In this post, you will find out the best prebiotic supplements for healing your leaky gut. But first, it’s important to understand what prebiotics are why exactly they’re beneficial to your health.
What are Prebiotics?
You’ve almost certainly heard the term prebiotic bantered around lately. By friends, family, co-workers, strangers in front of you in line at the grocery store, random people on TV — somebody! Based on the context prebiotics are discussed in, you’ve also almost certainly figured out that prebiotics have something to do with digestive health, but maybe you’re a little hazy on exactly what that something is? If so, you’re not alone! A recent study found that only 7% of people know exactly what prebiotics are and what they do.
Luckily, prebiotics are actually pretty straight-forward. Basically, a prebiotic is any molecule that dramatically boosts the health of the good bacteria that live in and on your body.
What do I mean good bacteria? Though you may not be aware of it, your body is completely covered in bacteria. Your skin, lungs, eyes, mouth and intestines and vaginal tract are coated with trillions and trillions of bacteria. These aren’t hoards of invaders that have slipped past your immune system, though; these are bacteria that are supposed to be there. They actually have a ton of important functions necessary for keeping your body functioning optimally, such as fighting off bad bacteria for you and providing your cells with important molecules they can’t make on their own. See? Good bacteria!
Share this Image On Your Site
What Molecules Act as Prebiotics?
While there likely many kinds of molecules that will ultimately prove to be prebiotics, as of right now, there is only overwhelming evidence supporting prebiotic functions for one only class of molecules — the dietary fibers. Fiber molecules are large complexes of interlinked sugar molecules. They are found in plant-foods and have been proven to act as prebiotics specifically for the good bacteria that they regularly come into contact with: the ones that live in your gut.
Your body cannot digest dietary fiber, so when you eat plant-foods they travel intact through your stomach and small intestine and into your gut. Once there, they can be broken down by your good gut bacteria for food and fuel. Naturally, this extra food and fuel help these helpful bacteria grow and thrive!
Why Use Prebiotics for Leaky Gut Healing?
Prebiotics are useful in leaky gut healing because they help address one of its key underlying causes, a condition called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis occurs when there is an imbalance between the different species of bacteria in your gut. In a healthy gut, good gut bacteria produce adequate amounts of molecules that help the cells of your intestine seal themselves together into a perfect, seamless wall. If you develop dysbiosis, however, your good gut bacteria are less able to make these wall-strengthening molecules. Your intestinal cells can begin losing their strong bonds to one another, resulting in the characteristic holes in the intestinal wall seen in a leaky gut. These holes allow toxins to enter your body where they can cause damage and trigger inflammation, leading to the wide-spread symptoms of a leaky gut, such as:
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- High blood sugar and
By reversing the underlying dysbiosis, prebiotics can provide your intestinal cells with enough seal-supporting molecules again. Your intestinal cells may re-form their tight bonds with one another, closing up the holes in your intestinal wall.
Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links. Click here for details.
Top 5 Best Prebiotic Supplements
Though you can load up on prebiotic fiber by simply adding lots of whole plant-foods to your plate, that isn’t always practical at the volumes you might need to see significant improvements in your leaky gut. To give yourself a hand in getting enough, it can be useful to add a prebiotic supplement to your daily routine.
There are tons of prebiotic supplements on the market though. Does it matter which one you use? It certainly can. Some fiber molecules have been found to be more effective as prebiotics than others, making supplements containing these fibers more likely to provide leaky gut healing. Not to mention the plethora of practical considerations involved in choosing the right supplement for you, including palatability, number of doses needed per day, ease of adding the supplement into your daily schedule and, of course, price. Examining the products on the market, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 prebiotic supplements for leaky gut healing! Let’s go through these 5 products one-by-one, starting with number 1!
Number one on our list is MicroIngredients Organic Inulin Powder! Inulin is a fiber that has been shown to be an effective prebiotic. The inulin supplement sold under the brand name MicroIngredients provides inulin as a fine powder to dissolve in liquids and soft foods, like oatmeal. It is organic, vegan, and gluten- and GMO-free.
Each package of MicroIngredients Organic Inulin Powder contains 2 pounds of inulin, which works out to around 385 servings. Each serving provides 2.3 grams of prebiotic fiber, which lays well above the minimum 500 mg dose for effective prebiotic supplementation. The total daily dose recommended on the packaging provides you with 6.9 g of fiber, which is well below the 20 g upper safety limit. It is one of the most budget-friendly products on our list, coming in second to only Optifiber.
Most importantly for its high ranking, users report being extremely satisfied with this product. Just over 80% gave MicroIngredients Inulin Powder a 5-star rating on Amazon. Nearly all said the product performed as advertised. It dissolved easily into any food and beverage and improved leaky-gut associated symptoms, like constipation, gas and bloating. Additionally, people praised the practicality of a supplement that can simply be mixed into everyday foods!
Customers that gave MicroIngredients Organic Inulin Powder fewer than 3-stars, primarily reported they saw no improvements in their digestion. A very few reported side effects, such as gas and bloating that they didn’t experience with other products.
A potential downside of this product is that it is not tasteless. Many customers actually reported liking the slightly sweet or vanilla-flavor the inulin provided to the food/drink they added it to, but this may not be the case for everyone. It may also limit the types of foods and drinks you would wish to add the supplement to, as the sweetness might not fit well in savory dishes.
