What They Are and Why They Are Important
May 5, 2017
Ross Pelton, RPh, PhD, CCN
Postbiotics is a term that refers to the vast array of compounds that are produced by the metabolic activity of your probiotic bacteria. These probiotic-produced postbiotic compounds play extremely important roles in the regulation of health and in the maintenance of a healthy microbiome. In The Mind-Gut Connection, Dr. Emirian Mayer states that the bacteria in your microbiome transform the food you eat into “hundreds of thousands of metabolites.”
Diversity & Postbiotics: Different bacteria produce different kinds of metabolites. This is why diversity, meaning many different kinds of probiotic bacteria equates to a healthier microbiome, and better health for the individual. Dr. Ohhira’s is a multi-strain probiotic, utilizing twelve strains of probiotic bacteria to support production of a broad range of postbiotics.
Prebiotics vs Postbiotics
Prebiotics & Postbiotics: To have a healthy microbiome, you MUST feed your probiotic bacteria well. Different types of probiotic bacteria require different kinds of foods. Probiotic bacteria thrive on non-digestible carbohydrates or non-digestible fiber. The richest source of probiotic-friendly fibers are the multicolored fruits and vegetables. Consuming a diet that contains a wide range of different fiber-rich foods encourages the development of a more diverse microbiome.
A wide range of organically grown foods, mushrooms and seaweeds are utilized in the production of Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics. Thus, Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics receive a healthier diet of fiber-rich foods than the diets that most humans provide the bacteria in their intestinal tract.
Other companies provide you with a product that just contains some probiotic bacteria. Those bacteria are like a starter culture, they haven’t done any work yet. However, the multi-year fermentation process utilized in the production of Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics allows the bacteria to spend three years (Original Formula) to five years (Professional Formula) digesting food and producing postbiotic metabolites. When Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics are encapsulated, you get probiotics, prebiotics AND postbiotics.
Postbiotics: It Takes More Than Probiotic Bacteria to Create
A Healthy Microbiome
Postbiotic compounds are the key regulators of gastrointestinal health. Probiotic bacteria produce numerous classes of postbiotic compounds such as:
- Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAS): These compounds are an important part of the immune system. They optimize the acid/base balance in the GI track, promote the growth of good bacteria and suppress the growth of pathogens.
- Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are an important part of the immune system. AMPs are natural antibiotics that suppress the growth of bad bacteria in the microbiome.
- Nutrients including B-vitamins, vitamin K and numerous amino acids
- Hydrogen peroxide, which suppresses the growth of candida and other yeasts
- Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes (CAZymes), which allow probiotic bacteria to digest fibers to produce postbiotic compounds.
- And…..experts estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of postbiotic compounds that have yet to be discovered.
The Goal of Probiotic Therapy
The term for an unhealthy microbiome is dysbiosis, which often has symptoms of pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. Many people take probiotics with the goal of transforming a pathological microbiome (a pathobiome) into a healthy microbiome. But just taking probiotics is only addressing half the problem. Your goal is likely to be accomplished much faster if you work to transform the intestinal environment by supplying postbiotics along with the probiotics. Postbiotics are the compounds that do the “work” of reestablishing a healthy intestinal tract and a healthy microbiome.
Probiotic therapy is much more effective when your probiotic bacteria are supplied with and nourished by fiber-rich prebiotic foods. However, it is now becoming understood that postbiotic compounds such as short-chain fatty acids, immune signaling chemicals, neurotransmitters and anti-microbial peptides are the real superstars in the battle to transform a pathobiome into a healthy microbiome. These are just some of the compounds adjust the intestinal acid/base balance, regulate digestion and absorption of nutrients, fight pathogens, communicate with the brain and enhance your immune system. Postbiotics are accelerators of microbiome restoration.
Here’s an analogy that helps to explain the Dr. Ohhira’s Difference. In an automobile manufacturing plant, it takes hundreds of workers utilizing thousands of parts to create the desired end products such as cars, vans, pickup trucks and/or SUVs. However, as a consumer, you don’t want workers or parts, you want a vehicle. And, in fact, if all its parts are functioning and interacting effectively, your new vehicle will support you in many aspects of your life.
In our analogy with the microbiome, your gastrointestinal tract is the automobile plant. The GI tract is the “facility” where probiotic bacteria (the workers) utilize compounds in fiber-rich foods/prebiotics (the parts) to create/assemble a wide range of postbiotics. It is important to realize that postbiotics play a critical role in regulating a healthy gastrointestinal tract and maintaining a healthy microbiome. Postbiotics are the “vehicles” that help to transform a pathobiome into a healthy microbiome.
Rapid Microbiome Restoration
In order for probiotic bacteria to live and thrive, you must create a healthy environment for them. Introducing probiotic bacteria into a hostile/pathologic GI tract is like throwing seeds out into a desert. Without water and nourishment, survival will be difficult.
Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics deliver multiple strains of probiotic bacteria along with a supportive prebiotic food supply and, with a multitude of the all-important postbiotics. At Essential Formulas, we say Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics deliver A Complete Microbiome System, which accomplishes Rapid Microbiome Restoration.