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Probiotics vs Prebiotics: How to Know Which Is Right for You

The effects of diet, travel, and stress can mess with the balance of your gut’s health, which can lead to things like gas or bloating. Probiotics and prebiotics can help.

When understanding probiotics vs. prebiotics, the relationship is simple and beneficial:

  • Probiotics are “good” bacteria added to your gut to deliver a health benefit.
  • Prebiotics nourish the “good” bacteria already there so they can grow and thrive.

It’s not probiotics vs. prebiotics; it’s probiotics AND prebiotics.

Prebiotics and probiotics work to help you live a healthier life.

There are already good bacteria in your gut—and they need to eat and be nourished to grow and thrive. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria naturally present in your gut. Probiotics introduce good bacteria that aren’t already living in your gut. In short: Both prebiotics and probiotics can help you promote and support a healthy gut, and a healthy gut lets you live the life you want.

If you want to get prebiotic and probiotic benefits from a supplement, you need to ensure two things. First, make sure you are getting the amount of probiotic strain that has been studied to deliver the benefit you are seeking. Second, and similarly, make sure you take the amount of prebiotic that has been shown to promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut.

Probiotic Pro Tip:

Make probiotics and prebiotics part of your daily routine by taking a supplement like Align DualBiotic Prebiotic + Probiotic Gummies.

Taking a probiotic and prebiotic supplement like Align gummies daily ensures that you get enough to help strengthen and support the balance of good bacteria in your healthy digestive system.*

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are the good bacteria you add to your gut microbiome—not the ones that are already there.

Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria, some good and some bad. Good bacteria are the bacteria that help keep your digestive system happy and provide a health benefit. When you take enough of them, probiotics add more of the good bacteria to your gut to deliver a proven health benefit.

Probiotics aren’t as new as you think, they were first described by Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff in 1907. Metchnikoff suggested that, based on what foods we eat, we can replace “bad” bacteria in the gut with “good” bacteria.

Taking a supplement like Align adds probiotics to your gut.* While not all foods containing live cultures contain probiotics, there are certain foods that can add probiotics to your diet.

Probiotics must be alive to give you the benefits you expect. Sometimes, live cultures in food are killed off by heat or through a manufacturing process. These conditions make it difficult for the bacteria to stay alive before you take them. At Align, we ensure that all our products contain the right amount of live bacteria through expiration, so they’re ready when you need them.

Where can I find probiotics?

Certain Foods With Live Cultures

The fermentation process allows for bacteria cultures to grow and thrive. Some of the cultures that grow in fermented foods may have proven health benefits, like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. However, not all foods with live cultures have probiotics , and that’s not always clear from the label. It’s possible that those live cultures have no proven health benefit. It’s also likely that the live cultures in the food don’t survive until before they can work.

Probiotic Supplements like Align

Align’s flagship probiotic strain, 35624, has more than 20 years of research behind it to prove its role in building and supporting a healthy digestive system.* Align offers a range of forms and probiotic strains to meet your needs. Plus, Align’s packaging guarantees the probiotics stay alive until you are ready to take them so they get to your gut and help keep your gut healthy.*

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are food or nutrients that nourish the good bacteria in your microbiome. Prebiotics are a special type fiber found in some foods. This fiber doesn’t break down in your small intestine, and instead, makes it all the way through to your gut. As a result, when they reach your large intestines, they can be fermented by your microbiome.

You know you need to eat. So do the bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics nourish the good bacteria already in your gut. To keep your body’s natural good bacteria healthy and strong, take prebiotics to help them grow and thrive.

Where can I find prebiotic fiber?

Certain Foods High in Fiber

Fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts are great sources of dietary fiber. Prebiotics specifically refer to fibers that nourish the body’s natural good bacteria, though not all fibers offer benefits to the microbiome.

Foods rich in prebiotic fiber include:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Bananas
  • Chicory Root
  • Artichokes

Prebiotic Supplements

Taking prebiotic supplements can ensure you nourish your good gut bacteria daily. The ISAPP recommends getting at least 5 grams of prebiotics daily. Align’s DualBiotic Prebiotic + Probiotic Supplements contain inulin, from chicory root fiber, and can help you reach the ISAPP’s daily recommended prebiotic intake.

Can I take probiotics and prebiotics at the same time?

Yes, it’s not only safe to take probiotics and prebiotic supplements at the same time, it’s also healthy for you.

Think of your gut microbiome like a garden. Probiotics are the seeds that you add to the garden. You can’t plant the seeds, walk away, and expect vibrant flowers and tall trees to grow without some help. You still need to feed, water, and take care of the lawn. That’s where prebiotics come in, like fertilizer, to help nourish the lawn where you planted the seeds.

How do I choose the best probiotic and prebiotic for me?

With probiotics, you need to know what health benefit you want in order to pick the product with the strain that will deliver that health benefit. Plus, you need to get the amount of colony-forming units, or CFUs, that have been shown to deliver the benefit. For prebiotics, you also need to make sure you get the right dose.

Eating foods with prebiotics and probiotics is important to your gut health, but it may not be enough.

Align makes it easy by offering supplements with the right amount of prebiotics and probiotics to ensure you receive the benefits of both. Align’s DualBiotic Prebiotic + Probiotic Gummies contain prebiotics and probiotics, all in one gummy. It contains the probiotic strain Bacillus coagulans LactoSpore® to help support your digestive health* as well as the prebiotic inulin to nourish your good bacteria.*

Even more, Align makes it easy with multiple prebiotic + probiotic gummies plus added benefits to fit your needs:

You can easily introduce more prebiotics or probiotics into your digestive system by incorporating supplements like Align into your daily regimen.

Sources (Accessed May 2020)

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§Fortifies your digestive system 24/7 with continued daily use.*

Among Gastroenterologists who recommended a brand of probiotic in a ProVoice 2008-2019 survey.

Among Doctors who recommended a brand of probiotic in ProVoice 2013-2019 surveys.

*THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.