The Difference Between Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

The Difference Between Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

We’ve already praised the virtues of the gut microbiome. Not only is that balanced ecosystem of 100 trillion bacteria essential to digesting our food, but it also accounts for 70% of our immune system, creating a defense against pathogens and infections.

So it makes sense, then, that how we feed our microbiome is crucial. That’s where prebiotics and probiotics come into play. Sure they sound alike and they work together, but the two are very different and today we’re breaking down their symbiotic relationship:


Prebiotics

In a nutshell, prebiotics are food for probiotics. They make their way through our bodies, but since our digestive tracts can’t break them down, they get consumed by probiotics, encouraging the growth of existing and new beneficial gut bacteria.

You can find prebiotics in plenty of staple produce, like asparagus, garlic, barley, and bananas, but Routine chose inulin fiber, a prebiotic found naturally in chicory root. Studies have shown that this particular prebiotic—also found in leeks, onion, oats, and other foods—is one of the most effective prebiotics. Inulin has been proven to increase stool frequency for those who need it and alleviate gastrointestinal issues.


Probiotics

On the other side of the equation, probiotics are live microorganisms, most commonly those in the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera (plural of genus). You can find them in food (kimchi, yogurt, etc.), in supplements (Routine!), and even in skincare products. But not all probiotics are created equally—some may regulate digestion, others might prioritize balance in the reproductive system, and others may be immunity boosters. (Look to the genus, species, and strain name to decode which probiotic you’re actually getting.)

It’s also important to note that more strains, or CFU, isn’t always better. We took a less is more approach for Routine, selecting only the highest quality strains with clinically backed results. It’s not about stuffing as much as we can into the capsules and onto the bottle label. It’s about giving you only what you need with the science to back up the benefits.

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