As consumers become better educated about the importance of digestive health and the microbiome on immunity and wellbeing, the pre-and probiotics category is surging. At more than $3.2 billion, biotics are among the largest and fastest-growing segments of the dietary supplement market. Due to their role in human health, an area of increasing interest and research, scientists are exploring, producing, and developing new product entries at an unprecedented rate.
For background, this article first addresses digestive health and the microbiome in general. We then define and illustrate the different roles of prebiotics versus probiotics and the most prominent types of prebiotics. Finally, we compare two of the more popular brands on the market today with a deep dive into their corporate philosophies, the product formulations, and the men behind these products; both noted physicians with impeccable resumes.
Digestive Health and the Microbiome
The human microbiome is comprised of all the microorganisms living in association with the human body, with the highest density in the gut microbiome. Your gut microbiota is home to the trillions of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract that influence health, metabolism, and disease protection. Some seventy percent of your immune system is in the gut. Both good and bad bacteria reside in the digestive tract, and maintaining a healthy balance of microbes is essential.
A healthy microbiota influences numerous health endpoints, from general digestive health to immune support, weight management, cognitive function, mood, and even sports performance.
Pre- and Probiotics
Probiotics are living organisms, the live bacteria that help protect against digestive issues, intended to produce health benefits when consumed. These good bacteria play a crucial role in your digestive and overall health. You access probiotics through fermented foods and drinks such as yogurt or Kombucha or supplementation, like Llama Naturals Probiotic or Jetson Seasonal Probiotics. These trillions of healthy probiotic gut bacteria require nutrients and fuel to support your digestion – enter prebiotics.
Prebiotics are the plant products that support and provide fuel for your probiotics. They feed the intestinal microbiota and are metabolized into short-chain fatty acids released into your bloodstream, affecting the gastrointestinal tract and other organs.
There are eight broad classes of prebiotics with fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), the two most important groups shown to improve intestinal microbiota and provide other beneficial health effects. These oligosaccharides exist in foods; however, in limited quantities, hence scientists are producing them by extraction or hydrolysis as supplements.
Fructo-oligosaccharide, oligofructose, and inulin are referred to as fructans, a carbohydrate and prebiotic substance. FOS appears naturally in many plants; they are sweet, low-calorie, and nondigestible.
Galacto-oligosaccharides, another type of prebiotics, are also nondigestible. They are made up of plant sugars found in dairy products, beans, and certain root vegetables. Although both FOS and GOS have been shown in clinical trials to increase the amount of intestinal Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus (healthy probiotics), there were no significant differences between the two prebiotics in research studies.
It should be noted there is a symbiotic relationship between the use of pre-and probiotics resulting in improved survivability and activity of beneficial organisms in the digestive tract. It seems that prebiotics helps good gut bacteria survive and thrive.
PrebioThrive from Gundry MD
PrebioThrive is a dietary supplement in unflavored powder form that contains a fiber blend to fuel and support the growth of probiotics. Like all Gundry MD products, PrebioThrive is manufactured in the U.S. in a cGMP (Certified Good Manufacturing Practices) facility. The formulation includes five different prebiotic fibers, featuring galacto-oligosaccharides; it is sugar and soy-free, with no artificial sweeteners or lectins.
Prebiotin from Jackson GI Medical
Like PrebioThrive, Prebiotin is physician-developed. However, the primary component in the Jackson GI product is fructo-oligosaccharide and inulin, or oligofructose. Available in powder, stick packs, and capsules, Prebiotin is offered in their base Premier Prebiotic formula or customized formulas for weight management, regularity, and Heart Health. All Jackson GI Medical Prebiotin products are non-GMO and manufactured in a cGMP facility. They are fat, soy, sodium, dairy, gluten-free, vegetarian, and low in carbohydrates, with a money-back guarantee.
Jackson GI Medical positions Prebiotin as a full spectrum prebiotic with “Everything you need in one.”
PrebioThrive vs. Prebiotin: How They Compare
Our basis of comparison will incorporate multiple factors, from corporate philosophies to formulations and key ingredients, product development, and product certifications, with a brief review of the resume of the company’s founders and the faces of their companies. We will provide our assessment of the cost-value relationships and which product might best serve particular needs. Although there is a clearly superior product in many product comparisons, such is not the case with these products as both are excellent prebiotics, simply featuring different key components.
PrebioThrive vs. Prebiotin: Corporate Philosophies
Gundry MD, the maker of PrebioThrive, was founded by Dr. Steven Gundry, a pre-eminent heart surgeon, before pivoting to digestive health. Educated at some of the finest medical institutions in the country, Dr. Gundry is one of the leading authorities on digestive health and the microbiome in the industry today. The company adheres to many best-in-class practices in the dietary supplement space, such as:
- cGMP certified facilities
- Transparency in their ownership, marketing, and packaging
- Physician developed
- Independent third-party testing
- Natural, organic ingredients
- Money-back guarantee
Jackson GI Medical is the manufacturer of Prebiotin. The company was founded by Dr. Frank Jackson, educated at Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. F. Wilson Jackson, son of the founder, is the company’s Medical Director today – Bowdoin College, Northwestern University, and Temple University educated.
- Adhere to cGMP manufacturing practice standards
- Third-party tests, scientific research, and clinical trials
- Label transparency
- Physician developed
- Soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO
- Money-back guarantee
PrebioThrive vs. Prebiotin: The Formulations
Prebiotin has the more straightforward formulation with one active compound, Oligofructose Enriched Inulin (OEI), 4100mg. Sourced from chicory root, the company distinguishes OEI from other prebiotics containing FOS and/or inulin as a full spectrum prebiotic capable of nourishing bacteria throughout the colon.
