Best Prebiotic Supplements

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best prebiotic supplements

Last Updated December 2019

When most people think of health supplements for the gut, they think of probiotics. Probiotics are packed with beneficial “gut-friendly” bacteria — live organisms that populate the flora of the digestive tract. Chances are you’ve never stopped to ponder what feeds those microorganisms. Well, the answer is prebiotics.

Prebiotics are a form of non-digestible fiber. Foods like under-ripe bananas and raw garlic are good sources of prebiotics. If the thought of eating a bunch of green bananas or raw garlic does not appeal to you, fortunately there are prebiotic supplements that contain prebiotic fibers that promote healthy digestion and have all sorts of wellness implications.

Pairing a prebiotic with a probiotic will maximize the health benefits of the probiotic. These benefits range from improved skin to higher immunity to better mood. Keep reading to learn more about prebiotics, also known as probiotic supplements, and how they work.

Think of prebiotics as the “fertilizer” for the garden of good bacteria in your gut.

How prebiotics work

Prebiotics fuel the beneficial bacteria in your belly, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. As an indigestible fiber, the prebiotics found in food and in supplements pass through your digestive tract until they reach your colon. In your colon, the gut-friendly microorganisms mentioned above (as well as others) ferment the prebiotic fiber and turn it into a food source. This benefits the body in a myriad of ways.

Targeted appeal

An affordable prebiotic formulated to work synergistically with probiotics. BioSchwartz contains non-insulin fiber to promote the growth of healthy bifidobacteria in the gut.

Benefits of prebiotic supplementation

Gut health is a hot topic as more discoveries are made about how important the gut microbiome is to the overall functioning of the body. Prebiotics play a co-starring role to probiotics.

Digestion, digestion, digestion

By increasing the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, prebiotics help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Overgrowth of bad bacteria, like candida (yeast), can lead to bloating, gas, indigestion, acid reflux, and even brain fog. You can help resolve or prevent digestive issues by keeping the balance of bacteria in check with a prebiotic.

Immune boost

In recent years, the gut has been said to be the seat of the immune system, and studies suggest that taking prebiotic-containing foods changes gut composition to improve immunity. Your body needs healthy bacteria to protect itself from viruses and pathogens.

Bowel regularity

Because prebiotics are essentially fiber, they help keep bowel movements regular. They provide a natural colon cleanse and detox in the process.

Weight loss

Fiber is proven to aid in weight loss, partly because it’s slow to digest and helps you feel fuller. Prebiotics also may suppress the “appetite hormone” ghrelin.

Nutrient absorption

Probiotics increase our absorption of nutrients and minerals (like calcium) — and remember, prebiotics are needed for probiotics to survive. Efficient nutrient absorption may lead to healthier bones, better immunity, and improved mood and energy levels. Other reported benefits are clearer skin, fewer yeast infections, a reduction in allergies and eczema, and improved sleep.

DID YOU KNOW?

The standard American diet contains little or no fiber, meaning most people aren’t getting a healthy dose of prebiotics.

Types of prebiotics to consider

Prebiotics come in a variety of forms.

A prebiotic powder can be added to your morning smoothie. These food-based powders are generally tasteless, though some come flavored, and will help get your digestion on track as you start your day. You could also add a spoonful of prebiotic powder to any beverage throughout the day.

If you don’t like taking vitamins or can’t swallow pills, prebiotic gummies may be right for you. Children love these, too — and they’re available in sugar-free form.

Capsules are the most common form of prebiotics. Unlike most probiotics, prebiotic capsules do not have to be refrigerated. Dosage is generally one capsule per day.

Pearls do away with the outer coating of cellulose or gelatin capsules and are generally easier to swallow.

Synbiotics combine probiotics and prebiotics in the same capsule. This cost-effective and highly convenient combination maximizes the benefits of both therapies.

A 2015 study showed that prebiotics had a positive change on cortisol, a stress-causing hormone, suggesting that taking prebiotics may help reduce stress levels.

