Just what are they, and are they the same?
The short answer is no, they aren't. All three serve to support a healthy digestion and gastrointestinal tract but act quite differently from one another, yet are reliant on each other to produce a synergistic effect!
Confusing? Read on!
Prebiotics are quite simply, food for probiotics. They support the viability and proliferation of probiotics to enhance intestinal function. Prebiotics are typically insoluble fibres (non-digestible and resistant to digestive juices) such as oligosaccharides and beta-glucans.
These are good bacteria that have been scientifically shown to be critical in maintaining good gut microbiome (the micro ecosystem that lives in our gastrointestinal tract) and thus, supports a healthy digestive system.
In humans, scientists have identified Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium to have proven effects in human health benefits.
In animals, Enterococcus faecium has proven to be critical for good gut health, more so that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. So a tip from me would be to check the ingredient label of any probiotic supplement you're thinking of buying. If Enterococus faecium is not in the first 5 ingredients list, consider another product!
Postbiotics are substances secreted by probiotics as they metabolize, or as they are regenerated. These substances can be regarded as beneficial byproducts generated by probiotics!
Postbiotics are very safe and gentle, even for use in very young humans/animals and critically ill patients.
Dr Lynn's Opinion
I personally recommend a synergistic combination of pre/pro and postbiotics to patients with digestive issues. Even for dogs prone to yeast infections, as the bacteria can balance our the yeast burden to establish equilibrium and reduce incidence of flare-ups.