How Much Do You Know About Postbiotics?

How Much Do You Know About Postbiotics?

You’ve likely heard of probiotics and perhaps you’ve heard of prebiotics too. But what about postbiotics

Simply put, probiotics are beneficial bacteria, prebiotics are food for those bacteria, and postbiotics are important metabolites produced by the probiotics after they eat the prebiotics. But there’s more to the story.

What Are Postbiotics?

Postbiotics are any substance released by, or produced through, metabolic probiotic activity in the gut that can directly or indirectly support health.1 The metabolites that are produced can include enzymes, short-chain fatty acids, and vitamins like B12. The short-chain fatty acids that are produced are especially important to health.2 All of the key postbiotic metabolites support immunity, healthy inflammation, metabolism, overall gut health, and more.3

In addition to being involved in the immune, nervous, and other physiological systems, postbiotics assist with the absorption of key nutrients such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.4 Even though this activity takes place in the gut, the benefits of postbiotics go well beyond the gut and include the cardiovascular and immune systems.5

Postbiotic Foods

While no specific foods contain postbiotics, when you eat probiotic and prebiotic foods, your body creates postbiotic metabolites. Some examples of probiotic foods include yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh. Good sources of prebiotics include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, flaxseed, and oats.

If you are not getting enough of these probiotic and prebiotic foods in your daily diet, you can also take a probiotic supplement. When you take a probiotic supplement daily, postbiotic metabolites are created in the gut which can support health on many levels.

When choosing a probiotic supplement, choose one that contains a blend of different probiotic strains to give you the bacterial diversity you need.

References

  1. Zolkiewicz J, Marzec A, Ruszczynski M, Feleszko W. Postbiotics—a step beyond pre- and probiotics. Nutrients. 2020;12(8):2189. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468815/
  2. Xiong R, Zhou D, Wu S, et al. Health benefits and side effects of short-chain fatty acids. Foods. 2022;11(18). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9498509/
  3. Prajapati N, Patel J, Singh S, et al. Postbiotic production: harnessing the power of microbial metabolites for health applications. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2023;14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10758465/
  4. Peluzio M, Martinez JA, Milagro FI. Postbiotics: metabolites and mechanisms involved in microbiota-host interactions. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 2021;108:11-26. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224420307172
  5. Bourebaba Y, Marycz K, Mularczyk M, Bourebaba L. Postbiotics as potential new therapeutic agents for metabolic disorders management. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. 2022;153. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332222005273
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