Welcome to our guide to the very best prebiotic supplements on offer today.
When talking about gut health, most people associate it with the quality of their digestive process. But modern research has shown that this small part of your gastrointestinal tract affects other aspects of health too – including your metabolism, weight, energy levels, and even your cognitive function.
The Harvard Medical school has talked a lot about the so-called ‘gut-brain connection’. Specifically, experts from the prestigious institution agree that an unhealthy gut can send signals to our brain and lead to poor health across the board.
But what does all of this have to do prebiotics? Well, the link is simple. Prebiotics help improve our intestinal microflora, and as such, have an enormous influence on how we feel and how productive we’ll be.
We’ve created this one-stop article to help you find the best prebiotic supplement for your goals. We’ll explain what prebiotics are, what to look for when buying one, and the products we currently recommend as the pick of the bunch.
What is a Prebiotic?
Prebiotic is an undigestable type of plant fiber that feeds your beneficial gut bacteria.
Many people confuse prebiotics with probiotics. They’re very different.
Probiotics are different strains of bacteria found in fermented foods (i.e. kefir) or supplements that help to colonize your gut microbiome.
A healthy gut microbiome is crucial for optimal digestion, mental function, and overall health.
Taking probiotics adds to your existing gut bacteria. Prebiotics, on the other hand, feed your existing bacteria.
In other words, prebiotics help probiotics thrive.
The best gut health supplements selectively feed the friendly strains of bacteria in your gut, while leaving the ‘bad’ bacteria to starve.
In the past years, probiotics have been some of the most popular supplements on the market.
However, with the science showing far-reaching benefits of prebiotic fiber for mental and physical health, people have finally started to see the importance of having prebiotics in their daily menu.
Our Ranking Criteria
With so many choices available, picking the best prebiotic of the bunch can be very difficult.
When reviewing prebiotics, we always stick to the same criteria. These include:
- Ingredients – they have to be pure, effective, and tested and proven to work in reputable clinical studies. If a compound hasn’t been tested or shown to promote healthy bacteria growth, we’ll regard it as ineffective or potentially unsafe.
- Safety & Trust – Does a product come with risks or side effects? If there are any ingredients to watch out for, we’ll let you know.
- Price – We typically ignore the simple product price and check the real cost per day for a supplement.
- Value – We consider all of the factors, deciding whether the pros and the cons all add up to a great product or a disappointing one. We then give each product a final score out of 10.
- Company – Not just how popular they are, but also their track record. We’ll handily link to the product’s official web pages if you want to learn more about the products or check for discounts.
We’ve gone through a lot of ineffective and downright scam supplements to come up with the final list.
Each of the listed supplements has a unique formula with different ingredients, so you can expect each one to work a bit differently. Overall though, these are the two very best options available right now.
The Best Prebiotic Supplements on the Market
#1 Performance Lab Prebiotic
Performance Lab Prebiotic is the highest quality prebiotic supplement on sale right now. We also rank it as the best supplement for improving gut health overall.
Each serving of this product provides you with 2 grams of Inulin-FOS. Derived from chicory root, this natural compound consists of two types of fiber – short-chain and long-chain.
When you ingest it, Inulin-FOS passes to your colon where it selectively feeds Bifidobacterium, which are bacteria shown to influence everything from mood, anxiety, and depression, to physical performance and overall health. [3, 4, 5]
Because it specifically feeds your beneficial gut bacteria (mainly Bifidobacterium), Performance Lab Prebiotic offers many different benefits, including:
- Improved digestion and nutrient absorption
- Better cognitive function
- Stronger immune system
- Easier weight management
- Better blood sugar levels
- Healthier cholesterol levels
Performance Lab Prebiotic Pros and Cons
- Prebiotic fiber helps healthy gut bacteria to grow and thrive
- Contains Inulin-FOS which specifically targets one of our most important probiotic strains in the gut, Bifidobacterium
- Healthy for long-term use
- Patented, cleanest quality formula
- Prebiotic NutriCaps®
- Excellent value for money
- Only available direct from the manufacturer
- No free shipping on single-box purchases
Performance Lab Prebiotic Conclusion
Performance Lab Prebiotic represents great value and unmatched quality. It’s soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan friendly.
Each capsule of Performance Lab Prebiotic is made from fermented tapioca. This further helps with absorption.
The guys over at Performance Lab also ship their products in eco-friendly, recyclable cardboard boxes.
At $35 per month’s worth, this is as good as it gets. If you’re looking to save money, buying 3 bottles will get you one extra bottle free of charge, plus free worldwide shipping.
What is the Best Prebiotic and Probiotic Supplement?
