Do you Know the Difference Between a Prebiotic, Probiotic and Postbiotic?
Gut Wealth guide on the difference between prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics.
This page is a bit science-y so bear with us. Trying to make it simple but there's a lot going on in our guts that we're still learning about.
If you're bloating after eating or want to reduce inflammation, or have an upset stomach, knowing your biotics might help get you back on track.
Prebiotics: What Are They and How Do They Work?
In December 2021, 9210 google searches were done asking "what's a prebiotic?" - it's seems this question has a lot of people stumped!
We need prebiotics. They're found in foods such as bananas, oats, citrus fruits, garlic, onions and artichokes. Sometimes they're labeled as resistant starch but prebiotics are non-digestible plant fibres.
Prebiotics are the fuel for good beneficial bacteria in your body.
Research suggests that these good-for-you gut bugs have an immune-boosting effect on our bodies; plus they can produce important nutrients like vitamins B1 (thiamine) through B9 (folate).
In short: the more prebiotics you eat, the healthier your gut becomes—and that’s especially good news if you suffer from digestive issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or bloating after eating.
Probiotics: What Are They and How Do They Work?
The definition of a probiotic is a live microorganism that delivers a health benefit. Huh?
OK, in other words, probiotics are good bacteria that positively affect your body by improving digestion or promoting healthy immune function.
These living organisms (often found in fermented foods like yogurt) can also help with things like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhoea, skin conditions and respiratory illnesses.
The probiotics eat the prebiotics to make postbiotics.
If you're wondering what's the best probiotics for gut health, the answer is likely to be relating to symptoms you have, rather than one we can recommend to everyone. Although you could cut out the middle man, and buy postbiotic food supplements without the need for taking live probiotics.
Postbiotics: What Are They and How Do They Work?
You might not know about postbiotics: compounds produced by those healthy bacteria in your gut.
These have been defined by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) as "a preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host”.
Why does this mean? It means that postbiotics help improve gut health.
Every day scientists are discovering new ways that they benefit our bodies. Here’s what we currently know about these remarkable substances.
Emerging science about postbiotics
Until recently, in comparison to its biotic cousins prebiotics and probiotics, very little was widely know about postbiotics, but, Scientists have known for decades that some non-living microorganisms can also have benefits for health.
But as scientists start to investigate how gut bacteria may impact human health beyond probiotics and prebiotics, we're learning more about postbiotics.
In fact, it seems that certain postbiotics can stimulate microbes in your intestine (colon) to produce enzymes capable of breaking down tough-to-digest compounds.
Why postbiotics are great for digestion and overall wellbeing
When it comes to probiotics for digestion and overall wellbeing, postbiotics are often less well-known.
At first glance, it may seem like postbiotics (post-biotics) are exactly what prebiotics do; they nourish good bacteria in your gut. But while both accomplish similar things (creating digestive balance), there are distinctions between pre-and post- biotics that you should know before you make any purchases or assumptions about your body's health!
If we think about the gut microbiome as a city. Probiotics are the factory, Prebiotics are the fuel for the factory. The probiotics 'factories' make the Postbiotics - so they're the goods.
Sources of Postbiotics
Because postbiotics are a byproduct of probiotic fermentation, the food source of postbiotics are probiotics.
Foods that can help increase the concentration of postbiotics in the gut include: Yogurt, Sauerkraut, Miso soup, Soft Cheeses, Kefir, Sourdough bread, Buttermilk, Pickles and Tempeh.
You can also add postbiotics supplements from Gut Wealth
Some of the Emerging Benefits of Postbiotics
- Some postbiotics have been shown to help lower blood sugar and prevent associated issues
- Postbiotics have been found to help treat diarrhoea
- Antimicrobial properties - postbiotics can help populate the gut with an ecosystem that is great for good bacteria
- May be more suitable for those with immune deficiencies than the live cultures of probiotics
- Postbiotics have been shown to help reduce bloating and inflammation