Prebiotics Vs. Probiotics - Natren, Inc.

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Prebiotics Vs. Probiotics

Do you know the difference between pre vs. probiotics? Probiotics can be healthy when you have the right quantities and quality, and source them from a company with specific standards of quality and excellence. Prebiotics, on the other hand, have some benefits, but their inclusion in probiotic supplements has risks you may not know about.

Even probiotics, which can be extensively beneficial, can be useless or even harmful when they are misunderstood. Let's look at the details of pre vs. probiotics, so you can see how each one functions in the body, and find out our recommendations for each.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live inside your body. Most often they are in your gut, and may aid in processes like digestion, lowering cholesterol, and overall health. Probiotics have the potential to benefit anyone from infants to the elderly because of their ability to create balance in the body. When you take probiotics, these supplements contain beneficial living organisms that can improve the diversity of your gut microbiota.

What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are found naturally in some common foods like onions and Jerusalem artichokes. These prebiotics are not able to be digested by the body; instead, they can be used by bacteria. When you purchase a prebiotic, you are most often getting one that has been synthesized from sucrose, extracted from chicory, or manufactured by a process of chemical synthesis.

There are two particularly common prebiotics on the market called inulin and fructooligosaccharide (FOS). While you know that the bacteria in probiotics are beneficial, this does not mean that the prebiotics that can be digested by bacteria are also beneficial. In fact, prebiotics can be dangerous to the point that Natren has never included prebiotics in their products.

Although some research has been done to understand how prebiotics affect select bacteria, it is imperative that further research is done to learn about how prebiotics affect the entire bacteria community, including the harmful ones. Natren prioritizes your health over any unsubstantiated trends or fads. That is why we do not include prebiotics in our products.

Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotics are not only helpful for functions like digestion, but they actually protect you from dangerous bacteria. Your intestines have limited space for bacteria to grow. When the good, healthy bacteria take up more room, that leaves less room for the harmful bacteria.

When you fill your intestinal walls with good bacteria, they act like a defense mechanism. Probiotics can then serve in many ways from helping your body lower cholesterol, reducing gas, improving digestion, potentially losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, improving your immune system function and helping with brain health that affects how you feel and respond to stress.

Benefits of Probiotic Supplements

While some probiotics are available in food sources, there is truly no way to use diet alone to create a wide range of diversity that your gut microbiome thrives from. With the right probiotic supplements, you can target those strains that are the best match for your personal needs. Natren’s probiotics allow you to see exactly what you’re putting into your body. Our supplements guarantee the specific strain and number of probiotics you’re getting, and are manufactured and shipped with the right temperature controls to ensure that you get what you pay for.

Dangers of Prebiotic Supplements

Even though some believe there are benefits to prebiotics, there are dangers to taking prebiotics supplements, and that is why Natren has chosen not to combine prebiotics with their probiotics. Natren's founder has used decades of her own scientific research, as well as that of her team, to make the decision about offering pre vs. probiotics. While some companies offer both, Natren has never offered prebiotics, including two of the most common prebiotics called Inulin and FOS. In studies, risks have been shown from both of these. You can read more about our decision not to offer prebiotics here, and understand the potential dangers that we know about.

Natural Sources of Probiotics

Some probiotics can be found in foods like yogurt and fermented cabbage. While these food sources may be beneficial, it's also important to understand that it is hard to know exactly what strains and what amounts of each probiotic you're consuming in foods. So although these foods may be beneficial, taking probiotic supplements can give you a better idea of exactly what you're taking, and in what amounts. One potentially dangerous source of probiotics is kombucha. Although this popular tea drink can be found on the shelves of many health food stores, it can be incredibly misleading. Because fermentation is a science, it is best left to those who have substantial knowledge, as well as quality and safety controls in place. People have died from drinking kombucha they brewed at home, thinking they were benefitting their health. This is one seemingly ‘natural source of probiotics' that we consider too dangerous to recommend to anyone. You are substantially safer taking a high quality, guaranteed, probiotic supplement, than risking your health with a potentially contaminated drink.

Natural Sources of Prebiotics

Like probiotics, prebiotics can be found in some foods. For example, you can find prebiotics in bananas, apples, onions, leeks, artichokes, as well as in whole grains and soybeans. One benefit of natural sources of prebiotics is that these are foods that are healthy to eat in moderation, even without the benefit of them containing prebiotics. You’ve likely heard nutritionists and other health professionals touting the benefits of foods like whole grains, including barley and oats. At Natren, we agree. While taking probiotics can be one of the most important steps you take in your health, eating the right foods to support those probiotics is essential as well. Remember that probiotics contain living organisms, and they need a source of nutrients to thrive. Instead of taking supplements to provide prebiotics, which have inherent dangers, choose probiotics and support those by eating well.

How Do I Choose Probiotics?

Choosing the right probiotic supplements can be very difficult, especially because many brands and companies market their probiotics using misleading language. It is critical to look for probiotics that are:

Once you know you are dealing with a source of probiotics that you trust, next is the time to explore the range of probiotic products. Not sure where to start? Check out probiotics for women’s health, for men’s health, for pregnant women and infants, or even for pets.

Natren's probiotics fit all these standards and are known for their excellence. Our team has decades of experience in probiotics, and our founder is a recognized leader in quality probiotics. If you're just starting to research pre vs. probiotics, or wondering what probiotics supplements may be best for you, visit our website at to learn more.


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