The Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics

When we think of nutrition, we often immediately associate it with the broader topics of health and wellness. And understandably so! Nutrition, at its core, supports life, aiding in maintaining health and counteracting diseases. 

In an ideal state, nutrition should provide the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and development, and be as simple as that. Unfortunately, our current quality of food has led to issues such as food poisoning, obesity, allergies, cardiovascular disease and cancers. 

This is where probiotics and prebiotics come into play. The two, when balanced and at optimal functioning, work symbiotically to improve health by offering support in the gastrointestinal tract.

Prebiotics Non-living compounds in food that promote growth and stimulate activity for good bacteria and microorganisms that live in the digestive system. Benefits of Prebiotics Increase colon health and decrease toxicity Aid in more regulated, improved digestion and metabolism Improve absorption of minerals such as calcium May change the rate at which the body processes carbohydrates Probiotics Living microorganisms that grow in the gastrointestinal tract (can also be found in fermented foods and dietary supplements). Benefits of Probiotics Aids in digestion, nutrient absorption, and increases immune health May support treatment of IBS, diarrhea, intestinal infections, gastrointestinal disorders, allergic diseases, colds, and flus Aids in treatment of diseases such as obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease Offer preventative benefits against different types of and side effects of cancer

How do probiotics and prebiotics work together?

Think of prebiotics as the fertilizer, and probiotics as the crops. Prebiotics work to stimulate the growth of all the healthy bacteria in our digestive system, which number in the trillions. The bacteria that make up our gut play an extremely important role in the overall functioning of our bodies. They are responsible for the balance of our microbiome, or the gut’s ecosystem, which impacts far more than just our digestion.

How to balance prebiotics and probiotics

While both prebiotics and probiotics are naturally occurring in food and our bodies, they can also be taken in a supplement form. The two can either be used independently or together, but it is worth noting that only specific individual combinations of prebiotics and probiotics work well together to improve health effects. Striking a balance, and maintaining that balance, is key. 

It is essential that you know that the number and types of supplements out there for prebiotics and probiotics is significant, so getting professional guidance in what you’re taking is critical to reaping any sort of benefit. 

If you’ve found yourself asking, “Is there a nutritionist near me?” Hoag is the answer. Schedule an appointment with Hoag Executive Health today if you’d like to explore how prebiotics and probiotics could benefit you, and what will work best for your body. Our team of experts are here to make sure you get the most out of your health. With the help of a Hoag Nutritionist, you can find the balance in your body, and experience the healthy part of health and wellness.