Benefits of probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics for health, according to WHO

It is increasingly common to hear about probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics in pediatricians and nutritionists' consultations, as well as their benefits for human health and nutrition. But, really, do we know what they are, why they are so beneficial to health and in what foods can we find them?

In this sense, both the World Health Organization (WHO) As the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in view of the growing number of scientific studies on the beneficial role of probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics in immune, digestive and respiratory functions, they have decided to endorse the benefits of these for health. And yet, according to a recent study conducted by Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, 65% of Spaniards admit not knowing what they are. probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics.

What are probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics?

Probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics support, in general, the healthy balance of intestinal flora, improve some Gastrointestinal disorders and help improve the immune system of children and adults.

However, 57% of Spanish parents do not know what probiotics really are. These are live microorganisms that are found in some foods and when they are administered in adequate amounts they report numerous benefits for the present and future health of the baby.

Probiotics are not just in dairy

There are many foods with probiotics, especially in dairy products, such as yogurt or kefir, but they are also present in sauerkraut and dark chocolate. However, you can also provide probiotics to babies through medicines and pediatric formulas, and adults in food supplements.

Prebiotics are not digestible

The prebiotics are even more unknown. As the survey reveals almost 60% admit not knowing what they are exactly and 63% of respondents do not know the difference between these and probiotics.

The Prebiotics are non-digestible substances of foods that promote the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria for the intestine. In this way, they differ from probiotics in that they are live bacteria, while prebiotics are lifeless substances that favor the growth of these bacteria by providing them with different substrates.

Prebiotics are mainly found in foods of vegetable origin, such as garlic, onion or artichokes, among others, and in breast milk. But also, and as in the case of probiotics, can also be provided through pediatric formula milk, food supplements or medications; a clinical practice that is becoming more common.

Symbiotics combine probiotics and symbiotics

Symbiotics are the great unknown, since 79% of Spaniards say they do not know what they are. The sImbiotics are functional foods that combine probiotics and prebiotics. A source of symbiotic food in nature is breast milk, so it has a very important role on the colonization of healthy intestinal flora of the digestive tract of the newborn.

Health benefits of probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics

Probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics have a very beneficial role directly linked with the intestinal microbiota or intestinal flora, that is, on the set of microorganisms that they live in a normal way in the different parts of our body, especially in our small intestine.

The intestinal flora is responsible for important functions, such as the production of growth factors and vitamins (such as Vitamin K, essential for coagulation, and some vitamins of Group B), as well as for the stimulation of the immune system or the barrier effect against pathogenic germs, among others. Therefore, it is essential to have a healthy and balanced intestinal flora or microbiota and probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics help.

The intestinal flora begins to form in the birth canal, when the baby comes in contact with millions of maternal bacteria that begin to colonize the intestine. From here and during lactation until about two years of age, your intestinal flora will continue to form and diversify until it stabilizes.

Therefore, a correct development of the intestinal flora is fundamental in the smallest, mainly due to the close relationship between the microbiota and the development of the immune system."Proper feeding through breast milk, or in the event that it is not possible, through pediatric formulas with probiotics, prebiotics or synbiotics, is essential, especially during the first 1000 days of life, including 9 months of gestation, which determine in an important way the future health of the baby, "says Dr. Mónica Rodríguez Sangrador, Manager Iberia of Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition.

Marisol Nuevo Espín
Advice: the Dr. Mónica Rodríguez Sangrador, Healthcare Nutrition Science Manager Iberia by Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition

Video: The Health Benefits of Probiotics, Prebiotics, Symbiotics

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