How Do Prebiotics And Probiotics Differ?

When a person has digestive problems like acid reflux, ulcers, GERD, constipation, and more, a doctor might recommend a supplement that contains prebiotics or probiotics. These microbes colonize a person’s gut and help with digestion and gut health. But, what are microbes? Science is learning more about the complicated digestive system and the gut microbiome. There are differences between probiotics and prebiotics needed for good digestion.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live microbes or good bacteria and some fungi species that live and work in the human gut. There is a diverse collection of bacterial and fungi populations in the intestine from birth on. This gut flora develops in babies and stays intact all through a person’s life. There can be bad bacteria that cause diseases and are treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotics can also harm the good bacteria and cause an imbalance in a person’s gut microbiomes.

When the gut flora’s composition is harmed, a person may need to introduce more beneficial bacteria or probiotics to repair the balance. It is important to keep a good balance of probiotics to:

  • Have the correct immune system functions
  • Protect the gut from harmful bacteria and viruses
  • Control the growth of bad bacteria in the gut
  • Help with the digestion and the absorption of nutrients from foods
  • Mental health may be improved because there is a link between gut and brain health.

The general health of a person is also improved with the addition of probiotics. This may include a decreased need for antibiotics, fewer sick days away from school or work, a decreased risk of gestational diabetes, fewer vaginal infections, and less eczema. BiOptimizers P3-OM and similar food supplements might be needed to correct the balance of gut flora.

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are fiber or indigestible carbohydrates that feed the gut bacteria, helping them grow and assist with digestion. Prebiotics are classified as insoluble and soluble fibers. These dietary fibers are important to the human digestive system. Prebiotics are only found naturally in vegetables and other plant-based foods.

Soluble dietary fibers are found in pectins in fruits and vegetable cell walls. They are also found in mucilages or plant extracts and gums found in seaweed extract, leguminous seed plants, and certain microbial gums. Insoluble dietary fibers include resistant starches, cellulose from cell walls, lignin from some vegetables and grains, and hemicellulose found in cereal grains.

Benefits of prebiotics include:

  • Better calcium absorption
  • Improvement in the speed of the body processing carbohydrates
  • Supporting the probiotic growth of good gut bacteria

Since both of these digestive aids are valuable, we need them both. Probiotics and prebiotics are both needed to support the body in building and keeping a healthy colony of bacteria and more microorganisms to support the gut and aid in digestion. It may be hard to eat a diet that helps a person have the right amount of both probiotics and prebiotics, so there are food supplements that can provide a balanced combination of them to be very beneficial. It is clear that every person should make an effort to have the right collection of healthy probiotics and prebiotics in their digestive system. Visiting a digestive specialist might be the best way to get advice on how to accomplish this with a combination of food supplements and a healthier diet and lifestyle. 

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