Prebiotics That Deserve an Honorable Mention

Prebiotics That Deserve an Honorable Mention

I recommend the use of GOS as a prebiotic if you so choose to use one. The science behind GOS’s seems to recommend that it is the safest prebiotic supplement and has the least chance of causing SIBO or SIYO.

I have written a blog post in the past about why I cannot recommend FOS’s as a safe prebiotic. There are other prebiotic supplements that exist. Are they any safer?

I believe that the use of IOS’s and MOS’s should still be used with caution, but research dictates their use is possibly safer than FOS’s. These supplements can cause SIBO and SIYO and do have their drawbacks, but they appear to be better than FOS’s.

Isomalto-oligosaccharide 1 2 3

Isomalto-oligosaccharides are a mixture of short-chain carbohydrates (glucose oligomers linked with isomaltose) that have been shown to have prebiotic and digestion-resistant properties. ISO’s are sourced from different starches using enzyme-catalyzed hydrolysis. ISO’s also seem to cause low amounts of flatulence; they have anti-dental caries properties, and have a low glycemic index. The final fermented byproducts of ISO’s are SCFA’s (short chain fatty acids) that help nourish the gut and facilitate growth and repair. Finally, ISO’s have been shown to increase Bifidobacteria populations in the gut naturally. 4 5

I cannot fully recommend ISO’s yet because it is currently unknown if the prebiotic is selective, meaning that it might also increase some opportunistic bacteria / yeast greatly. I also cannot fully recommend ISO’s yet because one of the source materials used to produce the prebiotic is wheat. Now granted, there should not be any gluten left in the final product. ISO’s still might aggravate some people’s medical issues if they are allergic to wheat, so it should always be avoided unless their source is known.

Mannan-oligosaccharide 6

Mannan-oligosaccharides are a glucomannoprotein complex that are sourced from certain fungi including Saccharomyces cerevisiae using enzymatic hydrolysis. MOS has been shown in vivo animal studies to inhibit bacteria with type one fimbriae (opportunistic E. coli and Salmonella are examples) from adhering to the intestines so that they can propagate. MOS’s have also been shown to limit Clostridium populations in the gut as well. MOS’s are known to block the opportunistic bacterium Clostridium perfringens from adhering to the intestines, which is a known cause of foodborne illness. Finally, MOS supplementation has been found in vivo animal studies to increase villi and intestinal mucosal health by stimulating SIgA. 7

Theoretically, MOS should be able to be fermented by Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli and, therefore; should help increase their populations.

In humans, mannan-oligosaccharides have primarily been studied in the relief of bacterial urinary tract infections. The use of MOS in the relief of bacteria UTI’s has been recommended in studies. The relief occurs by blocking bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract thus eliminating them from the body.

I hope that MOS will be studied more in humans for improving digestion so that we know if the in vivo animal studies carryover. Also in some, in vitro studies MOS’s have been shown to feed and encourage the propagation of opportunistic Candida albicans. If you have a yeast allergy, you might also be allergic to MOS since it is derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, so avoid supplementation.

Honestly, I would still consider the use of the Jarrow probiotic Jarrow Formulas Saccharomyces Boulardii & MOS if I were suffering from an opportunistic Clostridium infection including Clostridium difficile, because of the amount of research concluding that both would be effective against the bacterium.

  3. Lee, Yuan, Salminen, Seppo. Handbook of Probiotics and Prebiotics, Wiley, December 2008.
  6. Lee, Yuan, Salminen, Seppo. Handbook of Probiotics and Prebiotics, Wiley, December 2008.
  1. What study suggest MOS can contribute to Candida overgrowth? Very the prebiotic effects seem to be mostly studied on Animals but it does seem to decrease the pathogenic bacteria population while increasing the beneficial population.

    I can’t find anything that says it can contribute to Candida growth though, could you point it out for me?

  2. How about acacia fiber and larch arabinogalactans for Klebsiella overgrowth?

  3. John, you mentioned that MOS may enhance growth of Candida. What would be the mechanism for that? It is not intuitive, because there are published studies showing that mannose (the monosaccharide corresponding to MOS) breaks the biofilm of Candida:

    That can’t be a positive thing if you are a candida yeast. If you can find your reference can you cite it and summarize the mechanism for MOS supporting Candida?

