Prebiotics, Probiotics, What's the Difference?
What is the difference between
Prebiotics and Probiotics?
As we know, your gut biome is a micro-ecosystem within your gut composed of many microscopic organisms, mainly bacteria. To keep this ecosystem healthy, a well-balanced diet is recommended to nourish the near 1,000 diverse species of bacteria in your gut.
So what healthy foods can we feed our gut microbes to keep them happy and healthy?
Prebiotics and Probiotics.
Prebiotics are natural plant fibers that stimulate the development of beneficial bacteria in our gut. More specifically, complex carbohydrates like resistant starches. Resistant starch is a prebiotic that stimulates the growth of good bacteria like Bifidobacterium. Resistant starch is fermented by intestinal bacteria which then produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that also contribute to your gut health. For example, Butyrate is a SCFA that is essential for intestinal function and is a major energy source for gut lining cells with anti-inflammatory properties.
The best sources of prebiotics are from fruits and vegetables, more specifically:
- Jerusalem Artichokes
Probiotics, on the other hand, are living microorganisms packed with health benefits that fuel your body and brain. These are some of the beneficial bacteria that play a role in helping you digest your food, reduce cells that cause disease, and help produce vitamins. Probiotics are a variety of microorganisms that typically classified as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus are bacteria that live in our digestive, urinary, and genital systems. This "friendly" bacteria helps our body with digestion to prevent symptoms like diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Bifidobacterium bacteria provide similar benefits and reside in our intestines and stomach. The most popular Bifidobacterium bacteria is B. bifidum. Studies have shown that B. bifidum has the potential to treat certain infections, ulcerative colitis, and IBS.
Great sources of probiotics are dietary supplements and fermented foods like:
- Cheeses with active cultures
- Sourdough Bread
How should I add probiotics or prebiotics to my daily routine?
For more information on how prebiotics and probiotics may affect your health, or to find out how much beneficial bacteria your gut has now, check out our products at mypsomagen.com!
- Canani, R. B., Costanzo, M. D., Leone, L., Pedata, M., Meli, R., & Calignano, A. (2011). Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World Journal of Gastroenterology: WLG, 17(12), 1519-1528.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Prebiotics, Probiotics and Your Health.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 27 Feb. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/prebiotics-probiotics-and-your-health/art-20390058.
- NCCIH. “Probiotics: What You Need To Know.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2019, www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know.
- Semeco, Arlene. “The 19 Best Prebiotic Foods You Should Eat.” Www.healthline.com, 8 June 2016.