Prebiotics Versus Probiotics

What is the difference between Prebiotics and Probitotics? Are they both important to good health? Let's look to "Doctors Health Press", a health news and advice site, for the answer to Prebiotics Versus Probiotics.

Probiotics have become a major feature in today’s version of a healthy lifestyle. Simply put, they are healthy bacteria that live in your gut and have the potential to boost health in a number of ways.

Prebiotics essentially act as food for your gut bacteria, stimulating and nourishing the population so it stays alive and active.

So, this sounds pretty simple. One (probiotics) is the actual collective organisms that live in your digestive system. The other (prebiotics) is a term for the fiber that is necessary to feed these beneficial organisms. However, there are some other things to consider.

How do the probiotics get there in the first place? Next, what is the best method to feed the probiotics to keep them healthy? As an aside, there are many different terms for probiotics, but they all refer to the same thing.

When researching this, we find: bacteria, bacterium, gut flora, gut microbiota, microbiome, probiotic microflora, probiotic bacterium, digestive microorganisms. All names describing the same bacteria and fungus. There probably are even more scientific terms.

Origins of Probiotics

Your microbiome is with you since birth. Continuously growing, and developing as you grow older from childhood. Many people take probiotics later in life as a supplement. That is fine, and of course an option. But certainly not the only option.

The human microbiota includes bacteria, fungi, archaea and viruses. Micro-animals which live on the human body are excluded. The human microbiome refers to their genomes. Humans are colonized by many microorganisms; the traditional estimate was that humans live with ten times more non-human cells than human cells; more recent estimates have lowered this to 3:1 and even to about 1:1.

Finding Prebiotics 

Looking at the photo at the top of this page, you might think that you need to get your prebiotics in a bottle. Usually found in a drug store or health food stores, these would be capsules and tablets. Of course, these supplements are an option. Actually, the best source of prebiotics is the fiber found in whole foods. Imagine that!

Prebiotics are found in many fruits and vegetables, especially those that contain complex carbohydrates, such as fiber and resistant starch. These carbs aren't digestible by your body, so they pass through the digestive system to become food for the bacteria and other microbes.

Differences of Prebiotics Versus Probiotics

A balance between prebiotics and probiotics is similar to homeostasis in other biological functions. You need a balance. You need to rid yourself of bad bacteria, and replenish the good bacteria. Sometimes this is referred to as a cleanse. There are various ways to do this. You can use natural ingredients to rid your system of bad gut bacteria. We are not sure of the efficacy of all of these remedies. We have tried many of these home remedy regimes.

Some are pretty simple and include things like garlic and cloves. We will not go into great detail now. In this regard, let's save this subject for a more indepth post. However, we can say from past experience that many of these home remedies do seem to work.

Some human gut microorganisms benefit the host by fermenting dietary fiber into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as acetic acid and butyricacid, which are then absorbed by the host. Intestinal bacteria also play a role in synthesizing vitamin B and vitamin K as well asmetabolizing bile acids, sterols, and xenobiotics.

Good Bacteria and Bad Bacteria

Did you know that when you take antibiotics you kill both bad bacteria and beneficial bacteria. Likewise, our research indicates it takes as long as 2 years to replace the good bacteria after a typical course of antibiotics. You not only have to have a good microbiota, but you have to properly and continuolsy nourish you gut flora through the foods you consume.

Prebiotics Versus Probiotics

There is an ongoing and endless battle in your gut. This is a battle between good bacteria that influences good health outcomes, and bad bacteria that brings on inflammation and bad health. Naturally, you should look first to a whole food approach as a way to promote the good bacteria in your digestive system. This is the best place to start.