What to Think about Before Taking Prebiotics and Probiotics

Close up happy young african american young woman taking daily dose of complex healthcare skin, hair and nails omega vitamins drinking glass of fresh pure water, immunity improvement concept.Prebiotics and probiotics have been a hot health topic for a few years now, and it’s only getting hotter as researchers learn more about their potential capabilities.

There are plenty of commercials on TV and ads online for supplements and foods that promise to deliver you the bacteria you need to live a healthy and happy life.


But like anything else, the hype around probiotics and prebiotics often sounds too good to be true. So here is what you need to know.

Your large intestine contains 100 trillion “good” bacteria that play a central role in your health. Collectively, they are known as your microbiome, and they help maintain regular bowel function and may even help with conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.

There is also evidence they may play a role in mood, weight, immunity, and more.

Everybody is born with a unique microbiome, which can be altered throughout life based on the foods you choose.
Here are some of the best ways to add healthy bacteria to your gut.

Eating yogurt and kefir can help promote the growth of healthful bacteria in your microbiome. Just make sure you see the phrase “live active cultures” on the label.

Fermented foods are also a great way to boost healthful microbial diversity. Beneficial microbes create some familiar foods. For example, they turn cabbage into sauerkraut, cucumbers into sour pickles, soybeans into miso, and sweetened tea into kombucha.

The thing is, not all of these foods will feature live microbes. The microbes are dead if the foods have been pasteurized, as most packaged fermented foods are. To avoid this, buy from delis that do the pickling themselves or from health food stores. You can also pickle foods yourself.

There are also a ton of supplements on the market. These usually feature a few bacteria strains, compared with the 3,000 or so that could be in your gut. Specific bacteria play specific roles in the body, so if you’re looking to treat a specific condition, pay attention to what you might need.

The American Gastroenterological Association released guidelines for the use of probiotics in 2020.


Look for supplements with both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium for general health.

And, of course, foods can play a role in shaping the microbiome. Foods with insoluble fiber can be helpful and include oats, whole grain products, asparagus, leeks, onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, lentils, beans, and peas.

Limiting sugar, saturated fat, and processed foods is a good idea, too because they can deplete healthy gut bacteria.

Author Bio

About eight years ago, Mat Lecompte had an epiphany. He’d been ignoring his health and suddenly realized he needed to do something about it. Since then, through hard work, determination and plenty of education, he has transformed his life. He’s changed his body composition by learning the ins and outs of nutrition, exercise, and fitness and wants to share his knowledge with you. Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.