What Is a Microbiome?

A microbiome refers to a collection of microorganisms that live together in the same habitat. It can include bacteria, fungi, and viruses which exist within  an ecosystem or organism.

The human microbiome contains trillions of microbes and thousands of bacterial species in the mouth and on the skin. It also includes the gut microbiome, which influences digestion, metabolism, immune function, and brain health.

Research indicates that diet and other environmental factors can impact the gut microbiome. For example, eating foods rich in minerals, nutrients, and vitamins may support gut microbiome diversity and deliver health benefits. Conversely, people who frequently eat processed foods and other unhealthy foods may increase their risk of experiencing dysbiosis, an imbalance of "good" and "bad" bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In these instances, people are susceptible to upset stomach, nausea, and other stomach and intestinal issues.

What Are Microbiome Diet Supplements?

Microbiome prebiotics are high-fiber foods that feed human microflora. They help improve the balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria in the gut.

The human microbiome represents a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. In some instances, this balance is interrupted by stress, antibiotics, environmental factors, an unhealthy diet, or health disorders. And in these instances, an individual may experience an imbalance of good and bad bacteria (dysbiosis), i.e., significantly more bad bacteria than good bacteria. This may lead to digestive issues, as well as to negatively impact a person's general well-being.

Plant-based prebiotics quickly reach the gut and provide the gut bacteria with fiber. This results in the release of short chain fatty acids that support a healthy microbiome.

Prebiotic Foods

Common prebiotic foods include:

  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Chicory root
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Wheat bran

Additionally, fermented dairy products like yogurt, kefir, and sour cream contain prebiotics and probiotics, both of which help keep the gut healthy.

Microbiome Diet Supplements

A gut microbiome supplement may be incorporated into a microbiome diet. This supplement is designed to help an individual maintain a healthy balance of good and bad gut bacteria.

Microbiome diet supplements help support a healthy gut microbiome, which is typically considered a key factor in maintaining optimal health and body function. They may even help a person stabilize his or her mood, promote effective digestion, and maintain a healthy weight.

Are Probiotics and Prebiotics the Same?

Probiotics are sometimes mistaken for prebiotics, and vice versa. But, it is important to note that probiotics and prebiotics differ from one another in several ways.

Like prebiotics, probiotics help support digestive health. Probiotics are live bacteria that are present in the human microbiome, and they help promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. They also crowd out the bad bacteria which makes more room for the good bacteria to thrive. Probiotics are found in a wide range of foods, including:

  • Fermented vegetables
  • Kefir, cow or goat's milk, yogurt, and raw dairy products
  • Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and other high-fiber foods

A probiotic supplement may be taken as part of a microbiome-friendly diet. However, the effectiveness of a probiotic supplement varies based on its ingredients.

For people who are considering probiotics, prebiotics, or both, consult with your doctor. He or she can make recommendations as to which probiotic and/or prebiotic supplements are most beneficial. The doctor may also recommend a microbiome analysis (a stool test) to assess the state of one’s gut microbiome.

Do Prebiotics Increase GI Motility?

Researchers are continuously studying the relationship between prebiotics and GI motility. In one study, researchers found prebiotics increased gastric motility and electrical activity in preterm newborns. Comparatively, randomized controlled studies were performed to evaluate the effectiveness of prebiotics to manage constipation in humans and animals. Following these studies, researchers indicated that additional studies are necessary to determine if prebiotics can help humans and animals control constipation.

When Should I Take Prebiotics?

Some medical experts recommend consuming 5 g of prebiotics daily. When consumed daily, prebiotics can be taken at any time, but the same amount of prebiotics should be taken each day.

For people coping with constipation or irregularity, it may be helpful to consider their digestive habits and consume prebiotics relative to their everyday routine. Otherwise, these individuals may be susceptible to gut issues (i.e., urgency at an inconvenient time).

Also, prebiotics may impact how the body responds to daily medications or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. To err on the side of caution, people should consume prebiotics at least two hours before or after they take daily medications or OTC drugs.

To determine the optimal amount of prebiotics to take, meet with a doctor. This enables an individual to safely incorporate prebiotics into their diet.

Should I Take Prebiotics with Food?

It is not necessary to take prebiotics with food, but doing so may be beneficial. For example, people may choose a prebiotics supplement intended to be taken with foods that contain fiber. In this instance, people should follow the supplement's instructions.

At other times, it may be beneficial to take prebiotics alone with just a glass of water. For instance, diarrhea is a known potential side effect of supplemental prebiotics. If people experience diarrhea while the body adjusts to prebiotics, they may want to take the supplement without food.

Consult with a doctor to discuss prebiotics. A doctor can determine if an individual should take prebiotics with or without food.

Bovine Colostrum and the Microbiome Diet

Bovine colostrum is also considered a prebiotic which helps maintain the integrity of the gut lining. It contains powerful components that have been shown to support gut health, and these components include:

  • Growth Factors: Repair damage to the G.I. lining caused by antibiotics, analgesics, and other gut-irritating medications. 
  • Immunoglobulins: Neutralize and destroy bacteria that may cause diarrhea or intestinal bleeding.
  • Specific Antibodies: Neutralize pathogens that otherwise cause gut-based infections.

Also, bovine colostrum helps remediate leaky gut syndrome (LGS), a condition that results from an excessively permeable G.I. lining.

LGS occurs when abnormally large spaces develop between the cells of the gut wall. These spaces allow undigested food particles, bacteria, fungi, and other toxic materials to seep into the bloodstream, resulting in infection and inflammation within the body. Bovine colostrum helps reduce gut permeability, and as a result, protects against toxins, pathogens, and/or food allergens that could trigger an immune system response.

Colostrum-LD®: A Gut Microbiome Supplement Unlike Any Other

Prebiotics, both in foods and supplements, are crucial to microbiome-friendly diet. Colostrum-LD from Sovereign Laboratories can be used in conjunction with food-sourced prebiotics to help achieve optimal gut health.

Colostrum-LD® is the only bovine colostrum product that is clinically proven to heal and prevent LGS. It contains a rich combination of growth factors, immunoglobulins, and other bioactive components that help the body fight off harmful pathogens and infection as well as decreasing systemic inflammation. Powdered Colostrum-LD makes it simple to incorporate bovine colostrum into a microbiome-friendly diet. To find out more about Colostrum-LD and bovine colostrum supplementation, please check out our website.