The term prebiotic was just coined in 1995. The definition has not really changed since then. A prebiotic is a natural plant fiber that:

  • is not digested by the intestinal tract
  • is fermented by the good colon bacteria
  • does produce measurable health benefits

The prebiotics that has met these standards are:

  • inulin
  • oligofructose
  • FOS
  • galactooligosaccharide
  • lactulose

There is other proposed prebiotics that are being tested.

This seems pretty simple. A huge amount of research, however, has occurred on many aspects of prebiotics. They have been studied in conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, coronary heart disease, fatty liver, obesity, type 2 diabetes and many others. A very good and lengthy summary of prebiotics was published in 2010. It is very detailed but gives you an idea of the amount of research that occurred in this field.

Prebiotic effects: metabolic and health benefits.

A more recent review in 2014 provides an up to date assessment on prebiotics.

Probiotics, prebiotics, and the host microbiome: the science of translation.

To review what prebiotics may be helpful for a specific condition go to and type in:

prebiotics and ____________.