Understanding the Comprehensive Gut Blend in Essential Rainbow
The gut microbiome is considered an organ due to its interaction with the rest of the body. Scientific research has come a long way in understanding the gut microbiome’s connection and contribution to our overall health and wellbeing. We now know that the microbiome can be supported, nourished and even altered for better gut and overall health.1
Essential Rainbow’s comprehensive gut blend has been formulated to improve gut health. A healthy gut results in enhanced absorption of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and improved elimination for optimal wellbeing.
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a type of complex carbohydrate-based food source that provides nourishment to beneficial (probiotic) bacteria. Plant fibre that can’t be properly digested by humans has prebiotic properties, while also supporting healthy digestion and elimination.2
Common types of prebiotics include acacia gum, green banana resistant starch, flaxseeds, oats, onions, leeks, apples, asparagus and leafy green vegetables.
Interesting facts about prebiotics:
- Prebiotics selectively nourish the good bacteria, allowing beneficial strains to thrive which, in turn, helps to suppress populations of harmful bacteria.
- Far from new, there is evidence that prebiotics have been a significant part of our diet dating back to prehistoric times.
- For every 100 grams of prebiotic fibre consumed, an estimated 30 grams of probiotic bacteria are produced.2
Probiotics are living microorganisms that provide health benefits to their host. Probiotics are identified and classified by strain. The seven core types of probiotics, called ‘genus’ are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, Streptococcus, Bacillus, Escherichia, and Enterococcus.3
The benefits of these microorganisms are numerous. Just within the gut alone, probiotics help to keep harmful microorganism populations low and improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract.4
Probiotics play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system. Since over 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut, probiotics help to maintain healthy immune function. Probiotics are partly responsible for promoting the production of antibodies required to fight off invading pathogens, such as viruses.5
A healthy gut microbiome is essential for proper digestive function. Probiotics help with the breakdown and assimilation of protein and certain micronutrients.6 Certain types of probiotics can also have a positive effect on improving the consistency of bowel movements which can help in relieving both constipation and diarrhoea.7
Interesting facts about probiotics:
- Probiotic bacteria can synthesise certain vitamins. In fact, around 50% of the daily vitamin K requirements can be acquired by gut bacteria.
- The gut isn’t the only part of the body with its own microbiome, the mouth, skin and lungs have their own microbiome too.
- Research in recent years has uncovered the fact that different types of probiotics exert more influence on certain areas of health - from immunity, to digestive function, and even skin and brain health.8
Some of the health benefits attributed to probiotics actually come from postbiotics. These are the breakdown products left behind by prebiotics and probiotics. In a healthy gut microbiome, postbiotics will include nutrients such as vitamin K2, amino acids (important building blocks of proteins) and antimicrobial compounds that promote healthy gut flora.8
Postbiotics also include powerful substances called short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that enhance gut health by strengthening the intestinal barrier, improving immunity and reducing inflammation.8,9
Interesting facts about postbiotics:
- New research shows that many of the benefits believed to be from probiotics are actually the work of postbiotics.10
- Eating prebiotic fibre and probiotic foods helps to increase postbiotics.10
- The cells that line the gastrointestinal tract, called intestinal epithelial cells, require short-chain fatty acids produced by postbiotics as fuel. This helps to keep the gut barrier strong, preventing damage and inflammation.10
Enzymes are responsible for breaking down food and supporting the digestive process, including nutrient absorption. The body naturally produces digestive enzymes from the pancreas, stomach and small intestine.
Various enzymes are responsible for breaking down different macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats). Protease is produced for protein breakdown, lipase breaks down fat, and amylase breaks down carbohydrates.
Many foods also naturally contain digestive enzymes. For example, bromelain is a type of enzyme found in pineapple, bananas contain amylase enzymes, and papaya contains papain enzymes.
The cooking process can destroy enzymes in foods, so it’s important that humans also produce their own digestive enzymes or include them as a supplement in order to efficiently digest food.11
Interesting facts about digestive enzymes
- Lactose intolerance is due to the body not producing enough of the enzyme lactase to adequately digest dairy products that contain lactose sugar.
- Certain genetic abnormalities can cause problems with the production of some enzymes. This is one reason why certain foods or food groups may not be broken down properly in some individuals.12
- The process of fermenting foods naturally produces digestive enzymes, along with probiotics - making foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles good additions for gut health.13
- Baquero, F. & Nombela, C. (2012). The microbiome as a human organ. Clin Microbiol Infect,18(4):2-4.
- Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients, 5(4):1417-1435.
- NIH. Probiotics. Updated June 2022, accessed September 2022 from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Probiotics-HealthProfessional/
- Morowitz, M.J., Carlisle, E. & Alverdy, J.C. (2012). Contributions of intestinal bacteria to nutrition and metabolism in the critically ill. Surg Clin North Am, 91(4):771-785.
- Thomas, C.M. & Versalovic, J. (2010). Probiotics-host communication. Gut Microbes, 1(3):148-163.
- Barkhidarian, B., Roldos, L., Iskandar, M.M., Saedisomeolia, A. & Kubow, S. (2021). Probiotic supplementation and micronutrient status in healthy subjects: a systematic review of clinical trials. Nutrients, 13(9):3001.
- Hungin, A.P.S., Mitchell, C.R., Whorwell, P., Mulligan, C., Cole, O., et al. (2018). Systematic review: probiotics in the management of lower gastrointestinal symptoms - an updated evidence-based international consensus. Aliment Pharmacol Thera, 47(8):1054-1070.
- Silva, Y.P., Bernardi, A. & Frozza, R.L. (2020). The role of short-chain fatty acids from gut microbiota in gut-brain communication. Front. Endocrinol.
- Rutting, S., Xenaki, D., Malouf, M., Horvat, J.C., Wood, L.G., et al. (2018). Short-chain fatty acids increase TNFa-induced inflammation in primary human lung mesenchymal cells through the activation of p38 MAPK. Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, 316(1):157-L174.
- Venegas, D.P., De la Fuente, M., Landskron, G., Gonzalez, M.J., Quera, R., et al. (2019). Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs)-mediated gut epithelial and immune regulation and its relevance for inflammatory bowel disease. Front Immunol, 10(277).
- Chen, N.G., Gregory, K., Sun, Y. & Golovlev, V. (2011). Transient model of thermal deactivation of enzymes. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1814(10):1318-1324.
- Chen, C.H. (2020). Genetic variations and polymorphisms of metabolic enzymes. Xenobiotic Metabolic Enzymes: Bioactivation and Antioxidant Defense. Springer, Cham.
- John Hopkins Medicine. Digestive enzymes and digestive enzyme supplements. Accessed September 2022 from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/digestive-enzymes-and-digestive-enzyme-supplements