Prebiotics vs Probiotics – Differences, Benefits and Uses

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Prebiotics vs Probiotics

The difference between probiotic and prebiotic is a very wide topic to be discussed on. Many people are unaware of their difference. Prebiotics VS Probiotic is an elaborated topic.

The word probiotic comes from the word “pro” meaning for and “biotic” meaning life. Together it means “for life”. It helps us to live. Microorganisms those are the friendly bacteria that live in the colon on the skin and all over the place.

We have ten times as many microbes that are living around your body as well as inside your body and then comes the actual cells that make up the body. So, there is a lot of them. Another word for a probiotic would be flora or microbiome.

They also make acids from the acids to absorb minerals. They are responsible for about 90% of all the digestions that occurs in our body. They also help the immune system and also make vitamins.

But when it comes to prebiotic, it is the food that feeds the probiotic. Those are certain types of fibers. An example would be garlic, onions, asparagus, leeks, dandelions. These all are very healthy in nature. Artichokes, chicory root, cultured vegetables, etc. are some of the plants and vegetables that actually have certain fibers that will feed the microbes.

Some of the prebiotics benefits would be decreasing hunger, decreasing insulin resistance. So if you are diabetic it is going to be very essential for your health. And lastly, it also helps in decreasing cortisol and so on.

What are prebiotics and probiotics?

INTRODUCTION:

Now the question is what exactly prebiotics and probiotics? Trillions of microbes stay in the gastrointestinal tract and they are collectively called the gut microbiome. It was known that microbial cells are ten times as the human cells present in our bodies.

But recently there was an estimation that shows that these has one to one ratio with the microbial cells being a little bit more than the human cells. In other words, it seems like we are a bit more microbe than human!

The two main groups of bacteria that dominate the gut microbiome is Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, along with smaller numbers of Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Fusobacteria. The amount of and types of bacteria can vary drastically from person to person, and there is no clear consensus on what makes up a “healthy” microbiome.

The gastrointestinal tract is full of microbes, but the large intestine or colon has most of it all. And since what we eat and drink passes through the gastrointestinal tract every day- it’s no surprise that our diet affects our gut microbiome.

For example, people who seem to have a high-fiber diet most likely to have higher levels of Prevotella, and people those who have a diet that is higher in protein and fat have more Bacteroides.

This two are the members of the Bacteroidetes group. In fact, studies have shown that even a single day of a strict animal-based diet or plant-based diet can alter the microbiome composition, but we often revert back to our regular microbiome once our diet goes back to normal. Two parts of our diet that are uniquely able to affect the microbiome are probiotics and prebiotics.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that offer a health benefitfor example, by helping to enhance or restore health to our gut microbiome. Many of the microorganisms that naturally live in our bodies are similar to microorganisms found in probiotic fo0ods, drinks, and dietary supplements.  

  • Fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir as well as foods like kimchi consist of probiotic bacteria. But every fermented food cannot be considered a probiotic in nature.
  • For a portion of food or drink to be considered “probiotic,” there have to be sufficient living bacteria that survive food processing so that they are in the food or beverage, and the bacteria that manage to survive are the ones that are advantageous to human health. This is based on a research study.
  • Probiotics are found in dietary supplements and are added to other foods and beverages, like granola bars, protein shakes, and fruit juice.

What is prebiotics?

Prebiotics are food components used by host microbes, and therefore they offer a health benefit too.

  • Many prebiotics is found in high-fiber foods that aren’t broken down by human digestive enzymes and make it to the large intestine where they are fermented by gut bacteria. So basically prebiotics is food for our gut microbes.
  • List of prebiotic foods are vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes like peas and beans are among the best sources of naturally occurring prebiotic fiber. Inulin and oligosaccharides are the ingredients that are found in packaged foods, are also classified as prebiotics.

Prebiotics Food section

Prebiotics are actually dietary fiber that helps in feeding the bacteria that are friendly in the gut.

The top ten list of prebiotic foods that are very essential for our system are:

  • Chicory root
  • Dandelions
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Barley
  • Apple
  • Cocoa
  • Flaxseeds

Difference between Prebiotics and Probiotics (Prebiotics VS Probiotics)

Probiotics

Prebiotics

Probiotics are bacteria that are live and are found in fermented foods. They are dietary fibers that are of special forms.
Probiotics are bacteria that live on our body. And they are carbohydrates that cannot be digested by our body.
They are very essential for our body. They are also essential but less compared to probiotics.
They can be taken in supplements forms to improve the digestion of our body. They are taken to increase the efficiency of the probiotics.
Probiotics help in protecting your body from harmful bacteria. Prebiotics helps in improving your gut health.
They are microorganisms that are very tiny. They are not microorganisms but indigestible carbohydrates.

