An Introduction to Pre- and Probiotics

Woman and man shopping for fruit

Prebiotics and probiotics play an important role in maintaining our intestinal health. Our gut is lined with more than 100 trillion bacteria. Some bacteria can be classified as friendly, while some are less friendly. The friendly intestinal bacteria are called probiotics; probiotics can help maintain a healthy immune system.

It’s important to incorporate plentiful amounts of both pre- and probiotics into your diet. It is especially important as you age to maintain a balance of beneficial bacteria.

Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that feed friendly gut bacteria, helping them grow. Foods such as bananas, onions, garlic and whole grains naturally contain prebiotics. A few of the many types of beneficial bacteria naturally found in or derived from food ingredients include:

  • Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)

  • Inulin

  • Polydextrose

Probiotics are the actual live friendly bacteria. Foods such as yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut naturally contain probiotics. A few probiotics naturally found in foods are:

  • Bacillus coagulans

  • Saccharomyces boulardii

How do probiotics work?*

  • They slow the growth of harmful bacteria.

  • They help maintain the function and strength of the barrier provided by intestinal walls.

Products that contain both pre- and probiotics provide a beneficial synbiotic effect.  Diff-Stat is a dietary supplement that contains two probiotics (Saccaryomyces boulardii and Bacillus coagulans) and one prebiotic (fructo-oligosaccharide, or FOS) in a capsule or powder pack. 

*Sekirov I, et al. Physiol Rev. 2010;90(3):859-904.