Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics, meaning ‘for life’ are products that contain live strains of bacteria incorporated into yoghurts, fruit juices or freeze-dried powders and boost levels of the friendly bacteria in the digestive system.


Prebiotics on the other hand are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of friendly bacteria in the digestive system.


Thus Prebiotics are the ingredients in foods that stimulate the activity and growth of Probiotics. Research has also shown that it is better to treat good bacteria in the gut to a Prebiotic meal then to just consume Probiotics.


Due to the varying nature of micro-organisms throughout the entire digestive tract, Probiotics that combine different forms of friendly bacteria should be preferred as opposed to the ones based on just acidophilus. The micro-organisms in Probiotics should be able to survive stomach and bile acids in order to be able to be effective in the intestines.


Because of the ability of Prebiotics to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria, they are worth consuming when there is a need to improve the gut flora. Prebiotics can be taken on their own or with a Probiotic supplement. They have an advantage over Probiotic supplements in that there is no concern about oligosaccharides being destroyed while in storage or en route to the intestines through the stomach acid and digestive enzymes.


Oligosaccharides or special indigestible carbohydrates are found naturally in certain fruit and vegetables including bananas, asparagus, garlic, wheat, tomatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, onions and chicory.