Understanding the Relationship Between Prebiotics, Probiotics & Postbiotics
Your gut is filled with a nearly unimaginable number of microscopic creatures, but don’t worry. This is a good thing. These microbes, mostly bacteria, create a tiny little ecosystem in your stomach called a microbiome. Your microbiome plays a huge role in your overall health, which is why it’s important to keep the good bacteria in your gut healthy and happy. How do you do that? The answer has to do with the relationship between prebiotics, probiotics, and a relatively new “biotic” called postbiotics.
What Is a Probiotic?
You’ve likely heard about probiotics before, especially if you’ve seen more than your fair share of yogurt commercials. The World Health Organization refers to probiotics as “microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” In other words, probiotics are the bacteria that live inside your gut (and throughout your body). These tiny friendly flora may help support your digestive health and immune function. So, if you struggle with occasional gas, bloating and irregularity, probiotics may be a great option for you.
How do you get these good strains of bacteria into your system? One way is to eat certain foods that contain prebiotics, like yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and other fermented foods. If you’re not a huge sauerkraut fan, another option is to take a probiotic supplement, since they are designed to deliver good strains of bacteria right to your gut. Just make sure your supplement includes a prebiotic so that the bacteria can survive the trip.
What is a Prebiotic?
All living things require nourishment, and that includes the probiotics in your tummy. Bacteria need to eat, too. Prebiotics are the substances your probiotics feed on, and they’re extremely important to maintaining the health of your microbiome. After all, if your probiotics have nothing to eat, your microbiome won’t flourish.
What do bacteria eat? In other words, what is a prebiotic? A probiotic’s favorite food is soluble fiber. You can feed your microbiome naturally by eating foods high in soluble fiber, which includes many fruits and vegetables. (Which, you should be eating anyway.) Some of the best sources of prebiotics are:
- Black beans
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Lima beans
If you take a probiotic supplement, make sure it includes a prebiotic so the bacteria in the supplement have nourishment. For example, Probulin’s prebiotics and probiotics supplements include Inulin, a prebiotic fiber.
What is a Postbiotic?
Now comes a fairly new term. Postbiotics are the compounds created by probiotics as they live and thrive in the digestive system. These byproducts can include many things, including food left over from the bacteria and even cell walls from dead bacteria. One of the most exciting components of postbiotics are short-chain fatty acids.
Research suggests that postbiotics may provide a vast array of health supporting properties.
If all that sounds good to you, then you might be wondering how you can get some postbiotics into your gut. The answer is that you can eat fermented foods. The same foods that contain probiotics also include their postbiotic byproducts.
How Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Postbiotics Work Together
Prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics are all connected to the same system. Keri Gans, the author of The Small Change Diet, has said “…[T]he prebiotics are the fuel for the probiotics who are the workers in our gut.”. “The end result of all the hard work done by the probiotics are the postbiotics.”
Prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics provide support for your microbiome to thrive, which, in turn, may help provide you with the support you need to be a healthy and thriving human. With all the recent buzz surrounding postbiotics, some people want to skip to the end and simply search for postbiotic supplements. Instead, by simply keeping your probiotics healthy, they’ll make postbiotics for you.
That’s why, if you plan to take a probiotic supplement, you need to understand the probiotics delivery system. As mentioned, it’s important that your probiotics include a prebiotic to feed the bacteria. You’ll also want to make sure the delivery system protects the bacteria every step of the way so that they arrive alive in your gut.
At Probulin, our products include the scientifically validated MAKTrek 3-D Probiotic Delivery system which may help the living bacteria reach your gut. Learn more about how to choose the right probiotic for you and then take a look at our entire collection of supplements and probiotic skincare products.