According to research appearing in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2007, Volume 66) supplementing with prebiotics and probiotics can improve antioxidant status. Prebiotics are supplements that feed normal bowel flora, like fructo-oligosaccharides. Probiotics are supplements that actually contain the desirable flora.
Improving antioxidant status protects the body against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a threat to health. It can be at the root of serious diseases like heart disease and cancer, or simply make you fatigued. Oxidative stress is caused by chemicals in the diet and in the environment. Many of these chemicals produce free radicals, which are electrons that are not tightly bound to the molecule. These electrons interact with the body. Think of the chemicals as electronic “bullets”. Antioxidants are the body’s “bullet-proof vests”. Free electrons cause damage to tissue and inflammation. This can seriously undermine your health. Oxidative stress can be measured by looking at certain biomarkers
This was a double-blind, placebo controlled study. One group received maltodextrin as a placebo. The other group received a combination of probiotics and prebiotics for three weeks. The group receiving the supplements enjoyed improvement in the biomarkers or oxidative stress.