Are PRE Biotics Safe?
I am a big fan of healthy gut bacteria or probiotics for our beloveds as well as for our selves. I have seen gassy, overweight, underweight, sick dogs, cats and horses fully recover when their gut bacteria is restored and balanced. Humans with diseases such as Crohn's Disease, have had their lives saved when their guts were re-populated with probiotics.
Many of you add probiotic supplements to your pet foods and take them yourselves as we do in our house. I learned years ago about FOS (Fructooligosaccharides), the PRE biotic or non-digestible complex sugar fiber which feeds healthy gut bacteria and appears in many probiotic formulas. I understood then that it only feeds "good" bacteria, but according to Dr. Karen Becker, new studies have shown that it can feed nasty bacteria as well. So, FOS may NOT be a good idea for animals with candida or "yeasty gut," some IBD and intestinal bacteria overgrowth.
Other pre-biotics, Inulin (from chicory root or garlic) and Oligofructose provide short-chain fatty acids which are essential to the digestive tract. They are often added to higher quality pet foods, but are best sourced from whole, fresh foods.
As usual, bodies do best when fed fresh whole foods as opposed to processed foods or supplements alone. Here are some foods that are excellent sources of prebiotics, in the form of fiber, as well as other vitamins and minerals. NOTE: Don't overdo fruit, especially if your companion has any of the above challenges that could be exacerbated by sugar (including cancer).
*Apples. Feed slices as a treat, or chop and add to food occasionally. Apples are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Never feed core or seeds. They contain arsenic.
*Pears. Higher in fiber than apples, choose firmer, not too soft fruit (too high a sugar content). Be sure to include the peel. Slice or chop as with apples. Pears are also a good source of vitamins C and K.
*Berries and Cherries. Chop cherries and add some to food or give as treats, once pits are removed. Blue, black and raspberries can be added to food or given as treats in the summer months as well. Some dogs and cats love them with plain, sheep, goat or cow yogurt!
*Asparagus. I was always puzzled when guardians reported that their dog or even cat craved asparagus. It turns out asparagus has prebiotic fiber along with vitamin K, A, B1, B2, C and E, folate, iron, copper, fiber, manganese and potassium.
* Raw Garlic. Now, don't go screaming into the night. Small amounts of garlic have been keeping canine, feline and human digestive tracts healthy for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Garlic is perfectly safe for healthy bodies in small amounts.
Here's what Dr.Becker writes, "Garlic must be fed with caution because it can cause changes in blood parameters when fed in very large quantities (much more than pets would naturally eat) or if it is given in a garlic supplement (which I never recommend). One study demonstrated negative changes in blood parameters when dogs were given 5 grams of garlic per kg of body weight.2 This translates to eight cloves for a 12-pound dog! No dog I know would voluntarily consume this much and no owner I've ever met would voluntarily give this amount. Dogs can healthfully consume 1/4 teaspoon of freshly chopped garlic per 15 pounds of body weight and reap substantial health benefits, just don't go overboard."
For more information on this subject, check out Dr. Becker's article.
Keeping our beloveds happy, healthy and living long, youthful lives is my passion. Enjoy this info and please pass it on!
With Love and Gratitude to All Life,