The main difference between probiotics and antioxidants is that probiotics are live beneficial bacteria and/or yeast that are in the body, whereas antioxidants are substances that fight against free radicals.
Various chemicals help in the functioning of the biological systems of living organisms. These chemicals are associated with a vast number of chemical reactions and processes. Some living organisms also help in performing certain essential functions in the body. Probiotics and antioxidants are examples of such chemicals and organisms.
Key Areas Covered
What are Probiotics
Probiotics are a combination of live beneficial bacteria and yeast living in the body. For a microorganism to be a probiotic, it should fulfill several characteristics. Some of these include being able to isolate from a human, being able to survive in the intestine after ingestion, having a proven benefit, and being able to be consumed safely.
Probiotics live in the gut. In fact, they keep the gut healthy. There are many types of probiotics. The most common bacteria among them are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. The most common type of yeast is Saccharomyces boulardy. We can take in these probiotics from foods and supplements, including foods such as yogurt, buttermilk, sourdough bread, cottage cheese, kimchi, fermented pickles, and miso soup. In addition to food, we can intake probiotics in capsules, pills, powders, and liquids. Probiotics are often combined with prebiotics, which act as a source of food for the probiotics inside the body – for example, inulin and pectin.
Apart from the gut, these organisms also may inhabit the skin, lungs, mouth, urinary tract, and vagina. These microorganisms are considered beneficial for the health of the body. They keep the body in balance. When harmful bacteria enter the body, these beneficial bacteria fight them and bring the body back to normal. Hence, they play an important role in immunity. They also control inflammations and help in the process of digestion. Additionally, other functions of these beneficial microorganisms include breaking down and absorbing medicines, helping the cells in the gut to prevent the entry of harmful bacteria into the blood, and synthesizing vitamins.
What are Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that fight against free radicals. These substances may originate naturally or can be manmade. Examples of such antioxidants are lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta carotene, carotenoids, selenium, manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin E. These antioxidants give electrons to free radicals without making themselves electron deficient, acting as electron donors.
These antioxidants can be present in certain foods – fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, carrots, potatoes, radish, cabbage, avocadoes, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes. They are also available as supplements.
Antioxidants prevent aging. They are also used as a treatment for cancer, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and heart diseases though there is not much evidence to support the healing effects of these diseases in relation to antioxidant intake. They are also involved in the process of DNA repair and in maintaining the health of the cells.
However, a high intake of antioxidants is observed to be harmful. They can also promote and cause diseases. In fact, excessive antioxidant supplements can interact with medicines, bringing about harmful effects.
Difference Between Probiotics and Antioxidants
Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria and/or yeast that are in the body, whereas antioxidants are substances that fight against free radicals in the body.
Probiotics are living organisms (bacteria and yeast), while antioxidants are non-living substances.
Probiotics are obtained from food sources like fermented foods, yogurt, and cottage cheese, whereas antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables such as cabbage, radish, potatoes, avocados, etc.
Moreover, probiotics maintain the balance of the body and help in immunity and digestion, whereas antioxidants help in removing and destroying free radicals.
There are many chemical processes happening in the human body. Chemicals and sometimes microbes help for the smooth flow of functions in the body. Probiotics and antioxidants are helpful, beneficial, and harmless to the body. In fact, these substances and microbes take part in many biological processes in the body. The main difference between probiotics and antioxidants is that probiotics are live beneficial bacteria and/or yeast that are in the body, whereas antioxidants are substances that fight against free radicals.
1. “Probiotics, pills, dietary, supplements” (CC0) via Pixino
2. “Antioxidants Free radicals Lobo et al.” By Lobo, V., Patil, A., Phatak, A., Chandra, N. (2010). Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 4(8), 118–126. (CC BY-SA 4.) via Commons Wikimedia