Prebiotics are food for the beneficial microbes that live in our gut. They provide health benefits for the human being by selectively promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics are found naturally in some fruits and vegetables, are enriched in a variety of food products including infant formula and are available as dietary supplements. Most prebiotics are dietary fibers, but not all dietary fibers have a prebiotic effect. There are only three proven prebiotics – inulin and oligofructose from the chicory root are among them.
Probiotics, on the other hand, are live beneficial microorganisms that are consumed to increase the amount of beneficial bacteria inside our gut.
More information on pro- and prebiotics, the difference between them and the associated benefits can be found in the infographics created by the International Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP). Infographics available on the ISAPP website include, for example:
- An illustration of the effects of pre- and probiotics on the microbiota
- Understanding prebiotics and fiber
- The importance of our microbiota
- A short educational video