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by Will Grumke June 24, 2020 4 min read

Are you dealing with constipation, bloating, acid reflux, indigestion, or painful bowel movements?

Do you seem to have trouble with your digestive tract?

Prebiotics and probiotics might just be the answer.

Though prebiotics and probiotics sound similar, they are actually very different. Both help your digestive system, but have different roles and come from different sources.

In this article, I'll talk about the difference between prebiotics and probiotics, where you can find them, and when to take them.

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Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

Prebiotics are also called prebiotic fibers. They’re the non-digestible fibers in food that humans can’t digest.

Prebiotic fibers help the bacteria in your body stay healthy and happy. Prebiotics help move food through your system and serve as food to the bacteria already there.

Probiotics are microorganisms, and are known as "healthy" or good bacteria that lives in your gut.

These good and helpful bacteria can be found in fermented foods, yeasts, supplements, and other types of foods.

Probiotics help introduce more good bacteria into your body to help with overall gut health and the the digestion/absorption process of nutrients from the foods we eat. Probiotics eat and survive off of prebiotics.

Both of these "biotics" improve your gut health and overall microbiome.

The microbiome is the makeup and combination of all the bacteria, fungi, and virus colonies within and on your body.

These microbes play a crucial role in your body. Your gut microbiome helps play a role in metabolic functions, protects against pathogens, your immune system, hormone production and really ... affect most of our physiologic functions every single day.

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A little fun/weird fact is that altogether, these microbes and organisms may weigh as much as 2–5 pounds!

And working together, they play a huge role in your health.

Yet, if these good bacteria and other microorganisms become unbalanced with bad bacteria, it can have a negative impact on your health and results.

We will help you identify different ways in which you can help set yourself up to have a healthy microbiome and better gut health.

Prebiotic Foods

Prebiotic fibers occur naturally in foods or can be placed into supplements.

When you eat them, they are essentially food for bacteria and other beneficial organisms in the gut.

So by getting prebiotics into your body through nutrition and supplementation, you are helping probiotics get what they need to work effectively.

Prebiotics also help your body produce acids like butyrate.

These short-chain fatty acids provide a lot of different health benefits. These good gut bacteria provide benefits like decreased bloating and constipation.

They increase mineral bioavailability and promote satiety too. Prebiotics and the positive effects they can have on your digestion and gut health can also help with weight loss.

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Here’s a short list of foods you can add to your diet today to raise your prebiotic levels

• Avocados
• Asparagus
• Apple skins
• Banana
• Garlic
• Leeks
• Whole Grains

Probiotic Foods

Probiotics are commonly found in fermented foods. There are two main types of probiotic bacteria groups - Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, but their names aren’t as important as the health benefits they provide.

Lactobacillus prevents and reduces diarrhea, can improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and help prevent infections. Bifidobacterium helps prevent infections, can help with constipation and diarrhea, as well as help relieve symptoms for irritable bowel syndrome.

By introducing more probiotics into your diet, you will help your gut stay happy and healthy. We have compiled a list of a few popular fermented foods that could be good to work into your plan.

Probiotic

• Kimchi
• Sauerkraut
• Kombucha
• Tempeh
• Yogurt
• Kefir
• Miso
• Pickles 
• Soft Cheeses
• Sourdough bread

When Should I Take Prebiotics and Probiotics?

Prebiotics and probiotics should be a part of your nutrition and certainly considered as part of your supplement routine.

When taking supplements, follow the instructions on the packaging to know how often to take the supplements. 

It is recommended that adults consume between 25 and 38 grams of fiber per day to get the proper amount of prebiotics in their diet.

You can get enough probiotics and prebiotics to make a positive change with your health through food alone.

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However, many people find it easier and more convenient to give their body what it needs through supplements, since the effects can be so beneficial.

A few daily capsules or a few scoops of Opti-Greens 50 can help to improve your gut health.

I know for me, I don't eat a lot of foods from that list. Plus, even when I did purposefully work a lot of them into my daily nutrition, I still utilized my Opti-Greens 50 every day.

Also, I think it's worth noting that when we formulated Micro Factor, a convenient daily essential nutrient pack, we included a probiotic because of the many benefits listed above! 

Your Probiotic & Prebiotic Needs

My hope is that after reading this blog you have a better understanding or Prebiotics, Probiotics, and their role in your health... and results! 

Though both of these "biotics" have different roles in gut health, they both provide digestive benefits.

If you have any questions or need anything at all, don't hesitate to reach out! 

We are here to help you with anything you need as you work to improve your health and your results!

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Will Grumke
Will Grumke

NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer