Probiotics vs Prebiotics
April 17, 2006 1:06 PM   Subscribe

We've seen adverts extolling the virtues of probiotics for years, now. On the TV a few minutes ago I was informed that Weetaflakes contain prebiotics. What's the difference? Should I care?
posted by rhodri to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
 
Probiotics take effect in the small intestine, and prebiotics in the large intestine.

They're both good. Theoretically, you get the most benefits from taking both.
posted by Mwongozi at 2:07 PM on April 17, 2006


I'd be surprised if you get anything useful out of a shelved product. Probiotics, at least, perish fairly soon at room temperature and should be purchased and kept cold.

I saw an infectious diseases specialist who was strongly pro probiotic for patients on antibiotics and he strongly suggested purchasing it only from pharmacies that take it out of a fridge.
posted by plinth at 2:54 PM on April 17, 2006


Probiotics contain actual live organisms; prebiotics contain food for gut bacteria.
posted by flabdablet at 3:53 PM on April 17, 2006


Probiotics contain actual live organisms; prebiotics contain food for gut bacteria.

Isn't everything we eat food for gut bacteria?
posted by lemur at 5:55 PM on April 17, 2006


Isn't everything we eat food for gut bacteria?

No, most of it is food for us, and the bacteria get to enjoy our waste products. Prebiotics are stuff we eat specifically for the bacteria, not us, to digest.

(Flabdablet has it right, by my understanding -- prebiotics aren't live, so they won't have shelf-life issues, and they won't inhabit one part of the digestive tract.)

Lastly, "Weetaflakes" is a great word.
posted by mendel at 7:02 PM on April 17, 2006


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