Probiotics and prebiotics

  • Ilse Truter PharmITCom® Consulting
Keywords: Probiotics, Prebiotics


Microorganisms living within the body can be probiotic, pathobiotic or eubiotic. A probiotic is a microorganism that contributes positively to the body’s health. These “friendly” bacteria are also called flora. A pathobiotic, on the other hand, harms or impedes the body in one way or another. A eubiotic can be either harmful or helpful to the body, depending on colony size and location. A healthy body contains a substantially greater number of probiotics than pathobiotics. Probiotics are designed for, and are most effective in, the small intestine. Prebiotics specifically target the flora of the large intestine. Synbiotics are a combination of a prebiotic and a probiotic in a single product.1 The rationale is that the product contains a beneficial agent in the small intestine (the probiotic) and one in the large intestine (the prebiotic), and therefore, the two act synergistically (hence the name “synbiotics”). There is growing public and scientific interest in probiotics and prebiotics. Researchers are trying to determine whether or not these products can help treat or prevent illness, if taken as foods or supplements. Probiotics will be discussed first, followed by a review of prebiotics.
OTC Management