When we think about the importance of organ health, the same words come up time and time again. Healthy heart, healthy lungs, healthy brain; all of this is undoubtedly important, but what about our digestive organs? The condition of our gut is often overlooked, but it is vital to supporting an active and healthy body and lifestyle at all stages of life. By adopting the right diet and by approaching our health in the right way, we can protect our digestive tract and make sure that it keeps supporting our bodies for longer. Research is ongoing into how we can best achieve this, with breakthroughs in digestive health happening all the time. This is where postbiotics fit in. A revolutionary new player in the world of digestive health, postbiotics are something which you need to be aware of.
Contents:What Are Postbiotics? Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Postbiotics: Three Important Concepts in Digestive Health Postbiotic Examples Postbiotic Foods: How to Increase Your Production of Postbiotics 12 Science Backed Postbiotic Benefits
- Promotion of Good Bacteria in the Gut
- Reduction in Inflammatory Diseases and Oxidative Stress
- Shielding Against Diabetes and High Blood Sugar Levels
- Treatment for Pre-Diabetes
- Reduction in the Presence of Harmful Pathogens
- Lowered Blood Pressure
- Strengthened Immune System
- Possible Treatment for IBS, IBD and Leaky Gut Syndrome
- Potentially Reduced Risk of Colon Cancer
- Tolerable for Those with Suppressed Immune Systems
- Improved Breathing and Respiration
- Potential to Eczema and Skin Conditions in Infants.
What are Postbiotics?Postbiotics are formed after probiotic metabolism takes place in the gut. When positive bacteria are introduced to the digestive tract, they interact with the digestive process and carry out a number of functions, including promoting enzyme production, balancing bacteria and pH levels, and assisting in the healthy digestion of food in the gut. A secondary function of probiotics, after they have been metabolised, is to form postbiotics. It is these postbiotics which researchers believe represent a key ingredient in the fight for reliable and long-term digestive health. A number of academic studies point to a wide range of different benefits for people who work to nurture and support postbiotics within their own digestive systems. This can be achieved by eating the right kind of food or by taking postbiotic-supporting supplements. Current research has proven a number of these health benefits, while the search for other benefits is still ongoing. However, the consensus is that postbiotics represent a major gamechanger in digestive health and even the general health of our bodies as a whole.
Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Postbiotics: Three Important Concepts in Digestive HealthThe concept of probiotics is already widely known among medical practitioners and among those who are serious about their health and fitness. Prebiotics and postbiotics are less widely understood, but all three concepts are highly important as we strive to support healthy digestion and more - and each of these three concepts are inextricably linked to the other two.
ProbioticsProbiotics simply refer to the 'good' bacteria, which exist in your gut and help with digestion and other functions. While the term 'bacteria' has traditionally been viewed in a negative light, it has since been understood that there are good and bad forms of bacteria, and that good bacteria is, in fact, critical to the health of our bodies. It is research into probiotics which has helped the concept of 'good' bacteria become more widely known. These helpful strains of bacteria make themselves at home in your gut and work to fight imbalance in your digestive system by bringing order to your gut and other digestive organs. This not only aids with digestion, but also helps to keep these organs healthy in the long term. Some of the strains of bacteria you may already be aware of are lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus platarum
PrebioticsWhile probiotics interact with digestion and the function of the gut, prebiotics do not - or, at least, not to the same extent or in the same way. Prebiotics serve to nurture the production of probiotics, giving your gut the environment it needs for these good bacteria to take hold. For this reason, prebiotics must be tough. They must be able to survive the journey down into our digestive system so that they can do their work. So, prebiotics are hardy food fibres. They succeed in resisting absorption on their journey towards the lower tract of our digestive system, and they are impervious to the strong digestive acids that they encounter on their way. Once they have reached this lower tract, they are fermented by the microflora cultures found in this area of the body, helping them to bring about the conditions necessary for the formation of probiotics and, subsequently, postbiotics. Foods which are rich in these vital prebiotic building blocks are vegetables, resistant starch, and roots, all of which include the tough fibres required to make such a hazardous journey through the body. You may also be able to get prebiotic fibres from probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut.
PostbioticsSo, the ingesting of prebiotics brings about the conditions necessary for healthy probiotic activity in the gut, but where do postbiotics fit in? Postbiotics are the next step in the three-stage promotion of good bacteria in the gut. These bacterial cultures are formed as a byproduct of the interaction between probiotics and gut function, and many believe that they hold the key to long-term digestive health. Until recently, postbiotics were considered to be mere waste. When probiotics are metabolised, postbiotics are produced and, as far as scientists could tell, these cultures simply disappeared into the digestive tract. However, research now shows us that this is not the case. Instead of just being absorbed into the gut, postbiotics have been found to provide a broad range of digestive health functions of their own. Once this was realised, research into this new concept began in earnest and continues to discover new benefits to this day.
Postbiotic ExamplesThe following are some of the by-products of probiotics which have been determined to be postbiotics:
- Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) - These SCFAs support healthy digestion and metabolisation of probiotics. They include acetate, butyrate, and propionate lipopolysaccharides, including polysaccharide A and exopolysaccharide muramyl dipeptide
- Indole - Indole is an organic compound which helps to bring about the right conditions for healthy bacterial formation.
- Teichoic Acid - As well as encouraging the production of postbiotics, teichoic acid also helps to regulate cell growth, which can defend against some cancers.
- Lactocepin - An enzyme which catalyses the chemical reactions in the gut, creating the right kind of conditions for postbiotic formation.
- p40 Molecule - p40 is a molecule with a range of different attributes, including the potential to reduce instances of cancer.
- Other postbiotics include - bacteriocins, peptidoglycan derived muropeptides, antimicrobial peptides and hydrogen peroxide.
Postbiotic Foods: How to Increase your Production of PostbioticsSo how can you support the production of postbiotics in your digestive system? Rather than relying upon supplements, it is advised that you introduce some of the following foodstuffs to your diet.
- Apple cider vinegar and coconut vinegar - These vinegars are examples of synbiotics, which provide a bridge between the different stages of the biotic chain. Containing pectin - a known prebiotic - cider and coconut vinegars also promote probiotic and postbiotic function.
- Saukraut and Kombucha - full of beneficial bacteria, these foods are rich in probiotics and postbiotics. When we increase our probiotic colonies in the gut we naturally harness the power of postbiotics.
- Mycelium- A fungus extract containing enzymes and antimicrobials which assist with healthy digestion, Mycelium also secures the growth of healthy bacteria.
- Kefir and Pickled Vegetables - are both gut loving foods which are naturally full of postbiotics.
- Spirulina and chlorella - These two types of algae provide a detoxing and anti-inflammatory effect, as well as nourishing the right types of bacteria in the body, and promoting the production of immunoglobulin A to support postbiotic production.
- Grape pomace - Pomace are the toughest components of grape, such as seeds, stems, and skins. This provides the energy and sustenance which probiotics need to successfully metabolise and produce postbiotics.
- Foods rich in humic and fulvic acids, and Vitamins B and K - B and K vitamins, as well as the humic and fulvic acids discussed above, provide support to probiotics and so nurture the production of postbiotics.
- Fermented aloe - A detoxifier, fermented aloe is also responsible for producing the beta-glucans which help to produce postbiotics during probiotic metabolisation, as well as boosting immunity.
- Shilajit - A herb which provides a good source of fulvic acid, which in turn supports the production of postbiotics. Shilajit is also an anti-inflammatory and antiviral agent.
- Bone broth - bone broth contains nutrients which can heal the gut lining thereby creating a rich environment for probiotics and postbiotics to flourish.