- • Prebiotics serve as food for specific microbes in the gut but their health benefits are likely due to broader changes in the function of communities of microbes.
- • Prebiotics can lead to a durable change in overall function of a gut microbial community with potential for long-term health benefit while probiotics are live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts can confer a health benefit even in the short term.
- • Prebiotics ferment to short-chain fatty acids known to positively influence human metabolism and immunity. Commercial prebiotics may be beneficial in some individuals but intolerable in others.
- • Further research is needed to determine the specificity of prebiotics in terms of their biological effects. Other dietary fibers/proteins may have similar health benefits that have not yet been determined.
These tips are from “Prebiotics 101,” the first of a four-part CME series in AGA University,, titled, “The Microbiome and Digestive Health: A Look at Prebiotics.” Part two, “Diet vs. Prebiotics” is also available.
Looking for more information on prebiotics?
AGA has educational materials for patients on probiotics (also available in Spanish) at