Probiotics have been the rage for quite some time now. People who take them often report feeling healthier and more energetic. But a new trend is on the rise: prebiotics. Before we dive into the differences, you first need to understand another trendy topic: your gut microbiome.

What is your gut microbiome?

Inside your small intestines, otherwise known as your gut, you have literally trillions of bacteria – almost 5 pounds worth! Within these trillions of bacteria, you have 2 types: good bacteria and bad bacteria.

Good bacteria are responsible for giving you energy and making you feel happy. Scientists refer to this phenomenon as the “gut-brain axis.” They also help you lose weight, keep you from getting sick, and help control inflammation.

Bad bacteria are exactly that – they’re the bad guys that make you feel sick, tired, and they can even cause you to gain weight. Your immune system is always fighting these bad bacteria. Every second of every day. This is why 80% of your immune system resides in your gut – your immune cells are the police that helps protect your good bacteria and shut down the bad bacteria.

As the father of modern medicine Socrates once said, “All disease begins in the gut.” That’s why maintaining the balance between the good bacteria and bad bacteria within your gut microbiome is so important. If all disease begins in the gut, then maintaining your gut should help prevent all disease. Simple as that.

Businesses know this, and understand how attractive it is for people to stay disease-free considering the astronomical cost of healthcare right now. That’s where probiotic supplements started – as a way to help maintain the balance between the good guy bacteria and the bad guy bacteria in your gut.

Okay, so what are probiotics?

Probiotics are literally small cultures of “good guy” bacteria. The theory is that by adding more of the good, you will balance out the bad. In some cases, like when you are sick or recovering from antibiotics, this strategy works.

But here’s the problem:

Most probiotic supplements contain less than 5% of the types of “good bacteria” that you need. Simply put, the science of probiotics just isn’t there yet. You can take all the probiotics you want, but you can only ever restore an insignificant amount of the good guys. Most people who take probiotics experience what’s called a “placebo” effect. Now don’t get me wrong – placebo effects can be powerful (some have even cured cancer and MS), but it’s not something that’s based on sound science.

What is based on sound science, however, is what happens when you feed your good bacteria with what are known as prebiotics.

Prebiotics? What’s that?

Prebiotics are various types of fiber that act as “food” for the good bacteria in your microbiome. Fiber cannot be digested in our stomachs or by our stomach acid, but our good guy bacteria love it. They break prebiotic fiber down and as a result, gain strength to reproduce and send positivity all throughout your body. People who take prebiotics supplements or consume a diet rich in fiber-laden veggies often experience more energy, weight loss and of course, fewer incidences of sickness and disease.

Two members of the iNR Wellness team, Dr. Jack Gilbert and Dr. Liz Lipski are two of the foremost experts in the microbiome and the importance of prebiotics.

They do have different schools of thought, however. Dr. Liz Lipski insists on the importance of a high-fiber diet and suggests adding a strong immune-activating prebiotic like iNR Wellness MD beta glucan can help supplement that.

Dr. Jack Gilbert isn’t so big on dieting himself. Of course, he knows he should eat a diet rich in vegetables and fiber, but for him, it’s just not realistic. What’s amazing though is Dr. Gilbert tracks his weight – he said its normally very cyclical depending on the season, and he sticks to a typical American diet: burritos, fast food and the occasional salad when he can.

What Dr. Gilbert recently found is that since he began taking iNR Wellness MD, his weight has stayed consistently low. He never experienced the seasonal “uptick” in his weight last winter. This suggests that without any changes to your diet, taking a prebiotic such as iNR Wellness MD to enhance your microbiome can have a positive effect on your body weight.

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