Should you take prebiotics alone?

Joanna Scott-Lutyens BA (Hons) DipION

Prebiotics (the food source for probiotics) are thought to be beneficial to the human host, thanks to the ‘bifidogenic’ effect that they have on the body: they are thought to increase the levels of probiotic bacteria in the intestines. Read more on 'What are prebiotics?' 

Prebiotics have received a lot of great press in recent years meaning customers are tending to ask more about them, especially when they have been been associated with digestive and immune health, anti-ageing and weight management. When recommending, bear in mind that everyone has a different bacterial make-up, and therefore different types of prebiotics and probiotics (or combinations of both) will work for different people. Whilst one patient or customer may feel better on prebiotics and find they help to relieve occasional bloating, another may find discomfort, and believe them to cause bloating.


A collection of grey bacteria

NB: High doses of prebiotics may cause temporary side-effects such as bloating or flatulence. This should cease within a few days; if it does not, consider recommending a reduced dose of prebiotics and gradually building it up with time.

If you are still unsure of the difference between prebiotics and probiotics, and whether you should be recommending one or the other, or both, read our articles on Probiotics & Prebiotics and Synbiotics

Healthcare professionals can read more about the Uses of Prebiotics