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Gut Health 101: Part two in a series exploring what you need to know

Kimberley pharmacist shares expert insight on prebiotics vs. probiotics
Stephanie Tylosky from Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy.

In part one of Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy’s Gut Health 101 series, Stephanie Tylosky discussed the importance of gut health, symptoms of an unhealthy gut, and key factors in maintaining a healthy gut. In part two, Stephanie shares further insights on improving your gut health and the role of prebiotics and probiotics. If you missed part one, you can find it online here!

Q:What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?

A: Prebiotics nourish a healthy microbiome, providing probiotics with the nutrients they need to thrive. They include soluble fibre and sugars that we can’t digest. These prebiotics are broken down by microbial fermentation and play a vital role in various bodily processes.

Probiotics, on the other hand, are live microorganisms introduced into our gut to support and build a healthy microbiome, typically strains of bacteria and yeast. Without sufficient ‘good’ bacteria and yeast, harmful infections can take over. Probiotics come in many strains, each potentially beneficial for different conditions. For instance, lactobacillus strains can help with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), vaginal microbiome health, preventing yeast infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs), and even improving eczema. Saccharomyces boulardii is another probiotic yeast beneficial for preventing and treating antibiotic-associated diarrhea and managing some inflammatory conditions like ulcerative colitis.

Q: What foods are good sources of prebiotics and probiotics?

Natural sources of prebiotics include foods rich in fibre, such as bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and whole grains. These foods help nourish the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh. Including these foods in your diet naturally supports your gut’s health.

Q: What are some other ways to improve my gut health?

Stephanie suggests these five simple but effective ways to improve your gut health:

  1. Decrease sugar intake: Excessive sugar can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut.
  2. Stay hydrated: Water supports the mucosal lining of the intestines and the balance of good bacteria in the gut.
  3. Exercise regularly: Physical activity promotes healthy gut flora.
  4. Manage stress: High-stress levels can negatively impact your gut health
  5. Prioritize sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy microbiome.

Q: How do I pick a high-quality supplement to help improve my gut health?

Look for reputable brands that use a science-based approach and ensure potency and strain accuracy in their products. Choose supplements that specify strains of probiotics, not just species, to find strains proven to improve specific symptoms. Watch for contaminants, food allergens and remember that more Colony Forming Units (CFU) is not always better. Effectiveness depends on the strain and formulation. Stephanie adds that Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy recommends the Metagenics line of probiotics.

Visit Gray’s Compounding Pharmacy at 417B 304th St. on Highway 95 in Kimberley, open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.,and get in touch at 250-427-0038 or at Free shipping is available in the Kootenays for your compounds, along with free weekly delivery to Cranbrook and throughout Kimberley.