    •, the issue with Candida is that the yeast contains mannan polysaccharides within the cell well. So when you ingest MOS it can incorporate the MOS into the cell wall. This is similar to the concern of ingesting arabinogalactan and having MAP overgrowth. In addition, if the body is on high alert for mannan polysaccharides it may react negatively to MOS. They are using MOS in developing a Candida vaccine to get the immune system to recognize and react to Candida. But to answer your question about the study of course mannose would reduce biofilm formation, Candida feeds off of it. Biofilm is more of a defense mechanism. N-acetyl-glucosamine is also listed to do the same thing, and it is known to increase yeast overgrowth, because it is also a component of the cell well. Mannose and NAG do not “break up” biofilm, it causes the Candida to leave biofilm formation to feast.

  4. i am a resrarch scholar working on yeast mos.i have extracted mannan using peat mehod now my work is to prepare mos as a feed for fish.kindly suggest best metod to get mos from mannan.i heard that soluble mannan is mos.please guide me.

  5. Hi John,

    Do you recommend using S. Boulardii + MOS from Jarrow Formulas? I take it daily (and have been doing so for quite a while) as a probiotic for general health purposes but your article has me a little concerned that I might be doing more harm than good in the long run.


  6. I having been using a MOS powder, off on on, for years, and it absolutely has cleared up any diarrhea type issues within 12 hours with no perceived side effects. I had been in feed sales and livestock nutrition for 18 years when I put the pieces together on this. If you want/need people to participate in a trial, please contract me. I have changed professions, and currently work in a wastewater treatment plant, where diarrhea is an occupational hazard. Not if a person consumes half a teaspoon of MOS daily. Thank you

    • John Schmitt, where are you getting your MOS from? Do you take it with anything else? Only 1/2 teaspoon a day?

    • from where do you buy your MOS powder?

    • John Schmitt, which MOS products do you recommend, and is there a way to contact you to discuss this more?

    • John, I am very intriqued by your statement above. I too am in Equine nutrition and supplimentations. I just connected the dots regarding a new product we are selling that is making huge improvements in the equine digestive tract. With my husband fighting IBS and whatever else his gut can rebel with, I am thinking of putting together a regimen for him with similar ingredients. One being of course MOS, as well as L-Glutamine, DHA and Glycine. I am still researching the use of these supplements and safety in humans when used together.
      If it can do half of what our product does for the equine foregut and hindgut, I know my husband will have some relief. Any input is appreciated.

  7. You can believe anything that you want, but that does not make it true.
    Naturally-occurring FOS and Inulin from such root vegetables as Sunroot (Helianthus tuberosus) and parsnips remain the safest, cheapest and most healthful source of prebiotic immuno-modulators.
    Sunroot yields a Healthier and More Productive World!

    • In a healthy gut, occasional natural FOS and inulin ingestion are fine as prebiotics. In most people with overgrowth, however, they cause a lot of issues and GOS is easier on their digestive symptoms.

  8. Hi John,

    Under your mannon-oligosaccharide section, you explained that this prebiotic may be beneficial partly due to its prevention of bacteria with type 1 fimbriae from binding to the intestinal wall. I have an overgrowth of Klebsiella pneumoniae myself- is there any reason to believe that mannon-oligosaccharides would help remove klebsiella as well? I found that Klebsiella pnuemoniae does in fact have type 1 fimbriae, but I don’t know if there are other factors to consider that I am missing. Thank you very much for your time.

    • In theory you are correct, but there are no studies to back up the theory. Use with caution. It even appears that GOS, can as well favor Klebsiella growth.

      • I see, thanks for the link. Since this study doesn’t use beta-GOS, maybe I’ll stick with the beta-form (from Bimuno). I’ve been trying it for a few weeks with noticeable improvements so far.

        • Hey Alex,

          can you tell more about your protocol and if you were successful with it. I have an overgrowth of KP as well. I have UC and suffer from D-Lacate and Histamine issues as well. In heavy times it gives me a feeling like being stupid (Foggy Brain, Slow thinking, Memory Problems, Itchy Scalp, etc…). I haven’t tried Bimuno yet. I ordered normal GOS which giving me some digestive issues. Today i tried acacia gum. Some brain issues but no digestive issues… I think i will give bimuno a try in combination with some probiotics (GutPro and perhaps SB from Jarrows). KB are hard to treat i guess… :(

  9. Are these prebiotics as effective as supplementing with resistant starch such as potato starch or plantain flour?

    • Possibly, I still recommend GOS as being the gold standard. Resistant starch can feed both opportunistic and probiotic bacteria where GOS, tends to be more discriminatory. If you have a Klebsiella overgrowth resistant starch would be a big NO NO.

  10. Can you add food sources of these prebiotics ?

    • There are none in great quantities they are both synthesized. You can find IOS’s in Quest Bars, if you want to eat your IOS’s instead of a supplement.

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