Archive for December, 2008

Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

How many times have we heard these words and been confused? What is the difference between the two? Is one better than the other? Do I need yet another supplement? Not to worry…here is a quick and simple guide to figuring it all out for yourself.

What is a Prebiotic?

Prebiotics are non-digestible foods that make their way through our digestive system. Their purpose is to help the good bacteria in our bodies grow. They are what keep beneficial bacteria healthy. Prebiotics are found in carbohydrate fibers called oligosaccharides. Sources of oligosaccharides include fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Fructo-oligosaccharides may be taken as a supplement or added to foods. Simply put, prebiotcs are the food for the good bacteria.

What is a Probiotic?

Probiotics are the beneficially bacteria. Examples of probiotics include lactobacilli, which is found naturally in sauerkraut and yogurt. Some manufacterers will also add probiotics to enhance the food.

Prebiotics and Probiotics Together

Probiotics and prebiotics work together in a synergistic matter. Prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract, thus enhancing the effect of probiotic bacteria. Essentially, prebiotics are the probiotics food. Ideally, we should use the food supply to get what we need–if that is not possible supplements are a realistic alternative.