When to Take Prebiotics? Supplement and Prebiotics Guide

  • By Performance Lab
  • 12 minute read
When to take prebiotics feature image

Beyond the mouth, the gut is the official meeting point between the world and the body.

The gut is where the final decision on which food particles get to enter the club (the body) or not is made.

And the club bouncers who help make this decision? Bacteria.

One of the more positive developments in modern health and fitness has been our increasing understanding of the importance of gut bacteria to our wellbeing. Turns out that our gut can’t digest all types of food on its own, and that our gut needs the assistance of foreign microbes to completely digest and absorb our diet.

Namely our gut needs help digesting prebiotic fibers, such as those found in apple skins, vegetables, legumes, roots, grains, and more.

Nutritionally, these prebiotic fibers help nourish and maintain healthy gut levels of beneficial bacteria activity. Which is why many of us are turning towards prebiotic supplements, such as Performance Lab® Prebiotics.

For many, taking a prebiotic supplement is an entirely new concept:

  • what exactly do prebiotics do?
  • when is the best time to take prebiotics?
  • how long does it take prebiotics to work? et cetera et cetera.

In this guide on prebiotic supplements, we’ll answer these questions and more.

But, first, to understand how to take prebiotics, we need to start with the basics...

What are Prebiotics?

Virtually everyone is familiar with probiotics these days.

However, few have caught onto the immense health benefits of taking prebiotics; a type of food that may help improve your gut health, in addition to many other health benefits directly and indirectly related to gut health.

While people can improve their gut flora with a suitable diet including lots of prebiotic foods, we recommend using a reliable supplement with various sorts of prebiotic fiber. These normally come as powder, pills, capsules or bars.

Despite the importance of prebiotics, much of the modern “high-sugar, high-fat” diet not only fails to provide adequate prebiotic - but actually may be harmful to your gut microflora.

As a result, many people are increasingly interested in “gut support” supplements that provide either prebiotic or probiotic support; yet, many still remain confused on what distinguishes the two.

So here's a quick summary of the differences between prebiotics and probiotics below...

What makes prebiotics and probiotics different:

  • Prebiotics – dietary substances, typically fibers, that serve as food for the bacteria in your gut; without gut bacteria, you wouldn’t be able to digest prebiotic fibers.
  • Probiotics – in dietary or supplement form, “probiotics” refer to the live bacteria found in certain foods and gut healthy supplements.

Essentially, probiotics are the bacteria in your gut and prebiotics feed the bacteria in your gut.

Below, we’ll further explain the differences between prebiotics and probiotics, including why prebiotics are generally the superior supplement to take.

However, let’s first take a brief glance at the Best Prebiotic Supplement for Daily Gut Support...

Performance Lab® Prebiotic

Taken daily for ongoing, long-term gut health support, Performance Lab® Prebiotic is the best prebiotic supplement for anyone looking to nourish their microflora and achieve better overall digestive function.

  • Weight management
  • cardiometabolic health
  • immunity

These above benefits and more may be acquired through Prebiotic’s microflora support.

Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® Prebiotic Here

Performance Lab® Prebiotic works by:

  • Nourishing existing gut microbiota rather than introducing new probiotic strains, which may not match the particular strains in your gut.
  • Supporting digestive regularity and nutrient absorption efficiency to enhance your body’s use of the nutrients in your diet.
  • Assisting with fat loss and weight management by improving appetite control and reducing food caloric density.
  • Promoting healthy cognition and mental performance via the intestinal optimization of the gut-brain axis.

Compared to standard prebiotic supplements that typically come in cheap, additive-stuffed capsules and, consequently, have poor bioavailability, Performance Lab® Prebiotic’s all-natural comes delivered in prebiotic-infused NutriCaps®, a patented capsule constructed out of fermented tapioca (pullulan).

That's right. Prebiotics delivered in prebiotic capsules.

Performance Lab® Prebiotic is, inside and out, the healthiest gut support supplement for users of all dietary lifestyles.

Supplement Facts: Inulin-FOS (as Orafti® Synergy1) (FructoOligoSaccharides from Chicory Root), NutriCaps® Pullulan Capsule, NuFlow® Rice Concentrate

Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® Prebiotic Here

Continue reading to learn all the how-to ins-and-outs on when to take prebiotics, how long prebiotics take to work, as well as the best combination of prebiotics and probiotics you should take to boost your gut health and flora.

When Should You Take Prebiotics?

Prebiotic spelled out with capsules

The question of “when to take prebiotics” can be split into two separate questions:

  1. What are the “Suggested Use” directions to taking a prebiotic supplement?
  2. How do I know if and when I should consider taking a prebiotic supplement?

