Probiotics and Prebiotics
     Probiotics are essential for optimal digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.  They help your body produce vitamins, absorb minerals and aid in the elimination of toxins from the body.
Positive reports include 1) mothers who took probiotics during pregnancy and during the first year of the baby’s life had a 12% lower risk of developing allergies.  2) 200 mg doses taken 2x per day for 9 weeks lowered LDL cholesterol by 11.6% and total cholesterol by 9.1% in high-cholesterol patients.
The British Journal of Nutrition, showed that probiotic-supplement takers typically experience a shorter duration of colds, cold symptoms that were 34% less severe and fewer missed school days.
Picking your probiotic supplements should be done with care and caution.  There are dozens of boxed probiotic supplements on shelves and they are not equal and can even be misleading.  The best way is to try and get your probiotics from food (kimchi, kombucha, miso, coconut kefir). Stay away from pasteurized versions of probiotics, as pasteurizations will destroy many of the naturally occurring probiotics.  Many probiotic yogurts aslo contain added sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, dyes or artificial sweeteners, all of which will only worsen your health.  Also watch for those who market specific amounts of probiotics measured in CFUs (colony-forming units). That scientific evidence has yet to be confirmed.
Scientific literature has shown health benefits for products that contain anywhere from 50 million to more than 1 trillion CFUs per day.  Yay!
Prebiotics, the sidekick of probiotics are indigestable food ingredients that help the trillions of microbes inside the GI tract.These little guys are just starting to be noticed as important for daily wellnes.  The Cochrane Library found that infant formula fortified with prebiotic suppliments may help prevent eczema.
“The gut, particularly the colon, is an immensely complex bacterial ecosystem that has a direct impact on health and well-being,” says Robert Ratsall, PhD. “Prebiotics allow us to manipulate the ecology to promote the more health-positive bacteria over the less desirable elements.”
People with type 2 diabetes, traveler’s diarrhea and inflammation may benefit from prebiotics.  These prebiotics are found in foods that we don’t eat large quantities of, such as onions, garlic and chicory (and wheat in small amounts).
“One advantage of prebiotics over probiotics is that, because they are not alive, we don’t have to worry about killing them as we do with probiotics,” says Rastall.  “They can be formulated into a wide range of food products such as breakfast cereals, bread and juices.”
“The dosages can vary, but an intake of around 20 grams per day will have a measurable difference in most people, but some will have results with less, maybe 10mg per day.”  Says Rastall.

However you read the article from Clean Eating (weeknight meals) winter 2015, probiotics and prebiotics are good for your gut!