Most people are familiar with probiotics: beneficial bacteria essential for healthy digestive and immune health. What you might not be as well-versed in is prebiotics, which have received less attention but play an equally important role in your digestive tract.
While there are many prebiotics on the market, colostrum is quickly becoming one of the most talked-about. But why?
What are Prebiotics?
Simply put, prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates (AKA, fiber). They are naturally present in many high-fiber foods and (similarly to other types of fiber) pass through the upper part of your GI tract without being digested, then through the small intestines, and are finally fermented in the colon by your body’s gut bacteria – think of prebiotics as food for the good bacteria in your gut.
The most well-known type of prebiotic is a compound called an oligosaccharide, which comes in the form of fructo-oligosaccharides and galacto-oligosaccharides. Other prebiotics include inulin and oligofructose. Just like dietary fiber, prebiotics occur naturally in produce such as garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, onions, and bananas. Prebiotics are also added to many foods; yogurts, cereals, breads, and drinks can all be found with added prebiotics.
Prebiotics vs. Probiotics
Both prebiotics and probiotics work together to maintain the health and balance of our microbiome (the trillions of bacteria that live in our body and play a major role in our health). While taking probiotics (in food or supplement form) replenishes our gut with beneficial bacteria, prebiotics are essential for those bacteria to feed on. Prebiotics help to nourish the beneficial bacteria that are present in your gut.
Why Colostrum is a Powerful Prebiotic
While colostrum doesn’t fit into the exact same definition of a prebiotic offered above, it contains many health-promoting compounds that are essential for allowing probiotics to carry out their role in the body. Colostrum contains important growth factors that help healthy bacteria to thrive in the gut, along with its impressive myriad of nutrients and immune factors.
Best Ways to Incorporate Colostrum into Your Diet
Colostrum is most often taken as bovine colostrum and comes in powder and capsule form. Colostrum is considered safe for most, although if you are allergic to dairy, proceed with caution when taking bovine colostrum or ask your doctor. Learn more about colostrum here.
By focusing your diet on pre and probiotic-rich foods and compounds and making sure that high-quality colostrum is included, you can support your body’s overall health and function.