Under certain conditions of micronutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin B12-deficiency, there are a range of identifiable symptoms. In the case of B12-deficiency, those symptoms include poor cognition, balancing problems, numbness and tingling in the hands and limbs, memory loss, weakness, and fatigue.

Receive unique insights, advice and exclusive offers.
image of Performance Lab® capsules

However, discerning if you have a “prebiotic deficiency” can be a bit difficult, considering the complexity of gut health and gut microflora.

Even so, as is the case with vitamins and minerals, everyone needs prebiotic fibers to keep the beneficial bacteria in their gut healthy and happy.

In general, symptoms of poor gut bacterial health include:

  • Abdominal Pain and Discomfort
  • Frequent Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Excess Gas
  • Brain Fog and Poor Cognition
  • Increased Sugar Cravings

And, funny enough, a heightened risk of malnutrition, considering the essential role of gut bacteria in nutrient absorption.

To answer the first question, if you’re experiencing any symptoms of poor gut bacterial health, taking a prebiotic supplement is a good idea. And even if you feel fine in the gut region, taking a prebiotic supplement is still a smart move to ensure everything’s in working order.

The second question is easy to answer: prebiotics need to be taken daily.

In the case of Performance Lab® Prebiotic, the directions state:

“For best results take 3 capsules with your first meal of the day, and 3 capsules with your second meal. Always take Prebiotic with at least 8 oz. of water.”

How Long Do Prebiotics Take to Work?

Unlike other performance enhancing supplements, such as pre-workout stacks, stimulants, and certain nootropics, prebiotics are not immediately noticeable or effective at optimizing your health. Like a good horror movie, the build up can be a bit of a slow burn—however, (again) like a good horror movie, the pay-off of this slow burn is well worth it.

This is why it is so important for prebiotics to be taken daily and consistently: cells, microbes, and beneficial gut bacteria are slow to change, even under the enhanced conditions of taking a prebiotic supplement.

Improvement of gut health and gut bacteria occurs progressively, not instantaneously.

Even so, research does suggest that the initial benefits of diet-influenced gut health improvements may be noticeable within 3-4 days. Though the main study of interest doesn’t specifically look at prebiotic supplementation, a group of researchers did note that “the gut microbiome can rapidly respond to altered diet, potentially facilitating the diversity of human dietary lifestyles.”

Of course, the initial benefits noticeable within 3-4 days are just the beginning. Compounding over time with daily, consistent use, the benefits of prebiotics include chronic, long-term health advantages from improved gut health and comfort to a healthy immune system and sustained cognitive performance.

Prebiotics supplements and foods work better the longer you use them.

Probiotics vs. Prebiotics: Which is Better?

Probiotics work by introducing new “good” bacteria to your body, whereas prebiotics nourish the “good” bacteria already in your body.

In that sense, probiotic supplements, or probiotic-enhanced foods such as kombucha and yogurt, offer supplementary bacteria in whole forms—or strains.

Probiotics are good for you… however, they can be difficult to process and often tend to denature in the digestive system before implementing their health benefits.

...Not to mention that not all dietary and supplementary probiotics deliver the best strains for your microflora composition.

  • Prebiotics, on the other hand, have a longer shelf life and are more sustainable than probiotics, supporting your digestive wellbeing without risk of spoiling or denaturing through the digestive system.

Ideally, it’s best to take probiotics and prebiotics together—even as synbiotics, which are comprised of both pro- and prebiotics.

However, as a distinct monthly supplement that you can store and take daily without worrying about losing its potency and efficacy over time, prebiotic supplements alone are certainly worth a buy.

Best Prebiotic and Probiotic Combination

Prebiotic capsules shaped in the form of a heart

The immense health advantages of probiotics have, in a surprisingly counterintuitive but well-documented way, elevated probiotics - in many cases as proper alternatives to antibiotics. The overuse of which, in the food factory industry, has had a detrimental impact on public health.

However, for personal health, taking prebiotics in combination with probiotics may significantly improve your intestinal health, as well as your cognitive, nutritional, and athletic health.

Here are the key prebiotics and probiotics to look out for:

Inulin-FOS (FructoOligoSaccharides)

Commonly associated with chicory root, a well-known food source of fiber, inulin and FOS are both soluble fibers with prebiotic properties. Structurally, inulin is a long-chain compound while FOS (FructoOligoSaccharides) is short-chain.

The key advantage of inulin-FOS over live probiotic strains is the combo’s resilience: inulin-FOS passes through the GI tract intact to selectively nourish Bifidobacterium bacterial strains (more on this below) in the colon. All inulin-type prebiotics are bifidogenic.

