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Probiotic and Prebiotic are a hot topic these days (even though they’ve been around forever) and a common question I get is…What’s the difference? 

Did you know that some people shouldn’t even be taking a probiotic? Yeah, that’s right. It’s not for everyone. So how do you know if you fall on the NO spectrum? Well, let me give you a lil Probiotic 101. 

An easy way to think about probiotics: antibiotic versus probiotic. Anti kills bacteria while Pro is full of live bacteria.

Simple right?!

Now when it comes to navigating the world of Probiotics. There are two categories for people who should and shouldn’t be taking them.

A probiotic is worth considering if you:

  • Have taken antibiotics in recent years
  • Eat processed foods
  • Live in an urban area

A probiotic is not a good idea if you:

  • Have SIBO
  • Have a compromised immune system

Based on the info above, are probiotics a good idea for you? If yes, keep reading…

Probiotics should be thought of as preventative. So if you struggle with gut issues, a good idea is to take care of your issues first and then seek out a probiotic. Not the other way around. 

Now let’s talk about Prebiotics. 

Prebiotics are anything that feeds or stimulates the growth of probiotic bacteria in a way that improves your health.

I like to think of your gut as a garden. Bacteria are the plants and prebiotics are the fertilizer.

ALL fruits and veggies are prebiotics because they contain soluble fiber. But the best ones to look out for are: Jerusalem artichokes, raw leeks, raw garlic, chicory root, asparagus, raw onions, raw dandelion greens, banana, and kiwi. Look for these when you’re at the store and try to incorporate them into your diet. 

  1. Prebiotics lower the pH of the intestines by feeding the bacteria that produce lactic acid. The low pH wards off pathogens, which tend to grow in higher pH environments. 
  2. When the levels of good bacteria grow, they produce antibacterial molecules that ward off bad bacteria (aka the weeds). 

With both pro and prebiotics there might be a window of discomfort if you’re starting to incorporate them into your diet and lifestyle. 

Things like gas, bloating, and discomfort. Sometimes your poop is not as solid and well-formed (which is fine because your not trying to win a best poop award). 

These symptoms should only last for about a week. So pay attention!!!

That’s it. Both are important to incorporate if you are working on healing your gut. Prebiotics have amazing benefits like lowering your cholesterol, increasing magnesium absorption and supporting weight loss. And probiotics are crucial to help balance your friendly gut bacteria. You CAN have one without the other but they are more effective when you can focus on adding both to your diet.

I have a download to help you when it comes to choosing a probiotic that’s right for you. And if you have any questions just post them in the comments section or DM me on Instagram @drewmartino_

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Hello, I'm Janet Cho

A brand strategist with an editorial approach and a lot of cats, based in Los Angeles, California.

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