ISOThrive in the News


Brand Aims to Supply ‘missing’ Prebiotic Derived from Fermented Foods

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When it Comes to Dietary Fiber, What’s in a Name? Plenty.


I recently read an article in Forbes titled, “Gassier Than Usual?” that put much of the blame on unwanted gas on fiber.

While I found the article to be informative (and somewhat amusing), I wanted to clarify that NOT ALL fiber sources cause unwanted gas. I also wanted to attempt to clear up any confusion concerning the definition of “fiber”. Many substances that aren’t actually fiber are being lumped into the fiber category and it is these substances that are giving fiber a bad name.

So let’s break it down.

There are two main types of fiber: (a) soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Most people think fiber is just the insoluble fiber (a.k.a. bulk fiber). Insoluble fiber can be thought of as a transport mechanism, kind of like a bus (or maybe a gondola) that helps move your digesting food through the alimentary canal. By itself it does not provide any direct health benefits.

The other fiber, soluble fiber (a.k.a. PREbiotics) are food components designed by nature to feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut (to the detriment of baddies like Salmonella). That is, they survive the upper GI intact so they can *intentionally* be fermented in the colon. The good bacteria eat (a.k.a. ferment) the prebiotic soluble fiber converting it into short chain fatty acids (SCFA), butyrate, in particular, that stimulate specific cells in your colon. It is this fermentation, feeding your gut bugs, that provides numerous health benefits including improved immunity, better digestion, and less bloating. When prebiotics are consumed by the beneficial bacteria the only gas they produce is hydrogen which is absorbed in the blood and exhaled via the lungs. They do not cause the gassiness problems noted in the article.

Stay with me. We are about to get even more technical.

However, not all prebiotic ingredients are created equal. Some, like fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) do feed beneficial bacteria, and have a long history of safety as food additives. But, both of these are known to be notoriously gassy. This is because the process by which the ingredients are made, either extracted from natural sources or via enzymatic hydrolysis, yields both prebiotic molecules (those that feed healthful bacteria) and many other molecules (that feed gas forming organisms.) Therefore, with commercial preparations of FOS and GOS, in order to get enough of the “good stuff” (i.e. prebiotic molecules to feed your healthful bacteria) you need to take multi-gram doses that also include much more of the “bad stuff” in the preparation. The “bad stuff” feeds gas forming organisms, causing, well…excess gas, bloating and cramping.

A reasonable dose for a prebiotic is about 1-2 grams, not 10-20 grams, and, for FOS and GOS, in particular, malabsorption and intolerances (lactose, for example, which might be present at 30% or more in some commercial preparations) exist in a large cross section of the population. So, if you are lactose intolerant, you might want to approach those preparations with caution.

The preferred prebiotic type are the maltosyl-isomaltooligosaccharides (MIMO). These are also noted to have beneficial effects on all of the healthful colonic flora, but are noted, specifically, to not cause gas. MIMO made via bacterial fermentation is preferred over industrial IMO made through enzymatic hydrolysis. The fermentation process of MIMO produces a very pure and concentrated prebiotic that is very specific for healthful bacteria. The result is a much lower effective dose, 1-2 grams, and no excess molecules to feed gas forming bugs…so no excess gas. In contrast, the industrial IMO contains a large proportion of digestible carbohydrates that cause blood sugar spikes and feed gas forming bugs.

Appropriate dosages of the correct kinds of prebiotic soluble fiber are the key to success. It should be noted, however, that purity is a key, here, too. Some commercial products contain as little as 30% active prebiotic. This explains why the recommended doses of the so-called “fiber” ingredient mentioned in the article are so large (5-20 grams) and why such an ingredient would cause intestinal distress. The “bad stuff”, like resistant maltodextrin, that comes along with the “good stuff”, has been noted to cause gas. Effective prebiotic soluble fiber products only require a small, 1-2 grams daily.

Peter Swann, MD

“PREbiotic-packed foods fight adult weight gain, promote better health”

This article from The Globe and Mail is well-written and informative.  I agree with much of the content but they got a few things not quite right.  I’ll start with what’s accurate.

It is wonderful to see the mainstream media writing about what scientific circles have known for a long time…that feeding your beneficial gut bacteria (i.e. your existing PRObiotics) makes them more active and drives significant health benefits. Simply having loitering bacteria does nothing.  But if you feed your bacteria enough PREbiotics they can help you manage your weight (even lose weight and keep it off), improve digestion and boost the immune system.

The thing they didn’t get right is the idea of “prebiotics causing gas and/or other intestinal issues”.  By definition, a PREbiotic selectively feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut.  When that happens, the only gas that is created is hydrogen which is absorbed into the blood and exhaled via the lungs.  There is no farting involved.  It is true that many PREbiotic containing foods and supplements/additives contain other non-specific carbohydrates.  It is these other carbohydrates that can cause intestinal problems.  Those extra components feed gas forming organisms, leading to gastrointestinal distress in some people.

Fortunately, ISOThrive is a naturally fermented PREbiotic that DOES NOT CONTAIN those unnecessary carbohydrate molecules, DOES NOT CAUSE excess growth of gas forming organisms, s and so DOES NOT CAUSE unwanted side-effects.  In fact, it helps reduce gas, bloating and constipation.

Jack Oswald, CEO

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.