Although Performance Lab Prebiotic is our current #1 rated gut health supplement, some people will want to use a probiotic supplement as well.
For that purpose, we’ve picked Onnit Total Gut health as our winner. It’s a complete digestive support formula with many ingredients, ranging from probiotic bacteria, digestive enzymes, to prebiotics like Artichoke and Dandelion root.
Onnit Total Gut health does exactly what its name says it does – it improves your digestion and intestinal microflora, and helps you absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat.
One caveat about this supplement though. Since it has so many ingredients, including probiotics, there’s a small chance that some people will experience side effects such as stomach discomfort. But these are very mild and transient. And often a good sign that your gut flora is being rebalanced.
- Full transparency, open sourced label with clearly written ingredient doses
- Supports physical, as well as mental health via the gut-brain axis
- Premium quality formula
- Well-known brand, endorsed by celebrities and pro athletes
- Slight bloating in sensitive users for the first few days of supplementation
- High-quality ingredients are expensive to manufacture, hence the premium price
Why Take a Prebiotic?
There’s a common misconception that prebiotics are only for people who suffer from serious gut health issues.
This is definitely not true.
Prebiotics can benefit pretty much anybody – from young adults to older people.
Whether your goal is to reduce symptoms of IBS, improve digestion and nutrient absorption, or improve mental well-being, a good prebiotic can be a game-changer.
This is especially important today when people generally don’t consume enough fiber.
Just take a look at a standard diet in any modern country. High in sugar, trans-fats, processed meats, and very little fiber. This is a disaster for your gut microbiome.
Even those who eat fiber, rarely eat the kind that makes a significant difference to their gut health. One of the most important types of fiber is Inulin, and most of us don’t eat foods that contain it – such as asparagus or artichoke.
This is why now more than ever people are in a position to benefit hugely from prebiotic supplementation.
Do You Really Need a Prebiotic Supplement?
You might not consider your gut microbiome to be in bad shape because it’s been like this for a very long time. Many people spent their entire lives with extremely unbalanced and unhealthy gut microflora, and they never realize how much it’s affecting their health and function.
Prebiotics have such a wide range of effects on our body, and such a low risk of side effects, that most people should consider supplementing them daily.
That said, if you specifically suffer from digestive problems, chronic fatigue, or nutrient deficiencies, then a prebiotic is the first supplement you should look into.
Prebiotic vs Probiotic – Which is More Important for Health?
Probiotics and Prebiotics are equally important for your gut health.
Yet, when it comes to supplementation, prebiotics are generally seen as superior to probiotics.
The best quality prebiotic supplements can give your digestive health a major boost, enhance your cognitive function, strengthen your immune system and even help with weight management.
They achieve all of this by simply providing food for your beneficial gut bacteria to thrive.
Probiotics, on the other hand, work a little differently. Assuming the probiotic supplement is high quality and the bacteria in it are actually alive, you’ll be introducing a lot of foreign species to your gut at once, which can lead to discomfort, diarrhea, and other side effects.
Most probiotics are also very fragile – they can already be dead on arrival, failing to confer any benefits.
Good prebiotics will only feed those gut bacteria which are linked to better health, allowing them to flourish. This, in turn, actually reduces the risk of gut discomfort or other side effects.
By relying on your existing microbiome, prebiotics offer a more effective, sustainable, and safer way to support different areas of health at the same time.
Benefits of Prebiotic Supplements
The benefits of taking prebiotics are far-ranging.
Not many people realize that our gut microbiome has a massive influence on our overall health and performance.
The latest research shows that the health of your gut microbiome directly affects everything from your physical stamina to mental willpower and memory. [6, 7, 8]
Benefits of taking the best prebiotics, thus, include:
- Improved mood
- Enhanced executive function
- Improved immunity against pathogens and illness
- Healthier cardiovascular system
- Better body composition
- Improves calcium absorption and bone health
It can be hard to believe in how many of our bodily processes our gut influences, but it’s true. You just have to look at some of the processes in the gut and how they tie in with the broader body system.
Here are two crucial examples.
The Gut & Brain Health
Our gut is an extremely complicated system.
Did you know that the gut contains a large amount of neurons? It actually contains so many of them that it’s called the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). It’s a part of your autonomic nervous system which carries out all unconscious processes in your body.
Our ENS contains more neurons than many animals’ brains. Because of this, many researchers refer to the gut as the “second brain”.
What’s more interesting, is that you have a vagus nerve that directly links your intestines to your brain. This line of communication is bidirectional – just as chemicals in the brain influence gut function, so do too gut cells influence brain neurotransmitter levels. 
