Probiotics vs Prebiotics: A Gut Health Guide

Gut health and your microbiome

You might have heard that foods like yogurt and sauerkraut are great for your digestion. You probably heard they have a lot of probiotics in them. But have you ever heard of prebiotics?

If not, get ready for a game changer. Probiotics are great. But you also need prebiotics in your diet to nourish your gut bacteria and support healthy digestion.

What are probiotics?

First up, here’s some clarification: PRObiotics are made up of the good bacteria that live in your intestines. They help you digest foods, produce vitamins and even destroy toxins. That’s why it’s important to keep your gut biome healthy and balanced.

The problem is that everyday life can wipe out your good bacteria. Antibiotics, processed foods, stress and even lack of sleep can throw your gut out of whack. Gut imbalances can make you feel bloated, tired and even a little blue.[1][2]

Unfortunately, you can’t solve everything with a big spoonful of probiotic-rich yogurt. Just like YOU need food and water to thrive, probiotics need to eat, too. That’s where PREbiotics come in.

Person using Bulletproof InnerFuel to help manage their gut bacteria

What are prebiotics?

PREbiotics, aka prebiotic fiber, are food for your good gut bacteria. Not a lot of people know this: PRObiotics don’t work without PREbiotics. One more time for the people in the back — to get the benefits of probiotics (aka digestion support), you need prebiotics in your diet now.

Prebiotics feed powerful nutrients to the good bacteria in your gut. This is one of the reasons foods like broccoli are so good for you: They’re loaded with prebiotic fiber. A thriving population of gut bacteria means you have a healthy, diverse gut biome.

You want diverse gut bacteria. It allows your body to absorb more nutrients from your food, boost your immune system and metabolize fat. Plus, you’ll feel more regular.[3][4] That’s a bunch of wins across the board.

Image of intestines in human body

How to get prebiotics and probiotics

  • Probiotics: Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir, or probiotic supplements
  • Prebiotics: Fiber-rich foods like asparagus, broccoli, onion, green bananas and chicory, or Bullletproof InnerFuel

The big takeaway here is that probiotics are only half the picture. You can eat fermented foods and take supplements to boost your probiotic bacteria, but they really need prebiotic fiber to thrive.

Picture Pacman without anything to chomp. He just sits there. Same thing goes with probiotics that don’t have prebiotics to nosh.

Getting prebiotics and probiotics from food and supplements

Bottom line: One of the best things you can do to support your gut health is to get more PREbiotics in your diet. You can do that by eating a variety of fiber-rich vegetables with every meal. And because nobody wants a broccoli smoothie for breakfast every day, just fill in the gaps with a prebiotic supplement like Bulletproof InnerFuel.

†Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for individual medical advice.

[1] World J. Gastroenterol. 2014 Oct. 21; 20(39): 14407-

[2] Rev. Neurosci. 2018 Aug. 28; 29(6): 629-643

[3] Curr. Issues Intest. Microbiol. 2000; 1(1): 25-37

[4] Front. Microbiol. 2018; 9: 1835