How’s your digestive health lately? Any tummy aches? Has a medical professional ever prescribed an antibiotic for you?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are certainly not alone. In the United States, 60 to 70 million people are affected by all classifications of digestive health issues.
Many are also affected by intestinal discomfort while taking antibiotics. In 2010, healthcare providers prescribed 258 million courses of antibiotics. That means four out of every five Americans was given an order for antibiotics. And in 2013, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that this number continues to grow.
Whether you have experienced gut discomfort due to taking a course of antibiotics, or you suffer on a regular basis, you are not alone. Luckily, there is a way to improve your quality of life. Read on to learn about the dangers of antibiotics on your gut — and ultimately, your overall health — as well as the recently discovered gut autism connection.
The Harmful Effects of Antibiotics on the Gut
The word antibiotic literally means “against life.” In cases of illness, it refers to “against microbes.” Microbes are single-cell organisms so tiny that millions can fit on the head of a pin. The human microbiome is defined as “the collection of microbes that colonize the human body”.
Antibiotics can literally be life-savers. When they were first unveiled in the early 1900s, antibiotics were touted as a “magic bullet.” Considered one of the greatest medical discoveries in human history, these powerful prescriptions help your body fight off infections by destroying illness-causing bacteria, allowing the body to heal.
Antibiotics are effective at killing off the bad bacteria that make us ill, but unfortunately, they also kill off beneficial bacteria needed for overall wellness. Every time you swallow an antibiotic, you destroy the bacteria within your intestines. That’s the good news … and the bad news.
The good news is that antibiotics can assist in restoring your health. The bad news is that in the process of healing, the antibiotic abolishes much of the good bacteria your body requires on a daily basis. An overuse of antibiotics results in less resistance for the body to naturally support its own healthy immune system.
Antibiotic use, even at low doses, interrupts the healthy levels of gut bacteria that support our well-being. In fact, since antibiotics kill the normal healthy bacteria in your intestine, they can cause some nasty side effects including:
- Stomach pain and severe cramps
- Clostridium difficilecolitis, a medical illness that involves swelling and irritation of the large intestine or colon
What if there were a more natural option to encourage the growth of good bacteria? Prebiotics is the answer.
Prebiotics and Probiotics: How They Help With Unwanted Antibiotic Side Effects
While probiotics can help with unwanted antibiotic side effects in the gut, they are not the best option. At best, manufacturers are making a guess on which probiotics your gut needs. Hopefully, the ones contained in the yogurt you are eating will be beneficial to your particular digestive system. In addition, the probiotics you eat may not even make it to your intestines as they can be rendered ineffective if exposed to heat or stomach acid. Finally, probiotics often have a very short shelf life.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are superheroes with unmatched powers, especially when compared with probiotics. Research has shown that prebiotics can rebuild a healthy microbiome and restore healthy bacteria that antibiotics often destroy. They:
- Are effective nutrients sourced from a specialized plant fiber that beneficially nourishes the good bacteria already in the lower gut. Instead of adding healthy bacteria, you are helping the good bacteria you already have flourish.
- Optimize immune function, protecting it from harmful bacteria and illness.
- Are not affected by heat, cold, acid or time — unlike probiotics!
- Provide a range of important benefits, not just to lower-digestive health, but also to overall health.
- Complement the action of probiotics.
- Enhance nutrient absorption, especially increasing necessary calcium and mineral absorption by the body.
- Are natural fibers that may even promote a feeling of fullness, also known as satiety, which can help to support healthy weight management.
- Are especially helpful before, during and after ingesting antibiotic medications.
Prebiotics are much more effective than probiotics at promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. In addition, supplementing with prebiotics has the added benefit of stimulating the immune system, which results in stronger resistance to bacterial and viral infections.
Kids and Prebiotics
Prebiotics are not just helpful to adults — they also provide a number of key benefits for newborn and children. Chances are, from the moment we were born, we were ingesting prebiotics. Human milk contains oligosaccharides, an efficacious form of fiber for gastrointestinal health, and a growing number of baby formula manufacturers worldwide are offering prebiotics-enriched formulas to help support an infant’s digestive track.
New parents crave as much rest as they can get. But as any new mom or dad recognizes, crying and even colic frequently interrupt a good night’s sleep. If a newborn experiences painful constipation, bloating and a swollen or extended belly, prebiotics may help. Prebiotics can also help the new arrival avoid and fight off infections.
Autism and the Microbiome: The Gut Plays a Larger Role Than Once Thought
Autism is a wide and complex spectrum that usually presents itself in three ways: impaired communication, poor social engagement and repetitive behaviors. Diagnosed in childhood, autism varies from having a minimal affect to completely disrupting one’s ability to lead a fulfilling life.
It’s important to note that individuals diagnosed with autism often suffer from intestinal issues. The numbers are startling — as many as nine out of 10 individuals with autism also suffer from gastrointestinal problems. Today, most experts agree that gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are commonly found in children with autism.
If you know someone with autism, then you are probably aware that it is often recommended that autistic individuals consider a gluten-free diet. But gluten is not the only source of digestive challenges for this group with special needs. Some evidence indicates that children with autism have a different gut bacteria environment than individuals without this diagnosis.
Just last year, the journal Pediatrics, analyzed the published, peer-reviewed research about gastrointestinal problems in kids with autism. Results showed that those children with autism experienced more stomach problems than children their age without autism. It also showed the stomach problems they do experience are more severe than those experienced by their non-autistic counterparts.
