Gut health is a common topic for those wishing to improve their overall health, and for a good reason. Eating healthy foods and maintaining an appropriate balance of microorganisms in the digestive system can lead to lasting health benefits.
Prebiotics and probiotics are a big part of the discussion when it comes to maintaining a healthy gut and you have most likely already heard about them and what they do. But there’s a third “biotic” that is commonly overlooked—Postbiotics which have far-ranging health benefits, including balancing blood sugar levels, supporting your immune system, and controlling inflammation responses.
Let’s start with prebiotics. Prebiotics are food ingredients—typically fibers—that are beneficial to the microorganisms in your intestines and stomach. Prebiotics in the food we eat are not generally energy sources for our own bodies, but they are important, nevertheless. They are often considered “indigestible,” but probiotic bacteria can break them down and this helps stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract.
Probiotics are the beneficial microorganisms that line the intestinal tract and exist in a symbiotic relationship with us. When we supply prebiotics as food to these microorganisms, they keep our gut healthy in return.
Postbiotics are the array of compounds produced by the probiotic bacteria as they breakdown or ferment prebiotic fibers. There is a wide array of these compounds – from short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and other organic acids, polyphenols, B-vitamins and other vitamins, neurotransmitter chemicals, enzymes and many more.
Probiotics produce postbiotics in our intestinal tracts as a byproduct of the foods we eat every day. Postbiotic examples include vitamins, amino acids (protein building blocks), short-chain fatty acids (to strengthen the intestinal lining), bacteriocins (to stop the growth of bad bacteria), enzymes (for digestion), and many more. The quality and types of the postbiotics are determined by the different strains of probiotic bacteria and the quality of the prebiotic materials we feed them.
Postbiotics are also obtained from eating fermented foods that use live bacteria as part of the process to make these foods. Adding the following postbiotic foods to your diet may help increase the concentration of postbiotics in the gut:
While wholesome foods can be an excellent source of the biotics (prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics) you need, it can be challenging to eat a diet varied enough to get everything you need. Those who don’t care for the taste of fermented foods, and those who want to be sure they are getting all the prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic support they need find supplements to be a quick and easy way to get all three.
Postbiotics provide many benefits for our health. Here are some postbiotics benefits to consider:
The amino acids cysteine, glutamate, and glycine make the powerful antioxidant glutathione which is used by every cell in the body and is important for a healthy heart. Glutathione affects the processing of LDL cholesterol and supports the health of the vascular lining.
Compounds such as muramyl dipeptide, a postbiotic component, have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and may help lower blood sugar. Insulin resistance is tied to Metabolic Syndrome and Type II Diabetes.
Postbiotics have been shown to be helpful in overcoming diarrhea. You may know that probiotics are recommended to be taken in cases of diarrhea, but further research says it’s the postbiotics that the probiotics produce that have this ability to help soothe the intestinal tissues and promote better overall intestinal health.
The probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus casei DG has been shown to produce postbiotic byproducts that help balance inflammatory immune responses. And certain postbiotic fatty acids (acetate, butyrate, and propionate) have been associated with the suppression of biochemicals that are associated with increasing inflammation.
“Leaky gut” is the term associated with a weakened intestinal lining – which can lead to a number of on-going health concerns, including contributing to inflammation in the body. The postbiotic butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, improves the health of the intestinal lining.
Prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics are all essential to our health. We need a wide variety of fermented foods in our diet to gain the health benefits an abundant variety of postbiotics have to offer. But unfortunately, it can be tough to get the variety we need through food.
Fortunately, probiotic health and research pioneer Dr. Iichiroh Ohhira took the time to refine a formula that would feed dozens of wholesome foods to his beneficial probiotics and allow them to ferment for three years so that his groundbreaking supplements would include postbiotic metabolites for optimum health.
Family owned and operated Essential Formulas has the only 3-year fermented food supplement that contains prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics. Our ground-breaking supplements have been leaders in the U.S. and worldwide for more than 30 years. Discover the Dr. Ohhira Difference for yourself!