Visit most supermarkets these days, and you’ll most likely be met with countless products enriched with “friendly bacteria.” Yet, did you know that edible microbes come in many forms? In fact, you can actually get your boost of good bacteria directly or in supplementary form.

Let’s explain.

There are two main forms of beneficial bacteria you can consume: probiotics and prebiotics.

Both are beneficial. Both act in different ways. 

 

Probiotics are alive. They balance your gut flora and help make you less prone to certain diseases like gastroenteritis, or can be used to restore your gut ecosystem of the gut after a dose of antibiotics. Fermentation feeds the beneficial bacteria colonies (including probiotic bacteria) and helps to increase the number of desirable bacteria in our digestive systems (also called the gut) that are associated with better health and reduced disease risk.

Probiotics can be used to restore your gut ecosystem of the gut after a dose of antibiotics.

Many companies offer their own probiotic formulations, either as pills or powders. If you’re looking for a probiotic supplement, we recommend you go for probiotics in sachets. Every time you open “stored powder” probiotics, you are releasing some of the living bacteria. So its best to buy contained probiotics. Still, you can also eat your way to more probiotics. Probiotics are naturally made during the process of fermentation in foods like sauerkraut, miso and kimchi. 


Probiotics are living microorganisms that can help stabilise your gut flora. 

Prebiotics are non-digestible food components that create health benefits associated with modulation of the microbiota. 


Prebiotics are nonviable substances that act as food for your microbial communities. Different prebiotics will stimulate growth of different gut bacteria. Still, the capacity of given prebiotics to modify gut microbial communities depends on the individual strains and species, as well as pH and other factors of the gut environment. 

Different prebiotics will stimulate growth of different gut bacteria.

A series of plant-based foods contain potential sources of prebiotics: look to fruit, vegetables, cereals, and other edible plants for your boost! Other artificially produced sources are, among others: lactulose, galactooligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides. Generally, fructans, such as inulin and oligofructose, are consider the most used and effective. 


Sources: 

Markowiak, P. & Śliżewska K. (2017)

Krumbeck, J.A. et al. (2016)

Jakubczyk E., et al. (2000)