  • Human research has shown prebiotic inulin-FOS fibers capable of shifting the Bifidobacteria distribution in the gut from 20% to 71%, making inulin-FOS not only an ideal prebiotic choice but a smart “fortifying” food additive to enhance the nutritional content of your diet.

Look for Orafti® Synergy1: a patented combination of inulin + FOS sourced from chicory root backed by clinical research demonstrating Orafti® Synergy1 to be not only safe and effective, even when taken at a young age, but to be effective at improving measures of beneficial gut bacteria activity under conditions of gluten-free dieting.


Where many prebiotic fiber supplements miss the mark is in how they deliver their prebiotic formulas. Prebiotics delivered in cheap capsules constructed out of hard-to-absorb material and coated in synthetic additives and artificial colors are generally inferior to prebiotics delivered in prebiotic-infused capsules, such as pullulan.

A polysaccharide polymer produced from starch, pullulan nanoparticles possess prebiotic qualities and can be used to construct all-natural, vegan-friendly capsules. Additionally, the use of pullulan in conjunction with probiotics may actually enhance the antibacterial properties of beneficial probiotics, essentially stimulating the gut health benefits of dietary probiotics.

Look for NutriCaps®: 100% natural, prebiotic-infused capsules constructed out of pullulan (fermented tapioca), NutriCaps® are a patented type of capsule that, in addition to improving the prebiotic content of Performance Lab® Prebiotics, are easy-to-absorb and completely synthetic-free, leaving out any artificial additives that might counterproductively disrupt gut health and absorption.

Bifidobacterium vs. Lactobacillus

Though used as a blanket term, “probiotics” refers to a range of different beneficial bacteria strains. The two most relevant probiotics to this discussion are Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus that functionally differ in the following ways:

  • Bifidobacterium – the predominant beneficial bacteria in our intestinal flora, Bifidobacterium is a highly competitive probiotic strain that reduces gut pH, limits bad bacteria growth, and improves micronutrient absorption.
  • Lactobacillus – a common dietary probiotic in dairy products, such as yogurt, Lactobacillus helps metabolize sugar to produce lactic acid.

Between the two probiotic strains, Bifidobacterium is the preferred probiotic to focus on, namely due to Bifidobacteria’s competitive nature. Healthy Bifidobacteria levels metabolically outcompete bad bacteria in the gut more efficiently than other probiotic strains.

Taking Prebiotics for Weight Loss

Both human and animal research suggests of the importance of prebiotics and certain probiotic strains on the physical, biochemical, and metabolic parameters of weight control. Inulin-FOS, in particular, benefits weight loss by:

  • Absorbing water in the gut to satiate hunger
  • Mitigating calorie content of any food item
  • Reducing triglycerides (units of stored fat)
  • Promoting ghrelin for better appetite control
  • Slowing food transit time in gut to flatten blood sugar spikes

As a soluble fiber, inulin-FOS provides the well-known soluble fiber benefits for gut health, regular “movements,” and appetite control. All in all, inulin-FOS is a great supplement to take to improve your relationship to your diet.

#1 Prebiotic Supplement for Daily Gut Support: Performance Lab® Prebiotic

Formulated for daily, long-term gut health support, Performance Lab® Prebiotic is the cleanest and most effective inulin+FOS prebiotic formula for improving your digestive health, regularity, immunity, fat loss, and nutritional status.

Powered by Orafti® Synergy1 Inulin-FOS, Prebiotic primarily improves Bifidobacterium, the superior probiotic for overall gut microflora.

Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® Prebiotic Here

Let’s take a deeper look at the formula.

Performance Lab® Prebiotic Formula Analysis

  • Orafti® Synergy1 (Inulin-FOS), 2 g
  • NutriCaps® Pullulan Capsule
  • NuFlow® Rice Concentrate

Don’t simply take probiotics but rather boost the probiotics already present in your gut with Performance Lab® Prebiotic.

Supplying a 2-in-1 probiotic + soluble fiber support, Prebiotic’s Orafti® Synergy1 is a much simpler approach to improving your gut microbiome. At least more so than the typical 20+ billion mixed cultures overloaded in many popular probiotic supplements.

Though an effective complement to prebiotics, probiotics tend to be fragile and may come dead on arrival when finally consumed - making prebiotics generally more reliable and effective for improving your gut health.

Performance Lab® Prebiotic nourishes your gut microbiome with inulin-FOS naturally sourced from chicory root via two key pathways:

  1. Inulin-FOS Probiotic Support – by promoting Bifidobacterium, Prebiotic contributes to probiotic benefits for digestive performance, pathogen resistance, immune function, and nutritional status.
  2. Inulin-FOS Soluble Fiber Support – as soluble fiber, Prebiotic’s inulin-FOS also assists with digestive regularity, weight control, and cardiometabolic health.

