Microbiota, Probiotics and Prebiotics

Specific Health Concern 22 November 2020

Article written by Matthieu Marfoglia, fourth-year Master’s Student in Biosciences at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon.

What are the differences between prebiotics and probiotics?

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms naturally present in our bodies. Prebiotics are nutrients for these microorganisms and improve their growth and survival rate.

How do they function and how are they beneficial for me?

The digestive system is mainly made of microorganisms with very different roles: they help to break down and digest food, protect us from pathogens, regulate our immune system and produce vitamins.2 A number of studies show that microbiota imbalance and the loss of certain beneficial strains, in particular bacteria from Lactobacilli or Bifidobacterium strains, can lead to digestive problems or a weakening of our immune system. Microbiota imbalance can have several causes such as a diet lacking in variety and diversity, antibiotic use or even certain gut infections.

Probiotics and prebiotics are a way of repairing, restoring and preventing the loss of these strains important for both digestion and the immune system. The different strains found inside the products will be able to recolonize the gut and re-establish the functions needed to ensure that we stay in good health.  


Who are these products aimed at?

Throughout our lives, microbiota are an essential part of our bodies – Immunity Support and Bioharmony Balance are aimed at individuals of all ages and help to maintain or restore a healthy and balanced gut flora.


Why should I take them?

Numerous studies now show that gut microbiota imbalance is linked to a number of problems such as difficulties with digestion or intolerances to certain foods, but also to the deregulation of the immune system as well as to allergies. Therefore, it is essential to replenish and restore the most beneficial strains – prevention is the most effective method! Once certain strains have been lost, other strains take their place and it is therefore in fact easier to prevent microbiota deregulation and imbalance than it is to restore it. In order to restore the beneficial strain, it needs to be sufficiently resistant to take the place of the microorganisms now residing in its place.

What are the different strains and what are they made of? What are their roles?

Bioharmony Balance combines both probiotics and prebiotics. It contains 3 strains: Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Casei, Streptococcus Thermophilus as well as fructo-oligosaccharides in order to support growth and ensure survival. Clinical studies have shown that these strains improve digestive comfort by reducing bloating, abdominal pain, constipation and also by improving intestinal transit. 3,4,5


Immunity Support also combines probiotics and prebiotics. It contains 4 strains: Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG, Bifidobacterium Animalis Lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum as well as Vitamin D. Clinical trials have shown that these strains reduce both intestinal and respiratory infections by strengthening the immune system and also improve allergic responses by reducing swelling and certain symptoms. 6,7,8


How should they be taken?  How long will it take to see some results?

For prevention, it is recommended to take one capsule per day, for one month and to repeat this every three months. This will allow to regulate microbiota balance throughout the seasons and to help you stay in good health.


When using as a cure, take one capsule per day until any symptoms disappear – then take one capsule per day, for one month and repeat this every three months to ensure that the restored balance is maintained.


Clinical trials have proven that effects can be seen with a prescribed dose of 10/1000 of CFU (Colony Forming Unity) and that these effects are visible within 15 days of starting the treatment.


Are they lactose/gluten free and suitable for a vegan diet? Are they suitable for those suffering from chronic illnesses (diabetes, high cholesterol) or during pregnancy?

The products are lactose-free, gluten-free, GM-free and do not contain any nanoparticles, artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives. They are therefore suitable for those who are gluten or lactose intolerant as well as for those following a vegan diet.

The strains used are suitable for pregnant women and probiotics are in fact recommended during pregnancy as a balanced and diversified microbiota can then be passed on to the new-born.

The strains used are also suitable for those following treatments for chronic illnesses and can be taken without problem in treating any illnesses and discomforts associated with those treatments.


References :

  1. Basic aspects and pharmacology of probiotics: an overview of pharmacokinetics, mechanisms of action and side-effects. P. Marteau, F. Shanahan. Elsevier, Volume 17, Issue 5, October 2003, Pages 725-740.
  2. Chapitre 13, Microbiote et immunité intestinale. Les fondamentaux de la pathologie digestive. CDU-HGE/Editions Elesevier-Masson – Octobre 2014.
  3. Effect of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota on constipation-related symptoms and haemorrhoids in women during puerperium. Sakai T., Kubota H., Gawad A., Gheyle L., Ramael S., Oishi K.. Benef Microbes. 2015;6(3):253-62.
  4. Efficacy of probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nikfar, S., Rahimi, R., Rahimi, F. et al. Dis Colon Rectum (2008) 51: 1775.
  5. Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM affects colonic mucosal opioid receptor expression in patients with functional abdominal pain – a randomised clinical study. Ringel-Kulka T1, Goldsmith JR, Carroll IM, Barros SP, Palsson O, Jobin C, Ringel Y. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Jul;40(2):200-7.
  6. Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2 Ingestion Induces a Less Inflammatory Cytokine Profile and a Potentially Beneficial Shift in Gut Microbiota in Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study. Spaiser SJ, Culpepper T, Nieves C Jr, Ukhanova M, Mai V, Percival SS, Christman MC,4, Langkamp-Henken B. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34(6):459-69.
  7. Lactobacillus GG in the prevention of gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections in children who attend day care centers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Hojsak I, Snovak N, Abdović S, Szajewska H, Misak Z, Kolacek S. Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun;29(3):312-6.
  8. Probiotics in the management of atopic eczema. Isolauri E1, Arvola T, Sütas Y, Moilanen E, Salminen S. Clin Exp Allergy. 2000 Nov;30(11):1604-10.