Regrettably, not all children with autism can easily communicate their health issues. Frequently, parents and guardians must become detectives in analyzing their child’s distress. Some early signs that a child with autism may be experiencing gastrointestinal issues include:
- Food sensitivities
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- History of antibiotic use
- Irritability, especially prior to bowel movements
- Poor sleep
- Unexplained tantrums/crying
There are dozens of theories on how gut bacteria relates to autism. A central question is “can bacteria alter brain development and function?”
Currently, there is a growing category of research being done on understanding the possible connection between GI (gastrointestinal) issues and autism — a causal relationship has not yet been proven. However, a growing number of scientists believe that the link between autism and the types of bacteria levels in the stomach could indicate changes in brain chemicals. In very preliminary published studies, animal models demonstrate that microbes living in the gut may affect what goes on in the brain.
Evidence reviewed in Current Psychiatry Reports suggests that, “a deeper understanding of the gut microbiome could open up new avenues of research on ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), including potential novel treatment strategies.”
Research supported by Autism Speaks revealed that “while the precise links between the gut microbiome, the brain and autism are not yet clear, we’re certain there’s a strong relationship that affects outcomes and quality of life for people living with autism.”
Scientists are committed to continuing their search and exploring the possibility of neurological changes being triggered by changes in the gut microbiome (bacterial components). As we learn more about the important role the gut plays in how our brain functions, we can better treat those with autism.
Prebiotics Support Autism Digestive Challenges
Is bad gut bacteria causing autism? While the answer to this question is dependent on more research, a recent 2015 study revealed that women who were diagnosed with diabetes by their 26th week of pregnancy had a 42% higher chance of having a child with autism. Many women who suffer from digestive disorders risk developing diabetes during pregnancy — Prebiotin can help women prevent some of these digestive disorders that could lead to diabetes and even autism.
Until more research with tangible results is available, parents may want to consider supplementation of prebiotics, not just for their child diagnosed with autism, but for all family members. Prebiotics:
- Restore the health of bacteria in the intestinal track for proper intestinal function, which helps make the autistic child, or any person, more comfortable and alleviate pain in the gut.
- Are essential for the beneficial effects of probiotic bacteria that help reestablish the appropriate balance in the gut.
- Increase the healthy bacteria in the bowel and allows for overall improved bowel health.
- Positively impact the immune system by defending it from destructive bacteria.
Natural Prebiotic Sources
It would be great if we could obtain the full amount of prebiotics from food alone. Let’s take a look at the top 10 items containing prebiotics:
- Chicory root
- Jerusalem artichoke (not the green globe artichoke you see at the supermarket)
- Raw Dandelion greens
- Wheat bran
- Wheat flour
Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to acquire the full amount of prebiotics from food alone. For example, it would take over a pound of bananas or two dozen onions to meet the recommended daily amount. Supplementation can help meet the levels for a healthy lifestyle.
Now that you better understand the key benefits of prebiotics, you’re probably asking, “How do I choose a prebiotic supplement?” Not all prebiotics are created equal!
Prebiotin Prebiotic Fiber Supplement offers a number of key benefits that other prebiotic supplements do not. Prebiotin is:
- Healthy: It is natural, plant-based, fat-free, cholesterol-free, sodium-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, low in carbohydrates and made in the United States.
- A “full-spectrum” prebiotic, containing a mixture of Oligofructose-Enriched-Inulin (OEI) in powder form. In other words, it has a combination of natural fibers to produce “good bacteria” throughout the colon.
- Enhances a strong immune system and provides better bacterial-gut balance. Prebiotin can help correct a leaky, permeable bowel wall and may promote a lower risk of infection in the gut.
- Backed by the most published research. There are over 10,000 medical articles on the research of prebiotics, and it is used in many university and clinical studies.
- Can be taken daily to optimize the effectiveness of the product.
- Is easy-to-use — Prebiotin Prebiotic Fiber Supplement for digestive health comes in a 60 servings jar with a convenient measured serving scoop. Just stir vigorously one to two scoops daily to your favorite beverage or sprinkle over food to receive the full benefit of recommended dosage. It is also available in single-dose sticks, perfect for travel, work and all on-the-go activities.
- A powder delivery system that is not affected by heat, cold or stomach acid. It dissolves easily in any liquid and can be added to food without altering the taste.
- Contains both of the two most-researched and beneficial prebiotic sources:
- Oligofructose — a form of dietary fiber that enhances “friendly” bacteria that reside in the intestines.
- Inulin — a soluble and non-digestible dietary fiber that passes through the small intestine and ferments in the large intestine to selectively encourage the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.
Scientific studies confirm the “large number of health-promoting functions of inulin and oligofructose.
Founder Frank W. Jackson, M.D. developed Prebiotin. As a Gastroenterologist, he has always been committed to responsibly developing and marketing medically sound nutritional supplements. Dr. Jackson attended Johns Hopkins, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. For almost 40 years, he practiced gastroenterology. His reputation is impeccable.
Choosing the Right Prebiotin for You
The benefits of prebiotics are so scientifically significant that we introduced additional applications with prebiotics as the core focus. They include:
- Prebiotin Bone Health is our product suggested for those with concerns about bone health, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, osteoporosis or other bone disorders.
- Prebiotin Heart Health is our formula that is suited for those with cholesterol and heart-related health concerns.
- Prebiotin Regularity adds a hefty dose of insoluble fiber for those with concerns about constipation.
Learn more about the significant health benefits of Prebiotin prebiotic supplements. You’ll discover how this all-natural supplement can nourish your body’s gut microbiome so you can enjoy the many benefits that come along with a healthy digestive system.