Probitoics vs Prebiotics. What’s the deal?

You’ve all seen the commercials, right? Eat this yogurt and your tummy will feel great and you’ll be so healthy. Well, there is more to gut health then just eating some probiotic yogurt daily; especially if you have an existing gut health condition.

“Our guts have 100 trillion bacteria, most of them (at least among us Westerners) “good” bacteria. Unfortunately, those good bacteria are starving due to antibiotic use; antimicrobial cleaners; and our reliance on fast-food, simple carbohydrates and saturated fats, instead of adequate plant-based fiber.“

What is a probiotic and what does it do?

Rhonda Nelson, Naturopath in Northern CA says this “Probiotics are really not much more than a traveling road show that passes through town every so often, bringing with it lots of activity, lights, banners and excitement. The actors and back stage crew have no intention of setting up permanent residence in your hometown but instead are just doing their job for a few weeks, providing temporary benefit to the residents in the community. But once the show is over, it’s over. Everyone leaves town.  And there is nothing left but the dusty footprint of the big-top tent.”

I just love that analogy. It makes it clear that the probiotics are going to be a lot of fun while it lasts. So how do you get these good bacteria to set up residence? Well, you need to make it such a desirable place they won’t want to leave. What would make you not want to leave a place? Let’s see, maybe some good, healthy food and water. If the environment is not enticing enough, they will be on their way. Probiotics cannot be detected in the stool after about 2 weeks of non-use.
[tweetthis]Probiotics are a lot of fun while it lasts, but how do you get the good bacteria to stay?[/tweetthis]
I saw this cartoon once that showed a nurse and a guy. The guy was holding up a bar stool. The nurse says to him, “That’s not quite the stool sample we had in mind, Mr. Smith.”

On a side note, did you ever wonder where the term stool, meaning bowel movement, came from? Well, way back before toilets and squatty potties, people would sit on a small stool and hang their butt over the edge to move their bowels. Hence, the term stool. You can use that one at your next cocktail party.


Back to prebiotics.

So without a good food source, prebiotics, your bacteria won’t hang around. Prebiotics are food for your bacteria. Slippery elm is a prebiotic herb.

You can also obtain them naturally from your diet by eating such foods as:

  • Jicama (yacon), Jerusalem artichoke, and chicory root all contain inulin, a form of prebiotic fiber.
  • Dandelion greens are leafy green vegetables that are made up of 25% prebiotic fiber.
  • Allium vegetables such as garlic, onion, leeks, chives, and scallions are great choices. Add them to food raw for the best source of prebiotics.
  • sprouted-grain breads
  • Wheat germ, whole wheat berries
  • Avocado
  • Peas
  • Soybeans
  • Potato skins
  • Apple cider vinegar (organic)
  • Bananas


Studies have show that prebiotics can be effective in promoting recovery from food poisoning, eczema, metabolic syndrome, and possible may help prevent colon cancer.

What can prebiotics do for you?

Prebiotics can also help heal leaky gut, reduce your appetite and increase insulin sensitivity. That’s a good thing as if you are becoming insulin resistant, then your body is most likely holding weight around your middle. If your fasting glucose is over 100 and your Hemoglobin A1C is over 5.7, then I would suggest you ask your doctor to test your fasting insulin as well. With that information, you can know if you’re heading toward the pre-diabetic stage. If this is you, contact me and I would be happy to give you some easy solutions to get your blood sugar back on track.

It’s recommended you get about 5 grams of prebiotic fiber per day.

If you need a jumpstart on a healthy gut, you can try my 30 day clean eating program called Clear the Way. You can find that info on my website at Health Coach

Remember to add those healthy pre-biotic foods into your diet today.


Grab the New Book!