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Difference Between Prebiotic and Probiotic
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Difference Between Prebiotic and Probiotic

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Many are confused what is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics. They are always surprised when they find out that they are completely different, but they complement each other very well.

Many are confused what is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics. They are always surprised when they find out that they are completely different, but they complement each other very well.

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  • 1. By Probiotics Expert: Dr. Raga
  • 2. Both prebiotics and probiotics play an integral part in the body’s functioning particularly in the restoration of the balance of the bacteria in the intestinal tract.  Prebiotics are referred to as a dietary fibre or carbohydrates that acts as the food of probiotics. This is why it triggers bacterial growth and activity in the intestinal microflora. Therefore, it promotes good health of the host.  Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms which are beneficial to its host. Throughout their journey in the digestive tract, they need to be intact, so they can reach the intestines where they act to give their beneficial effects to the body.
  • 3.  Generally, prebiotics have been said to enable or trigger the increase the activity and number of bifidobactria as well as lactic acid bacteria (LAB).  According to studies, the main importance of bifidobacteria and the LAB is that they cause several beneficial effects to their host specifically the improvement of digestive processes, enhancement of mineral absorption, as well as promotion of the effectiveness and intrinsic strength of the immune system.  Bifidogenic factor refers to a product which stimulates bifidobacteria. Prebiotics also act as a bifidogenic factor.
  • 4.  Probiotics which literally mean “for life” is known for its beneficial effects on the digestion and immune health.  The introduction of probiotics “good bacteria” into the intestines promotes the restoration of balance between the good and bad bacteria. Thus, a balance in digestive flora eliminates problems in the gastrointestinal system.  It is also a known fact that 70% of the immune system is located at the digestive tract. This means that a healthy digestive tract would mean a strong immune system.  Probiotics do their work by surviving the stomach acid and bile. Then, when they arrive at the intestines, will takes their residence and colonize. Then, they will release lactic acid to kill off the bad bacteria.
  • 5.  The popular traditional dietary sources of prebiotics include raw oats, soy beans, unrefined wheat, unrefined barley, yacon, and inulin resources (jicama, chicory root, and Jerusalem artichoke).  The oligosaccharides naturally contained in breastmilk are also believed to be a prebiotic source. This is very vital in the development of the immune system in infants.  Top 10 prebiotic-containing foods are raw chicory root, raw Jerusalem artichoke, raw dandelion greens, raw garlic, raw leek, raw onion, cooked onion, raw asparagus, raw wheat bran, whole wheat flour cooked, and raw banana.
  • 6.  Most common dietary sources of probiotics are yogurt, cheese, fermented milk, kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkrau t, kimchi, ginger beer, and soy beverages.  There are some fruit and vegetable juice products which are incorporated with live active microorganism cultures. This is actually a good alternative or option for those who are lactose intolerant.  Other forms of probiotics come in supplements (tablets, pills, or capsules) and powders.
  • 7. Prebiotics have been studied by experts and there are lots of claims regarding its health effects. Some are:  relief of constipation  reduce intestinal pH  restore intestinal bacterial balance  increase in the absorption of calcium and magnesium  effect on blood cholesterol level  reduction of fasting glucose level in Type 2 diabetes patients  reduce risk on colorectal cancer  effects on the immune system  better intestinal flora in infants
  • 8. Just like the prebiotics, the probiotics are still being studied further to prove the claims that have been made about its health benefits. Here are some of the beneficial effects of probiotics:  Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics  Treat irritable bowel syndrome  Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections  Prevent and treat eczema in children  Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu  Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections  Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
  • 9.  The advisable intake of prebiotics involves 5-10 grams of these non-digestible carbohydrates/ fibers per day. Included here are the oligosaccharides which comes from the vegetables. Effective dose of oligosaccharides ranges from 5 to 10 grams per day for healthy adults. If the dose is less than 5 grams, it wouldn’t be effective.  On the other hand, the recommended effective dose of probiotics is about 1 -2 million colony forming units (CFU), in healthy individuals. As for those who are undergoing antibiotic treatment and/or those who have intestinal balance, 10 billion CFUs of probiotics are advisable.
  • 10. Prebiotics Probiotics Prebiotics are defined as a non-digestible special form of fiber or carbohydrates. Probiotics are referred to as live active microorganisms (bacteria) that when administered in adequate amount will have beneficial effects to its host. The powder form of prebiotics can survive heat, cold, acid, and even time. Probiotics are more fragile. They are vulnerable to heat and stomach acid. They may also be killed over time. Prebiotics perform their role by nourishing the bacteria that lives in the intestines. Probiotics fight the harmful bacterial species present in the gut. Prebiotics have been argued to be beneficial in irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, colon polyps, cancer, and even leaky gut. There are various strains of probiotic bacteria which are proven to be effective in the relief of irritable bowel syndrome and bowel infections symptoms.
  • 11.  Synbiotics refer to the combination of the prebiotics and probiotics within a single product. Prebiotics are targeted to act on the large intestines while the probiotics are most effective in doing its role in the small intestine. The two agents have been said to act synergistically. So, the term Synbiotics is used.
  • 12.  Prebiotics and probiotics contribute to the discoveries regarding their beneficial effects in the advancement of complimentary treatment or alternative medicine. These two have been claimed to have health benefits which can definitely aid in the improvement of people’s quality of life especially those who are suffering from health issues such as digestive and immunity problems. With these two combined together, they can perform even better roles in the body particularly in digestion. This is what makes them more appropriate to be included as a part of balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Thus, these promotes overall well-being.
  • 13.  We know that we need both probiotics and prebiotics, but there are not many sources that have both. Probacto contains both high quality prebiotics as well as probiotics  The prebiotics that Probacto uses are Isomalto-Oligosaccharide, which is non-GMO, sugar free and gluten free.  They use 8 different probiotics in Probacto, and they are spore germinating, so they are more likely to survive when they arrive at your place.