Probiotics versus prebiotics. What is the difference and what is the big deal?
Well, according to scientists and experts, probiotics are actual living strains of bacteria that can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements. This would add to the "good" bacteria that is already present inside our digestive system, and is meant to keep our gut healthy and maintain our overall health. Meanwhile, prebiotics are specialized plant fiber that feeds the good bacteria in our gut, promoting their growth and maintaining our digestive health. Despite being two very different treatments for the body's digestive health, they both have the same intention and goal in mind, which is to obtain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.
Nonetheless, using either can lead to a wide range of health benefits. For instance, when using probiotics, one can expect benefits such as weight loss, a healthier heart, and a boost in immune function. In addition, they can improve some mental health conditions, memory, and your overall mood, helping to reduce the symptoms of disorders such as anxiety, depression, autism, OCD, and stress. Studies have even found that certain strains can reduce the severity of certain allergies, inflammatory responses, eczema, and digestive disorders, including mild ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Although prebiotics also improves digestion, strengthens and regulates the immune system and inflammatory response, it can improve the absorption of several minerals, too. Furthermore, they can help prevent obesity and relieve constipation. Moreover, they are responsible for stimulating the activity of gut-associated lymphoid tissues, which support good overall health and reduce the risk of diseases. Several study trials have also demonstrated that prebiotics can prevent colorectal cancer, prevent inflammatory bowel disease, and lower bad cholesterol.
Despite different purposes and usages for both prebiotics and probiotics, there are a variety of health benefits that you can reap from trying one, if not, both of these treatments.
Words: Theresa Do