A study published in Anaerobe shows that there may be added benefits to taking a probiotic in combination with prebiotics, as opposed to taking prebiotics alone.
Using a validated intestinal model, the researchers studied the possible synergistic effects of probiotic supplementation in modulating the gut microbiota enabling prebiotic therapy in elderly persons.
Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers that beneficially nourish good bacteria, and are a source of food for the healthy bacterial species that reside within the intestinal tract. Common prebiotics include FOS (fructooligosaccharides), GOS (galactooligosaccharides), and inulin (chicory root or agave). Prebiotics have been shown to increase healthy bacterial species such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
In this study, bacterial flora changes were analyzed with prebiotics alone as well as with prebiotics plus Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 (GanedenBC30). While there were increases in lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in both cases, there were additional increases in other good bacterial strains (such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii–an important bacteria for intestinal health) when consumed along with GanedenBC30. In addition, prebiotic activity was increased when consumed with GanedenBC30 as measured by an increase in short chain fatty acids, which are important components for intestinal health.