What is The Difference Between a Prebiotic and a Probiotic?
- Prebiotic supplementation can stimulate the growth of helpful bacteria, reducing inflammation, and positively influencing cholesterol levels and glucose metabolism. (1).
- Probiotic supplementation can improve digestive symptoms, enhance immunity, and have a positive effect on mental well-being. (2).
- A combination of prebiotics and probiotics have been known to bolster gut barrier function and the body's immune system (3).
Knowing the difference between prebiotics and probiotics can be confusing for many. Even though the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are in fact distinct. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that provide nourishment to the advantageous bacteria in your gut, while probiotics are live, advantageous bacteria that aid in preserving a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. Both prebiotics and probiotics are essential for digestive health, but they work in different ways and serve different objectives. By comprehending the distinction between prebiotics and probiotics, you will be able to make more informed decisions when it comes to selecting the appropriate supplements for your health requirements. So, what is the difference between a prebiotic and a probiotic? Read on to find out.
What's the difference between a prebiotic and a probiotic?
It is often assumed that prebiotics and probiotics are the same, but in reality they are quite different. Prebiotics are non-digestible starches that nourish the beneficial bacteria in the digestive system, while probiotics are viable beneficial bacteria that help to maintain an equilibrium of bacteria in the gut. Both prebiotics and probiotics are essential for digestive wellness, yet they fulfill separate roles and function differently. If you want to be an educated consumer when it comes to selecting the ideal dietary supplements for your health needs, it is essential to understand the dissimilarities between prebiotics and probiotics.
What are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a form of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the human body, instead these carbohydrates are broken down by the beneficial bacteria in the intestines. This fermentation process produces helpful compounds, including short-chain fatty acids, which are beneficial for the balanced bacteria levels in the intestines. Moreover, prebiotics can also boost the absorption of vitamins and minerals, thus contributing to overall health.
Whole grains, legumes, and some fruits and vegetables are natural sources of prebiotics. Additionally, prebiotics can be obtained through dietary supplements, such as chicory root, inulin, and FOS.
What are Probiotics?
Beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, are naturally present in the digestive system. This bacteria can assist in keeping the balance of bacteria in the intestine healthy, as well as helping with digestion and nutrient absorption. Probiotics can also be beneficial in decreasing the signs of some digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
These helpful bacteria are frequently located in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Additionally, supplements containing probiotics are available, with common sources being lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.
The difference between prebiotics and probiotics
The primary distinction between prebiotics and probiotics is that prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates broken down by advantageous bacteria in the digestive system, while probiotics are living, beneficial bacteria that help keep a healthy equilibrium of bacteria in the gut.
Prebiotics are not living organisms, so they don't need to be taken frequently to be effective. They can be taken as required to support a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. Conversely, probiotics are alive bacteria, which implies they should be taken on a consistent basis to remain effective.
Benefits of Prebiotics
Prebiotics offer numerous advantages, including the following:
- They can stimulate the growth of helpful bacteria in the digestive system, thus enhancing digestive wellness.
- They can augment the intake of vitamins and minerals, which can boost total health.
- They can ameliorate the indicators of particular digestive ailments, such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
- They can bring down cholesterol levels and normalize blood glucose levels.
- They can diminish inflammation in the body, which can reduce the chances of certain ailments.
Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics have a multitude of advantages, such as:
- Keeping an even balance of bacteria in the gut, which can improve digestion.
- Lessening the signs of certain digestion issues, like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Enhancing the immune system, which can reduce the likelihood of certain ailments and sicknesses.
- Diminishing cholesterol levels and refining blood sugar regulation.
- Lessening inflammation throughout the body, decreasing the risk of certain diseases.
Prebiotics vs Probiotics: Which is better?
Everyone has different health requirements, so the best answer to this inquiry varies. Generally, both prebiotics and probiotics are beneficial for digestive wellness and can aid in enhancing total wellness. If, however, you're aiming to address a precise health issue such as digestive issues or immune health, you may wish to take a supplement containing both prebiotics and probiotics.
How to choose the right prebiotics and probiotics
When selecting a prebiotic or probiotic, it is critical to search for one that is equipped with the correct sort of bacteria for your particular requirements. For instance, if you are striving to better your digestive health, then you may want to consider a supplement with lactobacillus or bifidobacterium. On the other hand, if you are wanting to augment your immune system, then you ought to search for a supplement that holds a mix of diverse advantageous bacteria. It is also essential to search for a supplement that has a superior quality, scientifically-verified strain of bacteria, to make sure that the bacteria is competent. Additionally, it is important to look for a supplement that contains a high concentration of bacteria, to guarantee that you get the most benefit from the supplement. Common ingredients in prebiotics and probiotics
Common ingredients in prebiotic supplements include chicory root, inulin, and FOS. Common ingredients in probiotic supplements include lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Additionally, some supplements may also contain other beneficial ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, and herbs, which can help to improve overall health.
It is essential to recognize the distinction between prebiotics and probiotics when making an informed decision concerning which supplement is best for your health requirements. Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that provide nourishment to the advantageous microorganisms in the gut, while probiotics are live, helpful bacteria that assist in keeping a healthy balance of bacteria in the intestine. Both prebiotics and probiotics are essential for proper digestion, but they have different effects and objectives. When selecting a prebiotic or probiotic supplement, it is critical to find one that contains the suitable type of bacteria for your particular needs, as well as a top quality, clinically-tested strain of bacteria. We hope this article clarified your query on the difference between prebiotic and probiotic.
Enjoy reading? Check out this related article: Do Probiotics Help With IBS?
- Slavin J. Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications. PubMed Central. Published 2017. Accessed March 7, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5390821/
- Ng QX, Peters C, Ho CYX, Lim DY, Yeo WS. The effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans: a systematic review. PubMed Central. Published 2018. Accessed March 7, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5917017/
- Liu J, Tian X, Xiong L, et al. The combination of probiotics and prebiotics improves intestinal immunity, gut barrier function, and microbiota in rats. PubMed. Published 2018. Accessed March 7, 2023. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29231299/