According to data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey,
probiotic and prebiotic use continues to grow in the United States.
Between 2007 and 2012, probiotic and prebiotic use quadrupled. In
fact, 4 million US adults reported they had used probiotics or
prebiotics in the 30 days before the survey.1 Yet, prebiotics are often
confused with probiotics.
In an effort to clear up the confusion, the International Scientific
Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) issued consensus
statements in 2014 and 2017 defining probiotics and prebiotics
respectively. Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when
administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the
host.2 Unlike probiotics, prebiotics aren’t bacteria; they are a
substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms
conferring a health benefit.3 Inulin is an example of a prebiotic that is
commonly used. Inulin is a dietary fiber from chicory root and can be
found in many different foods, including some bars and yogurts.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines yogurt as a
fermented dairy product derived from the fermentation of milk by two
species of bacterial cultures: Streptococcus thermophilus and
Lactobacillus bulgaricus4 – these two cultures aide in lactose
digestion, which may help people with lactose intolerance. These
two bacteria (Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus
bulgaricus) are considered live and active cultures. Live and active
cultures are living organisms which convert pasteurized milk to
yogurt during fermentation.5 Probiotics, are live and active cultures
that have been studied to provide a specific health benefit, such as
supporting digestive or immune health. The benefits of probiotics are
strain specific and not all probiotics offer the same benefit.
Probiotics are available in a variety of different products, including
dietary supplements, juices, bars, dried fruits and fermented foods
such as kefir and probiotic yogurts.1
Prebiotics may also have a role to play in lactose intolerance. In a
recent study, researchers from the University of North Carolina
found that lactose intolerant individuals given the prebiotic galactooligosaccharide
(GOS) showed a significant increase in lactosefermenting
bacteria and increased tolerance to dairy.6
Synbiotics are the combination of probiotics and prebiotics.
Synbiotics are thought to be the best way to ensure maximum
benefit from probiotics.7 Combining probiotic yogurt with bananas is
an example of a synbiotic food combination.
Current management of lactose intolerance depends on the degree
of lactase deficiency and may include avoiding or limiting amounts of
lactose, consuming lactose in small amounts as part of a meal,
choosing foods with lower lactose content, lactase enzyme
supplementation, or the use of probiotics such as those found in
specific probiotic yogurts or available as dietary supplements.
However, as the science on prebiotics and lactose digestion
continue, prebiotics along with probiotics may play a greater role in
increasing food choices for lactose intolerant individuals.
2 The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. Expert
consensus document. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and
Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term
probiotic. Available at. https://isappscience.org/science-of-microbiomes/. Accessed
August 11, 2017.
6 Azcarate-Peril MA, Ritter AJ, Savaiano D, Monteagudo-Mera A, Anderson C,
Magness ST. Impact of short-chain galactooligosaccharides on the gut microbiome
of lactose-intolerant individuals. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017;114(3):E367-E375.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4648921/. Accessed August 11,
Looking for More
Information on Probiotics
The International Scientific
Association for Probiotics and
Prebiotics provides information
on probiotics and prebiotics.
For a more in-depth look at
prebiotics’ role in treating
lactose intolerance click here
to read Constance’s recent
article in Today’s Dietitian
Support Children’s Nutrition During Kids Eat Right Month
August is Kids Eat Right
Month, when the Academy of
Nutrition and Dietetics and the
Academy Foundation highlight
the fight for children’s healthy
futures. Kids Eat Right Month
showcases the Foundation’s
Kids Eat Right campaign,
which supports public
education projects and
programs that address
childhood obesity in the U.S.
Kids Eat Right Month focuses
on smart shopping, healthy
eating and active lifestyles for
every age group, from infants
to teens. Visit the Academy of
Nutrition and Dietetics for
resources for community
leaders, schools, parents, kids
and registered dietitian
Deadline to Implement
CACFP’s New Meal Patterns
is October 1
The United States Department
of Agriculture (USDA) recently
revised the Child and Adult
Care Food Program (CACFP)
meal patterns. Based on the
Dietary Guidelines for
recommendations from the
National Academy of Medicine
and stakeholder input, the
changes to the meal patterns
include a greater variety of
vegetables and fruit, more
whole grains and also include
yogurt as an option for
children six months of age and
older. USDA has a worksheet
that helps CACFP centers and
day care homes choose
yogurts with less added sugar.
Learn more about the health benefits of yogurt by following One Yogurt Every Day on Twitter. Stay
connected for access to news, resources and announcements, and tweet at us to let us know what you
want to hear more about.