What Are Prebiotics?

Interested in learning more about prebiotics?  Check out this article in the U.S. News & World Report.  Dr. Holscher gives a tip on how to remember the difference between probiotics and prebiotics and provides information about some of the health benefits of prebiotic consumption.

Chances are, you’ve heard about probiotics. You know, those good gut bacteria that may provide a boost to gut health and offer a variety of other health benefits. Probiotics are also present in yogurt and other fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha, as well as supplements.

But what are prebiotics? They’re essentially compounds that feed the friendly bacteria in the gut. They are largely fermentable carbohydrates — meaning us humans cannot digest them. Prebiotics help nourish gut bacteria so they can better thrive.

To remember the difference between probiotics and prebiotics, take this advice from Hannah D. Holscher, assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois: “When I think about prebiotics, I remember the ‘e’ for the energy they provide for gut bacteria. And for probiotics, I think of the ‘o’ for organism in the gut microbiome.”