PrebioThrive, formulated by Dr. Gundry, contains organic ingredients, acacia gum, agave inulin, guar gum, flaxseeds, and galacto-oligosaccharides. The prebiotic blend is 10 grams.
Although Jackson GI touts OEI as the most studied prebiotic, the subject of numerous university and clinical trials, we think there is value in PrebioThrive’s use of multiple fibers in their formulation. Each prebiotic fiber has different activities and is beneficial for your gut health.
PrebioThrive vs. Prebiotin: Dosage Comparison
Most experts agree you need at least five grams of prebiotics in your daily diet. Since prebiotics are limited through food intake, many people supplement. A word of caution, excess prebiotics can lead to gas or bloating. With Prebiotin, you are at the lower end of the recommended dosage at 4100mg (4.1 grams). The PrebioThrive dosage, 10 grams, may be too much for some people. We recommend you start with a lesser amount and titrate your consumption as your gut tolerates.
PrebioThrive vs. Prebiotin: Benefits
PrebioThrive’s benefit claims focus on healthy digestion, increased energy, balancing your gut microbiome, and an overall feeling of wellness. In addition, when used with probiotics, PrebioThrive can help relieve stomach distress.
Similarly, Prebiotin’s claims for their base Premier Prebiotic Fiber address supporting your beneficial gut bacteria, maintaining a healthy microbiome, and enhanced immune support. Prebiotin also makes mention of the brain-gut axis in stating that a healthy gut equals a healthy brain.
Prebiotin for Weight Management adds a statement regarding satiety and reduced hunger, although the formula appears the same as the base product. The Heart Health variety addresses cholesterol and blood pressure benefits due to the addition of Oat Bran and Psyllium Husk in the formula. Finally, the Regularity formula, which includes Wheat Bran and Psyllium Husk, claims to aid in regularity and reduce constipation.
PrebioThrive vs. Prebiotin: Price Value Comparison
On the Gundry website, a thirty-serve (10 grams each) PrebioThrive is listed at $49.99, reduced from $79.99, for a one-time purchase. In a departure from past practices, there is no mention of a subscription plan or VIP Membership on the product page.
A sixty-serve (4.1 grams each) of Prebiotin lists for $30.00 on their website. The condition-specific Heart Health and Regularity formulas retail for $40.00 for thirty larger servings, 13.2 and 13.6 grams, respectively.
A “head-to-head” comparison of cost on a per gram basis:
- PrebioThrive = $.1666 per gram – $49.99 / 30 servings / 10 grams per
- Prebiotin = $.1219 per gram – $30.00 / 60 servings / 4.1 grams per
On Amazon.com, Prebiotin is available at the same price, whereas PrebioThrive commands a significant premium. Obviously, Gundry is not supporting sales through Amazon, preferring to sell on its website.
The PrebioThrive formula is more complex with five components versus the one (OEI) in Prebiotin. Some specialists recommend a minimum of two different fibers in a comprehensive prebiotic formula for optimal digestive support.
PrebioThrive vs. Prebiotin: Customer Reviews
As is to be expected, both brands receive glowing reviews on their websites, extolling taste, weight loss, energy, and regularity. However, we compared customer reviews on Amazon.com for a more objective view, where Prebiotin was the clear winner on overall satisfaction with 4.5 of 5 stars, flavor, ease of use, and value. PrebioThrive receives 4.2 overall; however, it gets much lower marks in flavor and value. Taste and clumping are the primary criticisms of PrebioThrive, although customers were pleased with the product’s performance, especially when combined with a probiotic.
Ironically, the Prebiotin detailed reviews mentioned great taste yet were derogatory relative to stomach distress and flatulence.
Our take, no matter how effective a supplement might be, if you can’t tolerate the taste, you’ll stop taking it. With PrebioThrive, you will need to experiment a bit with your choice of beverage.
PrebioThrive vs. Prebiotin: Other Considerations
Both products are marketed by companies adhering to some of the best-in-class practices of dietary supplement companies. Both are doctor-formulated by highly respected physicians. Although the two products diverge in the active compound (Oligofructose Enriched Inulin versus galacto-oligosaccharides) and formulation complexity (one ingredient versus five), both prebiotics are proven effective in clinical trials. In fact, there was very little difference in the effectiveness of one versus the other.
Prebiotin seems to have an advantage in taste, which may improve adherence to your prebiotic regimen; however, PrebioThrive receives more robust reviews regarding efficacy. Prebiotin is also a bit less expensive per serving and cost per gram, offset by the fact it has only one active ingredient and at a somewhat less than recommended dosage.
PrebioThrive vs. Prebiotin: Our Opinion
We are favorably impressed with Gundry MD’s PrebioThrive and Jackson GI Medical’s Prebiotin and believe they are top-tier competitors in the prebiotic space. The NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) reported that in clinical trials, each of the eight classes of prebiotic dietary fibers displays health benefits, with FOSs, inulin, and GOSs providing the most substantial evidence of beneficial health effects. So, when searching for a quality prebiotic, the primary compounds in PrebioThrive or Prebiotin should be prioritized. If you suffer from digestive issues, want to be proactive regarding your gut health, and support your immune system, we endorse both brands. The good news is that both companies stand behind their products with money-back guarantees.
PrebioThrive vs. Prebiotin: Your Prebiotic Checklist
|Corporate:||Prebiotin||PrebioThrive||Brand A||Brand B||Brand C|
|Made in the USA||Yes||Yes|
|Clinically Supported Compounds||Yes||Yes|
|# Active Ingredients||1 (OEI)||5|
|Dosage||4.1 Gram||10 Gram|
|Cost per Gram||$.122/Gram||$.166/Gram|
Suppose someone recommends a different brand of prebiotic. In that case, we suggest you complete the above chart to understand the variables and how an alternate brand might stack up versus Prebiotin or PrebioThrive.