July 19, 2023 3 min read
Prebiotics and probiotics are two types of dietary supplements that are often used to promote gut health, but they have different functions and mechanisms of action.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. They are commonly found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, as well as in dietary supplements. When consumed, probiotics can help to restore the natural balance of the gut microbiome, enhance nutrient absorption, and support immune function.
Here are some examples of probiotics:
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are non-digestible fibers and complex carbohydrates that are found in a variety of plant-based foods. They serve as food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut, promoting their growth and activity. Some examples of prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, asparagus, bananas, oats, and legumes.
Galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) are also examples of prebiotics. GOS are found naturally in human milk, legumes, and some grains, while HMO are unique to human breast milk. They are both non-digestible fibers that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Other examples of prebiotics include:
Consuming a variety of prebiotic-rich foods can help to support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and promote overall gut health.
While probiotics are living microorganisms that provide direct health benefits, prebiotics act as a "fertilizer" for the good bacteria in the gut, helping to support their growth and activity. Both probiotics and prebiotics can be beneficial for gut health, and they can be consumed separately or together as synbiotics.
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