The Science Behind Prebiotics & Probiotics

“Death sits in the bowels; a bad digestion is the root of all evil” – Hippocrates, 400 BC. Our intestines play a role as a paradise of diseases. Trillions of living bacteria exist in the human intestine and the human body carries around 2 kg of bacteria [1]! 

The definition of probiotics is live microorganisms or beneficial bacteria, which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Prebiotics on the other hand, are non-digestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the growth, activity and multiplication of probiotics in the gut which can improve human health [2]!

Bacteria plays a hugely important role in our bodies by helping us synthesise vitamins, digest fiber and enhance the immune system which further contributes to the adequate composition of good bacteria required (probiotics) for maintaining overall health. Gut bacteria especially Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium comprise of the majority of healthy bacteria in our gut contributing to the gut defence system and maintenance normal gut function [3].

Imbalances in the composition of our gut bacteria can cause us to develop chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, heart diseases and etc. These imbalances can occur with the consumption of antibiotics which wipe out the healthy bacteria in the gut [4]. It can also happen with poor diet and high consumption of fast foods that generate more toxins in the human body.

Maintaining the balance and diversity of these organisms in the gut is vital for our wellbeing. One of the best ways of improving and maintaining good gut bacteria balance is to include prebiotic and probiotic foods or supplements as part of a balanced diet [5]. 



  1. Diwan, A. and Harke, S., 2021. Bank on Microbiome to keep the Body Healthy. J Nutr Food Sci, 11, p.791.
  2. Kaur, I.P., Chopra, K. and Saini, A., 2002. Probiotics: potential pharmaceutical applications. European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 15(1), pp.1-9.
  3. Zhang, Y.J., Li, S., Gan, R.Y., Zhou, T., Xu, D.P. and Li, H.B., 2015. Impacts of gut bacteria on human health and diseases. International journal of molecular sciences, 16(4), pp.7493-7519.
  4. Ramirez, J., Guarner, F., Bustos Fernandez, L., Maruy, A., Sdepanian, V.L. and Cohen, H., 2020. Antibiotics as major disruptors of gut microbiota. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 10, p.731.
  5. Markowiak, P. and Śliżewska, K., 2017. Effects of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics on human health. Nutrients, 9(9), p.1021.

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