Staff
BestReviews

Prebiotic features

  • Organic ingredients are offered in some plant-based prebiotics. Though these might come with a higher price tag, many people find it to be worth the expense.
  • Inulin is a common ingredient found in prebiotics. This plant fiber is typically derived from chicory root, a food source that is naturally rich in prebiotics.
  • Added vitamins can enhance prebiotic supplements. For example, B vitamins provide an extra energy boost, and C and E vitamins can help improve the skin.
  • Added herbs like ginger or turmeric can help reduce bloat and aid digestion. Maca and goji berries can help provide a natural energy boost. These ingredients tend to be found in high-end supplements.

Affordable synbiotic

These smooth, non-coated “pearls” are as easy on your wallet as they are on your digestion. The pearls contain billions of beneficial bacteria without having to be refrigerated, and they are a cost-effective choice if you want to take your probiotics and prebiotics in one fell swoop.

Prebiotic supplement prices

The entry-level price for a container of prebiotic capsules, pearls, synbiotics, and powders is $17 to $21. Gummies fall below this range and can be found for $12 to $15. Mid-range prebiotics are priced from $22 to $40. Organic prebiotic powders fall in this price bucket as well. Top-of-the-line prebiotic capsules, which may include targeted features for different genders or beauty benefits, range from $50 to $70.

Tips

  • If you’re already taking probiotics, you can add prebiotics to your regimen to optimize your probiotic therapy.
  • Antibiotic use depletes our healthy levels of bacteria. Supplementing with a prebiotic and probiotic during a course of antibiotics will help replenish those levels. Always take your prebiotic and probiotic supplements two to three hours away from the time you take your antibiotics.
  • Look for prebiotics that come from whole-food sources and not just prebiotic-like compounds. Buy a higher-quality prebiotic from a reputable manufacturer.
  • To avoid negative side effects like bloating, abdominal pain, or diarrhea that can result from the fermentation process in your gut, start with a lower dosage of prebiotics and build up to the recommended dosage.
  • Stay hydrated while taking prebiotics to avoid constipation.
EXPERT TIP

Prebiotics can help reduce gas and bloating from an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria in your gut.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

Though capsule prebiotics dominate the market, there are alternatives to consider if pills aren’t your preference. BeLive Fiber Gummie Prebiotic Supplements for Kids & Adults are a fun way to get in your daily dose. These apple-flavored gummies are sugar-free and vegan to boot. For children and adults with food sensitivities, these chicory-based prebiotics are free from common allergens.

If you’re a smoothie drinker or just looking for a prebiotic powder, Hyperbiotics Organic Prebiotic Powder is a high-quality powder sourced from organic Jerusalem artichoke and acacia fiber. This food-based prebiotic blend delivers pure, non-synthetic ingredients like inulin and resistant starch, and it is formulated with sensitive tummies in mind. We love that it’s actually tasteless and can be mixed into yogurt or applesauce.

Prebiotics are naturally found in fiber-rich foods like chicory, raw asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, unripe bananas, and raw garlic.

FAQ

Q. What are postbiotics, and how are they related to prebiotics?
A.
Postbiotics are the byproduct, or waste product, of the probiotic fermentation process. When good bacteria metabolize prebiotic compounds, this produces short-chain fatty acids, which are believed to have health benefits. Butyric acid, for example, supports the intestinal lining. Other short-chain fatty acids help regulate electrolyte levels and support bowel movement regularity.

Q. Can I take prebiotics at the same time I take my probiotics?
A.
Yes. In fact, some manufacturers combine the two in one convenient pill. If you’re taking antibiotics, be sure to take them apart from synbiotics, as antibiotics indiscriminately kill all bacteria, good and bad. We recommend a window of two or three hours, but you should consult with your health care practitioner.

Q. Should I take prebiotics with food or on an empty stomach?
A.
It doesn’t matter. Prebiotics can be taken with or without food. Some people prefer to take prebiotics in the morning, and if taking more than one capsule, in the evening as well. Powders are best mixed with non-water beverages for taste and can also be taken on an empty stomach.  

The team that worked on this review
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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