Probiotics and prebiotics

A sociological survey conducted in one of the cities of Russia (Voronezh, Institute of Public Opinion "Qualitas") showed that 78% of respondents believe that probiotics and prebiotics are one and the same, 35% have not heard the word prebiotics, believe that prebiotics are wrong name for probiotics, 87% have never heard the word synbiotics.

Let's try to clarify this issue.

Prebiotics are a constituent of food that is not digested in the gastrointestinal tract, entering the large intestine, is broken down there and stimulates the growth of normal intestinal microflora.

Probiotics are living microorganisms that, when entering the human body, have a positive effect on human immunity.

Synbiotics are a combination of pro and prebiotics. Typically used to aid the proliferation of probiotic bacteria with a prebiotic.

Properties of prebiotics

So, prebiotics are a food ingredient that is not digested in the gastrointestinal tract and promotes the growth of microorganisms.

What is not digested in the stomach and enters the large intestine undigested? You thought rightly, this is dietary fiber. What promotes the growth of the microorganisms we are familiar with that we use for baking (yeast)? Sugar, of course. So, prebiotics are dietary fibers and saccharides (with various prefixes from di- to poly-), this is the main component plus a cocktail of amino acids, unsaturated fats, enzymes, antioxidants and plant extracts.

For the digestion of food, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli are especially important, it is to stimulate their growth that prebiotics are directed.

Prebiotics, even if not listed, are found in all dairy products, various breads, cereals, legumes, onions, and more. That is, by eating food, we will fully provide ourselves with a sufficient amount of prebiotics.

There are many dietary supplements with prebiotics, but still, before taking them, get tested for microflora. Maybe you are fine with the "population" of the gastrointestinal tract and there is no need for supplements.

Side effects: an excess of prebiotics in food can lead to bloating, flatulence, and possibly diarrhea caused by a failure in the production of enzymes in the large intestine. Milk may cause bloating, so do not give milk to children at night!

Probiotic properties

We have already said that probiotics are a culture of bacteria that, when introduced into the human body, interacts with the intestinal microflora, improving it.

A necessary quality of bacteria is to stay alive when moving through the intestines to its thick section. They must live through the acidic environment of the stomach, which is aggressive for them, settle in the large intestine and multiply there. Since these bacteria do not belong to the permanent inhabitants of the human body, they must be taken constantly.

The thoughts here are a little sad: we have to take in some kind of bacteria in order to be healthy. Moreover, these bacteria deliberately saturate the products familiar to us. How have we always lived?

The fact of the matter is that they lived normally, taking a sufficient amount of natural products, which contain bifido - and lactobacilli (they are important and they are added to food).

In a normal healthy body, there is a balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria, the microflora of a healthy person is in order. But if a person gets sick and takes antibiotics and some other medications, then the balance is upset. To maintain balance, you need products (or drugs) that normalize the microflora.

Foods with probiotics, containing live microorganisms, adjust the microflora of the body towards the norm, thereby contributing to health. But with the regular intake of another's active microflora into the body, its own is inhibited (after all, it is not artificially bred and, moreover, is not genetically modified). This forces the person to take more and more probiotic foods. Here is such a vicious circle ...

For your information, probiotics are different, they can be obtained directly from living organisms, based on metabolites, as well as using genetically modified strains; in addition, they can be obtained both from living microorganisms and restored after drying.

Undoubtedly, probiotics are good for the body.

Beneficial features:

Prevent the spread of all kinds of intestinal infections by suppressing the development of pathogenic microorganisms;

Stimulates immunity by increasing the activity of antibodies;

They are a prophylactic agent.

Do not disclose their beneficial properties in case

Chronic diseases, Hormonal disorders, Fasting, Taking medications (antibiotics, laxatives), Sometimes manufacturers indicate an interesting reason for the ineffectiveness of probiotics: eating foods with flavor enhancers, preservatives, dyes.

Side Effects: Manufacturers (and advertisements!) Say probiotics have no side effects. But, nevertheless, it is possible to develop diarrhea, slow down the growth of its own bacteria and the consequences associated with these symptoms: impaired water-salt metabolism, vitamin deficiency. Therefore, probiotics should still be used in courses.

Properties of synbiotics

Synbiotics are a combination of drugs that have a beneficial effect on health.

In other words, eat a cucumber (prebiotic) and wash it down with kefir (probiotic) and your intestines will be easy and pleasant, and your body will be cleansed and healthy. Of course, this is exaggerated, but understandable and close to reality.


If a person is healthy, feels good, does not experience problems with the intestines, there is no need for prebiotics and probiotics. A person can get all the necessary biotics with healthy food. They are contained in a fairly large number of products, especially fermented milk and plant origin, it is not at all necessary to have fancy words written on them that the product contains pro or prebiotics. The mandatory addition of probiotics and prebiotics to the diet is one of the myths about healthy eating.

Scientists are studying the effect of biotics on the body in various diseases, and there are more questions than answers. Advertising is like a cart running in front of a horse ... But it turns out!