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How do Prebiotics Work?

How do Prebiotics Work?

You are probably already familiar with probiotics and why you should add them to your supplements.  Lately there has been increased interest in prebiotics and how do prebiotics work.  While they sound the same they do drastically different things in your digestive tract and both are necessary to your overall health.  Let’s look at the differences and why both should be part of your regular supplements.

The Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics

Let’s start with the differences, probiotics are living bacteria that you take as a supplement to maintain a healthy balance in your intestinal tract.  Prebiotics on the other hand are nutrients that come from dietary fibre and natural food sources that help feed the bacteria you need that lives in your intestinal tract.  The two “biotics” are very different but work in conjunction to keep you healthy.  Both supplements help keep away many of the diseases that start in your intestines.

Good Bacteria and the Bad

Bacteria is a scary word that is often associated with illness but there are good bacteria that you need in your body that benefit your overall health.  To stay healthy you need many more good bacteria than bad.  Research has shown that probiotics and the good bacteria that comes with them are necessary but they also need nutrients in order to flourish.


In order to keep your good bacteria at high enough levels to stay healthy they need soluble fiber.  Now you can get that type of fiber naturally from whole grains, along with fruits and vegetables.  Soluble fiber isn’t digested when it is in your digestive tract but rather it goes straight to your colon.  When it hits your colon it starts fermenting and that is what the good bacteria needs to survive.  This is why you need to take prebiotics as well as probiotics.

There are also dangerous bacteria that is in your intestine that is called pathogens.  Pathogens cannot absorb nutrients from prebiotics instead prebiotics destroy these pathogens.  Once again it demonstrates how important prebiotics are to your health.

Not only has research shown how prebiotics benefit the good bacteria and help to destroy the bad but this is directly linked in reducing your chances of getting colon cancer.  When you don’t have enough prebiotics or probiotics then pathogens build up and can become polyps along the walls of your colon.  It is the polyps that are precursors for colon cancer.