible seaweed, algae, oats, barley, whole grains

Guar Gum 

fiber

seed of the guar plant

Galacto-Oligosaccharides 

plant sugars

human milk, dairy products, beans like chickpeas, green peas, lima beans, and kidney beans

Lactulose

nondigestible, synthetic sugar

used to treat constipation, stimulate growth of beneficial bacteria in human for intestinal health

Xylooligosaccharides (XOSs), Arabino-Oligosaccharides 

simple sugars

dairy products, sports drinks, cereals, and bars

RSs and Maltodextrin 

Starches

cooked cereals, pasta, rice, and salad dressings

Prebiotic Supplements- how can they help?

Most Indians consume about 50% less than the recommended intake of fiber. A prebiotic supplement is a great option to try. In a study conducted by International Journal of Molecular Sciences supplements have not only improved digestive symptoms, but also reduced inflammation, increased gut bacteria and overall gut health.

Wheat Dextrin based supplements can be a good place to start. Similarly, hydrolysed Guar gum- a fiber from the seed of the guar plant improves gut health tremendously. Soluble fiber supplements like myfy are made up of wheat dextrin and hydrolysed guar gum. Guar gum expands in the intestine, it promotes a feeling of fullness that can help decrease appetite.

Pairing prebiotic supplements with a probiotic rich diet can also be tried to relieve adverse digestive symptoms.