What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?


Prebiotics are made up of carbohydrates that the body can’t digest. Prebiotics are plant fibers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. They are found in many fruits and vegetables, especially those that contain complex carbohydrates, such as fiber and resistant starch. These are not digestible, so they pass through the digestive system to become food for the bacteria and other microbes. All prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber and can also be purchased as a commercial food additive or capsule supplement. They come in both liquid and powdered forms.


Probiotics are bacteria that exist in the human body naturally and help intestines break down food. Probiotic supplements that contain live strains of the same or very similar bacteria to the ones that your body makes can be ingested to supplement healthy digestion.

Probiotics contain live organisms, usually specific strains of bacteria that directly add to the population of healthy microbes in the gut. Probiotics generally refer to two families of bacteria – Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Probiotics can be purchased in a powder or liquid form and usually need to be stored in the refrigerator to keep the bacteria contained in them alive and ready to reproduce.

In recent years, prebiotics have been advertised as a complementary course for a probiotic regimen. The use of prebiotics and probiotics together is called microbiome therapy. As always, when considering taking a supplement for prebiotics or probiotics, talk to your doctor first.

Follow us on:

Related Posts

does low fodmap work for ibs

Does low FODMAP diet work for IBS?

Short answer – it depends, based on each individual’s reaction to various food combinations. Long answer – there is considerable interest in answering the question – does low…

how food moves through the digestive system

How food moves through the digestive system

The gastrointestinal tract, also known as the digestive tract or alimentary canal, is a long, continuous tube that extends from the mouth to the anus. It plays a…


Crohn’s disease – foods to avoid

Managing Crohn’s disease involves following a carefully tailored Crohn’s diet and working with a qualified Crohn’s dietician. Crohn’s disease causes inflammation in the digestive tract, affecting the gastrointestinal…


Gut bacteria – do you know the different types?

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract harbors a diverse array of gut bacteria and assorted microorganisms, totaling in the trillions. These microscopic inhabitants fulfill crucial functions in upholding our well-being….

fructose intolerance

Fructose intolerance – diet guide and overview

Fructose, a natural sugar present in fruits, select vegetables, and honey, can pose challenges for certain individuals who struggle to absorb it effectively. This condition, known as fructose…

fructose malabsorption

Fructose malabsorption – avoid these foods

Fructose, a naturally occurring sugar present in fruits, fruit juices, certain vegetables, and honey, also forms a key component of table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup, commonly…