If you’re like most health-conscious individuals, you know that not all medications or supplements are created equal.
Just because a medication or supplement has the same active ingredients does not mean they have the same effects.
Research has shown that brand name and generic prescription drugs with the same active ingredient may have different effects.(1,2) The same thing is true with supplements.(3,4)
The truth of the matter is that not all prebiotics are the same. Before you buy a prebiotic supplement, make sure you know four important pieces of information.
1. Are you actually buying Prebiotics?
There are only two official prebiotics, both of which are oligosaccharides. The two accepted prebiotics are fructo-oligosaccharide and galacto-oligosaccharide. Some companies sell other compounds that have “prebiotic-like effects” such as agave, dextrin, lactulose or even isomalto-oligosaccharide. The main reason that fructo-oligosaccharide and galacto-oligosaccharide are officially considered prebiotics is because they have been shown in clinical studies to have true prebiotic effects.(5,6,7,8)
2. Where are the Prebiotics manufactured?
There are vastly different regulatory requirements depending on where vitamins, supplements and prebiotics are manufactured.
For example, China is the source of inexpensive supplements but the country is notorious for lax regulations. Pharmaceuticals, herbals and supplements that are manufactured in China do not meet the same standards as those manufactured in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In fact, there are numerous reports highlighting potential dangers associated with supplements sourced from overseas countries such as China and Russia.(9,10)
Unless regulatory processes can be elevated to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards used by many companies in the United States, Canada, and Europe, it’s best to purchase prebiotics that were manufactured according to GMP standards.
3. Does the Prebiotics company use Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards?
Unfortunately, just because a supplement is manufactured in the United States, Canada, or Europe does not mean that it was created using Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.
According to the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, “GMP is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.” (11)
Pharmaceutical companies are required to follow GMP standards, but supplement companies are not. Therefore, if you find a company that chooses to go the extra mile and use GMP standards to manufacture prebiotics, you can be confident knowing you’re buying the highest quality product available.
4. Are you buying from a real Prebiotics company or someone less scrupulous?
It’s not always easy to determine if a company that sells supplements is “real” or a glorified eBay seller who orders discount supplements from China.
Flashy websites can be impressive, but what do they really tell you? The savvy shopper will investigate the company by looking for factors such as:
- A complete “About Us” page – see ours!
- A Board of Directors and/or staff with experts (such as medical doctors, PhDs, certified nutritionists, etc.)
- A physical mailing address
- A working contact number that actually connects you with knowledgeable staff members
- If the company specializes in prebiotics, you can also be confident knowing they are experts on the matter.
Choosing a Prebiotics Provider
Remember, not all prebiotics are the same. Likewise, not all prebiotic companies are the same.
Stomax is from a Swedish based company, manufacturing according to and using Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. Their specialist prebiotic formulation is of the highest quality whose consistency is ensured and they have the science and expertise to back up our claims.
- Yamada M, Welty TE. Generic substitution of antiepileptic drugs: a systematic review of prospective and retrospective studies. Ann Pharmacother. Nov 2011;45(11):1406-1415.
- Cao X, Ejzykowicz F, Ramey DR, et al. Impact of Switching From High-Efficacy Lipid-Lowering Therapies to Generic Simvastatin on LDL-C Levels and LDL-C Goal Attainment Among High-Risk Primary and Secondary Prevention Populations in the United Kingdom. Clin Ther. Jan 24 2015.
- Collins N, Tighe AP, Brunton SA, Kris-Etherton PM. Differences between dietary supplement and prescription drug omega-3 fatty acid formulations: a legislative and regulatory perspective. J Am Coll Nutr. Dec 2008;27(6):659-666.
- Gibson JE, Taylor DA. Can claims, misleading information, and manufacturing issues regarding dietary supplements be improved in the United States? J Pharmacol Exp Ther. Sep 2005;314(3):939-944.
- Cani PD, Dewever C, Delzenne NM. Inulin-type fructans modulate gastrointestinal peptides involved in appetite regulation (glucagon-like peptide-1 and ghrelin) in rats. Br J Nutr. Sep 2004;92(3):521-526.
- Cani PD, Joly E, Horsmans Y, Delzenne NM. Oligofructose promotes satiety in healthy human: a pilot study. Eur J Clin Nutr. May 2006;60(5):567-572.
- Cani PD, Lecourt E, Dewulf EM, et al. Gut microbiota fermentation of prebiotics increases satietogenic and incretin gut peptide production with consequences for appetite sensation and glucose response after a meal. Am J Clin Nutr. November 1, 2009 2009;90(5):1236-1243.
- Dehghan P, Pourghassem Gargari B, Asghari Jafar-abadi M. Oligofructose-enriched inulin improves some inflammatory markers and metabolic endotoxemia in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Nutrition. Apr 2014;30(4):418-423.
- Fu PP, Chiang HM, Xia Q, et al. Quality assurance and safety of herbal dietary supplements. J Environ Sci Health C Environ Carcinog Ecotoxicol Rev. Apr 2009;27(2):91-119.
- Genuis SJ, Schwalfenberg G, Siy AK, Rodushkin I. Toxic element contamination of natural health products and pharmaceutical preparations. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49676.
- International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering. Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Resources. 2014; http://www.ispe.org/gmp-resources.