Coming in second on our list is Optifiber. Optifiber contains pure wheat dextrin, a proven, effective prebiotic fiber. Like MicroIngredients Organic Inulin Powder, Optifiber comes as a fine, white powder you can dissolve completely in any liquid or soft foods.
Each serving of Optifiber provides 3 g of prebiotic, solidly above the 500 mg minimum. The recommended 3-servings per day provides you with 9 g, solidly under the safety limit. As mentioned above, this product has the most affordable price-per-serving of all the supplements on our list.
Though the reviews for Optifiber were slightly less favorable than those for the MicroIngredients product, the vast majority (70%) of customers who bought Optifer on Amazon still gave it a 5-star rating. Nearly all positive reviews stated the product works exactly as advertised. They reported no difficulty dissolving the powder in any foods or liquids and no changes in texture. Unlike MicroIngredients, customers reported zero change in taste with Optifiber. This may bump this brand up to the top of your list if you want to mix your fiber into savory dishes.
Additionally, most reviews also reported significant improvements in their digestive health. Most directly reported relief of constipation, but many also mentioned improvements in bloating and gas. A few reported diarrhea relief.
Of the small percentage of users who gave the product a 3-star rating or lower, most reported that it did not dissolve as well as other brands of wheat dextrin. Several stated that it did not work as well for them as other types of fiber or, rarely, as different brands of wheat dextrin. A few people reported increased gas or bloating that they did not experience with other products. One person also reported that the packaging was cheap, causing the lid to break shortly after opening it, making it difficult to store.
A potential downside of Optifiber is that it does contain small amounts of gluten. If you are sensitive to gluten, you may find this product irritates your gut or causes other side effects. If you are allergic to wheat or have celiac disease, you should not buy this product.
Rounding out our top 3 is Benefiber. Benefiber is actually the brand name version of Optifiber. It also contains 100% wheat dextrin as a dissolvable powder to mix into liquids and solid foods. Each serving (here 1 teaspoon) also provides 3 grams of prebiotic fiber, making its dosage just as safe and effective as that of Optifber. As a brand name product, however, it does cost considerably more than Optifiber.
For many people, however, this increase in price is justified. Customers do report being more satisfied with Benefiber than the off-brand product. Just over 80% of the Amazon reviews of Benefiber gave the product 5-stars, compared to Optifiber’s 70%. Nearly all report it being easy to use, tasteless and effective at improving their digestive symptoms. Users who gave Benefiber less than 3-stars generally reported that it either didn’t work for them personally or complained that the product was too expensive.
As with Optifiber, Benefiber is likely not a good choice for you if you are sensitive.
Next on our list are NOW Psyllium Husk Capsules! These capsules contain, as the name suggests, pure psyllium husk, another proven prebiotic. The vegetarian and vegan friendly capsules contain 500 milligram of psyllium husk, and each serving of 3 capsules provides 1.5 grams of prebiotic, about half of that provided by the first three brands, though still well above the minimum dosage needed for efficacy. It is also, naturally, still well below the safety limit. Per gram, this supplement is slightly more expensive than the supplements containing fiber in powdered form.
The capsule form provides some significant benefits, however, that might outweigh the increase in price per gram for you. They are quick to take, easy to store and measure (you don’t need a measuring spoon available every time you want to take one) and they should be tasteless.
NOW Psyllium Husk Capsules have high customer satisfaction, with 72% of over 1,300 reviewers giving the product a 5-star rating on Amazon. Users reported significant improvements in their digestive symptoms, particularly constipation.
Of those that gave the product less than 3-stars, many reported the capsules making no difference or worsening their constipation. A few were unhappy with the number of capsules required to get the recommended daily dosage. Lastly, several reviews pointed out the relative costliness of the capsules compared to powdered prebiotic supplements.
The final prebiotic supplement to make the cut for our list was Puritan’s Pride Psyllium Husk Capsules. These capsules also contain pure psyllium husk. If you adhere to a vegan diet for ethical reasons, you should be aware that the capsules contain gelatin.
Each capsule contains 500 milligrams of fiber, just at the lower limit for an effective dose. However, a serving is listed as 2-capsules, which then provides an entire 1 gram. Though this is somewhat less than the other 4 brands, it still falls within the safe and effective dosage range. As with the other capsuled-supplement, Puritan’s Pride capsules on the higher end of the price. .
However, Puritan’s Pride Psyllium Husk has strong reviews. On Amazon it has 100% 5-star ratings (though there are only 2) and on the company’s website, 75% of reviews give a 5-star rating. Customers report the capsules being highly effective at improving their digestive symptoms, including constipation, gas and bloating.
As with the NOW capsules, Puritan’s pride capsules are quick and easy to take, requiring no measurements. Each serving is only 2 capsules, which may make this product slightly more convenient to take than the NOW brand.
The best prebiotic supplements help boost the health of your body’s good bacteria. Dietary fiber acts as a prebiotic for your good gut bacteria. This makes it useful in treating dysbiosis (an unhealthy balance of bacteria in your gut) and leaky gut symptoms! A prebiotic supplement can help you increase your intake of dietary fiber.
Which (if any) of these products is right for you will depend on you, your lifestyle, your taste preferences and how your body responds to the product(s)! Based on our analysis of the studies and product reviews, there seems to be considerable individual variability in how people’s digestive tracts respond to different fiber types, forms and brands! You may have to try out a couple to find the one that gives you the best result. Hopefully, our list was able to point you in the right direction and will ultimately help you find the perfect supplement for you!