The combination of probiotic + soluble fiber support makes Orafti® Synergy1 effective at improving both digestive comfort and your body composition goals.

Delivered in NutriCaps® capsules constructed out of fermented tapioca (pullulan), Performance Lab® Prebiotic is fully prebiotic through-and-through—completely absent of any absorption-impairing synthetics or unnatural additives.

Inside and out, Performance Lab® Prebiotic is eco-friendly, vegan-friendly, non-GMO, synthetic-free, stim-free, and all-around safe for daily, long-term use.

Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® Prebiotic Here


In addition to delivering all-natural formulas and prebiotic-infused NutriCaps® capsules, one of the key staples of many Performance Lab® supplies is the unique use of NutriGenesis®, a patented nutrition technology innovation that grows food-identical vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in live cultures developed in state-of-the-art labs.

Complexed with natural cofactors, such as probiotics, fibers, enzymes, and antioxidants, NutriGenesis® nutrients are cleaner and more bioavailable than your standard supplement nutrients. And their probiotic enhancements make Performance Lab®’s NutriGenesis®-supplying formulas perfect companions to Performance Lab® Prebiotic.

Paired with Performance Lab®’s other probiotic-enhanced NutriGenesis® formulas, Performance Lab® Prebiotic may drastically improve your gut health in addition to many other measures of your overall health and fitness.

Prebiotic-infused and probiotic-enhanced, Performance Lab® products are all eco-friendly, vegan-friendly, all-natural, non-GMO, and synthetic-free, with Performance Lab® Prebiotic working as a particularly gut health formula.

Try them all together to optimize your all-around performance.


  1. Moschen AR et al. Dietary Factors: Major Regulators of the Gut’s Microbiota. Gut Liver. 2012 Oct; 6(4): 411-416.
  2. Koropatkin NM et al. How glycan metabolism shapes the human gut microbiota. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012 Apr 11; 10(5): 323-335.
  3. David LA et al. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. 2014 Jan 23; 505(7484): 559-63.
  4. Markowiak P, Śliżewska K. Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health. Nutrients. 2017 Sep; 9(9): 1021.
  5. Kelly G. Inulin-type prebiotics—a review: part 1. Altern Med Rev. 2008 Dec; 13(4): 315-29.
  6. Niness KR. Inulin and oligofructose: what are they? J Nutr. 1999 Jul; 129(7 Suppl): 1420S-6S.
  7. Closa-Monasterolo R et al. Safety and efficacy of inulin and oligofructose supplementation in infant formula: results from a randomized clinical trial. Clin Nutr. 2013 Dec; 32(6): 918-27.
  8. Drabińska N et al. The Effect of Oligofructose-Enriched Inulin on Faecal Bacterial Counts and Microbiota-Associated Characteristics in Celiac Disease Children Following a Gluten-Free Diet: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018 Feb; 10(2): 201.
  9. Hong L et al. Pullulan Nanoparticles as Prebiotics Enhance the Antibacterial Properties of Lactobacillus plantarum Through the Induction of Mild Stress in Probiotics. Front Microbiol. 2019; 10: 142.
  10. Vlasova AN et al. Comparison of probiotic lactobacilli and bifidobacterial effects, immune responses and rotavirus vaccines and infection in different host species. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2016 Apr; 172: 72-84.
  11. Vitellio P et al. Effects of Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus rhamnosus on Gut Microbiota in Patients with Lactose Intolerance and Persisting Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Cross-Over Study. Nutrients. 2019 Apr; 11(4): 886.
  12. Cerdó T et al. The Role of Probiotics and Prebiotics in the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity. Nutrients. 2019 Mar; 11(3): 635.
  13. Loftus HL et al. Coleus forskohlii Extract Supplementation in Conjunction with a Hypocaloric Diet Reduces the Risk Factors of Metabolic Syndrome in Overweight and Obese Subjects: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2015 Nov; 7(11): 9508-9522.
  14. Durkalec-Michalski K et al. The Effect of a 12-Week Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) Supplementation on Highly-Trained Combat Sports Athletes: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study. Nutrients. 2017 Jul; 9(7): 753.
  15. Janssens PLHR et al. Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance. PLoS One. 2013; 8(7): e67786.
  16. Park UH et al. Piperine, a component of black pepper, inhibits adipogenesis by antagonizing PPARγ activity in 3T3-L1 cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Apr 18; 60(15): 3853-60.