Can you take prebiotic and probiotics together?

Most people don’t know the exact difference between the two. When we see the word probiotic we may assume that it is a misspelling of the word probiotic. But the word prebiotic is different from probiotic and it is very important.

The human colon is a real health organ. It is a waste station for the waste that the body does not want and that is eventually passed. However, there are over a thousand separate bacterial species living in your colon. The total number of bacteria reaches tens of billions. It is more than ten times the number of cells in the entire body. Both prebiotics and probiotics end up in the colon. These bacteria when we treat them right do some amazing things for our health. At least 10-20 health benefits that we are already aware of.

Most of us have heard about probiotics as they are advertised everywhere. They are the bacteria in yogurt and many other fermented foods. They are also available in pill or capsules form. Prebiotics, on the other hand, is present only in plants, mostly vegetables. These plant fibers go through the small intestine unchanged. In the large bowel, they find a nice warm moist home.

Now the major difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic is what happens in the colon. When you add say 5-10 billion probiotic organisms to the gut, that’s when it starts working. This may sound like a lot but it really is a very small number that is way lea than 1% of the bacterial organisms already there. If it can be estimated properly, it is literally one drop in the bucket of bacteria.

They are fighting an uphill battle to find a home for themselves and to reproduce in large numbers. On the other hand prebiotic acts like a rich fertilizer that selects to enrich only the good bacteria already there and enrich them. These good bacteria grow very quickly doubling in number every twenty minutes to numbers far greater than you could ever consume with a probiotic.

Prebiotics are present in certain plant foods such as asparagus, leeks, yams, and others. However, prebiotics is also available as supplements and is called oligofructose. This small molecule is acted on very quickly in the bacteria on the right side of the colon.

Inulin, on the other hand, is a larger molecule and is fermented more slowly throughout the left side of the colon that is why both of these are put together patented prebiotic products. It is a full spectrum prebiotic acting throughout the colon. Some of the benefits of prebiotics are better regularity, improved immune function, vitamin production, and better energy, less leaky gut, more calcium absorption, improve bone density, less inflammation in the body, and gutless appetite part of a weight loss program and many more.

Prebiotics are simply better than probiotics and our prebiotic is your best bet for a new gut.

How to take Probiotics?

Probiotics are actually bacteria that live in your own body and helps in the proper functioning of your body by breaking down all the foods that we intake. Prebiotics that are very similar to what our body produces can always be taken as supplements for maintaining healthy digestion.

How to take Prebiotics?

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are carbohydrates that our body cannot digest. There is no use of taking prebiotics but anyways it can be taken to increase the effectiveness of probiotics.

Benefits of probiotics and prebiotics

Benefits of Probiotics:

  • They are a good recipient for balancing the friendly bacteria in our digestive systems.
  • It has great medicinal value and can help in treating and preventing diarrhea.
  • Their supplements help in improving many mental health issues.
  • There are many probiotic strains that help in resolving and maintain your heart health.
  • They help in reducing many severities of some particular allergies and also Eczema.
  • It also helps in reducing many symptoms of digestive disorders.
  • It helps in boosting our immune systems.
  • And lastly, it could be a great supplement that helps you lose your belly fat and overall weight.

Benefits of Prebiotics:

  • Intake of Prebiotics can help you lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Promotes healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Helps in maintaining your gut health.
  • This also helps in improving the digestion processes of our body.
  • Helps in promoting lowering your stress levels.
  • Intake of Prebiotics can help you lower your risk of getting obese.
  • Reduces and lowers inflammation and it helps you build your autoimmune reactions.

Overview

In conclusion, the fact that needs to be reflected upon is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics (Prebiotics VS Probiotic) and what exactly are prebiotics. These facts are still unknown to many of us. The average Americans eat about 16 grams of fiber per day, while the recommendation is 25 to 38 grams of fiber every day.

Now when gut microbes metabolize prebiotics, some produce short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, acetate, and propion. Probiotics are present in abundance in comparison to prebiotics.

They have more health benefits than the prebiotics and also are more essential for the body. There is a thin line difference between probiotic and prebiotic, which remains an unknown fact for most of the people till date.

Prebiotics are very essential too and that also for our digestive system. These are a basically good type of friendly bacteria which is needed in the body system to run it efficiently. It helps the gut microorganisms to provide nutrients which are very useful for colon cells and the body health in general.