How to Choose a Prebiotic Supplement: Identifying the Best Products for Digestive Health Support
You can always acquire prebiotics from whole foods. However, some people just like the convenience factor of a prebiotic supplement.
Whenever you go the supplement route, though, you always have to be careful. A lot of the prebiotic supplements in stores contain fillers and other impurities that erode the overall quality. Learn how to be an informed consumer before buying anything in pill or capsule form.
Are all Prebiotic Supplements Created Equal?
As you are about to find out, not all prebiotics supplements are the same. Just as probiotic products come in different strains and CFUs, prebiotics also come in varieties.
In short, you have to do your research just as you would with any supplement. There are two facets of research you need to perform: quality and the specific prebiotic type.
What do we mean by quality? Product quality applies across the board for all supplements, whether that be a joint pain reliever or testosterone booster. This especially applies to prebiotics, since you want to ensure the probiotics in your gut are receiving the best form of nourishment.
Quality basically means the product has the right ingredients and nothing more that doesn’t contribute to product efficacy. Supplement makers often add useless additives to “pad” their product. Common and potentially dangerous fillers include:
- Artificial food coloring: Manufactures claim they add this to offset natural color loss, but do users really care about this?
- Hydrogenated oils
- Talc or magnesium silicate: Both are commonly used as a deodorant
- Titanium dioxide
- Magnesium stearate
- Hypoallergenic rice flour: Used as a filler for filling out a capsule
In addition, we also recommend consumers be wary of ingredients listed under a proprietary blend or trademarked name. These blends are often advertised as being a secret and potent formula. In reality, they’re just an excuse for not disclosing the full list of ingredients.
Other Parameters of a High-Quality Product
Prebiotic supplements — or any other supplement for that matter — should ideally contain only natural ingredients.
This part trips up a lot of consumers. Ingredients you think are natural aren’t always so. Most energy supplements, for example, contain caffeine. You may think caffeine is natural, but this isn’t always the case. Most energy products actually contain anhydrous caffeine, which is an artificial form of the stimulant. It differs from the natural caffeine found in coffee and tea.
The same goes for a vitamin B12 supplement. Most contain B12 in the synthetic form of cyanocobalamin instead of the more biologically active methylcobalamin. Due to the scientific names, it’s easy for users to gloss this over without second thought.
In short, you should ask yourself the following about any supplement:
- Does it contain all-natural ingredients?
- Are the ingredients clinically researched?
- Are the ingredients in its most bioavailable form?
- Does the manufacturer have enough confidence in its product to offer a money back guarantee?
When specifically buying a prebiotic supplement, you need to know exactly the type of prebiotic. Just as there are different types of protein (e.g. whey, casein, etc.), there are various prebiotics. Each type has similar but slightly different functions. For the most part, the different types of prebiotics include:
- Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)
- Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)
- Pectin (from the peels of apples and similar fruits)
The above are all-natural and valid forms of prebiotics. A prebiotics supplement may also include similar-functioning compounds, such as dextrin, agave and lactulose. While these are noted for having prebiotic-like effects, they are not prebiotics in the strictest sense of the definition. These are fine as secondary ingredients, though we recommend sticking to actual prebiotics.
Inulin is actually one of the more extensively studied compounds, hence why it’s in most prebiotic supplements. Inulin is a fructan, meaning that your small intestines cannot digest the complex fructose molecules. Instead, it moves into the lower gut fully intact, where it becomes food for the beneficial microflora. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed inulin was effective for reducing inflammation. This finding is huge, as inflammation is a primary precursor for inflammatory bowel disease.
Only Buy the Best Quality Product
Unless you diligently research a prebiotic supplement, you may not be getting your money’s worth. If you’ve been following us for some time, then you know we are huge advocates of anything that improves gut health. Prebiotics are a key component in that. This is why we released our all-new ACV + Prebiotic product.
This prebiotic supplement meets all the aforementioned parameters. It’s all-natural (no fillers) and contains the clinically researched inulin in its most bioavailable form. As you can probably infer from its name, it also contains apple cider vinegar, another proven compound for aiding digestion.
If you experience even a semblance of rough stools or occasional bloating, then we recommend checking out ACV + Prebiotic.