Symbiotics are products that combine prebiotics and probiotics to improve the benefits for the microbiota.
Synbiotics consist of a combination of prebiotics and probiotics1,2. The latter help restore the microbiota balance in cases of dysbiosis, and the former provide the energy the bacteria need to develop. The combination of the two is essential to support the spread of bacteria that contribute to maintain a healthy equilibrium in the microbiota.
Numerous prebiotic/probiotic combinations are therefore possible. For example, it is possible to combine lactobacilli or bifidobacteria (probiotics) with oligosaccharides or inulin. Combining prebiotics and probiotics also seems to improve the survival of probiotic bacteria that are then more effective because they can achieve a greater probability of survival in the intestinal tract where they take effect.
Combining positive factors
Developing synbiotics is a path to explore in order to treat some diseases and restore microbiota in a healthy way. To that end, a study showed that when using synbiotics (in that instance, a combination of Bifidobacterium breve and galactooligosaccarides) in a murine model, mice restored more quickly a normal microbiota after salmonella infection treated with streptomycin, which reduced the bacterial load in the animal’s stool to undetectable levels. The results were even better than when the probiotic was used alone.3 Moreover, the combination of pre- and probiotics has benefits for the management of constipation in irritable bowel syndrome4.
1. Bengmark S. et al. Prebiotics and synbiotics in clinical medicine. Nutr Clin Pract. 2005 ; 20(2) : 244-61. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16207660
2. Schrezenmeir J et al. Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics--approaching a definition. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 ; 73(2 Suppl) : 361S-364S. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11157342
3. Rastall RA et al. Prebiotics and synbiotics: towards the next generation. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2002 ; 13(5) : 490-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12459343
4. Dughera L et al. Effects of symbiotic preparations on constipated irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Acta Biomed. 2007 ; 78(2) : 111-6. http://www.mattioli1885journals.com/index.php/actabiomedica/article/viewFile/1912/1433