Studies show that by changing the composition of our gut microbiome, we can dramatically alter our cognitive performance.
More specifically, clinical trials have shown that altering our gut microbiota can enhance our mood, focus, mental energy, and memory function. 
The Gut & Cardiovascular System
The relationship between our gut health and heart health is even better understood than the gut-brain axis.
Regular intake of soluble fiber (aka, prebiotics) is linked to lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. 
It’s a well-known fact that populations that consume large amounts of prebiotic fiber have significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to the typical Western diet.
Experts say this is due to the fact that soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in our small intestine – preventing its absorption and eliminating cholesterol as waste.
As atherosclerosis is one of the leading factors for developing heart disease, and since atherosclerosis is in part the result of cholesterol build-up within the artery walls, getting rid of cholesterol in the gut is not a bad idea!
This is why you’ll see dietitians suggesting to eat at least 7-10g of prebiotic fiber daily for optimal cardiovascular health.
We could spend days writing about all the benefits of prebiotic supplements. Good quality prebiotics can help with pretty much every aspect of your health, from immune system strength to memory and focus.
But what about the downsides of prebiotics? Are there any risks to taking prebiotic supplements?
Do Prebiotics Cause Side Effects?
Prebiotics are naturally found in many foods, and as such, are very safe. Prebiotics alone are extremely unlikely to cause adverse side effects.
Bear in mind that we’re only talking about soluble fiber here. These are fibers you won’t generally consume in significant amounts from food alone – that’s why you take supplements.
Prebiotic supplements are widely used. People all over the world take them without any issues.
However, if your gut microbiota is unbalanced, then you might experience some mild side effects during the first several days of taking prebiotics. These include:
- Stomach cramps
These side effects don’t occur for most people. They’re very mild and last a short period of time.
That said, remember that we are not doctors. This article is not medical advice. If you have any kind of health issue, you need to speak with a medical professional before using any kind of supplement – including the ones featured here.
What Is The Best Brand of Prebiotic?
Our current favorite brand of prebiotic supplements is Performance Lab Prebiotic by Opti Nutra.
This product essentially helps to upgrade your microbiome with a high-quality form of Inulin-FOS fiber, patented as Orafti® Synergy1.
This fiber complex has some specific benefits for our health:
- Selectively nourishes Bifidobacterium probiotics in the gut
- Supports digestion, comfort, and regularity
- Helps fat loss, immunity, and nutritional status
The advantage of a supplement like Performance Lab Prebiotic is that it doesn’t overload your gut with 30+ billion mixed bacteria and lead to digestive issues as some probiotics do.
It instead nourishes your native probiotic microflora with Inulin-FOS from chicory root. The result? More natural, reliable and comfortable microbiome support, and very little risk of gastric distress.
When Should I Take Prebiotics?
Prebiotics supplements are versatile. You can take them at any time of day. You can easily stack them with other supplements, too.
That said, taking prebiotics in a particular way can maximize their benefits. If you’re already taking a probiotic, then a prebiotic taken at the same time can multiply benefits. The same goes if you’re eating more probiotic foods (e.g. kefir, kombucha).
We also like to take prebiotics first thing in the morning with a full glass of water, 15-30 minutes before our breakfast. For best long-term results, you might want to work your way up to taking prebiotics twice per day – once with your breakfast and once with dinner.
You should also look into taking a multivitamin and prebiotic together. The increase in nutrient utilization you get from prebiotics means you’ll get more out of the multivitamin you take.
Bonus Question: Is Apple Cider Vinegar a Prebiotic?
Everybody knows about Apple cider vinegar. It has many benefits for our health, but one of the questions people often ask us is: is apple cider vinegar considered a prebiotic?
The answer is yes. Apple cider vinegar’s prebiotics come from the fermented apples. Most of that is pectin, a prebiotic that helps with digestion and nourishes the growth of probiotics in your gut.
Although it’s not as effective at boosting Bifidobacterium in our gut as Inulin-FOS, pectin has other roles in supporting our health that make it a very important part of our diet.
Our Conclusion on Best Prebiotics
So that concludes our in-depth look into the best prebiotics and gut health supplements on the market.
Prebiotics are of crucial importance for our health and daily function, and supplementing them can offer some incredible benefits.
If there’s only one thing you could take from this article, it’s that prebiotics aren’t just for people with digestive issues – they can help pretty much anyone feel and perform better.
Obviously, prebiotic supplements aren’t magic pills. You’ll still need to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise to get the most out of them.
That said, we currently rate Performance Lab Prebiotic as the best supplement in its category right now. If you want to improve your digestion, regularity, comfort and overall health then you should look into this product. You can learn more about it by following the links below.