But first... Are postbiotics the missing key to gut health?
Picture this: The year is 2022. Wellness is the name of the game—and so, it seems, is gut health. You, too, want to support your body, so you peruse social media and scroll through the Internet, bracing yourself for the inevitable onslaught. It doesn’t take long: Within seconds, mentions of probiotics and articles underscoring the importance of a balanced microbiome begin hijacking your attention. "You are what you eat," they read. "Or more accurately, you are what you feed the trillions of microorganisms that live in your gut."*
Dazed, and just a little bit confused, you dig deeper. You’re on a mission and will not be stopped until you find the answers: Is that statement even true? What, exactly, are probiotics? What are these prebiotics they speak of? How do both support the gut, and how might you use this knowledge to serve your body best? Embarking on the path to support digestive health doesn’t have to be a dystopia—as skeptics who have been in your shoes, we’re here to demystify the process. Keep scrolling to learn the differences between a probiotic and a prebiotic, and why they’re both key components in supporting gut health.*
What Are Probiotics?
According to the World Health Organization, probiotics are living strains of bacteria (often referred to as “good bacteria”) which, when consumed in adequate amounts, can support both immune (LGG®, BB12®) and digestive health to the person ingesting them.* (5,6)
Since these types of bacteria are only able to take up temporary residence in the gastrointestinal tract (read: days or weeks at maximum), evidence suggests that in order for probiotics to provide support, they must be consumed on a consistent basis—ideally, daily.* (2,6)
What Are Prebiotics?
In contrast to probiotics, which are live bacteria, prebiotics are not living organisms—they’re nondigestible food components that strategically support the “good bacteria” that already exist in our gut. Certain prebiotics, such as the ones found in complex carbs, act as nutrients for beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive system. PreforPro® is designed to target unwanted bacteria in the gut, which supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Similar to probiotics, they can come in the form of prebiotic supplements or foods.* (5,6,7,8)
In terms of food sources, prebiotics are typically found in complex carbohydrates. (Complex carbs are difficult for our digestive systems to process, and arrive largely intact to the colon, where they act as nutrients for the beneficial bacteria that reside there.)* (2,9)
Sources of Prebiotics and Probiotics
In addition to taking supplements, there are many fermented and prebiotic foods you can incorporate. Although many fermented foods and drinks are associated with healthy diets (and some may even be associated with health benefits!), there’s actually very little evidence that the live cultures that are naturally present can survive the harsh conditions in the stomach and small intestine. (2,10,11) What’s more: Studies also show that fermented foods and drinks typically do not contain proven probiotic microorganisms—which is why taking a high-quality probiotic supplement can be helpful for supporting gut flora.* (2,10,11)