Did you know that approximately 70% of our immune system is housed in our gut?
Did you also know that your gut is home to over 100,000 trillion microorganisms that play a major role in digestion and defence functions of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract?
Furthermore, your gut microbiota composition is unique to you, like your fingerprint.
So, as you can probably guess, our gut is quite an important collection of organs to take good care of.
You can look after your gut by making appropriate diet and lifestyle changes, following a fiber-rich diet, avoiding overusing antibiotics, and taking supplements such as probiotics.
Many people these days opt for taking supplements for their gut, most commonly probiotics!
Though you may have also heard of prebiotics - are these also beneficial? What’s the difference between these two gut supplements? Is one better than the other?
This brief guide discusses probiotics and prebiotics, the difference between them, and the possible benefits of supplementation!
Probiotics Vs Prebiotics: What is the Difference?
Probiotics are tiny living microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast. They are found in many fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and tempeh, but can also be taken as a supplement in capsule form.
Probiotics refer to the beneficial bacteria found in our gut, which normally contain living strains of bacteria that make up a healthy intestinal microbiome.
While it is still in its early days, there is emerging research around the possible benefits of taking probiotics, including improving digestive health, general health, and even mental health.
Prebiotics are often described as the “food” for the bacteria in our gut. Prebiotics are made up of certain fibers that feed the living microorganisms in our gut, thus nourishing them, and stimulating their growth and activity.
You can find prebiotics in fiber-rich foods such as chicory root, apple skin, garlic, onions, bananas, beans, pulses, and legumes.
In summary - probiotics are the bacteria, whereas prebiotics is the food that feeds the bacteria!
Prebiotics Vs Probiotics: Which is Better?
The burning question here: is one better than the other?
Not particularly, however it may be more beneficial to take a prebiotic supplement than a probiotic.
It is thought that nourishing our existing gut bacteria with a prebiotic is more beneficial than introducing live cultures and bacteria into our gut through a probiotic.
Additionally, probiotics containing live cultures and bacteria typically have a shorter shelf life for this reason, meaning you may not be getting the number of bacteria you think you are getting.
However, you could also take prebiotics and probiotics together, which may provide further benefits to gut health.
A food source than contains both prebiotics and probiotics is known as a “synbiotic”, which is thought to significantly improve digestive performance, immunity, nutrient absorption, and overall health.
When is it necessary to supplement with a probiotic or prebiotic?
Most people can take a daily probiotic or prebiotic supplement to support overall gut health, though you may definitely want to consider a supplement if you show typical symptoms of poor gut health, such as:
- Regular abdominal pain and discomfort
- Signs of bloating
- Excess gas
- Carbohydrate cravings
- Poor energy levels
Though, as always, you should consult your doctor if you show any of these symptoms (on a regular, ongoing basis) and enquire about your suitability to take a supplement.
The Best Prebiotic Supplement
Performance Lab Prebiotic supplies a 2-in-1 probiotic and soluble fiber support for healthier microbiome composition. This prebiotic supplement is a one-size-fits-all fiber formula that is suitable for improving the digestive performance of people of all dietary lifestyles.
Performance Lab Prebiotic nourishes existing gut bacteria, reorienting them to a healthier biotic composition.
It works by:
- Boosting probiotics in the gut, such as Bifidobacterium, for improving overall gut health
- Enhancing digestive comfort and nutrient absorption
- Nourishing the gut microbiome
- Encouraging digestive regularity and appetite control
A probiotic is made up of live bacteria strains, whereas prebiotics are the food that feed and nourish this bacterium.
One is not necessarily better than the other, though there may be more benefits to taking prebiotics as this would help nourish and support existing bacteria as opposed to introducing more microorganisms into the gut.
A healthy diet and lifestyle would usually ensure a healthy gut microbiome. This includes a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fermented foods, that would provide a good amount of prebiotics and probiotics.
However, there is some research to suggest supplementing with a prebiotic or probiotic may have additional gut health benefits, particularly if you suffer from poor gut health.
Our top pick prebiotic supplement is Performance Lab Prebiotic!