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One of two related terms created by food industry technicians and scientists to describe the effect of or to describe foods having non-living microorganisms added to a base substance in order to create and develop a beneficial result for the health of humans.

The related term associated with prebiotics is "probiotics" which describes the process or foods with live microorganisms added to substances in order to improve human health and disorders associated with food consumption. Live organisms such as bacteria added to yogurt or kefir milk products are examples of probiotic processes to improve health problems associated with the consumption of dairy products. Currently, prebiotic usage is mainly focused on health issues affecting the colon while probiotics focuses it efforts on solving many colon related health problems encountered with the mouth, throat, stomach, small intestine, colon, and the vaginal canal. Some of the foods and nutritional products that are being supplemented with prebiotic or probiotic microbes include vitamins and medications, yogurt, snack bars, snack mixes and some snack spreads, desserts, milk products for adults and infants, cheeses, and meat products.

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