What is a prebiotic?
Prebiotics are really fruit and vegetable fiber that feed the host’s prebiotics and encourage their growth. They are necessary to maintain a healthy population of probiotics in the GI tract. Prebiotics are defined as being non-digestible by the host and not metabolized by other intestinal bacteria such as the species that can cause illness.1 Prebiotics are available naturally in breast milk and in fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, especially in artichokes, onions and chicory. Some work has been done to produce supplements that concentrate oligosaccharides from plants but the best source for humans is unquestionably raw fruits and vegetables.
1. Hamilton-Miller, J. 2004. Probiotics and prebiotics in the elderly. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 80:447-451.