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Larry Newman is the Chief Operating Officer, Technical and Regulatory Affairs of Kirkman Group, Inc. (Kirkman). Contact Kirkman at 1-800-245-8282; 6400 Rosewood St., Lake Oswego, OR.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Prebiotics Nourish Good Bacteria

Prebiotics are defined as non-digestible foods that make their way through our digestive system and act as nourishment for good bacteria and probiotics.
In other words, prebiotics support the health of beneficial bacteria. Since prebiotics are not digested, they remain in the digestive tract and stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria and probiotics.

Prebiotics are carbohydrate derived fibers naturally present in fruits, legumes, some vegetables, some grains, and certain trees. The most well known prebiotic fibers are inulin from the chickory root or artichoke plant and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) derived from various plants. These fiber based carbohydrates have been used as prebiotics since the concept was developed about ten years ago. They are effective prebiotics, but because of the complex saccharides in their chemical makeup, they tend to cause flatulence and/or bloating. This has led to the development of some modern, less problematic prebiotic fibers. Sunfiber® is derived from the seeds of the Guar gum plant and is a very effective prebiotic. 

Another great prebiotic is the fiber harvested from the Larch tree, called Larch Arabinogalactan. This fiber not only has prebiotic characteristics, but also has been shown to enhance immunity by stimulating NK killer cell activity.

The dosing of prebiotics is anywhere from 4-20 grams daily for an adult. For children, it would be much less, though there are no published recommended daily allowances. Two to four grams daily would be a good place to begin for children. Infant formulas are now being considered for fortification with prebiotics to stimulate the growth of the beneficial Bifidobacterium strains present in the baby’s intestine. It is postulated that this may reduce colic and other infant gastrointestinal issues.  Other soluble and insoluble fibers may have some value as prebiotics, but the above ingredients appear to be the most effective.

Kirkman's Pre-Bio™ Fiber Powder Stimulates Beneficial Strains of Bacteria
Kirkman's Pre-Bio™ Fiber Powder, a unique prebiotic blend of two excellent sources of Soluble prebiotic fiber plus modified citrus pectin.  The fiber sources in Pre-Bio™ Fiber Powder include Sunfiber®, which is derived from the seeds of the guar plant, and larch arabinogalactan, extracted from harvested larch trees. Both are effective soluble prebiotic fibers, which stimulate the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Modified Citrus Pectin is added to stimulate the removal of bacteria that also reside in the gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotic fiber is not digested by the body, but rather forms a nutrient substrate for beneficial bacteria in the gut and probiotic strains of bacteria that are supplemented.

The stimulation of the growth of beneficial strains of bacteria can greatly improve gastrointestinal health, help relieve constipation or diarrhea and contribute to regularity.

Pre-Bio™ Fiber Powder can be dispersed in hot or cold liquids or soft foods.

Kirkman's Pre-Bio™ Fiber Powder is more than just a fiber. The larch arabinogalactan component of the product, which is about 50%, has been show to enhance immunity. It stimulates "natural killer" cell activity so as to ward off unwanted invaders of body cells and thus can be called a biological response modifier.