Prebiotics vs Probiotics

Prebiotics vs Probiotics

Many people want to know what the difference is between prebiotics and probiotics. They are both helpful supplements that benefit the health of your gut by providing or stimulating the growth of good bacteria. The biproducts of these bacteria or microbes are good for your overall health.

So prebiotics vs probiotics, what is the difference? Prebiotics are typically foods or supplements containing particular types of fibers that serve as food or stimulants for the growth of your microbiome (bacteria living within your gut). In contrast, probiotics contain the actual bacteria that colonize your intestines and consume the fiber, producing useful biproducts for your overall health.

Here is an easy way to think about the difference. Prebiotics are before (“pre”) life (“biotic”) while probiotics are for (“pro”) life (“biotic”). The “pre” in prebiotics means that the prebiotics provide the useful non-living material for the microbes living within you to consume. The non-living material is “pre” life since it is not yet alive. The “pro” in probiotics means that the probiotics actually provide the living material to continue that life. In other words, probiotics contain living bacteria (see “Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Julia Enders).

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