Human beings have clusters of bacteria in different parts of the body, such as in the surface or deep layers of skin (skin microbiota), the mouth (oral microbiota), the vagina (vaginal microbiota), and so on.
Probiotics and prebiotics are both important because they help support an individual’s microbiome—the community of trillions of bacteria that live within a person’s body, helping it function at peak health and wellness.
These microscopic partners help us by digesting our food, training our im- mune systems and crowding out other harmful microbes that could cause disease. In return, everything from the food we eat to the medicines we take can shape our microbial communities (aka our microbiome)—with important implications for our health. Studies have found that changes in our microbiome accompany medical problems, from obesity to diabetes to colon cancer.
“What does healing the microbiome with prebiotics mean for you? It means finally having the power to control your health,” says Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, of Cardiodontal, in Great Neck.
“We all know what probiotics are—those happy doses of healthy bacteria that can help with everything from easing digestion to increasing immunity to fighting infection,” explains Richter.
Prebiotics, according to the Mayo Clinic, are “non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics.” They can be found in bananas, asparagus, oats, kefir or capsules.
When combined with probiotics, the two become symbiotic; rich with both live bacteria and the food they need to thrive. “Probiotics can make incredible contributions to your gut, microbiome and entire body—when fueled properly,” says Richter. “That is where the prebiotics come in; they create the perfect environment for your good bacteria to flourish.”
“Humans are super organisms, and when you begin to see biology through this lens, you realize how interconnected our systems really are,” says Richter. “This is a critical point for understanding the connection between your microbiome and autoimmune problems. There is increasing evidence suggesting that the develop- ment of autoimmune diseases is dependent on gut microbiota. And you don’t have to have a diagnosis to see why healing the gut is so important to vitality.”
Cardiodontal is located at 310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck. To make an appointment with Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, call 516-282-0310.