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Let’s take a look at Prebiotics vs. Probiotics. Although they might sound similar, these supplements play very different roles in our digestive system.
PREBIOTIC FIBER is a non-digestible part of foods. Some foods that are heavy in non-digestive fiber are bananas, onions, garlic, apple skin, chicory root, and beans. Prebiotic fiber goes through the small intestine and is fermented when it reaches the large colon. This fermentation process feeds beneficial bacteria (including probiotic bacteria) and helps to increase the number of desirable bacteria associated with better health.
PROBIOTICS are live beneficial bacteria that are naturally created by the process of fermentation in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, kimchi, and kombucha. Probiotics are also available in pill form and as an added ingredient in products like yogurt and health drinks. Probiotics also help with the digestive process, specifically with 2 main groups of bacteria: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each of these bacteria strands aid in different digestive processes, such as digesting milk sugar (lactose) and reducing concentrations of certain carcinogenic enzymes. Probiotics may also aid in relieving symptoms caused by lactose intolerance, IBS and other digestive issues.
“A helpful metaphor to understand the difference between a prebiotic and a probiotic may be a garden. You can add seeds—the probiotic bacteria—while the prebiotic fiber is the water and fertilizer that helps the seeds to grow and flourish.” -Dr. Frank W. Jackson.
Health professionals often recommend probiotics to patients on antibiotics. After the antibiotics have cleaned the colon of both undesirable and beneficial bacteria, a probiotic in supplement form can do some good when needing to repopulate the colon with the desirable bacteria. Some also find it may reduce bacterial growth leading to yeast infections.
Researchers have found that prebiotics are helpful in increasing the helpful bacteria already in the gut that reduce disease risk and improve general well being. Research indicates that increasing prebiotic fiber intake supports immunity, digestive health, bone density, regularity, weight management, and brain health.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt are rich sources of probiotic bacteria that go directly to populate the colon. Ingesting these foods that help to boost your total daily fiber consumption will also boost the prebiotic fiber you ingest to feed the probiotic and other desirable strains of bacteria in the gut for improved health and well being.
It is clearly important to nourish a healthy bacterial mix in the colon. We all can start with a strong foundation of healthy eating, focusing on fresh, organic vegetables and fruits, while avoiding as many processed and sugary foods and drinks as possible.
We all know that it is sometimes difficult to eat enough foods that are fermented or high in fiber. Because the modern diet includes processed foods, and lots of sugar, and over-processed ingredients, adding PRE & PRObiotic supplements may be a healthy addition to one’s diet.
Take prebiotics and probiotics regularly, some doctors even recommend they are both taken daily. And we recommend establishing a healthy routine by taking them together each day, at the most convenient time for you.
O’NA HealthCare™ recommends the use of pre and pro-biotics as part of an overall gut health regimen. As with all nutritional supplements, careful selection of quality and usage should be applied and always used in conjunction with good quality food. O’NA HealthCare™ provides coverage for good quality nutritional supplementation when used in conjunction with other health based regimens. Not all supplements are created equal and it is recommended that you consult with a healthcare professional so that you are utilizing them correctly and as part of an overall healthcare plan.