There are some significant differences between probiotic and prebiotic supplements in terms of what they are, how they work and what they do in the digestive system. Here’s what you need to know.
|What are they?||
Prebiotics are a special type of complex carbohydrate found in a variety of foods and food supplements that naturally feed the ‘good’ types of bacteria in your gut, such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
|Probiotics are live so-called ‘friendly’ or ‘good’ bacteria found in a variety of foods and food supplements. These include bacteria such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.|
|What do they do?||
Prebiotics feed and increase the friendly bacteria in your gut, without feeding bad microorganisms or pathogens. These ‘good’ bacteria play a significant role in bolstering your immune system and keeping your digestive system healthy.
|Probiotic bacteria play a number of vital roles in the body, including helping to regulate the immune system, aiding the digestion and absorption of food, producing essential vitamins, and contributing to digestive health.|
|How do they work?||Prebiotics are resistant to heat, oxygen, the body’s enzymes and acids, and are therefore not destroyed, digested or absorbed as they travel through your digestive system.
They reach the colon intact, where they feed your naturally occurring good bacteria, helping them to grow and multiply.
Probiotics are ‘perishable’ bacteria. As with most bacteria they are susceptible to heat and oxygen. Journeying through the body, they come into contact with enzymes and acids in our mouth and stomach, which can kill the bacteria. Those that reach the lower part of the gut must compete with other types of bacteria present to get established. A high intake of the bacteria is therefore necessary to see any benefits.