[noun] Our body is inhabited by a multitude of living microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, yeasts, etc.) that collectively form what is called the microbiota or flora.
The intestinal microbiota, when in balance, allows the digestive system to function properly. On the skin’s surface, there is also a cutaneous microbiota, or skin microbiota, the outermost skin layer after the stratum corneum. This microbiota plays a protective role by forming a physical barrier that defends against pathogens, allergens and other substances that can irritate the skin.
The word “prebiotic” is taken from the Latin words prae and bios, together meaning “which allows life.” These food substances are indeed composed chiefly of sugars, which represent a source of nutrients specifically promoting the balance and growth of the microbiota’s beneficial microorganisms. Take care not to confuse prebiotics with probiotics, which are living microorganisms that repopulate colonies of our intestinal microbiota that may be out of balance.