General Question

MooCows's avatar

What is the difference between Probiotics and Prebiotics?

Asked by MooCows (3216points) January 26th, 2017

What is the difference between Probiotics and
Prebiotics? I read somewhere that taking
Probiotics doesn’t do you any good without the
Prebiotics. Not too sure if that was a sales pitch
or not. If you have no digestion or stomach problems
are either of these beneficial to your health?

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3 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

Woo. Don’t throw away your money.
Prebiotics are nondigestible food material. Probiotics are bacteria that you add to the gut. It is reasonable to maybe take probiotics if you are on antibiotics, and there is some weak evidence that probiotics may benefit some types of IBS. But for regular individuals, it’s throwing away cash to unscrupulous snake oil salesmen.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Ya, @MooCows eat a yogurt with LAC (Live and Active Culture) on the label if you think you need probiotics.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Probiotics are healthful bacteria “supplements.”

Usually when you hear or read that such things don’t work (like above) it’s because keeping such organisms viable from manufacture to packaging to shipping to retailing to your mouth is very, very difficult and expensive.

But the problem doesn’t stop there. The biotics must be encased in a delivery system that survives the powerful agents in the stomach so that the biotics can be released unharmed in the intestines. Again, difficult and expensive.

Very, very few manufacturers of probiotics guarantee that the bacteria will indeed be alive by the time they reach your home, and that they will survive the trip to be released in the only effective part of your body.

Prebiotics are ingestible foods, not for your person, but instead are a perfect medium for the continued growth of the probiotics you have swallowed.

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