What's The Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics?
August 19, 2012 | By Sarah Ryder

When it comes to your health, knowing how your body works and what it needs to function properly is key. Your abdomen contains abut 70% of your immune system. Therefore, a proper functioning digestive system is necessary to protect your body against toxins and illness.


Both probiotics and prebiotics have been known to help the body maintain bacterial balance for a better functioning digestive system.* The words are similar, but probiotics and prebiotics are two different microorganisms with distinct functions.


Probiotics vs. Prebiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that naturally exist in your body. Beneficial bacteria are necessary to keep bad bacteria under control and keep your body functioning as it should. The most common species of probiotics are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. There are certain types of yeast that also fall into the probiotic family. Probiotics can be found in food sources, as well as nutritional supplements.


Examples of probiotic food sources include:

  • Fermented cabbage and other probiotic fermented foods
  • Tempeh
  • Certain yogurts
  • Miso
  • Kefir



Prebiotics provide nourishment for probiotics. Similar to breast milk for newborns, prebiotics help probiotic bacteria grow. Prebiotics, such as inulin, are also known as synbiotics or insoluble fiber. Since they are not digestible, they are not diluted in the stomach. Prebiotics make it to the intestines in full form, where they are absorbed by probiotics, making it possible for them to continue cultivating. Prebiotics can be found in food sources and nutritional supplements.


Examples of probiotic food sources include:

  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Onions
  • Greens

Most people find it easier to get their daily dose of probiotics and prebiotics from a nutritional supplement over food. Probiotic prebiotic foods can sometimes be difficult to find. Supplements typically have a longer shelf life and contain higher dosages.


How to Use Probiotics and Prebiotics for Better Health*

In understanding probiotics and prebiotics, you will be better able to use them to improve your health.* You can find probiotics in various products and health supplements and then use the prebiotics to feed the good bacteria and make sure that it thrives in your body.* Make sure that your body has enough prebiotics to keep the probiotic bacteria healthy.


Probiotics and Prebiotics Supplements for Help

Probiotics and prebiotics work as a team. For optimum results, you should either simultaneously eat foods containing both probiotics and prebiotics, or consume a dietary supplement containing both.


As with any living organism, probiotics and prebiotics thrive in a healthy environment. For best health, add a probiotics prebiotics daily regimen to a healthy diet including at least eight glasses of water. Along with a regular exercise program, sufficient rest and limitation of alcohol and other toxins, consuming beneficial bacteria should help you meet your wellness goals.*

The content material of this article or webpage is for educational and consumer information purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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