Microbiome Health Focus: What Constitutes a Prebiotic?

Prebiotics have generally been viewed as energy sources for the various microrganisms that inhabit the human gut microbiome, with this energy derived from select dietary fibre sources. However, recently among food and supplement formulators there has been a re-evaluation of the materials that constitutes a prebiotic and a desire to widen the definition.

The latest definition of prebiotics was developed by a range of specialists under the auspices of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), in 2016. This updated definition is:  “a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”. This widens the scope of the type of compounds that can now be considered to exhibit prebiotic activity. Fundamental to this new definition is that the material must “confer a beneficial physiological effect on the host by the selective utilization of a compound by gut bacteria”


In the light of this new definition, Marigot, from recent published research on Aquamin and working as a key member of the Global Prebiotic Association (GPA) have concluded that Aquamin could be considered as exhibiting prebiotic-type characteristics & may provide powerful synergies when formulating products for gut health.

The GPA is focused on the education and awareness building of prebiotics.

Aquamin is available in food & listable formats for a wide range of applications and offers the following prebiotic-type features in comparison with commonly formulated prebiotic fibres:


   PREBIOTIC Feature





Fiber Source

Benefits Bacterial Energy

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Positive for SCFA production

Dairy Free

Boost Immune Function

Delivers Bifidogenic Effect

Negative Gastro Issues

Low Dose Effective

Barrier Enhancement

Optimal Mineral Bioavailability

Probiotic carrier functionality

Gastric protection for probiotics


The Science to date on Aquamin, which outlines the basis behind the features above is available on the latest publication overview and can be downloaded below: