What is the Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics?

What is the Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics?

Understanding the differences of prebiotics and probiotics can help you make informed choices about your health and well being within a complicated world of nutritional supplements. Both are important parts of the conversation about gut health, but they serve a very different purpose. Let us take a look at what each of these terms means, how they differ, and their role in promoting healthy eating.

Understanding Prebiotics

Prebiotics are dietary fibers that the human body can't digest. They serve as food for probiotics, which are live beneficial bacteria in your gut. Many foods, such as bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus and grains contain prebiotics on their own. They're helping to increase the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, supporting a balanced flora across the whole digestive tract.

Understanding Probiotics

Probiotics, on the other hand, are live microorganisms, mainly bacteria and some yeast strains, that confer health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. They promote digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function by colonizing the gut and contributing to the balance of the gut microbiota. Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces boulardii are some of the forms of probiotics.

 Key Differences Between Prebiotics and Probiotics

  • Function: Prebiotics promote the growth and function of beneficial bacteria in the gut by providing them with nutrients. On the other hand, bacteria are live organisms that directly colonize the gut and confer health benefits by altering the composition of the gut microbiota.

  • Source: Certain plant based foods such as bananas, onions, asparagus, garlic, and whole grains are the primary sources of prebiotics. Probiotics, however, are found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and certain supplements.

  • Survivability: Prebiotics are not living organisms, which means that factors such as temperature and pH do not affect them. Proper storage and handling is required to maintain the viability of the bacterium, which is a live microorganism. Factors such as heat, light, and acidity can destroy them.

Health Benefits of Prebiotics and Probiotics

• Prebiotics: Prebiotics help to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which may lead to improved digestion and enhanced immune function.

• Probiotics: Various health benefits, such as improved digestion, gastrointestinal balance, increased immune function and even mental health benefits are associated with the use of bacteria.

Incorporating Prebiotics and Probiotics into Your Diet

You can include the addition of prebiotics and probiotics to your diet by eating a variety of foods. In foods like bananas, onions, garlic, asparagus and whole grains, prebiotics are all natural. On the other hand, probiotics can be sourced from fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh. In addition, for those who are looking for an easy alternative, they can also take a probiotic supplement.

Nature's Lab Gold ProTotal

The normal balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract is needed for proper digestion. It can often be disturbed by diet, travel, and stress. Nature's Lab Gold ProTotal helps maintain a healthy digestive balance by promoting good bacteria in your gut. This daily supplement is a unique approach to gut microbiome health using Inulin, a proven prebiotic*; ButyraGen™ pre and probiotic, and a probiotic blend of 60 billion colony forming units to provide full Pre + Pro + Probiotic digestive support.

Key Features:

Probiotic Blend 60 Billion (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum)

Features 300 mg of Inulin, a well-known and studied prebiotic

ButyraGen™ (Tributyrin Complex) 200 mg prebiotic and postbiotic

All-in-one product covering gut microbiome health and digestive comfort*

Understanding the unique roles and benefits of prebiotics and probiotics can help you tailor your dietary choices to support your nutrition and wellness goals. Whether through natural food sources or supplements, incorporating a balanced amount of prebiotics and probiotics can be a smart addition to a health-conscious lifestyle.


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 2.  Hill C, Guarner F, Reid G, et al. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;11(8):506-514. doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2014.66

 3.  Holscher HD. Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. Gut Microbes. 2017;8(2):172-184. doi:10.1080/19490976.2017.1290756

 4.Slavin J. Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 2013;5(4):1417-1435. doi:10.3390/nu5041417