Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

Prebiotics are non-digestible dietary fiber that fosters ‘good’ bacteria that is living inside the colon, whereas Probiotics are living bacteria that are beneficial to the body.

Prebiotic fiber is a naturally occurring substance and primarily derives from carbohydrate fibers known as oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides are not digestible, and so they pass through the intestines unchanged. While passing through, they stimulate the growth of good bacteria and help to keep them healthy. Oligofructose and inulin, two forms of fructo-oligosaccharides meet the complete definition of prebiotics. Prebiotic fibers are not altered due to heat or cold, nor are they affected by acids, or even time. Because of this, prebiotics can help the good bacteria flourish in the colon, and also alleviates the harm caused by ‘bad’ bacteria. Prebiotic fibers are found in legumes, whole grains, and fruits. Prebiotics can also be taken in the form of supplements, or can be added into food.

Bacteria can be both helpful and harmful to the body. The good, helpful bacteria keep the bad bacteria and yeast to breed and flourish in the intestinal tract. Probiotics are live bacteria that fall on the beneficial category, and provide health benefits for the host. Common types of probiotics are strains of bacteria that fall under the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter families. Probiotics are found in yogurt and soy yogurt, and are extensively administered through dietary supplements.

A diet comprising of both prebiotics and probiotics can generate many health benefits to the body. Prebiotics help probiotic bacteria to grow and flourish in the intestine and inhibits the development of bad bacteria or other ‘pathogens’ that can cause colon diseases, or other infections in the intestinal tracts. Clostridium difficile is one such pathogenic bacterium that causes food poisoning. This, and other such bacteria, can be crowded by healthy probiotics to prevent them from causing harm. Yeast is another pathogenic micro-organism that causes common infections in the body, such as in the vagina or in the intestine. Probiotics inhibit the growth of yeast, and prohibits its detrimental effects.

A healthy dose of probiotics, along with prebiotics can help in the prevention of bladder, bowel, or vaginal infections, indigestion, liver diseases, diarrhea, gastric ulcers, abdominal problems, and other bacteria/pathogen induced conditions. Probiotics can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer, and keeps the body’s micro-environment safe and healthy.

Both prebiotics and probiotics are widely available in the form of dietary supplements. Individually, they can be found in dietary supplements either as one of the several other constituents, for example when in a blend with fish oil and concentrate from fruits, or as the only ingredient. They can also be found in a combination with each other, and are very effective in fighting colon related problems, and boosting the immune system.

Many pharmaceutical companies are now producing supplements rich in prebiotics and probiotics. One such supplement that contains both prebiotics and probiotics is the Optibac probiotic supplement, which is a balanced formulation of both the constituents. Optibac takes care of the digestive and the immune system and keeps the body healthy. It is free of yeast and sugar, and is recommended to be taken daily. It comes with a money-back guarantee if the results are not satisfactory. However, Optibac dosage is restricted for immunosupressed and patients, and also for patients with pancreatitis, and those who have undergone cardiac surgery – unless it is recommended by the physician.

The usefulness of prebiotics and probiotics for gastro-intestinal health has been researched extensively and has been proven to be beneficial to the heath. However, both prebiotics and probiotics should be administered in sufficient amount in order to confirm their effectiveness.

Last updated on Sep 8th, 2010 and filed under Health Supplements. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed