Influencing gut microbiota through nutrition

Nutricia has pioneered the role of nutrition and gut microbiota to improve health. Our research has focused on the relationship between nutrition and the development of the digestive system in infants. By studying the development of the microbiota of breastfed infants we have learned how the microbiota can be influenced through nutrition and impact health and disease later in life.

The difference between prebiotics and probiotics 

Prebiotics and probiotics sound similar and so are easily confused. Probiotics is the name given to good bacteria naturally present in the gut that help the digestive system to function properly. They are defined as live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, pass a health benefit on to the host¹.


Probiotics are sometimes found in food such as yogurt; however, they can be digested before they reach the colon where they are needed. Prebiotics are dietary carbohydrates that feed the good bacteria already in the gut. They are not digestible and therefore reach the colon intact. Prebiotics work naturally to stimulate the growth of good bacteria to support gut function, including helping digestion and supporting the immune system. 

  1. Guidelines for the Evaluation of Probiotics in Food. Codex. World Health Organization 

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