Prebiotic Fibers: Are They Right for You? Digestion, Immunity, and More

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    Prebiotic fibers can support your health in many important ways. Read on to learn more.

    What is prebiotic fiber?

    When you think of gut health, you might think of probiotics, which are the living microorganisms in your gut that influence the health of your gut microbiome. If you don’t already, you should also think of prebiotics.

    Let’s take a quick step back for those of you who might not know much about gut health. Your gut microbiome consists of trillions of living microorganisms – a mix of what some would call good and bad bacteria. Making sure your gut has enough of the right kinds of bacteria is important for the health of your gut and gastrointestinal system generally. It turns out it’s also important for the health of the rest of your body, too, since all the nutrients your body needs must first go through the gut. So, where does prebiotic fiber come into play?

    Prebiotic fiber is non-digestible fiber that helps support the growth of good bacteria in your gut. In fact, it essentially acts as food for the good bacteria.

    In your intestine, prebiotics are fermented by your good bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids, which can then boost your body’s metabolic health. Prebiotic fiber can also increase your body’s ability to absorb certain minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. By supporting gut health, prebiotics contribute to other health benefits: boosting immune health, helping with bloating, supporting healthy bowel movements, and enhancing urinary health.

    Is fiber a prebiotic?

    While all prebiotics are fibers, not all dietary fibers are prebiotics. Fiber can be a prebiotic, depending on the source.

    Fibers are non-digestible plant-based carbs that consist of at least three units of individual sugars. Most of these foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The suggested daily fiber intake for women is 25 g; for men, that number is 38 g. When upping your fiber intake, it’s important to maintain proper hydration; this will help you prevent constipation.

    Why you need prebiotics


    As mentioned, prebiotics can be a big help in stimulating the growth of good bacteria in the gut. The presence of this good bacteria can help your digestive system function properly. If you’re experiencing digestive problems, you may want to see whether prebiotics can be part of the solution. Talk to your doctor if your digestive problems persist and see if prebiotics are right for you. Care/of’s Prebiotic Plus is high quality and effective.

    You should be cautious about excess amounts of fiber, since this can result in some digestive discomfort. Some studies suggest that fiber intake above 70 g per day can cause discomfort until the gut microbiome adjusts.

    Immune system

    Prebiotics have been shown to promote the growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli and thereby enhance the body’s immune system. Studies have shown that prebiotics can indirectly benefit the immune system by supporting the health of the gut microbiome. One study involving 32 healthy adults looked at the effects of taking a 15 mg capsule of prebiotic per day compared to taking a placebo and found that the prebiotic group had more healthy bacteria and fewer unhealthy bacteria than the placebo group had.

    Bone health

    Prebiotics can also support bone health. Per this study, prebiotics can improve mineral balance and boost your body’s ability to absorb calcium, the essential mineral in bone health.

    Does prebiotic fiber cause you to be gassy?

    After adding prebiotic fiber to your routine, you might experience some gassiness. That’s because the gut microbiome is adjusting. In the long run, the prebiotics will likely have a beneficial effect. If your gassiness persists and causes you problems, you should talk to a medical professional.

    The truth behind prebiotics and weight management

    There’s no one-size-fits-all, simple solution to weight management. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    The best way to support healthy weight management is to eat a balanced diet while getting adequate hydration, sleep, stress management, and exercise. Prebiotics can be part of the solution, too. Certain types of fiber supplements can promote feelings of satiety, which can help prevent overeating. By boosting mineral absorption, prebiotics can also support overall health and metabolism.

    Foods high in prebiotics

    Supplements aren’t the only way to boost your prebiotic intake. You can get prebiotic fibers from a variety of natural food sources, including:

    • Oats
    • Asparagus
    • Garlic
    • Apples
    • Leafy greens
    • Cabbage
    • Whole Grains
    • Artichoke

    Do you need prebiotic supplementation?

    To determine whether you need prebiotic supplementation, you should first talk to a doctor or a registered dietitian. These professionals can help you figure out any particular health needs you have.

    If you’re taking probiotics to support gut health, you might want to complement their effects with prebiotics. While probiotics are themselves the living microorganisms your gut needs, prebiotics are the sustenance these microorganisms need to grow and thrive. You may also want to try prebiotics if your health goals include supporting your urinary tract, boosting immune function, or improving overall digestion.

    How to supplement with prebiotics

    The best way to take prebiotics is with a glass of water. As with any supplement, consistency is the key.

    Made with acacia and blueberry powder, Care/of’s Prebiotic Plus helps ease bloating and balance good bacteria in the gut. Care/of’s probiotics – Probiotic Blend – help naturally regulate your digestive system. If a healthier gut is your goal, you might want to check out either or both of these top-notch supplements.

    Final Takeaways

    While not all fibers are prebiotics, all prebiotics are fibers. Prebiotics are an important part of gut health, as they help provide sustenance for the good bacteria in your gut. In this regard, they work effectively in concert with probiotics. Prebiotics have been shown to support healthy digestion, a stronger immune system, and improved bone health. A healthier gut has broad implications for the health of your body as a whole. Prebiotics can also support healthy weight management, by promoting greater feelings of satiety. Talk to a doctor or dietitian before adding prebiotic fibers to your routine.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Our Editorial Staff
    Freelance Contributor
    The Care/of Editorial Team is made up of writers, experts, and health enthusiasts, all dedicated to giving you the information you need today. Our team is here to answer your biggest wellness questions, read the studies for you, and introduce you to your new favorite product, staying up to date on the latest research, trends, and science. Each article is written by one of our experts, reviewed both for editorial standards by an editor and medical standards by one of our naturopathic doctors, and updated regularly as new information becomes available.