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A therapeutic nutritional preparation used for gut effects favoring growth of normal bacterial flora and not favoring growth of pathogenic organisms. In veterinary medicine, preparations include inulin, fructooligosaccharides, mannosoligosaccharides, and arabinogalactans (AG). Indications for use include infectious diarrhea and antibiotic-associated gut flora disturbances; AG has also been shown to have immunomodulating effects in the gut of humans.
[pre, before + bio, life]
Of or relating to the conditions prevailing on earth before the appearance of living things.
prebioticA non-digestible, selectively fermented food ingredient (oligofructose, inulin, lactulose, galactooligosaccharides) that changes the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora, conferring health benefits on the host.
- a non-digestible food ingredient that selectively stimulates growth and metabolism of certain beneficial MICROORGANISMS in the GUT to improve health. In addition, a prebiotic may suppress the growth of PATHOGENS. The prebiotic passes undigested through the small INTESTINE and is fermented (see FERMENTATION in the COLON, making the environment more favourable to beneficial microorganisms and hence improving the intestinal microbial balance. The largest group of prebiotics are OLIGOSACCHARIDES, for example fructooligosaccharides.
Foods are available containing both prebiotics and PROBIOTICS. These should have increased health-promoting effects.
- literally ‘before life’. For example, prebiotic EVOLUTION refers to evolution before life, describing ideas about how life began from a ‘prebiotic soup’. Many biologists believe RNA to be a candidate for a prebiotic molecule that formed a bridge between the soup of organic molecules present after the formation of the Earth's crust and the first living cells. Life requires a means of storing information and catalysing chemical reactions. RNA as RIBOZYMES could fulfil both functions.