Prebiotics vs Probiotics

Do you know the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? Is there any difference or are they one in the same?

Well they are different, as probiotics are beneficial bacteria, while prebiotics is the food that feed these beneficial bacteria. If you read my post on microbiome then you will understand that pre and probiotics have an impact on our overall health.

Prebiotics are symbiotic to some strains of good gut bacteria’s such as Bifidobacterium infanti. Prebiotics help with gut health and improve your level of beneficial bacteria and improve your microbiome status. There are many other benefits of prebiotics which includes:

  • Improvement of gut balance and transit
  • Enhancement in gut mucosal barrier integrity and function
  • Inhibition of adherence of pathogenic bacteria to the gut epithelium thereby inhibiting their colonisation
  • Protection against colorectal cancer, especially with inulin and oligofructose (by-products)
  • Reduction of the blood low-density lipoprotein (LDL) level
  • Influence the production of pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines
  • Stimulation of the immune system
  • Increased absorbability of calcium and magnesium
  • Support of lactose intolerance
  • Improvement in complications associated with high-fat diet-induced metabolic disorders including obesity and
    insulin resistance.

So where might we find these wonderful prebiotic foods? It is quite easy to include these in your everyday diet. Here are some easy options to help increase your prebiotic status.


Human probiotic microorganisms consist predominantly of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Lactococcus, Streptococcus and Enterococcus. Saccharomyces are also commonly used in probiotic products and this helps the whole digestive tract not just in the gut.

So how do we improve our probiotic health without taking a supplement? You can achieve this with food also. Probiotics can be consumed naturally through fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha.

The benefits of having good levels of probiotic material and improved microbiome include:

  • Vitamin synthesis and absorption
  • Gut-barrier reinforcement
  • Bile salt metabolism
  • Enzymatic activity
  • Neutralisation of carcinogens
  • Neurological effects
  • Immunological effects
  • Regulation of metabolic processes (including cholesterol absorption, blood pressure and glucose metabolism)
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Treatment of diarrhoea, including antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
  • Treatment of inflammatory enteral conditions, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease

As you can see both prebiotics and probiotics are important not only for good gut health but for your general health and wellbeing.

Just to add a nice little topper, a good quality chocolate may act as a carrier of probiotic material and makes a good reason not to exclude it from your diet!!!

So if you are needing help to balance your good gut bacteria levels then book in for a consultation with me



This article was authored by Jan Caton, Bachelor of Health Science – Naturopathy. Jan is the Director of Magnolia Apothecary, Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist. Jan practices in the yarra ranges

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.