Difference between pre and pro-biotics

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April 8, 2023
Joy Hsueh

Pre and pro-biotics are both dietary supplements that are said to promote gut health. Probiotics are live bacteria that are naturally found in your gut, while prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that act as food for probiotics. Both probiotics and prebiotics have been shown to improve gut health in different ways. Probiotics can help to restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut, while prebiotics can help to stimulate the growth of good bacteria.

When are pre/pro-biotics needed?

If you have a gut imbalance, you may need to take prebiotic supplements to restore balance. There are many different factors that can contribute to an imbalanced gut. One of the most common is a diet that is high in processed foods and low in fiber. This can lead to digestive problems and allow bad bacteria to flourish. Another common cause of gut imbalance is stress. When we're stressed, our body produces cortisol, which can disrupt the delicate balance of our gut flora. Finally, antibiotics can also cause gut imbalance. While they kill off bad bacteria, they also kill good bacteria, which can leave our system vulnerable to infection.


Pre-biotics are a type of dietary fiber that acts as food for the beneficial bacteria in our gut. By feeding the good bacteria, pre-biotics help to keep our digestive system healthy and balanced.

There are two main types of prebiotic fibers: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers dissolve in water and can be fermented by gut bacteria. This fermentation process produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are beneficial to gut health. Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water and cannot be fermented by gut bacteria. Instead, they add bulk to stool and help with regularity.

Soluble fibers can be further classified into two categories: fermentable and non-fermentable. The fermentable ones are rapidly degraded by bacteria in the colon, increasing fecal mass and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) production. SCFAs are important for maintaining a healthy gut lining In contrast, non-fermentable fibers are not fermented by bacteria as they have to be metabolized by the host first.

Adverse effects of pre/probiotics

The most common side effect is gas and bloating. This is caused by the fermentation of prebiotics by gut bacteria. The fermentation process produces short-chain fatty acids and carbon dioxide, both of which can lead to gas and bloating. Other potential side effects include diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain. These side effects are typically mild and resolve on their own within a few days.

The best food sources of pre and pro-biotics

  • Yogurt - Look for yogurts that say "live and active cultures" on the label. These yogurts contain bacteria that are good for your gut health.
  • Kimchi - This traditional Korean dish is made from fermented cabbage and other vegetables. It is a great source of both pre and probiotics.
  • Sauerkraut - Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage that is common in German cuisine. It is a great source of probiotics.
  • Miso is a paste made from fermented soybeans and grains. It contains many different types of bacteria that are good for your gut health.


There are many benefits to taking pre and probiotics. Probiotics help to restore the natural balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut, while prebiotics act as food for probiotics. Taking both can help improve your overall health, including your digestion, immunity, and skin health.

When choosing a pre or probiotic supplement, it’s important to look for one that contains live and active cultures. You may also want to consider a supplement that contains multiple strains of bacteria, as this can provide more benefits. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you have a health condition or are taking medication. Our contact e-mail is info@joyfultcm.com where any questions may be posted.

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