Prebiotics are essential for a healthy gut. However, many people with digestive conditions may not tolerate typical prebiotic foods or supplements.
In this article, we’ll review our favorite low-FODMAP prebiotic supplement.
What are Prebiotics?
Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not a type of bacteria. Rather, prebiotics are a group of nutrients that feed
your beneficial gut bacteria. As a result, gut bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids that can improve gut health by strengthening the intestinal barrier, reducing inflammation, and much more (1
). Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are the most common types of prebiotics.
What is the Low-FODMAP Diet?
A low-FODMAP diet is a short-term elimination diet designed for individuals with digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome
(IBS) or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
(SIBO). People with these conditions commonly suffer from symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea. Fortunately, many studies support the use of a low-FODMAP diet to reduce symptoms in these individuals (2
FODMAP is an acronym for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.” Certain foods contain higher levels of FODMAPs that cause your gut bacteria to release excess gas. The premise of a low-FODMAP diet is to identify which foods worsen your GI symptoms. Common foods high in FODMAPs to eliminate on this diet include wheat, dairy (lactose), garlic, onions, and more. The low-FODMAP diet can provide fast relief from digestive symptoms. However, keep in mind that this short-term diet is not designed to “fix” the root cause of your digestive problems.
Root functional dietitian, Amy, explains how to use this diet while addressing the root causes of IBS in our downloadable meal plan.
Prebiotics and the Low-FODMAP Diet
Prebiotics are typically found in foods high in FODMAPs. Therefore, individuals with digestive conditions may not tolerate these foods. Unfortunately, eating less prebiotics may also reduce beneficial bacteria in the gut of individuals following a low-FODMAP diet (3
). Knowing this, it’s important to 1) recognize the low-FODMAP diet is not designed as a long-term eating pattern, 2) include low-FODMAP prebiotic foods when tolerated and 3) consider low-FODMAP prebiotic supplementation as part of a gut healing protocol.
Low-FODMAP Prebiotic Foods
If you are following a low-FODMAP diet, you can also incorporate some low-FODMAP prebiotic foods into your meals and snacks:
- Bananas (one medium) - pair with one tablespoon of almond or peanut butter for a satisfying snack.
- Leeks - use the green leek tops as a substitute for onions in various recipes.
- Oats (¼ to ½ cup serving) - prepare overnight oats with berries, chia seeds, collagen powder, and almond milk.
- Flaxseeds (1 tablespoon) - use ground flaxseeds in smoothies, oats, or homemade baked goods.
Some individuals may tolerate small amounts of prebiotic-rich foods that are typically considered high-FODMAP like garlic, apples, asparagus, chickpeas, and artichokes. In the reintroduction phase of your low-FODMAP diet, you can experiment with these foods by gradually reintroducing and increasing the serving size each day. We discuss the right way to reintroduce high-FODMAP foods in our downloadable meal plan.
Low-FODMAP Prebiotic Supplement
Traditional fiber-based prebiotic supplements are not an ideal choice for individuals with conditions like IBS or SIBO because they may worsen gas and bloating.
At Root, we use a polyphenol-based, non-fiber prebiotic supplement to nourish gut health in these individuals without causing undesirable symptoms. Polyphenols are compounds made by plants that provide desirable health benefits to humans. It is the polyphenol compounds that give plant-based foods their unique color while also providing antioxidant benefits. Plus, polyphenols act as prebiotics and can increase the growth of beneficial bacteria within the gut (4
- promote probiotic growth and diversity;
- provide antioxidants to protect and strengthen the gut lining;
- and support gastrointestinal function and immunity.
The two forms of polyphenols in our prebiotic supplement are pomegranate fruit extract and citrus fruit extract. We recommend taking two capsules per day.
*This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Prebiotics are a group of nutrients that feed your beneficial gut bacteria. However, prebiotics are high in FODMAPs which may cause bloating, gas, and other digestive symptoms in certain individuals. In these cases, we recommend our low-FODMAP prebiotic supplement
which contains polyphenol forms of prebiotics that promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, strengthen the gut lining, and support overall gut health without the unwanted side effects.
Our low FODMAP prebiotic is also a great complement to our SIBO probiotic.