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Probiotic and Prebiotic: EXPLAINED

Prebiotics and probiotics are both related to the health of the gut, but they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics. Here's an outline of the key differences between prebiotics and probiotics:

1. Definition:

- Prebiotics: Prebiotics are non-digestible compounds found in certain foods that promote the growth and activity of beneficial microorganisms (probiotics) in the gut. They essentially serve as food for probiotics.

- Probiotics: Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria or yeasts that can positively impact gut health when consumed in adequate amounts. They are often found in fermented foods and dietary supplements.

2. Function:

- Prebiotics: Prebiotics provide nourishment for probiotics, helping them thrive and perform their functions more effectively. They stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

- Probiotics: Probiotics are living microorganisms that can directly colonize the gut and contribute to a balanced microbiome. They can improve digestion and have various health benefits.

3. Source:

- Prebiotics: Common sources of prebiotics include certain high-fiber foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, bananas, and whole grains.

- Probiotics: Probiotics are typically found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and in some dietary supplements.

4. Form:

- Prebiotics: Prebiotics are typically non-living, non-digestible compounds such as soluble fiber and specific carbohydrates.

- Probiotics: Probiotics are living microorganisms, such as strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria or Saccharomyces yeast.

5. Mechanism of Action:

- Prebiotics: They encourage the growth and activity of probiotics by providing a source of nourishment. Prebiotics selectively stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

- Probiotics: They directly contribute to gut health by colonizing the gastrointestinal tract and competing with harmful microorganisms for resources. Probiotics can also produce beneficial compounds.

6. Health Benefits:

- Prebiotics: Prebiotics indirectly support gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. They can help improve digestion, enhance the absorption of certain nutrients, and may have a positive impact on the immune system.

- Probiotics: Probiotics have been associated with a wide range of health benefits, including improved digestive health, enhanced immune function, reduced inflammation, and potential effects on mental health.

In summary, prebiotics and probiotics are complementary components of a healthy gut ecosystem. Prebiotics serve as the "food" for probiotics, while probiotics are live microorganisms that actively contribute to gut health. Consuming a combination of both can promote a balanced and healthy gut microbiome, which in turn can have a positive impact on overall health and well-being.

We understand that you may have difficulty providing your body with enough of the right prebiotic and probiotic foods to support the needs of your body. In this case we suggest looking to a supplement to ensure a healthy functioning gut. Below are two we recommend from Standard Process Whole Food Supplements.

GI Stability tm a prebiotic supplement from Standard Process, supports the GI tract by delivering targeted prebiotic action, supporting a healthy gut microbiome, and feeding the growth of beneficial bacteria.


ProSynbiotic,tm a probiotic for everyday microbial support, is a synergistic blend of 4 probiotic microbes and a prebiotic fiber to support overall intestinal health.

Standard Process tm Supplements can be purchased at our offices or ordered through our online service and delivered directly to your home.

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Living Well NEK Disclaimer: These products and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products or statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

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