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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-6

Prebiotics and their benefits on human health

Rector, Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences, Vijayawada, India

Correspondence Address:
M V Ramanamma
Rector, Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences, Vijayawada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2277-8632.94167

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Prebiotics are necessary additives to diet, which have a positive influence on human health. Top foods containing prebiotics are chicory root, garlic, onion, wheat bran, etc. Prebiotics are of the nature of oligosaccharides and are nondigestible dietary fiber, which reach up to the colon to be utilized as substrates by the useful gut microflora, namely Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. This results in further multiplication of these bacteria, which prevent colonization by enteric pathogens. Apart from this, several other beneficial effects due to prebiotics are documented: Increase in calcium absorption, potentiation of the immune system, reduction of risk of colorectal cancer and other inflammatory bowel disorders, antihypertensive effect, reduction of constipation, reduction of obesity, antidiabetic effect, etc. All these are attributed to increased production of short-chain fatty acids by the stimulated beneficial bacteria. As prebiotics are heat stable, they can be added to daily food choices like cereals, bread, biscuits, drinks, etc., converting them into functional foods. Addition of both prebiotics and probiotics to foods makes better functional foods. These foods are called synbiotic functional foods. Benefits of prebiotics are still being explored. There is a need to spread knowledge of prebiotics among the elite as well as general public, considering their beneficial effects on health.

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