The Difference Between Prebiotics & Probiotics

The difference between Prebiotics and Probiotics

As we become increasingly health conscious, we start to pay more attention to the food we take every day to take care of our body. But do “probiotics” and “prebiotics” automatically pop into your head when you think of healthy diet? Didn’t think so! But perhaps giving these guys a little more thought can be a good idea.

Many of us may have heard about these little helpers that bring health benefits to our body, yet few can explain what they are. What are the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics? And aren’t they just basically the same thing?

Let’s pull out our microscopes and let the investigations begin!

What are prebiotics and probiotics?

Probiotics are bustling living microorganisms that can serve up a dose of health benefits[1] when consumed in adequate amounts. These microscopic helpers can be found in some yogurts and fermented milk, whereas prebiotics, are mostly a type of fibre that’s not digestible by the human body.

As you can see, despite the similarity in their names, prebiotics and probiotics are really different fundamentally. First, by nature, probiotics are live organisms while prebiotics are chemically inactive substance. Second, prebiotics and probiotics also have different functions that we get to unpack when we ask, “what are prebiotics and probiotics good for?”

Each different type of bacteria strain can bring us with a different benefit! For example, probiotics found in yogurt [2] can improve lactose digestion in maldigesters as they break down part of the lactose in milk and help to digest the remaining bits in the product. Prebiotics have a totally different job description; they leave the stomach undigested, ending up in the colon. Although they can’t be digested, they still bring health benefits to our body [3].

What are the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics?

Prebiotics and probiotics may contribute to your overall health and wellness. When consumed alive and in the right amount (e.g.108 CFU/g in yogurt), probiotics may benefit your health. These live cultures found in yogurts and some fermented milks can improve lactose digestion of the product in individuals who have difficulty digesting lactose. Gut health experts believe that a probiotic’s assistance in lactose digestion can help avoid gut discomfort. Prebiotics, on the other hand, have totally different benefits. Chicory inulin, the prebiotic available in chicory roots, when taken 12g/day contributes to normal bowel function by increasing stool frequency.

Bolstering your day with prebiotics and probiotics

Start every day in a great way by making good choices; your future self will thank you! Let’s get hyped on smashing great exercise routines and fuelling our bodies with nourishing goodness.

Starting the day with a few simple stretches followed by a yummy breakfast of nutritious, colourful goodness loaded with vitamins, minerals, prebiotics and probiotics may be the best thing you can do for yourself right now.

Love yourself well from the inside, it’s way easier than you think!

[1] The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”.

[2] Live cultures namely Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus need to be present in adequate amounts in a yogurt to qualify as probiotics.

[3] According to ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics) prebiotic is a substrate that is selectively utilized by host micro-organisms conferring a health benefit.

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