Maybe you’re into learning about how to live your healthiest life. And maybe you know that in many ways your gut health is the key to better overall health and wellness. If this is the case, you probably already know all about prebiotics and probiotics and their effect on your health. But have you heard about postbiotics? What are postbiotics, anyway?
Yes, there’s a third p-biotic. Like probiotic bacteria and prebiotic fiber, postbiotics can help support the health of the human microbiome.
Read here to learn all about prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics. And find out how they may support your digestive and overall health.
To understand postbiotics, it’s best to refamiliarize yourself with prebiotics and probiotics. Here’s a quick review:
Prebiotics are nutrients and carbohydrate plant dietary fibers. They act as food and fuel for probiotic bacteria or your good gut bacteria. Prebiotics consist mostly of dietary fiber. They also differ from probiotics because they can’t die from exposure to your stomach acid. They’re also entirely indigestible. Prebiotics are key to gut health.
Since prebiotics can’t die or get broken down by your body, they’re able to nourish probiotics. In the same way that fertilizer helps grass grow, prebiotics can help the probiotic bacteria in your colon and intestines flourish.
Some lectin-friendly food sources of prebiotic compounds are:
- Chicory root
Studies have shown that probiotics may even:
- Support skin that is healthy and free of irritation4
- Support normal bowel movements
- Support regular stress levels and a positive mood5
- Help fight oxidative
However, it’s likely that you won’t be able to get enough probiotics in your diet through these foods alone. If you have concerns, speak to your doctor about taking a probiotic supplement.
Simply put, postbiotics are the metabolites of probiotics. They are bacterial products (or metabolic byproducts) from probiotic bacteria. And they have biologic activity in your body. In other words, when probiotics feed on prebiotics, postbiotics are produced. More or less, they’re the waste material of probiotics.
Let’s simplify even further. Probiotics (or good bacteria) eat prebiotics (fuel) and produce postbiotics (usable waste products).
What’s that waste really made of?
- Cell surface proteins
- Organic acids
Why would anyone care about the waste product of probiotics? Turns out, postbiotics could offer several useful health benefits for your gut.
So, what benefits are we discussing here? Well, postbiotics may offer the following benefits:
- Support immune responses
- Support weight loss
- Support healthy blood pressure levels
- Support healthy cholesterol levels
- Support antioxidant activities
As you know, some of the microbes in your gut can be beneficial bacteria while others can be harmful. The microbes ferment nutrients. Again, these naturally occurring, beneficial bacteria live off your gut. But your gut is also kept healthy by the presence of probiotics.
There are factors that can compromise the health of your gut. Thus, they can compromise the probiotic bacteria that inhabit it. The following are just some of those factors:
- What you eat
It could be worth exploring supplementing your diet with postbiotics. Accompany supplementation with a healthy (lectin-free) diet and regular exercise to best benefit your health.
If you feel digestive discomfort or notice skin issues, talk to your healthcare professional. The answer may be a prebiotic, probiotic, and postbiotic regimen.
Do as much for your health as you can. Get regular exercise and try to avoid lectins and sugar at all costs. Your gut buddies will thank you.